Getting out of debt -GOOD- feb thread - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 94 Old 01-31-2005, 09:16 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Come one, come all....anyone working on paying off debt come here for non-judgemental support. We won't tell anyone how many late payments you have, but we will all have a cyber party when you report that debt is paid off.




Myself, I'm a grad student (so that's my job, I'm paid to do research in the lab here). DH is a community college instructor, we are hoping for 2 PHDs this summer. DH and I have a ton of cc debt. We have 2 car loans and student loans (in deferment). We have one daughter. Oh yeah, and we have a mortgage. But we are focusing on paying off the unsecured credit and cars and not worrying about the mortgage.


I turned over the tea bag box this morning and came across something like 10 rules for life. One of them was "live beneath your means." After doing my taxes last week (refund, ) I realized that we are NOT living beneath our means, we made a heck of a lot of money last year.

Kristin -- mom of Erin (11/5/02) and Leah (9/29/05)
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#2 of 94 Old 01-31-2005, 11:16 AM
 
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Hey Kristin- thanks for the new thread, so cool that there is a really great place for us here now. When I get some time, I'd like to go back to all of our old threads and invite everone here, meant to do that last month, but haven't gotten around to it yet. More later- sicky baby .

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#3 of 94 Old 01-31-2005, 11:49 AM
 
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Hey!

Update--We got all of our tax stuff and we file today!! HELLO TAX RETURN!!

Fingers crossed its as good as we hope

If it is we will pay off a car and a loan and half a credit card That'll free up 125 a month

Single Mom to 2 amazing little men. T(7) and B(5)
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#4 of 94 Old 01-31-2005, 12:17 PM
 
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We have a family of three. We have been living well above our means. Right now, the bank account is drained and I'm living on credit. : Seems like I'm racking up ccard debt and then paying it off, only to rack it up again...so far I've been able to pay in full every month but I don't think I can do it much longer.

I've got to quit spending!!!
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#5 of 94 Old 01-31-2005, 02:00 PM
 
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I am new to the GOOD threads. I also posted a new thread asking for stories from people who have filed chapter seven. I am just really, really confused right now.

Dh and I are barely making ends meet. I brought a lot of debt into our marriage, almost all of it accumulated in college when I had a substance abuse issue, a very expensive one. I have been clean and sober now for four years, and dh has never used any type of substance at all. We live very frugally, well within our means. We have no car payments, we never eat out, we don't even rent movies. We don't buy new clothes, we don't drink alcohol or smoke, we have never taken a vacation. We cd, bf (duh), keep our thermostat at 63, hang clothes to dry at least half the time, we don't even bathe every day (well we take a "bird bath" at least every day) I work pt (12 hours per week) and dh works full time. together we make about $35,000. I LOVE my job and we are so much happier now that I get to spend more time with my family than I did when I tried to work full-time + have an infant. I only lasted two months of that. And after paying for child care I was very barely coming out ahead anyway.

So my question is, how do I get out of debt when I have no spare money at all to pay anything but minimum payments? All of my accounts (4 total) are in good standing, I don't make late payments or skip payments. I just never have anything but the minimum. I don't know how much more we can economize. I am considering looking into chapter seven because I don't see an end to this.

Has anyone else been in this situation? Sometimes I feel like I don't know how much more I can pay for my past addictive behavior. And it kills me to think that ds is the one who is going to suffer for it. Every month when I write out the checks to creditors I think of how that money could go toward his future instead of my past mistakes.

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#6 of 94 Old 01-31-2005, 02:04 PM
 
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Have you called to try to lower your interest rate? Can you apply for a new card with very low, even 0% interest? That way- your minimum payments would still be paying down your debts.

