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Old 06-24-2003, 03:52 AM
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Self-employed hubby....

Hi there,
my husband is a self-employed contractor - which means his work is seasonal b/c we live outside of Chicago. I'm wondering how everyone else copes with the plight of the self-employed. Yes, it has it's advantages, but we never know from year to year how we're going to live. I'm not good with money anyway so it's extrememly difficult..... and to make matters worse, this year is has been very very slow for him so things are super tight right now.
Ultimately, here's my question:
For those in a similar situation: How do you budget and things when you don't have steady money?

And I really need everyone's best money-saving tips at the grocery store!



Frugally Challenged

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Old 06-24-2003, 04:00 PM
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Hi Laura,

I am one of the many who live with this condition too! For 21 years my DH worked for the same company and got paid every other week, like clockwork. I didn't really appreciate it at the time, but I sure would like to go back to that!

DH has been trying to make his own company work for almost two years now and I do understand about never knowing when there will be money. The way that I am coping, is to just be very frugal all the time. I don't spend that money when it comes in, I meter it out very slowly, only buying what we absolutely need. I really don't know what else to do. I am afraid if I buy the new stove we need or that new coat, etc. that there won't be money again for months and I will wish I had held off. The only exception to this rule is in the area of food. I have stocked up since January. Mostly for the reasons above, I am trying to be sure we will have enough to eat if there isn't any money for awhile. Therefore, I have a lot of food in my basement. This is like insurance to me! I know we will eat it whether DH has a job or not. I watch all the flyers and buy anything we eat when it is a really good price. I will buy whole cases if the price is exceptional.

I know this doesn't help much, but I hope it makes you feel a little better just knowing that you are not alone and I DO understand.

Good luck to you!
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Old 06-24-2003, 04:43 PM
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Laura--are you on the frugal thread? Those ladies have incredible ideas for saving money when shopping.

I'm going to forward your question to another member who's husband is a self employed contractor. She may have some tips as well.

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Old 06-25-2003, 03:11 AM
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Thanks ladies! I have been lurking around the frugal threads and yes, everyone has wonderful ideas so I'll just have to put them into place.
After re-reading my post I have to apologize for sounding so whiny! I didn't mean to make it sound like we're destitute... we've been blessed in so many ways. It's just feast or famine every year and the last 2 years have been a feast, I'm not talking millions, but he made terrific money the last couple of years and of course, we failed to plan for a year like this.... but after paying taxes (he didn't pay taxes quarterly for some reason, so we got socked with a $28,000 tax bill in April), health insurance, and living expenses, there wasn't much left :p
We were very lucky to have been able to pay down our mortgage significantly last year though, so that helps knowing we only have a couple more years of house payments
Anyway, thanks for your help and I'll keep reading all of the great tips!!

Keep your words soft and tender as you may have to eat them tomorrow!
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Old 05-01-2009, 12:43 PM
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My dh was a bricklayer in the Chicago area for over 40 years, He recently retired. So my budget has been feast or famine for years. First off I did budget, putting the extra in the bank for the famine. I also stock piled meat in the freezer and canned and packaged goods in the pantry. That way I could get by really cheap when I had to. I also checked out if we were eligible for food stamps when work was scarce. You are in a different situation right now but these hints might help in the furure
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Old 05-01-2009, 02:07 PM
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We've had our own business now since 1995, the year my youngest was born.
I was scared stiff that we would not make it as it was a big step for us, and both coming from families that had at one time or another had owned a business, maybe that helped us on what not to do?
We are still going now and have had 3 employees for 6years as the business grew.
Our business money was put back into buying new equipment & we never borrowed for repairs or new stuff.

You have to budget, there is no other way.
We have a fairly steady income these days even in the economic problems of today.
But when starting out we always made sure the house was paid first, then then the utilities and other lesser bills.
If we needed new things/furniture around the house we paid cash, if we didn't have the money we just didn't buy it. We did also have $500 in an envelope and hidden away for dire emergencies just in case, if we used it we replaced it. You get creative.
Sorry budgeting is the only way it does get easier and works out in the end.

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Old 05-02-2009, 05:07 AM
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I think the ticket is to live below your means and put back when your income is above the budget.

Stock up on canned goods and other supplies when they are cheap to use when the money it tight using the oldest first of course.

In the past 5 yrs my DH has been out of work almost 3 yrs with unemploymnet we've been okay but if I hadn't put money away and shopped on sale with coupons, bought used clothing first for years we wouldn't still be in our house.

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Old 05-02-2009, 07:39 PM
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#1, you are not whiney!!! We had our own contracting business that was going really well till the last recession hit. It got really bad, bad enough for people to leave food for the kids at my back door. That was embarrasing, but no one was paying us for the work already completed. Now that is worse case, and will most likely not happen to anyone here, God willing! What I did was make friends with the owner at the small corner store. He would always have something for us for whatever budget we had for that day. He was wonderful. We paid the house bills first, like everyone else here. I also made everything, I mean everything from scratch. All the bread, puddings, popsicles, diapers. I learned to knit and sew again. I grew my own veg and hung my clothes out to dry. It was hard, but doable.

Try not to live beyond your worst month's pay. Let that pay be your usual income and put as much of the extra away for emergencies. It sounds easier than it is. I still can't do it!

Most of all, be proud of your accomplishments, you are working very hard and I admire you!
We all get heavier as we get older,
because there's a lot more information in our heads.
That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

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Old 05-02-2009, 08:10 PM
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When my dh and I was very married raising the kids he was self-employed.. I would many times go to the thrift store to buy our bread and snack things for the kids.
Garage sales and thrift stores to buy the kids thier clothes as well our own.

I made sure I had a good pile of clothes before washing them to save on water.
and if I could hang them to dry on pretty days I did which helped save on the electric bill.
Make sure you turn off lights when not in use, and same with the tv and other things

get the kids to pitch in my not giving so much for allowance and they have to use some of thier money to buy things they feel they need but really they just want.

Cut down on going out to eat and events. Have more family time as a family but not going and doing for family time.

Remember having crockpot meals are alright, you do not have to have a full blown out meals.

make some of your cleaning products instead of always buying it.

hope some of these tips will help out.

Things I didn't need I didn't buy,
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Old 05-03-2009, 03:33 AM
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One other thing if you have children under the age of 5 check into getting WIC, saved us $35 a month on milk, cheese, cereal, peanut butter, eggs, juice.

I used coupons and my store card to save WIC money as well. I had a cashier get in my face about using coupons and I told her that if 15 families used $2 in coupons a month another child would get help. Then I reported her for her attitude.

If you don't have health insurance check into state insurance to see if your income qualifies.

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