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<p>Welcome to December!<br><br>
December is the month I'm most likely to fall off the rails (entertaining, presents, travel, etc) so I'm hoping this thread is hopping this month to help keep me on track. Its also time to start thinking about goals for the new year. Yikes, a busy month.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>If you want to pay off your credit cards, start savings or get budget help, this is the thread for you. Most of us use Dave Ramsey's method but please join us even if you're following someone else/your own plan. All welcome!</p>
<p><br>
Here's DR's plan:<br><br>
These are the Baby Steps:<br><br>
Pre-Step 1: Get current on your debts and do a budget<br>
0.1 Commit to NEVER borrow $$$ again<br>
0.2 Talk with spouse and get him/her on the same page as you concerning finances.<br>
0.3 Do a written budget<br>
0.4 Temporarily stop all retirement contributions<br>
0.5 Get current on all the basics (Shelter, Food, Utilities, Basic clothing)<br>
0.6 Amputate "toys" (bikes, boats, ATV's etc) if they will keep you from completing the snowball within 12 months<br>
0.7 Cut lifestyle (Cut CATV, Cellphone, Regular phone "extra's", Internet, Eating out, etc) and/or take second job if $1000 EF will take more than 30-90 days.<br>
0.8 Get current on ALL bills<br><br>
BS1 $1,000 to start an Emergency Fund<br>
1.1 Chop up/freeze CC's (You have an EF now)<br>
1.2 Get Health insurance NOW if in the US (chances of getting sick w/ major medical bills are larger than that of death)<br>
1.3 Get Life insurance NOW if you have considerable debt/your family couldn't make it financially if you died.<br>
1.4 Amputate cars that you can't pay off within 24 months<br>
1.5 Consider raising insurance deductables to $500 or $1000<br><br>
BS2 Pay off all debt using the Debt Snowball<br>
2.0 Do the debt snowball, paying all your debts from lowest BALANCE to highest.<br>
2.1 You can take your first vacation since finding Dave if you can pay cash for it (no using the EF !!!)<br><br>
BS3 Three to six months of expenses in savings<br>
3.1 Start car replacement fund<br>
3.2 Save up 20% for home purchase OR pay down existing mortgage to the point you can drop PMI.<br>
3.3 Start furniture or other non-essential stuff replacement fund<br><br>
BS4 Invest 15 percent of household income for retirement<br><br>
BS5 College funding for children<br><br>
BS6 Pay off home early<br><br>
BS7 Build wealth and give! Invest in mutual funds and real estate<br><br><br>
Here's the link to Dave Ramsey's website:<br><br><a href="http://www.daveramsey.com/" target="_blank">www.daveramsey.com</a><br><br>
Please join us!</p>
 

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<p>I'm on BS3 and COULD stop soon if I were satisfied with three month's worth of DH's income.  But alas, i can't imagine buying a *new* car on it, and we may have to tap into the EF in order to solve our window woes. </p>
<p> </p>
<p>That reminds me, when you legitimately do need the EF, it makes sense that your first priority should be to replenish it.  So let's say that I'm on BS5 and need the EF.  Do I just put BS5 on hold to restock the EF?  I'm just curious.  I read the book  some time ago when a friend lent it to me, but I can't remember it addressing this question. </p>
 

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<p>So excited to announce that we are CC debt free!!! All we have now are student loans, which we calculate to take us 3.5 yrs.  Feels so good!!!  Christmas is cash-flowed as well.  Doing a happy dance here :D</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Turquesa, I can't remember what the books says, but I would lower my BS5 contributions to build the EF back up if I were in that position.  </p>
<p> </p>
<p>Happy Holidays to y'all!  </p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Turquesa</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1282651/getting-out-of-debt-in-december#post_16084476"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border-bottom:0px solid;border-left:0px solid;border-top:0px solid;border-right:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>I'm on BS3 and COULD stop soon if I were satisfied with three month's worth of DH's income.  But alas, i can't imagine buying a *new* car on it, and we may have to tap into the EF in order to solve our window woes. </p>
<p> </p>
<p>That reminds me, when you legitimately do need the EF, it makes sense that your first priority should be to replenish it.  So let's say that I'm on BS5 and need the EF.  Do I just put BS5 on hold to restock the EF?  I'm just curious.  I read the book  some time ago when a friend lent it to me, but I can't remember it addressing this question. </p>
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<p><br><br>
Yes, you put anything at all on hold to replenish the EF. If you're on BS2, you put it on hold to replenish your Baby EF. If you're on BS5, you put it on hold to replenish your FFEF.</p>
 

