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eirual 01-01-2012 07:52 AM

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



eirual 01-01-2012 07:55 AM

So what are you hoping 2012 will bring your way? Where would you like to be this time next year and how are you going to get there?



Personally, we have a surprise coming our way in June and that will mean 2012 will be a LEAN year and we're trying to squirrel away money every chance we can (though I have to admit we're a wee bit too spoiled and could be a little more gazelle). We need to prepare to live on 55% of our one income for a year so we've upped our savings and DH picks up work where he can and I tutor a couple times a week after my FT job. Hoping to get creative and be able to bring some income while home with babe too, but maybe I'll wait until it's 6 months or so and work one day a week?



Paigekitten 01-01-2012 03:24 PM

I'm excited for tax time.  We are getting a return and hopefully putting it all towards debt.

meandk0610 01-01-2012 05:25 PM

i think this will be my first time following this thread.


got divorced this year and recently got my share of the equity out of the marital home. dd(6) and i have been living with my mother for the past year and i plan to use the equity money to buy a house (doublewide/modular) that i can pay for in cash.


i owe the dentist money that i will be paying half of tomorrow and half 2 weeks after that. i have 2 part-time jobs and have been unable to make the payments on my 2 credit cards or student loan since leaving xh last summer. i've already settled and paid off 1 credit card. i plan to call the other credit card this month to see what i can work out with them. the student loan is in hardship deferment. i plan to start making payments to cover the interest each month starting this month. i'm also working on doing online training to be able to replace my current income so that we can move; we can't afford a house around where we are now, i wouldn't qualify for even a low mortgage because i'm a contractor for both of my jobs, and there aren't any jobs where we're going to move.


i have a few things that i can list on ebay but really have to push myself to list anything (take pictures, measure, weigh, put everything on computer).

AnkaJones 01-01-2012 05:46 PM



Back again.  Still plugging away on BS2!  Last month we did better than ever before with Christmas, which isn't saying much, but weren't particularly intense.  Went outside of budget on a few things, but still didn't go any deeper into debt or anything like that.  This month we're re-focusing.  We got rid of the cable, I'm picking up more overtime, and DH cut back his cell phone plan to the bare minimum.



trekkingirl 01-02-2012 02:17 PM



Been a while since I've posted. I only have one more bill from the old house to pay. The garbage bill. On the phone I was told it would be $180 rant.gif and I thought I was going to have to dispute it, but when they finally sent me the bill it was only $63.


Last month I had to pay the final energy bill, $130. I was furious about that one because they put it to collections after it was only two weeks late and they never sent me a bill even though I left them my forwarding address. When I called to complain they said I was on ebills! So they disregarded my forwarding address and emailed the bill to an email address that no longer exists because I moved. That's just brilliant! By the time I got the collection notice I had already paid the bill. I wouldn't have even known about it if I hadn't been smart enough to go online to their website and check my account.


Then comcast sends me a $14 bill a month and a half after I closed my account with them and paid them in full! At least they had the sense to send it to my new address. I didn't even contest it, I just paid! I really want that greedy company out of my life! I will never be giving them any of my hard earned money ever again.


On a more positive note....... I was able to talk down the cost of my DMV registration from $138 to $105! Doesn't hurt to ask, right!


We're still trying to move our storage to a cheaper place. Right now were paying $178 for a 10 by 10.


As hard as I try I still can't get DH to write a budget and stick to it. He does fine writing out the bills but other than that, forget it!


I'm still on disability till March 1st and am really anxious to make some real money so we can get ahead faster. DH isn't really working with me when it comes to figuring out some way for me to work more than two days a week. It's so hard with kids.



lakeruby 01-03-2012 12:30 PM

Hi all!  I haven't been in this forum for a while, but I am working away at BS2. I am down to around $2800 in student loan debt (from $13K a few years ago!).  I seem to have stagnated, but I hope to pay this off SOON!  We are expecting #1 in August 2012, and I really had hoped to pay off our debt (other than mortgage) by then, so I'm making that my goal.  I have been doing wayyyyy too much shopping lately, and not enough saving.  Some of it important (we splurge on good vitamins and supplements and healthy organic foods) but lots of it not (did I really need to buy 4 presents for my nephew at Christmas?  And when I've had some challenging times at work lately I've indulged in some "therapy" shopping. ugh!).  


So, I'm here to say that I am going to find a way to pay off that loan in the next few months-- maybe try to sell some stuff of ebay, save money on food by using coupons and shopping the sales, and not eating out very much-- that last one is hard for me right now since morning sickness is making most cooking off limits for me, but I do have a supportive family that's been helping me out!).  


