I remember 20% interest rates on mortgages.

We moved into our house 30 years ago this week, and closed on it March 30, 1980; paid the builder rent for 6 weeks. We had locked in the interest rate on our mortage at 12 and a quarter percent, 30 years fixed, in December for 90 days. It took 90 days to get the cash DH had saved through some program at work. The builder was willing to work with us–sure sale while still under construction versus the unknown, with interest rates rising daily. The day we closed, the fixed rate was 18 and three quarters percent on a 30 year fixed mortgage. A few years later
we refinanced to 8 and something for 15 years, and our mortgage didn’t change a penny the first year!

I like the idea of refinancing the car loan

into a lower interest loan – if you can’t sell the car – but *not* to a variable interest rate loan. Interest rates are at record lows and they are going to go up up UP at some point,. Remember that 30 years ago the Prime Rate was over 20%!!! Today’s interest rates are going to look like a screaming bargain in a few years.

Does it make sense in some cases

to take out a HELOC if the result is paying off debt sooner? We have the following debt:
Home Equity Loan – $13,000 @ 5.75% Monthly payment is $166 Payoff as amortized is 2018
Car Loan – $10,000 @4.89% Monthly payment is $281 Payoff as amortized is 2013 (With extra principal – just two years)

Each month, I’ve been sending the bank an extra $118 toward the car payment and each month I have to call them to have them make sure it’s been credited toward the principal. It’s a nightmare and I’ve posted several times about this. My credit union holds the home equity loan.

We can open a HELOC and combine the two loans. The interest rate is 3.75% right now and the payment would be 2% of principal adjusted as the balance goes down. The rate is adjustable over prime. The 2% right now would be about $100 less than I have available for payments so technically we could pay this off in about 45 months. We’d be debt free. We have no credit card debt beyond our monthly balance.

The risk is the interest rate. I’m not sure what it would do over the 45 months it would take us to pay it off. There is also a $250 fee to open the HELOC which I do have in cash.

Last time I check in Dec

they were not hiring anything full time and there are enough unemployed fully trained teachers that they get priority for the teaching sub AND aid type position. I unfortunately have no useful education.
I would love to go back to school to get something but we just can not afford it right now. Sucks big time. I tried to get seasonal stuff at Walmart & Target type stores hoping those could be part time after they see I can do that job but no they have so many people that are dying to work they schedule you 1st shift today, 3rd shift tomorrow, then off then 2nd shift. Its crazy I guess if I really NEEDED a job to eat or hubby had a set schedule then it might be worth it but its just too crazy right now.
I tried the military commissary and shopping center but they would only give me 15 hours a week and I had to be on call, what the heck for a grocery store… but yes they said that.
I would like to say its easy or there is something good but not right now. However I am looking into something crafty.

Im living on a military base

so we would have to have our house approved by the base & then I have to take a class. There is also a limit as to the amount of in home on base childcare allowed. Since this is a smaller base the limit is low. Then there is the thing that most of the people that want child care want crazy hours. For example physical training starts at 6 so I would have to be able to take a child as early as 5 am and keep them as late as 9 pm, although some do offer overnight care that’s a little too much for us as we don’t have a lot of space. The house is 1400 sq ft with 3 bedrooms. I could only have 3 kids and the base sets the amount I can charge at 6 per child per hour and I can have the USDA supplement some of my food money if I shop separately and serve approved meals & snacks. That also allows them to inspect my home at any time for food & health concerns, kinda like a health inspector at a restaurant. They say you can set your own hours but people I know that have set their hours say 7 am til 5 pm don’t have a lot of older kids. So I could go with the younger crowd and have 1 infant and up to 3 additional kids as long as my 2 are in school. But then when mine come home I can only have a total of 3 extras. I have thought of doing a drop in type thing when Im available a set of hours and then people that are going to docs appt and such can come for just a few hours here and there but that would really cause me to sit and wait and maybe or maybe not have kids. We have cats and we would have to lock them in a separate room while kids are here as it’s a rule, no animals around the kids, this prevents biting and is a safety issue. I believe bases can set their own rules on some childcare but this base has that rule.
If I did full time type stuff I would have a problem for the kids appts since I can never get them at the same time or same day. Sometimes I can not even get them both in on the same day. And hubby has enough stress at work that having extra kids is just too much for him so they would have to be gone by 5 and that’s not realistic when most people don’t get off til 5. LOL.
I’ve also thought about doing a nanny type thing when I would go to their home from like 8 til 6 but then I have the problem with my kids being alone if the parents get home late. Also when would my errands and stuff get cleaned. So many variables.

