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G.O.O.D. (getting out of debt) Sept. thread! - Page 2

post #21 of 95

I want to join you


I would like to join you. DH and I have alot of debt. I have had to go back to work early because of it. In a nutshell we have cc debt, loan, student loans, back taxes, and car. Not to mention other bills. Hubby is on a special diet and I try to eat organic whenever possible. Plus DH is a SAHD but is going back to school.
post #22 of 95
Hey, Shannon, those baby steps are a great way to begin. It's amazing to me how much it helps to write everything down. DH and I started doing that last year and it's a good feeling to know what you have at all times, and what is coming down the pipeline. Despite our best intentions, before writing it all down, there were always leaks or forgotten expenses and we racked up a fair share of overdraft charges.

Yes, Peppermint, when the sale money comes in some time this week we'll be debt free (except for that one student loan i mentioned) and we'll have savings in the bank. We will be using that to supplement until DH finds a job, but we are both determined to do very little of that. Two years ago when DH quit his high-paying job we had a very comfy savings...and due to very poor planning and spending habits we used it all up supplementing income. So this time we have sat down and made a plan for where every dollar is going to make sure we don't run the well dry a second time. We're still moving in (furniture arrived today) and I need DH around here full time if there's any chance of getting settled before baby arrives. Then I'll probably want some help for the first couple of weeks. So he hopes to find something to start end of October. The thing is, we have no idea what that will be, or what salary he will make, and so frugal living is vitally important right now. We have no idea how long we have to stretch this budget out. Frankly, I find it alot harder to have a big sum of money in the bank, but nothing coming in, because it's too easy to spend when the numbers seem high. I prefer being on a monthly budget, so I'm looking forward to a steady income again!
post #23 of 95
I know what you mean about spending when you have it. My DH is losing his job on 9/15 and it's been strangely liberating NOT to have $$. I know I can't spend so I"m not tempted but little things anymore. I don't even entertain the idea of spending above what I HAVE to spend now.
But, you can do it! Just take good care of yourself and hold on to your $$. We're thinking of yoU!
post #24 of 95
Spiral Chrissy, I know exactly what you mean about it being liberating to have virtually no money. Ironically, it's been easier for me to spend less and want less now that we are living on one income. I feel like we have more and I enjoy what we spend our money on more.

This is the 2nd week I've been able to adhere to the household budget! This is a HUGE accomplishment for me, and I am so proud of myself! : I came in at $5.72 under budget for the week!

But, I'm really nervous as the days get closer to the arrival of our first child...I don't know how much our lives are going to change..financially AND emotionally!!! I'm really excited, and have given myself the goal of taking one step at a time...so I'm focusing on making it through Friday and sticking to this week's budget. (I'm scheduled for a c section on Friday due to Placenta Previa).

Shannon, I love your idea for keeping track of and dealing with those irregular expenses. I'm putting that on my list of things to work on this week...it'll help make the waiting game easier. I am going crazy in anticipation of this baby!!
post #25 of 95
Hi, I'd like to join too!

Aunt Rayray, Consumer Credit Counseling was a God-send for me in college when I was sucked into all the plastic they virtually give away to college kids.

Our situation now is sort of promising. We have $10,400 in cc debt thanks to infertility treatments that didn't work. My goal is to pay off that by August as that's when our "no interest on balance transfers" special deal runs out. We just came back from a huge family trip, and I'm srtuggling to pay off the debt we accumulated on that (I separated that from the cc balance because I think I can pay it all off this month).

I'd like to offer a suggestion for those of you who do on-line banking. Granted my dh works for the bank, so I don't know it there are fees involved normally for more than 2 accounts, but my system seems to be helping.

I have a checking account, a savings account and a variable account. Part of DH's check is automatically put into savings for our property taxes. I don't touch that. But I pull out whatever I can from checking after his check is deposited, even if it's a small amount, and put it in the variables account. That way when we have an unexpected expense (like the fridge repair we just had), I transfer from variables to checking to help offset the expense. It helps me to physically move the money, because I'm lousy at leaving anything leftover at the end of the month.

It really as helped to see that account grow bit by bit and know we have something to help pay for things like new tires.

I look forward to sharing ideas!
post #26 of 95
my update:
I'm a grad student, married to a grad student. we have two car loans, a mortgage, cc debt and student loan debt. right now we're trying to maintain without establishing new debt.

