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G.O.O.D. (getting out of debt) Sept. thread!

post #1 of 95
Thread Starter 
This thread is to support each other as we work to get out of debt. For me, it is credit card debt that really has me down, and that I am working towards getting clear from. For others it is student loans, or a mortgage, whatever- if you want to get out of debt- this is the thread for you.

Let's do a roll call, post as much info. as you want about your debt, and what you are doing to work your way out of it. I'll go first-

We are in major credit card debt, my goal is to be free of credit card debt and car loans in 2 years. I have switched our cards to lower interest cards (some 0%) and I am putting every spare penny toward the debt. I am living frugally to free up more cash, and trying to change my mindset through this process so that we never end up here again.

Who's next? (And Piglet- where are you and how is it going?)
post #2 of 95
Hi everyone! I just joined y'all at the end of last month. My DH is being laid off 9/15 so I'm trying to save $ in every possible way. We have some credit card debt but making our mortgage will be the biggest challenge. We don't have hardly anything saved at all. I'm a SAHM and our DS just turned 1. We're not sure how we're going to make it so I'm hoping to learn a lot from all you GOOD experts Light a candle for us, will ya?
Good luck everyone.
post #3 of 95
Hello! :

We have no credit card debt (just finished paying off our 10,000 worth of plastic debt in May!), but we are coming very close to accruing it again.

We have virtually NO savings, no emergency fund, no house, etc.

Our income has been cut in half because I quit my job to be a SAHM (in 9 days!!!). We've cut our expenses drastically, but we have little to no cushion in our budget for those unexpected expenses that always seem to creep up!

So, my goals are as follows:

Long term: Add 10 dollars a month to our automatic savings withdrawal (35 dollars right now) until we are saving 10% of our income.

Short term: Keep our variable household expenses under $125 a week. Last week was the first time I was able to do that.

SEPTEMBER GOAL: Do our best to welcome baby without running up credit card debt!!! We have been doing well with our grocery budget and eating at home, but I worry that we'll be overwhelmed and overtired and get in the habit of eating out a few times a week again (what a waste of money!) and not have time to shop as smart by planning our meals around loss leaders, etc. If this happens, it will surely sabotage both our short and long term goal!!

Here's to a challenging but exciting September!!! 2
post #4 of 95
I'd like to join in! I have a credit card with a small balance. Doesn't bug me but I would like to pay that off. What I do want to do is SAVE! We have a piddly savings account. I manage to spend on stuff that we aren't really needing. I would love to buckle down on the spending and save while putting more toward the CC. The credit card has just $1k on it. Not too bad. :LOL
post #5 of 95
Mostly lurking.......but learning from y'all.

My goal is to be out of cc debt in just over a year.
post #6 of 95
I'm joining in-have made a three year plan to get out of cc debt (yeah, it's bad, since the twins 5 years ago we've been paying alot of normal expenses with cc's ). After this baby, I will try to work a little part time while dh is home to help out.

Having a plan has really helped to motivate us.
post #7 of 95
Hi everyone! Sorry for the absence. We moved from Cleveland to Vancouver, Canada two weeks ago. Moved into a new apartment last week, and things have been really really crazy! did I mention I'm 34 weeks pregnant? Our furniture arrives on Saturday and hopefully we'll be all unpacked and settled in within the next week.

We had managed to rack up alot of credit card debt, have a car debt, and my student loans, plus we had no savings, etc. It was a big reality kick in the pants since only a couple years ago DH was making a kick-ass salary and we were living the high life. But we made some poor decisions and my pretty-darn-good salary this past year was being eaten up by debt payments, which was really depressing to be living so frugally when I was making more money than ever before. Well, our one saving grace was a property we bought pre-purchase for a small deposit almost two years ago. We had a sale set up that fell through, but last week we found another buyer and it sold! We made a nice profit and that money is going to pay off all our debt except the federal part of my student loan. That's about $12k Cdn and the interest is low enough that it made more sense to use it as savings. We are giving ourselves each a "treat" - DH is getting a new laptop and I'm getting six months of a weekly cleaning lady, lol.

But we still want, and have to, live frugally. I got my last paycheck in the mail today, having finished my job to be a SAHM for the next little while. DH does not have a job yet (he's been the SAHD for the last year) and we really, really don't want to eat up our newfound savings this way. With the moving etc he hasn't had a chance to do any real looking around, and with baby due in 5 weeks we may just hang in there for a while. So we are going to stick to the frugal living style we were forced to learn when back in debtsville. When DH has found a steady income, we are going to be looking to buy a place - mother has generously offered to help with the downpayment, but obviously we'll need to take care of the mortgage, and budget accordingly.

