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  #1  
Old 12-20-2017, 05:33 PM
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Default A current perspective on that money thing

With 17 months to go, this year for his birthday instead of sending my son money, I put it in his savings account that I have kept open all this time. He was happy with that. After some thought his next call he asked me instead of sending him the same amount would I hold back a percentage and put it in his account each month.

His plan he says is for me to put in his savings account $5 per month of what I send him and he will attempt to save 5% of what I send and what he earns (at his wonderful wage of 50 cents an hour). Discussions on saving money and budgeting have been ongoing (i.e, Mom lectures; he says I know, but ...). I guess between me and having less than 1-1/2 years left, it's finally sinking in. This past year, because every month he had spent it all before the end of the month, I put him in the position of having to budget or go without by sending 2 months money at a time. I told him it saved me on fees (which it does), but I did it so he would have to budget.

(Of course, since it had been over 3 years of him being straight, I felt ok to do it. When he was using, I never committed to any set amount or set dates because I didn't want him to plan on drug buys.)
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Old 12-20-2017, 06:07 PM
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That's a great idea I've saved all my change for the past two years for my husband. I currently have about 500$ or so. Just so he will be able to buy some things for himself when he comes home. He's happy about that and so am I.
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Old 12-21-2017, 08:47 PM
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I also have started saving change - I'm figuring after 4 years it should be a decent amount and no real skin off my back.
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Old 01-03-2018, 11:15 PM
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We used to save all our change in the family and then use it for Christmas shopping. It used to average around $900 a year with 2 adults and 2 teens. Since being disabled with limited computer usage, I use my credit card for everything so I pay only one bill a month. So, I don't have change anymore.

Whenever we received refunds from those silly suits, like Red Bull or Starkist Tuna, where everyone who files a claim gets $3 to $5, I filed one for him, his stepdad and me, and then deposited all those little checks into his account. Sometime the bank gave me a hassle about signing over the checks, but since it was tiny amounts from legitimate companies they concluded depositing it was easier than arguing with me or listening to my sob story about the situation. I don't know which annoys them more, but it worked at an average of $10 per year.

I find it interesting that my son knows exactly what items cost to the penny from the commissary and can calculate how many meals and what it costs him per meal. He has become a lot more aware of all things financial.
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Old 04-27-2019, 12:04 AM
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Default The Savings Plan worked (unexpected hitch in My budget)

I am happy to report that between the 5% and those little refunds/class action suits which issued checks of $2 to $5 over the past several years, when my son gets out in 4 weeks, he has $514 in his bank account.

Between the gate fee (money AZ holds from what they earn) and what he has saved, my son will exceed matching it. So he has been successful in saving funds in his budget over the last 18 months.

I also made my insurance company happy by doing their home health nurse and advocacy offer which took about 3 hours of my time and resulted in I don't qualify for any benefits because I exceed the poverty level (which I knew). But, for that 3 hours they gave me a $200 Walmart gift certificate that I have set aside for him to use to buy basic hygiene, socks and underwear and such.

I realize that the source of the funds is really me, but the savings plan to get it there was based on his efforts and cutting back on his expenditures. First, it shows him he was successful in doing so and sticking to a budge. Second, he will be able to go shopping without feeling like Mom is "dressing" him.

He went from 165 lbs to over 200 lbs, all muscle along with the maturity of a body going from 22 to 29 years old. He will have to go through all those boxes of things and throw out the deteriorated stuff and set aside anything worth donating. When I packed his room so that the grandbaby would be save in it, I just put everything in boxes and didn't sort it out. But, I don't expect anything in there will fit him, except maybe all those sneakers I commented on when I packed his room.

