03. July 2016 · Comments Off on I’m open to any and all suggestions · Categories: Budget managing

net incomeMy net income per month is 2698 and my expenses will be about 3250/month so I’m running a deficit of around 552/month. Mortgage eats up 51% of my monthly net income (hopefully I’m in no danger of foreclosure since it’s a 30 yr fixed), auto gas, heat and food are all higher than in years past. I can do something about the food bills (good thing I like PB, beans and rice LOL) but not about the gas and heat (more than what I’m doing). I also have 5 animals to take care of and they get the best food and medical care to help prevent illness and long term conditions. I have already gone to a cheaper high quality food for them and I’m not happy I can’t afford the highest premium food but at least it’s not supermarket brand and it’s safe.

One of my dogs will probably be rehomed within a year so that will help (I adopted him to prevent him from being put down but mine is not the perfect forever home for him). I’m also hoping to relocate to Western MA in the next year or so where the cost of living is just a tad cheaper and hopefully my commute to work will be a fraction of what it is now. In the meantime I’ve got some reserves to help with the deficit budget but I really don’t want to tap into it too much as I would like to save it for when I buy a new house.

I took this new job (which despite a $6K raise doesn’t net me anymore than my old full time non-contractor job) for a couple of reasons-I was working as a contractor at the same school for $35/hr but no benefits (had to buy my own health ins) after I left my other position out of desperation and this position hopefully will give me more marketability when the time comes to relocate(plus I’m contributing again to the state retirement plan and it’s really nice to have holidays off again plus vacation/sick time). I actually love this new position better than what I was doing before and it shows according to my friends plus I’m attaining new technology skills that should help tremendously.

I don’t go on vacations, dine out or have gym memberships. My Weight Watchers is free through my health plan and I use the library instead of buying books. The last time I bought any new clothes was in June (for the new contractor position) but I’m losing weight so a new wardrobe will be in order soon. I plan to check out the consignment/thrift shops.

So, I’m doing everything right and I’m still in the hole. What a bummer. I can go back to my part time job (retail which I really don’t like anymore) for $12/hr but it’s Sundays only. By doing that I would only be about $250 in the hole per month. I am checking out other possibilities but so far nothing is available. I would love to find a work from home job using my technology skills but have no idea how to find something like that. Most of what I see online is scam. Since I don’t get home from work most nites until 7 or 8 I really don’t want to be working until 9 or 10 outside the house.

01. June 2016 · Comments Off on Car advice · Categories: Budget managing

used carMy car is 13 and has well over 270,000 miles on it. It’s got some body issues but I’m getting 32-34 miles per gallon during the winter, 36-38 in the summer. Just take care of your car!

Get regular oil changes, which mine is currently overdue for. Check things like radiator fluid, oil, and tire pressure.

It’s an effort especially in cold weather but it prevents trouble like the engine frying itself because it doesn’t have oil or the radiator fluid to keep itself cool.

Since buying my car for $700 four years ago I’ve had to replace the starter, an oxygen sensor, and the front end shocks. It’s got a few problems like no interior light (I carry a flashlight) and the horn doesn’t work but I can manage without those.

Because the floor under the rear seat foot area is rusting away I’m planning to use my tax refund this year to buy a hopefully newer car. At least one with an intact floor.

28. April 2016 · Comments Off on It looks like your really trying to trim some expenses · Categories: Budget managing, Debt management

It looks like your really trying to trim some expenses in areas of food, which is good. I know you didn’t go into great detail on the budget and where money was going for each expense, but the house payment really stands out. 51% of your pay is way too high, has it always been 51%? Your house payment or rent payment should not be any or much more than 25%, or your really going to feel a pinch? It’s good that you have a fixed rate, and it’s great to own a house, but sometimes the house can end up owning you if your not careful. You pretty much have to shave off alot of other expenses to make up for the high house payment. Do you have any car payments? Phone cutbacks? Internet? Cell phone? Insurance? CC’s?

One thing I found really useful is being on a spending plan putting every dollar where it needs to go. If you don’t have enough income to pay the bills, you have 2 choices.. One earn more or trim less expenses. Are you charging the remaining $552.00 since you don’t have the money? Also, every time something goes out or breaks, you end up having to borrow money because your already in the hole…Somehow you have to lower your debt…How much are you putting in 401K? ARe you getting a big tax refund this year? Can you change your withholdings to get more back each week instead of the year to work on your debt?

