View Full Version : How do you afford this life while they are in prison?
10-18-2005, 08:45 AM
I am curious if any of you have to have a second job, or you are just able to budget with what you have, or something else. The cost of gas, food, and for some lodging adds up quickly.
I ask only because it is safe to say having two incomes would make things easier; but having one and then the added expense of weekend visits can be draining. Not to mention packages, shipping, postage, phone bills, etc.
Anyone have a good plan that they can share to help put away savings.
10-18-2005, 08:54 AM
I know what you mean about the added expense. What I do is try to think of it as a monthly bill just like my regular ones and put aside a certain amount towards it every payday. I did this when I was traveling up to Clinton and I would go once a month. I also had this in a separate savings account just for that. It's hard though. Especially when you have a family at home to support.
10-18-2005, 10:58 AM
I hear you both. I am barely able to pay my bills, sometimes i miss paying a bill just to go up there. luckily i dont send him food packages or money, the trip there and back is enough. its 100 each time and ive been going twice a month, i dont stay the night b/c i definitely can't afford that. the drive back and forth in the same day is extremely tiring. it's hard.
now im trying to limit it to once a month starting in november. i may not have a choice in the matter.
10-18-2005, 05:50 PM
It is rough isn't it? Thank GOD, I do not have to pay for gas or hotels or flights! I would never see him!! Just with regular visits and phone calls, I am tapped out! I am lucky if I can buy him packages.... I budget everything! And with him coming home now, I am seeing him less and no calls.
It is really hard !
10-18-2005, 05:57 PM
yeah, its crazy. I dont send him any money due to this fact and that he under no condition will allow me to. But he wants to speak to me everyday, so the bill is about 400 a month, and then the cost of gas. Its hard and I just sold my house, and moving into our new home, so I have been budgeting with our bank account.
10-18-2005, 09:28 PM
I hear you all and agree. You figure if you get a second job and have the money for extra expenses you are to tired to enjoy the visit once you get there if you make the visit for not sleeping late.:p
I've tried both the second job and the second account set up just for visits it all worked for awhile. For me the second account works best I have an account setup direct deposit rite into that account and only us it when I am short and I'm saving money when I don't need it and its set up under my hubby name, so he has something for Id purpose for in the future.... I think thats what led me to work for my self... It's hard no matter how we look at it....:eek:
10-18-2005, 09:36 PM
I always wondered how everyone does it. I work 2 jobs, and I don't send him any $ and I still stuggle, with just going to visit every now and then. Any tips or tricks for saving money would be helpful! ~Gabby~
Yes it definitely can be hard sometimes. I have found myself sacrificing some treats here and there to make sure I can go see my boo. I do send him packages but let me tell you girls I am a Bargain Hunting Queen !! You would be surprised how much of his food packages come from the 99 cents store ! Have you NY girls ever been to Jack's World on 32nd and 6th ? You HAVE TO GO . I have been able to get him 15 pounds of stuff frome there for like 25 dollars. They have name brand name(nabisco ,famous amos, chef boyardee etc) food like cookies , crackers, bread and "hermatically" sealed fully cooked deli meat. They have big juice boxes 3 for a buck. They have the lunchables that come with crackers meat and cheese for a dollar they have canned chilli they have canned nuts .. I could go on for a while !!
If you do send your man food packages this is the place to go if you can get to it.
When I send him clothes I am not ashamed to say I take my butt to Conway's. They have fruit of the looms and hanes for a good price. Sometimes they have name brand shirts there too.
For shipping these things I have discovered something fabulous at the post office , flat rate priority mail boxes ! For 7.70 flat you can send whatever you can fit in the box up to 70 punds anywhere in the US !! The last time I used this service I sent him 3 shirts, a pair of long johns, a belt, and a pad of heavy drawing paper.
All you have to do is go to the Post Office and ask for the box, it's free. Put it together pack it up and ship it flat rate !!
As for savings, I have decided to open an account and put a little something in it everyweek. Overtime it will build up and I can draw from there for things like stamps when it's time to pay the marriage fees, packages, trips on the van etc.
Also since he INSISTS he wants to send me money I will put in there so it can grow for him to have something he can call his own when he gets out. I am sorry this post is so long but I hope I was at least a little bit helpful to at least one person.
