Please help me with my finances - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 20 Old 09-26-2008, 05:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
chichona's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 125
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Every week it only gets worse and worse. I am currently pregnant, due any day and my bf works two jobs, 5 days a week and works 15-17 hours those days. I get WIC and food stamps, but was only getting $198 in food stamps a month. Next month my amount will increase though. I cancelled all of our credit cards last month, because every time we didnt have money for something we would just put it on a card. i dont see how we still are spending more than we are making, and my bf works so many hours, only to have such small checks. He just got paid today, and when I checked the bank statement, we only have $47 left after paying rent. No other bills included, or money alloted for gas of food. Please help advise me, as I am just at a breaking point with all of this stress and dont know what to do.

I have no family in the area that can help give me money either, my mom works minumum wage cleaning hotels, and my dad doesnt even live here. I dont even want to borrow money really, since it will just set us back further next paycheck.

the total bills to be paid out of this check are:
Rent $700
Phone $69
Satellite $34
Internet $ 82, this is actually 2 months of bills since we moved last month and it interuppted our billing cycle.

That comes to $885, and we have $747 in our bank account

Outstanding Debt:
13,159 Auto Loan
200 Old Navy credit card
1097 USBank Visa- over the limit
2535 Target Visa -over the limit
798- capital One Visa- over the limit

The Target Visa has $61 due that is suppose to be coming out of this check also. I have already called all of my credit card companies to try to lower my interest rates too, which they wont. I even threatened cancelling, which i did then. I just dont know how to get a handle on our bills, and how to try to consolidate our credit card debt so we can have it payed off, and not keep getting charged over the limit fees.

chichona is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
#2 of 20 Old 09-26-2008, 05:45 PM
 
darlintxmomma's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: San Antonio, TX
Posts: 172
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
honey i absolutely could have written your post...
this stress sucks and i just wanted to let you know you are not alone. i'm also going to sub so i can hopefully get some guidance myself.

our outstanding (mostly credit card but also student loan) debt is well over $30,000, thats not including the car and house which i almost crapped myself when i saw we owe wells fargo over $100,000.:
darlintxmomma is offline  
#3 of 20 Old 09-26-2008, 05:52 PM
 
mamaofprincesses's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 687
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I know it can be hard to give up things like Internet and satellite, but I think you need to do it. Go to the library to use the Internet, and check out DVDs for free. TV is going digital soon, and you'll have great reception without cable or satellite. You can get a coupon for digital converter and get one cheap.

Also, what's included on your phone? We have just the absolute basic service on our landline, no call waiting or voicemail, and it's $25.00 a month I think?? Cheaper than what you're paying!

Is there anything you can sell to pay off a bill, like the Target or Old Navy cards? Having one less to even think about can be a huge psychological boon.

I'd suggest you post all your bills and your total income, and let everyone here help you pick apart the budget.
mamaofprincesses is offline  
#4 of 20 Old 09-26-2008, 05:52 PM
 
milletpuff's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Portland OR
Posts: 658
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)


Take a good deep breath!

A few questions:

1. Do you (or your boyfriend) generally get a big tax refund every year? If so, have him check his withholding using one of the online calculators (irs.gov or turbotax), then adjust if needed. The "default" withholding is often too high, esp if someone is working two jobs.

2. Does he get paid twice a month? If so he should be getting more than $747 per check, even if he is getting min wage working 15 hrs a day, 5 days a week. What's the total amount that he brings home per month?

3. Did you have any income or do you now?


Me + DP + 2 rescue lap dogs = True Love Always
milletpuff is offline  
#5 of 20 Old 09-26-2008, 06:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
chichona's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 125
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Satellite- Our contract is over in two months, and it costs $150 I think to cancel- so I believe we are better off just waiting and not renewing.

Internet-I am starting school this winter to finish my degree, in hopes of getting a better job and so bf doesnt have to work 2 jobs, so i need it for online classes. There is no way I do my classes at the library and rely on somebody else to watch my chidlren while i do so. I did start an etsy shop two weeks ago, and sold two items which have paid for diapers and wipes, does that count as a job?