We recently went on a vacation and spent about 40 bucks, including gas and the new life jacket I had to buy for erin to be in the canoe. But we're in the midst of a basement remodel and it is soo tempting for me to hire someone to finish up. Must persist. we don't really have the $$ anyhow.
post #27 of 95
Originally Posted by leomom
Spiral Chrissy, I know exactly what you mean about it being liberating to have virtually no money. Ironically, it's been easier for me to spend less and want less now that we are living on one income. I feel like we have more and I enjoy what we spend our money on more.
I agree - we discovered early this month that we had virtually no money left in checking. We had been setting money aside in savings but getting into the habit of taking it back out to pay off the cc bill or running out of money in the budgeted amount and just putting it on a cc - we've been living one month ahead of our paycheck. For the last 10 days we've just agreed that we won't spend money we don't have an it's worked. When we wanted to go to the farmer's market, we used change from the jar. When DH put gas in the car it was with the $5 I found in the laundry. It's been tough and I feel a little like a teenager - but I'm determined to stop using credit cards for things like groceries.

Originally Posted by leomom
Shannon, I love your idea for keeping track of and dealing with those irregular expenses. I'm putting that on my list of things to work on this week...it'll help make the waiting game easier. I am going crazy in anticipation of this baby!!
I have to admit, I feel like an idiot for not doing it sooner - we know the car insurance is coming due "sometime" but never know exactly when or have the money set aside to pay it. I'm hoping to quit my job soon after this baby is born and we'll have to live within our means.
post #28 of 95
Hi everyone and welcome to all the new mamas! (both to the thread and soon to *being* a mom).

Well, in a nutshell, dh and I have major cc debt from remodeling our house and a significant balance even before that, mortgage, student loan, and car payment. ugh. we are committed to halving our debt within one year- for both of us, we feel that's important before having another child. I dont think I could deal with the psychological burden of the debt we have right now while adjusting to life with 2 kids.

Some of you who have been on the thread for awhile might remember that i was getting ready to do craft fairs to sell some children's items i've been sewing. Well, my friend and i had our first one this past weekend. It went pretty well- i sold 6 pairs of my items, and while i'm happy with that, i am also disappointed. I was really expecting to sell more. we both got great comments from people, just not a lot of buying. But, i have ot tell myself that this is the first one, and i have more ideas for the next one and hope to have a website and be advertising here on MDC (lookout for Junebug's Winter Wear!) by the end of the month. I also sold a bunch on amazon, which paid for chiropractic treatments this month- but then our property tax bill just came in. We've only been saving for the last few months, so we dont have all of it put aside, but with this month's contribution, at least 1/2. so- better than none.

I'm grateful for the continuation of this thread... it can be hard to stay motivated in all this.
post #29 of 95
Hey everyone, and greetings to the new folks! DH and I have only one debt right now: our mortgage. It's my goal to pay it off. While I used to separate good debt/bad debt in my head, I'm realizing that ALL debt is bad debt, because it limits our options. We refi-ed our 30 year mortgage into a 15 year mortgage, and are on target to pay it off in about half the time. I set a yearly goal to make paying it off more manageble. We met this year's in June, so am setting up to reach next year's goal quicker (I hope).

Things are complicated by the fact that DH turns 50 this year (he's 13 years older than me, and it would be nice to ditch the mortgage sooner rather than later) and we are having
(mis)adventures in infertility. Dumb luck that tests show everything to be "fine" yet I'm still not knocked up!

Things are even more complicated by the fact that DH is self-employed, and to make a long story short, he is about to lose the building he has rented for 18 years for his business. We have to make some quick decisions (nevermind that I've been trying to light a fire under his tush for 18 months to get a proactive plan in place) that will be expensive. We will probably have to put up a barn at our house, and I'm trying to come up with a plan to keep costs down as much as possible. Of course, DH wants the El Dorado of buildings.

I get so inspired by the progress on this thread... Keep it coming! I'm going to need it in the coming year.
post #30 of 95
My DH is 13 yrs older than me too! DH is 46 and I'm 33! Glad to meet another "younger woman"
Your mortgage plan is wonderful!! I wish you all the luck in the world!!
post #31 of 95

I am so frustrated right now that it is crazy. I;ve been out of my mind busy with work lately plus we are remodeling our basement. Neither is really conducive to me feeling at ease. Money has been tight forever and just this week my dh gets paid again. Well today i log into my bank account and found that it was overdrawn. i felt so helpless -- and like I can't get out of this cycle. The thing is I forgot to write down a check. Which might have been a bad scene, but then dh used his debit card several times. So not only is there a bounced check, there are about 8 debits that were overdrawn -- meaning a 35 dollar fee each time. Plus I am so embarassed that this happened. So instead of my paycheck arriving tomorrow to go right to debt, it goes to bringing the bank up to positive and then friday's check might cover the expenses.