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<p> </p>
<p style="margin:0px 0px 0px 0px;font:12px Helvetica;">Congrats Turquesa on reaching the 3 month mark.  I'm guessing you'd stop BS5 to get your BS3 built back up but it is just that - a guess.</p>
<p style="margin:0px 0px 0px 0px;font:12px Helvetica;min-height:14px;"> </p>
<p style="margin:0px 0px 0px 0px;font:12px Helvetica;">Congrats stanleymama on getting all of your CC debt paid off!</p>
<p style="margin:0px 0px 0px 0px;font:12px Helvetica;min-height:14px;"> </p>
<p style="margin:0px 0px 0px 0px;font:12px Helvetica;">Happy December ladies!</p>
 

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<p>I have a question about using credit cards for you ladies.  Does it really matter if we use a credit card to buy groceries, etc, as long as we pay the balance in full each month?  I know DR doesn't recommend this (at least I don't think he does), but I don't see what the difference is, as long as it's being paid each month in full.  Opinions?</p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>leigh2006</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1282651/getting-out-of-debt-in-december#post_16084614"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border-bottom:0px solid;border-left:0px solid;border-top:0px solid;border-right:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>I have a question about using credit cards for you ladies.  Does it really matter if we use a credit card to buy groceries, etc, as long as we pay the balance in full each month?  I know DR doesn't recommend this (at least I don't think he does), but I don't see what the difference is, as long as it's being paid each month in full.  Opinions?</p>
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<p><br><br>
It depends on you. DR doesn't recommend it because he sees a lot of people fall into various traps - maybe they are addicted to credit cards and it's too easy to let it slide. Or you forget and pay late and get hit with fines.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>DH and I have always been credit-card debt free (in the sense that we always pay off the balance every month). We consider it to be a convenience. The debit card is nice but it's caused us problems that credit cards have never caused us. You could argue that debit cards should never cause us problems but they have for us, for our family, for the way we operate. (The biggest problem was one trip to visit my parents and DH thought the paycheck was deposited during the trip. We put tons of little charges on, $5 here, $10 there, and came home to hundreds in fees because we overdrafted and got slammed with $35 per incident, which was our fault but also predatory on the part of the bank - why were the charges never declined?? because they wanted to make that money, that's why).</p>
<p> </p>
<p>If paying off cards every month has worked for you and never been a problem, go for it. But if you have ever had the temptation to just carry a balance "just this month" or "just for this purchase" or "just for Christmas" then know thyself and cut up the cards.</p>
 

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<p>My parents put everything on a CC and pay it off every month, they do it to get the air miles.  We put stuff on a CC when it saves us money.  For example, Old Navy had a cyber Monday sale and I had coupon I could use if I used my ON card.  We have a separate account where all our bill money goes, so because my oldest needed clothes (he is outgrowing stuff) I put it on the card and moved the money into our bill account so it can't be touched and as soon as the statement comes I will pay it off.  I think using a cc for everything can work just fine as long as you treat it as cash (ie dont spend more than you have) and you ONLY use the cc, don't use the debit card too.</p>
 

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<p>Oh, and as for us this month... Christmas shopping is DONE besides a few small things for the boys' stockings :)  Feels good to have it all done!  When we get paid on the 15th CC#2 will be paid off and then a big chunk of #3 at the end of the month!</p>
 

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<p>As others have said, it isn't what DR recommends but many people do it and never have a problem and on the other end of the spectrum some people do run into trouble with it.  I pay cash for groceries 95% of the time and debit the other 5%, I've not had a problem and there's no temptation to let a balance roll over one month because something comes up.  That's just me, though. :)</p>
 