Tax Refund- my bf just redid his W4s or whatever at work so he is having the correct amount taken out- i believe he is filing single 1, he was however filling marries, 5 or something like that just so we were able to get larger chwecks every week. Then his take home was somewhere around $600 bi weekly from one job. I got abou $1500 or so this year, and all of it when to pay our other credit cards we had. i brought it down from paying 8 cards to the 4 remaing ones we have.

Phone-we have a cell phone, 2 lines actually. I have already downgraded our plan and it stays the same amount each month. It used to be well over $100 a month. We are in a contract with this also, so wouldnt be able to cancel unless we paid $150, i belive.

My bf does get paid bi weekly, this check he had 4 shorter days on it, that is why it was much smaller. He complained to management though, and is back at getting 35 hours+ a week. Usually his 1st job check is about $400 or so, and 2nd shift job is $500 or so. This week his checks were $406 and and $381. I know that deosnt add up to 747, my bf used $40 right away for gas for this week.

I am doing a rummage sale today to try to make some extra cash, i am hoping i will get the money right away this weekend, it is being held at a church, and you just drop off your stuff and they keep 15% of the proceeds. I dont have to sit at atable, advertise or anything and this sale gets about 300+ people walking throigh, so I figured 15% was fair.

Thanks for your hugs and support guys, I am glad I do not have a mortgage to pay, and am trying to finish school without taking out any loans. So I know it could be a lot worse, it is just so hard when I feel like we are constantly struggling when we work so hard at getting on top of things.
chichona is offline  
#6 of 20 Old 09-26-2008, 06:31 PM
mtm
 
mtm's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 1,467
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
good job cutting up the ccs. I think not adding to your debt is a great first step. I'd look at where you could cut your budget. IMO satellite and internet may have to go. Can you find a cheapo net connection? I think you need to pay rent and any housing related expenses (utilities) first, then worry about your cc bills and other debts.

Can you add to the income at all? Work part time? Sell stuff?

I highly recommend getting The Total Money Management by Dave Ramsey or one of the ones by Suze Orman or Mary Hunt out of the library to help guide you through paying off your debt.
mtm is offline  
#7 of 20 Old 09-26-2008, 06:50 PM
 
sbgrace's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 9,143
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Ok.

The first thing is that your rent is, if I'm reading right, a very large percent of his pay. Most experts would tell you to keep rent at 35% or less of your income. When you're at 50% it's going to be really hard to make things work financially. And it seems you're close to that if I'm reading right. He's working so hard. Can you get a less expensive place?

For now you're in a bind. In our state the township trustees run something called township assistance. What it is is they help people who need specific assistance for something financial. I suspect most places have some type of safety net like that. Churches will help too if they can. Caring people would want to help you in this type of thing. Good for you canceling those cards. That's a good first step. Pay the minimum on the cards and then any extra you have put on the smallest card--so you get that smallest on paid off. Then move to the next smallest.

If you have to miss bills contact the company ahead of time and arrange something.

Sounds like you have to pay the satellite and cells until the contracts are done if you can't break them without that much of a charge. Make sure they won't allow you out early. When they are done you have to cancel. The digital boxes with antenna is really good reception now--we have one! : And it's basically free--with the coupon we paid $5 I think. So get a coupon and antenna if needed and box now so you have it when the satellite contract is up. Our internet connection is $17 per month through our landline phone company. It is DSL and plenty fast for a class or anything you need to do. So look at alternative internet connection options.

Rachelle, mommy to 8 year old boys! 

My Blog-free homeschooling finds and my lesson plans and link to the new User Agreement

sbgrace is offline  
#8 of 20 Old 09-26-2008, 09:56 PM
 
bobandjess99's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Northern IN
Posts: 5,835
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Idf there are only 2 months left on the satellite, it makes sense to keep it..but how much longer do you have left on the phones?? If it is anything over 6 months or so, it is probably worth the $150 to cancel. for example, lets say you have 12 months left on the contract. At $69/month, you will be paying over $800 to keep the phones. It makes more sense to cancel, pay the $150 and be done with it. Get basic local service for $20 per month or so, or even sign up for something like magic jack, where you pay $39.99 for an entire year worth of phone service through your computer. that will save you hundreds over time.

