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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Guest Post: You Say You Want Help, but. . . . . .. .

I'm not a participant on the imamother board, although I check in from time to time to see what orthonomic topics women talking about. One pattern I've noticed is he lack of a "can do" attitude. Many women have financial issues, but are unwilling to give a suggestion from a brainstorm a try, should it imply changing course, inconvience, etc. I remember one thread where a family wanted to lower their grocery bill and another women suggested eating less fleishigs. Another women 'slammed' the person suggesting eating less meat saying it was cruel to suggest such. (Well, lock me up for spousal and child abuse because this IS a major way to control the kosher food budget).

Of course, not every idea that is presented is doable or the right solution for a family (and I've seen pleny of bad financial advice too), but the lack of "can do," "will try," "I'll give it a trial run," is a huge impediment to getting on your own two feet. I've seen a huge divide in financial threads. There are those who are willing to find a solution, even if it is unplesant. And there are those who have a reason why nothing will work and believe the situation can't be overcome without outside help.

A reader of this blog wrote to me about another example of this divide. Read on.
Next up: Another guest post about an organization that expects its receipients to make real budgetary changes.

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Family with $700 per month car payment resorts to going to food bank for their basic needs.
http://imamother.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=849740#849740

This woman on
imamother.com posts that's she's having trouble making ends meet and is going to the food bank. The title of her post implies that she wants help: "The Best Way to Get Help Without Asking". She doesn't want help--- help implies advice, resources, and job offers. She simply wants money, and people to listen to her excuses.

I'm thinking both she and her husband are working full time and simply not being paid enough to make the large tuition payments that the school demands. I'm about to start feeling sorry for her. Then I read that she's not working. Ok, maybe she's between jobs and looking hard for work to help contribute to the family. THEN I read that she was OFFERED a job at her child's school, but turned it down because she didn't like what it pays. She's a credentialed teacher but is turning her nose up at an aide position which pays $800 twice a month. Tuition for one child is $1500 a month---- ok, so taking this job would pay one whole tuition and get one problem solved. Then I realize she has young children and daycare can be very expensive--- I start to feel sorry for her again until I realize she's said nothing about asking relatives or friends or neighbors to help babysit in shifts for a nominal fee while she goes and takes the job--- she simply doesn't intend to take the job no matter what. Ok, fine.... keep going to the food bank...... So at least she's cutting her expenses, right?


THEN I read about her (are you sitting down?) $700 car payment. Give up the car? NO WAY!!! She lives in Los Angeles and you CAN'T get around in LA without a car. AND THEN I read that her child is embarrassed at school because her parents can't afford to do laundry (no washer and dryer at home). Really-- there is no need for her kids to be embarrassed to be in dirty clothing at school. Doing laundry at the laundromat is a few dollars. If she can find $700 to make that car payment, she can find five dollars so that her children have clean clothing. They don't need NEW clothes.... they don't even need a LOT of clothes.... but they do need CLEAN clothing.

But she CAN'T give up the car! But she CAN'T trade it in for a cheaper one! But she CAN'T take the job because what about tuition for her young children. But they CAN'T move to a smaller apartment! But but but.....

Food banks and government programs are great for people who've fallen on hard times through no fault of their own. A death of a spouse. Two parents both working full time but still not finding work that pays enough. But what if food banks and other government programs actually monitored your car payments? Your rent? Then more people would be turned down and forced to take HELP from people and not HANDOUTS.

Here's my opinion to the lady with the rotten food bank OJ and the $700 car payment. Take the job--- instead of asking people for monetary handouts, ask them for HELP--- ask friends to help babysit your children in shifts so that you can take a full time job. I'm all for being a SAHM but not if you're taking from the food bank...... from families that aren't mocking the necessity of such a concept by keeping a car that has a $700 car payment monkey on its back. Trade in the car---- get a used one for $700 (ok maybe $2000) TOTAL.

Take money from people and it's taking fish. Take jobs, resources, advice, and free or cheap babysitting from people..(and people will happily give with open arms)... and maybe you're learning HOW to fish...... but learning that you don't need a fishing pole that costs $700 a month.

I'm off my soapbox for the time being, but now I see another imamother post that needs my attention.....

