:::: MENU ::::

Thoughts on Increasing Debt

by

Hi all! Sorry for the long hiatus! I’ve missed this site and am glad to announce that I’ll be staying and continuing to blog here under our new blog ownership! Hope you haven’t gotten sick of me yet! 😉

It’s been awhile! I plan to do a little “coffee chat” update post soon. But I wanted to jump right back in to talk about some of the things I noticed while we’ve been moving in the wrong direction with our debt. The summer months were rough on our budget and our finances. It was the first time in my 3+ years of blogging here that we’ve gone in the WRONG direction with our debt. Yep, it’s increased.

I’ll be posting some numbers soon. A whole “starting over” series to come. But in the meantime, I wanted to share some thoughts I’ve had these past couple months as our debt has started to slip the wrong direction.

  1. I’ve never seen so many credit card offers in my life. It’s smart, I guess. But it appears that all the credit agencies in the world were tipped off (or following credit reports) and have pounced the second that they realized we’ve accumulated a little bit of debt (meaning, we’re now paying interest to credit card entities instead of paying cards off in full at the end of the month). Seeing the opportunity to make some cash, every company and their mother has been sending me mailers with credit card offers. Kind of creepy, really. And sneaky, too.
  2. “Don’t forget about us” cards. My rarely used/unusued credit cards started showing up in the mail, too. They were sent along with different credit offers, cash advance checks, etc. The new cards were sent even though the old ones haven’t expired. It feels a little predatory, in my opinion.

Source

These credit-lending places sure JUMP at the chance to capitalize on our increasing debt load! They’ve got a business to run and all, but it sure feels a little grimy. Leaves a bit of a dirty taste in my mouth.

Meanwhile, we haven’t had a penny of credit card debt in over 3 years (since we paid off the Bank of America card back in June 2014). Here we are, now September 2017. We have a significantly higher household income than we did back in 2014; back when I swore we would absolutely never ever go back into credit card debt again.

How did this happen? How did we get here?

It’s all a little overwhelming. It’s also frustrating and disappointing. But here we are.

I’m not a quitter. I don’t plan to give up. Instead, I think this little detour just goest to show that not everyone’s debt-eradication path is in a straight line. We’re fighting the good fight and it’s full of curves, ups and downs, unexpected issues, etc. We’re normal.

I hope you’ll stick around and continue to cheer me on as I dig deep and re-commit to finally – once and for all – getting out of debt for good!!!

 

PS: Stay safe out there for all affected by the horrific storms/earthquakes/etc impacting our world right now!


Quick Update with Irma

by

Hello everyone,

I wanted to let everyone know that I will try and get an update up in the next few days but right now, we are covered up trying to prepare for Irma to hit. I hope everyone is safe and secure from the storm.

 

Stay safe.

 


I Need Advice

by

First I would like to say thank you for all the wonderful comments on my last post. I read each and every one several times, trying to get them to sink into my head. I appreciate them.

Now, some wonderful news, I sold the tablet I listed, and I got what I was asking for it! I had to drive 45 minutes each way to meet the person who bought it at the Verizon store, but I figured the gas was worth it. I have lowered the cell phone bill to around $320 a month. I also sold some of the clothes that were too small for my daughters at Once Upon A Child and made $60. I had several other things for sale on the yard sale pages and sold them also. When all is said and done, we now have $500 towards an emergency fund. Only $500 more to go!

I do admit I have a spending problem. That is how I got into this mess. I am working hard with my therapist however I would love some tips and suggestions on how to stop the madness. I have a this coupon is wonderful I have to go use it syndrome, and a let’s see what is at goodwill today problem. I really have battles that go on inside over this. An example, when I sold the clothes this weekend, I went and spent $30 on more clothes for my girls at goodwill. Now granted, they needed the pants; however it’s still kind of warm here and it could have waited a few weeks. How do I stop?

We now have a full pantry, and each have enough gas to last the rest of the week, and still have $60 left in the bank. In fact, I have enough groceries that I think I will be able to lower the food budget for a few weeks, as I have plenty of meat in the freezer. My husband got some overtime that will be in this week’s check that we think will have along with the overtime, another $100 extra from the quarterly bonus that his employer gives. I earned almost 4 hours of overtime myself last week. I also applied with Amazon at home customer service job. It pays $12 an hour. I have applied with them 3 times before with no luck, I am hoping this time I get hired.