If he just redid his taxes to single from married with 5 kids, then he certainly wil get much smaller checks.
Will I am assuming he will file taxes witrh your child this coming year, in order to get more money back? In that case, he will actually be filing as head of household with 1 child, which will allow him to both keep more of his checks and get large credits and refunds, including EITC.

Although you have a lto of bills coming out of this check, you chould NOt have so much coming out of your next check, right? i mean, the $700 rent is only 1X per month. So put off one of the non-essential bills until next check.

Is your credit trashed yet, or is it still decent? If you can, try to get a credit card with a 0% balance transfer option...then transfer your other credit cards to that one. that will help you save money in fees. Overlimit fees and late fees will absolutely kill you. You are probably getting charged waht? $39 per month overlimit, $39 late, and a bunch of interest, and with a minimum payment of what? $50, your balance is actually GROWING each month EVEN IF you aren't charging anything on it!! It's really crazy.

CPST
bobandjess99 is offline  
#9 of 20 Old 09-27-2008, 12:17 AM - Thread Starter
 
chichona's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 125
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Thanks for all the input so far guys.

Question about the taxes getting taken out of my bf's check. He cant claim my son on his taxes. I claim him every year, and becasue i am not working, soon to be a student I get much more back than I think he would even if he was ableto claim him . Do you think it would be wise to make it so less taxes get taken out of his check so we can get more every two weeks?

About our rent. We just moved at the begining of September. The rentals in our city suck, and the market is very competitive. We either have very poor neighborhoods with gangs and constant shootings, or rich neighborhoods off the lake. We live in a apartment buliding between the two sides of town. When at looked at available housing most apartments the same size were around $800 and up, but a apartment that is 300sq ft bigger for $60 more a month came up up in our buliding so that is what we took and are living in now.

The next check is what out credit cards usually come out of, which are around $50 or more each, just paying the minimum. Are car payment also comes out of it, which is $305 . And so does our car insurance, which i just switched becasue my rate was going to increase to $250, next month we will be paying $128 with our new policy with the new company.

I feel like I am trying to find ways to be more frugal, cutting up the credit cards, that was a huge relief, and finding cheaper car insurance. It just still doesnt seem to be helping.

My credit should still be pretty good, i havent ever checked my credit score, but it might not be so good in the next month or two becasue of canceling 4 credit cards that are carying a balance. I did try to apply for a few credit cards with a low transfer fee (3%) but was denied. Should i look into something like a unsecure loan from my bank to try to consolidate the credit cards? I am very worried about these becasue they are over the limit, so i am getting charged $39 fees for that, and wont ever be able to pay enough to get it back under the limit at that rate. My interest rates on those are through the roof too, capital one is 12%, target is 19% and usbank is 29%!!!

I do believe once I start school I can do the work study program, which pays $10 an hour, but that is till a few months a way, and I would have to pay a babysitter to watch my two children for the 8 hours or so I would be working and dont know that that would make me money in the end.

I did look for Dave Ramsey books last time at the library, and the only one they had was checked out. I will look for Suze Orman or Mary Hunt next time I am there.
chichona is offline  
#10 of 20 Old 09-27-2008, 12:27 AM
 
lanamommyphd07's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Everywhere, USA
Posts: 1,053
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
a couple more months and a student loan is possible?
lanamommyphd07 is offline  
#11 of 20 Old 09-27-2008, 02:12 AM
 
SleeplessMommy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 5,113
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
You may want to try a cc debt consolidation program. (negotiated lower interest rates.) And pay off the $200 card if at all possible so it will be out of your way.

On the over limit cards, you can try negotiating with them like this (when you have the $$$). "I will send you a check for $200 today if you will waive this months over the limit fee or finance charge."

I don't think unsecured loans will work, though it won't hurt to ask your bank.

Do you start school in January? Could you watch an extra baby for a few months? Ask your college about any daycare assistance programs or other help you can get.

