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never thought money would affect us like this (long)

Hi all!  New to TN and just wanted to hopefully get some advice.  A quick (I'll try) backstory: DH and I have been together a little over 6 years and just got married this past August.  We hit a very rough patch about 2 years ago when we both lost our jobs and money was extremely tight.  Since then we have both gotten new jobs but because we were so behind on our bills, it seems like we were always playing catch up.  In addition to that, we have a 14 month old little girl that we love to the moon and back.

 Because of our financial difficulties, we have had to sacrifice alot.  We have lost touch with some of our friends because they couldn't understand why we couldn't partake in going out with them as much as we used to.  My parents watch our daughter while we both work (which is a tremendous help) and we don't have enough money to pay a babysitter.  We have been handling it well but it does suck that we can't go out together to even have a dinner alone.

 But now we are stuck in a rut that I don't know how to get out of.  By the time I get home from work, take care of the baby and put her to bed, start cooking dinner, clean up a little, DH comes home and we eat, it's already close to 10pm.  Most of the time, we just watch tv but there's not alot of interaction between us and I miss him.  I try to do silly things, like play games, just play music with no tv, etc.  But it seems like our lack of being able to go out and have fun together has put a damper on things.  I'm desperate for suggestions!  TIA 

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Re: never thought money would affect us like this (long)

  • Go try some free things! :) Ask your parents to watch your baby and go to a park to a free concert, you can bring your own drinks and food, have a mini picnic. Go downtown, just go walk around enjoy the scenery, it can help you two just enjoy eachothers company. It can be hard to get out of a rut, especially when you're short on cash, but there are free things you can do Check out your local newspaper, most towns have free stuff going on all of the time. :) Try to remember what you used to do to enjoy eachothers company. You'll get out of it, it will just take some time! :) At night, have him help you with dinner, a little interaction in the kitchen can be fun sometimes, he doesn't even have to help cook, just have him hang out so you two can talk about your day! Best of luck to you!!! :)
  • Are your parents willing to watch your daughter at their home, so you have the house to yourself? Even if it's just for a night every once in a while, I'm sure it would help get the spark back. Since you can't afford to go out, would you enjoy cooking a nice meal at home, something new/exotic, again with no baby/no interruptions?
  • Thank you for the suggestions everyone!!  My parents would absolutely be willing to watch her at their house.  I guess I just feel bad asking them to watch her on weekends when they do it all week.  We used to cook dinner together all the time and that was fun, especially since I love to cook and bake.  But I promised myself that when we had our daughter, our relationship would still come first because that's what brought her here.  We just always seem so wiped out and drained.  But we have to dig deep to make the effort! Thank you again so much!  Can't wait to check out the rest of the site!  
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  • Do you have any friends with children? See if the two families could switch off watching kids so each couple gets a date night once every two weeks. Do you go to church? I'm sure if you explained to your pastor that you really need a break every once in a while to foster your marriage that someone would offer services once a month or something. Or, you might find that you can trade them babysitting for dogsitting, etc.

    When it comes to finding more cash, one way to help alleviate old bills is to call the companies you owe. Explain to them that you're trying really hard to catch up, and ask if they would lowed the balance if you payed in a lump sum. My DH and I settled $16K worth of bad debt for $5700, just by negotiation. We paid it off within 6 months. Take a look into Dave Ramseys "Total Money Makeover" for more advice there.

    Best of luck to you!
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  • This sounds ridiculous but I'm 100% serious when I say strip board games.  Or card games.  Old school ones.  Free, amusing, fun and helps reignite the spark.
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  • like others have said -- try to find more fun free things to do!

    a few activity ideas:

    1. try a new recipe in the kitchen and get hubby to help!  bring in an ipod and make sure you have time for a 30 second dance party while you cook =)  some of hubby and my best laughs happen in the kitchen while we cook dinner.

    2. trip to the park/zoo/playground/etc. maybe bring a camera and take photos of the little one playing in leaves, etc?

    3. have some friends over!?  there's no reason you can't have a board game night or movie night or anything else like that (we celebrate Taco Tuesday with friends sometimes - just beacuse we haven't seen them in awhile haha)  have them byob or a dish to pass to keep the cost down for you.  doesn't have to be anything formal or fancy.

    4. go for a walk and look at xmas lights? when engaged, hubby would come over to my house and we'd just simply go for a walk and talk about anything. taking technology and other distractions away helps us re-connect.


    moneysaving ideas:

    1. ask for things like gift cards to restaurants/grocery stores/gas station/etc for xmas. it will help your monthly bills, and give you some money leftover at the end of the month

    2. examine your grocery bill. plan your trips ahead of time and buy fresh in-season ingredients (typically cheaper). plan recipes around cost friendly ingredients. homemade soups/stews/pastas/rices tend to be more bang for the buck. drink more water rather than soda/pop/juices. save a few dollars there too.

    3. plan your errands ahead of time. this cuts down on excess driving. i do banking/gas/drug store runs on my way home from work since i have to pass all 3 anyway!

    4. turn the heat down at night and when you're not home. even 3-4 degrees can make a difference! throw an extra blanket on the bed.

    5. if/when you can go out to dinner, try to order something that will last for 2 meals (perhaps lunch the next day?). bonus if its a fairly cheap dish.

    6. speaking of lunch -- packing a home lunch to take to work is typically a lot cheaper than buying a lunch every day (saves about $5-8 per day!)

    7. clip coupons. buy generic brand when you can. especially drug store items.

    8. try to make sure your credit card is a cashback or rewards card. chase freedom is a great card - 5% cashback on certain categories throughout the year and 1% on all other purchases. and there's times when that 5% is on gas and groceries. score! a dollar or two in our pocket every month does add up.

  • I second the 'do free stuff!' suggestion. My fiance and I like to go for walks in interesting places. Totally free! As for the kiddo, do you know any friends who have a kid around the same age? See if you can arrange a 'kid swap.' One night you take their kid so they can have a date night, and the the next week they take yours, so you each get two date nights a month without further burdening your parents. If they love to do it, it's fine to ask them to watch your kid on an evening once in a while (or maybe stay the night with grandma and grandpa on a Saturday and go to church on Sunday!) but you don't want to take advantage of them, so work on finding alternate ways to free yourself from the kid and be together alone.
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