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<p>Welcome to a whole new year. If you want to get out of debt and start saving this is the thread for you. Today is the day to take control of your finances.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Some 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> or if you want a good DR discussion forum, llnoe.com</p>
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<p>Gail vax Oxlade's Til Debt do Us Part is great tv show, very motivating. Her website is:</p>
<p><a href="http://gailvazoxlade.com/blog/" target="_blank">http://gailvazoxlade.com/blog/</a></p>
<p><br>
Please join us!</p>
 

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<p>Happy New Year! <span><img alt="champagne.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/champagne.gif"></span></p>
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<p><span>Tomorrow we will pay our biggest and last medical bill.  Now there's still tons of cc debt left, but it feels so freeing to not owe anything to anyone locally!</span></p>
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<p><span>We found out that we don't qualify for the state plan, but that wasn't a big deal since we had already decided I would give birth at home.  I found a great midwife, who is the most experienced in this area but because most of her clients are rural and/or Amish, she charges a lot less than the city midwives.  It was a real blessing to find her and after speaking with her I had no wish to be in the hospital again or deal with the nurses at my OB's office!</span></p>
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<p><span>On the other hand, we have added a membership to the Y this year.  We qualified for a reduced rate and didn't have to pay a joining fee, but it's still $60/month!  It's mostly for me for the prenatal water exercise classes which were a lifesaver when I was pregnant with Ladybug.  At that time, I just bought a punch card for the classes, $10 per class.  This time we went with the membership</span> so that the whole family could take advantage of the facilities (they have a great indoor play ground that I can take Ladybug to when she has too much energy for me).  I'm hoping that this isn't a bad decision because it certainly feels like a huge luxury to have a Y membership right now.</p>
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<p><span>Hoping everyone will have a financially successful year.</span></p>
 

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<p>Goal update time!</p>
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<p>In December I wanted to reach 66% of BS2 payoff but we ended up at 69.5% paid off.  We revised our holiday spending to a smaller amount so we could put more money onto debt.  My goal for February 1 is 76.6% paid off.</p>
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<p>I'd love to have all of our BS2 debt paid off by 4/1/11 but that is a really aggressive goal - realistically we'll have it down by 5/1/11.  Other personal finance goals for the year include: finishing BS3 and getting started on BS4.  We're already contributing 6% of my husband's income into a 401(k) (I know Dave suggested stopping it - we reduced it to 2% then bumped it up when he got a raise).  I made a late December contribution to an individual 401(k) (since I'm self-employed) and it was only about 2%.  I'd like to get to 10% of my husband's income and 6% of my income going into retirement by the end of the year with plans of hitting the 15% recommended sometime in 2012.</p>
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<p>Happy New Year!  Here's to becoming a better financial year than 2010!</p>
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<p>We had an unexpected bonus/raise in late December, so we were able to put an extra $650 on my student loan.  We were going to put our birthday and Christmas money toward a computer, since this one is on its way out, but we've decided to be gazelle intense and put it toward my loans.  $400 isn't significant when you owe $8800, but every little bit helps, right?  I'm hoping to be able to squeeze $1400 out of our budget to put toward the loans too.  I'm hoping all of this sacrifice is going to pay off in the long run!</p>
 

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<p>I paid off my credit card. If I can keep from using it I can allocate that money towards savings and student loan-about $150 for each.Will bump up the car payment from $330 to $400.</p>
 

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<p> </p>
<p style="margin:0px 0px 0px 0px;font:12px Cambria;">imamomx2 - Yay on the unexpected bonus/raise.  Every little bit does help and although $400 may not seem significant, it really is.  </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;">mattemma04 - Congrats on paying off the card.  If you closed it you wouldn't use it again.  ;)</p>
 

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<p>Let's see.. short term goals...</p>
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<p>- End of February should see all our CC debt paid off (with our tax return, yay!!)</p>
<p>- Save 3,000 before June 1st to help cover moving expenses</p>
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<p>Longer Term...</p>
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<p>- get to a place where we can start putting money in savings every pay check (right now it all has to go to bills) we would like to be able to put at least 25 dollars a paycheck into savings by the end of the year, not a lot but a start</p>
 