:Patty :fireman Catholic, intactalactivist, co-sleeping, GDing, HSing, no-vax Mama to .........................:..........hale:
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#7 of 94 Old 01-31-2005, 02:16 PM
 
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can you take out a low interest loan to pay off the high interest credit cards?

when i got out of college i had 7 maxed cc and student loans and for 9 years until my student loan was paid off I could only make minimum payments. I was able to consolidate the cc debt and am now finally seeing the light. Except my husband relocated us and I no longer have a job and my ei runs out in October... so that is my deadline to have my loan paid off.
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#8 of 94 Old 01-31-2005, 02:43 PM
 
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I'll certainly be reading this forum and thread eagerly!

I'm currently trying to pay off right around $6000.00 in credit card debt. I've just transferred that balance to a new card with a 0% apr until Feb. 06, so that's my deadline to pay as much as possible off! I'm trying to use the original card only for emergencies and things I can pay in full every month. I won't use the new card at all.

Once that is paid off, I will start putting that money toward a down payment on a house, because I currently am living with and renting from my sister. I hope to have enough to start looking for homes in late 2006. While it would likely be cheaper to stay with my sis, long-term I think I need a home.

All this is really aimed toward my ultimate goal, which is to adopt a child from China! That will take 15-20,000, over the course of a year. I'm thinking I'll have enough saved to start the process in mid-2006 or early 2007, saving and raising the rest over the course of the year it will take (since the biggest expense is travel, right at the end).

Since I'm single and will have to use daycare, I'm trying to put the money I would be paying for daycare into paying off the CC and saving toward the adoption. At least I'll be used to that money being gone! I'm also decluttering slowly, and putting a few things on Ebay.

I'm sending lots of good debt-reducing thoughts to everyone here, and hoping desperately that my car does not die as it is threatening to do!
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#9 of 94 Old 01-31-2005, 02:58 PM
 
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Thanks for the thoughtful replies--I hope I didn't come across as a whiner. If there is one thing I've learned it is to take responsibility for myself and my actions.

I will look into different types of solutions. From what I understand, debt counseling look worse on your credit score than a chapter seven, does anyone know much about that? I will also try to look into transferring to a lower interest rate card. Right now I'm paying huge interest rates--yikes!!

I've been in denial about this issue forever, this year I made a promise to myself to make a plan and stick with it.

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#10 of 94 Old 01-31-2005, 06:46 PM
 
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What a great thread! I posted yesterday about the credit cards calling... I guess I will start here with my full debt acknowledgment... We currently owe, gulp, 26K plus our car loan and student loans. We are not at all behind on credit card or car payments, but can only make minimums and do often end up behind on utilities (they don't report to credit agencies unless you go to collection).

Our debt story goes like this: DH graduated from college in '01 and had much trouble finding a job. He was unemployed for 8 months and then accepted a job at minimum wage. Meanwhile, I was teaching preschool and making peanuts. We were living well over our means and trying to plan our wedding. Assuming he would get a good paying job, we pulled out the credit cards and planned the wedding of our dreams. Well, my parents fell through on helping with the wedding and DH's "big" job didn't turn up. When we got married our debt had topped 14K- about half from the wedding and half from cost-of-living expenses while DH was unemployed. A year later we had 20K in debt, and were pregnant. We took out a debt consolodation loan, moved in with my mom and saved, saved, saved every penny. By the time DD was born, we were down to 15K in debt and had 5K in savings, so I could be a SAHM for 6 months. In the meantime, my mom hit financial hardtimes and was going to sell her house. The house is a great investment in a up and coming area, with an attached apartment. We decided to assume her mortgage while seeking financing. I went back to work about 15 hours a week, nights & weekends, to afford the mortgage. We found tenants for the apartment, leaving our mortgage only $200 a month. Well... within a few weeks our furnance gave out and the escrow account went negative, jacking the mortgage up about $300 a month. The 5K to fix the mortgage went back on the credit cards, and we were running in the red again. Now, 7 months later, we have 26K in debt, and haven't bought the house yet.