Our system is clearly not working. DH is going to handle the expenses from here on out. I just can't do it. Anyhow, nothing really positive to report, but I am up at 3 am worrying about all this and just needed to share my stress with someone else.
post #32 of 95
Thread Starter 
Oh Kerc

I think you know that most of us have been there at one time, I hate when I can't sleep over money issues, it just keeps running through your head.

When your dh takes over, do you think the finances will be better, or is it mainly to keep you from being up all night? I do all the money stuff here, I only tell dh when funds are getting really low so he won't buy anything unexpected, but I just figure there is no need for BOTH of us to worry on it. I know that's probably not the best plan though, who is it? Newmainer? that has the weekly financial meetings with her dh? That seems like a really wise thing to do, but, as I said, I am not sure 2 people worrying will change things. Maybe, Kerc- your dh taking over will be good to give you a break from the worry for a while.

post #33 of 95
Kerc - YMOYL says "No Shame, no blame." Don't beat yourself up. We all slide sometimes or we wouldn't be here.

A friend gave me an interesting idea about managing home finances. She and her husband trade off doing the home expenses ever year. Her dh did a woeful job this past time around, so she offered to take it over if he PAID her to do it. I laughed soooo hard! And he agreed!
post #34 of 95
Hi --

I want to join you. Dh and I have a lot of debt from student loans (he went to grad school . . .twice!), credit cards (grad school expenses plus some sins early in our marriage plus treatment for dog with cancer), and a home equity line of credit that absorbed one of our car loans and some renovation work that was necessary on our house. The work isn't finished yet, but we are focusing on keeping the costs down and paying for the rest of it in cash.

The whole debt load is about $75k, not including the first mortgage on the house. When I talk about getting out of debt, I am not really including that number. Right now dh is an architect, but not making a lot of money. It is not possible right now to make the minimum payments on everything, buy food, pay utilities and deal with other non-reducible expenses on his salary alone, so I am working as a doula. I also work as an apprentice midwife, though that is much more part-time. Both bring a new expense -- child care, which is about $600-$700 per month for my two kids, part-time.

We are on strict budgets now and pay for nearly everything with cash. I have a grocery/spending money budget and spend about $320 per month on food and my personal expenses (like haircuts, yarn from the yarn store, lunches/coffee out, etc.) Dh gets a $20 per week allowance for similar things. I would say that those allowances are our only reducible expense, but I am pretty attached to them and don't want to give them up.

Our goal -- to get rid of the credit card portion of the debt within two years without letting the others go higher. I have been thinking about a lot of radical and not so radical solutions, including moving the cc debt to another kind of loan, pulling money out of my 401k to pay it, moving it to a low-interest credit card, selling one of my cars to help pay for it (though that could cause more problems than it solved), etc.

What I want -- some ideas on how to lower monthly payments without paying more interest in the long run, some ideas on how to generate more income, and just a general I-am-going-through-the-same-thing support.

Oh, to comment on a pp's situation, dh and I have struggled for a long time with how to keep the checking account organized. What it took was taking a set amount of money out every paycheck and then not taking out any more without telling the other partner. So, we take our allowances out on Monday and don't go to the atm again for two more weeks.

post #35 of 95
thanks for the support. I think it was me grieving over the lost $$, more than blaming myself. DH is ok with it, he's screwed up in the past before and knows that one of us is bound to again.

I felt so much better after posting about it. Funny how we never talk about finances with our IRL friends.

Anyhow...dh is doing the finances because he just lets me handle it all and it is too much. I'm much more likely to check in on him than he is on me. frankly we have too much irregular s*** going on right now that we end up not making time for a finances meeting. Soooo...I'm creating a calendar for him of when bills are due and handing over the cc/checkbook/responsibility. when we get paid friday he's going to give me cash for gas, groceries, etc. We're paying our dcp in cash from here on out. It would just be too freakin embarassing to bounce a check to her.

I like the idea of sharing things, it just doesn't seem to happen around here. Easier if it is an assigned duty. I used to take time at work to do the finances and, well, since dd that time has been precious.

I did sleep a bit after posting. of course dd was up about 1.5 hrs after I finally fell asleep, but we still have coffee and food in the house. No coffee filters but a french press did the trick.
post #36 of 95
Defen: Some tough questions for you and your family. You could definitely call all your credit card companies and see if they will reduce your interest rates. If not, you can start moving your balances to a low or zero interest card and at least "consolidate" them that way and pay less interest. Student loans can be put temporarily into a hardship deferment or forebearance by calling your lender. Sounds like following your doula/midwife dream creates childcare expenses. Anyway to delay or change your plans so that you can share childcare with DH for the short term and eliminate that 600/700 month (ouch!)? Are you earning enough $$$ beyond your childcare costs to make it worth working right now?

