Hi, My name is Cheryl. I am using my daugters computer so sometimes you might Emily but it’s me. I’m still figuring out this whole computer thing. Anyway, I would like to tell you guys what my financial situation is and hopefully you can help me.

My husband, Seth and I are 51 years old. We have two daughters Emily 15 and Claire 12. We have 28,000 dollars worth of credit card debt. Over 80% of that is medical and paying off other bills when we didn’t have the money. I am trying to find a part time job but it isn’t going well. I have been looking for over 6 months and have applied to every job I’ve found. I have not worked for seven years due to homeschooling the kids. Before that I was a Drug and Alcohol Counselor for over 20 years.

My degree is in Psychology with a minor in Sociology. Seth works for USDA as a meat inspector and his min. base pay is about 1300 per two weeks. In Dec. our car of over 12 years died and so we had to buy a used van. It is a 2003 Pontiac Montana. It has been serving us very well but having the payments come out makes things very tight. We pay about 650.00 a month for our mortgage and then have car insurance, water, phone, electricity, our three credit card payments, 3 store charges that I have not used in a while and are just racked up because I use them for Christmas, I also have the internet bill but that comes directly out of our account.

Those are all of our monthly bills plus we spend about 60.00 per two week period on livestock feed for the turkeys, chickens and ducks, right now the goats are eating hay which is fine in summer and the rabbits only need feed about once a month or so. The only other things that have to come out of what is left is food and gas. As you can see things aren’t going all that well. If there is anything you see that I don’t that might help please let me know. Also if you need more information I can give you that. Thanks in Advance.

savingYour situation almost sounds like ours except that our 3 kids are now grown, however 2 of them are still at home. We also have a huge amount of credit card debt. Sure wish we had a $650 morgage, we just have a $1700 lease. I’m currently working on getting my FICO score up, it’s been a hard battle.

I’ve spent the last 5 years trying to get my score up from the high 500’s and it has been in the 600’s for the past 3 years. A couple of months ago I decided that I needed professionals help with my financial situation. The problem is that it costs a lot of money. A friend of mine recommended a company that provided financial services at affordable prices.

I looked into it and instead of the $800 to $100 bucks that some credit restoration companies charge, I’m paying $59.00 bucks a month for not only credit restoration, but my monthly membership pays for 24/7 access to a doctor for non-life threatening health issues, a debt elimination program that will help my pay off my debt in 1/3 to 1/2 the time my creditors would like, I also get identity theft protection with a product call LifeLock (link).

There are some other products in the membership that I haven’t had to use yet, like access to CPA and a Lawyer. I have been using the credit restoration service now for 2 months now and I just got a notification from my bank that gives me a monthly fico score for free from one credit bureau, transunion and it has jumped up 36 points. That put my score finally in the 670 range. It’s been hard because we have to really watch how we spend money. I just want to pay off my student loans and credit card debt.

Hopefully, I can hang on to my job. This economy is sure making it hard for a lot of people just to keep a job. If I lost my job, all of this hard work to restore my credit would go down the drain. I don’t have 2 cents to rub together as far as savings goes. I have a company IRA and that’s it. I’m looking at starting a home based business to make an extra 500 – 1000 bucks a month. I’m currenly a customer, but I think I might become a rep. The services have sure worked for me. I think that the only way I can better my situation is to reduce my monthly cost (somehow) and increase my monthly income. thanks for allowing me to ramble.

Well, a couple of idea’s:

  1. One, call around about your car insurance. It seems very high to me. However, I live in the “sticks” so if you live in a large city that may be the reason. However, I’m paying for 3 vehicles, only one has full coverage, and I have a 16 year old kid, but my insurance is still under $200 a month (without the 16 year old it’s $80 a month)..
  2. 2nd Turn the air conditioner up. I keep mine at about 75 and the bill is very reasonable. It’s comfortable in the house with the lack of humidity, I will set it down occasionally if I’m doing some heavy house cleaning or something, but it goes back up after that.
  3. 3rd, spend the $$ on those new light bulbs, saved us TONS. Of course there is the obvious turn off the lights!! LOL LOL LOL I keep the bathroom lights on, but if we are watching TV, the lights are off.
  4. 4th Water Bill, do whatever you can to make sure you shut the water off, and don’t let it run while you are cooking, or washing dishes. Time your showers, make sure you get in, wash, get out. No relaxing in there. Can you cut the kids down to a shower every other day? (not sure the age, impossible if you have teens, not too bad if they are toddlers or 8 yr. olds) How about yourself?? They say it is actually not good for your hair or skin to shower every day.