Analyze everything that you have going on with every dollar, then see what you can do to see the whole picture. Just think about all these things and let me know what you can do to balance it out. Picking up a part time job on Sundays wouldn’t be bad short term and at least it would get you closer to breaking even until you get some debt paid off…That’s not a bad idea.

Good luck and let us know how your doing ok???

Thanks for the thoughts and ideas. I have no car payment but my car is 10 yo with 132K on it. Right now it’s in pretty good shape. I got rid of my land line and just have a cell which cut about $40 a month off my expenses. I do have high speed internet and cable which I can’t let go of because I need the HS internet for when I do work from home for my job. I work for the state so I’m contributing again to the state retirement plan which I was vested in when I left 4 years ago. I have some TSAs that are just sitting there. I can’t really afford to contribute to them right now.

I was in a weird mortgage where the interest rate for the first 4 years was really low and then this past year it shot up plus I had a HELOC as well as $10K in credit card debt. I refinanced to consolidate the heloc and the cc debt into a fixed at 6.25%. I also added another $17K to the mortgage to do some remodeling to the house so I can sell it in a couple of years. I tried to sell in 2006 and missed the market by 2 months. It needs some updating if I’m going to have a chance at all. I plan to spend about 5K to do the remodel which will leave me with around 10K which I can dip into if I need to to make ends meet but I don’t want to do that-I want to save it and put it towards a new house.

I’ve owned my house for 14yrs and the biggest mistake I’ve made is refinancing more than I should have to cover CC debt and to do some home improvements. Lesson learned. Had I not done that I would have had over 150K in equity. Now I’m down to 30K if I’m lucky but in 2 years it could be 45 or 50K-the 5K remodel should bring me about 10 or 15K in back in value if the market starts turning around. I am not using the CC at all and I won’t unless I know I’ll pay it off each month. It’s at a high rate (12.5%) and I’m keeping it that way so as not to be tempted.

I know I have to get another job-I’ve never been able to make ends meet on my salaries-hence the CC debt and like I said before it’s not cuz I’m using the CC for vacations and toys. All my media stuff were gifts from family and even the vacation I took this year-first one in 20- was a 50th Bday gift from my family. I used the CC to make ends meet and to pay for unexpected Vet bills etc as well as family gifts. This year, reluctantly, I only spent $100 dollars on Christmas whereas I usually spend $500+. I hated to be so cheap with my family and friends but they all understood and were quite generous with me which made me feel even worse.

With the help of the resources from google I’m finally able to see the whole picture. Not pretty but I think I can turn it around. I’m glad I found you guys-we can all help each other. I look forward to reading how others have gotten out of the hole.

20. March 2016 · Comments Off on For those of you posting recently about getting out of credit card debt · Categories: Credit card debt, Installment loans

For those of you posting recently about getting out of credit card debt, I have a few suggestions.

First: Sit down and figure out over the last year what you used your credit cards for? Look at your statements and get a good picture. Was it dining, clothing, unforeseen expenses, travel, prom dress, vacation, Christmas, medical expenses, home repairs, groceries, gasoline?????

Once you figure out what you use your credit card for, it makes it a lot easier to make room in your normal income for those expenses. I would guess some of the charges that you use your credit card for could just as easily be made with a debit Visa card from your checking account. You may also realize that some charges like gas, groceries, and dining, you are overspending on.

Second: What about the other expenses on your credit card that aren’t normal weekly/monthly expenses? Prom dresses, vacations, Christmas, home repairs, car repairs, etc… Many of these things you know are coming and can save up during the year for. We opened an ING direct free savings account and automatically have $100/month transferred into for these type of expenses. That way we plan for it and it is done automatically.

Lastly: Save $1000 in a savings account and label it emergency fund. Give your money a name and you will only use it for that purpose. Car repairs, medical deductibles, and home emergency repairs will seem much less critical when you don’t have a money emergency along with the real emergency. How many times have you paid off a credit card and said, now I’ll just keep this one in my wallet in case of…..emergencies! Oh, you’ve done it too!

