to clarify -- i was using mod_php.
After spending a bit longer searching around, ive found 2 possible solutions. Using suPHP, however i am not sure if it is ready for use at large scales, or installing php cgi instead of mod_php and using suexec. Both of these solutions will enable me to run the php scripts with a user other than the apache user, and in my case, allow me to put my quotas to use. I am still looking for a solution in which i can still use mod_php ... but i am leaning toward using php-cgi.
Any ideas/ tips?