Happy New Year!

AnkaJones 01-03-2012 12:40 PM

I finally had a chance to do my formal budget for this month, and I had a revalation.  We've cut back our fixed expenses enough that it's no longer all that hard to find a little extra in the budget for those little things that come up every month... like this month we need a stroller (we'd been making do with a ring sling, and the baby is just too heavy now to carry on longer trips).  After getting rid of cable, cutting our cell phone plans down to the minimum, and such like, we can now afford that in cash without saving for months and without digging into our debt snowball or emergency fund.  It was such a relief sitting down with an "Okay, we can't afford this right now, but we've gotta plan ahead and save for a few months to buy it" and realizing "Oh.  We can afford this.  This month!"


Now, the reason it has taken us months to cut back our fixed expenses is because we felt like we'd be deprived if we didn't have cable or all the smartphone features.  But you know what?  We aren't.  Life just keeps getting better.  No cable means lots of scrabble.  Turns out the nanny also likes scrabble, so we're gonna have a little scrabble party later this month at her place.  Things like that just keep appearing, and I feel like we're a lot more satisfied.




eirual 01-03-2012 03:48 PM

Paigekitten: I forgot about tax-time! I'm hoping with DH being a full-time student we should be seeing a fat return since he was working and being taxed for the 6 months leading up to school starting.


meandk: Will you buy the modular outright? It sounds like you've made some very positive changes and have your feet firmly planted on the ground heading in the right direction. ....and WELCOMElove.gif.


Anka: YAY for making your money work for YOU!!


Trekkingirl: It will be nice to have those bills behind you- rediculous that they were so unorganized and caused such grief. I've never really understood storage lockers. Are the contents really worth over $1,000 that they cost to store for the year?


lakeruby: that's a huge chunk you've paid off! And congrats on your bean! Will that mean any major financial changes for you guys next summer?





rosie_plus_one 01-03-2012 05:32 PM

oh boy it's been a long time since I've done this!  fell off the wagon for a few years, but am squarely back on the wagon as of December.


Debt total started at 31,425.29, not including the house - credit cards and four student loans.  In December I started an emergency fund of $1500 (larger than recomended to cover one month's mortgage should the need arise) and paid off $3,015.14.  I'm hoping to get a few thousand dollars on my tax return this year, which will knock out two more debts. 


My big issue is lifestyle - even though I'm a money geek and love to see the graphs and all that, I have a very difficult time with impulse control.  I bought a house last June and have been living vastly outside of my means ever since, so at this point paying off debt isn't so much about wanting to but more *having* to so I have less outgoing each month.

Me-and 2 01-03-2012 05:41 PM

Hi! I got you and your post. How have you been dealing? I just found out have twins and thats SO not expected. Did you hire someone? Debt consolidator? Thanks for your help.

trekkingirl 01-03-2012 06:09 PM

me and 2 welcome to MDC. If you go to the first post in this thread you'll see Dave Ramsey's baby steps to debt freedom  are listed. You don't have to follow that plan but a lot of us do. He wrote a book called The Total Money Makeover. You can find it at your local library. Congrats on the twins!



Glad this thread is active today! I have been rereading Financial Peace and I am so happy to announce that DH and I sat down and filled out the forms in the back of the book for cash flow budgeting. If we play out what we wrote down on paper we should be way better off than we've been. I see now that I really have no excuse not to have my $1000 EF in the bank.

lakeruby 01-04-2012 10:39 AM

Thanks!  I'm not sure yet about major financial changes... we are hoping to have a home birth, and our midwife is covered by our insurance so our out-of-pocket expenses for the midwife/birth will be about $1K (or $100 a month, which seems do-able).   If things don't go as expected, we could have some medical bills but we have great insurance, thankfully.  I would love to save save save money for a larger safety net, but really want to get out of debt first.



lakeruby: that's a huge chunk you've paid off! And congrats on your bean! Will that mean any major financial changes for you guys next summer?






akichan 01-05-2012 02:33 AM

Hi! I'm Akie, single mom to 3 young boys, homeschooling one. I joined a few different times over the years, but I'm re-listening to TMMO right now and really hope to reach some big financial goals this year.


I don't have any debts but I've been living waaay beyond my means and have seen my savings go down to pretty much nothing in this last year. So I'm working on building up my 6 months of savings, which seems like it's going to take forever.