Some people have no idea where their money is really going. In case of unexpected financial loss you may opt for an installment loan from www.48loans.com or other established online company. But before that it is important to look at what your monthly income is and average expenses to know if you are actually living within your income. If you make $4000 a month and you spend $4800 a month, you will never get out of debt. You have to know how much you are spending on groceries, clothing, and dining. You may be surprised. Some sacrifices now will help you get in a much better place later.

24. February 2016 · Comments Off on Re2: I have two credit cards that I have consolidated everything · Categories: Credit card debt

Good for you for taking the first step and applying for a second job. At $8/hr (if that is what the hourly rate is), you only need to work about 12 hours a week to make up for what your dad was sending you. If $300 is the breaking point for using your credit cards, you’ll be set. You can always figure out if you need a little more.

Oh goodness no Girl!! You are strong and capable and can do this yourself! I agree with Robert-you need to cut down on rescue for now and can go back later. As Intake Coordinator and Transport Coordinator you are overextending yourself.

Whatever organization you are working with needs to step up and get you some help or get someone else to do it for now. You need to stop transporting and fostering right now. You need to learn how to say NO.

As far as the rest, all you are lacking is information. Take one project at a time and learn what you can-you know how to do that-you’re a teacher! Have you never done your own taxes? It’s easy if you don’t have a lot of investments which I suspect you don’t. Stop paying someone to do them. All the instructions are at your library or online. I use a program called TaxAct.com which is free for Federal Filing. I use the deluxe program and pay less than $20 to have them send both fed and state taxes for me electronically. There’s also Turbo Tax and a couple of others. I have no financial interest. I did research 5 years ago and compared all the programs side by side. All steps are thoroughly explained, even charitable deductions. Which by the way starting this year you need receipts for EVERYTHING. Make sure you’re organization is one that can accept tax deductible donations.

You can easily research credit counseling programs. Yes, it is my understanding that they usually charge a fee but they also have more clout than you in getting interest rates reduced or waived altogether plus some of them offer free budget planning. It’s all out there on the web or even in your phone book.

Yes, most of the work from home things are a scam-I was thinking more of crafty or some other type of skill like medical transcriptionist or bookkeeping etc that you could do as a contractor from home. For instance, my college that I work for hires contractors in many departments to help out with backfill during our system implementation. Examples are calculating GPAs for admissions, traveling for admissions, helping out in the Registrar’s office, Advising, tutoring etc. $10-$35/hour. Check out your local state and community colleges.

No one is going to step in and do all this for you. There are resources out there for you as well as this list. Good luck and remember-baby steps.

29. January 2016 · Comments Off on Re: I have two credit cards that I have consolidated everything · Categories: Credit card debt

Until you get your financial feet on the ground, I’d get a second job or work OT and drop the rescue efforts for now. Looks like your conserving to the max..great effort. But get yourself out of walking on eggs. You can go back to rescue later on.

Actually I am the intake and the transport coordinator both!!! That’s probably why I do so much running on the road because I just do it myself rather than try to ask over and over for others to do it. I’ve written down all the traveling I’ve done for rescue so I can put it on my taxes as well as some vet bills I’ve paid and saved the receipts for. I just have no idea how to do that yet and really need to get my taxes done asap now that I got my tax info from work on Friday.

My situation changed because my dad was sending me $300 a month (my parents are divorced) but he stopped doing that, and my 3K credit card has finally reached it’s limit so I can’t put any excess on it like I was before.

Just last night I applied to work the midnight shift at Safeway, hopefully I get a positive response back very quickly! As far as working from home I tried one of those stuff enveloping things on line and spent $40 for a scam. I’ve also seen stuff about secret shoppers, but I’m afraid to be scammed again. I know how to clip my cockers, but I have no clue how to get licensing and all that type of thing so that I dont get in trouble for doing that at home. At one point I sold Avon in college, but I bought more than I sold and I have very little selling skills.