I don’t overly encourage this but to get you through a month sometimes the bank will let you “defer” a car payment. You would have to check with the bank to see if this would be possible and their rules. With ours they added a payment to the end of the loan but we had to pay the interest payment on the loan that month, and they wanted a legitimate reason for it. Now, keep in mind this extends the life of your loan, and some places have it where you can only do it 2X in a 2 year period. Well, you have to decide if you are in enough of an emergency now to warrant doing this or what will happen later if you have an even bigger emergency what will happen if you’ve lost your chance for a deferment.

If you’ve read on here much, sometimes you can make calls to your credit cards tell them you have a lower interest application sitting in front of you with a better interest rate and you will switch if the first card doesn’t lower your interest. Sometimes it works sometimes it doesn’t. You certainly don’t have anything to lose by trying it out.

OK, those are just some thoughts for you to think about. My experience, family etc… may be different than yours. So maybe you can’t do an every other day shower or maybe you have a scared kid, and just can’t turn all the lights out or the kidlet freaks out. You have to find what will work for your family and hopefully you will be able to really cut some of the spending on those “everyday–no choice” kind of bills.

I would pay the auto insurance, esp. if you plan on driving anywhere AND live in a mandatory ins. coverage state. I know in Ohio, if you are caught without it, you are in for a hell of a mess. Very expensive!

bills to payHi all,

I am still new here and desperately trying to make things work. I used to get 20+ hours a week, and that was down from full time. Well, now I am getting about 4-6 hrs every two weeks- so this pay check was a whopping $35! I can’t pay things. This is the first month that we have not somehow been able to find a way to make at least minimum payments on everything. But I can’t do it this month and there is not much chance things will improve at work so that I can get more hours.

We are working toward opening a family daycare home, but it will take a few weeks, maybe even 2 months is what I have been told by many that have done it. That will put us back where we can make our payments, though it won’t allow for a savings plan. And my husband has lots of leads for our side business (Granicrete- flooring/ countertops, etc) from a HomeShow last weekend. We should get several jobs out the hundreds of leads. Again, it will take some time to do the quotes and schedule people around his full time job. But, there is at least hope in sight.

The problem now is how to make it work for the next 2 maybe three months until that comes through and we get the daycare open. I am going to talk to several friends and family and see if they can help us, but if not I have to decide how to pay things and what to pay them. Here is a run down and any suggestions would be great. I really want to keep our credit as good as I can, especially since now maybe there is hope that we won’t have to file BK.

The bills I have to pay still this month:

  • Cell phone $112 (we can’t cancel them-contract but out would cost more than we have and we don’t have a land line)
  • Electric $295
  • Auto Ins. $237
  • Our Van $115
  • Our SUV $260 (which we are desperately trying to sell and have been for months!)
  • Our scooter (so cheap and great on gas- we pay 60/mth for 10 months on it)
  • Water $110
  • Internet $42
  • Equity loan $145
  • Home depot card- mine $60
  • Home depot card- husbands $60
  • Bank credit card $165
  • Visa $100

This does not account for any medical bills, and we have those as well and try to make a payment of $10 a month on those two accounts.

We have about 800 left to pay things and that is after I put 300 in saving for food and gas. We are a family of 7- so that is not much! Am I better off paying everyone partial payments? Paying somethings the full ammt due and not paying anything to the others? what is best as far as credit is concerned?

Sept has the same bills, but add the mortgage at $1225 and life ins at $70. We will get about $2200 next month if we don’t get any Granicrete jobs, etc- so worst case. I have to try to figure out the best way to do this for about 3 months. I have decided at the end of that time, if we have not gotten back on track with other jobs, the daycare, etc then we will file BK. Also, Matt, my husband, is trying to get a job in Iraq or Afghanistan.

He was in the British Infantry for nearly 11 yrs. I don’t like the idea and neither does he, but if he got a one year contract we would have most stuff paid off and have money in savings! We have been apart before and it is horrible, but right now he is working so much we don’t see him anyway, and we are still drowning!

What would you do???? Thanks in advance…. I can’t even think anymore!

I have my CCs frozen in ice so I won’t use them but I can’t close them because I can’t afford to pay them off.

Also, one of them is a card I was “authorized” on, but is actually in my mom’s name. I’ve been okay with this, as has she, but yesterday, they did what many companies are doing and lowered the available balance – to JUST above what I owe.

I’m devastated. Not because I want to use it, but because it means that I singlehandedly just upped my mom’s % utilization with the credit reporting agencies.

I feel horrible. But to be honest, it’s tempered by what I see as a positive reality check. I have a three-year plan to pay down the $45K I owe across several cards and my car. But I’ve been relaxed about it until now. Now it feels like a critical turning point.