I know I responded earlier but somehow my message got lost in cyber space

Why not check out jobs in the local school system such as secretary, teacher’s aide, cafeteria worker, etc. These jobs usually allow the worker to work school hours or pretty close. Oftentimes you get personal days or vacation days to take care of doctor’s appointments etc. Quite possibly you could get a position that lets you work school hours, thus cutting out childcare costs.

You could also try in home day care, including before and after school care. That way you can still be home with your kids. There is a lady in our church who keeps only teacher’s kids so by about 3:30 her day is done. She has someone help her so she takes one weekday off to do errands, appointments, etc. I am not sure if that person is there every day or just on her day off. This lady has done it so long she has quite a good reputation. From what I understand she is at capacity all the time. This option cuts out any childcare you would have to pay for your kids.

I am just trying to come up with ideas to fill in the gaps due to the extra ss outgo.

Generally I run my own numbers

but I was too frustrated when I saw the numbers I just went with what I was told. We got a number from the chain of command that if you were at this much it would cut that much in a format of different amounts. Kinda take your figure to what you make and follow the line this is the new amount they will be taking out.
But I got this email and went back,
I took the old pay times the 4.2 we were paying
took the current pay X the 1.7% raise then used that new pay X the 6.2 we will be paying
…. did I do this right so far?

My different is an increase of just over 60 for the entire month…. How did I mess up or how did they get the 400 number… maybe they can not do math.
And this is why I should know better than to use follow the line math of other people.

We’re in the same boat

I paid off Lowe’s and SS in December thinking we’d be increasing our small snowball by a bunch. Instead it is all going to the SS tax reinstatement. I consoled myself by saying “and how would we have covered that tax if we hadn’t paid off those debts?” At least you and I had the money to absorb the hike. Many, many families do not. You aren’t derailed forever. You have came a long, long ways. And now you have your dh on board to help. You’ll find it will all work out. Just have some patience and stick with the plan. Jan who had to wade through her own financial frustration last week and made it all come together by the end of the week in OK

Well I was so excited

that DH was finally getting it. We had small sinking funds that were growing monthly and being used for what they were needed. We have the BEF up and safely tucked away. We are able to make all the bills on time. Today I find out that the Social Security change will cut 400 from hubby’s pay, which is the entire snowball.
If I could get a job I would. Unfortunately the kids are 11 and 13 and too immature to leave alone yet. And the childcare center here all stop at 10 to 12 yrs, so my youngest could go but my 13 yr old could not. They have youth centers on the base but they allow the kids to come and go at will. So my available hours are only during the school day, our school has random Weds when they get out at noon. Some months they do not, some its 1 or 2, some its every Weds. Now the kids stay late for club and if they ride the bus they get home late enough I could almost get a job til 5 pm but if the teacher that oversees the club is out or something they cancel that club with no notice to the parents. I even called the other day to verify that the clubs were running & my youngest can home at 330 since his club was cancelled. On top of that are all the appts for their ADHD and whatnot, we are changing meds so they have to go once or twice a month.
Then there is the fact that I am a military spouse so I can not count on my hubby getting the time to handle any issues with the kids, so if they are sick, have an appt, whatever I must handle it myself. Also the docs we have to see for the ADHD only see the kids between 7 am and 2 pm, so I have to pull the kids from school & leave work for those as well. Grrr. Most everything in this area I could do would be part time with crazy hours. They want you to work on the weekends or 2nd or 3rd shift. Which would be okay if I knew my hubby would be home, but they decide that oh we are going to do work all weekend or darn we need to stay til 9 pm to finish up this project or anything random like that. For example the other day they were suppose to get off at the normal 5 pm when I talked to hubby at 430, he still wasn’t home at 8, and when I texted him to see if he was stuck in traffic, nope still at work. That’s standard not odd. Though the military generally have Physical Training in the morning from 5 til 8, then have to be at work by 9 and off about 5, they could and do expect you to show up at the drop of a hat. If you have kids you better have a plan if what to do with them.

