Anyone else ready to GET OUT OF DEBT #3 - Mothering Forums

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Old 06-18-2004, 12:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The Debt Thread #2 was getting long, so I'm going to try and get a new one started. (I'm new at this, so thanks for the instructions!)

Here's the #2 link in case anyone new to this thread wants to see other posts. http://www.mothering.com/discussions....php?p=1615118

And the #1 link: http://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=138939
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Old 06-18-2004, 01:09 PM
 
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Great job witch's mom! Thanks for the new thread.

This thread is for anyone who wants to get out of any debts they have, we are here supporting each other, sharing successes and ideas and encouragement.

I am in major credit card debt (actually dh and I are- it's not all my fault :LOL), and have a goal to be out of the credit card debt in 2 years, I have other "money related" goals too, but this one is the most pressing, the most immediate for me.

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Old 06-18-2004, 01:11 PM
 
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I want to give some info to you mommas about low cost internet, phones and cable tv! I can cut your bill in half!!!!!! Our cable is network tv. It is channels 2-23 (in maine) see if your state has a similiar offer. It costs us 16.92 with tax and everything every month. We are considering bunny ears though (good ones! LOL) The phone is basic telephone with caller id we pay around 20.00 a month for this. It is called lifeline. If your child or anyone in your home happens to have maine care or your states medical ins you are eligable it will cut your plan ten dollars a month. (no one in ours does anymore) Then theres the internet. We use netzero high speed. I don't think it is any better or worse then our old carrier. It is a fraction of the cost! It is dial up service. They offer unlimited regular for 9.95 a month and high speed for 14.95 a month. I think they have another package as well not sure! If you do sign up please use our email as your referal [email protected]. We don't check this email though, sadly I don't even know the password to it!!! If you need a link let me know!!!! I will send it to you. Hope this helps some mommas out! All together I think one of you said you paid some where around 95???? this plan would be around 55$ a month!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (we have switched threads and I cross posted in the last one so here is my post!)
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Old 06-18-2004, 01:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I didn't include my basic info in this thread starter. Here are my goals:

*Stay out of credit card debt (just paid off the card)
*Pay off house debt early (paying extra principle on loan)
*Build up savings and retirement accounts

Whether it's reducing debt or building for a future, the means are the same: We've got to cut down on the expenditures! There are some great ideas in these threads.

Off I go to make a crockpot of beans, homemade bread and log on to netzero.com to look into reduced high speed internet!
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Old 06-18-2004, 01:35 PM
 
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thanks for all the good vibes and support... its *is* important to look at the big picture, rather than the daily stuff, because you will go crazy. As I start unpackign more and more boxes, I have made a box of books to sell either at our intown used store, or on Amazon. Who has sold on Amazon? Is it easy? Is it worth it for the 15% commission they take? I guess some is better than none. Certainly I want the money, but I am also in the mode of just wanting less stuff. Plus, the less books we have, the fewer bookshelves I need to find at yardsales. We have a couple of boxes full already for stuff for our own yardsale that we're going to have in August.

I wish we had a Trader Joes near us! The nearest is in New Hampshire- definitley *not* cost effective to drive there to save 50 cents on milk! lol.... I think i actually might start a price book, between our co-op, factoring in my 15% discount, the other natural food store, and the regular grocery store. I too have been thinkign about what is important to buy organic or not. For me, produce is important. For those of us who have lived in agricultural areas, the pesticide spraying is intense (this was when I lived in California, i worked in watsonville, which is where most of hte country's strawberries are from, and a lot more). Plus, beyond the environment is the health of the farmworkers. But, while I used to buy all natural chocolate chips, spices, etc.. I think I am willing ot let that stuff go. I really appreciate with the YMOYL program that it encourages you to spend where your values are- it makes the extra money for organics worth it- again- looking big picture rather than the individual receipts. But, its hard when you get the total at the check out.

