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Getting out of Debt in December!

post #1 of 85
Thread Starter 

Do you want to get out of debt? Start living on a budget? Be able to start saving? Then this is the thread for you! Some of us use Dave Ramsey's method but please join us even if you're following someone else/your own plan. All are welcome!

 

Here's DR's plan:

Pre-Step 1: Get current on your debts and do a budget
0.1 No new borrowing.
0.2 Talk with spouse and get him/her on the same page as you concerning finances.
0.3 Do a written budget
0.4 Temporarily stop all retirement contributions
0.5 Get current on all the basics (Shelter, Food, Utilities, Basic clothing)
0.6 Amputate "toys" (bikes, boats, ATV's etc) to help snowball
0.7 Cut lifestyle (Cut cable, cell, extras, eating out) and/or get a second job to raise $1000 EF.
0.8 Get current on ALL bills

BS1 $1,000 to start an Emergency Fund
1.1 Chop up/freeze CC's (You have an EF now)
1.2 Get Health insurance NOW if in the US
1.3 Get Life insurance NOW if you have considerable debt/your family couldn't make it financially if you died.
1.4 Amputate cars that you can't pay off within 24 months

BS2 Pay off all debt using the Debt Snowball
2.0 Do the debt snowball, paying all your debts from lowest BALANCE to highest.

BS3 Three to six months of expenses in savings
3.1 Start car replacement fund
3.2 Save up 20% for home purchase OR pay down existing mortgage to the point you can drop PMI.
3.3 Start furniture or other non-essential stuff replacement fund

BS4 Invest 15 percent of household income for retirement

BS5 College funding for children

BS6 Pay off home early

BS7 Build wealth and give! Invest in mutual funds and real estate

Here's the link to Dave Ramsey's website: http://www.daveramsey.com or if you want a good DR discussion forum,http://www.llnoe.com is good but hardcore. Gail vax Oxlade's Til Debt do Us Part is great tv show, very motivating. Her website is:http://gailvazoxlade.com/blog Others like Suze Orman or Mary Hunt, really doesn't matter whose method you use, just start the process to getting out of debt

post #2 of 85

Yes I am doing an FHA loan. There are a lot of hoops to jump through that people don't want to deal with. I agree, but I also know many many people who went the FHA route who now own a home. So somebody will accept my offer I just need to be diligent and keep plugging away! On a positive note, every month it takes to get the house is another month that I'm putting into saving at least $1200. I think my EF has $5300 in it right now! That's a lot to be happy about. I spoke with my lender today and we are going to use points instead of seller credits and hopefully that will make my offer a bit stronger. We shall see, fingers crossed for the two offers I have out right now.

post #3 of 85

Does the seller really know that the loan will be FHA? Seems odd if they did, since all they care about is if they get the money. I am hoping your get your Christmas wish of a house soon.

post #4 of 85

I recall that sellers do know (or have the option to know, agents know). I think when I sold a house, I had two offers and this was mentioned, although it was not a factor in my choosing who I would sell too (it had to do w/ conditions on one offer, that made me choose the other). Also, when I bought a house, I know my agent said it would be easier for me since I was approved for a conventional loan. It does seem very unfair.

 

My unsolicited advise :) (of course I am not a real estate agent, so you should discuss this with them), do not go over board with a bigger offer then the asking or competitive bids. As you will be the one stuck with the higher loan (and in the agents favour, they get a bigger commission). Be patient (as you are), and your house will come a long. And watch your efund grow. woo hoo.

 

I dont have much to update about my savings progress; To recap, last month I was approved and bought Life insurance (that took a couple  months). And I have a Jan '13 goal for eliminating the money on my credit card (some kitchen renovation stuff @ 0% interest). Christmas shopping is in budget, but I did purchase some airplane tickets to go visit a far away grandmother. I managed to pay cash for that (due to the 3rd pay check in nov) and the father of my kids (and his mother that we are visiting) is supposed to pony up half the cost, so when I get that, it will go to savings).  I was putting money aside for the past year to do a kitchen reno, and now that that is done, I was going to direct all of it towards my retirement and long term savings (I already put 10% into each of these accounts). But now I think I will put half towards long term savings and continue a house maintenance account with the other half.


Edited by SunRise - 12/4/12 at 8:13am
post #5 of 85

So I'm curious of everyone's options on something regarding my schooling. I'll explain the situation and you can tell me what you think I should do. 