Im just so beyond frustrated right now. Finally we were making progress, now it looks like we will be derailed forever.

Well

not a favorite, but our micro investing in a friend’s business went to crap and basically we lost about $30,000. We bought a new Jeep for cash (long term installment loans for bad credit) and practically gave the SUV to the wife’s cousin. They are more talented in replacing a transmission and the SUV was 14 years old. I was able to max out my 401K to $24K a year as I turned 50 last year. I think we saved about 40% of our income. We took an awesome trip to Prague, Salzburg and Munich and were able to pay for a few things for the group of 24 people that came along on the trip.

I guess this is part of homework

I was just looking at my Lifelock account at my credit history.

I still have a “good” score. There are no “good reasons” for my scores 675, 714 and 7140—nothing listed as a good reason whatsoever. However there are several negatives. Kind of the things DR might see on his but my balance sheet certainly is not as generous as his. All the negative stems from getting out of debt. Only exception to that is our mortgage. All the reasons they list as negative are actually good reasons I guess. It means we are doing something right to have gotten out of debt.

Here are all the “negative” reasons:
Lack of sufficient relevant account information.
The date that you opened your oldest account is too recent. (Most recent is mortgage from 2011.)
No open accounts in your credit file.
No open real estate accounts in your credit file.
You have either very few loans or too many loans with delinquencies. (Only the mortgage.)
Lack of sufficient credit history.

I am the owner of a legally registered business, an R-corp, I believe. I am wondering how this affects the future of my business. Our business operates on the DR philosophy as well. We do have accounts with vendors with terms but nothing is financed.

Hi all, I wanted to say Welcome as well

The previous posts have given good recommendations; I would only add that you may want to check out some of Dave Ramsey’s books (if you haven’t already). The Total Money Makeover book is a good one, and the Financial Peace University series is great if you like workshop-type environments. Either/both of those sources will help you put your situation (which BTW is extremely common), into a “big picture” so that you have a sense of where you are vs where you want to be. Both the book and the series will also give you concrete programs for getting from Point A to Point B. We frequently talk here about “being on the VB road”, because we’re all at different stages of getting from wherever we started, to wherever we have set as our financial goals. You’re in good company on that road, even if you’re not sure of some of the details yet. So check out either the book or the class if you’d like “the rest of the story” for the recommendations we’re making. And again, Welcome!

Start by closing the credit cards accounts so you can’t run up any more on them

If one of them has a good balance transfer deal, maybe look into it so you don’t have as many accounts to deal with. $20K in credit card debt is a good chunk with $40K in income. How much of the debt is work related? How flexible are your hours? How populated is your area? There are people that do pet sitting and house sitting that are pretty flexible hours. We pay our pet sitter $20 each time they come and they probably aren’t at the house more than 30 minutes. Uber is a good option if your car is in good shape and you have people in the area.

First of all welcome!

You can do this! Many if us here have gotten debt free and will be happy to help you along the way.

First you need a real budget. You need to know how much extra you will have for your debt snowball. Your expenses need to include food, gifts, hair care, quarterly and annual payments, copays, and a little fun money. No vacations for a while, sorry! It would also be helpful to know the minimum payment on each account.

1. Do you have any savings? Sell some stuff, get a second job on the weekends and get a $1,000 emergency fund established.

