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  1. Great to hear you’re doing well…but as a Special Needs teaching assistant you have a lot more earning power than minimum wage if you had a job on the side. Respite work and tutoring pay a lot more than minimum wage and it is in high demand. When school is our people need child care, so your yearly layoffs are extra income opportunities. Children with special needs also often need help learning non-school skills, such as how to skate, swim, etc. If you played any sports as a teen that you could teach or coach now, your experience with kids with special needs would help you earn more. I have earned a lot of money over the years doing these things, just advertising on kijiji!

    1. Hi Rebecca!

      Thank you for your comment! I can’t remember if the blog post mentions it or not but I worked part time as a Pharmacy Tech for a while as well as I took in my cousins daughter during the summer and babysat her. The problem is that you can earn way more on EI unfortunately then you can working minimum wage jobs that will only hire you for the summer. You also have to take childcare into account. I would pay out anything I earn in childcare. My husband works night shift which prevents me from doing any sort of evening or weekend part time work as well. I have two children now and work full time. Spare time to earn any extra money is completely nonexistent. Fortunately, with the help we received from Mr CBB and our success budgeting we will be out of debt (other than out mortgage) in September 2016. My husband also has a higher paying job now which helps as well.

  2. Great story Jen! While reading this I found many similarities to my family’s financial situation. You are definitely an inspiration to me as I begin this journey of trying to pay off debt & live within a budget. 🙂

  3. Wow, what an inspirational story. I too tested the budget and it is great. It was working pretty good until our income dropped and our bare expenses were still higher than the income. I found that at this same time I fell away from Mr. CBB as I was embarassed at how things had taken a turn for the worst. I have been volunteering for a year and a half since graduating Teacher’s College trying to get on the supply list in our school board but it has not opened up yet. I have been trying to keep things afloat with not much success. I have wanted to do the grocery challenge but it has been hard as we have not had a specific amount to budget each week with the financial situation. In fact, some weeks I have been trying to feed 3 of us with $30.

    Now to the good news. Last week I was called to a school as they were unable to get a teacher to fill a half day spot. I found out later that this is the first step to getting on an “Emergency Teacher List”. It is not the “real” supply list but it is a step in the right direction. I was told to expect calls as we live in the north part of the board and there are not many occasional teachers in this area. Unfortunately, I will not know in advance when I will be working or what income I will be bringing in each month. I still have my income from being the janitor at the church we attend, a weekly cleaning job and the occasional opportunity to help with a catering company.

    I am looking forward to things coming together over the next months as we move forward and get our debt paid off. We currently have two credit cards that are maxed at 1000 and 1500, a personal loan from my parents for $350 to help keep food on the table, a car loan of 21, 000 and the mortgage. The good news is is that with the proceeds from our house sale (we downsized as only one of five children are still living at home) we were able to pay off my car loan, the student loans, a 15 000 personal loan, an insurance loan and the two credit cards (which we have had to use to get through the last while).

    Thank you for your inspiring story Jen. It has encouraged and motivated me to come back to Mr. CBB, despite the money troubles over the last while. I am ready to get back on track, use the budget sheet, takle this debt and move ahead. I may even be brave enough to enter the grocery game 🙂

    Thanks again for sharing your experience to help others

    1. Wendy, thanks for sharing that story and I’m glad to hear you are getting back on track. I’ve since updated the spreadsheet so email me when you are ready and I can send it to you again. Don’t ever give up…… Mr.CBB

  4. hey Jen you have inspired me to now do more as i see you have done it and it has worked for you i am new to the coupon game and before i was like you n your husband if i wanted it i bought it i didnt care if it was in the budget! I am new to the whole process and just started couponing thanks to a fellow cbb member and i think this coming year i will sit down and plan out a budget and of course start taking part in the GGC! I think with the cpn knowledge and the great info i have found here that i will be able to one day be like others and have a + bank account. thanks for sharing your story much appreciated and good luck to you n your hubby!!

  5. This is a great story Jen. I am inspired by your stick-to-it-ivity.
    I chuckled a bit when you said your husband now tries to bring you his receipts. I also think it was a testament to the strength of your love and respect for each other and your willingness to keep trying that you weren’t a good candidate for the show (which I watched religiously while it was available in New York).
    Good for you both! Keep it up!

    1. Thanks Diedra! I never thought about my hubby bringing me receipts in that way so thank you for pointing that out 🙂 It makes me feel even better about it 🙂 lol

  6. What a honest story of hardship and rewards. I saw Hoe Debt Do Us Part for the first time two months ago at my daughters house. ( We don’t have TV) and I was glued to the TV as I watched these people struggle to get out the red. Reading your story gave me the same feeling. Glued to each word you wrote. You are amazing. Keep up the terrific work.

  7. Jen keep up the good work and use those coupons…People may not understand but when you and your husband are retired and debt free they’ll be green with envy.

  8. i love read stuff like this great stuff i to budget as i work seasonal and its been a rough couple of years i coupon my bf and i r trying to get our selves out of debt hopefully by oct of next ear we r both debt free he will be for sure im hoping work pics up and i will be to and i love couponing every little bit helps

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed it 🙂 Seasonal work is tough I know how that is but couponing and budgeting really help. Good luck!

  9. Thank you for sharing your story Jen. It takes courage to put it out there for everyone to see like that. At the same time I am sure many will find it inspiring and will hopefully take the same steps you have to better their finances. Mr. CBB must be very proud that he was able to be of help to you and to others. I too have found playing the Grocery Game Challenge has helped me spend less on my groceries and has encouraged me to try to make more of my food from scratch instead of buying convenience food (although I still need to work more on that). Reading your shops Jen inspires me as well as I see how well you do at couponing and price matching to save money. Thanks Jen and thank you Mr. CBB for all that you do!