Regarding the craft fairs... I just did a google search for Maine Craft fairs- so, obviously do a search for your state. Calling Chambers of Commerce will get you the information as well. Some of them are juried. The ones we are doing are not. Cost only $40- to join the organization and I get access to 8-10 fairs.

This week I am going to tackle our phone service. Angel- i'm in Maine, but our daughter is not on mainecare... I am not sure if we could get it or not. I looked into Talk America, but I coudl only get long distance, so i'd need separate local. I don't want to pay taxes twice. I am thinking about doing just local and pre-paid calling cards for awhile to really see how much long distance we use and go from there.

You know a cool thing is about all this though? I actually feel my desire to spend decreasing- for the first time i can really remember! In the past its been brief and out of the fact that I really *did not* have the money to spend. I feel like now its a real change of outlook and goals. i am starting to look at things and see their broader impact, environmentally, socially, and on our big economic picture. Its actually kind of exciting! (wish I felt that way with no debt though...)

take care, mamas.

I am a homeopath, offering acute and constitutional consultations for children, babies, and parents. Long-distance treatment is easy, either phone or skype! I also am certified to offer Homeoprophylaxis, a vaccine-alternative program. Message me for more details. www.concentrichealing.com
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Old 06-18-2004, 02:07 PM
 
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Hi new Mainer, The great thing about Maine is that they are offering so many more telephone companies!!! MCI, talk america, I also saw a commercial for another company too! It was 24.95 a month with call waiting callerid. I would try doing a search on the internet. If I see the commercial I will let you know about it. Yes Yes all of you sign up for netzero! I will get 20.00!!! I will put it in Ali's savings
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Old 06-18-2004, 03:01 PM
 
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newmainer --- i sounds like you are really making some strides towards never being in this debt situation again.

amazon -- i'd run the books by the bookstore first. less hassle. then whatever they won't take I'd list on amazon. Personally I just figure the 15% is worth it. What am i going to do with a book I'm done reading?

Kristin -- mom of Erin (11/5/02) and Leah (9/29/05)
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Old 06-18-2004, 03:20 PM
 
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Everyone is doing so great with trimming costs! I am seriously impressed and inspired!

Newmainer: I started selling books on amazon.com in February, and so far, I've made almost a thousand dollars. Can't exactly quit my dayjob, but more it's more money I can throw at the mortgage... I find it's really easy to list books, and I go to library sales and yard sales to find stuff to post. I picked up a book last weekend for 50 cents, and sold it for $55 dollars ($48 after amazon's cut). Books are the love of my life, so I 've got a pretty good feel for what's valuable anyway. Popular stuff is being sold for literally pennies, and to me, it's not worth it to wrap up a book and mail it for that. If I can't sell it for at least 5 bucks, it goes back in trade to the used book store. I'm pretty organized about it, so it doesn't really take that much effort...

I got really sick of the lack of raises at my job, so when I learned about selling books on amazon, it seemed like an easy way to give myself a raise. And it's work I like!

Gotta figure out how to make this paycheck last until the next one. Will be creatively looking in the cupboards this weekend. I DID throw $300 in savings this month, but I have to buy a dumb dress as I am in my sister's wedding. I hate having to spend the money on something I will never wear again. Maybe I can unload it on ebay afterward... Ack!
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Old 06-18-2004, 10:49 PM
 
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Hey mommas I'm back again! I thought of something else I want you all to get excited about!!!! I started a savings account for all of our family with ING direct.com. They do not have a branch but they ARE FDIC insured. (you can call and check) I opened one for myself and for opening it they gave me 25.00$. Then I emailed a link to my daughter and put her on as the primary owner and I get 10$ for referal bonus and then she gets 25.00$$$$! (were up to 60.00 just for opening new accounts!) If you did this again and again you can get up to 250.00 for referals. The interest rate is competitive at 2.10%!!! Call and see what your current savings is getting! (ours was less then one percent!) Let me know if you want the link to get the 25.00$ bonus. If you are nervous I urge you to call the FDIC this is to good to pass up!!!!
New mainer, usa telephone was the company I was thinking of! Good luck getting new phone service!
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Old 06-19-2004, 03:03 AM
 
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We're working on paying the mortgage off. It will be a few years and it's taking dedication to make the extra payments every month- which means cutting expenses.