51 comments:

Dave said...

Oh, it's worse than that.

It's $700/month on a *leased* car. So they won't even own it when its done.

Commenter Abbi said...

I'm sorry but I can't believe she's a "credentialed" teacher. Her writing sounds like she got credentials from Beis Sarah Rivkah Rachel vLeah. Very sad.

Here's my favorite line was from Shaklee mom: "Things you can do: lunch lady, designated driver, music lady for all performances, performance head, typesetting and graphics, the possibilities are needless!"

Ahavah Gayle said...

"Embarassed because they can't do laundry?" You're kidding, right? Somebody needs to call social services. This woman is too irresponsible to be a parent, to say the least.

In 2003 we had an ice storm and the power was out for 8 days all over town, no laundromats, either - guess what, I heated water at the fireplace and washed clothes in the bathtub, and hung them up to dry. There's no excuse for making kids wear dirty clothes, ever. That's disgusting. This woman is just plain lazy.

(We still hang all the clothes up to dry, and just fluff them in the dryer, btw. Your dryer uses a huge percentage of your electric bill, you know. And there are several good uses for used dryer sheets, too, that save money - but that requires actually putting some effort into reducing your expenses, which I guess is too much trouble for her.)

She doesn't need to take a job if she feels it's not in the kid's best interest - but if she's not going to, then she's going to have to get really, really serious about lowering her expenses. And it doesn't sound to me like she's made any effort whatsoever to do that. She wants to have her cake and eat it, too - literally, I'll bet, wasting money on convenience foods all week and luxury items for shabbat when they can hardly afford to eat.

This woman has a very bad case of messed up priorities, and until she decides to live within her means, there's nothing anyone can do for her. She's expecting money to fall from the sky - she has no intention of making an actual effort to live within her means. I feel sorry for her kids, but not for her. She has done this to herself.

Shoshana said...

Apropos of this post, just today a friend asked me to take her one-year-old for day care a couple of days per week. Part of me is not sure, as I have never cared for a child who's not mine. But I do need the money, he's a sweet baby, and my kids will certainly be excited about it. Sometimes getting real about finances means leaving our comfort zones, and that can be scary. But the alternatives (homelessness, bankruptcy, divorce) are not too palatable either!

ora said...

Sephardi Lady--
I think her refusal to take the job actually made sense. Right now she has two kids at home. Tuition to send the older one to preschool would be $1,500. So by working for $800 a month she'd be losing money--$700/month for the older kid plus however much she'd have to spend on daycare for the younger child. Unless there's a friendly aunt or grandma or neighbor waiting to step into the picture (and her post gives no indication that there is), there's no point.

If there's no public transportation where she lives (and in LA, there probably isn't), she really does need a car, or else there's no way she or her husband can get to work. I don't know if $700/month is reasonable, I'm not familiar with American car prices.

The laundry thing is just weird. Why not just wash it in the sink?

Ariella said...

If I haven't seen posts by peole of just the same mindeset this woman exhibits, I wouldn't believe it. When we lived in an apartment, we did not have our own washer and dryer, so we used the coin operated ones in the basement and did parents' machines when we visited. When I was being really cheap about laundry (the year I was in Israel) I washed by hand. But to skip it altogether is incredible. Perhaps she believes that the food band should also provide dry cleaning services free.

Dave said...

$700/month is not even vaguely reasonable.

SephardiLady said...

Shoshana-I've watched other people's kids from time to time. My kids enjoy having a regular play date, and the extra cash doesn't hurt either.

You are right one: sometimes when we need the extra cash, we have to step outside our comfort zone.

Ora-The poster claims the job is $800 every other week, or $1600 a month. Does this job make sense? Perhaps not after you factor in babysitting and taxes. BUT what does make sense is having a "can do" attitude and finding something that works. Last I checked, there are grocery stores and retail sotres that have night staff. Last I checked, plenty of mothers are regularly seeking a babysitter while they work (although I can see how a mother who doesn't send her own children to school in clean clothing wouldn't be on the short list).

I think the idea is to get creative with how you can fill in the gap. If they get rid of the $700 car payment the gap shouldn't be nearly as difficult to fill.

