No. of Recommendations: 1
I think the wife needs to step up to the plate, get a real job, quit buying so much junk at the grocery store and tell the girls that we have to take at least two years off of dance because "Mommy and Daddy made a lot of bad choices with money. We are trying to fix them and as soon as we do, you can pick one or the other . . . We apologize that are irresponsibility is causing you to have to mess an activity that you enjoy."

I have not read to the end of the thread yet.

Several times you have said everything that you think your wife needs to do, but I think that's a mistake. I think you and your wife, together, need to identify your priorities, understand how much money you have to spend, and then allocate those dollars to be spent according to your jointly agreed priorities.

I hear you saying that the kids have to give up their extracurriculars, but maybe they don't. Maybe those things end up high on your priority list and they have to choose only one activity instead of every activity, and to fund that, you cut spending on something lower on your priority list.

I haven't seen any mention yet of you having a budget. Do you know where all your dollars go every month? Write it down using realistic numbers of what you are really spending, and then prioritize that list. Based on that, identify things that can be cut as it is typically easier to cut expenses than to increase income.

Many people have also had great luck at posting their budgets here for people to make suggestions. You might find, for instance, that you can make some very small changes that do not impact your quality of life at all, but put savings in your pocket that can be allocated somewhere else. A common suggestion that I make is for people to make sure they are doing their grocery shopping at the least expensive store. In my area, I save a solid 30% by shopping at the local chain vs. the national chains for buying exactly the same groceries, so maybe if you changed grocery stores, you might see some savings and you haven't even had to change what you are buying. Step 2 would be to switch to generics, then eliminate convenience foods, shop only what's on sale, shop to a menu, etc., all of which can all add to your savings.

You have an unlimited cell phone plan. Do you need it? What happens if you use a limited usage plan and get one that is sufficient for your needs and saves you money every month? I used to have the 1400 minute plan and changed us to the 700 minute plan for something like a $30/month savings. We have AT&T, so minutes roll over from month to month, but 700 minutes is still more than we need. This was a change that made absolutely no difference to what we were getting for a service and yet saved us money.

There are other things as well, but the first step should be for you and your wife to agree to your priorities and then understand how they are reflected in your budget.
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