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<p><span><img alt="thumb.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="width:23px;height:18px;"></span> All CC, Medical, School Debt is paid</p>
<p><span><img alt="biglaugh.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/biglaugh.gif" style="width:29px;height:27px;"></span>Making an extra mortgage payment each year (mortgage payment divided by 12 = extra towards principal each month)</p>
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<p>Need to work on:</p>
<ul><li>Emergency Fund is at $50 - was at $1000, but DH decided he *had to have* a truck and wiped us out - we will be rebuilding with Tax Refund</li>
<li>No Life Insurance, Wills, Trust, etc - need to do something here - don't have tons of assests, but have house and 4 vehicles (not all running) and of course 3 girls</li>
<li>Nothing is being contributed to Retirement right now (I have Roth and Traditional IRA funded by roll-overs from 2 previous jobs.) Since I'm SAHM and DH works for small business (no retirement contributions) I need to start saving in this area.</li>
<li>Education Funds for Kids (3 girls 12, 8, 6) - I have an ING Account that gets $100 a year in it for each of them, but other than that no 529, upromise, etc for either of them. Need to work on retirement accounts first though.</li>
</ul><p><br>
Looking to fiddle with what gets contributed to Savings - I have numerous ING Savings accounts that money goes in each money - Non-Monthly Bills, Kid's Activities, Vacation Savings, Christmas, Kid's Savings, Extras, Car Maintainance. January is going to be our cut out the extras month so I can really see what we have to work with and see if I can start contributing to retirement and kid's education funds each month. I figure If I don't sock it away now - we'll just spend it and come retirement I won't know what we bought with our money that I should have been saving for retirement.</p>
 

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<p>I'm working on both stuffing savings account for my dental work (I have to make appt for oral surgeon and get them to resubmit estimate to insurance company since it's been 18 months since I was last there and we've changed insurance providers at work) and putting any little bits I can towards $3900 in cc debt (only one cc). At least since I'm having $150 per paycheck deducted for my FSA this year ($3K max for the year), my tax return next year should be better.</p>
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<p>Found some stuff hanging in my closet that I'd ordered from Land's End about a month ago that I never wore, so I've put it aside to take back to Sears today (they take Land's End returns) and that will be about $50 refunded to my cc. Every little bit helps. I'm also back to grocery shopping at Aldi (at the recommendation of a coworker about the fairly new one by work with even good produce, which hasn't always been my experience at other Aldi locations).</p>
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<p>I'm participating in the no-spend thread this month. My big budget holes come from spending on soda and snackies from the vending machine at work, and grabbing something quick at lunch or on the way home (Subway and that sort of thing).</p>
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<p>I also need to start saving up for something special - maybe a wedding (MINE!) in the next year or so. I could do something very affordable thanks to my church having a decent-sized hall to use (holds 125 people), but it still would require several thousand dollars. Even if I was close to my parents (I am not), they wouldn't be able to contribute, plus at my age (41), it's a little much to expect them to contribute when I've been on my own for so long. My feller doesn't have a lot of money, and I'm not really sure about his parents' financial situation. He's an only child, so they could conceivably decide to contribute towards a wedding, but if they did, it would be icing on the cake. I'm just planning on saving for what the feller and I could afford.</p>
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<p>My goal is to have cc paid off, teeth taken care of and paid for, and some money in savings (since current money in savings is for teeth) towards wedding by the end of this year. :)</p>
 

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<p>Hi Everyone! I am back again this month. I have not had a chance to run my final numbers for December but I still have money in the bank so I must have done something correctly. I have not really thought about my goals yet for this year. For a few weeks in December I wasn't even sure if I would still be married for the new year so I am really behind on getting my budget done this month. On Christmas eve one of the tires fell off of our water trailer and cracked the hub and we had to drag it home like that so we had to buy another water trailer (this will be our 3rd one!) but its only going to cost us $200 and my MIL again gave us the money for that. I LOVE my MIL she has saved us so many times, but really I want to be independent I don't want her to have to keep fixing my house and getting us out of jams. And we have another axle to go into the broken trailer so I am hoping once the snow melts and we can get the axle in we can then sell the trailer and make some money back, and the Van that the axle is coming out of is going to become our storage shed so overall its a win-win situation its just a long and windy road to get there. We also just got 2 new kittens, they were not a planned purchase, I found them on the way home in the middle of a snow packed icy road. Someone had poured some cat food on the road, dumped them and left them there. I live in the middle of NOWHERE they would have died within the day if I had not picked them up, the day I picked them up had a high of 11 degrees. I really HATE people who abuse animals. I took them to the vet yesterday to make sure they were ok and they are going to work with us on their bill because we have used this vet for years and he appreciates us trying to help the kittens and giving them a good home. So right now I feel really good about the new year, I just need to keep up with myself and make sure I write down everything I spend and I think this will be my best year yet!</p>
 