I'm feeling a huge load of relief, needless to say, but still very enthused about living frugally. Until DH has a job, things are very uncertain, so there's big motivation to stay living simple! (besides, we like it that way!)
post #8 of 95
Thread Starter 
Piglet- welcome back!

Am I understanding correctly that you were able to pay off your debts and still have savings to get you through until your dh finds a job? That is great!

My dh has an interview today for a new job. It would be a longer commute (45 min. drive each way instead of 15 min.- which is a big deal here in Snow city). But- the working conditions have to be better, so we are really hoping that the interview goes well and he is offered the job. He has a tendency to ask for too little pay when asked how much he would expect to make, so I told him to just tell what he makes now (not mentioning that that does not include benefits) and mention the extra commute, then say that if he is offered the job, he will have to weigh the money issue then. In reality, he will take the job if it is anything close to what he makes now, he just needs to get out of where he is. Of course, I dream of him making more money that we can put toward debt, but happiness at his job has to come first.

Our ebay stuff has been going well the past couple of weeks, dh just designed something new to sell, and I am hoping and praying that it sells as well as we hope it will, so that I can be making more to pay off the debts.

I am starting to think of Christmas gifts I can make for family this year, Christmas is usually a budget-buster for us, but last year we did a great job, making almost all of the gifts, hoping to do that again.
post #9 of 95
Hi - I'm new to this thread, hope you all don't mind me joining in. I'll skip the gory details, but to give you a basic overview:

My husband and I have recently separated after more than ten years of marriage and three kids. I have been a SAHM since our oldest was one, but I've also baby-sat for the past five years. Financially things were pretty bad even before the separation. We have about 10k in credit card debt, another two years on a car loan, and a decent sized mortgage payment. We refinanced a few years ago, so our mortgage is about a thousand a month (including taxes and insurance), but it will be paid off in 12 years. At that time it was smart to go with the bigger payment and pay it off in 15, but now it's hurting me. We do have a rental property that brings in $400 a month, and we have the potential for another, but need the seed money to get that done. All of our bills are up-to-date right now, but over the past two to three years there have been a significant number of late payments, so a loan of any kind is pretty much out of the question.

Right now a job for me isn't really feasible - I have my son who goes to morning kindergarten, the one I baby-sit goes to afternoon preschool, and a baby. If I were to get a full-time job I'd lose the baby-sitting income, and I'd have to pay someone to watch my baby and pick up my kindergartener.

I'm trying to get my ducks in a row as far as who takes what debt if (when!) we file for divorce. I want desperately to keep the house, and I'm pretty sure that I can get my parents to co-sign for a new mortgage to put it in my name only. When that happens, I plan to borrow enough extra to pay someone to get the second rental property ready for me, so that will be additional income.

I guess I'm still shocked that my life has come down to this, and I'm not sure if I'm thinking everything through. Anyone have any advice for me?
post #10 of 95
Thread Starter 

, I am so sorry to hear of what you are going through. How much of the debt is in your name? If you have CCs in your name, you could call the companies and ask them to lower your interest rate, and monthly payments, tell them your situation, they are likely to work with you on this. Is there any kind of WAHM business you could do? Could you take in one more child for care? Maybe a couple of kids for after-school care (older kids)?

Sorry I don't have more advice for you, but we are here to support you :
post #11 of 95
post #12 of 95
Hi-New here and defintely in debt!
I have 3 boys ( 8;6;3mo). I'm going back to my very pt job (3hrs/day 2-3days a week). I started back at my college this week also. I'm taking 3 courses online and one on campus. Anyway I have about 7,000 + in cc debt and 500.+ in unpaid medicals right now but, the thing is I've been having trouble paying my essentials (electric,phone,car ins.,etc). Food is a killer for me because my kids can't eat certain things like my middle one can't have dairy and eggs and gluten-so special foods cost more $$. I've been looking into credit debt agency's but don't want to be scammed plus if I can't pay for essential stuff how can I pay for cc's. Most are in collections and one lawyer's office said something about court! I've been thinking maybe I need to go bankrupt?! I haven't paid my car ins yet and they turned off my cell phone yesterday! I have the cell because of the kids esp. the oldest who has a severe heart condition. I've been trying to switch over to cd'ing but, don't have enough at this point to fully switch (I don't know any one IRL that has cd'ed either). I'm also have low supply issues(bf) so I have to supplement w/ formula ($$)I had hoped to not have to worry about formula.