I went to dial up internet for $5.95/mo from Acees4Less, whcih I like- but my local phone service cost $30 that month because I had metered calls on my local plan- so I had to pay $19.95 a month to get unlimited local calling to dial up- a savings of only $8 off DSL. It is such a learning experience to find out what cuts actually save money!!!!

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Old 06-19-2004, 03:52 AM
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Have any of you used priceline.com (for travel--hotel, air, car)?

My sister said she's gotten good deals from it but I'm just wondering if any of y'all use it.

Regarding selling books on amazon--how do you figure in your cost of shipping? Doesn't that really eat away at your profit?

And how fast are you expected to get your butt down to the post office and mail it? That would be my problem--people would be waiting weeks for the book they bought from me!

"Our task is not to see the future, but to enable it."
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Old 06-19-2004, 11:12 AM
 
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re: shipping. there's a shipping credit -- they pay one flat rate, which has every time but once covered the cost of shipping for me. amazon gives you whatever the flat rate is...

re: priceline. they used to be much better. on local hotels - say you're going to a wedding in abig city or something. you can do really well at the last minute. but i find that they aren't that great (compared to orbitz or travelocity or any of the other big search engines), especially since for airfare you have to go with the flight they pick.

Kristin -- mom of Erin (11/5/02) and Leah (9/29/05)
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Old 06-19-2004, 11:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Yeah, figuring out what is really a worthwhile savings can be time consuming and eye-opening. I spent a lot of time on the netzero site yesterday researching internet options and basically it came down to the fact that it won't work for my situation. If I were just doing straight e-mail and websurfing, that'd be fine, but because I have my office e-mail address configured to both my home computer and my office computer, and because I send and receive large files, it'd be a big fat hassle because I wouldn't be able to SEND e-mail from my office e-mail address and save it with any reliability. The time involved looked extremely daunting.

Today's budget-minded excitement: 7-year-old DD is off doing something special with a girlfriend this morning, so I've got an entire morning of one-on-one time with 4-year-old DD, so we're going to pack up breakfast in a backpack and go ride the bike trails together. Normally in a windfall of one-on-one time like this, we'd go out to breakfast or lunch and maybe go do something else more costly (shopping just for her, ceramic place, park with train), but we've all been trying to refocus our ways on spending time together without necessarily spending money. Especially with little DD, who much more than her sister LOVES new things and regards shopping as an activity ALREADY, I want to get the consumer attitude out of our lives. It's tough in suburban California where, everywhere you look, people have lovely new things (and are mostly buried in debt . . .)
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Old 06-19-2004, 06:53 PM
 
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This morning I had errands to run, wash Ali's car seat, borrow nanis, post office, and return some things to walmart. So I just told Ali we were going shopping. I didn't really think she understood and I'm not going to list the errands to a toddler I thought wouldn't understand. My husband asked her where she thought she was going and she looked at him with such conviction and said simply, Shopping!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What have I done to my daughter!? Would she have understood park, or simply post office? Would she have answered him correctly if I told her were going to take a walk? Probably not as she LOVES to shop!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have spoiled her rotton! She is 20mos old and she knows that shopping means new clothes or toys or just things for the house!
So I did good grocery shopping today spending only 61.00!!!! I am hoping to spend no more then 10.00 on laundry. (laundry mats stink!) The good news is the car ins went down 34.00$ a month! Which is nice! Well got to go talk with you guys later happy saving!
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Old 06-20-2004, 02:13 AM
 