    1. Thanks Joanna, I always love to hear from the readers as they are my inspiration. I believe sharing true stories will help us all. Not all stories have to end in being debt free but it’s the process, the journey..Thanks for putting up and hanging out with me here! Mr.CBB

    2. You’re welcome Joanna 🙂 And thanks…it did take some courage but I really do hope it helps someone else out. I am very grateful for Mr CBB’s help and I’m fairly certain that he is proud of my story 🙂 The GGC is awesome isn’t it!? lol What a smart man to come up with it! lol It is the only thing that helps me stick to my grocery budget and it may not look like it sometimes by what I buy but it has encouraged me to cook and bake more from scratch and eat a little heathier. I’ve lost 3lbs in the last 2 weeks! lol

      1. Congrats on the weightloss Jen. I have noticed you and Ken have been cooking more in the kitchen from scratch and that is great. You will save so much money by scrapping the premade stuff and doing it on your own. Little at a time you will learn tricks and ways to make it a faster process but at least you aren’t blowing money on stuff you can easily make yourself and be proud of. We both love the Grocery Game for the same reasons as everyone who posts. I also encourage everyone to post in the What’s for Dinner as a motivator to have the fans start cooking from scratch. I really want fans to get back to basics and find ways to make it happen even if that means prep on weekends, crock pots, or freezer stock up meals…. Keep at it!

  10. What an awesome story Jen!!!! I’m so glad to hear you are digging out of that debt hole….Mr CBB is helping all of us to do better, he acts as our cheerleader and our best supporter!!!! Thanks to both of you!!! PS… You’re son is a cutie!!!!

    1. Thanks Christine! Yes, what a great cheerleader! lol

      P.S. We have a bad habit of saying how cute he is all the time! lol Thanks! He’s our first so we find everything he says and does cute. That pic is a year old, I hope to have an updated one next week 🙂

  11. Thank you Jen for sharing your story. A great inspiration knowing it CAN work! thanks again Jen and mr CBB! Go Jen Go!

  12. Way to go Jen! Your story is really relate-able. Lots of people would just give up and wait until he house of cards finally fell. Good for you for taking action at the start! Glad to hear your husband is getting on board!

    1. Thanks Mandy! I was just sick of stressing about money and ended up just wanting to make Mr CBB proud lol. Now I want to be debt free so my son can follow in my footsteps and be proud too 🙂

    1. I hope to have a happier follow up post in a few years about how Mr CBB got me completely out of debt with his support! 🙂

  13. Thats so awesome….thats an inspiration to me. Me and hubby got married only a year and a half ago…and he came into the relationship with no debt….i had claimed bankruptcy 4 years ago….and after a rough split up had just been able to save up enough to buy a car as i had lost the car in the split up. We have been trying out best to start saving but it seems like something always breaks or comes up. But i am determined and will definetly start my budgeting in january. The grocery game has been awesome…before i had no motivation to stay on a budget with groceries and now i find im putting stuff back….because in the back of my mind all i hear is what would mr cbb think! LOL….great story jen! and i hope one day that i will have an awesome story like this 🙂

    1. Thanks Joanne! Definitely start that budget in January! You will be forever thankful that you did 🙂 I have the same problem of hearing Mr CBB’s English accented voice in my head when I’m grocery shopping! lol Start that budget in January and you WILL have a story like mine! 🙂

  14. Jen, I too have been starting to really look at a budget. Going through some life changing events has forced me to do so….but I’m thankful for that. I don’t want to start my new life “on a bad foot” Congrats to you and your family! You are doing awesome!!!!

    1. Thanks Zayba! Life changes really force you to step back and re-evaluate things. Start budgeting and you definitely won’t be starting your new life “on a bad foot”! Good luck and I hope your new life brings you nothing but happiness 🙂

  15. Keep on picking away at it Jen! Some days are harder than others but when the debt is zero and the savings start rising…you will see ever bit of scrimping and saving has been worth it. 🙂

  16. it’s great that you’ve begun budgeting employing other financially sound tactics to reduce your debt. Keep up the positive progress and it’s good that your husband is warming up to the idea. Mr. CBB is really helpful to so many including myself.

    1. My hubby actually just said that he’s interested in reading my post! LOL I know that even though he doesn’t say it, he appreciates what I’ve done 🙂 Thanks!

  17. Great story Jen! So glad to see that things are back on the correct path for you and that you’re making some progress. I used to have the same aversion to budgets, but now I couldn’t live without ours.

  18. Good for you Jen and thank you for being so honest about your story. It’s always nice to know that we’re not alone in the struggle and it’s encouraging to see the good progress you’ve made.

    1. Thanks Beth Anne! I was surprised when I started this journey at just how many people do budget and are on the right track as well as just how many were living beyond their means and drowning in debt…seems like quite a split to me.

  19. Jen, it sounds like you and hubby are well on your way to financial peace of mind and prosperity. Congratulations! Keep plugging away it at. Also , it would be wonderful to receive periodic updates from you to gauge your family’s progress.

  20. Thank you for sharing your story Jen!
    I am very proud of the turn around and choices you have made and I hope you are too!
    Being here with Mr.CBB, you and all the other fans are really a great support group at my fingertips and so glad I am apart of it 🙂

  21. Awesome story, mate! Congrats, Jen, on finding your way back and hope for all the best in the future. You should come back and post here once you have become debt free! 🙂

  22. So glad to hear that your spouse is slowly getting more and more on board. Also, very interesting to hear that you got along too well for Gail! Congratulations on all of the progress you have made. Sounds like things will be ship shape for you very soon, which is awesome!

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