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want to lower my bills...can you help?

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  • want to lower my bills...can you help?

    We have not filed yet, but if everything goes as planned we are going to still have bills that are barely manageable. I just wanted to see if anyone had any ideas on how I can lower our monthly bills after the bk
    gross income monthly 1440.00

    rent 700
    groceries 400
    gas 80
    st loans 200
    electricity 150
    cell phone 70
    internet 50


    this is with no car payment as we plan on buying one car-a junker

    This is stil more than my husband will be making. I don't know how we can possibly go cheaper than that.
    Last edited by okiemom2008; 12-23-2008, 12:20 PM.

  • #2
    How many people are in your family? If it's just you and your husband, you should definitely be able to cut your grocery bill. Even with kids, you should be able to cut it. Have you used Angel Food Ministries? A family of 4 can eat for a month for about $120 to $160. Other than that, do you use coupons? With diligent couponing, you can save a lot of money on groceries.

    Can your student loans be put in a hardship deferment for awhile? That would eliminate that bill for a few months until maybe you could increase your income.

    Electricity: Do you use the energy saving light bulbs? Do you unplug everything that you aren't using and leave them unplugged until you need them? Do you turn lights out when you leave the room? Do you keep the heat turned low (assuming you have electric heat)? You can probably save a few bucks there by doing those things.

    Gas: Can you carpool with someone? Do you organize your errand running so that you aren't driving all over town unnecessarily?

    Hopefully that will give you some ideas.
    Filed Ch. 7 (no asset): 12/30/2008
    341 Meeting: 01/26/2009
    Last Date for Objections: 03/27/2009
    Discharged & Closed: 03/30/2009

    Comment


    • #3
      are there cheaper cell phone plans avaiable as well? also a lot of libraries offer free internet maybe cut that out?? Just some ideas.
      Chp 7 Filled 2-21-08
      341 Hearing 3-24-08

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by monkatom View Post
        are there cheaper cell phone plans avaiable as well? also a lot of libraries offer free internet maybe cut that out?? Just some ideas.

        Thanks for the ideas. We are changing from at&t to t-mobile to save 20 a month. But since we only have one car there is no way to get to the library and after work it is closed.

        Comment


        • #5
          Well, I have high speed DSL from AT&T - used to be bellsouth until it was puchased by AT&T and I only spend $24/month for that. I have found that if you call AT&T every couple of months to get a discount, you pay much less. Otherwise they keep you on the older, higher rate. But you have to call and request the discount. BTW, I think this works with most telephone/internet and cable providers - did the same thing with DirecTV. So call all of your providers and see how much they will discount, even if you modify the plan a little.
          Last edited by StartingOver08; 12-23-2008, 02:47 PM.
          Filed CH 7 9/30/2008
          Discharged Jan 5, 2009! Closed Jan 18, 2009

          I am not an attorney. None of my advice is legal advice in any way..

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by StartingOver08 View Post
            Well, I have high speed DSL from AT&T - used to be bellsouth until it was puchased by AT&T and I only spend $24/month for that. I have found that if you call AT&T every couple of months to get a discount, you pay much less. Otherwise they keep you on the older, higher rate. But you have to call and request the discount. BTW, I think this works with most telephone/internet and cable providers - did the same thing with DirecTV. So call all of your providers and see how much they will discount, even if you modify the plan a little.

            I was thinking of doing that but we move around so much-like we have moved 3 times since May that I cannot commit to a contract that I cannot bring with me. And we rent houses so the landlord may not be ok with them drilling holes. I have the card that I just plug in and get unlimited internet for 49.99

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            • #7
              I would think that most landlords/homeowners wouldn't have a problem with extra lines and what not. Our homeowner was great about it. As long as the installers of the service have a written okay from the landlord/homeowner, they'll install lines wherever. The written approval is usually a requirement for the sefvice provider.

              And I agree with StartingOver08. We've change service providers a few times. And the contract thing.........that's a load of crap. You are not legally required to sign any such agreement with a cancellation clause that has a huge fee, and if you press hard enough, you can still get the price and without contract. We just did that with Time Warner Cable. We got phone, cable and internet with them......no contract and the price that was advertised. Ask to speak with your regions sales manager. They can usually waive the upfront fees, give you the rate and without a contract. Those stupid contracts with cancellation clauses and fees are nothing more than a scare tactic to make you believe that if you want to change service provider and cancel early, you'll pay deraly for it. What a load of garbage!
              Bankruptcy History:
              Chapter 7 filed - 10/12/2005 - Asset
              Discharged - 02/16/2006
              Case Closed - 11/08/2007

              A banker is a fellow who lends you his umbrella when the sun is shining and wants it back the minute it begins to rain ~ Mark Twain

              All suggestions are based on personal experience and research and SHOULD NOT be construed as legal advice as I am NOT an attorney. Always consult with competent counsel in your area with regards to your particular situation.

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              • #8
                Also call your electric co. and tell them your on a low

                income. I did that and got a discount...I think its 20%

                Comment


                • #9
                  You have been given good suggestions on cutting expenses here... and you should use any of them that you can.

