G.O.O.D. (getting out of debt) Sept. thread! - Page 3 - Mothering Forums
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Frugality & Finances > G.O.O.D. (getting out of debt) Sept. thread!
indie's Avatar indie 07:08 PM 09-21-2004
For the carseat, shop around. We found dd a Roundabout for 50% off which makes it about the same as the cheaper seats. You might find a good deal somewhere.

Autumnschild's Avatar Autumnschild 04:17 AM 09-23-2004
Hi, hope you don't mind if I join this thread! I have some debt issues popping up. A few years back, I was married and living in Miami Beach. We both had a good income, so CC debt was no big deal. Well, we got divorced. I was foolish enough to let him keep everything, and I got stuck with CC bills for things I don't even have! When we divorced, I moved to Idaho and lived as simply as possible. I made enough to keep a roof over my head and food in the fridge, but that was it. It was enough for me. Unfortunately, the creditors nailed me as soon as my payments no longer on time, and late charges, finance charges and overlimit charges, etc started piling up. Within 2 years I owed twice as much. This town has really poor economy, and I have not been able to make enough to catch up. I couldn't file for bankruptcy because I had left all of our financial records with my ex, whom I no longer speak with. Eventually, I became pregnant and am now a married SAHM with 2 children. I am now being sued by my creditors. I have to appear in court in November and I am so afraid they are going to drag my current husband into this! We don't make much and we live very frugally, so I can't afford for them to take anything from us. I would love to get out of debt, but don't know where to begin.
Peppermint's Avatar Peppermint 11:38 AM 09-23-2004

So sorry to have to welcome you to this thread, no one wants to be here- but it is so good for all of us to have the support.

I have no idea what happens when one gets to the point you are at. Is there any way to work with the creditors at this point? Can you make a payment plan with them, or are they past that point with you?

Is there any kind of work you can do from home to help make some extra cash to put toward the debt? Is there anything else in your budget you can cut? Do you have a cell phone? cable TV? internet service that you pay for? are you using disposable diapers?

The biggest lesson for me in all of this is that I CANNOT AFFORD certain things that I think I should be able to afford (ie- the cable TV)- b/c I am in DEBT! As long as I have bills that are unpaid-- I have no money for extras- I still owe someone money---the credit card companies.

It sucks being in debt- we all know that- but we really all have had to "get real" and realize that we have to get ourselves out- it is only going to get worse--it will not go away on it's own, and won't go away without hard work from us, paid work sometimes, frugality other times--for me- both.

I have a friend (newly made friend) and she and her dh have twice the credit card debt that we have- they are a good 20 years older than us too-- they never "got it" at my age, and I am guessing they will probably never be able to retire from paid work, will never have anything to live off of, and may always be in debt, it is really sad. I am thankful to be getting us out of it now and learning this lesson now. The debt simply won't go away and will get worse.

Others have suggested it repeatedly- I haven't read the whole thing yet- only the online summary--but- you should check your library for Your Money or Your Life, some here can testify to the changes it made in their thinking about money matters.

On to talking about me . Dh got a new job- he is currently making $38,000 and we are paying about $8,000 a year into health insurance. At the new job, he has been offered $35,000 with health insurance included, but it does not kick in for 3 months, so- when he starts the new job- we will be having less money per month than we have right now- which is just scraping by . So- I need to really kick into gear and make up that money somehow- and manage Christmas without spending money (wish me luck on that). I am going through my closet today to find clothes to sell on ebay, and going to get to painting some new stuff for sale as well. The Blessing to all of this is that Dh will have a job where he is not treated like garbage daily. We had both wished/dreamed/hoped for more money with the new job- but I think God really wants us to learn this debt lesson without any shortcuts, and He is right (always is- right? ). One other thing though- dh does have another interview at another place today- so- there is still that chance that he will get an even better job--but we are trying to just be happy that he got the job he did and not get our hopes up.

And a GOOD note- ds's birthday was yesterday- I bought him a $5 toy that he LOVES - dh bought him a $13 fireman work shirt and dd bought him (with our money) an $8 toy. I think we did really well. OK- to be perfectly honest- I also bought him $1 of playdoh at the dollar store and gave him a book from my Usborne inventory. Still- I think we did really well .

