I'm new to this thread. I've been trying very hard over the past few years to get out of debt. I finally filed for BK in April 2012, discharged in July 2012. Was on the verge of defaulting on my mortgage during this time (Bank of America refused payments while the BK process was happening because I was 30 days past due when they got the BK notice). Managed to scrape together $13,000 within 5 months to become current with my mortgage (almost $4k of that was fees). I fell behind with bills in late 2011/ early 2012 because my job was reduced from 100% fte to 80% fte (due to budget cuts within the school district), AND being separated from my husband, I remained in the home and tried my best to pay the mortgage and household expenses on my own. I was able to do it (but barely) on 100% fte salary, but not at 80%. My fte has been increased to 90% and I did get a small raise for completing a class, and my husband and I have reconciled so we now have his income too. Now, my only debt is the mortgage and federal student loan.
HOWEVER, during the time that I was scrapping to save my home, I stopped paying my private student loan (I continued to pay on my federal). Now Chase private student loans is harassing me and threatening me, calling me night and day threatening to sue me, telling me that I'm irresponsible. They offered me an "settlement option" to pay a reduced amount on the loan ($10k instead of $17k) but they need the money NOW and are trying to persuade me to "borrow from friends and family" or "take out a loan" (both of which are not realistic options). I explained that now that I'm current on mortgage, that I DO have the money to work on paying them, but they refuse to work with me. I even offered $400 a month and they refuse. Now I'm not sure what will happen. I have a friend who was in the same position a few years ago and she said that because it is a private SL and not federal, that it is much harder to sue and garnish wages. I worry about this because daycare is going to cost us $1k a month (starting in September) and if my wages are garnished, I won't be able to pay for daycare.
Anyway, here is my info:
Pre-Step 1: Get current on your debts and do a budget
0.1 No new borrowing. --> Done- I have no access to credit and DH cut up his only credit card
0.2 Talk with spouse and get him/her on the same page as you concerning finances. -->Done
0.3 Do a written budget --> In process
0.4 Temporarily stop all retirement contributions -->We both have pensions through the state and our contributions are NOT optional. We both stopped our additional IRAs
0.5 Get current on all the basics (Shelter, Food, Utilities, Basic clothing) --> Almost there. Still owe $269 on water bill and $350 on electric/ gas. Mortgage and insurance current.
0.6 Amputate "toys" (bikes, boats, ATV's etc) to help snowball --> No toys to sell
0.7 Cut lifestyle (Cut cable, cell, extras, eating out) and/or get a second job to raise $1000 EF. --> (Trying to work with DH to stop cable- isn't going to be easy. In a contract for cell phone until 8/13- will be charged $250 early termination fee for each line if cancel prior to contract end. Eating out is a work in process since we've established a date night (it's part of our reconcilliation process), but we can alter choices and set a budget. As of today, we have $400 in EF
0.8 Get current on ALL bills -->Still owe $269 on water bill and $350 on electric/ gas. (See above for private student loan issue).
BS1 $1,000 to start an Emergency Fund
1.1 Chop up/freeze CC's (You have an EF now) --> Done- no access to credit anyway
1.2 Get Health insurance NOW if in the US --> Done- provided by employer
1.3 Get Life insurance NOW if you have considerable debt/your family couldn't make it financially if you died. --> Done- provided by employer and small amount of supplemental
1.4 Amputate cars that you can't pay off within 24 months --> both cars paid off
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 --> I wish
3.2 Save up 20% for home purchase OR pay down existing mortgage to the point you can drop PMI. --> Already own home and no PMI because it was an 80/20 loan (however, we could work on paying off the HELOC).
3.3 Start furniture or other non-essential stuff replacement fund
BS4 Invest 15 percent of household income for retirement --> DH and I have pensions, but we would like to continue to add to IRA once in a better position financially
BS5 College funding for children --> this might have to wait until after daycare expenses are done
BS6 Pay off home early
BS7 Build wealth and give! Invest in mutual funds and real estate