I bought my own (used) car, which is still going 10 years later, for less than $5000. She is paying $8200 a YEAR. Ridiculous. I've seen nice used cars for as low as $2000.

Like Ariella, I wouldn't believe it, except it.

Anonymous said...

I don't know how many friends will babysit for free on a regular basis so that is probably not realistic. Is she paying for internet service or using the public library? I am aware of imamother and know that it is a time-consuming website. Bashing occurs frequently. If she is really interested in living within her means, there are so many websites about frugality, that there are too many to count. Even if she doesn't want to use the advice, at least she could see that other families are going meatless. She should log off of the computer and hand wash the clothes. Maybe she could get a cart and walk the bundle the laundramat if she can't afford to drive. In LA, the weather is good.

Anonymous said...

I'm the poster who started the $100/month groceries thread. I love how many people are telling me it's just impossible to cut out meat.

The level of financial behavior some people display on the board bugs me, at times. I got ripped to shreds for suggesting that, rather than committing welfare fraud, a family should send their children to public school.

Dave said...

I saw that thread. You were the bit that gave me hope for some sanity in that forum.

SephardiLady said...

Anonymous-Welcome over here. I'm checking out your $100 a month on groceries thread very much. I will take frugality tips anywhere I can get them. If you want to pick a name and hang out over here, I'd love to hear more of you tips.

Anonymous said...

FYI... Give up the $700 a month lease? YOU CANT! You have to find someone to buy you out of your lease. Google "take over lease". And who is going to do that at face value?

Anonymous said...

Hi,

I wrote the post that is being slammed on imamother and here is what I have to say:

I do have three kids, and we both (dh & I) prefer a three-bedroom apartment. We do laundry on a regular basis including occasional trips to my parents to do laundry despite previous comments to the contrary in earlier posts. My dh doesn't insist on a $700/month car but we are stuck with the car loan and if we default it hurts our credit and we'll need a car even if we do forfeit the car.
The school won't give a tuition break for my two younger children because they are preschool age. We can't afford $2000-$3000 a month in tuition fees. That is ridiculous and most people can't afford that much in addition to paying rent/mortgage etc... unless you're doing well financially.

I find disturbing that judge me since you are not the true judge and don't know the whole situation. As I've pointed out I misstated earlier and we do laundry regularly. MY dh doesn't have expensive spending habits and we're doing our best to lower our living expenses.

ditch the car? How do you propose we schlep 5 ppl around if neighbors have a small car? what if I can't walk for various reasons? Trust me I would love to "ditch" the car and the hefty payment but I still need to schelp the kids and dh to work. we can't all walk around LA all the time. LA is more spread out than NYC and doesn't have adequate public transit. The pay for the job was $800 PER MONTH not every two weeks. That wouldn't pay for one child's tuition so I'd lose money.

Yes I could work from home. I've looked extensively for the jobs you speak of and haven't found any.
I don't have the strength to work a night job as some have suggested after performing the full time job of taking care of two young children all day.

Daycare here is not cheap (minimum $700 a month per child). We are relatively new to the community so we don't have a close social network with people yet and can't rely on friends or family for assistance or help with childcare, food or money as many of the other posters seem to have in place for themselves.

To summarize:

We should lower the car payment or get rid of the car when we can. We'll seek any assistance we can get. We've already cut out any non-essential costs we have. We also are very resourceful when it comes to meals. So B"H the situation will improve shortly.

Anonymous said...

Orthomom, I have had my eye on this poster since she started, not so long ago. Either she's bi-polar or dual personality or her husband posts for her occasionally. There are too many discrepancies between "her" different posts, including but not limited to syntax and spelling. I wouldn't focus on her too much.
Did you check out the one who gets assistance from her parents and IL's and got the parents' "measly" $1000/month cut out? I was pretty sceptical about that one too, but it seems to be the real McCoy!

Commenter Abbi said...

Yes, I agree with the above poster. The so-called "original poster" here does not sound anything like the one on imamother. Spelling and syntax alone don't match. Not to mention the story.

Sounds like a sad situation all around. And of course, it's the kids who get the raw deal in the end, while the parents dither.

ora said...

