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Anyone else ready to GET OUT OF DEBT? #2 - Page 5

post #81 of 139

Anyone else done the CCCS thing?

So, I bit the bullet and went with CCCS. I know it looks bad on your credit, but I can't imagine that missing payments looks any better. Also, as I was crying and praying the other night, I knew that I OWED people this money and I had an abligation to pay this off, but we could not manaage even the minimums now with our paychecks. Is there anyone else out there who has taken this step, or who just has some words of encouragement?
post #82 of 139
sara, that's awesome that you took that scary step----do you listen to clark howard on 750 wsb? he highly recommends working with a reputable credit counseling non-profit. for me, facing the problem was the hardest. it's important to stop shoveling once we're in over our heads. asking for help just might be a lifesaver!!

the ben stein thing!
post #83 of 139
Thread Starter 

I think you made a very wise step. It surely looks worse to be missing payments, and I think once you have gotten all of your debt paid this way, you will have to be looked at as someone who made it through, YK?

So, now do you just write one check to CCCS per month? Can you make extra payments? That would be a great way to motivate, to make some small "extra" payment each month.

This thread is giving me so much encouragement. Think you will all still be here in 2 years when I hope to be through this?

Thanks so much for the YMOYL link. Boy- it is overwhelming, but I like the ideas very much. Esp. having more time to volunteer, that is a big goal of mine and DH's. He loves building and so wants to get in with Habitat for Humanity, but right now is working so much, he doesn't have the time .

One other thing I have realized is that I need to keep my life priorities in shape. It is very important for me to be a SAHM and for dh to be here as much as possible, evenings and weekends. I also want to be "present" for my children when I am here. I am currently babysitting a 5 year old after school and will have him for the summer. I know I could do real day care, I have many other people who have said that they would like me to care for their children. However, I know my limit. I know that my children will only be this small once, and I know that my priority is to be here. Surely we could be out of debt much sooner if dh or I worked more (he talked of getting a p/t job on top of his f/t one), but I want us *here* as much as we can be, and I need to not sacrifice my time with my family to get out of debt quicker. If dh gets the job he's hoping for, I will go and substitute (I am a former teacher) a day a week to help out, but I don't want to leave the kids more than that, so I won't!

I will get out of debt, without sacrificing *my* ideal family situation.

disclaimer- no offense intended to WOHMs here, I respect and love you all , it is just not something that works well for *ME* .
post #84 of 139
Hey everyone-

you all are doing so well! i feel like i'm flailing a bit. I did call to get the application to sign up for the craft fairs that I am going to sell things at this fall. Hopefully that will bring in some extra cash.

and so that i wasn't talking out of my a&^, i went and go the Tightwad Gazette from the library and I really like it! A&A you are really right about the philosophy being more helpful than the actual tips, although it does get me thinking creatively about a lot of the things i can come up with on my own. Things like washing out plastic baggies and reusing aluminum foil i have always done, more from a saving waste/environmental standpoint than anything else. I can see how as DH and began to make more money, we just accepted buying more things because we could. When we made less money, we did put things on the cc, but there was a lot that we just did without, or waited on. Time to get back in the saddle with that.

Jess, have you done the calculations about you working? I have read in both YMOYL and TG that the benefits of the second parent working tend to be much,much less than people think when they factor in taxes, commute money, wear and tear on car, etc.. I won't count lunch out and special clothes, because as someone who is trying to be frugal, i know you wouldn't do either of those things! But reading about how a second job can actually cost more has made me feel more resolve about being home and trying to find ways to make money that won't be taxed etc.. ina raditional way (selling things, etc...) Just a thought. But if you do the calculations and it makes sense for you, that extra bit of income can make a huge difference!!

Ok, so the other day i bought a small notebook and some velcro with sticky back so we can mount the notebook in the car so we remember as soon as we buy something to write it down. We were just stuffing receipts in an envelope, but that wasn't mindful enough. Dh and I are not good at following through with things like that. Does anyone have a tracking system that works for them?

Thanks everyone. You truly are inspiring. I think I need to get my butt in gear a bit more.
post #85 of 139
Thread Starter 
As far as me working, I haven't bothered to actually figure out how much I would make (and use in the process just by having a job) having a full-time teaching job, b/c I am just NOT doing it- and as far as the subbing one day a week, I won't make much, b/c I sub at Catholic schools, but even with paying for gas (I have enough clothes, no one makes any fashion statements at Catholic schools, and dh would be with the kids, so no day care) I would make like $50 a day (8am to 3pm). I know it's not a lot, but- I have more reason than simply making money. Being *in* the schools gives me a good view of what they are really like (every parent should spend a few days as a fly on the wall in the teacher's lounge at their school) to help me decide where to send my kids (my oldest will start school in Fall 2005). Bonus- I LOVE TEACHING!