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<p><br><span>Quote:</span></p>
<div class="quote-container">
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>leigh2006</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1282651/getting-out-of-debt-in-december#post_16084614"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border-bottom:0px solid;border-left:0px solid;border-top:0px solid;border-right:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>I have a question about using credit cards for you ladies.  Does it really matter if we use a credit card to buy groceries, etc, as long as we pay the balance in full each month?  I know DR doesn't recommend this (at least I don't think he does), but I don't see what the difference is, as long as it's being paid each month in full.  Opinions?</p>
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<p><br><br>
Once we pay off all our CC debt - we plan on opening an AMEX through our Costco to get the $ money back for purchases - ie groceries, gas which we cash fund right now, but let's face it I get nervous carrying around large amounts of $$ to go grocery shopping. </p>
<p> </p>
<p>I anticipate we'll probably set our CC limit ($1000) to be very low for this card to avoid falling into a trap and overuse. </p>
 

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<p>Oh, I forgot the other major potential pitfall of using a cc. The two I mentioned already are:</p>
<p> </p>
<ul><li>Being tempted to carry a balance</li>
<li>Paying late and getting slammed with fees</li>
</ul><p> </p>
<p>The other might be similar to #1 but I think it's different enough to mention - and that is:</p>
<p> </p>
<ul><li>Not following a budget, spending more because it's abstract</li>
</ul><p> </p>
<p>Many people are willing to spend more if it's plastic than cash. If you are not obsessively tracking your budget and every dime spent, it's really easy to just pick up more stuff. Even if you're not going on a spending spree, if you do your grocery shop with plastic, you might grab a gallon of orange juice when you don't really need it, or whatever. If you are shopping with cash, you are probably being very careful to add up everything so you don't hit the checkout and go uh-oh, I'm short by $4. Going over budget by $4 here, $16 there, etc can add up over time.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>We don't have enough income to be able to absorb that. We pay for our groceries with credit card (for convenience) but we know darn well we have every dime to pay for it. When I send DH shopping, I use a list I made in Excel where I entered all the prices of our staples (and update them frequently based on the receipt). So I know we have only $60 to spend at the store, I have it all calculated, and if it comes out to $64 then I will delete orange juice and whatever else from the list.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>But I know it could be so easy to just go shopping for whatever you want or need and just put it on plastic. In the old days, before consumer credit went out of control, you would go to a store and shop for a pair of jeans. And if you fell in love with the jeans that were more than you intended to spend, you'd maybe put them on layaway. With credit cards, no sweat, you can get whatever jeans you want. If this is something that's easy for you to do - resist the urge to carry a card.</p>
 

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<p><br>
 </p>
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>laohaire</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1282651/getting-out-of-debt-in-december#post_16084898"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>The other might be similar to #1 but I think it's different enough to mention - and that is:</p>
<p> </p>
<ul><li>Not following a budget, spending more because it's abstract</li>
</ul><p> </p>
<p>Many people are willing to spend more if it's plastic than cash. If you are not obsessively tracking your budget and every dime spent, it's really easy to just pick up more stuff. Even if you're not going on a spending spree, if you do your grocery shop with plastic, you might grab a gallon of orange juice when you don't really need it, or whatever. If you are shopping with cash, you are probably being very careful to add up everything so you don't hit the checkout and go uh-oh, I'm short by $4. Going over budget by $4 here, $16 there, etc can add up over time.</p>
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<p><br>
This, I think, is the difficult aspect for me.  We have an amex for Costco and an Amazon visa, both of which we use for the rewards.  We've been paying the balances in full for the last couple of years, but the months we go over in spending, it cuts into our ability to chip away at our old cc debt.  DH is reluctant to give them up because he has most of our bills setup to go through automatically.  Of course, he doesn't have a problem not spending money, that would be me.  To help me this month, I'm committed to tracking every dime we spend on a spreadsheet to keep us (mostly me) accountable.  If spending continues to be an issue for me, maybe I'll let DH keep using the cards, but use cash myself for grocery shopping, etc.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Thanks for all the great responses!  It's a huge help to hear different perspectives.</p>
<p> </p>
<p><span><img alt="thanks.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/thanks.gif"></span></p>
 