Once you arrange things so you can put a little money toward debt, choose either the smallest debt (good to have that sense of accomplishment) or the one with the highest interest rate to throw your bucks at. If you choose the smallest debt, once that is paid, take that payment and add it to the minimum payment of your next debt to pay off. It's called "snowballing" and can help you pay your debt off faster.

I would really think long and hard about using your 401K money. Better not to touch it if you ever have an emergency. If you don't have an emergency cushion in place, let your 401K be there in case of disaster.

Just my 2 cents. Sounds you are asking all the right questions, and that in itself is half the battle...
post #37 of 95
Hi bamboogrrrl. Thanks for the reply!

The whole issue of me working is more complicated than it would seem. Right now the bare-bones, short-term survival budget puts us at about $500 per month short with no daycare cost on dh's salary alone. $420 of the $600-$700 daycare cost is ds1's preschool, which he likes a lot and thrives in.

I make about $1500 per month as a doula. I get tips occasionally or make a little more and that money can go toward debt. Right now I just have childcare for births and for one afternoon per week. Baby comes with me to midwifery office hours and I swap daycare for my older son on those days. Dh does the rest and I work a lot of nights and weekends attending births and doing visits. I probably work about 10-15 hours a week now doing visits and he is covering those. The vast majority of my births are at night, but I need the emergency daycare to cover births that might be during the day.

I have thought about chucking it all for a few years until the baby is ready for preschool and my older ds is in all-day school, but I am still left with that $500 per month. It will probably be about 3 years or so until dh's salary grows to cover that. I hate the idea of him working a second job (though he occasionally takes in short-term projects on the side and those help a lot). I also really like my work, though it is stressful to balance everything.

I agree about not using the 401k. It is nice to have some cushion. I haven't tried to call the credit card companies and ask for a reduction -- I may do that. We are fighting with the student loan folks about one payment that they double-deducted from our account, but when that is resolved we may try to give ourselves a little break from those loans.

Hope this makes sense.
post #38 of 95
Spiral: Just curious...Is it me, or do you experience your DH as very "set in his ways?" Not sure if it's my dh, or our age difference... Change is soooo hard for him.

Defen: Glad I was more helpful than not. If you can get the student loans put into forebearance or deferment (plead young children/low income), maybe that will be part/all of the $500 you need each month.

And then there is the other side of it: to reduce expenses. Some ideas? Last winter, I discovered the joys of our local library and haven't rented a video since. Am also borrowing books from my amazon.com wishlist from the library first to see if they are worth the purchase. Am decluttering the house and selling books and cds on amazon.com. DH and I reinsulated part of the attic last year, which decreased our heating bills.

We are smart and creative women, so I'm sure there are a bazillion leaks in our finances which we can fix once we find them. When I get to throw a double payment at the mortgage, it all seems worth it.

I had an interesting moment last weekend hanging out with some of dh's friends. I told them about my plan to pay off the mortgage early, and they snickered about another friend with the same plan. They made fun of his two years of frugality, how they could NEVER live that way. I pointed out that this same friend was thinking about retiring early to Hawaii as a result of his efforts. That shut them right up!

I'm not sure if this should be part of this thread or not, but wouldn't it be cool to have a growing list of resources on simple living/frugality/GOOD stuff?

Books that have helped me so far:
Your Money or Your Life
Cashing In on the American Dream: How to Retire at 35
Making a Living without a Job
post #39 of 95
kerc, sometimes calling the back where you were overdrawn and explaining the situation (forgetting about a check, then snowballing charges from debit cards) will incline them to reduce or eliminate the charges. I have had to do this many times over the years : and have always at least gotten the amount of the charges reduced by half. It's worth a try anyway. It helps if you've had your account a long time and don't have overdrafts on a regular basis.

Our savings is automatically withdrawn from dh's check so instead of tying our checking account to a savings, we tied it to our bank's visa. It has no balance, but if we are overdrawn for some reason, $100.00 is deducted from the credit card, put into checking and we are charged a $10 transfer fee. It is much cheaper than $35 for every transaction. Then we just pay off the cc balance from the next paycheck. So far, it has only happened once, but it really helps me from stressing out about overdraft fee's because we use a debit card for everything.

post #40 of 95
Oops, I forgot to add that I've read that banks offer free checking to folks who can't afford to tie their checking to savings (those living check to check) because they KNOW that they are more likely to have overdraft charges, thus making up the free checking cost.
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