10-19-2005, 10:10 AM
For me the second account works best I have an account setup direct deposit rite into that account and only us it when I am short and I'm saving money when I don't need it and its set up under my hubby name, so he has something for Id purpose for in the future.... I think thats what led me to work for my self... It's hard no matter how we look at it....:eek:
The second account seems to be a solution. I had a second account and I kept taking money from it to use for other things. It's sad to say with what little he gets, he saves better. Not sure if it is he has less options to spend his money, or that his immediate needs are met. We don't have the phone bills, and I don't send him money. I do send packages, but they are rare and don't account for more than $200 a year including the shipping.
10-19-2005, 10:14 AM
but let me tell you girls I am a Bargain Hunting Queen !! You would be surprised how much of his food packages come from the 99 cents store !
I am a bargain shopper too. I was just looking over the expenses for the year. I itemize my taxes, so I have receipts all over the place. It's just that I find that I end of sacrificing a bill to afford a visit on occassion. My budget is laready tight, and busting at the seams. I considered a second job, but child care would squash that. I have a few "hustles", where I make things to sell. That seems to be where most of the funds come from. I just hate the feeling of never getting ahead. With the cost of heating my home going up an estiamtes 37%. That means my gas bill will require more funds.
Thanks for all the input. I have gone to the HR person to haev them do a payroll deduction to my credit union, which is a separate account. I use to have another accoutn just for child care expenses.
10-19-2005, 04:32 PM
I Plan Ahead For Travels, I Can Only Afford To Go Every Other Month For Two Visits. I Know Some People Were Upset With Mci I Myself Was Too At First But The 100.00 Spending Helps Me Budget Better Because I Was Getting 600.00 Phone Bills A Month. As For Packages I Take 35lbs On My Visits And Any Other Items He Needs During My Visits. I Dont Send Money Thank God He Has Loving Family Members That Sends Me Money And I Send Him Some Of It.
10-19-2005, 08:29 PM
Our son-in-law is a priority to us. His wife, our daughter, is a full-time college student, so we insist on helping. He gets twice weekly visits and a little bit of money twice a month, but it is tough. He won't tell us he needs anything because his father always told him growing up that he was a burden to him financially (the man made $100,000 a year, folks!), so we make sure we send the money to his account regardless (and cheerfully I might add - a concept he has never experienced when it came to money). If he didn't have it, he would simply not eat the crap they serve and get thinner and thinner. Granted, DH and I both work full-time and have good jobs. However, we budget budget budget and are extremely frugal (think depression era). My mom also slips my daughter about every week, which she hords and pays about $100 or so a month towards the phone calls (I pay probably another $100 or so). An easy way to generate $500 a year that I just stumbled upon. I switched from using my debit card to a credit card that offers 1% cash back every year - up to $500! Now, I use the credit card (my one and only except my company credit card) in the place of the debit card (except when making cash withdrawals) and write everything down in my checkbook just like before. I use it for everything literally - even electric bills and insurance. Easy $500 for doing really nothing! There are tons of ways to save small amounts of money that really do add up and make this a little bit easier financially. Sometimes we just have to think outside of the box.
10-19-2005, 08:29 PM
For me the most expensive thing was the phone bill. I look back over the last year and i have spent over $4,000 in phone calls. before i started working i used to save up all my change for the tolls to go see him. once he got upstate and i had to take the vans that when money really started to get tight for me. i used to know exactly how much money i needed for the visit and set it aside as soon as i got paid. i didnt send money too much but i did buy packages about once a month and Walmart was my favorite spot. i used to buy my husband 10 cans of pringles for about .84 cents and he would sell them for about $2 :) :)
10-19-2005, 08:54 PM
This life is very costly. Life in general is costly. My husband and I were just talking about this last weekend. I have to budget in the gas money for our visits, the vending machine money as I want him to eat well on our visit and then the money I send him each week. We have a telephone budget and we stick to it.
I used to work alot of overtime. When it was offered, I would work it, no matter how tired I was. Now the overtime is non existent and life is rough.
It is not an option for me to have a second job because of my schedule with my first job. So in order to bring in more money, I do surverys on the internet.
I mean one is not going to get rich doing them, but it does help me. I am able to bring in about 100 each month. Hey, every little bit helps.