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I think I listed my debt on the December thread, but I did some more number crunching yesterday. The total is even higher than I thought. We're at $141,757.69. Probably higher than that in reality, because I'm sure there are more student loans or old debt lurking out there that I haven't heard from.<br><br>
It's really hard not to get depressed by it all. Even if we go major gazelle intense I don't see that debt going away any time in the next 5 years. And we need another car. On top of that we had to skip paying rent until at least Friday. DH's mom is going to help us out.<br><br>
I start my new job on Monday, and as bad as I don't want to start working, I'll be so glad to have more money coming in. They've also decided to let DH stay on part time around my schedule for at least next week, so that will be a little bonus money we weren't anticipating.<br><br>
My #1 goal is to get current on our bills. Then save our $1000. I think these two will be accomplished at the latest by March with my first few checks and/or tax return. After that I will look at getting a car. My dad said it's a good time to do it, someone on here said to do it this year b/c of inflation creeping in by 2012, and DH's mom just bought a used car (a nice one) and got a good deal even with some mortgage problems on her credit. After the car situation is resolved (however we end up doing it), I'll move on to debt. I've pretty much decided not to include my student loans in BS2 b/c they are so high. DH has a small one that I probably will include.<br><br>
Anyway, I've got to find a balance that works for our family between getting all of this debt squared away and living a half-way "normal" life. I love Dave's focus, but beans and rice or whatever isn't going to work for us. My DH definitely wouldn't be on board, and personally I'm not 100% comfortable with it myself. You never know how much life you have left, and I'd hate to miss out on everything with my family b/c we were working so hard to pay off debt early. I know that in ideal circumstances it is better to get rid of all debt as quickly as possible. But I want to enjoy my life a little, too. Balance, balance, balance is what I think the key for us will be. Otherwise I'm afraid we'll give up completely and live like "everyone else".
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<br><br>
ETA - If I split out my student loans (but not DH's), that puts our BS2 payoff total at: $64,100.65. That seems a little more manageable.
 

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<p>I am in. I have tried and failed at this before.</p>
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<p><span style="text-decoration:underline;">PreStep1</span></p>
<p>Starting with-</p>
<p> 'what is a budget and how does it apply to my life', then typing out a hard copy.</p>
 

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<p>hello again.  Figured I'b better rejoin this thread after a several month hiatus where I a uh, fell off the wagon a bit.</p>
<p>DH REALLY wanted a car so we got a great used one from his BIL who works for Honda.  Very good car, very good price.  except we hadn't saved up for it.  So DH decided to put it on the home equitly line of credit that we have (and have been working so hard to pay down). </p>
<p>sigh.</p>
<p>And here is our little dance.  DH says we should do it, I say no.  Then he persists and I give in rather easily noting to myself that I did say "no" initially so if things don't work out it's his fault.  Which is totally unfair to him.  And I'm working hard to correct that.  If I really mean "no" I can be much more assertive and not get talked out of it.</p>
<p>So I am not complaining to him about the amount on our HEL.  Instead, I am just going to make sure tha we both focus hard on getting it paid off again.  He did manage to sell his older car, and we put that directly to paying off the HEL, but there is still and additional 4K on there from the newer car. </p>
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<p>DH got a promotion in Dec and we were so excited about it.  We agreed to put all that extra "found" money toward the HEL.  But when we moved here for his job we were unable to sell our old home so we have it rented out.  We had a two year contract and then about 6 months ago we signed a three year contract with Honda and there is an expat family from Japan in our old house.  Which worked out great (their rent covers our mortgage payement and our rental agency).  But our mortgage payment just went up $400 a month.  I'm very confused about this because our mortgage is a fixed rate, but our taxes are included in the mortgage payment so it can flux a little.  but $400???? insane.  so DH is going to look into that but for now, all our extra "found" money from his promotion is going into that instead of into paying off the HEL.  ugh.</p>
 