Craft fairs- talk to me about that. (please ). Right now I sell (handmade) things on ebay and often make gifts for family members etc. I think I could make enough stuff for a booth at a craft fair, but I wonder how much it costs to have a booth, etc.? The stuff we make is Irish themed and the city we live in has 2 "Irish" stores, we need to approach them to ask if they would sell any of our stuff (I have noticed that they do sell some homemade things). We also make "Firefighter" themed items, and there is actually a FF supply store in our hometown, dh knows the guy who runs it, and he has said that he would like to sell our stuff, I think we need to get in gear on that.

The little boy I babysit has a half day of school today- so I am picking him up 3 hours early, I wonder if I will get paid extra for that? I am so horrible with these things, I am not good at asking for more (even if it is really what is deserved, yk?). I sell myself short IRL and with friends. I am good at selling on ebay and such, b/c the price is there, and they buy it if they want it. But like, I just started Usborne books, I have a hard time selling to family and friends, I am uncomfortable with making money off of people I care about. Anywho- I am rambling- the parents of the boy I sit for are super nice, I assume (I know ) that they'll pay me extra, so I likely won't ask (then just complain to dh if they don't ). Not hard to see why I am in debt, huh?
post #86 of 139


Hey Georgia, Hey Jess and all my debt-ridden sisters!
Thanks for the words of encouragement! I will be making a once a month pymt to CCCS to the tune of about 500 smackeroos.... though much less than the payments would have been! And YES I LOVE clark howard... i actually met him at a Braves game one time. He is so nice!
I will be on here a lot this summer since I am a teacher and out for the season! I'm so glad that I have "met" you all!
Be blessed y'all,
post #87 of 139
I haven't posted much here. We recently had a bit of a set back or maybe a wake up call. DH was laid off. So our plans are totally down the drain.

The good news is that he's already had a couple of good interviews... But things are very tight cuz we were going to use his next paycheck to get caught up and then start saving a progressively larger amount of each check until none of it was part of the household budget -- 50% to savings and 50% to debt repayment. The goal was to have everything paid off except for the mortgage by Winter 2007 when dh was going to stop working and be the stay at home & homeschooling parent while I worked since I have the much more flexible job and he is much more domestic.

So the next few weeks are going to be insane while we skrimp and pinch pennies. I hope we aren't set too far back. Thankfully we have a full freezer and will be able to get by on less that $50 bi-weekly for groceries for a few weeks.
post #88 of 139
Thread Starter 
Aimee- Can your dh get unemployment? We have been through a few lay offs in our 5 year marriage, and I know it stinks .
post #89 of 139
Yes, he could probably get unemployment, but it takes weeks here. He had to set up a hearing date which is still 12 days away. And of course it's not retroactive.

He will proabably have a job before the hearing - he has paperwork for a gaming license at one of the local casinos, that paperwork will probably be approved first. Plus he's had a couple of other "good" interviews.

I remember the last time I had been on unemployment (over 6 years ago) it was just a matter of filling out a couple forms and automatic approval cuz I didn't quit or get fired for nasty reasons, not anymore. Make you jump through hoops these days. In the mean time my son does not have insurance and that is another kettle of fish.
post #90 of 139
Thread Starter 
Yes, the hoops are just terrible, we were glad to have at least something though, it's good that your dh expects to have work again right away.

For insurance- does your state have anything to help? NY has Child Health Plus, we are not eligible so we are paying an insane amount right now to stay covered . But, maybe you could look into something like that?
post #91 of 139
Yes, there is an insurance program in the state but my income puts us over the free limit and to get into the co-pay program takes weeks. I started the paperwork, but it can't go forward until dh is out of work for 30 days. Again he will probably have a job which we shoot us out of that bracket.... Grrr
post #92 of 139

I am so sorry to hear about your DH being laid off. I hope that he gets a new job quickly and that things will work out for you all.

As far as our situation, we just seem to keep getting hit with bills that are not part of our regular expenses. DH had to have some tests done at the doctor's office and he had a stress test at the hospital. DS has been sick with asthma type stuff, so between the co-pays, prescriptions, and all the bills coming in that insurance won't pay (due to our increased deductible), our budget has been out of whack. We did set up a Medical Savings Account at DH's work, but since we weren't that sick last year, we only budgetd $600 for the year. Well, we have used it all up.