 

So I've been going to school for quite a while now. With changing my mind about what I want to do (started off med school, changed to paralegal which I got a degree in even though I decided I didn't want to do it before I finished, and now I'm for sure on my chosen career with biology teaching) and the fact that I'm only going part- to 3/4-time. When we started Dave Ramsey, we decided to stop taking out student loans, which actually coincided with the last of the subsidized stafford loans (the kind that don't get interest while you're in school) that I was allowed to get. So any borrowed money from now on would be unsubsidized (occurs interest while I'm in school). I figured I'd just finish on what I can get for pell grants, but I found out this semester that I'm almost to the end of what I can get for pell grants. I have one semester left of 3/4 time, which will be used this spring, so I'll have to start paying in the fall. I'll have two semesters of half time and two semesters of full time (have to go full time when I'm in the teaching program) left before I'm done. 

 

So I've tried the last couple of months to put away $50 for schooling. It's definitely not enough, but I'm looking for more of a safety net than anything. We get pretty high tax returns every year that normally go to home renovation, but will have to mostly go to my schooling for now. I'm also applying for scholarships, but can't get any directly through my school for next year because I'm not full time. I may be able to get some through the school for the year after. There's also a scholarship/loan option where it's a scholarship if I teach directly out of college in a low income neighborhood, but if I don't then it turns into a loan. I'd like to avoid that if possible because I'm hoping not to work directly out of college until our kids are in school. Stopping school also isn't an option because that starts $250/month in my own student loan payments, so we wouldn't have the option to save more for school. 

 

So these past couple of months have been hard. With putting that extra $50 away as well as some other bills that have come up, it constantly feels like we don't have enough. I ended up spending all the money out of all the envelopes this paycheck, which was in large part my fault, but also because we needed things that we didn't have money in the envelopes for. This sucks because some of these envelopes need to be building up funds so I don't get into the situation I did with the car repair again (especially with that car needing to be registered next month). I've honestly been taking from folders all along. I think I move money around way too much, which is in part learning the system (we're only 6 months in), but also because living on one income for the expenses of 4 is difficult. 

 

So now gets to my idea. We're putting $240 into our debt snowball (my husband's student loans) right now. These next couple of months it's being diverted to our emergency fund to build that back up, but that's beyond the point. Anyway, I'm thinking about the philosophy of Dave Ramsey. How the first priority is to stop taking out loans. By saving money for college, I'm avoiding taking out more loans, so I'm wondering if that takes priority over the debt snowball. So my thought it to not stop the debt snowball, but just reduce it. I'm thinking $100 of the snowball into savings for school, which builds an even bigger safety net. Then maybe we can free up that extra $50 a month so I can do a budget without messing it up every month. Does that make sense? Is that somehow cheating? What would you do? 

post #6 of 85

I think that when you are borrowing from one envelop to the other, then tweaking your budget is necessary.  I think you need to make sure you have enough to cover your basic expenses, plus some emergency cash. This might mean lowering how much you put towards debt.  For your schooling, I gather you need to continue so you do not have to start paying those loans, but I might consider stretching it out. If you do not plan to start working until your kids are school age, then span the classes / requirements over that amount of time - maybe that lowers your monthly expenses?

post #7 of 85
Quote:
So my thought it to not stop the debt snowball, but just reduce it. I'm thinking $100 of the snowball into savings for school, which builds an even bigger safety net. Then maybe we can free up that extra $50 a month so I can do a budget without messing it up every month. Does that make sense? Is that somehow cheating? What would you do?

 

Yes, do that. DR DOES distinguish against "good debt" and "bad debt".....kind of....You know you need to get out of debt and you know you need to save for school, so you'll have to divide your efforts and split payments how you see fit. It's nice if you can focus all of your energies on one goal at a time, but life happens. You'll have to make it work. Is there any way you can bring in extra income? Have you come up with a total for school, divided by how many months you have left so you can cut other aspects of life in order to make that goal on time (or bring in more money to fill the gaps)?

 

DH is very much in your shoes- over the last 5 years he's updated high school credits at night school, done his machinist apprenticeship, gone to university for a semester of as Science BA, and has now found his calling (thank goodness!) in a college engineering technician course. It's been rough, but luckily I've been able to work full time so we could do it all on cash (by renting out our house and living with parents then into a cheap apartment, all while our house is taking care of itself and cutting our living expenses in half). We bought a second house and have a housemate so now we have more space, but the same living expenses as we had in our cheap apartment. Think outside the box and brainstorm some options of making more money or saving more money- and yes, it's okay to divert some of your snowball for a good cause!

post #8 of 85

i'm sarah, divorced mom to 1 dd(7). we homeschool and i work PT as the director of an after school program so that i can take her with me. i just started this job in october. my only health insurance is through the state we used to live in (and go back to every week for dd's supervised visits with my ex-husband, her father). dd is still covered under his health insurance. we have no insurance offered through my new job, no sick pay, no vacation pay, etc.