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A&A, I recently read an article that said the data show that calling the actual hotel itself and asking for their best rate is almost always the way to get the best rate rather than the on-line travel sites or the hotel's individual website. Thought that was great as the "old fashioned" way is still alive and kicking

I listen to our local consumer advocate Clark Howard, and he does a program about great travel deals each week. You might want to check out his website for more cheap travel info/tips@ www.clarkhoward.com

I went under budget today when I went to the co-op and farmers market!! My only splurge was my favorite organic shampoo. I rationalize its expense b/c when I use it, I only have to wash my hair every three days rather than every day when I use the regular stuff. It's amazing! Sometimes you gotta pay to be frugal :

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Old 06-20-2004, 04:05 PM
 
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When you go the hotel and ask for their best rate, then ask if they have any other discounts. They often will give an even lower rate for asking. We experienced this on our recent trip.

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Old 06-21-2004, 12:20 AM
 
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kerc- thanks for the hands clapping... I've never gotten that before!!~ And I just remembered that dh and I have to do our meeting (4th week in a row!) so i need to make this quick...

food budget. got to work on it.

bamboogrrll...I am so impressed with your book selling. I think I will try our stuff on Amazon and then go to the local store if I can't sell it for anything decent. What kinds of books are you looking for at yard sales? hardcover? hard to find? i'm not even sure what would be considered hard to find. I assume romances and westerns aren't big moneymakers...lol. I'd love to make money like that on the side though.

I concur with all the comments about the messages we're sending to our children. Its a tough one. I actually just posted a similar thing on the Simple Living forums. Dont' have time to get into it now, but think it warrants more discussion along with the allowance topic. Did that get to another thread already?

frugally yours,
kelly

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Old 06-21-2004, 11:59 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Checking, Monday morning. Did pretty well over the weekend, except for having to pay a late fee at the video store. (Two video stores we go to, and we've got late fees at both of them. Sigh.) What a waste of money!

Otherwise, though, I've stuck to the grocery pledge--Wednesdays Trader Joe's, Costco and the regular store in store, Thursday the Co-op--and stayed out of the grocery store all weekend. Made bread.

Still have to look harder at the car insurance situation with DH. That's this week's goal.

Happy saving, everyone!
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Old 06-21-2004, 03:42 PM
 
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we had a pretty good weekend as well.
movies from the library. no late fees there either.

my major purchase for the weekend was flowers. granted it was 5 bucks of annuals for the yard, but I'm po'ed at myself because i swore no flowers this year due to budget issues.

i spent 50 bucks at the grocery last thursday and plan to stretch it till this thursday.

on the budget issue I am in panic mode because my dh's first summer paycheck came and it was for less than I thought. School started a week later this year than last and I forgot to think about that. So the net amount will be the same, but the first check mucho smaller.

Listed a handful of items on ebay too. Hoping they go for loads of $$. Especially since I noticed this weekend that my dd's feet grew a whole size and she needs new sandals already . Happy that she is normal and growing. I bought the ones she's been wearing at goodwill in april (new at goodwill). Tried em on her and thought they would be too big for much of the summer. Little weed!

Kristin -- mom of Erin (11/5/02) and Leah (9/29/05)
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Old 06-22-2004, 02:45 AM
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So, how do y'all decide when something IS worth spending the money on? My dd wants to take a week long summer class--and it sounds fun, but it's $150. :

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Old 06-22-2004, 10:29 AM
 
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A&A- good question. What does this class mean to your dd? Is it really worth the $? Is there any less-expensive alternative? Would any of the grandparents want to treat her to that? My parents and in-laws are paying for the kid's gymnastics classes.

I am a firm believer that my debt is not my children's fault, and they will not be punished by my bad choices. That does not mean that they will get every little thing they want, I need to teach them not to be like me with spending.

I don't know how old your dd is, but, if this means a lot to her, and the grandparents aren't going to foot the bill, I would sit her down and talk about the expense. I would give her an opportunity to "earn" half of he money for it (that will help determine how much it means to her), maybe have a garage sale, list some stuff on ebay, have a lemonade and cookie stand, chores, whatever.