I am also toying around with finishing my college education. I have been going to college on and off now for 25+ years, and have no degree to show for it. I have about 10 classes to completion. I have not committed to it yet, but I have applied for financial aid to see where I stand, and even if I don’t get it, my employer does reimburse for classes. I want to go and finish really bad, but right now, I am stressed with our money situation, and don’t know how I would do with the classes. On the flip side, I work better under stress and deadlines, and with the education I would be considered for higher pay at work. I’m torn.

I also need advice on my Aflac. I am spending $55.14 every two weeks for an accident and cancer policy. I thought about canceling it, however Wren commented on my last post, and made a good point. What if something happens? We have nothing prepared for an emergency and the insurance payments would help. But on the flip side, that $110 a month could help our budget now. What should I do?

I know I can do this, and thanks for your help.

 


Without Further Ado…The Budget

by

Without further ado, here is the budget:

 

 Monthly PaymentBalanceInterest rate
total payments4738
taxes2721218.06
house8005%
power120
cable55
cell380
water65
food/gas800
geico166
student loan014286.14
student loan10749.35
Amazon2598.3226.24%
Walmart25160.2925.7%
Belk25194.4724.49%
Kohls25278.324.24%
Lane bryant2735027.24%
Credit One 25372.1220.65%
Credit One 25411.4220.65%
USAA16499.7822.15%
Merrick511455.2926.45%
barkelys501506.9325.24%
Capital 1 401706.737.4%
Capital 1 50175023.4%
Capital 1 60180021.4%
Personal Loan 1802505.10
10.75%
Capital 1 753230.037.4%
Credit Union Credit Card2357755.618.5%
Personal Loan 22447838.0110.75%
car48431575.63.75%
truck50832217.513.75%
total debt111959.06

 

 

Income:

 

Husband and I get paid on alternate weeks. My hourly wage is $20.40 an hour, with a few hours of overtime each pay period. His hourly wage is $13.91 an hour, with not much overtime. He also carries the health insurance for the family.

 

Our take home is around $1150 every two weeks for me and $650 every two weeks for my husband. That is with very little overtime. We are trying to build up our overtime to increase our income. I am up for my annual review with a raise promised from last year, and I am allowed at this time to get 5 hours a week overtime. This will increase as the weather gets colder. My husband’s overtime has been unreliable in the last few months, but he is trying to get as much as he can.

I also have 2 401k loans coming out of my paycheck that will be paid off within the next 8 months, so my income will go up there approximately $100 a paycheck. I also plan on canceling my AFLAC accident and cancer policy’s when open enrollment happens in October. That will add another $60 per paycheck back into my check. After all is said and done, the only thing that will come out of our checks is taxes, and health insurance.

With the paychecks falling every week, the house payment, personal loans, and vehicles are paid every week. The above budget and income are based on 4 pay periods.  The extra 5th paychecks that come every few months don’t count for us, as the major bills are paid right off the top for 52 weeks a year, not 12 monthly payments. It gets them paid off faster, and for less interest.

 

The cell phone bill is huge I know.  It has too many tablets on there, that we are making payments on. I called Verizon, and the only thing we can do is pay off the devices, and turn them off. I should be able to knock of $55 on the bill within 3 months, and other $55 off the bill in about 7 months. My cell and my husbands are not due to be paid off for 13 payments, and we have one more tablet on there, but it has 18 payments left.

 

That’s it. Like I have said in my previous posts, we are not walking away from one dime we owe.  We will figure out how to pay this all off.  One dollar at a time.


Rock Bottom

by

After our bankruptcy was discharged, I thought we were through with financial irresponsibility. We had two paid off cars, and no debt except a 40 year 7.5% mortgage of $130,000. On a house what once was worth $125,000, now was valued at $65,000. We said we would never go back to the way it was.

Our road started off with a bang, I decided I wanted a new car. I was tired of driving the small Chevy Aero, and wanted something bigger. By then my husband had gone back to work, so we had the income for a car payment. So I thought. Because we were so close after our discharge, the bank loan came back at 18%. Yet idiot me took it. Thankfully, I got our credit union to refinance it at 3.75 within 6 months.

The credit card debt kinda of snuck up on me. Again our local credit union started me off small, and kept raising the credit limit for me. I just kept spending and spending. Sometimes, it was for luxuries that we really didn’t need, but other times, it was for the necessities that we needed. We again were living outside our means.