 

i have medical bills that i can't pay from when ex's insurance found out that we were divorced and retroactively billed all of the doctors for refunds of any payments they had made. the total comes to about $2021. one of them told me today that they might be able to write off the amount ($321) if i send them a hardship letter explaining everything. i'm calling some of the other ones today. i have payment plans set up with 2 of them ($1172). i'm sending the other 2 ($145, $383) $5 each today. the payment plan for 1 of them is supposed to be $40/month; i'm sending her $20 this month. the other that i'm paying on doesn't have a set amount but i'm sending her $20 this month also.

 

i also have 2 credit cards - Lowe's $884 at 24.99% and capitalone $262.54 at 0%. $377.58 on the Lowe's card is on a promotion that expires tomorrow. if i can't pay it off tomorrow, the accrued interest is $55.27.
 

i also have a student loan in hardship forbearance for $9169.27. this goes up every month due to accrued interest at 3.875%. no monthly payment right now.

 

total debt (including doctor that said they might be able to write off my account): $12312.18. i make (including $500/month child support and $260 food stamps): ~$1200/month. my only lucky thing is that my house and 2006 car are both paid off; i bought a HUD foreclosure that needs work with my equity buy-out from the marital home. it does not have home insurance because i can't afford the $700-900 for manufactured home coverage.

 

QUESTION: my dd has $260 in savings. would you use dd's savings to pay the Lowe's promotional balance off to avoid the $55 interest? she does not know that i currently have that money in savings for her; she thinks that it has already been spend during the time that i was unemployed.

 

Here's DR's plan:

Pre-Step 1: Get current on your debts and do a budget - am i considered current if i'm making $5/month payments, as long as i'm paying something?
0.1 No new borrowing. trying desperately!
0.2 Talk with spouse and get him/her on the same page as you concerning finances. n/a
0.3 Do a written budget done; it's depressing and stretched tight.
0.4 Temporarily stop all retirement contributions. not a problem!
0.5 Get current on all the basics (Shelter, Food, Utilities, Basic clothing). working on finding shoes to fit dd.
0.6 Amputate "toys" (bikes, boats, ATV's etc) to help snowball. no toys but am trying to sell of some collectibles and HS material.
0.7 Cut lifestyle (Cut cable, cell, extras, eating out) and/or get a second job to raise $1000 EF.. cell phone is covered by ex-h, we have basic internet and netflix, no cable, no home phone. the only eating out we do is when we drive to MD for visitation. i've already told dd that we have to stop that and i did a menu plan yesterday that includes snacks and meals, including portable meals for the weekend.
0.8 Get current on ALL bills. done, i think.

BS1 $1,000 to start an Emergency Fund
1.1 Chop up/freeze CC's (You have an EF now).
1.2 Get Health insurance NOW if in the US. on medicaid.
1.3 Get Life insurance NOW if you have considerable debt/your family couldn't make it financially if you died. can't afford yet.
1.4 Amputate cars that you can't pay off within 24 months

BS2 Pay off all debt using the Debt Snowball
2.0 Do the debt snowball, paying all your debts from lowest BALANCE to highest.

BS3 Three to six months of expenses in savings
3.1 Start car replacement fund
3.2 Save up 20% for home purchase OR pay down existing mortgage to the point you can drop PMI.
3.3 Start furniture or other non-essential stuff replacement fund

BS4 Invest 15 percent of household income for retirement

BS5 College funding for children

BS6 Pay off home early

BS7 Build wealth and give! Invest in mutual funds and real estate

post #9 of 85

I'm Maria, mama to 2 DD's.  DH works 1 full time job & 1 part time job.  I currently work 3 part time jobs.  My newest job, I'm very excited about.  It has been part time with increasing hours, and will eventually become full time with benefits.  We are on baby step 2.2 and have just one credit card debt left, in the amount of $2100!  I'm so excited to being so close to done with CC debt!  I feel very good about the new job and feel it will provide more stability to our income.  I'm also a part time student, but I'm considering taking some time off of school because I've been feeling overwhelmed with my increasing workload.  I have not made a decision for next semester yet.  

 

I'm doing much better with tracking our spending on paper.  I have to admit that I do have some inner conflict going on with Christmas shopping.  We have budgeted and planned for Christmas for the 1st time in a very long time and it is hard for me to part with the money that could get us closer to financial freedom,  but at the same time it is Christmas and knowing how close we are to being paid off, I'm tempted to do a bigger Christmas than what we typically do!     
 

post #10 of 85

Meandk, Welcome love.gif and NO!!!! Don't spend your DD's savings.