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<p>Congrats on the CC payoff and reaching the FFEF 3 month mark.  So inspiring!</p>
<p> </p>
<p>We have both a credit card and a debit card and we use both equally.  DH and I have both paid off the balances on our cards every month since we were 18, so carrying a balance and having a card isn't an issue for us...its just one more bill each month that has to be paid on time.  I'm thinking of getting rid of the credit card though...we have no real reason for it, it carries an annual fee (we have it for the airline miles and annual companion ticket) and now that we're about to be four instead of just two we don't use that annual companion ticket anymore.  I always was told you had to have a CC for "emergencies", but as soon as we have an FFEF the CC is going into the trash.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Spending in November got a little bit crazy.  Extra gas for holiday traveling, extra repairs on our old house, I took a few days off from work for Thanksgiving, extra grocery spending when I was let loose in Whole Foods the day before Thanksgiving (oops!), property taxes, a much needed date night for DH and I over the Thanksgiving holiday.  Between necessary expenses and splurges last month we definitely didn't do so hot...oh well, onward and upward.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>I'll be thinking about those 2011 goals...with a new babe on the way in May and me taking unpaid maternity leave its hard to know exactly where we'll get. For now the goal is to put BS2 on hold for awhile and focus on saving for my extended leave from work. </p>
<p> </p>
<p>In December I'm hoping to sock away at least $2K toward our FFEF.  The goal is $18,000 by May 1...we currently have $9600. </p>
<p> </p>
 

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<p>DH just called to let me know we're about to send $800 to one of our CC I'm so excited I could spit! <span><img alt="jumpers.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/jumpers.gif" style="width:47px;height:45px;"></span></p>
 

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<p>Hello Everyone! November was a complete failure for us :( we did not stay on budget at ALL, I did not track the spending like I should have so I have no clue where our money went. I will not be doing that again this month, its a new month with a new budget! :) We got the money from my MIL so now we are working on paying off all of the credit cards. I think we started the year with 27 credit cards between DH and I and at the start of the next year we should only have 4 left, I will have not one but my DH wants to keep his chase card (it has the highest limit of all of them) home depot and Lowe's and the Sam's club credit card. I told him that was fine and that he can keep the chase card forever if he wants but once we get over $5000 in our emergency fund the home depot and Lowe's need to go. And the Sam's club is the membership card with a 500 credit line attached to it, they actually just increased it up to $500 (it right now has a balance of $190 or so I think) and they sent us a letter that said "Congratulations your credit limit has increased to $500! Because you are such a loyal customer we would like to make you an offer that you cant refuse, come in today and put at least $499 on your Sam's Club Credit Card and we will give you no interest for 12 full months!" So they want me to put at least $499 on a card with a $500 limit and it already has a balance of almost $200 on it, yeah that's a GREAT idea! <span><img alt="duh.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/duh.gif"></span></p>
 

