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Getting out of Debt in April - Page 2

post #21 of 62
Just bumping the April thread....

nothing new here really. DH worked some extra hours last week and wanted to take DS and me out to lunch yesterday. I suggested packing a picnic lunch and going to the park and saving the $$, but he wanted to go out so I agreed. $45 later! We both had a burger and a beer, then a meal for DS. While it was enjoyable in the moment, that's half a week's worth of food money!! I'm trying not to dwell on that, but man, I don't miss eating out.
post #22 of 62
I just discovered the Dave Ramsey show and have started to watch that daily to help keep the motivation high. My smallest bill is over a thousand dollars and will most likely take us 5-10 months to pay off entirely, so it's nice to have the show to help boost my motivation since we don't have a quick payoff to get us fired up.

I posted this in the March thread, but I downloaded this debt repayment calculator and have been playing around with figures on there and that also helps keep the motivation going, as well as inspiring me to come up with more money each month to put toward repayment.
post #23 of 62
Thread Starter 
Is everyone feeling blah this month too? I'm finding bs3/4 tough. It seems like by upping retirement we still have no extra money. Logically I know its because we spent a ton last month on spring and summer programs/camps, reserving our camping trip etc. but its tough to be back on a tight grocery budget again.
post #24 of 62
I'm feeling pretty good about this month actually. I've kinda lost my "gung-ho"ness as far as seeking extra supply work (but I'm still doing extra tutoring) which is good since DH is taking up my slack by working extra hours and doing some side projects. I can see how BS 3 and 4 will be tough. I've only been at DR for 8 mos and while I can't complain since there's nothing more liberating and empowering than to break the cycle of debt, I'm hopeful there's an end to the means. I'm not sure how I'll feel 3yrs from now! ETA: (I'm sure it will be better than I'd feel 3yrs from now with $50,000 worth of consumer debt )
post #25 of 62
Hey there,
well we are now into month 2 and also on Baby-Step 2 (if I could be moved that would be great thanks!)
Some things are going well...we are getting the hang of you need a budget. I like it, though it has some glitches for us (we use multiple accounts, not all with on-line capacity) that we are still working out. It definitely keeps us honest but not as honest as envelopes, kwim? On the other hand, the envelopes were making me tear my hair out in frustration. And I do feel like we are WAY more on top of things.
We paid off our first cc last night! yay! a good feeling indeed. Now we just need to cancel it. And we are selling about $300 worth of stuff at a giant consignment sale on the weekend, so that will go straight into debt reduction too.

Dp is bringing in $120 a week with her daycare job, which is fabulous, and now I am moving up to working 5 days a week. Which is hard, I miss the time with my family, but I am seeing it as a temporary measure to be 'gazelle intense' while we pay off debt. Plus, to be honest, doing the serious & realistic budgeting we are doing with YNAB & Dave Ramsey has revealed that we were totally relying on credit cards to fund some basics as well as frills and that our budget was not at all realistic or sustainable with my working only 4 days. sigh.

Laurie--great that you've been at it for 8 months! and that you have the extra tutoring etc. My dp is trying to do some of that too (she is a teacher).

Oh and I see that you're in Guelph...I might need to PM you as we are vaguely thinking long-term of moving back to S.W. Ontario and Guelph is on our list...hmm
post #26 of 62
MTM - I read similar sentiments on the My TMMO boards. It is like some people think "woo, BS3+, I've got all kinds of extra money." However the money obviously has a name on it (like you've mentioned for summer programs, etc) so it isn't a total free for all with the budget. I'm not there yet but I think I'll probably have similar feelings once I'm a few months into the post BS2 steps.

proudmamanow - I'm glad that you're getting a hang of YNAB. I haven't taken the envelope leap but after looking at our dining out expenditures in March I'm thinking that perhaps I need to go that route for food and groceries. Congrats on paying off your first cc!!