 

I was going to say $1200/mo wasn't much, but if you have a paid-off car and no rent/mortgage it sounds super do-able! Would you mind sharing your rough budget? Have you read Total Money Makeover?

post #11 of 85

Meandk, I would be inclined to take the other side and say yes, use it if it relieves stress for you. You will be able to help your daughter in many other ways throughout her life, and right now that money could go towards something that will help you get in a better financial place. Maybe you will be able to restart her fund later on, after you get your finances are in order. But other eyes on  your budget may see other options as well.

post #12 of 85

meandK, I am going to vote no on the using what appears to be from your list your only savings. Having that buffer of $1000 as a basic emergency fund is what made me able to cope with the shear amount of money that goes out each month to pay mine and my DH's debt. I know it is psychological and it is such a relieving feeling knowing that if an emergency comes up I have $1000 in cash to cover it. I would keep paying the minimums on your medical bills and credit cards (even though they are acruing interest), and keep your student loan in deferment while you build up that $1000 safety net so you don't have to use credit cards again.

 

A question about insurance is the $700 to $900 home insurance for your manufactured home for a year? I would make having a home insurance a priority because if something happened to your paid for home, that would make life very difficult. I would shop around and see if you can get a better quote for a year and see if someone would work out a monthly plan with you so you wouldn't have to pay the lump sum up front.

post #13 of 85

Hi everyone! How is everyone doing debt repayment vs Christmas shopping? I'm struggling here!

 

Pre-Step 1: Get current on your debts and do a budget So am I supposed to call like...the library that we have owed a late fee to for years to set up a payment plan? Or are those things that you just pay as you can?
0.1 No new borrowing. No problem, I lost my only credit card (evil Star card).
0.2 Talk with spouse and get him/her on the same page as you concerning finances. Eh, my husband has 0 interest in finances. He gets mad when I try to talk to him so I just do it.
0.3 Do a written budget Done.
0.4 Temporarily stop all retirement contributions Never had any so, check.
0.5 Get current on all the basics (Shelter, Food, Utilities, Basic clothing) Check.
0.6 Amputate "toys" (bikes, boats, ATV's etc) to help snowball Only "toy" we have is my husbands $750 guitar. I have it on craigslist for $400 and no bites. It's been there for months.
0.7 Cut lifestyle (Cut cable, cell, extras, eating out) and/or get a second job to raise $1000 EF. No cable and cells are on a contract unfortunately. As soon as possible we'll cut those and get cheap month-to-month phones. I need to keep a closer eye on the eating out. For us it's starbucks. :(
0.8 Get current on ALL bills Our van payment is behind a month so we'll take care of that in January.

 

post #14 of 85

I'm not quite done Christmas shopping ...  I still need to get the main present for my son. I have kept track of all the numbers though, so I have a better idea of how much I actually spend here (which includes gifts for teachers, instructors, food & festivites, etc).

 

I have cut back on the amounts of money I was spending during the day, at work out of tedium, on snacks, coffees, lunch etc. I did this detox cleanse a few weeks ago, for four days, and it really helped me realize all the extra food I was consuming.  Now I don't have an appetite for those extras; so not only did I lose a few pounds, I'm not frittering away money.

post #15 of 85

I still haven't even started to shop!

 

We finally got an accepted offer along with 7 other people out of the 28 offers they received! They wanted us to pay $15,000 over the appraisal so I said forget it, I'm not interested anymore.

post #16 of 85
Thread Starter 

trekkingirl - AUGH! How frustrating! But I think that you were right to walk away from that one.

 

eirual had asked for a little help in remembering "what my story is" so I will write out where I am at - helps me to see things in a concrete way also.........................

Discovered DR's Total Money Makeover this summer - did some reading this fall - but didn't really start with things until October.

