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 Post subject: CC Debt gone, time to start saving
PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2009 4:27 pm 

Joined: Wed Mar 26, 2008 4:59 pm
Posts: 76
My credit card debt is paid off! As a couple, we had $44,000 in debt about three years ago. We ended up in our situation because I was in school and my husband left the military at the same time, but once we both had stable jobs we decided to tackle the situation.

I have continued to pay off my husband’s debt along the way, as he insists on using credit cards to make “wantâ€


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 7:04 pm 

Joined: Wed Mar 26, 2008 4:59 pm
Posts: 76
Yay, I got a comment! Thank you!

Regarding the cars, it's like you read my mind! We each have a daily driver and the 3rd car is my husband's heavily modified Ford that I'm always asking him to sell. As much as I dislike his project car, he loves it. We are no longer destitute, and he would get thousands less than it would go for in a stronger economy (he humored me and checked current prices).

I'm a teacher, so some money is involuntarily deducted from each paycheck, and my employer kicks in some more. That is an extra $600 monthly that I save, which I should have mentioned a little more clearly. It's not my cash to walk away with until retirement, though, when a formula will determine my monthly payout. Our ROTHs are additional savings. I will need to increase contributions a bit to reach the $10k mark by April 15th (thank you).

My husband is not as into saving like I am. He allows me to make the big plan, pay bills, and save. Sometimes he grumbles about not having more "fun" money, but when I show him what we've saved I think he appreciates that I made him do it. He pays his CC bills with his "fun" money, so as long as he can afford it on his own, I try to keep my mouth shut. When I don't, we fight. Anyone else have this problem?

If I save at this rate, at age 38 I'll have $78,000 in joint savings. At that point, I thought about starting to lump that extra money down on the mortgage. I'm not sure if I'd be better off keeping the tax breaks during years when our income may exceed $150k, but that would help me pay my mortgage off in my 40's, leaving me 15 working years or so to save several thousand monthly until I retire.

I just calculated this...altogether, I'm saving 34% of my take home pay! I am really grateful to have a job that I love. Plus, $4k of the student loan repayment was just mailed in on my behalf. I hope my good fortune continues. (I empathize with others who journal so many roadblocks and unexpected tragedies, and I am truly sad for anyone who's out of work or just unable to experience success at this point. I've been there, too, just not this month.)


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2009 1:33 pm 

Joined: Sat Jun 30, 2007 10:35 am
Posts: 1444
I agree with equestrianerd about your husband not being on board. At this point in your life, you really need to have a heart to heart and talk to him about growing up and looking to the future. i'm a bit disturbed that you have been paying down his debt the entire time, while he spends. You are a family and he really needs to start acting like it; otherwise, you aren't going to get where you want to be. You'll be saving and he'll be spending. Getting him on board with saving is the single best thing you can do towards saving now you are out of debt.

What kind of disability does he have?


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2009 3:41 pm 

Joined: Wed Mar 26, 2008 4:59 pm
Posts: 76
1 - the cars: The fun car is paid off, and one of the modest daily drivers has a balance. Our insurance is only about $100/year for the third car, about $150 to register annually, and he uses his fun money for its gas. My husband spends lots of time at car club meetings and events with the car, so as long as he can use gift money to fund future (if any) modifications, I think we're okay keeping it. He pays for parts he finds mostly on Craigslist or Ebay, and installs them for free, either alone or w/car club friends.

2 - the $78,000: I think this is a good amount for us to have for savings, future vet bills, or a possible job loss or relocation down the line. I'll reach that number 6 years from now. I could possibly cut that amount short by a year and start lumping down on the mortgage once I reach $66,000 savings, or even after 4 years of saving $54,000.

3 - the husband: I think Equestrianerd is right, his choice to pay on a small CC debt with personal money isn't hurting us as a couple. The cards aren't maxed out and he makes all payments on time. I refuse to pay a penny of it since our bulk debt is gone. He is signing up for school classes online, so he'll receive GI Bill funds, and once that happens he'll be able to pay his debt off in about 3 months. I am not holding my breath until that chain of events happens, but I'm hopeful.

