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Posts tagged with: car accident

When Nothing Goes Right, Go Left – Jim’s Introduction

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Note: This is the introduction the Jim put together to introduce himself to all of you in hopes of becoming the next blogger for BAD. If you have any questions or observations for him, please leave a comment. You can find more information about this blogging position here

Hey everybody, my name is Jim, a 32 year self-employed husband and father of two. I have been on the road to get out of debt since last year. And to be honest I thought I was doing pretty well, paid off three credit cards, all my student loans, and a personal loan. This all done on about $30,000 combined income for my wife and I.

My greatest accomplishment was paying off the pain in the butt personal loan at the end of the year It just so happens to be also one of my biggest consumer mistakes I have ever made. My wife and I were just moving in together, when we got this loan for all of our furnishings. They were marked at great prices, and even had a 18 months same as cash plan. Well turns out that they didn’t make the monthly payments to equal a complete payoff in 18 months. And when month 18 came around, we got hit with all the incurred interest. Needless to say a $5,000 loan turned into $9,000.

Have you ever heard the Booker T. Jones quote, “If it wasn’t for bad luck, I wouldn’t have any luck at all,” well story of my family’s life. We don’t dwell on it, but almost all the time, things just don’t work out for us. Don’t get me wrong, there are periods of time where everything is going pretty good, but then we are hit with something we didn’t expect, or something that was totally out of our grips to control.

We have no savings, no emergency fund, no college savings, and very little for retirement funds and live month to month. At the end of last year, I had written up a game plan and that was to really snowball our debt and start building our credit scores back up to a respectful number. But as stated in the last paragraph, our luck just wouldn’t let this happen for the last few months and we ended up taking more debt on.

Let me start from the beginning of this year… First off I was totally unprepared for the winter that we have been having. We have been in the house that we rent, since End of September 2011. Before that we rented apartments. With that said, we were going through roughly 100-150 gallons of oil per month, the last two years. Well this winter, we have been going through 250-300 gallons (I honestly don.’t even know how I came up with this money). and we ran out of oil on two occasions. On both occasions we had oil coming the next day. Last week was one of those occasions, and well… Our pipes froze overnight and the radiator in our kitchen burst. Talk about an added expense, with that and the next thing I talk about about… there went our income tax return.

In the beginning of last month, my wife and I were in a car accident where we hit some black ice and went into a guard rail. The vehicle that we were driving (’04 Chevy Malibu) was deemed a total loss. I only had $1400 left to pay on it. Now I hated this car, I put just about the same amount of money fixing this beast as I did financing it. I was hoping to get another year at least out of it, then trade it in for something better. If everything would have worked out, it would have been paid off in April if not sooner, and we could have started saving for one. Well after everything was said and done, we got $2400 for the payout.

I already knew that both the wife and I had pretty bad credit (I will tell you about it in another post, if I am chosen) and I was going to start working on this, this year. As this was our only vehicle, we had to find another one. The wife and I had each a stipulation when we were out buying a vehicle. Her’s being that if I wanted another child that we get a bigger vehicle. Mine was that I wanted one that had low mileage so I would be able to pin point many things that could be wrong with it, as I do most of the car maintenance on my own. We ended up getting a ’13 Dodge Grand Caravan.

I am pleased to say that we love the van, what I can also say is that I hate the financing that we got. I hope that I can get it refinanced, if there is such a thing. But we do have sub-prime credit… and might have to take the big hit if we have to.

Well I know all of you readers are number people and want to see the numbers so here you are. The first table you might not be interested since it has to deal with my utilities and everything, but it is something I track so I am still going to put it here.

Rent Electric Oil Verizon Auto/Renter Ins.
January 2014 $600 $105.44 $1019.79 $76.35 $369.28
February 2014 $600 $84.46 $388.90 $76.59 $134.52
March 2014 $600 $89.10 $ $76.54 $118.48

And here is my total debt numbers as of the end of last month… Please note that there are two car amounts, that is because we still have a balance until the bank gets the check from the insurance company.

Store Card #1: $203.18 (24.99% APR)
Store Card #2: $532.55 (22.9% APR)
Credit Card #1: $3279.37 (13.99% APR)
Personal Loan: $1725.63 (15.5% APR)
Car Loan #1: $1435.92 (10.19% APR)
Car Loan #2: $17914.69 (12.99% APR)
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Total: $25,091.34

So there you have it… As of next month I will be starting from scratch, and am willing to take any and all suggestions into advisement if I am chosen. Not only will I talk about my journey to get out of debt, but I am also willing to talk about how I am trying to improve my credit and everything that is dealing with personal finance. Before heading out I also wanted to leave you with a picture of me and my family.

Jim


The Craigslist Trifecta…

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There are three statements your like to hear buying Craigslist goods…

‘I’m remodeling’
‘I’m cleaning out my garage and don’t have room’
And…
‘My wife isn’t home and I can’t remember how much she said to sell it for but I’m sure we’ll figure something out.’

I had been watching for deals on Craigslist for much needed baby supplies for a couple months but hadn’t found anything. I’m not picky… but I’m not particularly interested in your great aunt Myrtle’s crib that is ‘in great shape – but missing a few semi-important parts.’

Then, one lucky Thursday morning, I found ‘the one’. It was a crib in the perfect color, great condition, and offered at a reasonable price.

My husband and I went to take a look on Friday and the seller said, ‘I’m remodeling our home and I want to get rid of everything. I’m storing the remodeling supplies in my garage and don’t have room for all this baby stuff. My wife is not here, but I kinda remember how much she said she wanted.’

Cha-Ching! I hit the Craigslist trifecta.

He opened his sparkling clean garage and in a carefully covered corner was a stack of baby items.

The heavens opened and I heard the Hallelujah chorus.

The seller kept piling items into my husband’s truck until we had no more room. What did we escape with?

A travel system stroller, car seat, and base, nearly brand new with all the manuals and a note that read, ‘This car seat has never been in an accident, has not been recalled, and has never been placed in a shopping cart’ (Hmm. Someone is a little OCD like me!).
A heavy duty crib and a new mattress with the manuals and the orthopedic information on the mattress.
Adorable spotless bedding for a baby boy.
A medium duty stroller for when the travel system stroller gets too heavy.
A toddler car seat that read ‘This car seat has never been in an accident and has not been recalled’.
A Red Flyer wagon with off-road tires and wood siding straight from the box.

All for $170.

The wife called just before we left. From our end, we heard…

‘Yes. They decided to buy the crib and stroller.’
‘How much?’
‘ Oops. They already paid.’
‘I gave them the other stroller and toddler seat too.’
‘Free.’
‘Oh. Well, it’s already in their car.’
‘No. That’s rude.’
‘Sorry. It’s gone honey.’
‘They are driving off right this second.’

He hung up. ‘Whelp. I’m in trouble. But it’s worth it. I’ve got space! Have a great day guys.’

And off we went.

Score!!