 

 

Pre-Step 1: Get current on your debts and do a budget
0.1 No new borrowing.- well trying on this one - have had to use CC for emergency home repairs this fall - no EF yet really
0.2 Talk with spouse and get him/her on the same page as you concerning finances. - unfortunately no, SO is not on board with DR but we keep a fair share of our money separate
0.3 Do a written budget -done, December is month 3 of doing a budget
0.4 Temporarily stop all retirement contributions don't have any - nothing to stop
0.5 Get current on all the basics (Shelter, Food, Utilities, Basic clothing) -yes, current on the basics
0.6 Amputate "toys" (bikes, boats, ATV's etc) to help snowball - SO has a car with a loan that is underwater/upside down - whatever it's called - we owe more on it than it is worth. This is a nightmare - he got fleeced by a loan company 2 yrs ago. We tried to refinance, his credit is better. He qualifies for low interest auto loans now - but all the refi companies want $4,000 up front to make up what is owed and what the car is now worth. 
0.7 Cut lifestyle (Cut cable, cell, extras, eating out) and/or get a second job to raise $1000 EF.- I have been trimming my lifestyle where I can. Cut cell phone bill, reduced student loan payments by $10-20 per month. I homeschool my teenager and have a toddler. I am not willing to work full-time - I DO pick up any extra hours that come my way at work.
0.8 Get current on ALL bills -This is where I struggle as some months I don't make enough money to keep current on the bills.

BS1 $1,000 to start an Emergency Fund - has $50 in it right now - ING account were it takes 48 hrs to get to it.
1.1 Chop up/freeze CC's (You have an EF now) -Not yet
1.2 Get Health insurance NOW if in the US - yes, everyone in the family has health insurance
1.3 Get Life insurance NOW if you have considerable debt/your family couldn't make it financially if you died. - yes, I have a term life policy that will pay my bills and leave my family with a small amount
1.4 Amputate cars that you can't pay off within 24 months - see 0.6

 

 

My goals for December are pretty much the same as they were for November:

 

1. Keep current on ALL bills - this one is the hardest for me. I realize that I should look for full time work - but at this point in my life I am unwilling to pursue this option for personal reasons. So my plan is to take any additional shifts that come my way at work. (I am only guaranteed a certain number of hours at one of my part-time jobs - some months that is all I get - others I am offered shifts for people's vacations etc... My second part time job is salaried - no room to make more there - family business)

(I did have a 3rd part time job that helped me to keep current on my bills. However, when I was ready to return to it after maternity leave - it no longer existed.)

 

2. Contribute 1% income to charity

 

3. Add another $50 to my EF - this month I am going to try to see if I can sell some things from around the house.

 

4. Continue to work on ways to cut lifestyle/trim budget


Edited by orangemomma - 12/6/12 at 5:46am
post #17 of 85

We just completed Financial Peace University on Tuesday and it has really made an impact on dh and me in so many ways.  I am so glad we took the class.  Right now we are technically working on baby step 1 but our car is really the only thing in our debt snowball.  Our other expenses are just monthly medical bills (that are a lot of money) but we just refinanced our car and are hoping to pay it off as soon as possible and then we will have extra cash for every day expenses.  Our loan is over 5 yrs but we are hoping to pay it in 2 yrs or less.

This month is difficult with Christmas and still struggling to budget.  We don't usually overspend or buy frivilous things but keeping track of our funds is definitely a learning process.  I work for tips so my income varies weekly. We are also trying to put money aside for oil and my upcoming dental procedure.  By January we should be back on track.

post #18 of 85

Thank you so much SunRise and eirual for your advice! It makes me feel better than I'm not somehow doing something wrong by diverting some of our debt snowball. It's hard to say how much I'll need because we're planning on paying for a great majority of it with our taxes and I'm applying to lots of scholarships. I think it's important to have that safety net though. I'm already spreading out my credits as much as possible at the moment, but since my classes are lots of credit hours (science courses) I'm still 3/4 time. Like this semester I took 2 classes, one 5 credit hour and one 4 credit hour. I have to go at least 6 credits to keep my student loan payments away (which we'll be able to handle better once DH's payments are over, which will be right around my graduation), so other than taking fluff classes (which I am actually taking a 1 credit hour class I don't need next semester because it's either that or pay $400 beyond my last pell grant amount because of how the pell amounts work) I'm already as spread out as I can get. Then my last year has to be full time because I'm in the teaching program, which is not going to be fun with two small children, but I don't have another option. Anyway, I'm going to divert that extra money from the debt snowball to savings so we have that cushion for school. If it turns out we don't need it, we can always choose to pay a bulk amount later. I've also put away my envelopes in a drawer and I'm just carrying around my blow and whatever I know I'll need that day (e.g. I needed gas yesterday, so I took that out). It's helping a ton already! 

post #19 of 85

I finally picked up Total Money makeover from the library yesterday! 

post #20 of 85
if you need money for university try tutoring, it's easy money and reinforces what you are learning

and if you an get a job at the uni teaching, if your grades are high, the pay is usually very good. I was getting $107 an hour to teach computer programming

I used to shower at uni to save money, now I shower at the hospital.
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