Anonymous--where on imamother were you "ripped to sheds" for going against welfare fraud? In my experience people who suggest fraud are criticized by everyone (see recent post where someone considered a civil divorce while remaining married--everyone told her it was illegal and immoral).

Also, while I think most people could do with a lot less meat than they currently consume, it's true that many people have trouble cutting it out of their diet altogether. I was anemic for several years as a vegetarian, which wasn't an issue at the time, but once I got pregnant I really did need meat. And I have friends who were forced to stop being vegan for health reasons--they strongly believed in being vegan, so it wasn't just an excuse. I don't know if it's the norm, but it does happen. Although again, most people could do with a lot less meat.

ProfK said...

SL, all the discussion just goes to point out something you have said before: the time to learn about budgeting and living on a budget is before you get in trouble, not afterwards. Budgeting beforehand would have brought to light that a $700 lease could turn into a real liability if your economic situation should change. Damage control after the damage has happened is a lot tougher than planning so that the damage is eliminated before it can begin.

Tamiri said...

Oh, and go check out the poster on WIC who just can't spend less than $250/week on groceries for her family of four, one of them being a toddler and one of them a nursing infant. I think they get dwelling assistance as well.
My mind is boggled. I don't like to hear about any minorities eating up our tax dollars - our own do the same!

ProfK said...

Tamiri,
To be fair, it is possible that that mother can't spend less than $250 a week on groceries because she doesn't know how to do that. The ability to shop "well" isn't genetic--it's learned behavior. There is pre-planning and work involved in keeping to a budget. Many of those who are in trouble now that the economy is tight are those who may not have even rudimentary knowledge about the business of keeping house. Yes, there are some who choose to suckle from the government. But there are also those who are just plain ignorant of how to get out of the mess they are in. More than time that parents and schools include some practical learning among the other things taught.

Esther said...

I'd like to comment about the one-car issue. When we were living in L.A. we had one car. It's inconvenient, but not impossible. You have to walk to stores, and be willing to take the buses that are available. (When I was called for jury duty, I took a half-hour bus ride.) Here in the midwest, I know a number of one-car families, even with the cold weather. Either the stay-at-home mom walks or takes the bus everywhere, or the working parent takes public transportation.

However, obviously there are individual circumstances that might prevent this being a solution. For example, if a person was disabled and could not walk. Or, location of your workplace. I currently work in a location that does not have any public transportation from my home, and in a neighborhood where it is unsafe to walk. So now we wouldn't choose getting rid of a car as a cost-cutting method.

JS said...

Ugh. I don't know why I do this to myself by reading these imamother posts. It makes me want to tear my hair out. My favorite comment on that thread was the suggestion that her husband should quit his job so they can get some serious govt assistance.

I love how the frum community criticizes and looks down at other communities (Blacks, Hispanics, etc) and yet engage in the exact same disgusting behaviors they put on others. THEY'RE all on welfare, THEY don't work, THEY have too many kids, THEY don't care for their kids properly, THEY are all lazy, THEY lie and cheat and steal, THEY buy luxuries they don't need, etc etc etc. It's so disgusting it makes me sick.

And to top it all off, this is the reason yeshiva tuitions are so high and all our yeshivas and other charitable organizations are hurting so much - too many people living irreponsibly and expecting the community to bail them out.

Anonymous said...

I don't think the people on WIC and houseing assistance etc. are the ones causing Yeshiva tuitions to be so high.

rosie said...

People who are unable to pay tuition raise the price for everyone else. In some frum communities, the average person works off the books so that he is "entitled" to government funds. Because he can't show that he made money or he will lose his "entitlements", the money can't be in the bank or in any type of traceable account. Therefore, he must spend it. His spending pattern will be very different from someone who works in a secular job that withholds taxes from his paycheck. This is often one of the differences in some communities between BTs, who work in secular jobs, and FFBs who work off the books for yeshivas and other mosdos. The secular worker's income will be obvious to the yeshiva tuition committee because of the worker's tax forms. The off-the-books worker's income is strictly his own business and the yeshiva does not know what he really has. He is the guy that can bankroll a eye-popping simcha, while the tax-payer is only able to produce a mediocre (according to current standards) one. Of course, this has been stated over and over on this and other sites. This imamother poster has obviously made choices. The readers can either sympathize or empathize but it does not appear that the purpose of the site is to raise money for struggling families. If she is not willing to accept suggestions, than she hasn't gained much by airing her situation on imamother. As to struggling families, it appears that Postville's starving Jews, who at this point lack formula and diapers, would take priority.

ora said...

