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    Help! Need financial help advice!

    I am highly worried over my financial status right now that I am posting my situation. Everyone is free to examin it and ask questions if needed and let me know whats the best solution. I have very little.

    My debts a month are as follows: Rent: $421, Food: $225, Utilities: $180 (covers gas, electric, water, sanitation, Comcast bundle plan) Car Insurance: $66.50, Fuel for car: $270
    Cell Phone: $77.60 VA RX Repayment Plan: $50 (untill Feb 2011), Bankruptcy attorney fee: $150 (untill May 2011), VA RX Fees: $60, Maintenance on car: $18.00, Miscellaneous items: $30.00

    This month I had over $100.00 extra go towards my car maintenance and repairs.

    My job is a pizza delivery driver for a local company. My average paychecks a week are $150 for 35-40hrs a week for 5 days a week take home. I make $5.10hr plus any tips I get. My tips range from $250 low side to $350 high side a week.

    My job puts a toll on my car. I am constantly worried I may break down which will cost me the big one. Something I don't have. My checking is at a mere $907. Thats all I have to my name. No stocks. No mutual funds. No savings. Just a pathetic checking account.

    I live pay check to pay check and tips to tips. Gas is taking alot out of my funds too. I have little motivation since I am clinically diagnosed with depression and no skills or experience in any other field except Pest Control. Burned out of that field plus its brutal work. Any advice I will be listening intensively. Any questions let me know.

    #2
    Based on the numbers you've given, you have an "average" income of $1600/mo (worst-case...$250/wk tips, $150/wk pay). When your income is variable, it's best to plan according to the worst-case scenario, then be happy when you have a good week/month. On the same token, plan worst-case expenses... so I inflated a few figures for variation, and estimate about $1500/mo of expenses. So even in that respect, you're doing good--expenses are lower than income. With any extra that you have every month, you need to save it up. Savings accounts generally only take between $5-$100 to open, so you should look at that as an option, in order to at least separate your savings from the monthly inflow/outflow of your checking account.

    A few ideas upfront to help trim your expenses...
    - Cut down your cell phone bill! Take off any extras (like data plans, insurance, etc). Re-evaluate your usage, and determine if you really need to have that many minutes/text messages available to you. Preferably, drop texting altogether. You might even be able to save alot of money by switching to a prepaid cellphone, where you don't have the restrictions and extra costs of a plan/contract.
    - For your car insurance, raise your deductible. That alone can significantly decrease an insurance bill. Also, you might consider dropping your coverage to only cover collision & liability, to whatever limits your state requires.
    - Your biggest single expense that is easily controllable is your gas consumption. You should be making conscious efforts to conserve every drop of gas you can, and drive in an efficient manner. Don't leave the car running while you're at the door, don't make "jackrabbit" starts from stop lights/signs, accelerate slowly, don't run the A/C all the time, and so on. If your car is overall inefficient with gas economy (below 25-30mpg around town), you might consider trying to sell your current car and getting a more efficient car.

    The other side of this is trying to raise your income. Would it be possible for you to take on some more hours, perhaps work an extra day each week? I know that doesn't sound like a very appealing option, but you can only trim expenses so much. Raising your income will give you some more breathing room each month, and an opportunity to save a little more each month. It'll take time, but by working carefully, you can put yourself in a much better position.

    Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, what are you doing to take control of the depression? I know that depression can be debilitating at times, so the better and sooner you can get it under control, the better your life will be overall. Keep in mind the options available to you. Priests/Pastors/Bishops/Rabbis/etc. can often help cope with and overcome depression, and of course, do not charge to seek their counsel. The same applies to family and friends, who in almost every case WANT to help you, if you'll only reach out for their help. Just remember--no one can help you until you let them, and in the end, when it comes to depression, you have to help yourself. You are the only person who has any hope of keeping your thoughts and feelings under control. It's difficult, I know. But it can be done, and you need to actively work toward that end just as hard, if not harder, than you do at keeping your job and finances in check.
    "Praestantia per minutus" ... "Acta non verba"

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by Demian38 View Post
      Food: $225
      Is this for just one person? If so, I'd work on trimming this down a bit. Aim for $150 ($5/day). That is very achievable.

      Utilities: $180 (covers gas, electric, water, sanitation, Comcast bundle plan)
      How much of that is the Comcast plan? The bundle plans are almost always more expensive than you could get the services for individually if you got rid of all of the extras that you don't really need.
      Cell Phone: $77.60
      Switch to a pre-paid cell and just pay as you go, and only use the cell for emergencies.
      Maintenance on car: $18.00
      I think this number is too low, especially since you use the car for your job and drive a lot.
      35-40hrs a week for 5 days a week
      That leaves plenty of free time during which you could be working a second job and boosting your income. Pick up something for even 10 hours/week and your situation gets significantly better.
      I am clinically diagnosed with depression
      You mention VA prescription fees so I'm hoping that means you are currently being treated for your depression. If not, you certainly need to get help for that. Good luck.
      Steve

      * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
      * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
      * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

      Comment


        #4
        How old are you? Did you say? Your biggest problem IMO is your career and income. What other job opportunities can you look into? Do you have a college education? The math barely works in your situation. Here is what I came up with in your worst case scenario each month:

        Montly payments = $1548.10

        Income = $1600.00

        As you can see on the low side each month you barely make it. If you cannot think of another career track then all you can do is get 1 or 2 more jobs so that your working 80 hours a week so you can get some traction. Another area you can lessen is the Food category. My wife and I only spend $250 a month in a big city, so you must be overspending in that category. Is there a way you could live on half of the amount your spending now? Stop eating out that will kill all budgets. After May 2011 you'll have an additional $150. In the meantime work your butt off and earn an extra $1000 a month doing something in addition to your job. At this point saving for retirement will have to wait until you get a 6 month EF fund built up of expenses. Good luck.