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<p><em>This is a cross-post from the budget thread, but I wanted to get thoughts from here, too</em>. <em>I guess this doesn't technically pertain to December since it's really for end of January and February, but it still needs tweaking.</em></p>
<p> </p>
<p>I sat down and worked out a budget last night for after I start getting paychecks (just before February). It's not exact (I based it off of my night pay and a base 36 hours - will probably work more than that). I also don't know how much my health insurance will be, so it's not figured in at all. I'm hoping that any hours worked over the base 36 will cover it so I don't have to totally re-figure everything. Also, I don't know how much my student loan repayments will be so I just put in what I'm hoping is a high estimate.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>I used my old debt sheet and made it as current as possible. I know this is a low estimate, though, because I didn't look up all of my government loans. The total I have in my spreadsheet for now is just over $124,000. This is really sad, especially since I know we really owe more than that. That does include money owed to family members.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>I want to share my budget so you guys can help me tweak.</p>
<p> </p>
<table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" style="width:341px;" width="341"><tbody><tr><td style="white-space:nowrap;width:64px;height:17px;">
<p><strong><span style="font-family:arial, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:10pt;">check 1)</span></span></strong></p>
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<p style="text-align:right;"><strong><span style="font-family:arial, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:10pt;">1656</span></span></strong></p>
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<p><span style="font-family:arial, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:10pt;"> any amount over can be put toward something</span></span></p>
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<p style="text-align:right;"><span style="color:rgb(255,0,0);"><span style="font-family:arial, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:10pt;">480</span></span></span></p>
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<p><span style="font-family:arial, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:10pt;"> food (take out in cash)</span></span></p>
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</tr><tr><td style="white-space:nowrap;width:64px;height:17px;">
<p style="text-align:right;"><span style="font-family:arial, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:10pt;">1176</span></span></p>
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<td style="white-space:nowrap;width:277px;height:17px;"> </td>
</tr><tr><td style="white-space:nowrap;width:64px;height:17px;">
<p style="text-align:right;"><span style="color:rgb(255,0,0);"><span style="font-family:arial, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:10pt;">200 </span></span></span></p>
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<p><span style="font-family:arial, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:10pt;">gas (take out in cash)</span></span></p>
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</tr><tr><td style="white-space:nowrap;width:64px;height:17px;">
<p style="text-align:right;"><span style="font-family:arial, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:10pt;">976</span></span></p>
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<td style="white-space:nowrap;width:277px;height:17px;"> </td>
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<p style="text-align:right;"><span style="color:rgb(255,0,0);"><span style="font-family:arial, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:10pt;">96 </span></span></span></p>
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<p><span style="font-family:arial, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:10pt;">car/renter's insurance</span></span></p>
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<p style="text-align:right;"><span style="font-family:arial, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:10pt;">880</span></span></p>
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<td style="white-space:nowrap;width:277px;height:17px;"> </td>
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<p style="text-align:right;"><span style="color:rgb(255,0,0);"><span style="font-family:arial, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:10pt;">77</span></span></span></p>
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<p><span style="font-family:arial, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:10pt;">cell phone</span></span></p>
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<p style="text-align:right;"><span style="font-family:arial, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:10pt;">803</span></span></p>
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<td style="white-space:nowrap;width:277px;height:17px;"> </td>
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<p style="text-align:right;"><span style="color:rgb(255,0,0);"><span style="font-family:arial, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:10pt;">500</span></span></span></p>
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<p><span style="font-family:arial, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:10pt;">?? Student loans</span></span></p>
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<p style="text-align:right;"><span style="font-family:arial, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:10pt;">303</span></span></p>
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<p style="text-align:right;"><span style="color:rgb(255,0,0);"><span style="font-family:arial, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:10pt;">10</span></span></span></p>
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<p><span style="font-family:arial, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:10pt;"> doctor</span></span></p>
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<p style="text-align:right;"><span style="font-family:arial, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:10pt;">293</span></span></p>
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<p style="text-align:right;"><span style="color:rgb(255,0,0);"><span style="font-family:arial, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:10pt;">10</span></span></span></p>
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<p><span style="font-family:arial, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:10pt;"> dentist</span></span></p>
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<p style="text-align:right;"><span style="font-family:arial, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:10pt;">283</span></span></p>
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<td style="white-space:nowrap;width:277px;height:17px;"> </td>
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<p style="text-align:right;"><span style="color:rgb(255,0,0);"><span style="font-family:arial, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:10pt;">55</span></span></span></p>
</td>
<td style="white-space:nowrap;width:277px;height:17px;">
<p><span style="font-family:arial, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:10pt;"> bill payment</span></span></p>
</td>
</tr><tr><td style="white-space:nowrap;width:64px;height:17px;">
<p style="text-align:right;"><span style="font-family:arial, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:10pt;">228</span></span></p>
</td>
<td style="white-space:nowrap;width:277px;height:17px;"> </td>
</tr><tr><td style="white-space:nowrap;width:64px;height:17px;">
<p style="text-align:right;"><span style="color:rgb(255,0,0);"><span style="font-family:arial, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:10pt;">200</span></span></span></p>
</td>
<td style="white-space:nowrap;width:277px;height:17px;">
<p><span style="font-family:arial, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:10pt;"> 100 ea. for me and DH (take out in cash)</span></span></p>
</td>
</tr><tr><td style="white-space:nowrap;width:64px;height:17px;">
<p style="text-align:right;"><span style="font-family:arial, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:10pt;">28</span></span></p>
</td>
<td style="white-space:nowrap;width:277px;height:17px;">
<p><span style="font-family:arial, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:10pt;"> rollover to add to second check</span></span></p>
</td>
</tr></tbody></table><p> </p>