Then, DH ran over my beloved Mac Quest last night. The wheel assembly is broken, so I have to Maclaren to see how much they will charge to fix it. We only have this stroller and a jogging stroller that my FIL bought for us (which is not good for everday use).

Thanks, mamas, for sharing your strategies for getting out of debt!
post #93 of 139
I have a question about CCCS (I'm assuming that stands for Consumer Credit Counselling Services)?

Why does it look bad on your credit? Is this true of all credit counselling services? What's the difference between profit and non-profit (other than one charges you and one doesn't) in terms of your credit and what they do to help you?

Also, did you do this after your debts were referred to collection agencies for collection? B/c it seems to me you can negotiate directly with them for reduced payments, payment plans, options, etc...why go through an agency?

Finally, I think it's really worth it to contact some of your debtors before it gets to the point of missed payments and just be up front with them. I think they would much rather arrange something with you ahead of time then wait until they have to refer you. We have done this with three of our creditors now, and it has helped immensely without (as far as we can tell thus far) affecting our credit rating.

We will thankfully not be needed a credit counselling service, but these are things I've often wondered about.
post #94 of 139
Being *in* the schools gives me a good view of what they are really like (every parent should spend a few days as a fly on the wall in the teacher's lounge at their school) to help me decide where to send my kids (my oldest will start school in Fall 2005). Bonus- I LOVE TEACHING!

Craft fairs- talk to me about that. (please ).

I just started Usborne books, I have a hard time selling to family and friends, I am uncomfortable with making money off of people I care about. [/QUOTE]

I was a teacher before dd was born as well... so I hear you on this!!
T Though, while the teacher's lounges are educational, i definitley think its the classroom that matters. The TR is truly for blowing off steam. I vented a lot in there, but loved my students dearly. When you're in a classroom for house with 20-30 students, adult time is precious!

back to our regularly scheduled topic....
I searched for craft fairs in Maine on the web and just checked out all the sites I found until I found one that is a small group, non-juried (meaning you dont' have to submit examples for a group to decide if you are good enough or not), and its only $40 for the table and I have access to over 6 large fairs a year, mostly Sept.-Dec. I have 2 other mama friends who are may be splitting the table with me. I have to get a sales tax #from the state, but the woman who runs the organizations is sending me the forms- its really easy. You can also call the Chambers of Commerce in towns local to you- they can tell you about the fairs and how to get involved. I have tried to sell my thing on ebay and was discouraged- i only got $2.00 for it! I guess I need to just keep trying.

I have a new friend who just started Usborne. And actually, she was going to look at having a table at fairs too. you'd need to see if they would accept non-handmade items, but its a different venue than the typical party-style of selling and you'd reach a lot more people as well. I didnt' think it was too weird. I bought a couple books, but i really think they have some good stuff. I got some books for dd in spanish, which are hard to come by here in maine.

I think I might have saved dh and I almost $2,000. As I've mentioned, we have been renovating our home. We were intending on putting in a new washer and dryer. in fact, we have already purchased it. We bought it a long time ago (when we still had money from the bank), but couldn't have it delivered until the bathroom was tiled, which is where it is going. well, the tiling is being done as i speak and so dh started to look into installing the w/d and discovered that the dryer is not going to work w/o a gas conversion kit, which apparently us unavailable right now. Soooo, the dryer won't work. He wanted to look at getting a different set. I am convincing him that we should but a cheap, used set for about $200, and take the refund on the new set and use it to pay for the tiling. that would be HUGE!! Dh has a bunch of contracts coming in, but by the time we pay for the tiler and put aside living expenses for the next couple months, we'd have nothing left over. But, if we do this, then we can pay off the tiler and put the surplus toward our cc. It makes so much sense... buying the new system is totally in our old way of doing things that keeps us strapped for cash. Buying used is more economical... though we will pay more for water/electricity I think b/c it won't be conservative a system. But with the clothes line, i think we can make some of that up.

Sorry that was such a long story, but I feel its a victory as we start breaking old, destructive patterns of spending and start using our brains and creativity a bit more.

Off ot make a flyer to advertise our house for July!! ( I will not surf the rest of MDC until its done...I will not surf....will not....repeat)
post #95 of 139
Day 5 without a trip to the grocery store. Last night made a great herb pesto from garden herbs (parsely, basil and chives) and put it over pasta with roasted peppers and leftover chicken. Got a clear plan for dinner tonight.