As far as savings, well now that is something entirely different. As others have said a seperate account if you are able, consider it a bill to save. For me though, the money is just not there to save, so what little savings I do have is change that I throw in a large piggy bank and I just forget about it.
Happy budgeting everyone. Where there is a will, there is a way. Just have to keep on it and take it one day at a time.
10-19-2005, 09:31 PM
It is hard for those of us who have to travel far, I am fortunate in so many ways!....and it does help to have a supportive family and/or a great hubby who manages on what he has and is grateful for what he gets. :)
10-19-2005, 10:14 PM
barky586 your daughter and her husband (your son in law) are so lucky to have you both :thumbsup: ....
I also have to agree with you on the budget budget budget. I drive up so I have to budget gas & tolls, I also budget an additional $20 for the venting machine so on a visit I spend a total of $50. Limited phone calls.All of this helps cause he ask for nothing at all anything he gets is because I want him to have it and thats with a fight....That helps alot.... Our son-in-law is a priority to us. His wife, our daughter, is a full-time college student, so we insist on helping. He gets twice weekly visits and a little bit of money twice a month, but it is tough. He won't tell us he needs anything because his father always told him growing up that he was a burden to him financially (the man made $100,000 a year, folks!), so we make sure we send the money to his account regardless (and cheerfully I might add - a concept he has never experienced when it came to money). If he didn't have it, he would simply not eat the crap they serve and get thinner and thinner. Granted, DH and I both work full-time and have good jobs. However, we budget budget budget and are extremely frugal (think depression era). My mom also slips my daughter about every week, which she hords and pays about $100 or so a month towards the phone calls (I pay probably another $100 or so). An easy way to generate $500 a year that I just stumbled upon. I switched from using my debit card to a credit card that offers 1% cash back every year - up to $500! Now, I use the credit card (my one and only except my company credit card) in the place of the debit card (except when making cash withdrawals) and write everything down in my checkbook just like before. I use it for everything literally - even electric bills and insurance. Easy $500 for doing really nothing! There are tons of ways to save small amounts of money that really do add up and make this a little bit easier financially. Sometimes we just have to think outside of the box.
10-20-2005, 08:12 AM
my son in side. At least 150-200 in food (he eats very littel they serve there)-and 200-300 per month in gas for the 5 hour one way drive.
One thing I did do is to tell all the family (and I am lucky ours is supportive) to send money when they ask me what to send him. I also got up in the face of his Dad whio is always asking how is he etc. Laid out what I was spending and told him I thought he should send him 100/month for commissary at least. And so far, so good. But it is hard for me to ask--but I am glad I did.
other than that, I have the second account for savings too. Auto-deposit $30 week in it to try and cover the food.
10-20-2005, 08:21 AM
It's nice to see supportive families that pitch in and help. My husband lost both of his parents, and his has one sister who does what she can. What I find to be the case, is people making it happen. I find myself making it happen, when I don't think I can.
10-20-2005, 08:37 AM
rywill I would have to agree family makes a lot of different when they help out. My husband also lost both of his parent and hes any only child...So it just me boy how I wish I had more help sometimes...But like you said we make do with what we have even when we don't think we can....:thumbsup:
10-21-2005, 02:54 PM
I agree with eveyone a budget is a must.
I go once a month and he is a 7 hour ride from me. I begin saving all my change from the time i leave until a week before i go i count that up and add to it if necessary( right now i have about 15.00 dollars). I dont have a second but i am a Notary and the little money i get from that strictly goes in to my envelope, i am the only notary in the building so in a month i at least make about 80.00. I dont have to worry about sending packages his cousin sends one loyally every month. and his brother takes care of the clothes. if i have extra i will leave some on the visit... which he hates. I dont have a phone so i dont have that expense. i have no tolls so i just have to worry about gas and hotel... which is about 40.00 for the night.