JS--The comment on "serious government assistance" was almost certainly tongue-in-cheek, given the source.

SephardiLady said...

I don't think the people on WIC and houseing assistance etc. are the ones causing Yeshiva tuitions to be so high.


You don't think the family that has 8 children enrolled in Yeshiva/Bais Yaacov and yet pays less for 8 children than other parents pay for 1 child is pushing up costs?

Anonymous said...

"Orthomom, I have had my eye on this poster since she started, not so long ago. Either she's bi-polar or dual personality or her husband posts for her occasionally. There are too many discrepancies between "her" different posts, including but not limited to syntax and spelling. I wouldn't focus on her too much."

Yes I have people help me with my posts. That has nothing to do with the situation at hand.


"Sounds like a sad situation all around. And of course, it's the kids who get the raw deal in the end, while the parents dither."

Ok armchair quarterback. It's easy for you to judge and criticize from behind a computer screen.


"Anonymous--where on imamother were you "ripped to sheds" for going against welfare fraud?"
I've never suggested or endorsed any kind of defrauding of the govt for aid.

"My favorite comment on that thread was the suggestion that her husband should quit his job so they can get some serious govt assistance." I never supported or considered that comment. I believe the poster was joking anyway.

"I love how the frum community criticizes and looks down at other communities (Blacks, Hispanics, etc) and yet engage in the exact same disgusting behaviors they put on others. THEY'RE all on welfare, THEY don't work, THEY have too many kids, THEY don't care for their kids properly, THEY are all lazy, THEY lie and cheat and steal, THEY buy luxuries they don't need, etc etc etc. It's so disgusting it makes me sick." I agree and this does happen a lot.


"This is often one of the differences in some communities between BTs, who work in secular jobs, and FFBs who work off the books for yeshivas and other mosdos. The secular worker's income will be obvious to the yeshiva tuition committee because of the worker's tax forms. The off-the-books worker's income is strictly his own business and the yeshiva does not know what he really has. He is the guy that can bankroll a eye-popping simcha, while the tax-payer is only able to produce a mediocre (according to current standards) one. Of course, this has been stated over and over on this and other sites."
This is so true and says something how many FFB milk the system and see nothing wrong with it. Funny how people will justify anything.

"If she is not willing to accept suggestions, than she hasn't gained much by airing her situation on imamother."
I have no problem with real advice and Chesed but I do have a problem with being judged,enduring petty attacks or negative comments. If this is Chesed, who needs it? I'm tired of people being mean or insulting all in the name of performing so-called Chesed. Enough said.

I expect Yidden to act with respect and decency and not to insult and jump on people... They need to start acting like a holy people and not a bunch of heretics. I have my issues as we all do and try to do my best and sometimes I fail.

I guess I ask too much...

And imagine HaKadosh Baruch Hu expects much more from us all...

Anonymous said...

I expect Yidden to act with respect and decency and not to insult and jump on people...

Well, since you did state your expectations.... the rest of us expect people with $700/month car leases to hold their fair share when it comes to paying tuition, and not to take food and government assistance from us (yes, we are paying for it) so that you can fix your credit rating with a luxury car. THAT would be treating society with respect and decency, doncha think?

Commenter Abbi said...

No Anonymous 12:48, you don't get it. Respect and decency is a one way street. Guess which side society is on?

ora said...

"Anonymous"/chanagital--
It sounds like to you "respect" is whoever agrees with you.

I find it ironic that someone who accuses those who try to help of heresy, being bad Jews, angering God, etc, then demands respect. Although I guess I shouldn't be surprised, since it fits in well with the whole "poor me" mentality you have going on.

The question on being slammed was for the other anonymous, not you.