You can try calling around to local churches or food banks asking for the baby supplies you need - food for you, cloth diapers, whatever. Be sure to emphasize the temp nature of your problem - you will have a job in January when you go back to school. You are working hard to better yourself, etc.
SleeplessMommy is offline  
#12 of 20 Old 09-27-2008, 06:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
chichona's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 125
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Thanks for the advice so far guys. Can anybody tell me about doing debt consolidation? Is that at all like filing bankruptcy? How would I find someplace to do it?

I feel so bad, when my bf came home from work last night and I told him about the $ situation, he sais he was going to have to look for a 3rd shift job.

Silly thing about my school and daycare- they have a program there to get a degree in childhood eduacation, so they have a daycare center- but it is not open to students:

I did apply for a stafford loan for school when I did my FAFSA, but I dont nkow if I am approved or not. Also i have no idea how I recieved it, I thought it was only to be used for school, like you could charge your books/supplie to it or something? Or are you given a check for x amount of dollars?
chichona is offline  
#13 of 20 Old 09-27-2008, 07:16 PM
 
riaketty's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Millersport, OH
Posts: 670
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
That 13k auto loan really stands out to me. You're paying about 300 a month on it? Is there any way to sell it and get a cheaper car? Even if you still have a payment, maybe it won't be quite so high.

Good job on checking insurance rates. Also, call the company and ask them to run down the discounts they give to see if you've missed any that you qualify for. I did this and found two, saving us about $20/mo... not much, but still money.

I agree that the phone bill is a big one too. Most phone companies will let you pay your regular amount each month until your balance (cancel fees and such) are paid off. If you talk to them, they might even let you pay less, as long as you pay. Landline service only costs about $20. The extra 40 (after paying the phone balance) could go to either paying off credit cards or gas money or whatever.

The way my school loans work is they just give me a check. Yes, it's supposed to be for school expenses, but that's such a broad term that it could mean anything. I mean, technically, gas going to and from school is a 'school expense'. So...
riaketty is offline  
#14 of 20 Old 09-27-2008, 08:41 PM
 
cappuccinosmom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: SW Pennsylvania
Posts: 5,447
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Just one thought before I burn supper

You can get internet for *much* cheaper. If you must have it for school, get the cheapest high-speed you can find. Verizon here has DSL for as low as $14/month. Definately let the satellite go when the contract is up. It's often the little things that add up rather than big luxurious expenses that cause the problems.

Also, you might want to switch to absolute minimum coverage on your cars at least temporarily. We have two cars, $61/month, with just the bare minimum. I know that would be scary, and we're more comfortable because ours are old and owned outright, but you could switch right back to better coverage when you get a job.
cappuccinosmom is offline  
#15 of 20 Old 09-27-2008, 11:21 PM
 
milletpuff's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Portland OR
Posts: 658
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Re: taxes -- why do you say that your boyfriend can't claim your son? And did you make more than $3400 last year?

Me + DP + 2 rescue lap dogs = True Love Always
milletpuff is offline  
#16 of 20 Old 09-27-2008, 11:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
chichona's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 125
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
When I switched car insurance I asked for discounts that I would be eligible for, I saved $50 just by singing my policy online. I also do have the bare minimum for all our coverage- I dont even have unisured motorist coverage, towing, roadside assitance, rentals anything like that. We did only purchase this vehicle 6 months ago, that is why we still owe so much on it. At the time we could afford $300 a month because I was working, but then I got put on complete bed rest and had to quit my job.

A landline phone is unnecassry for us, my bf need to have a cell so his 2nd shift job can reach him becasue he is a manager and they call him all day about scheduling and stuff.

With tv going digital, am I right to understand you can buy a converter box using the coupon and get great reception still without having to have service from anybody?
chichona is offline  
#17 of 20 Old 09-28-2008, 12:06 AM
 
OceansEve's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: On the prairie
Posts: 2,475
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
s hang in there, things get better

IMO

#1 byebye cable when contract is up in two months. Go apply for the govt coupon now for $40 off a digital box.

#2 okay, if his phone cannot go, why not cancel yours. A way to get around the cancellation fee is to find someone who wants a phone and transfer the account to them. Also look into a pay as you go phone for him that way its based on usage and not a monthly fee.