If/when we buy this house, we will instantly have 15K in equaty because we "bought" it from my mom for much less than it appraised, plus we have already put in a fair amount of work. We are trying to figure out how to approach buying the house, maybe even trying to legally assume the mortgage then take out a home equaty loan so that we can pay off some of the c. cards and be able to deduct the interest. Our second big debate is when I should return to work fulltime and if I should work outside the home or try to do home daycare or a similar venture to stay with DD. I am SO torn between spending these precious years with DD and working to get rid of this debt. If I did work I could pay my entire income to the CC's. BUT, DD will only be a baby once... Ack, what to do!

Anyway, sorry this is so long... I am obviously in need of the support this thread will provide!

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#11 of 94 Old 01-31-2005, 07:47 PM
 
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Carrie- If you could see back through all of our GOOD threads you'd see my struggle with making money to get out of debt vs. being home with my babies. I have tried many WAH jobs, and I still some of them .

It can be hard to strike a balance of feeling like you are working out of your debt and still being with your babies as much as you want to, you'll find the balance that works for you.

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#12 of 94 Old 01-31-2005, 08:57 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peppermint

It can be hard to strike a balance of feeling like you are working out of your debt and still being with your babies as much as you want to, you'll find the balance that works for you.
it's so hard.... DH and I decided that we would do anything we could to keep her out of daycare for her first year. We made that our priority, saved the $$ during my pregnancy, and made it work. I am really proud of our success in saving that money. I stayed home full time for 7 months and have worked nights/weekends (15-20 hours a week) and watched a friends DS to make ends meet. Well, that friend now has moved away and my hours have been cut back at work (down to 10 or so) and I am not enjoying working retail at all. My degree is in child development and I keep going back and forth about doing home day care vs. teaching. Dh and I have made an "appointment" to look at our debt, create a tentative plan, and discuss our priorities. I guess I have reached a point, and DD is old enough, that if putting her daycare part-time means getting our debt under control, I am willing to go that route. Anyway- I am glad to find your group! I didn't know y'all existed before this new forum!

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#13 of 94 Old 01-31-2005, 09:29 PM
 
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I'll post my story later, but until then. :
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#14 of 94 Old 01-31-2005, 10:15 PM
 
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OK, I'm here too. We didn't get evicted!!! Yay! we still owe last month's rent in addition to this month's but things are looking up. I gathered up all of my equiptment, so starting as soon as I get the apartment clean I'll be working again (I work from home). I haven't worked since May of 2004, so I feel like a lot of our financial lowpoints are my fault.

DF is home sick today so I can't write much, gotta take care of two babies instead of my usual one
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#15 of 94 Old 02-01-2005, 02:13 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rowdypea
...
Has anyone else been in this situation? Sometimes I feel like I don't know how much more I can pay for my past addictive behavior. And it kills me to think that ds is the one who is going to suffer for it. Every month when I write out the checks to creditors I think of how that money could go toward his future instead of my past mistakes.
: I am there. Only my "past addictive behavior" was thinking that as an adult, I needed to "prove" that I was grown up by buying things, esp. buying everyone else nice presents. I realized too late that I was trying to keep up with people who were 40 years older than me, with 40 years more money.

We are struggling, HARD, and our income dropped last year due to DH cutting his hours and me cutting my overtime, so we could take care of our baby.
I started filing my taxes (currently waiting on DS's soc sec # we lost) and realized the question wasn't "where did the money go" but "why wasn't there any money in the 1st place?" LOL
So we're literally spending EVERY DIME on debts and electric and home phone. No luxuries, we don't eat out, don't have internet, don't have cable.
We have cars that are way too nice, but we're upside down on one. We're selling the other.
But we are paying things off and making progress.
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#16 of 94 Old 02-01-2005, 03:40 PM
 
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May I join in?

We have the goal to move out of the city and on to our own land. So for the next 24 months we are paying off our debt, fast tracked! That is every extra bit of money goes to getting this debt done!

I figured it out and we can get out in about 18 - 24 months depending on, well, life!

I look forward to all your stories, appreciate the ones thus far, and I won't bore you with mine. Its debt accumulated while dh was in school and I was on maternity, working only parttime.

Question for you all...Do you find being is debt is kind of like living in the past? Everytime I pay alittle more its like a bit of my past being put to bed. KWIM?