                  It IS important to note here, that there are two sides to your budget... expenses AND income. You can only cut expenses so low (they can't go below zero), but you can always increase your income. Check out different ways to do that... I know that it is not always easy, but that will be the key to your long term success.

                  Bankruptcy may get rid of the debt, but it doesn't increase income. Many times, a bankrupt person is still left to deal with that.
                  Filed 8/08 - Discharged 11/08! Not tracking FICO.
                  Pre-Bankruptcy Net Worth: -$72,000... Today's net worth: $142,000.
                  If your FICO score just went higher than your net worth, and you are happy about this, you might have a financial problem!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by ready2puke View Post
                    income. I did that and got a discount...I think its 20%

                    Better yet, see if they offer a balance budget program. You know how much to pay every month, and usually every six months it will be reset, depending on how much you used in the past 6 months. Every year, it's reviewed and if there's an overage, you pay that, but if there's a credit on the account, it goes towards your next bill. Best program ever. I've been running a credit on my gas for the past couple of years now because I keep it at 62 degrees. I have on occasion nudged it up to 65, but only when it got below zero. That was it. I also keep the house at about 75 degrees in the summer, so that helps a lot too.
                    sigpic
                    Filed - 11/19/08;341 - 12/22/08
                    Discharged - 2/23/09 ;Closed - 3/6/09
                    Got my first post BK credit line - car loan - 4/9/09 On my way to recovery.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Never_Again View Post
                      You have been given good suggestions on cutting expenses here... and you should use any of them that you can.

                      It IS important to note here, that there are two sides to your budget... expenses AND income. You can only cut expenses so low (they can't go below zero), but you can always increase your income. Check out different ways to do that... I know that it is not always easy, but that will be the key to your long term success.

                      Bankruptcy may get rid of the debt, but it doesn't increase income. Many times, a bankrupt person is still left to deal with that.

                      Being frugal only goes so far, You and your husband have to increase your income or the entire bk execrise is meaningless.
                      You have far more expenses than what you listed. Things like gas and auto insurance for starters.
                      Does your job offer health insurance benefits? If not, I'd hold off on filing until you get your finances stable.
                      At this point, your problem is not debt-it's low income.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Not to be mean, but why do you move so much? Moving expenses can really add up. Could you find an apartment where the rent is cheaper? I don't know where you live, so I'm not sure that is a possibility. Definately look into Angelfoodministries. You will get plenty of food to feed your family and cut expenses. I think your husband might need to find a better paying job or possibly a 2nd job part-time to supplement your income. I don't think a family can live on $1440.
                        Chapter 7 filed 10/21/2008
                        341 - 11/26 went smooth NO ASSET
                        Took 115 days after 341 - But Finally DISCHARGED 3/25/09

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by relief13035 View Post
                          I don't think a family can live on $1440.
                          i'll respectfully disagree here. our family of five survives on $1400 a month now that we're free from credit card debt. it's entirely possible. we DO receive food stamps which cuts our grocery bill out entirely (we get $316 a month, MORE than enough since i cook from scratch and DH packs a lunch everyday instead of eating out) and even with a child support obligation, student loan payment (which we were able to reduce by calling and getting on the income-contingent repayment plan) and a few "luxuries" like nice meals out once or twice a month and cable TV, we're doing fine.

                          here's a brief outline:

                          rent $595
                          utilities $100 (appx $50 each, electricity and gas heating) -- we bought a $10 drying rack to dry our clothes and cloth diapers, wash laundry in cold water, keep the thermostat on the low side of comfortable, keep the computer in energy saving mode, unplug unused appliances, etc)
                          $150 domestic support obligation
                          $100 two cell phones
                          $90 car and renters insurance
                          $100 gasoline (obviously biking isn't always an option with three kids but DH rides his bicycle to work on good weather days)
                          $50 student loans
                          $75 cable TV and high-speed internet
                          $75 entertainment budget
                          $50 household stuff (cleaning supplies, etc)
                          $50 clothing and personal stuff (we're huge thrift store fans and buy good quality, name brand, current style clothing at a FRACTION of retail cost. i pride myself on my clothing collection and thrifting is FUN!)

                          the remainder goes toward our savings account (we've got a small emergency fund in a "hands off" account) or whatever little things come up during the month. someone without a child support payment to make or less desire for an entertainment budget or cable TV could buy groceries with the amount we spend on those obligations, EASILY.

                          of course, i breastfeed and cloth diaper the baby and our kids don't have school costs yet and we live in a city with easy access to public transportation, bike paths and libraries (we borrowed the latest season of TV shows on DVD recently to cut down on our entertainment budget to pay our bk filing fee -- totally free!) and i don't mind used household goods or clothes.

                          YMMV, but i truly think it's doable.
                          filed ch7 pro-se on 12/22/08, 341 meeting on 1/29/09, changed from no-asset to asset case on 2/18/09, DISCHARGED on 4/3/09.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Wow! I don't know where you guys live that groceries are so cheap! My son alone consumes more than 10,000 calories a day... I think HIS food bill is over $400/mo. I agree with the others, it's tough, but it does look like you have an income problem, and I don't see insurance or medical on your list.
                            BKForum Blog: The Journey

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