2. Cut up credit cards. You won’t need them now that you have an emergency fund.

3. Pay minumums on all debt and throw any extra to Synchrony card until it is paid off! Then TJM, Amazon, etc. Work your through the debts lowest balance to highest. Always pay the minimum on all.

Hope this helps. Good luck and let us know how it is going!

I’ll take a quick stab at this

Congrats on waking up and starting to pay attention! Most people never do that, and wonder where all their money went.

First – close all the credit cards immediately. Yes, ALL of them. You don’t need them – you make plenty of money. Second, make a written budget based on the lowest amount you expect to take home in a month. If $3000 is the lowest you bring home, use that.
Make sure you can pay your ‘4 walls’:Food, shelter, transportation, and utilities. You didn’t list a food category in your expenses, but the rest totals up to $1680 per month expenses. Let’s say $200 for food, so a total of $1880. That leaves you $1120 for debt service and savings. What are your minimum payments on your debt. If they all total to less than $1120, then you can work this. In that case, take everything you can squeeze out of the budget and put towards your baby emergency fund(BEF). Most psople start out with $1000 or so. This fund helps you not panic if your fridge goes out, or you need to fix your car, etc. If your payments are over that $1120, then you have a problem. Look in the files section of this group for a test file called “letter to cc.txt. It basically says “I’m over-extended financially, trying to avoid bankruptcy, and can you help me out with balance or monthly payments?” Customize it for your specific situation, and send it to all of your creditors. Those that give you a break on terms get put in the first group to pay. Those that don’t get moved to the bottom of the list.
I’m also going to suggest 2 things. One, look here for a description of the Baby Steps: http://www.daveramsey.com/baby-steps/?snid=start.steps
That is the plan for getting out of debt and staying out. Two, find a copy of The Total Money Makeover at your local library, and study it. This is the detailed explanation of how it all works. Feel free to ask specific questions here as you go along. Also, if you can post your debt payments we may be able to help you prioritize there as well.

Just getting started – need some direction

I am just starting this process and I am feeling a bit overwhelmed and I am in need of some help. I have some student loans, and a myriad of other debts (credit cards, personal loans, etc).

First – I work freelance, so income is incrediby variable! Lately it’s been around $3,000-$4,000 monthly. Some months better, some worse. I just have so much trouble budgeting on a variable income.

And on my debts I have credit cards and loans – I don’t know how to prioritize them, and I know I can just let the credit card collectors call me till they’re blue in the face and work things out with them as I go, but what about the loans?? How does that even work?

Here’s an embarrassing list of my debts:

Loan

Student loan 1 – 3,398.32
Student loan 2 – 7,182.79
Credit union personal loan 1 – 2,712.11
Credit union personal loan 2 – 4,826.19
One Main personal loan – 7,742.34

Credit

Discover card (account still open and active) – 1,897.17
Wells Fargo (account closed) – 3,309.08
Target (account about to be closed) – 2,083.66
TJX (account closed) – 1,381.51
Synchrony card (account still open and active) – 1,305
Helzberg (account still open and active) – 2,266.17
Paypal credit (account still open and active) – 1,890.73
Amazon credit (account still open and active) – 1,474.78

As far as my expenses here they are:

Mortgage payment – $1,200
Average water/sewer bill – $50
Average electric bill – $150
Average gas bill – $30
Car insurance – $60
(no car payment its paid off)
Monthly car fuel for work etc – $50-100 – very inconsistent depending on work
Internet (needed for work) – $90
(no cable tv)
(no phone – i use google voice and wifi)

How would you all tackle this??

Thanks for any tips. Almost cathartic getting it all out though lol – I feel like I just admitted that there’s a problem.

Cheap Cat Food

We have two cats prone to bladder infections and whenever we give them dry food they puke it all up. We are on a tight budget and the vets recommendations are super expensive….of course, so are their vet bills if we don’t use the expensive cat food….Anyway, wondering if anyone has a great cheap cat food idea that will help prevent bladder infections.