10-22-2005, 06:48 AM
it ia very expensive especially from va i take greyhound then prison gapwhich is over $100 then i pay for the train to and from the bronx and i pay for the food which is about $20 but dont 4 get i gotta pay for food whileim on da bus which is another $20 i try not to spend alot of money on click- clicks but i love da pics i spend about $4 and i really try to spend less on da food on da vi floor but thank god he dont really like da vending machine food his calls once a month cost $50-100 i try 2 limit his calls but his voice is an addiction lol all together i spend at least 200-300 but when we got married that was at least$500 ladies dat is the most expensiveis gettin married in riverview
10-22-2005, 08:14 AM
My honee is in another state so I can only visit every 3 months due to the cost factor. But when I go, I stay for 4 nights in a hotel and see him for 3 1/2 days. The cost of the airline ticket, rental car, hotel, food and gas comes to between $600 to 800! Plus, he is allowed 300 minutes phone time for $60 per month. I do alot of budgeting and planning. I buy food items when on sale, even if I don't need them at that time. I buy meat in bulk and seperate it before freezing. I cook big pots of soup then put it into small containers for freezing. I clip coupons for everything. I grow my own veggies. I find clothes (nice ones) at yard sales or on sale at a store. I thank God everyday for providing everything for me. I am thankful my earnings do take care of my needs and then some. But I still have to be tight and every lil thing helps.
Take care everyone and God bless.
10-26-2005, 08:43 AM
I feel you ladies on the money it cost to visit,call,your expenses etc.... I try to budget myself it's not easy. It cost me about $70 dollars to go for regular visit which i used to go twice a month. Now i only go maybe every off mos. now that we have trailers, that was a big expense. I spend about $150 on food because i wanted it my first one to be perfect. Now i am learning to spend a lot.... less because i was buying too much. Also about $100 on sheets,towel.etc i have to have my own things. Our wedding was 600 or 700 dollars. We really try to limit our phone calls , we talk 2 maybe 3 times a week. Which is about$100 or so a month. He doesn't ask me for anything what he gets is from my heart and i want him to have it when money permit. He's Mother sends what ever she can when she can,so he really have just me. I alway buy on sale and walmart is my favorite place, they have such good buys. I have two jobs, it is becomming more and more diffucult to do since i hurt my ankle 2years ago and i'm still having problems with it. He trys to send me money when he can for the cost of the phone calls etc... I'm trying to save money but it's hard, right now i'm not working because of my ankle. Well i know we try to make the best of it because we love and care about them,and i know i wouldn't have it any other way:thumbsup: Hang in there Ladies:)
10-26-2005, 12:48 PM
I work both full time and part time. Each visit costs $250 including food, gas and motel. Phone bills run around $300 month and I send him money for his account because he doesn't eat their food. I have to budget VERY tightly and many things I need, I just don't get unless I can come up with extra money which is not very often. I don't visit every week like I used to because of the expense. His family doesn't help - occasionally will send a little for birthday or Christmas - but that can't be depended on.
10-28-2005, 08:38 AM
I just spent $402 on one-way flights for me and the girls to go home for our next trailer/Christmas! Dang!!!:mad: If the flights get much more expensive I may be driving back to Georgia from NY.
I really don't know how I afford this life...:rolleyes:
10-28-2005, 08:00 PM
Wow big sis that bites:eek:
I am blessed to make a decent salary so I am ok now. but I think I created a monster. He is only 15 minutes away so there is no real travel cost but I buy him things every time I go. Whether it be clothes or magazines. I might spend 200 monthly on him. But we discussed it and i told him i am looking to buy a house and he is killing my saving so he is trying to live on a budget:)
10-28-2005, 08:26 PM
I'm so thankful that both my man and nephew are 30 miles from me. It's easy to visit and I don't have to pay the extras like travel and lodging fees. I'm also fortunate to have a great job that pays well and is very flexable with my visits and phone calls.
10-28-2005, 09:27 PM
Ahh! The money thing is too much! My husband hasn't even been sentenced yet and we are already broke because, well he lost his job after stealing from the company. We have 4 kids and my youngest is only 3 months old. I can't get a good job even if I wanted to. We are losing our house and bill collectors are calling constanly. By the way, has anyone heard of vonage? You can get your phone through the internet and you can sign up for a 1-800 number. I am looking into it. I will let you know if it is worth it.
10-29-2005, 07:51 PM
I make good money AND IT'S TILL NOT EASY, but it works. We don't abuse the phone privilege (I'm with Verizon and the MCI portion averages between $190-$230 a month). Because of how I was raised, I'm more into the inner me rather than the outter me so I'm not always buying clothes to wear to visit. I take care of him modestly in there. I bought all the clothes and footwear he'd need for this bid at the beginning of the bid so there is no clothes expense. Although I have gotten him sneakers when his kicks kicked out. Also at visit, I'll usually buy one, two tops picture tickets and because the food selection is not great usually no more than $15 on food.