I know I've mentioned it a few times but I graduate next month with my bachelor's degree. My husband bought me my grad gift - the new Apple iPad. We did pay cash for it and it was in the budget (we had a sinking fund) but a part of me feels weird for having bought it. I guess that means I'm changing the way I feel about spending money? What it did do was make me reassess my graduation party plans - instead of the fancy steakhouse for $2000 we're going to go to the local Mexican food restaurant for $300 (cash, of course).

I'm having a hard time figuring out how to cash out my $800 in mutual funds to put on to BS2. The money was in a Roth IRA but we converted it to a standard money market mutual fund account because the fees on the Roth were too high and we haven't contributed in a while. We can't contribute to a Roth anymore due to income phase outs and there is no penalty to cash it out so we want to put it on BS2. However I can't figure out how to do it online so I need to buckle down and call the investment advisor in Arkansas (I don't live in Arkansas anymore).
post #27 of 62
So another newbie question most likely... when you guys mention YNAB, is that where/how you keep your budget? I was going to get iBank (I have a MAC) but I think it might be too complicated/not quite what i want. How do you like YNAB?

post #28 of 62
Well, I'm still "rewarding" myself for getting to BS3 I guess; I've been clothes shopping and going out to lunch with DS alot this month.

True, I'm needing some new clothes, but I want to try to rein things in a bit again.
post #29 of 62
MyTwoA's I feel ya on feeling weird over spending money on big items now. I take it as a blessing though that I'm changing perspective!
post #30 of 62
BS3 is harder than I thought. Maybe because we started with less debt? IDK. It's discouraging to be only done with 37% of BS3 still. I want to be making progress. We want a fairly large FFEF and I know we could lower it, but DH is insistant.
I love putting our money into our own account but it's so much harder to say "no" to all of the things we have been putting off for the last year.

Only 63% left to go!
post #31 of 62
jwoodbri - I have read a lot about YNAB but I've never tried it. I've used Quicken for probably a decade. Whenever I bought my Macbook last year (pre-DR) I was at a loss. My husband came to the rescue and installed Parallels for me. So now I run Quicken in a Windows-based mode on my Macbook. I own my own business, though, so I also use it to run my profit & loss statement, etc.

PPK - I think it is only natural to let a little loose once you get to BS3. I was reading a thread on the mytmmo.com forums and a couple hit BS3 and the husband went a LOT loose. New scuba diving gear, scuba diving lessons, etc for his future vacations. He'd never scuba dived before but he got to BS3 and got off track a bit, okay quite a bit hehe. I know that when I get to BS3 it is going to be hard for me to stay on track. Heck I'm in BS2 and it is still kind of hard. =P

Rev1053 - That might be. If BS2 was pretty quick for you then that might be why BS3 isn't as easy/rewarding. We have a massive debt load - embarrassingly large. So by the time we get to BS2 our big shovel will help us get through BS3 quickly but that makes me think I'm going to want to get lazy with it and slow down. Good luck with your 63%!

So I talked to my husband and he is totally on board with going to envelopes/cash for groceries and dining out - since that is our big budget buster. We also went through our budget and cut down on quite a few things to add to our snowball:

Monthly alarm monitoring - $37/mo - we installed VOIP 2 years ago and never fixed this so it isn't even being monitored!

Dropped some cable services - $50/mo

Dropped my unused gym membership - $25/mo

Cleaning out our storage - $60/mo

Reducing entertainment - $100/mo savings

Reducing dining out - $100/mo savings

So that's another $322 to put into our snowball - I just need to clean out the storage. We don't have much in there but we do have an antique dining room set that my mom bought from me years ago but I've been storing. I'll have to borrow my dad (or his truck) to move that over to their house. I also have an old couch in there that I need to sell.

Oh and I'm going to mention it again, I'm graduating in five weeks!! I can't wait. LOL
post #32 of 62
Just popping in to say Hello! I haven't had a chance to stay up on this thread, as we're in the middle of decluttering the he%% out of our house.