#3 Why doesn't he find a full time job? Why work two parttimes? If he found a fulltime job that had on site daycare it would help open you up to getting a parttime job. my BIL and wife work for a huge church that provides this, many govt jobs provide childcare.

#4 Is any of this credit in your bf's name? If you are in a commited relationship and none of this is in his name (or very little of it), get him to open a CC and see if you can transfer a chunk of the debt for 0% or 0 payments for x months.

#5 what kind of car?? can you sell it? Go buy something cheaper. I know it sucks selling a car you just bought, but the situation has changed and it sounds like you can't afford it.

#6 When did you do your FAFSA? You should have heard by now if you filed at the beginning of the year if you were approved for anything. Maybe call and see what the deal is. There is a deadline for accepting what they offer you. And they send a check which can technically be used for anything, but remember you have to go to school and get through the semester if you don't they want repayment for any grants.

#7 AOL is free now isn't it? I heard that from someone a week or two ago. Go cheaper. Do the math on the internet and the phones, if you would lose more till the contract is out then cancel and pay the penalty.

To help more - when are each of your bills due and when does he get paid? We structure it where certain bills always come out of certain paychecks. That way you avoid using up an entire paycheck to pay bills and are stuck with no money for food/gas for two weeks.

Hope that helps

attached to DH superhero.gif 10/03, DD1 blahblah.gif 8/06, DD2 bouncy.gif 12/07, DD3 energy.gif 5/09, DD4 slinggirl.gif 11/12

OceansEve is offline  
#18 of 20 Old 09-28-2008, 12:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
chichona's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 125
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Thanks OceansEve, you have lots of good suggestions.

My bf does work two FULL time jobs, one 5 days a a week 1st shift and the other 6 days a week 2nd shift. None of the credit cards are in his name because he has no credit and has tried opening cc's but has always been denied. Great suggestion, but that won't work unfortunately. I am still on bed rest until this baby comes too, so working right now isnt an option for me.

I submitted my FAFSA this summer, in the end of July I believe since I am going back in january '09, that was when you could start submitting applications. When I have tried to look online, it just says it has been recieved. I have no idea about the stafford loan I applied for though.

Does anybdoy thikn it would be wise for me to apply for a loan at my bank? (if I would get approved?) Either student or unsecured? I could use that money to pay off the cc's, and I am sure the interest would be a LOT lower, ans it would be easier for us to make large payments to one loan, instead of a little bit here and there on 4 credit cards? I think last time I checked, I could get a unsecured loan for something like 12%, and we are paying 20%- 30% interest rates on our credit cards now. (yeah, ouch)

We do structure it so every check had assigned bills to it.
First check of them month, car insurance, car payment, credit cards.
Second check of the month- rent, phone, cable, internet, satellite, electric. If we have leftover $ from the first check i have been paying some of the bills early, like electric.
chichona is offline  
#19 of 20 Old 09-28-2008, 12:43 PM
 
OceansEve's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: On the prairie
Posts: 2,475
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Just thinking if he could find a job w/ childcare now, then once you have the babe and can go back to work it would definately be easier, especially since you won't wanna go back FT since you are about to start school.

Sounds like you normally have a good handle on things, what happened this month for you to turn up short?

Any chance one or more of those bills can come out of the next check, not quite due yet?

Also, add your bf to the old navy card, my understanding is that is the only card in good standing right now right? It will then be on his credit report too.

attached to DH superhero.gif 10/03, DD1 blahblah.gif 8/06, DD2 bouncy.gif 12/07, DD3 energy.gif 5/09, DD4 slinggirl.gif 11/12

OceansEve is offline  
#20 of 20 Old 09-28-2008, 06:45 PM
 
LeahBoo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 560
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Have you tried writing it out? Because I just did the math (I think I got everything). And as it is, you seem to be paying $1400/mo for everything. And two checks each month for 400, and two for 500. That comes to $1800. With gas and food prices, that doesn't give you much left over, but it's do-able, isn't it? Especially if you know that in a few months you'll be able to drop a few contracts.

~Dawn
 
Blah blah blah
LeahBoo is offline  
Reply

User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off