HTH!

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Old 06-22-2004, 10:48 AM
 
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i'd also check and see if the class was refundable or partially so (or you could switch classes/teachers) in case dd didn't end up liking it or what-have-you. then, it's not such a scary expense. i try and ask myself pros and cons to most every purchase....then, i've made a conscious decision either way. sometimes i regret it, but at least they were thought out if you end up not paying for the class, is there anyone you know who might be able to co-op with???

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Old 06-22-2004, 12:01 PM
 
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My husband and I were talking last night. It was a lot about what is a good expense as opposed to a bad expense. We determined that as the bills go we will stay very basic for now. Then he brought something to my attention. Alicia's closet! Oh dear! I never really realized! When I give someone hand me downs its enough to clothe not one but TWO children! Something I like to do with friends who have children is go bargain shopping! I love to find my daughter outfits for under four dollars! However for instance in the closet now is enough for Ali to not repeat an outfit for two solid weeks! I have already begun shopping for sizes that she can't yet wear because I get such good deals!!!!! But then I just buy more and more and more because they are cute! Or they go on clearance later in the season! So that is what I feel I waste a lot of our money on!!!! I am working on it but its hard it clearance season!!!!!!!
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Old 06-22-2004, 02:32 PM
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[QUOTE=jess7396 I would give her an opportunity to "earn" half of he money for it (that will help determine how much it means to her), maybe have a garage sale, list some stuff on ebay, have a lemonade and cookie stand, chores, whatever.

HTH![/QUOTE]

I like the idea of a garage sale. (That would give us a chance to get rid of some STUFF, as well! )

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Old 06-22-2004, 06:55 PM
 
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Ok I definatly need to subscribe to this thread....I (well DH and I) have been living in denial ever since we got married about the state of our financial affairs : The past five years we have always gotton 'so close' to haveing a major disaster but somhow it always worked itself out.....well that is not going to happen now

We currently have almost $20K in CC debt (just one card) and goodness knows how much in student loans (my undergrad and DH's law school) which are on deferment because we can't make the payments. We also have a $563 car payment that will be done in 2 years....and there is no real way to get rid of it because we need the car. BUT our biggest problem is that was a spenders : It is totally our own fault - we are both terrible with budgeting and are big impulse buyers....and now we have spent all of our 'cushion money' and barely have enough to pay our monthly bills.

We are looking for ways to cut out some of our montly expenses - we are considering getting rid of cable and internet and I am DETERMINED to lower our grocery bill. That will help some, but we need more then that. We are due with #3 in December and I so DESPERATLY want to have a homebirth but now I can't see any possible way to get the extra $2000 that it will cost We don't even have enough to send DS back to preschool next fall - which I know is not really a *must* but he loves it so and to be honest with the new baby I will REALLY need a break (no family around)

On the plus side for the first time we are putting away 5% of DH's salary into retirement savings, as well as paying alot on our mortage - so that is instant savings. But that dosen't help us on the monthly basis when we are $100 - $200 short on bills.

Any suggestions? Or just support would be nice. We are going on vacation (already planned and mostly paid for : ) for the next 2 weeks and when we get back are planning on meeting with a credit counsler. It just makes me soooo mad at myself because my DH has a good job and makes really good money and there is NO REASON why we should be in this kind of debt.

Oh and about kids and money - my DS already says "well let's just go and buy it mommy' whenever he wants something. He is no trying to be sassy or anything - it is just what he is used to. We have always just enjoyed picking up little (or big) things here and there for the kids so they really don't know or understand any other way. It makes me so sad.....