Its amazing how much junk people can accumulate!! Most of our declutter will be donated to build some karma but some of the items (like video games, CDs, books) we're taking to 1/2 price books for some cash, but we're not expecting much.

I'm also trying to encourage DH to sell DS's racecar bed frame (we're not using it currently) and its just taking up space in our life. Finally I'm attending a "gold" party at the end of the month so woot!!

Hope everyone is doing well and enjoying the spring weather!!
post #33 of 62
Hey everyone. Our update for April.

Last month we paid off our car (only car). We then faced the choice of keeping the student loan ($20k) in BS2 or move it to BS6, because $20k is half our gross annual income and it's going to take years to pay off. We decided to keep it in BS2, hopefully that's the right choice. I HATE having that stupid loan. (It's both DH's and mine consolidated into one).

You know those thermometer posters fund raisers often have? Where you fill it up as you reach your goal? I made kind of the opposite, just an inspirational graphic showing our progress toward ZERO. Assuming we pay exactly and only the amount we snowballed from our car loan, we'll be done in July 2013.

Yesterday, however, DH mentioned that we're doing "really good" this month. It kind of made me scratch my head because I don't see anything different being done at all. We are both very frugal but at the same time he does go out and pick up things here and there - like yesterday he bought a bike helmet for DD. Which is hardly an irresponsible purchase, but it seems like there's often stuff like that. Anyway, I don't see any difference but he says that when he focuses on the money, it just starts coming in better. Who knows why. We do have a budget, we do track all our expenses, but yet -- there ya go.

So, hopefully we'll be sending yet another EXTRA payment to Sallie Mae in a couple of weeks. I will be psyched even if it's just $20.

We used to be so, so good with the finances but since we had DD we just went way off track. Not buying stupid stuff, but just... I dunno. We always wanted to pay off our house early, but we stopped sending in extra payments. We were going to pay cash for our next car, but our last one died way before its time. (Yeah, we should have gotten a clunker, and we seriously considered it, but given how much our last 2 cheap cars dissappointed us, we thought it might make more financial sense to buy a 3 year old Vibe. So far it's treated us great, though, knock on wood). Anyway, it feels good to be back to what we used to do.
post #34 of 62
ktg - we're going through the de-"stuff"ing process as well. Good luck with the 1/2 price books payoff!

laohaire - congrats on paying off the car. Dave Ramsey would say keep your SL in bs#2, he only suggests second mortgages that are more than 50% of your annual income go to BS#6. That being said, I think it is a personal decision (you know, the personal in "personal finance"). Good for you on deciding to keep going at it - boohoo!! A three year payoff on that isn't bad but like you said it is only if you make this exact payment and don't snowball or through any raises at it. I bet you get it paid off sooner!

My DH got paid today and he received a little unexpected bonus. He is helping out a colleague with a client due to some personal issues with the colleague and so his company told him he'd be getting a little bonus today. However, they didn't say that they were making it so he'd get the full amount. Basically they said he'd get a $750 bonus for going above and beyond to help out. However, I figured this was pretax so would be about $450 after the 40% bonus tax. Well they structured it so it was $750 after tax!! I didn't expect that. Between that and a little 3 paychecks in April bill restructuring I was able to pay off another credit card - it feels good, oh ya! hehe I'm still working on that $800 from the mutual fund account, we might still get that this month.

I hope everyone is having a good month and perhaps a bit of nice weather. We topped out over 90 yesterday, which reminded me that I'm not ready for summer.
post #35 of 62
Sigh. At work, our largest client just up and folded today. Everyone I've worked with (different offices in different states) just got their notice "today" - as in "today is your last day" kind of notice. It's brutal. They are shutting off phones and email at 5pm today and everyone is going crazy trying to get their stuff together.

It's our client, not my company. But it's got me scared. My company does not like having too many eggs in one basket but due to the economy it kind of ended up that way. We don't have nearly the client base we used to, and now this client was our last steady monthly income.

