Living on a Budget, Saving Money/Making ends meet??


Hi Douglas,  

I have quite a bit of debt.  I have student loans of around $35,000.  I also owe the IRS for previous years because I filed for six allowances on my W4.  

Now that I only filed for two allowances on my W4, I'm barely able to get by. I find myself taking out payday loans on a monthly basis.

My gross income is just over $35,000 and is even more "gross" after the taxes are taken out. Ha! And of course, there's no savings to fall back on right now.

What can I do to save up?

What would be the best strategy to pay off the debt while still being able to pay my rent ($960/mo), and buy groceries?

Would it be wise for me to file "exempt" on my W4?


Hi Michelle,

Tough situation, but I'll offer some suggestions.

#1: If you are getting an IRS/State Tax refund every year, then you may want to accelerate
   that refund by bumping up your W4 allowances by a few, so that less tax will be taken
   out of each paycheck.  Hard for me to say what this W4 # should be, since I don't know
   what your tax status is, and what refunds (if any) you've been getting.  Also, not sure
   if you can legally file "EXEMPT", unless you meet certain criteria associated with that;

#2: If you are single, consider moving back with your parents (or another relative), if that
   makes any sense.  If you can reduce that $960/month, it will be a giant recoup for you.
   Also, if you can downsize on apartment cost at all, that is a corollary option;

#3: You need to reduce your budget in all areas, so that you can make ends meet, and start
   making a dent in eradicating that debt;

#4: You can Email me at DHayman [at] optonline [dot] net, and I will send you my Budgeting
   book for FREE, that is available for sale on my www [dot] budgetsurgeon [dot] com website.
   Consider a gift, as it contains many ways on how you can reduce your monthly budget by 20%.
   Tell me if you want the PDF, Kindle, Nook, or Apple version in the Email.

I hope you can turn the ship around, Michele.



Living on a Budget, Saving Money

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Douglas Hayman


I will gladly answer any and all questions relating to family, home, or household budgeting. I consider myself a pioneer and expert in the area of disciplined budgeting.


I routinely manage my home budget using my home-grown system. Additionally, in corporate America, I managed a multi-million dollar budget for a technical Fortune 100 Financial Services company for many years.

(1) "Reduce Your Monthly Budget By 20% Using Simple Budgeting Strategies" (2012) ISBN # 978-0-9081613-1-1 (2) "How to Maximize Traffic to Your Website" (2007) - ISBN # 978-0-9801613-0-4

B.A., Economics, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY M.S., Computer Science, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY

Awards and Honors
B.A. with Honors, Economics, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY

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