Grace - photographer, wife and mom to 4 great kids (Ethan 5.00, Ainsley 4.02, Owen 12.04, and Ellis Ann 10.07) :
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Old 06-22-2004, 07:07 PM
 
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Grace-
welcome to our group, I am getting tons of support from this thread and I am sure you will too. Really getting serious about the debt and the pressing need to get out of it is most important. I have been almost "there" before, but, this time, I am truly "there" and serious about it, and I know that a couple of years of working hard at this goal won't be easy, but, the time is NOW and we HAVE to do this. I am also hoping to truly change my ways, so that all of the money now going to pay off debt will go into savings, the kids college accounts, charity, etc..

:Patty :fireman Catholic, intactalactivist, co-sleeping, GDing, HSing, no-vax Mama to .........................:..........hale:
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Old 06-22-2004, 09:34 PM
 
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Was just flipping through the channels and heard Dr. Phil say something right on track, he does that on occasion :LOL.

Anyway- he was talking about drug abuse, but the principal applies here too- he said that the most dangerous idea is that one must "hit rock bottom" before they can be seek help, and he pointed out that "rock bottom" can be 6 feet under. In the debt situation, bankruptcy would be "rock bottom" I suppose. I am thankful that I am getting serious now.

:Patty :fireman Catholic, intactalactivist, co-sleeping, GDing, HSing, no-vax Mama to .........................:..........hale:
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Old 06-22-2004, 09:51 PM
 
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Welcome graceoc -- you'd be surprised where you spend your money. I'd suggest checking out of the library the book "your money or your life" -- the #1 walk away message I got from it is that to control your spending you need to know what you are spending your money on. and being 100-200 bucks short each month -- that sounds like it might be easier to find than you think -- dunno what you spend on groceries, but 10 bucks less a week x 4 and you're at 40 bucks. cut out cable and you're likely there.

Ok question for you mamas. Anyone have a fleet bank cc? I got some good cc offers today in the mail and then found out bank one regularly ups your interest after you sign up. (checked the wording closely on bank one and sure enough they don't guarantee the low rate for ___ period of time. Just that you start there). So I checked out the other offers, and fleet looks decent, but I don't want to switch if they are crappy to deal with KWIM?

Kristin -- mom of Erin (11/5/02) and Leah (9/29/05)
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Old 06-22-2004, 11:02 PM
 
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Graceoc I am not as much in debt. I have no credit cards but we would like to live comfortably with me at home. We bought a 1,00$ vacum. (WHY?!!!!) We have a car payment on my car and we have a furniture bill. Again WHY! I would love to have that extra money every month to make life more bearable! Some suggestions that I have found helpful are, one utilize atleast half of your tax return for paying off or down high interest accounts! IE when we do taxes at the end of 2004 we will pay off the thousand dollar vacum and the furniture bill! YEEE HAA Two cut the other half of the return in half again put half in your savings for a cushion for the year(or years) and the other half spend it! Buy the things you have needed or REALLY wanted!(Spoil yourselves now and then!!!!) Three Try babysitting or getting an evening job. This works for some moms to get a little extra cash and its a change of pace. I get over a hundred a week babysitting for grocerys! It helps our family and I have a little spending money! Four try cutting down your utilities to the basics. There are also some free internet programs out there watch out though often its only so many hours of free access a month and then its a charge per hour. Good luck and welcome!!!!!
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Old 06-23-2004, 01:51 AM
 
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www.bankrate.com is a great place to find out more info on cc rates, etc. it also has some super clear advice . about the children's clothes---i have a friend who has quite a few little ones, and she decided one day that everyone had too many clothes. she went and sold, donated and traded away ALL but 7 outfits per child plus kept some playclothes. each child gets one jacket per season, and two pairs of shoes. she made a fortune on consignment! she was doing laundry every day anyway, so now she's even more apt to get it done so everyone will have clothes to wear amazing. i wish i could get to that place! i tried to go through and be ruthless, but i kept thinking, if we NEED this, it would be more expensive to rebuy it......

I have retired from administration work, so if you have a question about anything MDC-related, please contact Cynthia Mosher. Thanks!
 
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