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#17 of 94 Old 02-01-2005, 04:40 PM
 
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Checking in to whine briefly, and then I'll be done. But first, I've gotta say that it's soooooo cool to see this expanded forum and all these new folks! I love hearing everyone's ideas on scaling back and living more simply.

Every year around this time, I usually can start setting aside some bucks for dh's Roth IRA. He's 50, with no retirement, and a small business, so it's REALLY important. Anyway, this year is a little different. He's had a ton of dentistry done, and even after insurance payments, we still owe a chunk o'change. Ack! Okay, it's doable by the end of winter, and we'll have a little $$ set aside in a Healthcare account we can use. Fine. We also have a burgeoning roof leak that we HAVE to address once the weather gets better. That should soak up all or most of any tax return. With my almost three years of (mis)adventures in (in)fertility, to get a second opinion from an RE will cost a whopping $650 that may or may not be partially covered by insurance.

I mean, we'll get it all done. But the minute I think I've got it going on... I'm grateful we'll be able to swing it (may try to find another RE that takes my insurance), but bummed that I'm putting other goals on hold.

Anyway, just whining, thanks for listening, and we'll get there.
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#18 of 94 Old 02-01-2005, 04:51 PM
 
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I've been meaning to join the GOOD threads for ages, but ds keeps me from posting very often.

Dh and I don't carry any consumer debt, but we have to pay almost $1000 a month for student loans and equity debt. : I'm planning to pay off one loan and begin a starting "snowball" of about $300 for the rest after we figure out this year's taxes. Have you folks heard of these snowball debt calculators? I'm pretty excited about using this a payment plan. Here's a link:
http://www.geocities.com/schizeckinosy/Snowball.html

Kelly
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#19 of 94 Old 02-01-2005, 06:39 PM
 
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hi everyone. i'm married, with our first baby on the way. hubby has a good job, and i am presently a stay at home wife/soon to be sahm. we have several loans to pay off (around $3000 in student loans, and $2350 to my mom). we are really hoping to pay off at least the loan to my mom this year, as well as come up with some money to put down on a house when our lease goes up next january.

our spending style is sort of odd, i guess. we are bargain hunters that almost never pay full price for anything...but we buy TOO MUCH STUFF. we justify everything on the basis that we "got such a good deal". on hubby's days off, we end up shopping, and eating out-piddling away all our extra money, out of boredom, i guess. i know that we should be using the money to pay down our debts, but i can't figure out how to actually save any of the money.

anyway, i'll be lurking here to see what the rest of you are up to...
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#20 of 94 Old 02-01-2005, 10:56 PM
 
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Tomorrow is the day, mamas!! We have a 9am closing with our bank to do the refinance and will be 95% out of credit card debt. That's 33,000 down to about 2,000- if that!! I can't believe it. it makes me walk around with a stupid smile on my face.

Once that's done, i am going to really buckle down with tracking our spending so we stay mindful. We still have some big bills coming up. We're going to owe on taxes. No refunds for us, but i told dh there is NO WAY we are putting any payments on credit cards. I'd rather have a payment plan wtih the IRS and pay their interest. We'll see what the damage is.

On better news, Maine has a new insurance plan that we can buy into. our premiums probably won't go down, but they will be all tax deductible and it pays for preventative care, like well baby checkups and paps etc... which our current insurance pays none of. Hopefully we will even be reimbursed for midwifery care when I get pregnant again next summer/fall.

so, things are looking up!! thanks for all of your support

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#21 of 94 Old 02-02-2005, 11:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
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newmainer I hope all goes well this morning. (looking at the clock, it is probably happenign right now!!).


who said paying debt is like living in the past? I get so irritated with myself all the time for stupid ways I spent money. It does inspire me to spend more wisely though. And to that end I think paying it off the hard way is the only way to really break the cycle. We've used student loans to pay off cc debt before and well, it just creeps up and up again and again.