Anyone have GOOD news to report?
mmace's Avatar mmace 02:26 PM 09-23-2004
Kerc - regarding wireless/long distance...

I was paying for an AT&T long distance plan - something like $4.99 per month, 5 cents a minute any time of day, but when the bill came, with taxes and fees, it was always $10 - $12 per month, and I was using very little long distance. I went to Sam's Club and bought a prepaid phone card and called and cancelled my long distance service. The card from Sam's was 800 minutes for $22something - so I am paying less than three cents a minute for long distance now, with no fees, no bill to pay.

It's the little things that add up!
kerc's Avatar kerc 12:04 AM 09-24-2004
i just got my csa preserving share of broccoli -- a paper grocery bag full for 10 bucks. . Into the freezer it goes tomorrow. Too bad the freezer's now full of yummy veggies -- no room for spendy ice cream.

I've had a mildly stressful week at work. Ok major emotional stress. Not changing jobs or anything, but just the baggage that comes with my job. Anyhow I managed to do very well on not snacking at the vending machines -- I spent 1.15 this evening, but that was it all week. This is a big victory for me I am very proud of myself.

We are swapping babysitting this weekend. Sat afternoon We're going to stay home and work on our basement remodeling while my dd plays at our friends house. then I'll go over there sat night and watch their kids while they go on their date. I'm leaving dd and dh at home -- he will put her to bed and then *hopefully* get some more painting done on the basement. (all the parts are already bought, we just need to finish it).

In the course of the basement project I realized that my sewing stash was overflowing my bin, so I am in the midst of selling/trading some of it. That won't bring in a ton of cash, but rather than sit there forgotten forever, I'd prefer a bit of cash.
Autumnschild's Avatar Autumnschild 02:43 AM 09-24-2004
I consider myself an expert at living frugally. I exchange babysitting with a friend once a week. We don't have cable, cell phones, long distance service, etc. I do use cloth instead of disposable diapers. Wipes too. I shop second hand, and at the dollar stores and discount grocery outlets. We conserve water and electricity as much as possible, and try to use firewood instead of gas heat in the winter. I take my DD to the library for movies and books instead of buying or renting. We don't use the car much due to gas prices. I've given up all of the extras except for the internet...which I pay $9.95/month for. This is my link to the outside world most days, and I need it for the sake of my sanity.

And still, we're broke. But this is my sacrifice so that I can stay home with my two little girls. I've really had to weigh it out and my decision is to stay with them while they are babies until they are old enough to fend for themselves in the world (daycare/preschool). I would love to stay home even then, and possibly homeschool them, but the debts do need to be paid, and contact with others in the adult world probably wouldn't be such a bad thing.

The best thing would be to WAH, but I need ideas. I have a sewing machine, but am still teaching myself to sew. I'm creative and organized but a really crappy salesperson. Any ideas, moms?
AuntRayRay's Avatar AuntRayRay 08:43 AM 09-24-2004
I second the request for WAH ideas!

kerc's Avatar kerc 10:46 AM 09-24-2004
i haven't been there in a looooong time, but have ya'll checked the wahm board for ideas? (sorry no time to search for you right now, I'm at my woh job and need to get busy!).
3 little birds's Avatar 3 little birds 04:05 PM 09-24-2004
I just wanted to post this link for info on credit, credit scoring, credit counseling services and related subjects. There is alot of good information there that I did not see in other places.
newmainer's Avatar newmainer 07:51 PM 09-25-2004
I am so frustrated. We came home from a fun- albeit tiring- day at the great Common Ground Country Fair here (awesome agricultural/sustainable living fair) to a notice from the IRS stating that I owe 636.00 in back taxes from 2000!! Ugh. I am so pissed. I thought we were doing well... in fact, yesterday we received a $150 rebate from one of our appliances we bought in the remodel and i am planning on immediately putting it in the bank then writing a check to our lowest cc balance. Though there is tons of other stuff we need that i could get with that, i decided makign do without just needs to happen right now.

i just have that feeling again of when the hell will this *ever* end? Plus, my whole sewing venture is costing way more money than making any. granted it is the start of the season, but everytime i buy fabric i groan.

Peppermint's Avatar Peppermint 08:45 PM 09-25-2004
newmainer- oh- that just stinks.