"Anonymous"/avigail--
Where on imamother were you criticized for opposing welfare fraud? I've found everyone to be critical of welfare fraud (with the exception of the amothers who propose it, but even they know enough to stay anonymous).

Anonymous said...

Chanagittel, I was not referring to a post you made. Ora, Tamiri, et al.:

The post I am thinking of was the one there a woman said she felt she, as a middle class person, was barely getting by and wondering if things would be easier if her salary were off the books so she could get government assistance.

I said she should turn down the heat, stop serving meat and send her kids to public school before doing that and then I had several people jumping all over me for suggesting public school was better than lying about one's salary in order to pay for Jewish school.

Tamiri, you might remember it as the thread where I suggested turning down the heat and she said it was impossible, but you backed me up and explained how to do it?

The link escapes me ATM.

Tamiri said...

Here you go:
http://imamother.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=62586&postdays=0&postorder=asc&&start=0


So me and my dh work regular jobs, we dont make that much but I would consider it average. We dont spend alot at all, we are very careful with what we buy etc. Lately we find it very hard to make ends meet (we dont have section 8, food stamps etc). I am wondering how others make it through.. it is really frustrating lately and I am starting to think we might be better off applying for Section 8 and all the other stuff.

tesyaa said...

There has been a fair amount of acrimony in the past few threads. I think we should all take a deep breath and consider some of the following statements (pick which apply):

1) I will be more sensitive to the needs / feelings of teachers and administrators
2) I will be more sensitive to the needs / feelings of parents of students
3) I will be more sensitive to the feelings of people who have chosen alternatives I might not choose for myself (public school, homeschooling)
4) I will be more sensitive to people still struggling to do what's right. For example, the imamother poster grappling with the temptation to commit fraud is really trying to provide for her family. She didn't just go out and do it; at least she posted, showing her conflicting feelings.
5) I will be more sensitive to people who have gotten themselves into difficult situations (such as the lady with the $700 car payment); she's not happy, but she may not have the emotional tools and financial skills to get out of her situation.

I think emotions are high because of the financial crisis we're in. Yes, we're on the internet, but we can still post with humanity and respect.

Anonymous said...

I do pay my share of tuition.

I don't take food and government assistance from YOU. I don't have a luxury car.

"THAT would be treating society with respect and decency, doncha think?"
No I don't agree with this. Who put you in charge to determine who gets aid? BTW AH if the govt says I qualify for aid after divulging my assets including the so-called luxury car payments why am I not entitled to that aid but in your opinion stealing it? Maybe the govt needs to revamp their requirements for aid then huh?

The only thief here is you.
You're stealing my time to listen to your garbage.

Anonymous said...

Ora
It sounds like you "respect" only yourself. Geez grow up.

If this is help, then who needs it?
You obviously don't know what helping is.

Anonymous said...

It goes without saying the everyone needs to treat each other better.

I got defensive cause I felt attacked and I'm not going to concede that.

Ahavah Gayle said...

First off: If it's not true about the kids wearing dirty clothes to school, then I apologize.

Secondly, your credit is not more important that putting food on the table and providing for the kids - if that means letting the car get repossessed, then so be it. But have you considered a zero-interest loan from your local Federation to pay off the balance of the lease? Or trade in the car for a less expensive used one and use a Federation loan to pay the difference? Have you called the dealership to see what other options might be available? Or the finance company? You don't say what steps you've taken, so we have to presume you haven't taken any.

And as for needing a big car to shlep 5 - nope, you don't. We have 7 when everyone is home (and I have a feeling it might be 8 in the future - we'll see in a week or so) and it's rare that everyone needs to go any one place all at the same time. Certainly older kids and dad can get to work and school using mass transit, even if they have to walk a few blocks to get to it. Many busses also have bike racks on the front, so you can ride to the stop.

If you're going to some large family event then you can either 1) make two trips to ferry everyone, or 2) ask a friend or sibling or cousin to pick up a few, since they're probably going anyway. Shul should be within walking distance anyway if you're orthodox, so that shouldn't be a problem.

I will be happy to work with you on a budget if you would like my help. I can also help you start a grocery spreadsheet which will get your food and household expenses under control. Or, as SephardiLady posted today, there are other groups that can help you do this. And you may have to drop things like cell phones and cable and yes, if it's that bad, even internet.

