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 Post subject: Re: SuzWantsToBeFree - 2011 Where do I start?????
PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 4:27 pm 

Joined: Tue Jan 25, 2011 3:43 pm
Posts: 94
DoingHomework wrote:
Tightwad wrote:
DoingHomework wrote:
I completely agree that a divorce court has limited jurisdiction. I'm not disputing that. But if the ex has obligations that he fails to meet that impact her, there are things that can be done.


Thank you both - it has given me things to think about AND most importantly made me realize the need to get legal advice and stop burying my head in the sand about it. It would have been nice if he just took care of his obligations but that isn't the case so I have to be an adult and do what I can to deal with it.


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 Post subject: Re: SuzWantsToBeFree - 2011 Where do I start?????
PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 6:15 pm 

Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2009 4:16 pm
Posts: 959
Suz,

Variable Expenses:

Food & Dining Out $410.30
That's a lot of dining out.

Donations/Gifts $400.00 Home Owners Assoc $60.00
Would you be willing to scale back on donations/gifts for awhile?


Auto - Gas & Maintenance $400.00

Do you have a car issue you need to take care of this month?

Lawn & Home Maintenance $250.00

There's no reason for you to have to spend 250 a month for lawn & home maintenance neither.

I think you should tackle that heloc.

_________________
Be what you want to attract.


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 Post subject: Re: SuzWantsToBeFree - 2011 Where do I start?????
PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 7:39 pm 

Joined: Fri Jul 10, 2009 6:57 am
Posts: 377
suzwantstobefree wrote:
I have a small amount of my savings on auto pilot. It is automatically transfered into my savings from my checking on the last day of the month. I would love to automate it more, but I am concerned about the possibility of not receiving my rent checks on time. As soon as the rent check is received, I use half to pay down my principal on my mortgage and the other half goes into savings.


Well, a lot of people have been posting about addressing the legal situation with your ex before anything else, and I think that sounds like great advice. I've never been divorced (or even married for that matter), so I'll leave all that advice to others!

Now that you've posted your budget (thanks!) I am really impressed that you are already regularly saving 1600 per month without automating. Saving only works for me if I pay myself first -- I get paid on the 1st and the 15th, so the automatic deposits to ING happen on the 3rd and 18th, two days after each paycheck is deposited into my checking account (that's long enough to clear the deposit and factor in any weekend days). I figure out how much I want to save in a year, divide by 24 (the number of paychecks per year), then deposit that to ING first. Then the bills get paid, and then I live on what's left over. Took some getting used to, and I still make mistakes occasionally, but when I tried to live first and save later, it didn't happen.

(I think you do have more than enough stability in your income to automate savings, by the way, as long as you have a fund in place to cover the rental mortgage if your tenants are late. Your rental income, by the looks of it, is a relatively small portion of your monthly income.)

If you are looking to squeeze more savings out of your budget, you might start by re-examining those numbers for "other," "dining out," "entertainment," "donations/gifts," "cable/internet," and "cell phone." You're spending a total of 1668 per month on all of those categories. Imagine how fast the money would pile up in your retirement account, emergency fund, or whatever, if you chose to save half of that money instead. $833 saved per month for a year gives you an extra 10K by the end of the year.

Ah, well, first things first. Let's hope the lawyer can work out something that helps you protect your assets from your ex...good luck!


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 Post subject: Re: SuzWantsToBeFree - 2011 Where do I start?????
PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2011 12:28 am 

Joined: Tue Jan 25, 2011 3:43 pm
Posts: 94
Just for clarification - the food and dining out really became more or less a plug figure. :) On a regular basis I spend about $200 to $250 per month on this category and this month I only spent $120. Mostly because of the fact that I decided to see how much I could lower this by. I had a fully stocked pantry and a lot of stuff in my refrigerator and decided to do a month of preparing food from only the things I had on hand. It has been really interesting and I had to look carefully at what I had and figure out how to make meals from it. I went to the grocery store for milk and a few items that are perishable goods and had a couple of meals out. I used the remainder of my gift cards too so it came in really low. I know I can cut back on this!

The cable and Internet - I will call today and find out what my options are. Some other internet sites have talked about the fact that when calls were placed to the cable provider they offered some discounts in order to prevent the loss of customers. Cell phone is partially reimbursed by my employer as I have to be available after hours so really it is only costing half of the amount listed. I have tried to lower my plan minutes in the past but really I get a lot of work calls that eat up my minutes so I am not sure I can improve that.

