article

10.10.08 6:58 AM ET

Meltdown on the Message Boards

Lost jobs, not enough food, foreclosed homes. Women share their stories on how the economy is hitting home.

Anxiety about laid-off DHs (dear husbands), mortgage shock, and depression have hit women’s message boards hard. Below is a sampling of user posts from BlogHer and iVillage:

izzyanalexsmommy

So today's the day, dh's last day of work - laid off after 20 years of service & never one bad review.

I was sick to my stomach as I suggested maybe he take an empty box with him today.... but that's only half as sick as I feel realizing we've got to tell the kids why dad's not going to work tomorrow. How do you do it?

When they were small, they'd always ask Daddy not to go to work, to stay home with them (they adore him), and we've always explained that Daddy has to work to make money to pay for... you know, everything. So now, at 6 and 9, they understand the need for work (and money).... so how do we explain no work (they're not dumb, I'm sure it'll strike fear about no money).

countrygirl-2008

It's been nights of sleeplessness for me. Doesn't seem to bother hubby as much. I'm constantly telling him what shape we are in and asking if he has any suggestions. The job he took on 07-01-08 is a commission only job. You don't sell, no pay. It was one of two jobs he was offered and had wonderful benefits and little start us salary. Somehow, thank you Lord, I have managed to pay all bills on time.. Any words of advise are welcomed to this depressed gal.

hottllipps

There are no less than 11 houses on my street in bank foreclosure. Some with boards going up on their windows to keep out vandals. It puts a blight on the entire neighborhood. These are houses that were fixed up and improved by their purchasers that are sitting empty, with lawns unmowed. In the winter, when it starts freezing they will be attractive to homeless people who don't want to freeze to death. There will be no power or sewage facilities functioning so we will be dealing with human waste not properly disposed of.

luvteaching75

We have two kids. R.J. is almost 7 and Katelyn is 8 months. Our family is complete and now I am worried about college expenses in the future for them. R.J. participates in football and takes piano lessons, but I had to put his lessons on hold this month because the money just wasn't there...I hated to do that.

At this point, we have talked about possibly selling our house and moving to Florida (my husband's parents live there) so that my husband can find a better job). We live in a small town in Mississippi and there are not a lot of opportunities her for high paying jobs. Also, although I love my job, I am thinking of trying to get a higher paying job at junior college or university. Right now I am under contract until May though.

Any tips or ideas would be appreciated.

Kymaiden40215 responds:

Hello and welcome to the board…I read a book one time and they cut back by not going into a grocery store. They figured they saved at least 10 percent a month by just putting off for a couple days going to the grocery store and eating what was in the house even if it was having pancakes or eggs fried potatoes and toast for supper one night.

I also read that the standard family if they really try can cut out about 50 or more dollars a month of waste.

I ended up cutting out about 70 or so. Also if you have credit cards work your interest down that helps a lot

Well good luck to you stick around we are great bunch of women

Mary Ann

HeatherB

It hurts. God it hurts. With each swipe of a pen signing my name on a check it felt like someone was whacking my lower extremities with a golf club. But it HAS to be done. What feels like rudimentary financial responsibility—taking ownership of your bills and your money because frankly no one else is accountable to the amount you do or do not have in your bank account - is what drives the economy. Now if you need help, by all means, request the help for all of us find ourselves in that shitty-pardon my French-predicament where we are stuck between a rock and a hard place financially and so we request that leg up. But still there's that underlying theme of RESPONSIBILITY. The crappy part of being an 'adult, or at least I play one really well on The Internet, is that we have to do what is expected of us: We have to go to work, we have to pay our bills, we have be adult enough to toughen up and realize what is directly in front of us even if we don't want to look at it. We all do this work/life thing for different reasons and we all know when we're on the precipice standing down and looking at our demise when it comes to finances. It happens.

traecysmom

Just found out that DH has been laid off... he went in for work as normal this morning and they laid him off. We are very much in shock so we haven't really formulated much of a plan as to what to do...

I am hoping that it won't take long for him to find another job... and maybe one that he is happier with... but right now we are just in shock... and I realized that we won't have health insurance after this month... so yeah

just some prayer and positive thoughts that things go smoothly with unemployment and he can get another job quickly.

Lilbutterbean

As winter is approaching, make sure your house is WELL insulated. You will save tons of $$ on electricity and gas. Case in point...we have two homes...one we rent out and one that we live in. Our older rental is drafty, has an older operating system, etc. It costs more to heat that house than it does to heat the one we live in, which is almost three times bigger….

Definately cut out the fast food! I know we blow an extra $50 per week right now (I can't help it, I'm STARVING), but if I were home, there would be no need. Go ahead and get the generic on some things at the store. Most of it tastes the same, and if you have a store card (Here, we have Food Lion cards), you can often get really great discounts. I usually walk away with around $20 in free groceries just by using that FREE card.

Carreyberry

I make homemade meatballs, spaghetti sauce, muffins, pizza dough, bread (not a lot), snacks for Marisa, etc. I very rarely buy anything in the frozen food section or snack section because that stuff is usually just something I can make myself.

To save on gas, we usually do all of our shopping and errands on Friday or Saturday and just get it all done in one shot. We also don't have cable or satellite. We payed for DirecTV for years and DH always had to buy the NFL Sunday ticket. We realized we were paying so much money and we were very rarely watching TV anyway. So, we just have the local channels and that's good enough for us. Sure, sometimes we wish we had more options, but it's just not worth the money. Plus we watch less TV which is always a good thing! I know there are other things we do, but I am drawing a blank. If I think of them I will let you know. I'm sure some of the ladies have of a lot more ideas for you anyway. Hope this helped some. Good luck!