<table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" style="width:444px;" width="444"><tbody><tr><td style="white-space:nowrap;width:64px;height:17px;">
<p><strong><span style="font-family:arial, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:10pt;">check 2)</span></span></strong></p>
</td>
<td style="white-space:nowrap;width:380px;height:17px;"> </td>
</tr><tr><td style="white-space:nowrap;width:64px;height:17px;">
<p style="text-align:right;"><span style="font-family:arial, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:10pt;">28 </span></span></p>
</td>
<td style="white-space:nowrap;width:380px;height:17px;">
<p><span style="font-family:arial, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:10pt;">rollover from first check</span></span></p>
</td>
</tr><tr><td style="white-space:nowrap;width:64px;height:17px;">
<p style="text-align:right;"><strong><span style="font-family:arial, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:10pt;">1656 </span></span></strong></p>
</td>
<td style="white-space:nowrap;width:380px;height:17px;">
<p><span style="font-family:arial, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:10pt;">any amount over can be put toward something</span></span></p>
</td>
</tr><tr><td style="white-space:nowrap;width:64px;height:17px;">
<p style="text-align:right;"><span style="color:rgb(255,0,0);"><span style="font-family:arial, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:10pt;">1188 </span></span></span></p>
</td>
<td style="white-space:nowrap;width:380px;height:17px;">
<p><span style="font-family:arial, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:10pt;">rent + storage</span></span></p>
</td>
</tr><tr><td style="white-space:nowrap;width:64px;height:17px;">
<p style="text-align:right;"><span style="font-family:arial, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:10pt;">496</span></span></p>
</td>
<td style="white-space:nowrap;width:380px;height:17px;"> </td>
</tr><tr><td style="white-space:nowrap;width:64px;height:17px;">
<p style="text-align:right;"><span style="color:rgb(255,0,0);"><span style="font-family:arial, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:10pt;">30 </span></span></span></p>
</td>
<td style="white-space:nowrap;width:380px;height:17px;">
<p><span style="font-family:arial, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:10pt;">water - if less, put elsewhere</span></span></p>
</td>
</tr><tr><td style="white-space:nowrap;width:64px;height:17px;">
<p style="text-align:right;"><span style="font-family:arial, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:10pt;">466</span></span></p>
</td>
<td style="white-space:nowrap;width:380px;height:17px;"> </td>
</tr><tr><td style="white-space:nowrap;width:64px;height:17px;">
<p style="text-align:right;"><span style="color:rgb(255,0,0);"><span style="font-family:arial, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:10pt;">175 </span></span></span></p>
</td>
<td style="white-space:nowrap;width:380px;height:17px;">
<p><span style="font-family:arial, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:10pt;">electric - if less, put elsewhere</span></span></p>
</td>
</tr><tr><td style="white-space:nowrap;width:64px;height:17px;">
<p style="text-align:right;"><span style="font-family:arial, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:10pt;">291</span></span></p>
</td>
<td style="white-space:nowrap;width:380px;height:17px;"> </td>
</tr><tr><td style="white-space:nowrap;width:64px;height:17px;">
<p style="text-align:right;"><span style="color:rgb(255,0,0);"><span style="font-family:arial, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:10pt;">82.49 </span></span></span></p>
</td>
<td style="white-space:nowrap;width:380px;height:17px;">
<p><span style="font-family:arial, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:10pt;">life insurance - leave in account for auto-debit</span></span></p>
</td>
</tr><tr><td style="white-space:nowrap;width:64px;height:17px;">
<p style="text-align:right;"><span style="font-family:arial, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:10pt;">208.51</span></span></p>
</td>
<td style="white-space:nowrap;width:380px;height:17px;"> </td>
</tr><tr><td style="white-space:nowrap;width:64px;height:17px;">
<p style="text-align:right;"><span style="color:rgb(255,0,0);"><span style="font-family:arial, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:10pt;">25 </span></span></span></p>
</td>
<td style="white-space:nowrap;width:380px;height:17px;">
<p><span style="font-family:arial, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:10pt;">prepaid legal - add this to bill payment category once completed</span></span></p>
</td>
</tr><tr><td style="white-space:nowrap;width:64px;height:17px;">
<p style="text-align:right;"><span style="font-family:arial, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:10pt;">183.51</span></span></p>
</td>
<td style="white-space:nowrap;width:380px;height:17px;"> </td>
</tr><tr><td style="white-space:nowrap;width:64px;height:17px;">
<p style="text-align:right;"><span style="color:rgb(255,0,0);"><span style="font-family:arial, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:10pt;">45</span></span></span></p>
</td>
<td style="white-space:nowrap;width:380px;height:17px;">
<p><span style="font-family:arial, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:10pt;"> dance for DD</span></span></p>
</td>
</tr><tr><td style="white-space:nowrap;width:64px;height:17px;">
<p style="text-align:right;"><span style="font-family:arial, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:10pt;">138.51</span></span></p>
</td>
<td style="white-space:nowrap;width:380px;height:17px;"> </td>
</tr><tr><td style="white-space:nowrap;width:64px;height:17px;">
<p style="text-align:right;"><span style="color:rgb(255,0,0);"><span style="font-family:arial, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:10pt;">42</span></span></span></p>
</td>
<td style="white-space:nowrap;width:380px;height:17px;">
<p><span style="font-family:arial, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:10pt;"> internet</span></span></p>
</td>
</tr><tr><td style="white-space:nowrap;width:64px;height:17px;">
<p style="text-align:right;"><span style="font-family:arial, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:10pt;">96.51</span></span></p>
</td>
<td style="white-space:nowrap;width:380px;height:17px;"> </td>
</tr><tr><td style="white-space:nowrap;width:64px;height:17px;">
<p style="text-align:right;"><span style="color:rgb(255,0,0);"><span style="font-family:arial, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:10pt;">84</span></span></span></p>
</td>
<td style="white-space:nowrap;width:380px;height:17px;">
<p><span style="font-family:arial, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:10pt;"> satellite</span></span></p>
</td>
</tr><tr><td style="white-space:nowrap;width:64px;height:17px;">
<p style="text-align:right;"><span style="font-family:arial, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:10pt;">12.51</span></span></p>
</td>
<td style="white-space:nowrap;width:380px;height:17px;">
<p><span style="font-family:arial, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:10pt;">add to funds</span></span></p>
</td>
</tr></tbody></table><p> </p>
<p> </p>
<p>Some of the utilities fluctuate, so I put in an average. If there is extra, I'll put it to our emergency fund. The pre-paid legal fee will go away if DH and I ever sit down and write out our will. The only place I see to cut is our blow money. I can cut that down a little, but if I don't give us some in cash, I know one or both of us will just use the card. I'm trying to be realistic. Oh, and our satellite bill will go down a little once my sister moves out.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>I'm really discouraged b/c I have other monthly goals that I can't meet (like tithing!!). I really want to tithe 10%, but I'm thinking of maybe just giving $100 or so (the amount I would cut down our blow money). I also need to be paying off family members. Now all of this is based on just my income, so hopefully DH will be able to get a flexible part-time job (he's going to have to quit his current job b/c we'll need someone to be home with the kids) that he can work around my schedule. That will help fulfill some of those other monthly things and really get our savings going. Plus we should get a good tax return b/c we didn't make much this year.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>* a note on the tithing - In a perfect world, I would cut down satellite and blow money until I was consistently tithing. I know this is the right thing to do. But DH is not under that same conviction. It's all I can do to get him to attend church with me. I seriously doubt he'd be ok with cutting our fun stuff in order to tithe.</p>
 