So this happens just as we really start the DR plan. We do have the EF but obviously it's not going to last long if I get canned. (My job is our sole income, by our choice).

I guess I'm going to have to call up Sallie Mae and have them change back the payment amount to the minimum again so we can bulk up our savings. I expect I'll have a job for the time being but I don't know how long that will last.
post #36 of 62
Yikes laohaire! I think it is a smart move to get the payments back at the minimum and start bulking up your savings. If something does happen to your job then I'd probably put Sallie Mae on a hardship deferral, STAT. Good luck!!
post #37 of 62
Thread Starter 
PPK, spank, stop the lunches out before they become habit.

Rev1053, you owe a debt to yourself/your future to get that ffef done. Make a priority list of what you need to do, then cost it out. Then make a list of how much you need to ffef by x and y dates and then cost it out. Make spending a conscious choice.

jwoodbri, I just use excel, any spreadsheet format will do.

_ktg_, congrats on the decluttering, its on my to do list.

laohaire, I love the graph idea. Sorry to hear about the client. I think you're right to go back to minimums for a while or even hardship as MyTwoAs suggested.

MyTwoAs, yay on the bonus! And double yay on another cc gone!
post #38 of 62
Rev1053 (still in ":heart with your username, btw- it makes me smile EVERY time I see it, although i was a 105.1 girl, LOL)- I have found also BS3 to be much harder than BS2. I have a hard time saying no to things that I want when we have money in the bank and can cash flow the purchases. After finishing BS2, we spent a lot of money fixing up things that we had put off when we were working so hard on paying debt (putting new tires on my vehicle, house repairs, new clothes, etc.)

Mostly, right now, I'm just trying to hold steady at 60ish% of our FFEF. I'm horribly impatient, and we're DIY finishing our basement. We're going to be installing an air conditioner/air-source heat pump in the next couple of weeks, which is going to diminish our FFEF. But this something that needs to be done so that we can finish the basement. Our DSs have been living in bedrooms without walls for over a year, and I'm okay with draining some of our EF in favor of moving forward on the basement project. DH and I both have stable jobs, so it's okay with me that we're trading a FFEF for a comfortable living environment for the moment.

FWIW, we don't use all of DR's principals, so we're right now we're also putting ~12% of gross in tax-advantaged retirement accounts, saving for our dcs' college, and prepaying a small amount on our mortgage each month.
post #39 of 62
DH and I talked a lot this weekend because we were so darn disappointed about having to scale back again JUST WHEN we had ramped up. We decided that we are indeed going to go back to the minimum payments for Sallie Mae, but we're going to earmark what we save as for this loan, and continue to try to throw extra at it. In other words, we'll keep on doing it except we're not sending the money to Sallie Mae yet. If in 6 months or 12 months or whatever we feel more secure we will send a lump sum toward the loan.

It's not perfect, it does have its drawbacks. Or just one, really. The loan is really low interest so we'll probably break even by sticking the money in a savings account instead. So we won't really lose much in terms of interest paid over the months while we sit on the money. The concern is just the lost motivation. But we agreed that the motivation is up to us, that we can decide to be just as motivated earmarking the money as actually sending it along every month.
post #40 of 62
aw laohaire, that's so hard...I really hope everything works out well at your work.

I'm a YNAB user, it's not perfect, but good for us...what I really really love about it is that we can download your account transactions directly to it. But I think you can do that with Quicken too...I've never used Quicken or any other software until now, so it's a big improvement over nothing.

I'm feeling about uneasy about things at the moment. The envelope system gives me a better sense of control, but it was making me completely crazy to use it for anything other than lump sum types of things like 'blow money' or 'groceries'. So this is better. But I don't feel quite as 'on top' of things....I don't get quite the same instant feedback. So we may move back to a hybrid system where we use envelopes still for spending money and groceries and not for other stuff...

I've been thinking a lot lately about the kinds of choices we are making because of following the Dave Ramsey plan & the impact it's having on our family....but I think I'll start my own thread for this....
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