I’ve thought about the Credit Counseling, but i dont know what that entails or how much it costs if anything. I do know that the Debt reduction places are supposedly not worth it because I have to pay them and that money could have gone to the CC’s. I’ve already called both my cards explained my situation and asked for lower rates and got no’s. I’ve also called on offers and asked for consolidation balances and gotten no’s… my score for experian is 683 and i only have one late payment to a department store in my entire history. But I know that still makes me a medium risk.

At this point I’m ready to give someone my entire financial life and say you take care of it; if I want to do something I’ll ask you and you tell me yes or no if I can or not!!!!!! Unfortunately OT isn’t possible with teaching because your salaried… otherwise I would have about 4 hours a night of OT! plus weekends!!!!!! I did just apply last night for Safeway, I’m so hoping they get back to me right away. Are there any formulas to follow for decreasing debt??

Oh boy, can I relate! I actually did that for awhile. My mother had my money, helped me make sure the bills got paid, gave me an allowance every two weeks, the whole shebang! It worked. :)

23. December 2015 · Comments Off on I have two credit cards that I have consolidated everything · Categories: Credit card debt

Hi, I’m Chris and I’m a 25 year old school teacher. I make 35K a year and am putting $75 every pay check into a 403b (same as a 401k). That’s about the only smart decisions/money move I have ever made.

I have two credit cards that I have consolidated everything, all my debt, onto. One has 15K and the other has 3K. I was able to live off my paychecks, pay $700 rent (which is cheap here), water, gas and electric, groceries, vet bills, and odds and ends here and there…..

Until now. My 15K I have never used it was all consolidation. The card with 3K is what I’ve been using and now I can’t, which has finally made me realize that I have a huge debt problem and no money.

As a matter of fact I have one 10 dollar bill to my name until the 15th, but I have 3 bills to pay before then and the money coming in then isn’t enough to cover my bills for the end of the month. I’m going to cancel my cable b/c I don’t watch tv other than the news, so I dont really need it. I’ve tried to cut down on food, I basically eat soup all the time. The lights are always out in the house and I do laundry and dishes after 9 so the electric is cheaper to do it.

The place is always cold since I leave the heat on about 67/68 and I have blankets everywhere to keep the dogs warm because their noses are always frozen. My big problem is I volunteer with a rescue and so I’m constantly spending gas to drive an hour or more away to pick up a dog and then bring it back to our intake vet or to a foster. I love the driving and the dogs, but I do know it doesn’t help.

Since I live literally a 3 min drive from where I work, I feel like that makes up for it. Things have just gotten to the point where I’m in over my head and I dont know what to do to get out of all this debt and have my money to actually spend again. I need some serious advice. Not I should have done this or that, but do this, this, and this no if ands or butts. Please can anyone help?

credit card debtYour story touched me because I too used to volunteer for a breed rescue. Why I stopped has nothing to do with my finances. I was thinking that with the price of gas these days, might there be some other way you can volunteer instead of transport? Help with fundraising, be the transport coordinator or intake coordinator etc? With my rescue group they were not considered a 501B or whatever it is that lets you deduct expenses for tax purposes so all the transport I did was totally my own dime.

Have you looked around for a 2nd job? As a school teacher, do you get out before 4pm? If so, you might be able to pick up an evening position for $8-10/hr 3 or 4 nites a week or maybe all day one Sat or Sun. I know-it’s hard to be away from the dogs any more than you need to be.

If you live 3 min from work drive time, what about the possibility of walking to work? Would it save you 10 or so bucks a week in gas money never mind the health benefits? Do you have any special skills that might be used for an at home business where you can name your price?

What changed so that your paycheck no longer covers your living expenses? I totally understand your terror-I’m there right now-took a new job that pays the same as my old job (net take home anyway) but I’m commuting 45 min more plus heating costs have doubled so I’m running a deficit budget right now and trying figure out how to turn it around. I too used my credit card for 4 years to meet expenses. I used my home equity to pay it off and have vowed never to use it again. Anyway, what has changed for you? You can’t continue using the credit card to pay for living expenses. Have you checked into Credit Counseling? I know a lot of people on this list have lots of opinions about that so hopefully they will chime in.

If you haven’t done so already, go to the Vertex42 website and download the Budget Worksheet in excel. It’s awesome and is a great management/planning tool.

At the very least it will help you see what you are actually spending your money on. That’s all I have right now. Good luck and hug the pups for me.