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<p>lavatea-- my dh has law school loans and in total they are over 100k.  We are doing the IBR ( income based repayment) and right now just have to pay down the private loans.  Is this something that you could look into?  I know for us mentally it has relieved a big burden and feels like we are getting rid of it in more manageable chunks.  I can understand putting your loans in a different baby step, as quite a few people do just that when the amt. is quite high.  </p>
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<p>2010 ended up being a good year, though it started with unemployment and a big move back to our home state.  Dh eventually found a part-time and then a full-time job, and he still works both.  We were able to pay off both cc's, and our old landlord ( for having to break our lease) and are now trying to snowball his private student loans that equal around 42k.  Total debt paid in '10 was a little over 12k!  </p>
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<p>Goals for this year is to pay down a substantial amt. on the student loans and get our own home.  My boys already have college funds in place.  We are cash-funding summer vacation, summer activities, etc.  </p>
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<p>Our downside is that anytime now, dh will be seasonally laid off from his full-time job.  They will work till it dries up, so we have no idea of when that could happen.  He will qualify for unemployment, thankfully, but I keep hoping and praying that the work will continue for longer than expected.  Full-time work starts back up around mid-May.  I really want to use our tax return to snowball, not to supplement our income till work picks back up. I do hope too, that someday dh will try to either get back into the legal field, or city government.  Ultimately though, we are both thankful for the jobs and income.  Unemployment was very scary, and we hope to never be back in that position.</p>
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<p> </p>
 

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I'm hoping to read through everybody's posts later tonight.<br><br>
I kind of have a double-whammy: tons of debt and low-income, so the 12 month plan is definitely out. We are looking at about 5 years to get out of all debt other than mortgage. We were hit hard in 2009 when my youngest went for heart surgery, I suffered from major depression, and quit my job. My income was the backbone and I left with a TON of debt.<br><br>
I'm still in the planning phase. I've done all but get rid of the cell phones (we don't have a home phone) and the internet. We don't have cable, but we do have Netflix. I pay $10/month on a gym membership which I HAVE to have at this point because of all the weight I gained on antidepressants (which I'm now off of). So, if I wanted to cut off all communication with the outside world, I could save $140/month (phone and internet). Technically not, because I would have to pay the termination fee, and it's not going to happen anyway <img alt="redface.gif" class="bbcode_smiley" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/redface.gif"><br><br>
I have a budget spreadsheet and we're really getting a handle on exactly what is coming in and where it is going. DH is on-board.
 

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<p>We'd like to get serious about paying off debt in the next two years. We have about $26k between a credit card, our cars, and a loan. We haven't touched credit or taken out any new debt in almost 3 years and we're living on cash only but DH works straight commission so it's hard to throw money at the debt when you don't know what your next paycheck is going to be. We have used our tax return to pay off debt the last few years and it's slowly being chipped away but I wish we could go faster. It just seems like every time we get extra it has to go to pay for SOMETHING. I am proud of us for living off DH's income though. I can't wait to get it all paid off though!</p>
 

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Yay, caught up on posts <img alt="joy.gif" class="bbcode_smiley" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/joy.gif"><br><br>
I'm considering trading in our expensive Honda Pilot tomorrow. We still owe $17,500 and the payment is $430 a month. We are current on all debt; I read the pre-plan wrong, so we are ready to start rolling. I'm thinking about getting a cheap minivan; something I CAN pay off in 2 years instead of the 4 it's going to take us to pay off the Honda. We do need something that can fit 3 car seats and the kids are going to have to do without the DVD player <img alt="eyesroll.gif" class="bbcode_smiley" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/eyesroll.gif"><br><br>
pogo - I work as a vet tech, so I know what you mean about the animals. We just had a cat find us too. She might be pregnant. She was howling on our porch and we also have below freezing weather. She ate and drank a ton when I let her in. She's not the nicest, but she stays out of the way. Total now, I have 4 cats (3 rescues, 1 tripod) and a geriatric Siberian Husky (hit-by-car and diaphragmatic hernia at 2yo). Luckily, I only pay cost + 10% for their medical treatment and vaccinations.
 

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The vehicle I own has a trade-in value of $8300. We owe $17,500. What do I do?
 
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