Any ideas or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!!

post #13 of 95
Thread Starter 
I think it is time for you to call a not-for-profit credit counseling agency, you may be very surprised at how little you will have to pay per month through them. I know you don't see how they could make it work, but it is definitely worth a try before bankruptcy.
post #14 of 95
How do I find a non-for profit agency?

post #15 of 95
While I am not an advocate of bankruptcy, I believe there are certainly situations where it may be warranted.

Unfortunately, the credit system is set up to hurt those who are trying to pay their bills instead of declaring bankruptcy. For instance, if you have something in collections for 5 years and then you try to make payments on it or you pay it completely, the collection will stay on your credit report for seven years from the last payment you made, instead of from when it was originally added to your report. Also, instead of listing your payments as PAID AS AGREED on your cr, if you use a credit counseling service, it will say something different (I can't remember how it is worded) that indicates that you have made special payment arrangements, possibly lowering your score. I have read alot of really scary stories about credit counseling services, people who had paid for years, thought they were done and then received a huge bill for accrued interest, etc. Maybe check with the Better Business Bureau for a good one.
Again, I believe in personal responsibility , but when there are extreme circumstances, a sick child or parent perhaps, bankruptcy has it's place. Many people report having a score of 700 or higher immediately after filing for bankruptcy. Doesn't seem fair to those struggling to pay off the debt themselves.
post #16 of 95
I'd like to join - my goal for GOOD is paying off my student loan. DH and I have debt in the form of a car loan, my student loans from law school, and a mortgage. The car loan was not the best idea, perhaps, but it's a very reliable, reasonable car and a zero percent interest loan. the payment is annoying, but because there's no interest it's not a priority for me. the mortgage is on a 15 year plan and is higher than is comfortable but we're looking forward to 14 years from now when it's gone.

The student loan is another story. I have no regrets about going to law school and I was fairly conservative in my borrowing, but it's still debt. It's probably the one thing that's keeping me from being a SAHM and I really feel like it's a drain on our finances. I've done my best to pay back quickly and if all goes as planned, it will be half of what it was when i graduated which is an important milestone for me. I've been an advocate of living frugally and simply for several years now. We have our ups and downs but when we're following the plan, it goes really well.

I'll share our recent epiphany. DH and I realized that we had some sort of money leak and that we were really having trouble meeting expenses that come once or twice a year. We always said that we should have some sort of savings account to pay for items that we expect but never plan well for. I sat down and added up all of our expenses that come annually or semi-annually (bar membership fees, car registration and insurance, property taxes and home insurance, and life insurance premiums). I then divided the total by twelve to average what we should be setting aside each month. I had done this before, but couldn't figure out why we never seemed to be able to do it so I took the next step. I got out a calendar and my old statements and wrote down when each payment came due. Because the expenses are spread throughout the year, we always seemed to be paying for something and couldn't keep track of how much should be in that "savings" account. Now I've got a schedule of how much should be in savings at the end of each month in the year and hopefully we won't get thrown off every time one of those bills comes in the mail.

I realize it's not a lot, but baby steps are important!
post #17 of 95
Consumer Credit Counseling Services is a good one. (Beware, though--there are lots of similar sounding ones out there). Yes, it goes on your score, but it looks much better than bankruptcy.

Mmace, I don't know your story, but my heart goes out to you. Have you tried marital counseling?
post #18 of 95
Thank you for welcoming me! Yes, we have definitely tried counselling for our marriage - but apparently we are beyond that. There has been someone else in my husband's life for quite some time now - he was with her for my entire pregnancy and the four months of her life before he moved out, and I didn't know...

Thanks for any thoughts on things I need to think through as we work the financial things out - I'm going to post in the Single Parents board as well - but I know that I'm going to have to keep up a frugal lifestyle to keep myself and the kids afloat.
post #19 of 95
[QUOTE]There has been someone else in my husband's life for quite some time now - he was with her for my entire pregnancy and the four months of her life before he moved out, and I didn't know...

mmace: I'm sorry..unfortunately I know how your feeling-the same happened to me about 7 years ago..you're not alone sweetie 2 All I can say is for me it got easier to deal w/as time passed.

post #20 of 95
i'm still here, but dd just woke up, no time to chat.
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