        Comment


          #5
          I agree with the others. Take a good hard look at your expenses and trim down wherever possible. Then, look into boosting income with a second job and/or finding a new field of work entirely. Good luck.
          Brian

          Comment


            #6
            First, my sympathies on your situation - sounds tough.

            I'm assuming your pizza job is mostly evenings and weekend work. You should fill your days with some other kind of job - keeping busy will not only help your depression, but your finances as well. In this economy entry jobs are tough to find - you may luck out on some seasonal work - there may be some at shipping companies, retail stores or service work related to the holidays. Even volunteer work this time of year will get you out of the house, keep you from spending/wasting money, and get your mind off your problems.

            Drop your home phone or your cell phone - you don't need both. If you are not home much in the day, turn down the heat and shut off everything you can. Drop the cable if you aren't home much.

            Start an exercise program - that will also help your depression and keep you busy.

            Good luck!

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by wincrasher View Post
              First, my sympathies on your situation - sounds tough.

              I'm assuming your pizza job is mostly evenings and weekend work. You should fill your days with some other kind of job - keeping busy will not only help your depression, but your finances as well. In this economy entry jobs are tough to find - you may luck out on some seasonal work - there may be some at shipping companies, retail stores or service work related to the holidays. Even volunteer work this time of year will get you out of the house, keep you from spending/wasting money, and get your mind off your problems.

              Drop your home phone or your cell phone - you don't need both. If you are not home much in the day, turn down the heat and shut off everything you can. Drop the cable if you aren't home much.

              Start an exercise program - that will also help your depression and keep you busy.

              Good luck!
              To expand on your suggestion, OP shouldn't have much trouble finding a second job in retail. The store that I work at part time is constantly hiring people for morning and evening stock and for cashier positions. The turnover at my store is so fast that it makes your head spin. Often, I don't even get a chance to introduce myself to a new hire before they quit or get fired. People constantly are leaving or getting fired for various reasons. But, there are always open positions that need to be filled even in this down economy. This may be a good option for OP.
              Brian

              Comment


                #8
                I like the idea about increasing your income - only I'd go about it a different way. (like littleroc02us was getting at)

                You'll never be rich working as a pizza delivery guy. You need a better career. So working a 2nd job would be nice to free up some money today, but I'd suggest you think long term.

                Is moving up in your current company something that you would enjoy? Could you take management courses at night? Do they offer management training?

                If that's not for you, then: What would you enjoy doing for a living? What jobs get paid well to do that? What requirements do you need to get those jobs? What does it take to get those requirements? How can you take a small step today towards making that happen? How can you improve yourself to be more valuable to a different company?


                I just heard this quote from Jim Rohn the other day that I really like:

                "Work harder on yourself than you do on your job."



                In the meantime, see the above posts about how to cut some expenses.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Getting out of depression should be your main priority. Try hanging out with friends and family more. Keep talking to them. Open up.

                  I think you are paying a lot on bundle. Just keep cheapest internet service.

                  Financially you are spending less than what you make. Thats good. If I were you, I would look for better paying and/or second jobs. Look for labor gigs to start with. Since you deliver pizza for living, try to pick up/drop off passengers to airport if you live near airport. Keep browsing craigslists for labor gigs.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    have you ever considered going to citizens advice? They will be able to guide you in the right direction in terms of paying off your loans that you have so that you can focus on other aspects of your life.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      You are already doing VERY WELL with not spending more than you earn. Many people who are doing better when it comes to their wages, are squandering a lot more than their paycheck covers. Here is what I'd do to have even better results:

                      1. what others wrote above - see how much you can save on food, ditch the cable, use a very small prepaid option for your phone (I pay $3/month for my cell, even if I could pay 100 times more), anything you can do to save some more bucks. You are living off little money already so you do seem to have a great discipline about this.

                      2. see how you can earn some more - you'd be better with some more money earned, so try to see if you get any part time job. SAVE ALL THE MONEY, so that in few months you'll do way better.

                      I'd also see about the depression, since it's not something you can handle yourself. And have friends close and, among all this work and worry, have a little fun too
                      Personal Finance Blog | Dojo's PF Musings

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Can you live with your parents for a while?
                        Could you share expenses with a roommate?
                        Find morning work.
                        Save some money up and take some classes in a trade.
                        Maybe you could find a full time job in a trade(apprentice) elsewhere and deliver pizzas on the side.

                        Don't look at this as a mountain too tall, look at it as a first hurdle in your race. Once you get rolling on a plan, you will get your second wind.

                        Comment

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