In my past attmepts to get out of debt it was situations like that that got me so discouraged that I "gave up" so to speak, felt like I'd never get ahead, or get out of the debt. Is there any way you can spread out the paying of the back taxes? Is there a date it all has to be paid by?

No matter what- keep plugging along- don't give up, and don't get too discouraged.
Autumnschild's Avatar Autumnschild 10:28 PM 09-25-2004
I'm paying off some back taxes through a payment plan, but those are to the state of Idaho. But I'm pretty sure you can do that. (They'd rather get some money than none at all).

My short term plan is coming together. Dh gets a raise next month. He'll also be eligible for health insurance for the family, so that's probably where the extra money will go to. At the beginning of next year, our mortgage payments should be going down. We had to pay a load of property taxes this year because we forgot to sign the exemption papers this last year. New homeowners! So, I'll be able to start making payments on the current debt that my DH and I have.

As far as my own debt from my previous marriage, well, I have a plan in the works for that too. My sister is moving here and we are going to be starting a daycare/preschool together. I had my own daycare for a year, but didn't have any help so I got no breaks. This will be different. I just need to get recertified. No problem. This plan is pretty dependent on when she gets here, because I won't do it alone again.

Anyway, having a plan is just the beginning, but already, I feel better.
Glittergal's Avatar Glittergal 12:56 PM 09-26-2004
ugh just lost a long post and now, you-know-who, is awake from her nap!
kerc's Avatar kerc 05:01 PM 09-26-2004
newmainer -->in order to really change our mentalities I think it needs to be long term. I see several successes in your story here - first that you got the rebate check at all vs. not filing for the rebate. second that you haven't already mentally spent it (or actually spent it) on something new.

fabric -- i am on a fabric fast and have been trying to sell fabric online bc I just have too much. We are remodeling the closet where it lives and i realized (a) how dumb is it that I have a fabric stash -- i.e. $ tied up in fabric I might never even use. not a problem for me if it is one of a kind stuff, but I'm talking mm fleece here. i can get that at a store in town, in minneapolis or online and have it the next day. (b). my sewing is not happening right now due to work and the remodeling -- so I've got supplies for a craft I am not doing.....dumb huh?

as far as daycare -- I couldn't do it. I like my kid and all, but I'd hate being kinda pinned to my home. (and i'd flip out if my dcp were hauling my child all over town).
Autumnschild's Avatar Autumnschild 05:26 PM 09-26-2004
Originally Posted by kerc
as far as daycare -- I couldn't do it. I like my kid and all, but I'd hate being kinda pinned to my home. (and i'd flip out if my dcp were hauling my child all over town).
Exactly what I mean when I say I won't be doing it alone again. I was totally stuck at home. If my sis and I do it together, then we can split the days in half. Spend a few hours with the kids, then doing my own thing. I didn't have anyone to give me the breaks I needed last time, and that's why I stopped doing daycare altogether. I'm apprehensive about starting again, but really, that was the only problem I had with it.
Peppermint's Avatar Peppermint 08:02 PM 09-26-2004
Daycare- IME the parents and the child you are working for make all of the difference. I did daycare in the past and it sucked, I was stuck in the house (or at the house, I did go outside to play) all day.

Now- I babysit a 5 yo whose mom is a friend, and his dad is too I guess, they are super laid back and very confident in my abilities. They WANT there child being in a real family setting, I take all the kids(my kids and the boy I watch) to the beach, the zoo, the bank, the PO, the grocery store, etc., he is truly just like another child in the family, and it is great. Granted you couldn't do that if you take in a bunch of kids and many are young. If I had to send my dc to daycare, I would want them to be with someone who took them everywhere, just like he/she were one of their own children. I wouldn't leave my child with someone who I didn't trust to drive them around town, YK?