SO: this year, I will not

1.  EAT OUT or eat fast food

2.  cut movies to once a quarter

3.  No new clothes or accessories for me or videos/games/toys (this will be difficult because I really want a new wallet and keychain and I work a seasonal job at Coach so I'm surrounded by stuff I like to buy all the time)

4.  Frugally consider what my children truly need before purchasing anything.


BUT here's the confession:

Knowing I was going to start a major money makeover this month, last month I SPLURGED and bought a TON of stuff!


Also, I really want to take up horseback riding but I know that at $100 per ride or $55 per lesson it's a very expensive hobby. I enjoy it a ton but that $100 can add up if I save it instead of going riding. How do you balance your hobbies?


My goals are to take my kids to Texas this summer to visit friends, and also to attend the Signing Time conference in July, which I figure will cost me about $7,000 total. I don't want to have to take it out of savings but I doubt I can save up $7,000 in 7 months - that would mean saving almost half of what I make every month. And that means I won't be putting anything into my fully funded emergency fund.


Sorry for the rambling, it's nice to be able to put it all out on paper and hear if everyone else thinks I'm crazy. Flame away!


AnkaJones 01-05-2012 02:39 AM

Hi Akie,


When I was a kid I loved riding, but my family had no where near enough money to pay for it.  I got a 'job' exercising a horse for someone who lived out of town.  Maybe you could find a gig like that?



akichan 01-05-2012 02:44 AM

Oh, and I forgot to mention that I don't have anyone IRL that I want to talk to about this but I feel like I do need someone to keep me accountable. What do other singles do? I don't think I can be completely honest with myself if all I have to do is report here on the computer. Who should I talk to so I can find someone to crunch numbers with me in person? And I really prefer not to have to pay a financial advisor, even though I probably should hire a real one. My credit union offers one but he mostly sells insurance, not so much budgeting, which is what I really need to do. Especially since I started my own business and have no idea how much I spend/make. Totally unorganized, I know!

AnkaJones 01-05-2012 02:48 AM

I've never been with them, but I've heard of debters/spenders anonymous.  Maybe that would help?

eirual 01-05-2012 05:45 AM

Welcome back, Akichan!


If you're with a credit union, I'd take all your numbers into an investment advisor. Explain exactly where you're starting from (i.e. what you have now) and explain where you'd like to be, that you're planning on saving money to build an emergency fund of x amount and that needs to accessible to you at the drop of a hat (not tied up for 5 years). They might be able to get your money working as hard as it can for you, and might help you set your priorities (IMO, emergency fund is first, and vacation/conference should probably wait another year so you can focus your energies and accomplish your goals vs. being divided and making slower progress on both goals).


I went to a C.U. because I was hoping to start that 6 month EF and make it work for me as much as it could while still being accessible in an emergency, but we were heading into what we knew would be a challenging year (DH stopped working and started going to school full time...and now surprise I'm pregnant so we'll be living off 55% of our one income next year while we have a new babe and DH is in his last year of school). I wanted someone to help me save most effectively whatever we could scrounge up to save. wasn't a all....infact our budget just barely balanced with really nothing leftover.


She actually made me feel a lot better. Pointed out that right now might not be the time for investing, but pointed out that we were investing in DH this year, and that's OKAY if that's all we manage. We're doing it with no debt and not incuring any more, so that's more than what most people manage. Anyway, she got nothing out of the deal (i.e. I didn't invest money with their C.U.) but she was super helpful and when we're out of this cash-crunch, we'll likely go back to her to actually invest.


I think you need to find your motivation and give yourself a timeline and really set out your goals IN ORDER and focus on just one at a time. Getting out of debt is clearly outlined in TMMO, but once you get to BS 3 things get a little fuzzier, especially when there are "extra" things you want to save for.

liberal_chick 01-05-2012 07:57 AM

I want to join you guys!


We've been working our way VERY slowly though DR's program.  My mother put all my siblings through the actual class, but my little family lives in the sticks and the closest class is an hour away, so we got the DVDs.  This is our 2nd month working with his cash flow and allocated spending plans.  So far, so good!  I'm ready to move forward and do his lesson on the debt snowball.  Thanks to Christmas and some very generous family, we now have our $1000 EF in the bank.  WOOT!


We have a sticking point, though, and I'm curious if someone might have some advice.  Dh's company does not and will not do a company credit card.  He is expected to purchase items on a personal credit card and submit for reimbursement, meaning we will always have to have one active credit card.  This wouldn't be a big deal in and of itself, really, except that we keep getting the reimbursement money mixed up with our regular checking account money and the balance on the credit card goes up up up. And it is also really hard to put on the allocated spending plan.  You have to count it as income but then it goes right back out to the CC.  I don't know, maybe I'm overthinking it?  I suggested to dh that we open a seperate checking account and that the checks only come and go from that account, which would be way easier to keep track of, and that we don't include it on our ASP at all since it SHOULD be a wash every month.