My car is a 2007 Honda Accord. It has almost 70K miles on it and my commute is over 40 miles round trip a day. The gas prices are rising in my area and the prediction is it will get over $4 a gallon this year. My car is maintained at my dealership because of an emplyee discount to keep the price down. This month I had to do a tranny service and coolant drain and fill. In the last year, a battery replacement, brakes, and tires wer replaced. I wish public transportation was more available. :) I also have a AAA card and over the course of the year this is about what I expect to pay per month. I also try to limit my trips besides work and make the most out of every trip out on the weekend. Whereas I would like to think that I could lower this category somewhat I don't know if that will be possible but I will try to think of ways to lower it.


Last edited by suzwantstobefree on Fri Jan 28, 2011 12:46 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: SuzWantsToBeFree - 2011 Where do I start?????
PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2011 12:39 am 

Joined: Tue Jan 25, 2011 3:43 pm
Posts: 94
There are a couple of reasons why I haven't tackled the HELOC yet. First of all, it is on the rental property and I will have the ability to deduct the interest even if my standard deduction becomes higher than the itemized deductions. It is at a very good rate (2.5%) and my home mortgage is actually the highest rate of interest I have (4.25% fixed rate). Knowing the rates and the reason, would you still recommend that I work on this first?

I am going to think seriously about reducing my donations. Right now, I am donating to the local food bank, the Christian radio station I listen to, and my church. Gifts are a relatively small part of that as I generally can fit in the gifts throughout the year into my budget and at Christmas time I cash in all my credit card rewards, buy gift cards and either give those or shop with the gift cards. This works out really well for me and most of my Christmas shopping is done without much cash going out. Besides that most of my friends are frugal like me and we give modest gifts (its the thought that counts any way and we spend time together and enjoy the company of each other more than the gifts anyway) and my family is relatively small.


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 Post subject: Re: SuzWantsToBeFree - 2011 Where do I start?????
PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2011 7:23 am 

Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2010 5:15 pm
Posts: 1163
Quote:
I am going to think seriously about reducing my donations. Right now, I am donating to the local food bank, the Christian radio station I listen to, and my church.


I'd continue to tithe to your church but drop the food bank & radio station donations.


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 Post subject: Re: SuzWantsToBeFree - 2011 Where do I start?????
PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2011 10:27 am 

Joined: Tue Jan 25, 2011 3:43 pm
Posts: 94
Well today I had an appointment with the divorce attorney to find out what I can do in order to get my ex to pay the mortgage payments he is required to pay under the terms of the divorce. It cost me a $2100.00 retainer but she is now filing a contempt of court petition. She feels that this will force him to take some action. The most difficult part is going to be finding him in order to serve him. Hopefully this will work and he will begin paying again. No matter what, I had to spend this money since it jeopardizes my financial future if it isn't resolved.

This is going to set my short term goals back a little, but I think I can really cut down on all my expenses and make up for this. Hopefully I will get a tax refund (all the stuff is with the CPA but they cannot file until February 15th anyway since I itemize).


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 Post subject: Re: SuzWantsToBeFree - 2011 Where do I start?????
PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2011 11:32 am 

Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2010 5:15 pm
Posts: 1163
suzwantstobefree wrote:
Well today I had an appointment with the divorce attorney to find out what I can do in order to get my ex to pay the mortgage payments he is required to pay under the terms of the divorce. It cost me a $2100.00 retainer but she is now filing a contempt of court petition. She feels that this will force him to take some action. The most difficult part is going to be finding him in order to serve him. Hopefully this will work and he will begin paying again. No matter what, I had to spend this money since it jeopardizes my financial future if it isn't resolved.


Is this the same attorney you had during the divorce?


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 Post subject: Re: SuzWantsToBeFree - 2011 Where do I start?????
PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2011 11:49 am 
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Joined: Wed Sep 23, 2009 9:01 am
Posts: 5374
suzwantstobefree wrote:
Well today I had an appointment with the divorce attorney...This is going to set my short term goals back a little, but I think I can really cut down on all my expenses and make up for this.


I would never feel bad about hiring an attorney to protect yourself. I'm a big do-it-yourself guy on just about everything. It is unbelievable what I've taught myself to do over the years. But I always pay for tax preparation and legal advice (and insurance).

The tax preparation payment is really a "divorce prevention" payment since my wife and I have different philosophies on how "aggressive" to be. An independent preparer makes sure we stay legal and do it right. (And by the way, if you think Turbo Tax always does everything "right" you might be very surprised. There are many things in the tax code subject to interpretation and/or challenge.)