On a positive note, he always searches for coupons and free stuff online, he offers to cook meals at home rather than go out, he helped out with signing up for a cheaper phone plan when we combed through our bills, helped me paint a bedroom rather than hire someone, he let go of HBO when they were going to start charging $12/month for it, he helps with gardening so we no longer pay someone, and he works at an auto shop and does our oil changes. He used to want to pay someone to do everything or feel that we shouldn't ever question the smaller purchases. I am glad that some of his overall attitude about money has shifted.

To Googoo - We've had the heart to hearts and I don't think I can "change" him to be quite as excited about a debt-free life as I am. I wish I could. It would be a little easier if we were 100% in agreement. I've tried emotional pleas, Excel spreadsheets, mortgage calculators, and more on him. Did you ever get a man to change? Any advice? He is a simple kind of guy who likes food, beer, and cars. Maybe I just need the right approach. :)

His disability - He has horrible knees that click and swell up all the time, so he cannot continue with the laborious job he was trained to do in the military, and even walks are a bit painful. He does work full-time.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2009 4:00 pm 

Joined: Wed Mar 26, 2008 4:59 pm
Posts: 76
August has been a good month! I met all of my savings goals. Not only did I dodge a pay cut, but I received a raise of about $150/month. I plan to use the $150 monthly to begin making extra payments on my mortgage next month. (good plan? input/ideas are welcome)

Also, my husband put his project car up for sale, without me asking! He plans to pay off his debt, and then we'll see about the balance. He hasn't received any decent offers yet, but I appreciate his gesture and team-player attitude. I told him my online friends would be proud of him, too!

Payday is next week....things are a little tight when I save this much each month. We cleaned the house and yard, and now we're slow cooking some ribs my husband bought for a killer deal and watching some Netflix. I feel a little bit like a broke college student, until I log on to my accounts and just SMILE. We sleep a lot better these days.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2009 2:50 pm 

Joined: Wed Mar 26, 2008 4:59 pm
Posts: 76
Well, the pay cut I thought I’d dodged is back on. Effective this month, I’m taking a pay cut that will set me back to the salary I made earlier this year. I’m grateful to have my job. I’ll keep plugging away. Although this means I won’t be able to pay extra on the house, I will still be able to meet the rest of my financial goals, including saving over 1/3 of my income.

My husband received a few insultingly low offers on his fun car. He intends to sell it when the economy picks up and the market isn’t flooded with other fun/project cars available at desperate prices. It's paid off and not creating a financial burden for us.

As for choices I made that will change: I’d started paying a housecleaner bimonthly. I worked extra hours in the evening and even what was available on weekends, and I was too overwhelmed to keep up with everything. She charged $60 per visit = $120/month plus tip. She was laid off from her job, and the arrangement was mutually beneficial while it lasted. Now that I’ll have 6 furlough days, I’ll have the time to clean and would rather pocket that money. That was pretty much my one monthly splurge. Many overtime opportunities are disappearing with this pay cut, although the extra $600 I make is secure.

I’ve learned to relax a bit. There’s freedom in knowing that I don’t have to accept every single overtime opportunity. I’m not in a dire situation. I plan to start exercising more and rekindling old hobbies with this newfound free time. Like so many others facing a "furlough/pay cut" situation, we can choose how we feel about it. I'm trying to stay positive.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 2:58 pm 

Joined: Wed Mar 26, 2008 4:59 pm
Posts: 76
Well, here's my 2010 update:

Hubby sold his fun car for $10k. He'll pay off his CC debt in full and save the rest. His habits have totally changed. Does anyone else watch "Till Debt do us Part?" It's totally changed him.