Anyway, we have a big chunk of CC debt (15500 on 1 card, 4K on a card, and 5K on another) and I'm hoping we can pay the two smaller cards down with dh's bonus check in March.  He'll also be getting some Army bonus money that should cover the balance of his student loans.  At that point, I think we'll only have our mortgage, the big CC, and my student loan (a very sizable $33K) and we can start hammering the snowball hard!

AnkaJones 01-05-2012 10:14 AM

 Hi Liberal Chick,


Awesome on your progress!


DH had a similar problem with his work, and we really haven't found a great way to deal with it other than to put everything on our debit card which kind of sucks because it means we have to have a cash cushin in the checking account that's actually quite sizable (and hotels will often hold a large chunk of change if you aren't paying with a true credit card, then not release the hold until a month or so later).  Other thngs we thought about, and would probably have worked pretty well if we weren't so anti-credit-card, was if you're budgeting to the dollar, you simply don't spend every buck you find in your account (... would have required way more discipline than we have...).  Or getting rid of direct deposit, so that we got the paystub with the check and knew that it was our paycheck vs. reimbursement money.


Anyway, hope you find a solution that works for your family.  The presumption that everyone in our society has a credit card is pretty absurd, isn't it?




liberal_chick 01-05-2012 10:54 AM

It totally is.  I'm tempted to tell dh to close our CC accounts and tell his company sorry.  I know they do it to prevent someone from going nuts on the company card and then bailing, but sheesh.

esg 01-05-2012 02:06 PM

I saw this thread but don't know why I didn't join already. I want in cause I want to be debt free by the end of this year. It's ambitious, I know but I really need to get it together.


I'm a single mama to one son. About a month before I had him, I lost a well paying job and had to live off savings. Now, nearly a year after losing that job, I'm working with way less funds and far more debt. I want to put the little that I make to work for me and I think getting rid of debt would be the best way to do it. I don't follow anything official though DR is pretty close to what I'm thinking. I love him.


Today I worked out about how much debt I have and so far it totals $17,316.24 not counting my mortgage. I'm not sure if that's everything but that's most of it that comes to mind right now. I already have it in order of lowest to highest. I'm doing a NoSpend challenge (considering it for a few months this year) and and also a decluttering challenge this month. I'm hoping both will help me towards my goal. Now I need to set up an emergency fund, get all my basics covered, get my credit reports so I can work on those too and pull in more income while I work on getting all this debt gone.


I'm very excited to join!




I have nowhere else to write all this down so:


My emergency fund goal is $1400. Since the first thing I need to do is get current on everything and set up an E. fund, I'm hoping to do all this early on so I can get on to getting rid of the debt. So far I'm $0/1400. Got to start somewhere though!

mylilmonkeys 01-06-2012 12:26 PM

So last month was one catastrophe after another.  Our internet was out for a week, which is a necessity for dd who is in virtual school.  The twins got their first colds.  Various other computer related problems.  But the hardest part was DH's transmission finally failed on his car.  I had saved almost $2000 for a new van, so we used this as a down payment on a reliable vehicle for him.  We took out our first car loan in more than 10 years!  It's just for $3000, and will be repaid with our tax return next month.  I just couldn't see wasting that money on another junker car, when our plan was to buy him something newer in a few months anyway.  We got a 2004 Hyundai with 80,000 mi, which I think was a great deal.  They gave us $200 to salvage the car, even.  And he should be able to drive this car for the next 7-10 years.  Hopefully we'll also be able to still buy a van that meets our needs within our now lower budget without delaying that purchase too much longer.  Things keep falling off our van.  Nothing critical, but we cannot open the front passenger side door from the inside. We have to roll down the window and open with the outside handle or wait for someone to open from the outside.  And now, we cannot open the side door from the outside.  We have to open the front passenger side and use the inside handle.  The push button fell off into the door.  I'm hoping dh can at least fix that bit this weekend.  UGH.


So our finances are not quite as neat and tidy as I'd hoped they'd be.  I insisted that dh would have to return to giving plasma to pay for the additional expense to the insurance company and the loan payment, plus helping repay the money to the van account.  Since he was at the end of his most demanding semester, it was a good time to go back.  This upcoming semester should be better as far as classes, but he needs to find an internship and hours in the day to put into an internship...