Jerryrobin

I cut down on my grocery bill, but by realizing how much extra I was cooking in a meal and then throwing out. I would cook the whole package of chicken and would have 1 or 2 pieces left over, it would go in the fridge and not get eaten. I now divide up all my meat, chicken, pork and cook smaller portions, this has saved me at least $20-$30 at the store. Generic items can be iffy, I am actually disappointed because I hear that WIC is going to start only paying for generic cheese in Jan, and Wal Mart's cheese is pretty gross! I too was spending way too much on my cell, I have stopped using it during the day except if it is a friend who has the same plan I do. I heard cricket is cheap, but I have never used it. I suggested to DH getting a land line and getting rid of the cells but would would be charged a early termination fee. We do not have any TV, direct is too expensive (we did have it), cable is not offered, and bunny ears do not work. I watch the shows I can online, but other then that it is $1 movies at the red box and those are getting fewer. We have also cut back to using just one car, since my DH's truck is a gas guzzler. Helps since I can't go anywhere to spend money :-)

Butterflynjesus

Also, you plan your meals around what is on sale...So if the next week bread is on sale for 2 for $4 or 2 for $5 (which is more like it now that things have gone up so much) buy 4 loaves and freeze what you won't use in the week. Try not to be in a position to be running out or having to pay full price. It really stinks. This has been us lately. I used to have a pantry and freezer full, now it's week to week.

Also, see if you can trade or barter stuff. I have wanted to get the kids piano lessons, but with time issues & money issues we haven't found anyone yet. I'm thinking of seeing if someone would be willing to give my kids lessons if I cleaned their house or something like that.

Stopthecycle

My husband has not been making as much as he used to…I was thinking of surrendering my husband's truck and just taking the hit on the credit score. I've looked into it and I know that the lender will come back at us for the difference of what we owe and what they can sell it for at auction. I've read horror stories of the lenders garnishing wages to get their money back. I don't want that to happen to us.

Some people are telling me to file bankruptcy but I don't think that is the best way to go if one payment is messing us up. Plus car loans are a secured debt so I don't that would be included in the bankruptcy option but I could be wrong.

After all our bills are paid we have about $450 left for the month and that doesn't include groceries, household supplies or anything else.

We've really cut back on everything we can and I don't know what else to do. I guess my questions are: Would it be better to file bankruptcy or surrender the truck? Any advice will be greatly appreciated.

Purkle7

I am one of those people who fell for the mortgage scams...Our house is DEFINATLY not worth what we owe but that's our own fault.. we fell for it all. I'm not blaming the goverment for what happened to us.. WE took out the mortgage.. WE were the ones that jumped for joy when we were told it all went through when deep down we knew it never really should have. WE were the ones who spent the extra money we got. We were definatly the irresponible ones!

We have made alot of changes in the way we live.. the kids are no longer in any sports or activites right now. I'm sad about that but the gas alone to drive them everywhere they needed to go was killing us…we got rid of our weekly trash b/c dh can bring it to work, and we stopped going out to eat or to the movies and stuff like that. And I stopped going shopping. ****WAAAAAAA***** …If I have any money left over I've been buying Christmas gifts here or there.

KaraB

I'm really just bummed out today. I'm better off than so many people, but right now, i just feel defeated.

I want Claire to grow up in a house with a yard, and I'm giving her a box apartment with no grass and loud, obnoxious neighbors.

I want Claire to be in the best daycare, so I put her there and can't afford it from week to week.

I want to give my mom and dad gifts and money so they can enjoy life for once, yet I bleed them dry because I can't manage my own expenses.

I park between a Lexus SUV and a Mercedes C-class at daycare, and my own humble Honda is still not paid off—a 6-year car loan to afford a Honda.

I have to fit at least 20 people into my pea-sized apartment for Claire's birthday, so no one will want to stay because it's so uncomfortable.

I want to put a lousy tank of gas in my car, but am praying I make it on half a tank because there's no money left to fill it.

I work too hard for this. I'm ashamed and angry and jealous and sad. If you put all those in a pot and stir them up, it doesn't make for a good concoction.

The Accidental Housewife

The generations who survived the Great Depression were tough. They were resilient; they did not expect the government to bail them out of the hell that fell upon them…They boarded up their farms and loaded up their jalopies and headed out to find work. They did not stand around wringing their hands crying about what they didn’t have anymore they went out and worked. They were doers and savers and they made it.

My step-grandmother used to reuse her foil. She would smooth it out, wipe it off, fold it up and use it again and again until it eventually fell apart. My best friend’s grandmother would make a single chicken last through a week’s worth of meals. Each meal being different but made from that single chicken. They were resourceful. More important they MADE IT….

I am ashamed of my fellow baby boomers. I am ashamed that we have turned into such an entitled generation. I am ashamed that we have to have someone else make our morning coffee and we are too good or too busy to prepare our own dinner. That we feel entitled to drive vehicles that use more fuel in one week than a whole village in a third world country uses in a year.

So what do you say fellow boomers? Can we do it? Can we tighten our belts, knuckle down and use that knowledge that our forefathers and mothers gave us? Can we cook our own meals, repair our own roofs, make ourselves pay our own bills and not rely on the government to bail us out? I think we can. We just have to want to do it.