The hitch - my throwout bearing went in my car and the mechanic says since he has to take the engine out it's best to replace the whole clutch assembly. I am currently stuck at home and looking at a big bill, that I didn't budget for.
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Old 04-27-2019, 12:11 AM
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He will have to go through all those boxes of things and throw out the deteriorated stuff and set aside anything worth donating. When I packed his room so that the grandbaby would be save in it, I just put everything in boxes and didn't sort it out. But, I don't expect anything in there will fit him, except maybe all those sneakers I commented on when I packed his room.
If he has a decent amount (think starter wardrobe) that doesn't fit him, it might be worth washing up, taking a few pictures and selling it as a lot on Craigslist or FB Marketplace. I detest selling second-hand clothes but when we moved, I hated to just donate when we had really nice things and needed the money. I found people were more interested when it was a set price for a number of items. That would give him a little more pocket money, too.
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Old 04-27-2019, 11:45 AM
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I have to laugh at my situation but thought it might be helpful. Because our son will be incarcerated for 7.5 years it's given me plenty of time to save up. Things I've come up with:
1. He has gained 40 lbs (was very thin when arrested) so we are giving his clothes away (truly couldn't sell them - they are in such bad shape)
2. Hubby is putting off getting a new car and we will gift him the old one (by then it will be almost 10 years old but runs fine. We will also gift him one year of car insurance as he will not be allowed on our insurance.
3. We are coming up with a list of things for him to do around the house as he expects to be on monitor for 3 months after discharge. Things like epoxy the garage floor, clean the basement and go thru all his stuff stored there, etc.
4. He will need cell phone so one of us (Mom/Dad) will get a new one and he can have old one.
5. He can start to look for a job - most involve online applications so he can do 5-10 per day
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Old 04-27-2019, 06:38 PM
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Default Bearing

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Originally Posted by lizlizzie2 View Post
I am happy to report that between the 5% and those little refunds/class action suits which issued checks of $2 to $5 over the past several years, when my son gets out in 4 weeks, he has $514 in his bank account.

Between the gate fee (money AZ holds from what they earn) and what he has saved, my son will exceed matching it. So he has been successful in saving funds in his budget over the last 18 months.

I also made my insurance company happy by doing their home health nurse and advocacy offer which took about 3 hours of my time and resulted in I don't qualify for any benefits because I exceed the poverty level (which I knew). But, for that 3 hours they gave me a $200 Walmart gift certificate that I have set aside for him to use to buy basic hygiene, socks and underwear and such.



I realize that the source of the funds is really me, but the savings plan to get it there was based on his efforts and cutting back on his expenditures. First, it shows him he was successful in doing so and sticking to a budge. Second, he will be able to go shopping without feeling like Mom is "dressing" him.

He went from 165 lbs to over 200 lbs, all muscle along with the maturity of a body going from 22 to 29 years old. He will have to go through all those boxes of things and throw out the deteriorated stuff and set aside anything worth donating. When I packed his room so that the grandbaby would be save in it, I just put everything in boxes and didn't sort it out. But, I don't expect anything in there will fit him, except maybe all those sneakers I commented on when I packed his room.

The hitch - my throwout bearing went in my car and the mechanic says since he has to take the engine out it's best to replace the whole clutch assembly. I am currently stuck at home and looking at a big bill, that I didn't budget for.
Just a thought! Is this mechanic a friend? If not look at one that would drop the transmission instead of the engine, less work and cheaper.
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Old 04-30-2019, 01:20 PM
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Default The parts are in

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Just a thought! Is this mechanic a friend? If not look at one that would drop the transmission instead of the engine, less work and cheaper.
Thanks for your suggestion. Unfortunately, that won't work on the 3rd gen Miata. While the mechanic is a sort of friend - he never charges me labor for the simple things - oil changes, replacing the radiator overflow and such, and checked my car over before I made the 800 RT drive to visit my son for 5 years - he is someone I trust. He is busy enough that making a profit off me isn't on his list of things to do.