My point is, if you can find the right parents/child and take in just one or 2 kids, it can be really great.
newmainer's Avatar newmainer 10:30 PM 09-26-2004
thanks. i'm feeling better. and, kerc, you are right. there have been rebates that i haven't bothered to fill out at all. but i find that my mentality is not necessarily a set thing yet... for example, i bought yarn at the fair for a sweater for my daughter. not cheap, and its not like i have tons of time to knit either, but i was like, "oh, its the common ground fair and it only happens once a year and this woman spins her own.." yada, yada, yada. and i come home to a f*&^%^g back tax bill! dd better like that sweater! (and i better not make a gazillion mistakes on it- lol...) so, i guess one step forward, two steps back sometimes.
kerc's Avatar kerc 12:42 PM 09-29-2004
deep breath, i just placed an ad in the local paper to sell our 2nd car. we don't really need it, but it is a pain in the rear for us to be a 1 car family. we need it about 2-3 x a month and those days are a pain, but...we need the cash more. Someone please call soon before we change our minds.
Peppermint's Avatar Peppermint 12:48 PM 09-29-2004

I hope someone does call soon. Will selling the car make a big dent in your debt? I have considered (before dh got his new job which is a 35 min. drive) going down to one car- and driving him to and from work, but selling a 98 escort with 100,000 miles doesn't really make one much money :LOL.

I have plans to get my closet cleaned out this week(inspired by another thread here) and sell a bunch of clothes on ebay. I am also going to sell dd's clothes which I had been hanging onto in hopes of another girl someday.
bamboogrrrl's Avatar bamboogrrrl 02:31 PM 09-29-2004
Peppermint: Don't forget, if you sell one car, you'll also save on insurance and repairs in addition to your sale price, so you'll save more than you think. BTW, we got rid of two of dh's junkers this year by donating the cars fo our local "Vehicle Donation" program, and we got a nice donation receipt.

We are about to take on MORE debt. Sigh. Not my idea, but dh needs a new shop for his business. His rental is being sold for a song, but it's currently a hazardous waste site due to gas tanks in the ground - too dicey a purchase IMO. We have two acres at our house, zoned general commercial, so he's barn shopping. The bummer of it all is that he's known for the past 18 months that this was going to happen. I came up with a bazillion proactive ideas (I'm such a planner!), which he ignored. NOW he wants help. I told him that I would appreciate him taking the reigns on this project, I'll help, but I can't make it happen. So he's hit the ground running this week. He found out that we do NOT need a new survey or a variance (major savings, to the tune of about $3K), that pole barns may have better property tax implications than a regular barn. Yea for dh!

Truth be told, the whole thing makes my fillings hurt, because I'm working so hard to pay down our mortgage, am loathing my job, and this project is definitely two steps backward. Anyway, I got dh to agree to do this in stages over a couple of years. Get the building up to get everything under cover first, have electric be a second stage, a road to the building be a third stage, so that all the costs don't hit at once, and we can work our butts off to pay this ASAP. The upside is that the barn will be two stories, and the upstairs will be divided in half, and I'll get to use it as an art studio (an incentive from DH to get me on board I think!). Not that I really need this, but it IS kind of nice.

The challenge of the whole project is to keep costs down without being "pennywise, pound foolish." I also want to make sure we're keeping our investment reasonable, so we can get the money back easily when we sell someday, especially if the housing market ever tanks.

I hate taking on more debt...
kerc's Avatar kerc 02:51 PM 09-29-2004
we owe about 8000 bucks on this car. so yes, it makes a huge difference. it also is insurance, gas, repairs, potential tickets for forgetting to move it to the other side of the road (we have an alternate side weekly parking law in duluth. gotta snowplow somehow!).
sm3247's Avatar sm3247 03:15 PM 09-29-2004
kerc -
good luck on the car sale. We were a one car family for several years. It was certainly more convenient to have a second car, but it's much more expensive than the price of the car when you factor in insurance, registration, and costs of running the car.
kerc's Avatar kerc 07:17 PM 09-30-2004
kelly, I haven't forgotten about your pm. I just want a clean space to haul my stuff out to see what I've got. But maybe check out the thread in sewing and crafts on trading mm fleece.

debt reduction plan --> last night we had a friend over to help install some laminate flooring. I was saying that I cancelled our cell phone ($40 per month) and we were considering getting rid of our second car and were looking at ways of cutting back further. He laughed and said "there's no way you can live without two cars. what if you want to go to the mall (no buses there) and dh is at the library." I laughed and thought obviously i could just wait to go to the mall. My how my perception of my needs has changed.
Indigo73's Avatar Indigo73 08:15 PM 09-30-2004
Well, after a lot of soul searching, researching and family pow wows - we've decided to refinance our house. Consolidating my student loans, minor CC debt and outrageous car payment into a low rate mortgage. The good thing is that we are going to be able to wipe out a ton of junk lingering on our credit reports, the bad thing is we will be back at owing for 30 years. But the mortgage is going to be almost the same payment and we will not have a car payment or student loans. Thus allowing us to put 3-5K a year on the principle and boosting our credit scores almost instantaneously.