But you have to be willing to do whatever it takes, and that absolutely is going to mean getting rid of the car, one way or another. I know this from experience, and we had only one car for over a decade when the kids were smaller. It can and will work if you make it work.

And speaking of work, I agree you should not go to work - in fact, you should probably seriously consider homeschooling, too. Tuition is the bank-breaker for most families, and there are numberous internet groups and associations out there for Jewish homeschoolers - everything from reform to frum. If you're a credentialed teacher, then you won't even be affected by the recent legal rumblings concerning homeschooling in CA. It's something you should seriously consider.

Shalom.

Anonymous said...

I always thought of orthonomics as a mature blog for people who want a mature discussion about the state of affairs of the frum economy. I long ago left imamother because it was often one long, nasty argument, where no one respected anyone. It appears here that the imamother argument has been dragged to orthonomics with the same players only different site. Imamother's moderators come in after-the-fact to do damage control. All posts appear immediately and if they are hurtful to someone, so be it until a moderator logs on to clean up the mess. The site has a number of hard core Imamother addicts who spend numerous hours logged on in continuous arguments. These women could probably be gainfully employed doing something, if they could disengage from imamother. The site might be great for recipes, birth stories and yomtov tips but the advice can come from any misguided individual who decides to log on. I could say more but I have to be at work in 20 minutes.

SephardiLady said...

Anonymous-I'm definitely going to think twice about posting a topic from imamother, because the arguing is getting petty.

I was using this post as an example of the resistance to helping oneself, which is the only real salvation for the financial problems of the frum world.

There is a tremendous amount of resistance to helping oneself by doing what it takes. Look at what is going on in Israel right now. Kollelim are collapsing, and I feel terrible (and I'm no kollel cheerleader). Yet at the same time there is a major worldwide financial crisis, the same communities that are seeing their institutions on the verge of collapse and will possibly soon have a flood of unprepared men thrown into the marketplace, are fighting the introduction of a basic general education into their elementary schools.

There is little that can be done about this problem, just as there is little help that can be provided for a family unwilling to give up a $700 lease, unless the community takes the bull by the horn.

SephardiLady said...

In sum: This blog is dedicated to bringing what I hope is a public voice Orthonomic and related issues that is, I hope, sane.

Discussion is always welcome. That is where you present and evaluate the merits of ideas and alternatives.

I hope that this thread will serve as a reminder that you shouldn't get yourself in over your head ever, because just like chazal tells us that it takes a lifetime to change a middah, financial professionals will tell you it takes a tremendous amount of courage to change a "lifestyle" once you have become that "lifestyle."

ora said...

My sincere apologies to one and all for losing my temper and dragging this discussion into personal fighting.

Anonymous said...

First off: If it's not true about the kids wearing dirty clothes to school, then I apologize.

I accept your apology.

You're right that credit is not as important as family needs. I can't get a zero-interest loan anyone. Tried it already. Trade in is not an option since I owe more than it's worth so I'd have to make up the difference. I've taken the steps you mention accept for trying to negotiate with the lender. I plan on doing so.

You may not need the room in a car but I do. I need the room to have child seats (which are required by law).

I don't have relatives that can help in any way close by.

Yes I'm orthodox and live around the corner from the shul.

I have a tight budget but don't make enough money to live in this over priced city.

I'm working on the car situation trust me.

I do some homeschooling for my youngest already.

Commenter Abbi said...

"You may not need the room in a car but I do. I need the room to have child seats (which are required by law)."

Sorry, I fit 3 car seats in the back of my 97 tiny Mitsubishi Lancer (subcompact) that I fill up every 17 days.

Car seats are not an excuse for a car you can't afford.

Have you looked into medical transcription? Even in this rough economy, hospitals still need to run. Here is a link to an online course: http://www.gatlineducation.com/medicaltranscription.html

It's usually all done online as well. You do it from home after the kids go to sleep. You need to find a way to bring in income from home. It's hard but not impossible. I'm sure there is paralegal work from home as well. You just need to research.

Ahavah Gayle said...