I cancelled my “authorized” card for this account. It doesn’t help my mom, but it might help me be able to move that money into my own name before too much longer.

I hate that my past behaviors haunt me. That’s bad enough. But now I’m hurting someone else and it’s really a painful place to be.

I sat down last night and did my budget for the next two paychecks. Happily, all my irregular bills are paid until Christmas, but I’ve already planned for that so it’ll be okay.

Debt is a sticky and unhappy place to be. I keep telling myself how quickly three years will go. But today is a rough day.

close CC accountWhy freeze them unless you intend on using them again?- cut them up! You can close accounts and continue to pay on them until the balance is paid in full. My spouse and I have done it and are doing it.

I’ve never had a company tell me I could’nt close my account because I cant pay it off. Even still, if thats the only reason- just cut them up. You wont use them unless you retain all the info and use them online. Close the accounts and take heart knowing you just made the first step towards never being in debt like this again! Yet, you can close an acct with a balance but it adversely affects your fico score…

I’ve heard that time and time again and have not seen it adversely affect my score ever. In the very least no more then carrying cards that are maxed out or falling behind and being late on a payment. I really believe that is another way the CC companies try to keep us in debt.

If you pay on that balance and pay the required minimum on time your score should not be affected by much if at all and the quickest way to help counter that would be to pay more then the minimum required payment. I’ve never had closed accounts affect my ability to obtain credit, car loans etc. but again they were in good standing.

We do use CFL lightbulbs. They are great.

I have turned the air down- it is at 74, but if i set it higher my little ones get sweaty and cranky- all 4 of them! they are 1, 3, 4, 6- my oldest is almost 13. And we keep the fans on all the time too. The humidity if FL is bad esp this time of year. The a/c is new- we had to replace the whole sys last year, so it is a 13 seer, etc. Not sure what else to do there.

The kids bathe everyday, but not in much water and the little ones all share a bath. or if they take turns in and out, then they use the same water. Our water bill is actually mostly sewer – only about 25-30$$ is water. They raised the sewer rates as the hurricanes of 04 flooded the sewer plant and they have to move it now. That is an expensive venture so the tax payers and customers have to pay some of the cost.

Car ins- we have 3 vehicles- one we have been trying to sell for ages. we thought we had is sold, so we bought the scooter for 700. It has liability only, but as the other 2 are financed, they have to carry full coverage. Our rates just went down – they dropped rates across the board, and when the suv sells, it will save us a bunch too. Our state does have mandatory ins requirements. We carry the least we can by law.

I have worked with our bank and deffered the two car payments once already – a bit before christmas last year. I have to wait 2 yrs to do it again. That bank is the only one that seems to give a rats behind. But, USAA is a great bank!

i have called the other creditors and talked over and over and explained that my hours got cut and that we have always had a good history, no late payments, etc, but now we are short. I have job apps out and am trying to make it up, but…. I have to say that citibank, which owns our home depot cards, has dropped late fees for me more than once. But, the payments were only a week late- never more than 30 days. Maybe they were nice since we work for Home Depot, they are home depot cards, and it is that co that cut my hours…lol.

Anyway, we took the consolidation loan – payed off teh credit cards- all but one anyway, which we will take a few thousand off of. We are paying a huge chunk off of the SUV so that we can drop the price and sell it. I know we will take a huge hit, but I have to get out of it. Selling that and being able to drop the insurance on it will save us the amount of the payment on the consolidation loan. Plus now the credit cards are gone. They are cut up- but not cancelled as we were advised to leave them open as it shows a long credit history even if you never use them. All in all, it has saved us about 215 a month.

But at the rate I am going now, I still don’t think we can make all the bills. I am trying to change our cell phone plans to drop that some, but our plans are pretty cheap, so I am not sure we can do much better. We don’t have a land line, cable, etc at home. The computer is really the only other thing we can cut. I can’t do that since I do all the finances this way and more importantly than that, half of DHs family is overseas. This is how we talk- skype- to New Zealand, Australia, UK, Germany, Bulgaria, Afghanistan, Iraq….

So, hubby is prob going to Iraq or Afghanistan to work for a year or two. It is sad – this time apart in a war zone is why we got out of the military. but, i don’t see another way. I could file ch 7. But it would be so easy to be back in the same spot and only puts you even again, not ahead. Iraq would put us ahead at over 100K a year, most o which is tax free. BUt the possible price is high- we have 5 kids to think about to. I battle with what do I tell them if daddy gets killed over there…. ‘we did it to save our credit?” But, then everyone has to work, and at the end of the day is is not just our credit score. We have 5 kids to feed and care for. I want to be home with them again. I want to have a sound financial future not just for us but for them. That is more than a credit score. Sigh…..