In the beginning when I was new to this I used to borrow from Peter to pay Paul. But with time and experience, I ain't seen Peter in years!! :o
10-29-2005, 07:54 PM
Budget! Budget! Budget!
10-29-2005, 09:09 PM
I am doing the reverse commute for the Christmas/New Year's holiday and Air Trans had eacg way for $114 and $144. American Airlines now fly from JFK. Continental had good fares into Newark (like $200 r/t). I haven't booked yet, I am taking a risk, hoping I could get something cheaper (hopefully a great blowout sale). I definitely am not going with Delta.
Vonage sounds great, but I would still keep a landline. Vonage (nad for the same matter Optimum Voice) rely on broadband connection. Unfortunately if we have another blackout (like summer 2003) you are out of luck. In an emergency, your 911 calls will have to be routed. Reading your post and seeing that you have a 3 month old, I felt you needed to know. These are some SERIOUS deficiencies you have to weigh. Good luck!
10-30-2005, 05:09 PM
Oh yeah...I'll be feeling those teeth in budget for weeks to come!
Wow big sis that bites:eek:
10-30-2005, 05:13 PM
Taya and Rottn -- You are so right...the great salary helps!!! I love my bosses and more importantly they love me!:D
I have tremendous flexibility with days off so it's never an issue. They also pay me extremely well but these extra expenses sure do add up over time. :( I will be so glad when this life is over!
10-30-2005, 05:25 PM
Well, I must say that it gets tight, tight, tight. But thank God my husband is very concious of the family and what we need so he doesn't ask for much and if he asks he says "if you can". We budget our calls and though we all would like to talk everyday if you can then don't. We talk once a week and sometimes twice in a week if we've had no visit, when we've had a visit we skip a call that week because money has been spent on the visit and we've had hours to talk. He gets a package when I can get one, I shop at discount grocery stores that save a lot. He gets a little bit of money when I can send some, otherwise we make sure I have money for the calls and visits since they are very important for the whole family. At least they are fed so if they can't buy what they want at least you are not getting kicked out into street so that they can. I have been blessed to find people that would let me stay in there home near the facility my husband was at so that I didn't have to spend anything on hotels but when I did have to stay in a hotel I tried to find someone else that went where I was going and split a room with them to save. Everything helps to save and letters are the cheapest so I keep those and cards coming to him regularly so he feels close to home until he gets here.
10-30-2005, 05:34 PM
I read the other post & some spend so much money to visit. I guess I should consider myself fortunate b/c my honey is only about 40 miles away. I have a truck so gas can be expensive. I usually spend $15 a trip & I visit every week. He is not a snack eater so I do not spend any money on vending. We only talk on the phone once in a blue. I do not send him any money b/c his friends out take care of him. Even though I do not spend much money; I work two jobs & still budget my money. I love sales!!!
10-30-2005, 07:14 PM
I was looking at my bills for the remainder of the year, and trying to figure out how to squeeze another visit in before the cold weather sets in. Today at church I signed up to be a volunteer for the Angel Network; which buys gifts for inmates' children. I figured I have been blessed to not have a real need for anything. I have lots of wants, but even most of those are taken care of.
I was just seeing how so many of us make it, and even have a little abundance. We are approaching the season of giving; so if you can watch out for your brother's and sister's that aren't so fortunate. I certainly am going to try to.
I think, I just might make a visit and surprise him for his birthday, or go right after Thanksgiving. I am collecting the change right now. I did set-up the separate account, and hopefully by the time I am erady to go, there will be enought to finacen the trip.
Nuro'sWife, girl.... you know you can pull a rabbit out of a hat!
10-31-2005, 07:48 AM
Just call me The Magician!!!:p
Nuro'sWife, girl.... you know you can pull a rabbit out of a hat!