The good news - the parts arrived and I take it in tomorrow to get it done, along with the oil change.
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Old 04-30-2019, 01:44 PM
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Default Balancing needs and helping him help himself

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I have to laugh at my situation but thought it might be helpful. Because our son will be incarcerated for 7.5 years it's given me plenty of time to save up. Things I've come up with:
1. He has gained 40 lbs (was very thin when arrested) so we are giving his clothes away (truly couldn't sell them - they are in such bad shape)
2. Hubby is putting off getting a new car and we will gift him the old one (by then it will be almost 10 years old but runs fine. We will also gift him one year of car insurance as he will not be allowed on our insurance.
3. We are coming up with a list of things for him to do around the house as he expects to be on monitor for 3 months after discharge. Things like epoxy the garage floor, clean the basement and go thru all his stuff stored there, etc.
4. He will need cell phone so one of us (Mom/Dad) will get a new one and he can have old one.
5. He can start to look for a job - most involve online applications so he can do 5-10 per day
I wrote up a lease for rooms a few days ago. He will have his own bedroom, bathroom, primary use of the front living room, and shared use of kitchen and laundry. Since he can't afford rent, it is set up as 21 hours of labor per month for which I did list things like cleaning house, spraying for bugs, weed eating and weed killler, and other house repair and maintenance issues. I set it up that he has to pay toward utilities, to encourage him to find a job. I set it up for half, but am debating on making it a set amount instead. Still thinking on that one.

He will have to provide his own food. Under current law, as long as food isn't part of what I provide under the lease, he qualifies for SNAP. He did call me yesterday and tell me the prison had him apply for the health insurance (state medicare).

Cell phone. There are free ones available and I think I will let him suffer through that for a bit. II just paid off my new Samsung that I got 2 years ago. I don't want to buy another new one yet. I figure 15 months of probation, a year on the free plan with the fee phone will result in appreciation when I am willing to help him upgrade. Timing on that also depends on when the buy one get one stuff happens on my plan. Part of me thinks he should just get his own plan. It is a means of building up his credit and there are inexpensive phone and plans out there.

I am providing him a laptop - it is old but has a new hard drive and the current Windows installed in it.

I do plan on providing him with a used car, but expect him to pay me at least half of the cost back, if he wants transportation under his own control. My mechanic is looking for one and worst case he will sell me the one he lends to me when he is working on my car. He uses it for trips with his employee and they maintain it regularly - a toyota that would like fine if it was painted. My son would not want my Miata, nor can I afford a new one. He has never driven a manual (but should learn). My insurance agent said a better price if I add him to my policy, but I haven't decided on that aspect yet.

His goal is to go to college. He will have to do his financial aid applications, research school options, as well as looking for a job. A lot of reason why I saved my old computer for him.

I already know his parole fee is $65 a month (for 15 months), which he will have to pay. I admit, if he doesn't have the money I will pay it rather than see them revoke him.

Timing on some stuff really depends on his attitude. I suspect there will be an adjustment period. I can already see some of it - which I think is part of how they communicate and survive in prison - that he will need to relearn.

Trying to balance his needs with what he should do on his own and what I can or should help him with - it's not easy being a parent.
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Old 04-30-2019, 02:21 PM
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. I set it up that he has to pay toward utilities, to encourage him to find a job. I set it up for half, but am debating on making it a set amount instead. Still thinking on that one.
Not sure what part of AZ you are in, but we're in SoAZ and have APS for electric. As you can imagine, our summer bill is insane but our winter bill is nominal. We went on their strictest usage plan (they charge a higher rate between the hours of 3pm-8pm) and averaged our bill so we pay the same amount year-round. It's helped to reduce our bill and make it easier to pay through the summer. I mention that because we are three adults in our house and I pay a set amount this way and no one gets stuck picking up the slack because we avoid spikes in the bill.
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Old 04-30-2019, 05:21 PM
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I agree that his attitude is most important. As long as he is really trying, it is often useful to help him overcome the setbacks he will probably encounter, especially in the job market.
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Old 05-01-2019, 12:46 AM
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Miamac,
We have what you are speaking of here also, it’s called Comfort Billing. Even though it’s the opposite here in North Idaho, winter billing is astronomical and summer way less expensive, though we have no specific time schedule between 3-8. Anyone here can enroll in this as long as they aren’t behind in payment, and it’s very nice to know what your electric bill will be on any given month. Also several months in the winter they can’t read our meters because of the amount of snow and the estimate, so if you don’t have Comfort Billing you can be looking at a bill way over $1000, and they do turn off your electric if you can pay it.
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Old 05-06-2019, 08:34 PM
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Default Electric Bill