Kristin -- mom of Erin (11/5/02) and Leah (9/29/05)
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#22 of 94 Old 02-02-2005, 11:55 AM
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Hi everyone

I am new to the home management area didn't even know it existed!

That said, we are not longer in any form of debt.

BUT....

To get here we endured a bankruptcy last year and now are beginning to rebuild. No easy feat on one income and with 2 kids....but we kept our home (we're in Canada so bankruptcy is a bit different here I believe than US) and are now forging our way to better living.

No more credit cards though we will be getting a secured one when we can afford it soon, to rebuild our credit.

I do the finances so I watch every penny closely now.
Our plans for this year are save....save...save. We want to start the kids' funds soon...they have bonds that we will dump into their savings eventually....we just switched our mortgage from monthly to biweekly which will help so bills are no longer put off. Catch up on some bills and things should be ok.


Anyways, I am just here to offer hugs and support. We were $40G in debt so I know how hard it can be on a mama.
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#23 of 94 Old 02-02-2005, 12:16 PM
 
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Hi, This is my second month here. I am happy to report that we have paid our monthly CC bills and not charged them back up to the max .

I am also happy to report that DH is going to pay the 6,000.00 high interest balance off with his company's money and then use it soley as a company CC paying it off monthly.

We went to get our DS a social security card yesterday in another city and found out that we didn't bring the proper documentation for him even though we were told a birth cert. and my ID were plenty : so we can't do our taxes until that arrives.

We have made a deal to not eat out at all for 2 weeks starting today (a long time for us) and are tracking our expenses.

Let's have a G.O.O.D. month
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#24 of 94 Old 02-02-2005, 12:33 PM
 
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Newmainer I would be walking around with a silly smile too if it were me. I hope everything went great.

I am ITA with the poster who said paying off cc debt was like living in the past. Ugh, what a mess I used to be.

My2girlsmama- what was your bankruptcy like? I am thinking of filing for myself, meaning not with dh (allowed in my state). we have not fallen behind at this point, but man we are on the brink, big time. yikes!!

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#25 of 94 Old 02-02-2005, 12:41 PM
 
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Stretchmark - That rocks! Way to go!

Last night I finished off the mortgage application to refi for double our mortgage amount (ouch!), moving from a 15 year (with 12 left - ouch!) to a 30 year mortgage to pay for this behemoth of a barn we are building for dh's business. I chose 30 year in case we ever run in to financial difficulties: the minimum amount would be more doable. Actually, it's a baby barn - 1200 sq. ft, two story, with a cute gambrel roof. Even tho it makes me want to throw up because we're taking on more debt, we ARE adding value to our home equal to or more than we are borrowing. So it's not the dumbest thing we've ever done. It's a race against time once spring rolls around, as dh's current shop that he rents is about to be sold. Dh should be able to throw major $$$ at the mortgage once he moves, so my hopes are that it will still be a 12 year debt (or less!). And if I ever get knocked up (ack!), he could provide some of the childcare and work from home...

This is supposed to be a GOOD thread, and here I am doubling our debt...
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#26 of 94 Old 02-02-2005, 12:49 PM
 
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Wow, you guys are really inspiring!

I just used my bills money to pay my cc...1375 dollars I racked up in one month! On what? Beats me! And now I have to try to hold off until next Friday to pay bills and won't have any money to do anything else.

Does anyone else feel this way: when I have no money and things look dire like they do now, that's when I seem to have trouble fighting the urge for impulse buys. I mean, I guess it's a temporary high to help me forget about all the money troubles...like on the site, I keep seeing those diaper ads and their calling my name.
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#27 of 94 Old 02-02-2005, 01:00 PM
 
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Okay first I am grumpy that my husband prevous employer STILL hasnt sent his W2 form so I wait to file my taxes and I should be a chuck back.

It is easy to start taking little things for granted. Looking at the little things like do I need to buy potato chips? I really stay away from snack foods, it really add $$$ to the total food bill.

I have always been able to pay the more on my CC plus I can bounce them every year to another zero interest which has been a total life saver. So the full amount I pay go for the totall bill not interest.