10-31-2005, 07:53 AM
Mmmmm it's a struggle, especially when you have to take care of them as well. I swear sometimes I think I am two seperate people:o
11-01-2005, 09:23 PM
i dont know how i afford this life......all the money i spend i should be living in the streets by now. I have $400 phone bills to be truthful only about$280 of it belongs to him...everytime i go to visit him it costs me $150. thats in gas and toll, i am now going to rent a car when i go because i just bought a new car in May and i already have 30000 miles. thank god i dont have to send him money...his family sends him money, but i still buy him food every month which i dont really spend much on...he is now on a budget, i go visit once a month and he calls only once per week....by the way this just started this month, i need to save some money to buy a house where he can come home to. He understands
11-14-2005, 06:54 AM
I was with my Husband this weekend. We shared a beautiful 3 days as always. Friday there was no one in the visiting room but us. It was kind of like a private date. It was beautiful. Anyway It costs me at least 300.00 every visit. With him being in a camp You have to bring your own food. As much as I complained over the years on how terrible the vending machine was it sure was cheaper than brining your own. Yes in the beginning it was cool. He got to eat food that he had not had in 12 years but then it has become a pain in the butt. Not only do you need to cook the food but pack it drag it there with all the condiments not to mention the utensils and we have breakfast also. The co said this is the never ending feast! Anyway that is a huge cost then gas then a hotel not to mention god old MCI. Now in NY they give you a hundred dollar limit then slap a block on when you reached your limit. I call there weekly to add funds. The only let you have 100.00 this is for 3 months then if requested they will raise the limit to 150.00
I asked my Husband if the situation was reversed would you do the same for me? Get up at the crack of dawn? Go with out things so that I can have all that I need? Plan and cook the weekend meals make sure that you get there safe and drive through the night, rain sleet, snow? He said yes he would and I believe he would also. I was blessed with my husband. So all the time and money spent is worth it all. But it does feel good to vent about it! It is my fault that I want only the best for him. I feel he deserves it!
11-17-2005, 03:35 PM
i don't think i'm even ready for the cost. i was blessed to have some money right when my fiance got locked up, so i was able to add money to his account & send him a package....but now that those funds are running out (i've been on maternity leave since Oct. 1st), things are getting tight. i am afraid to see the phone bill. he has called me EVERY day, at least 2-3 times a day for the past month. the bill will probably be CRAZY high & i won't be able to afford it, but we will survive. i need to find a (legal lol) hustle. i go back to work in Dec. & i was trying to squeeze out a visit to see him before then, but if i can't stay w/ somebody in his family, me & the little one can't afford to go (hotels in manhattan cost WAY too much!). God knows i need to win the lotto...
ladies, you have given me some good advice & ideas. thanks! i need to learn how to budget!
At first, I visited anytime I could, even if I was just there. He would call me damn near everyday, but it had to stop! It was convenient for him to call me, communication was much easier then, but it got toooo expensive. We had to cut back on visits and phone calls. Now we talk in slow motion time, I feel like the bills we accumulated were worth it. He doesnt get a letter til 4-5 days later then he writes me and by that time, I dont even remember what I had to say. It comes with the territory, I guess!
11-27-2005, 10:41 AM
The FRPs killed my budget everytime...I spent over $200 every 8 weeks....for me, this was a fortune, no more FRPs for us now....
11-27-2005, 11:07 AM
Excuse me if somebody has already given the suggestion: one way to learn to budget is to record every penny spent in a small notebook that's easy to carry around. From fixed expenses such as rent down to the $1+ you dropped into the vending machine for a soda. don't change spending habits -- just record everything -- for about a week. When you review, you'll be amazed how much went to nothing and how much you would still have in your pocket.
Have to be diligent and persistent for it to work.
Hope this helps.
04-19-2006, 06:36 PM
am sooooooo stressed the money u spend traveling packages amongst other things,
04-19-2006, 06:49 PM
we all need breaks, and if you don't have the money, you should take a break, it is hard but you do what you can and no more.... :) hang in there!
04-19-2006, 10:47 PM
Well girls I wish I were so lucky as to be in the same state I am in OH & he is in NY, I have not worked in about 4 years (I didn't have too & he liked me staying at home)so I am having a hard time even finding a job, as far as phone calls I have talked to him once in the last 4 months visits right now are out of the question. I don't know how you girls do it you all are so strong I feel like giving up on a daily basis but I have 2 boys that need me so I hang in there:banghead:. I never really was very good with a budget I am always a day late & dollar short but maybe I will try recording everything and see how that goes. My hats off to you girls you strong & self sufficient :thumbsup:.