Once our vehicle situations are remedied (should be by late spring) then we will be in much smoother sailing for building our big EF and reaching other goals.  We're still meeting our savings goals for sinking funds, so things like car insurance, back-to-school and such will not be coming out of a single week or month's check.  I'm really proud that despite our tiny income, we're saving almost 25% a month!



esg 01-06-2012 04:00 PM

Yesterday I got $4 more than expected in my paycheck. I added 5 bucks and that started my emergency fund.

Today I went on a hunt for change and came up with $5.21 including a dollar I discovered clinging to another.

I'm surprised that I'm getting anything from anywhere since I can't use budgeted money towards my EF.


So far, 01/05 - $9

          01/06 - $5.21



Paigekitten 01-06-2012 04:38 PM

esg, that is so inspiring.

trekkingirl 01-06-2012 05:53 PM

today I went to my storage to give away the baby furniture in an effort to downsize to a cheaper storage. When I opened up the storage I discovered that it had become infested with field mice! Their droppings are in everything. I think I need to take out any items that I can't replace and count it as a total loss. I contacted State Farm because I took out insurance on my belongings and the woman I spoke to doesn't think they cover rodent damage. The claims person is going to call me tomorrow.


On a more positive note.....


I had $100 budgeted to buy a new wig as my current one was starting to fray and human hair wigs cost a bit more but last a lot longer. The store was having a 30% off sale and DH helped me pick out a really nice wig for only $48 and it's human hair!


This is the first time in the ten years since I lost my hair that my DH went with to help me pick out a wig. I used to have straight brown hair and he picked out a wig just like my old hair. I told him it was funny because he could of picked out anything and he went with my original look. He really loves me!

esg 01-06-2012 06:19 PM

Originally Posted by Paigekitten View Post

esg, that is so inspiring.

Oh thank you. I'm really hoping I can do it.


esg 01-06-2012 06:22 PM

Originally Posted by trekkingirl View Post

I had $100 budgeted to buy a new wig as my current one was starting to fray and human hair wigs cost a bit more but last a lot longer. The store was having a 30% off sale and DH helped me pick out a really nice wig for only $48 and it's human hair!


This is the first time in the ten years since I lost my hair that my DH went with to help me pick out a wig. I used to have straight brown hair and he picked out a wig just like my old hair. I told him it was funny because he could of picked out anything and he went with my original look. He really loves me!


Wow! That's an awesome deal!

I've always helped my mom pick out her wigs (due to Alopecia) and she used to tell us about buying human hair and how expensive it can be. That is such a good deal.

It looks like he really loves you too!


lavatea 01-06-2012 06:32 PM

Jumping in real quick then I'll go back and see if there is any conversation I missed.

I've participated in this thread in the past, but it's been a long time. I follow a quasi-Ramsey plan. I set up sinking funds before having a fully-funded baby e-fund. I'm working a debt snowball, but it's not that large. Boy did it feel great to pay off a few tiny bills that way, though. Currently our snowball is being tied up paying off the midwife from DS2's birth.

I'm on maternity leave right now so this month and next are going to be super tight. I called the electric company yesterday to make alternative payment arrangements for this month's bill. I was also able to get one of my private student loans deferred for 3 months and will call back next month to get the other loan through the same company also deferred (this month's payment was a few days late so it had to be paid before it could be deferred). I also got us on a rehab plan for DH's student loan that has been in default. I wouldn't have messed with that right now, but they had put in a claim against our 2010 refund (which we still haven't received...LONG story). This way we are on track to get that back current, and we'll still get our refund (at some point) which I have earmarked for other things. Too bad the timing stinks. Oh, and we bought a second car (needed third row seating) so that crappy car payment is going to start up this month. Another horrible timing thing, but somehow I hope I can make it work.

I'm actively looking for a new job while I'm on maternity leave. I can make substantially more (probably working less) in a larger market a few hours from our house. That would be a real blessing if I could both cut my hours and increase my income. I also really need to get off of the night shift which probably won't happen for at least 6 months at my current job.

So what are you hoping 2012 will bring your way? Where would you like to be this time next year and how are you going to get there?

I'd like to have a new job with more $$ and less hours. I'd like us to be caught up on our saving plans/sinking funds and be really going with our debt snowball. By this time next year I'd like to have paid off the next two bills in line to be snowballed (about $1,600 total). We'll hopefully get there by an increase in my income and possibly picking up some extra shifts when I have the time and they're available.

lavatea 01-06-2012 06:48 PM

Originally Posted by trekkingirl View Post

This is the first time in the ten years since I lost my hair that my DH went with to help me pick out a wig. I used to have straight brown hair and he picked out a wig just like my old hair. I told him it was funny because he could of picked out anything and he went with my original look. He really loves me!

So sweet...

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