Right now I am still getting my preschool business going and by March I should have all the spots fulled which means extra money to pay even more on the evil CC.

FUnny too because we haven't use ANY CC for 4 years now but man are the dangous.
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#28 of 94 Old 02-02-2005, 01:13 PM
 
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OK - I feel WAY in debt compared to some off you : But we are slowly but surely getting out of it -
Right now we currently are at @30K for student loans (dh went to a private engineering school) @20K in Credit cards plus we have 2 vehicles (1 a car the other DH's harley) Plus insurances (life, renters, auto)Plus the other basics food, rent on our apartment, electric, internet. Plus we have a mortgage on our land in TX that we are trying to sell.
We are actually down @11K in debt - We cashed in DH's 401K from his former employer (the way it was set up it was frozen when he quit)

Once we sell the property though we will be down that mortgage & be able to pay off all the CC's as well. Freeing up @$700 a month. So we are praying like crazy it sells soon.
THen we will be looking in to building our house - We are lucky because DH's friend is a contractor & we will be able to do it for cost.

We don't have cable & I try to not shop for things we don't "need" Excepet w/ all the cute girly stuff out there sometimes its hard!

DH is even considering selling his harley which is one of those things that he needs to be ready for so I don't have a miserable husband. But we both really wantt o get into a house of our own & stop throwing $ away to rent

I'm always looking for little ways to save - I also try to put a little more than minimum towards CC's when we can

We are getting a tax refund but we need to get new tires for the vehicles & service done to the car as well. BUt at least it is going to things we need

Kate, BioMama to Emma Lu, Elliana - Almost Mama to Martin, & Foster Mama to Baby T
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#29 of 94 Old 02-02-2005, 01:22 PM
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My2girlsmama- what was your bankruptcy like? I am thinking of filing for myself, meaning not with dh (allowed in my state). we have not fallen behind at this point, but man we are on the brink, big time. yikes!!
Rowdypea, well honestly? Talking about it back then was so much worse than doing it. People have this notion that it is a bad thing, or that you are a bad person to have to go through a bankruptcy. We too felt this way. But, we coudn't consolidate or re-finance through the mortgage due to not enough equity in our home (our second home just moved two/half years ago) and so we were faced with a bleak outlook.

We mustered up the gumption and just did it. We both filed, as everything was in both names, and while that makes it harder rebuilding, overall it went really smoothly. We attended the two sessions mandatory with the trustee and that was good as we figured out how to budget and they were impressed with how well I did budgeting on one income let alone with the horrid finances we endured while in debt. We learned to get over the fear of no nets...HUGE to us as we solely relied upon our cc's for backup which ate us alive eventually.

While harder as well, no credit lines or bank extensions, we have learned to go without and wait and save, as well as negotiate with utilities to hold off payments when need be, pay half etc. They are quite understanding when need be, and I learned I don't have to put us in the hole to pay monthly bills!

My family has been lifesaving though I must admit. My parents carried us many times and still do when things get tough....just while we're finding our way back. I thank the Good Lord for them daily. They simply say they suffered all of what we are and more, and refuse to have us go it alone or have their grandchildren suffer anything from it, which the kids have not.

Overall when faced with what we were, we now feel lighter, happier, and very focused on the future.

Good luck!
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#30 of 94 Old 02-02-2005, 01:25 PM
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Does anyone else feel this way: when I have no money and things look dire like they do now, that's when I seem to have trouble fighting the urge for impulse buys. I mean, I guess it's a temporary high to help me forget about all the money troubles...like on the site, I keep seeing those diaper ads and their calling my name
Yes, yes and...........yes. Sadly I get these moments often. Not for huge items mind you, but treats for older dd, dollar type things. Though last week a new produce store opened near my home, we were strapped to our last dollar and I got excited and blew $32 on veggies and fruit! LOL.....ok so not a bad thing BUT we now have to hold off paying garage for van work until next week's pay! ACK! :
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