Making up the difference will be a lot less than continuing to pay $700 for months on end - you didn't mention how long was left on your lease, by the way. If it's a year that's $8400. If it's two years left that's $16,800. What is the difference that you would have to make up, exactly? If it's less than that then making it up is still a good deal.

As for car seats, yes, they're required. Had two of them in the car plus a booster seat (some states require these, also, for older kids under a certain height).

Again, how often must everyone be in your car? Presuming you decline to homeschool, if the older kids are at school, they aren't going shopping with you. And if you do homeschool, simply hit the grocery store after hubby comes home. Been there, done that.

And how is your husband getting to and from work? If you're not near mass transit, drive him to work so you'll have the car, and then pick him up in the evening. Been there, done that.

Another idea: Is there no carpool co-op at your kids school(s), and if not, why not start one? It would be cheaper to pay a small gas fee to have the carpool co-op transport the kids to and from school than pay for that car. Or if the co-op is set up in such a way that everyone is required to drive one day a week or whatever, how hard would it be to find a sitter for the younger kids for a couple hours one day a week?

You've got to think outside the box, here. Your situation is getting desperate - options can't be swept off the table just because they inconvenience you. Being poor is inconvenient. You'd better get used to it.

Commenter Abbi said...

"Being poor is inconvenient. You'd better get used to it."

Truer words never spoken.

Lion of Zion said...

SL:

this was my favorite comment from the imamother thread:

"there is definitely public transportation here but its more local and generally jews do not use it."

Lion of Zion said...

regarding the $700/month car: she's stated that this is her husband's fault and not her own.

some have suggested that she trade it in for a used car. suggestions have been in the $700 to $2000 range. buying any used car is a gamble, esp. one at such a low price. i've been burned so many times with used cars. i always comment that you get what you pay for in life and cars are no different. you will probably end up putting a lot of $ into a $2000 car up front and over its lifetime

my friend bought his new 2000 civic in 2000 for 16k.
i bought my 2000 pontiac in 2004 for slightly more than $7k. i thought i saved a lot of $
it's now 2008. i've since spent about $1,700 in non-maintenance repairs and i've had (and still have) headaches you wouldn't believe (currently the fuel guage doesn't work and the tps sensor acts up so the car stalls every 20 minutes.)
my friend has spent $0 in non-maintenance repairs and no headaches whatsoever.
at this point we've both basically spent the same annual amount for our cars. except that his will last for a while longer and mine probably won't make it to the weekend. 16k seemed like a lot to use back in 2000, but in the long run he's the one who saved his $

Commenter Abbi said...

LOZ: It's hard to say. I bought a 97 mitsubishi lancer in 2005 for NIS 22,000 (about $5500 at the time). When I first took it home, despite having had it tested and looked over by an independent mechanic, there was no thermostat! I blew out the engine head and had to have it rebuilt- another NIS 4000 at the first weekend! So all together, the car cost me $6500, which I think is reasonable for a used car (it was pretty much blue book value).


But after that, aside from routine maintenance which has cost about 600 shekel a year; replacing tires (which wouldn't be covered by a maintenance contract anyway) and replacing a radiator and a battery (which cost NIS 800 and 1700) the car has been very good to me, bli ayin hara.

I think some cars wear better than others. I'm the fifth owner of this car and I've had people leave me notes that they want to buy my car! And it looks like a complete wreck!

Lion of Zion said...

ABBI:

like i said, it's a gamble. i'm glad it's thus far worked out for you. but over the years i've never done well with my cars (all used), nor have many of my friends with used cars. used cars have a propensity to be money pits and big headaches.

SephardiLady said...

this was my favorite comment from the imamother thread:

"there is definitely public transportation here but its more local and generally jews do not use it."


That one was classic, yet sad. Es past nisht for a yid to ride the bus. Also, professional althletes and movie stars don't generally ride the bus.

Regarding used cars: I bought a 10 year old used car 10 years ago for about $4500 after a repair. It is sitting outside my door right now. Viva la used car.

SephardiLady said...

regarding the $700/month car: she's stated that this is her husband's fault and not her own.

I can't even imagine my husband making a decision like this on my own. Sadly, budgeting problems and marriage issues are related.