I can't imagine a $1,000 ELECTRIC BILL - that's half a year for me now. I had a $500 one several winters ago and that's when I decided to replace the 1970s heater with a heat pump system, along with my swamp cooler needed replacement soon as it was starting to deteriorate. My highest bills, even in SE AZ are in the winter. I live in an area that on average is 10 to 15 degrees cooler than Tucson. I am one of those people who is cold until it's at least 75 inside. Then a fan is fine - as long as the air is moving I am good until 82 before I turn the cooler on. The one downside of not having a swamp cooler - can't just turn on the fan to move the colder outside air in at night and the built up heated air inside the house out. So I end up running the a/c. Still, July is my highest summertime bill and it is 2/3rd of my highest winter month.

SSVEC has a plan similar to what Miamac mentioned. I did it around 12 years ago and ended up owing them extra at the end of the year. They also charge more during certain times of the day, which didn't matter when I was working. Being home on disability since 2014 it's harder to avoid those peak hours aside from not doing laundry or the dishwasher. Something I need to remember to point out to the kid.

Guess my son will have an adjustment to make if he is home during the day after all that cold a/c in the prisons he has been in for the past 6 years. He has been lucky in that respect. 3 prisons ago, he was in one that used swamp coolers. Some day maybe the State will wake up and realized that more riots/incidents occur in those using swamp coolers, especially when they are in lock down. Put 200 men in a dorm in July in the desert with the humidity from the monsoons, and swamp coolers do not cool the space (or the frustrations and tempers).
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Old 05-06-2019, 08:36 PM
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I agree that his attitude is most important. As long as he is really trying, it is often useful to help him overcome the setbacks he will probably encounter, especially in the job market.
Thanks. That makes me feel like I am on the right track.

In a way, I feel like I need the same approach as when my kids were toddlers - let them try, let them fail, but help them stand back up and complete what they were trying to do.
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Old 05-27-2019, 11:52 PM
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Have you figured out a phone situation yet? Walmart sells smartphones very cheap that you can buy monthly minutes for. It isn’t an iPhone or anything, but my son bought one when we took away his iPhone and was actually pretty happy with it.

Any news so far? I can’t remember exactly when your son was getting out. I’ve been so sick and so busy with my younger kids that I haven’t been on here lately. Sorry that I’ve been out of touch. I have an appointment with a really great sleep specialist on Friday, and I’m praying he’ll have some kind of treatment to help me.

I hope everything is well with you. The stress with my own son is really rough, and he’s not even home. I’m sure it will be much worse when he’s out and I have to worry about his ability to get drugs any time he wants them. I hope our kids can use what they learned while incarcerated to stay sober and out of trouble. It really is up to them at this point, but of course we want to help them so badly.

I’m praying that I’ll have the wisdom to know the difference between enabling and helping. We feel like we can’t just leave him high and dry by himself since he’s so young, but we don’t know exactly where the line is.

This is so difficult. I hope you’re able to sleep and are taking care of yourself as well as you can.
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Old 06-03-2019, 08:22 PM
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Have you figured out a phone situation yet? Walmart sells smartphones very cheap that you can buy monthly minutes for. It isnít an iPhone or anything, but my son bought one when we took away his iPhone and was actually pretty happy with it.

Any news so far? I canít remember exactly when your son was getting out. Iíve been so sick and so busy with my younger kids that I havenít been on here lately. Sorry that Iíve been out of touch. I have an appointment with a really great sleep specialist on Friday, and Iím praying heíll have some kind of treatment to help me.
...
The phone thing. Since he qualified for the state health insurance and SNAP benefits, he qualifies for a phone from lifeline. We are waiting for it to be mailed to us, I think. Lifeline was started a very long time ago by Pres. Regan. Then Pres. George W. Bush added cell phones to the program. Subsequently, it was called "Obama phones", but the whole program was actually initiated and put in place when we had Republican presidents. Not making it a political issue, just sharing the history so that people will understand which program it is. He will receive a smart phone and his options were 1000 phone minutes and 1 gb of data or 350 minutes and 2 gb of data. Both are unlimited texts. He chose the latter. We had to wait for the letter proof of Snap benefits to upload it, and with that his application was approved and his order is being processed. We don't know if they choose a phone or if it's something he gets to pick. I did look at the types of phone - they had old apples and Samsungs 3 to 6, along with other brands.