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<p> </p>
<p style="margin:0px 0px 0px 0px;font:12px Cambria;"><span style="font-size:12px;">Hi Lavatea,</span></p>
<p style="margin:0px 0px 0px 0px;font:12px Cambria;min-height:14px;"> </p>
<p style="margin:0px 0px 0px 0px;font:12px Cambria;"><span style="font-size:12px;">Your life insurance seems really high.  Is this term life?  I agree with dropping the prepaid legal, especially if you're not using it.  You can order a will kit from US Legal Forms or Quicken WillMaker or something and that will work as far as guardianship of the kiddos.  If you have more complex needs you can probably get a will prepared by an attorney for a few hundred dollars, less than $25/mo for prepaid legal.</span></p>
<p style="margin:0px 0px 0px 0px;font:12px Cambria;min-height:14px;"> </p>
<p style="margin:0px 0px 0px 0px;font:12px Cambria;"><span style="font-size:12px;">Is the $124,000 in debt you listed just for student loans?  If so and you aren't doing income-based repayment then you should really try to look into it.  The standard repayment rate on a $124,000 student loan load will be closer to $1200 (usually it is about 1%).  If you have the graduated repayment plan it may be $600-$700.  Of course these are just general numbers but you should be able to contact the loan service directly to see what the payment will be once they come due.</span></p>
<p style="margin:0px 0px 0px 0px;font:12px Cambria;min-height:14px;"> </p>
<p style="margin:0px 0px 0px 0px;font:12px Cambria;"><span style="font-size:12px;">I'd also look into reducing your blow money, since you mentioned it.  I know everyone is different but my husband and I only set aside 1% of our take home monthly pay for blow money and split that between us.</span></p>
<p style="margin:0px 0px 0px 0px;font:12px Cambria;min-height:14px;"> </p>
<p style="margin:0px 0px 0px 0px;font:12px Cambria;"><span style="font-size:12px;">I know that some may ask you to consider cutting your dance (at least I know they would on the My TMMO boards hehe) but we're a big dance household here and $45 is very reasonable - I'm guessing that is for 1 hr/wk?  If it is for more than that then it is a great price!  </span></p>
<p style="margin:0px 0px 0px 0px;font:12px Cambria;min-height:14px;"> </p>
<p style="margin:0px 0px 0px 0px;font:12px Cambria;"><span style="font-size:12px;">Good luck to your husband in his job search!</span></p>
 