A couple setbacks: I threw out the sourdough starter because I suddenly became paranoid that it would make us all sick just in time for our trip to Oregon next week. (I've never done a starter before and am not all that confident in my kitchen microbiology skills.) Also, DH's tire went flat, which will require a repair job that'll cost $15. I also splurged on a copy of Siblings Without Rivalry at the used bookstore ($4.10 with tax) because now that school is out, if I don't get a handle on my DDs' squabbling, no amount of money is going to save my sanity!

Now the goal is to stop in at the grocery store tomorrow only to get snacks for Saturday's playdate and Sunday's long car ride. All other shopping will be done when we get back next week, and with a new goal of minimalism in mind. Another goal is to avoid requiring a stop at the gas station before we leave town. We've got a quarter tank of gas to last us til Sunday morning.

There's a certain aspect of this spend-less, accumulate-less, use-less lifestyle that appeals to my whole value system, and that's very satisfying.

Aimee, sorry to hear about DH's layoff. Those are always tough times.

Thanks again everyone, for posting. The motivation is tremendous.
post #96 of 139
hey on the sourdough starter -- I am soooo with you on that one. I worry, I love sourdough, i worry, etc. You posting about it has made me rethink "maybe I should try it again."

I've been trying once a month grocery shopping. It doesn't work for us. So i made a detailed list last night and sent my dh out for groceries. He buys what's on the list and no crap. This might be the wave of the future.
post #97 of 139

joining the thread!

This is SUCH a great idea for a thread--sign me up!

Dw and I just had a really good $ chat last night. We seem to constantly get in & out of debt on this 3-6 month cycle and are incredibly frustrated. I have a well-paid job, she has a part time job, and it should be more than enough. But b/c we can't seem to say no to ourselves, (and grow up in some ways!) and choose the life that our values would suggest, we keep ending up in debt! Most recently it was because we spent $ in the early weeks of my pg in excitement, and then to make ourselves feel better after my m/c. But we recognize that specific circumstances aside, we NEED to change the way we live. We are not happy!

It feels great to come to this pt. The next step of course is doing something about it .

1st steps: trying to live on just my salary until mid-Aug., and putting all the extra money into repaying debt. Getting our personal & household spending under control.

We are highly motivated right now b/c dw is going back to school in Sept. and we will then have to live on just my salary, a big challenge for us. But it will be easier if we start out of debt!

I have also been reading this thread & recognize that small changes are probably better than huge ones (i.e. more sustainable). But we are in a bit of crunch that I hope will help motivate us to make changes that we've been wanting to make for a long time...changes that reflect our values...
and get us ready to pass on good habits to any kids we might have!

anyway thanks to all those who are still reading my stream of consciousness and I look forward to being part of this thread!

post #98 of 139
Thread Starter 
Jesse Welcome! It sounds like you have a good plan for getting yourselves together with money. I am very sorry to hear of you suffering a miscarriage .

I had an important realization today, I can't believe this hadn't fully dawned on me until now . Here is the crux of what got us into this mess. Suprisingly, we have always been *relatively* frugal, it's not like we ever charged "unnecessary" things- like a new comforter, or pizza hut, etc. However, when we had extra money in the account for whatever reason- we would treat ourselves to pizza hut, or I would buy that comforter I had been wanting for a year. Then, the dryer would brake, or we'd get a flat tire- and--guess what? that wasn't in the budget (plan) and we never had savings- so- onto the credit card it went. All of the CC debt we've got came from "necessary" things, we bought the "extras" with what we thought of as "extra" cash.

In our minds we weren't those people who got into debt by living past our means, we were "victims" of bad circumstance.

Well, you all know where the victim mindset got us.

This is a breakthrough for me, on the importance of savings and being prepared for crappy things that happen (like flat tires).

Ummm....HELLO! I never though of myself as an unintelligent person, but as I right this out I wonder where the heck my head was.

No more "victim" status for me.
post #99 of 139

Don't beat yourself up. Sometimes things just need to sift through the grey matter before they pop.

Ya gotta be able to treat yourself to a new comforter once in a while. Like Piglet (I think) said - keep the treats small, but budget them in too. Even if it's just an extra $5 a week into a jar - it does add up. Take it from me, our annual change jar purchase is always fun and at least $200.
post #100 of 139
We were doing so well today, staying within our $25 budget for our minor grocery trip, finding a birthday gift for under $10, and making homemade bread. Then we came home from our errands and the gas stove was snapping away, trying to light itself. It does this every now and then, but it's been snappping and sparking nonstop for the last two hours, so I finally broke down and called the repair service. After reading the last post, I know I should just pay for this out of the checking account instead of putting it on the credit card (first impulse), but we're going to see how much it adds up to. Hate to say it, but I'm feeling a little victimized . . .
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