Sleep, is hit or miss. Trying to find a psychologist in this town is really difficult. I don't just want to go to a psychiatrist as they basically just write you prescriptions - don't want that unless I really need it. But, my doctor is hoping that maybe the mental health field can figure out some approach to my sleep issue. I am sleeping better, less nights of total insomnia since he has been home. I went for my annual physical and it appears something is wrong with my kidneys. Waiting for a sonogram appointment. It may be damage from the 25 plus years of the migraine medications, or it could be anything from blockage to tumors. No way of knowing until the sonogram and then the specialist. We do know it's not diabetes or high blood pressure.

So far, so good on the behavior - as in not drug or alcohol seeking. I will post a general update in a separate thread of life so far and the day of release.
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Old 06-10-2019, 02:24 PM
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The phone was approved last Monday and arrived on Thursday. They sent him an email and he went online and signed in on it. It is not a brand I recognize and only has 16 gigs of memory, but it was pretty easy to figure out and is definitely a smart phone. One less expense while he pursues getting into school and finding a job.
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Old 06-10-2019, 05:31 PM
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Oh, Liz, sorry to hear about the kidney situation. It’s always something. I hope they figure it out and find a good treatment for you.

I’m so glad to hear that the phone arrived! That will definitely help with the job hunt and working toward independence.

I had never heard of the SNAP program or Lifeline. I obviously need to get googling. How do you know all of this stuff?
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Old 06-16-2019, 01:44 AM
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Oh, Liz, sorry to hear about the kidney situation. Itís always something. I hope they figure it out and find a good treatment for you.

Iím so glad to hear that the phone arrived! That will definitely help with the job hunt and working toward independence.

I had never heard of the SNAP program or Lifeline. I obviously need to get googling. How do you know all of this stuff?
Mama33, that is why I post this stuff - not all is easy to find. Some things I know from other situations; others I come across by accident.

SNAP is food stamps. I have known about it for a while. I had it for the first 3 months I was on disability as I had no income until my private disability policty kicked in, followed by my approval for SSDI after 6 months of being out of work as a result of disability.

The phone thing I came across by accident. One of those reading a page on stuff for felons that had a link.
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Old 06-16-2019, 04:54 PM
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Liz,

I think you’re doing a fantastic job! You’re helping your son without being an enabler.
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Old 06-24-2019, 06:44 PM
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I did spent $1,600 on a used car today. The agreement is he will pay me back and he pays for insurance, gas, etc. We are still working on getting his license reinstated, which aside from trying to get approval of the documentation, he will need to pay $200. But, the car is being registered in my name and I didn't want to pass up the opportunity. I will need to buy some tires for it too, something else for him to pay me back for.

Mostly, I did it for myself. I don't want to have to get him to school or a job and counseling, etc. After having to take him around for the past month to get things done, I am already tired of it and none of that includes college or a job. He stays in his room doing computer stuff and such when he is not doing work around the house, but I forgot what it was like to have someone here 24/7. I miss the privacy of living alone. I am looking forward to him having a "life" of his own.

He hasn't really concentrated looking for a job yet as he has been concentrating on jumping through the hoops of school, parole, and trying to get his license cleared up in WI. He has approached all of this with the attitude and statements that he will be paying me back.

For a long time he expected to pay me back for what I spent while he was in prison on him, but I told him I am not including that. Starting out at an estimated $12k in debt for the last 7 years before even trying to get on his feet feels like I am putting him in a defeated position. I am more interested in him keeping things paid and shipshape in his life now.
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