17. October 2015 · Comments Off on Results from my trial…. · Categories: Compound interest

interest rate chartGreetings folks.. been a while since I have posted. I am reading just been kinda distracted.

But I did want to share with everyone something I tried last month that I had read on the internet and was curious how it would effect the outcome.

First what was typical before I tried this.. . My Discover card balance is 7600 ish with a payment of 154 paying consistently 94 dollars of interest maybe dropping $1 a month. Here is what I did and its outcome:

I took my $160 and broke it up into 4 $40 dollar payments making a payment every week. In just the first month I reduced my interest to $84(almost a ten dollar reduction for paying the same amount..). It would have taken me another 10 months to do it the previous way I was paying.

So using Compound interest to your favor instead of against beings it is calculated daily. It did not have a great effect on my minimum payment as this is tied to a % of balance, but if I can keep reducing the interest, thus making more of a principal payment each month that will drop faster then it was going to naturally.

I cant wait to start this on my other card as well. I will send an update about this time next month and hopefuly the numbers will look even better… they should.

Well wanted to share that with you all…. this is defintly not easy cause you have to keep real good track of what you are doing, but I feel it is well worth it, should cut considerable time off till a ZERO balance.. :)

You are right. If the debt has to calculate your interest on the balance on a daily basis, when you paid them every week, they had to apply your payment within a certain amount of time (one of the few things they have to do in our favor) and you learned that it paid more of the principal.

Keep up the good work!!!!!

11. July 2015 · Comments Off on New member and have question about debt relief companies · Categories: Debt relief companies

Hello! I have joined this group in the hopes of getting advice on getting on financial track after being out of work for several months. I have 3 credit cards. Two are willing to work with me as I get back on my feet, which I estimated to be 3-4 months, but one is expecting me to come up 1600.00 this month alone and is tacking on about $400.00 A MONTH in interest charges each month I have gotten behind. I have had excellent credit with this company for over 10 years and it is shocking to be treated like this for getting behind for just 2 months. So I would like to know if anyone can suggest a debt relief type of agency that may help me resolve and perhaps work on my behalf to resolve this problem. I have seen tv ads that promise to negotiate for you and bring the balance down to pennies on the dollar. I am sceptical. Any suggestions would be very much appreciated. Thanks

I would be very skeptical on those TV ads. Have you contacted the credit card company directly to see what they can do to work with you on this? I would let them know that you realize the debt and you do plan to pay for it but you can not afford the $400 in interest charges only a month let alone $1600. If you close the credit card will they keep tacking interest on?

Will they even allow you to close it? Some companies will let you close but if you miss a payment they will tack on a late fee. Will they send it to collections til it is paid? Talk to a supervisor with the CC Company. There has to be a way out. I would not want to stay a customer of theirs if you have been with them for over 10 years and they are not willing to work with you.

CCCS Consumer Credit Counseling Services is legit and a real organization. However, your credit report will reflect that you got some kind of help. Some look upon it almost as if you filed for Ch 13 bankruptcy. The creditors are ultimately behind the CCCS, but they can sometimes negotiate a smaller payment/lowered interest.

16. April 2015 · Comments Off on Interest rates/Little & Often · Categories: Interest rates

This is how I made my debt go down a lot too. Every payday, due date or not, $20-$40 per, to the respective debt, kept the interest going down. I’ll be tacking more onto my debt this friday and again on the 22nd. It is almost FUN seeing the balances drop.

What do you mean ALMOST FUN? It is amazing! I love when you can pay them often and see on the statement all of those “little” payments. It just feels good to look at it. Knowing you have done something for yourself that way.

I am working it. This year, we are going to have a lot of this in our household. I am determined!!!!!

Gotta love it! I meant ‘almost fun’ because when I can’t afford a bigger than liked payment, I feel a little sad. I would love to be able to pay $250.00 ($125.00 per payday) to one of my bills, but can only afford $200.00.

Other times, I want to pay more than $190.00 on another, but can afford $150.00 While these are WAY more than minimum and I pay in 2 installments to bring them down, I always seem to want to do more than I can. So I have to keep reminding myself that I am still kicking hiney off the debt, but it’s my own impatience.