Other good news, I have a major raise starting next Friday and we've got $$ going straight into my dh's and ds' savings accounts from my dh's paycheck, starting next Friday as well.

Lastly I found DSL service for $5 less a month, pretty much giving us a free month a year. Nice.
Peppermint's Avatar Peppermint 08:45 PM 09-30-2004
Indigo- How great that will be to have all of that in one payment- and yay on the raise and putting in direct savings! I know some say that refinancing to consolidate is not a GOOD idea, but if I could do that and have the credit card game be over- I would do it.
newmainer's Avatar newmainer 10:33 PM 09-30-2004
indigo, i think that sounds great. i totally want to do that when we reappraise our house sometime before february. but since we will have only owned it a year, i am not sure that the value went up enough for us to pull any more equity out to pay off cards etc... maybe the year after. its the only way i think we're going to be able to get this junk paid off.

we did, however, switch our lowest card to a 0% interest card until 12/05. my goal is to pay it off by dec of this year, but i think that's pretty far reaching unless my business really starts to take off, which is always possible. of course, while i have been trying to get my website up, i discovered that someone else has almost an identical name, selling (different) baby gear and advertising in all the same places. sooo, i'm out $35 on a domain name and $17 in labels . so frustrating. at least its tax deductible.

and this was a thought process mine today: dd needs new slippers. i could order nice ones from LL Bean for $14... *or* i could see if there are some at the used store for about $3.00... *or* i could make her a pair (since i have a ton of fleece) and get some puffy paint to make the bottoms non-slip for about $2.00! Getting better... i even brought hot chocolate to my knitting playgroup this a.m because it was the only thing i could make w/o spending money. baby steps!!
kerc's Avatar kerc 11:59 AM 10-01-2004
Originally Posted by newmainer
i even brought hot chocolate to my knitting playgroup this a.m because it was the only thing i could make w/o spending money. baby steps!!

knitting playgroup? how do i find myself one of those? everyone I know is so amazed I can do stuff like knit, sew and can food.
Peppermint's Avatar Peppermint 01:56 PM 10-01-2004
newmainer GREAT work on thinking through the slippers and with the hot chocolate!

I said I was going to clean out my closet this week and sell clothes on ebay- but I haven't yet , well, hopefully tomorrow .
newmainer's Avatar newmainer 09:41 PM 10-01-2004
thanks!! I felt pretty good about it myself.

i am going yardsaling tomorrow, but have a very specific list of things. i have found some great deals lately, but am really trying to stay focused on what we *need.*

dh tallied up his incoming work, and it looks like there will be enough to cover basic expenses so that we can allocate all the money from one good size contract to debt reduction. what a relief it will be to finally see those numbers going down in some way.

peppermint... is it really worth it to see clothes on ebay (this is a real, not rhetorical question). How much can you get for used items? is there a good market for it?
Peppermint's Avatar Peppermint 10:21 PM 10-01-2004
Originally Posted by newmainer
peppermint... is it really worth it to see clothes on ebay (this is a real, not rhetorical question). How much can you get for used items? is there a good market for it?
Brand names at popular sizes- YES! It's kind of like buying and selling diapers on there (or here). High end stuff I don't even know about (with clothes and diapers) but stuff like Gap (or kissaluvs ) sells really well. So- if you buy used from there, then re-sell after they are outgrow (as I have been known to do with diapers), you end up only paying a bit more than shipping for the clothes. I buy the kids clothes in lots to reduce shipping costs, like last week I bought dd a bunch of Gap jeans from there, Gap kids jeans last really well, and dd doesn't wear out a lot, so I figure I'll be able to re-sell most of those next year.

Name brands like Gap, Old Navy, Osh Kosh, Carters all do well for kids (I am sure hanna anderson does too- but I can't afford that ).

As for GOOD news we are entering a few months of uncertainty with budget as dh starts a new job, the benefits don't start for 3 months, so we will be paying $750 a month instead of the $600 we have been paying, and he will actually be bringing home less, I am a bit scared but determined not to have this take us off track. I am going to need the support here more than ever .
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