Legal advice is not something we spend a lot of money on but we do have an attorney that we pay when we do anything critical.


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 Post subject: Re: SuzWantsToBeFree - 2011 Where do I start?????
PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2011 12:23 pm 

Joined: Mon Feb 04, 2008 7:35 am
Posts: 1148
Location: Maryland
I may be nitpicking, but can the responders please not QUOTE every single thing a person posts in their journal? We know you are addressing the original person. If you would like to address someone else, it's fine to quote a portion of what they say to make your statement make sense, but we really don't need to see everyone's paragrpahs twice and three times. It makes the journal really hard to review, and find the important stuff..

Suz, sorry. I just can't take it anymore, and today I reached the point where I finally had to say something. The moderator can delete this if need be, but I hope people pay attention.

We now continue to your regular posting schedule. Good for you for going back to the lawyer so quickly.


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 Post subject: Re: SuzWantsToBeFree - 2011 Where do I start?????
PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2011 2:30 pm 

Joined: Tue Jan 25, 2011 3:43 pm
Posts: 94
Thanks for the advice all - the attorney I had for the divorce is now working as a District attorney but I went back to the same firm that handled my divorce. Somehow, I think it is better to use the same office since they have the background information and the files are already there. The new attorney is young but seems really knowledgeable. There are also other attorneys in the office that can help her if need be. She answered all my questions and told me to call her or email her if I had any more. (at $225 an hour, lol) It seems that the contempt charge may get the attention of my ex that this is serious. (Hopefully). And he is only one payment is behind right now so I feel like I am being proactive in getting this resolved before it is 5 payments behind and my credit is a royal mess.

It certainly has helped me to be able to "air" this to all of you. I am a private person in so many ways but the annonomous nature of this forum is allowing me to get sensible and sound advice about dealing with this. It has really made me take immediate action when my first inclination was to wait (which could have been a really bad move).

I just wish I had spell check on here as I am sure I am making a ton of spelling errors :)


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 Post subject: Re: SuzWantsToBeFree - 2011 Where do I start?????
PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2011 2:33 pm 

Joined: Tue Jan 25, 2011 3:43 pm
Posts: 94
Sorry about the quoting, Peachy. :) I have been guilty of it too but sometimes you just want someone to know what part of the conversation you are responding to. I try to quote just a portion of the posters comments but will try to get my point across with words rather than quotes as I would hate to lose valuable advice because people get annoyed reading things over and over again :)


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 Post subject: Re: SuzWantsToBeFree - 2011 Where do I start?????
PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2011 8:52 pm 
Moderator

Joined: Wed Sep 23, 2009 9:01 am
Posts: 5374
suzwantstobefree wrote:
I just wish I had spell check on here as I am sure I am making a ton of spelling errors :)


First off, apologies to peachy for quoting the OP.

Suz, try using google chrome browser instead. It has spell check automatically.


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 Post subject: Re: SuzWantsToBeFree - 2011 Where do I start?????
PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2011 4:16 am 

Joined: Tue Jan 25, 2011 3:43 pm
Posts: 94
Ok, I will have to check that out!

Today is a brand new day and a new month. It is going to be a little tight this month since I had to spend so much for an attorney but here is how January turned out. I spent too much on the wrong things but did make some headway on my debt and my emergency fund.

1/31/2011
Fixed items:
Additional Principal - Primary $1,276.00
Mortgage - Rental Home $1,100.00
Mortgage Primary Home $1,086.00
HELOC - Rental Home $300.00
Furniture Payment $135.00
Cable $109.00
Insurance $99.68
Cell Phone $98.00

Variable Expenses:
Transfer to Savings $1,224.47
Lawn Care and tree trimming $210.00
Food and Dining out $204.83
Hair/makeup/nails/supplies $200.00
House Cleaning & Maintenance $150.00
Charity $140.00
Car Maintenance $135.11
Fuel $116.62
Clothing $106.00
Everything else $76.50
Bowling League $68.00
Tolls $50.00
Kindle Downloads $49.94
Prescription $40.00
Tree for back yard $37.50
Baking Supplies $4.27

$7,016.92


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 Post subject: Re: SuzWantsToBeFree - 2011 Where do I start?????
PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2011 5:40 am 

Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2009 4:16 pm
Posts: 959
I think you should get rid of the Heloc instead of making pre-payments to the mortgage.

Another thought would be to build up the e-fund with it.

Or pay-off the furniture payments faster.

_________________
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