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<p>Ok need some advice... DH is deployed and we are getting our CC debt paid off.  I was trying to think of something to get him for our 3rd anniversary and my friend came up with the idea getting some pin-up type pictures done.  There is a place that does them in Seattle and I think he would really love it.  But it would be between 300 and 400 dollars.  We will still have everything paid off by February (with our taxes) I just can't figure out if it is worth it...</p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>MyTwoAs</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1282651/getting-out-of-debt-in-december#post_16092525"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p> </p>
<p style="margin:0px;font:12px Cambria;"><span style="font-size:12px;">Hi Lavatea,</span></p>
<p style="margin:0px;font:12px Cambria;min-height:14px;"> </p>
<p style="margin:0px;font:12px Cambria;"><span style="font-size:12px;">Your life insurance seems really high.  Is this term life?  I agree with dropping the prepaid legal, especially if you're not using it.  You can order a will kit from US Legal Forms or Quicken WillMaker or something and that will work as far as guardianship of the kiddos.  If you have more complex needs you can probably get a will prepared by an attorney for a few hundred dollars, less than $25/mo for prepaid legal.</span></p>
<p style="margin:0px;font:12px Cambria;min-height:14px;"> </p>
<p style="margin:0px;font:12px Cambria;"><span style="font-size:12px;">Is the $124,000 in debt you listed just for student loans?  If so and you aren't doing income-based repayment then you should really try to look into it.  The standard repayment rate on a $124,000 student loan load will be closer to $1200 (usually it is about 1%).  If you have the graduated repayment plan it may be $600-$700.  Of course these are just general numbers but you should be able to contact the loan service directly to see what the payment will be once they come due.</span></p>
<p style="margin:0px;font:12px Cambria;min-height:14px;"> </p>
<p style="margin:0px;font:12px Cambria;"><span style="font-size:12px;">I'd also look into reducing your blow money, since you mentioned it.  I know everyone is different but my husband and I only set aside 1% of our take home monthly pay for blow money and split that between us.</span></p>
<p style="margin:0px;font:12px Cambria;min-height:14px;"> </p>
<p style="margin:0px;font:12px Cambria;"><span style="font-size:12px;">I know that some may ask you to consider cutting your dance (at least I know they would on the My TMMO boards hehe) but we're a big dance household here and $45 is very reasonable - I'm guessing that is for 1 hr/wk?  If it is for more than that then it is a great price!  </span></p>
<p style="margin:0px;font:12px Cambria;min-height:14px;"> </p>
<p style="margin:0px;font:12px Cambria;"><span style="font-size:12px;">Good luck to your husband in his job search!</span></p>
</div>
</div>
<p><br>
The life insurance is term. I can't remember off of the top of my head how much coverage it is, but it is high (mostly because we have a lot of debt and wanted to be able to pay it off and fund kids' college plus support a SAH parent should one of us die). That rate was actually just a little more than the quote I got from State Farm (which we use for auto/renter's) and it was for much more coverage.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>About $83,000 of the total debt is student loans. Some of the student loans are private loans, though. I had no idea about that 1% repayment rule of thumb. We're in big trouble if they end up being that much per month.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Yeah, the dance is for 1 hr per week. Glad to know that's a reasonable price. I thought it was but wasn't sure. DD is 6 and homeschooled so I really wanted her to be able to do *something* outside of the home. She had been yammering on about dance for over a year before we started her, and she loves it. And sometimes my mom or grandma help me out with that $45, so I don't always end up paying it.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Thanks for your suggestions so far!</p>
 
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