The House

Last summer, my husband and I decided to move closer to our jobs and to a better school district for our girls. I took 6 months, but I found a house that is 2 miles from my job, 10 minutes from my husbands job, and a much better school district. It was a for sale by owner, and what we considered a perfect fit. I’m not proud to say this, but I promised to be 100% honest, so I will admit, we walked away from the old house with the 40 year mortgage. We were allowed to as the debt was discharged in our bankruptcy. We convinced the owner of the current house to do a lease to purchase, and moved in the beginning of February . We are paying her 5% APR (she holds the note) and have a refinance deadline of November 2019. Yes this stresses me out.

A few weeks ago, I finally hit rock bottom. I had convinced my local credit union to do a debt consolidation on some of our credit cards. I swore I would cut them up, and start living like a responsible adult. I failed. Two of the cards lowered my credit limit so they are not as high, but the rest are right back where they were. I am very ashamed to find myself in such a low place again however this time its different.We are not walking away from one red cent of what we owe. We can and we will pay down our debt. It won’t be easy, in fact, I’m sure its going to be very hard. But for the 1st time, my husband and I are on the same page, and there are no secrets.

The Future

The future is now. We are cutting everything we can to have more to throw at debt. I am working on a post explaining our income and expenses. We are signed up to start Dave Ramsey’s class in the middle of September through our local habitat for humanity. I’m excited because at the same time we have our class, they are also holding a kids class that follows Dave’s class for kids. Hopefully, that will give our girls the foundation to be smarter with money then their parents are. Its something I wish I had as a kid.

Thats our full financial story. Like I said, I am working on an income and expenses post that I am sure everyone will help me whittle down. I do promise to be 100% truthful in my posts, and I have thick skin to read the responses to them.


Handing Off Blogging Away Debt & Looking For A Writer

by

Hi Blogging Away Debt Community,

I’m James.   I wanted to take a few moments to let you all know about a few updates here at Blogging Away Debt.  A few weeks ago,  Jeffrey and Nate, who had been running Blogging Away Debt, decided to sell the site to me.  We closed the deal a couple of weeks ago and I wanted to take a few moment to let the BAD community that there will be some changes moving forward.  Specifically, I wanted to take an opportunity to ask for your help.  We are looking for another volunteer blogger for the site.  The specifics of what we are looking for are below:

If you think you may be interested in writing, we are looking for someone who will be able to write two or three posts each week. Researching and writing three blogs per week can take a good bit of time so you will want to make sure that you will be able to devote time to it. Here are a few other things we are looking for in a blogger:

  1. You don’t need blogging experience. We would love for your to share you personal finance tricks, hacks, debt stories! However, you will need to provide at least one sample of your writing for our review.
  2. Be willing to interview and be interviewed. Sometimes blogging includes chatting with people and both asking and answering questions. You’ll have to be ready to do so.
  3. You also need to be willing to interact with readers. If our readers are commenting on your post, we’d like for you to respond to them and create a dialogue.
  4. We aren’t looking for a personal finance expert but some background in personal finance, a great debt payoff story or even frugality tips is a plus. We want you to be interested in what you are writing about!
  5. This is a volunteer position. While there is no direct compensation made for each post, there are some opportunities for bonuses, especially if a post is performing extremely well (getting traction). We want someone who is looking to write because they want to help others, whether it be helping them learn to save or providing tips on how to make your own laundry detergent.

Those who are interested in writing for Blogging Away Debt should email me, James Hendrickson, at james@districtmediafinance.com.  I will get back to you with more information and set up a time to chat about a writing sample. If you have any questions feel free to leave it in the comments below or email me!

 

 


How it All Began

by

How it all began……

I was never good with credit. When I was 16, Lane Bryant sent me a credit card. I had ordered from there catalog for several years. I don’t remember filling out a credit application, just this very pretty purple piece of plastic coming in the mail, and I then could order clothes and pay a small $25 a month until they were paid off. Easy, right? I had my first charge off on my credit report at 18.

I was a single mother at the time, and on welfare. The next step was to go back to work, and I needed a car. But with a new job and a small awful credit file, I needed a co signer. I don’t know how I did it, but I talked my Dad into it. I bought a 1990 Ford and went to work 3rd shift.