I'm trying to figure out how to readjust my budget. My savings are: about $1100 into my work's pension, another $1000 into Roths for the two of us, $400-600 of overtime monthly, $100 vacation savings, and previously $800 into an emergency fund. I am up to about $22k savings, and that's growing quickly.

We now have no CC debt, owe about $6k on one car, and the other car is paid off. We will reach 2009 goal of maxing out Roths for $10k, and again in 2010.

My problem is, I cut my budget a little too close. I want to save about $200-$300 less monthly. I've had to pay for dog meds, vet bills, auto maintenance, and other life events that I didn't plan too well for. My savings is still over 1/3 of total income. Any advice on how you plan for such events without being wasteful?


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2010 6:08 am 

Joined: Mon Feb 04, 2008 7:35 am
Posts: 1148
Location: Maryland
Wow Dani, that's a lot of savings, and I'm glad that your husband sold his car and paid off your CC debt. As far as your extra "sinking" expenses, why don't you use a separate account, and put your overtime money into that account, so when vet bills and other random expenses come up, you will already have a stash saved up. Or, you could decrease your monthly pension for a while until you get a little bit extra built up and then bump up your pension savings. You have such good habits, you just have to divert your monies and then continue back on track. Great job.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2010 10:04 pm 

Joined: Wed Mar 26, 2008 4:59 pm
Posts: 76
I like your idea, Peachy. I think I'll use a separate account for life expenses, as you suggested. I already save the entire overtime pay, so that is a logical source. Thank you.


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 5:47 pm 

Joined: Fri Jul 10, 2009 6:57 am
Posts: 378
Dani wrote:
Well, here's my 2010 update:

My problem is, I cut my budget a little too close. I want to save about $200-$300 less monthly. I've had to pay for dog meds, vet bills, auto maintenance, and other life events that I didn't plan too well for. My savings is still over 1/3 of total income. Any advice on how you plan for such events without being wasteful?


Wow, you are doing great! 22k is an awesome e-fund and you'll have that second car paid in no time.

What I do for vet bills and such is to establish an online savings account at ING, estimate how much I spent last year, and then have 1/24th of that amount taken out of each paycheck (I get paid 2x per month). So, for example, last February I took my dog to the vet for a regular checkup and vaccinations and had to pay about $400 for 15 minutes of conversation with the vet and two shots. (Outrageous!!!!!) I hadn't planned for it, and it came partly out of savings and partly out of my leftover cash for the month. Ugh. So I set up an ING account that gets 20 bucks deposited out of every paycheck, and this year I'll be positioned to pay that bill right away..


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 Post subject: Re: CC Debt gone, time to start saving
PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2011 1:19 am 

Joined: Wed Mar 26, 2008 4:59 pm
Posts: 76
Well, it's been over a year since I updated this, so here goes:

1 - spent about $10k on dogs' vet bills this year - one had cancer, tried to save him for as long as I could, finally stopped with the expensive treatments as his type was terminal no matter what and the cost, plus his quality of life was declining

2 - major eye problems and surgeries this year, my eye really hurts in hot weather, and it's over 90 degrees for 5 months/year where I live now, so we're looking to relocate to Oregon/Washington if I can get a job there (applications are in)

3 - stopped paying the mortgage - lender wants us to sign a Promissory Note for the balance of our home and won't agree to a short sale, they are unwilling to bend even though I have offered documentation of my condition and surgeries, we'll try to end this with a Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure but who knows. We owe $348k, house is worth maybe $200-215k, which I was fine with but not now that I'm in pain all the time. I'm a little nervous to enter the world of renting again, but this mortgage doesn't make sense on so many levels.

4 - brother-in-law moved in last Spring - he's unemployed and does not contribute towards food or household expenses. However, he scrubs the house down every Friday, runs errands, walks the dogs, handles the garden, took care of the dog with cancer, drove me around to eye surgeries all year, etc. so I don't mind the minor extra expense. He gets unemployment, which covers his car, gas, insurance, and catching up on his personal bills.