I behaved at 1st, making payments on time, and then I moved out on my own. I lived in an apartment with my son, and my soon to be husband. (now my ex husband). Living on my own was hard, and things started to slide. First my car insurance didn’t get paid, then it was canceled. So the finance company added their insurance to the car. Then I fell behind in the payments. Eventually I had to give the car to my Dad, and borrow his paid off car to drive back and forth to work. He was nice about it, but swore he would never co sign for me again, and he never has. Not that I would ask.

When my ex and I got married, we moved south with the military. He then took over the bills. I had given my Dad his car back when we moved, so we were down to one vehicle. We decided to trade his truck in and buy 2 cars, one for each of us. His credit was good, so it was no problem.

Fast forward a few years, and we are out of the military and permanently living in the south. Thing are tight, and my ex and i fight about money a lot. Eventually we end up splitting the bills 50/50, and each of us have to pay out of our own paychecks. He doesn’t care about any credit cards, just that if they are in my name, I have to pay them myself. Me, having no self control with money, rack them up. We split in 2001, and he walked away with a paid off truck. I was left with 10,000 plus in credit card debt, student loans, and a single wide mobile home with a 20 year mortgage.

I then decided that I wanted a new car. The one I had was with a credit union, and I was upside down a lot. But it was in my ex husband’s name. So, I let it go back, and bought a car on my own. Took out more credit cards. Move to a rental house that was $250 more a month and let the single wide trailer go back to the bank.

Are you starting to see a trend?

Don’t get me wrong, I was making it, but by the skin of my nose. By then I was at my current job but a single mom of 2 kids. Do you know how embarrassing it is to have collection agencies call you at work, while you are a bill collector for your job? One time, they even faxed my boss about my debt. I blamed my ex husband, and prayed that they would stop one day.

Then the rental house caught fire. Thank goodness I had renters insurance. I had a ton of cash, and a spending habit that I had not fixed.I found a new place to live, a rent to own house. I had one year to rent, and I had to get the mortgage in my name. I did it in 6 months. That was the height of the housing bubble, and I got a 11.75 % variable APR mortgage on a $125,000 house. But I had a ton of money from the insurance, that made it easy. My spending habits didn’t change. My kids and I had more stuff then we knew what to do with.

I then met my current husband. He is 6 years younger than me, and still was living at home. We has a speedy courtship, 4 months from our 1st date to our marriage. The money from the fire had run out by then, and he didn’t have a well paying job, so I robbed Peter to pay Paul to pay for the big wedding we had. The mortgage company did the 1st loan modification on the mortgage within 6 months. They lowered my payment and my interest rate to 7.5 % fixed. I thought everything would work out.

Traded and bought a few vehicles, and racked up more debt. Was kinda of keeping my head above water, then my husband got sick. We then had huge medical bills that included a bill for a cornea transplant. Everything got past due, even the house again. We went and filled out the paperwork to file chapter 13 bankruptcy but didn’t have the filing fee until we got paid on Friday. Thursday, I went out my front door to goto work, and my car was gone. It had been repossessed in the middle of the night. So, I borrowed the filing fees to file a day early, and the next day, the lawyer got my car back from the bank.

Again, things were fine for about 6 months then hours were cut. My husband had to find a new job, and took a $2 an hour pay cut. That hurt. Our Chapter 13 payments were self pay, so we stopped them. And our plan was dismissed.

We went back to the attorney, and asked what to do. He said to keep the house, we would have to file chapter 13 again, but reduce what we were paying in the plan. We gave back my car, but kept my husbands truck. I went out and found a mini van on a buy here pay here lot and got that for transportation as our family by then had grown by our twins and we didn’t fit into the truck by then. This time my pay was garnished for the payments, and my take home was about $250 every two weeks. My husbands was about $600 every two weeks. Everything else went to bankruptcy. It was very tight. So tight, that I even went behind my husbands back and got 4 credit cards while in bankruptcy. See the trend.

Then the layoff. My health insurance at the time was 100% paid by my employer, but my husband carried the girls and himself. To add him and the kids to my heath insurance was $300 a paycheck. His unemployment was $115 a week, and I only was clearing $250 a paycheck. The bankruptcy payments had to stop. My attorney got the trustee to stop the garnishment, and I put everyone on my health insurance. We saved up and filed income taxes, and converted to a chapter 7. We bought 2 salvage titled cars, and let the truck and van go back to the banks. We did another modification that included stretching the mortgage to 40 years from 30 years, and kept the house. We were discharged from chapter 7 in July 2013.

Stay tuned for part two…


Pages:1...78910111213...480