5 - the savings: about $20k joint savings, about $25k personal savings, contributed $5k to Roths (until the dog got cancer) but am back on track with that, saved about $4000 extra this year with a new secondary retirement plan

6 - the pay: it's not looking good for teachers in California. We're possibly looking at a 160 day school year with another 8% pay cut, plus paying more for benefits. I really, really, really hope to hear back from one of the districts I applied to in OR/WA. If not, I'll apply for overtime opportunities.

7 - the money management: I stopped using my Excel spreadsheet to track expenses when I started spending money on the cancer treatments. I just couldn't do it. I loved my dog so much, and I didn't feel right writing down that I wasn't meeting my personal savings goals because of him. I think I will just hide those columns, re-enter my account balances, and start fresh in June.

I've been very frugal this year, not allowed to exercise or do much, spending a lot of time at home. When you lose your vision, excessive items become even less important than they already were.


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 Post subject: Re: CC Debt gone, time to start saving
PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2011 5:59 am 

Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2009 4:16 pm
Posts: 961
I am really sorry about your vision. Since you no longer go to the gym, maybe you can
go to the park and take a walk light to moderate exercise.

Hopefully, you get better soon.

_________________
Be what you want to attract.


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 Post subject: Re: CC Debt gone, time to start saving
PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 10:08 pm 

Joined: Wed Mar 26, 2008 4:59 pm
Posts: 76
Thanks, Fantasma. I just got clearance to exercise and have started up with that.

My brother in law moved out. I'm spending much less on food, with my husband helping clear out the freezer, but I do miss the extra help around the house.

Although we knew it was inevitable, I just received notification that an auction date is set in July.

No calls on out of state jobs yet, I still have my current one if all else fails, but we hoped to just move and relocate all at once. This is very overwhelming, with lots of work ahead this summer, but also freeing. A storage pod was delivered and we're loading it up this weekend, final delivery location TBD. Worst case scenario, we'll rent in the same area for a year and try again for a relocation next year.


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 Post subject: Re: CC Debt gone, time to start saving
PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2011 4:58 am 

Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2009 4:16 pm
Posts: 961
With all the paycuts you have had to take working in California; are there no programs out there to help you with your housing situation?

Since your a teacher, have you considered virtual schools?

_________________
Be what you want to attract.


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 Post subject: Re: CC Debt gone, time to start saving
PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2011 6:14 pm 

Joined: Wed Mar 26, 2008 4:59 pm
Posts: 76
Nope Fantasma, I still have a job and can technically afford this house, plus my income is still much higher than when we first bought the place and I was a student. I just don't want to pay over $2600/month for this place as I watch the neighborhood and quality of neighbors decline, and we really don't want to stay in CA at all. People are renting houses for half of what I'm paying, moving in multiple friends and family, working on project cars at all hours of the night, letting neglected dogs bark all night, what we were told would be a quiet two lane road behind our house is now a four lane loud expressway style road, etc. Also, this was a track home built quickly during a housing boom in the area. There are already problems with the roof, wall and roof cracks, wooden floors are lifting horribly, water leaking through ceiling, the water heater is on its last leg, leaking/mold starting up under the kitchen sink, etc. So on top of being majorly underwater with the mortgage, I'd need to dump thousands more into this place if I stay. I will really miss both sets of next door neighbors and hope to find similarly amicable ones in the future.

I am interested in teaching online and avoiding a commute, but there aren't many of these positions for special education. Most virtual positions require that you reside in the area and meet with students occasionally, plus the majority are for gen. ed. secondary positions (I don't have a credential for that, plus you usually need a B.A. in Science or whatever subject you'll be teaching, so it would take years to add that endorsement). I've applied to teach online college courses to future teachers, but haven't heard back. Even if I get hired with a college, it is very unlikely I'll be full-time and get the benefits I need. So, I wait and I hope.


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