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  • DanielB
    replied
    Thanks to all for the additional input. I've made a few more accomplishments:

    - Received a promotion + raise which should increase take-home pay by $34 per week ($147.33/month). I'll also now be eligible for bonuses up to $2,000 per quarter based on the performance of my accounts.

    Credit card balances are currently:

    Credit Card 1 (7% interest, $1,000 limit) - $919.99/$50 min. monthly payment
    Credit Card 2 (22% interest, $5,500 limit) - $2,794.xx/$165 min. monthly payment
    Credit Card 3 (N/A interest, $1,500 limit) - $0.00
    Credit Card 4 (N/A interest, $3,000 limit) - $0.00
    Credit Card 5 (0% interest, $700 limit) - $698.xx

    Total Credit Card: $4,411.99

    Unfortunately, the balance on credit card 2 has not dropped by as much as I had hoped as some unexpected clothing expenses came up (I've lost a lot of weight recently).

    For now, I have kept the iPad, since I am using it to view my digital school books for my MBA program (included in the cost of tuition). This is saving about $500 every two months. Does this seem wise?

    I have not yet been able to file my taxes, as I'm waiting on one last form for my brokerage account. After looking at my situation again, however, I realized I may only be getting back $1,000, instead of the $1,600-$1,800 I originally expected. I need to discuss this in more detail with my accountant. But it basically relates to section 179 deductions I took last year at the direction of my accountant in regards to my now-closed business. So I have to admit, this kind of depressed me.

    So anyway, that's where I'm at right now. I almost feel like I'm treading water and haven't made any real progress since last posting. Does it sound like I'm making Ok progress?

    Leave a comment:


  • Mr Nice Guy
    replied
    Dude, you came here... You are definitely on the right track1!! I suggest doing some studying on other posts and if you get some free time, contribute to other threads. Many wise people here, you will soon see who they are if not already.

    Remember, in this game, you must play good defense(saving,) and good offense(earning.) Defense is the easiest thing to manage(for me anyway,) but keep your eye on both fronts and watch the net worth increase.

    And I will add that even though it was irresponsible to give when you couldnt afford it, your heart still shows where it is at, and I think that is cool.

    Leave a comment:


  • debtdewd
    replied
    DanielB,

    The shear fact that you are seeking help means you are on the right track. I'm in a similar situation as you are - nearly the same amount of debt, a few bad decisions, and now trying to dig my way out.

    An unexpected big expense and I would be in some trouble.

    At any rate, I look forward to seeing how things go for you...

    Leave a comment:


  • snafu
    replied
    Added suggestions: seriously consider a room mate/house share accommodation to reduce fixed costs. Budget $ X. for food/grocery and eat at home, take home-made lunch. Buy a mini crock pot [$12.] and at the end of the day load it with a cut up potato or 1/4 cup rice, handfuls of the frozen veggies you like, some poultry or cheap cut of beef or pork, sprinkle with spices and add 1/2 cup water. In the morning take the crock part out of the fridge and drop it into it's electric partner, add the lid [most important] and plug in. When you get home you will have a yummy meal without all the un-pronounceable chemicals/preservatives. There will be enough to take for lunch day the following day. cheap, cheap, cheap, healthy & efficient. Splurge for quality bread and a fav. wine if you want to step it up.

    Leave a comment:


  • DanielB
    replied
    Originally posted by minnie1928 View Post
    How does the rent compare when you factor in the water/sewer? If it's about the same then you might want to consider staying put simply so you won't have the cost/hassle associated with moving.
    Not sure, as I've never paid for water before where it's not included in the cost of rent. Yesterday evening, I tried to figure out what my rent will be if I stay in my current place for another year, but they have not posted rates yet on May renewals. I should know by the middle of March.

    Leave a comment:


  • disneysteve
    replied
    Congrats on selling the website and sending the money to the debt. That's a great start to being debt-free. Keep it up and keep us posted.

    Leave a comment:


  • minnie1928
    replied
    Originally posted by DanielB View Post
    I did look at a new place last week. I could probably rent a unit there for about $690-700/month, so I would save about $50 there (this cost doesn't include the water/sewer that my current rent does).
    ?
    How does the rent compare when you factor in the water/sewer? If it's about the same then you might want to consider staying put simply so you won't have the cost/hassle associated with moving.

    Leave a comment:


  • DanielB
    replied
    Oh, and forgot I've also started contributing 2% to my 401(k) again (maximum for the 50% match). So my actual weekly take-home pay increase will be closer to $32, but still worth it.

    Leave a comment:


  • DanielB
    replied
    Thanks for the additional feedback! I feel like I've made great progress so far:

    1. Sold the Website over the weekend and my net of $960.70 has already been paid to the 22% credit card balance, posting today. This has allowed me to reduce my monthly expenses by $39.99 (Website fee).
    2. Changed my federal tax withholding this morning to gain an additional $42 per week in cash (have been getting that all at the beginning of each year as a tax refund, so now I have access to my cash quicker)
    3. Took $700 from the 0% card and will apply it towards the 22% credit card balance (waiting for it to clear my bank)

    I am very confident now that I can payoff all of the credit cards by June. I am slightly optimistic that the personal loan will be gone by the end of this year, as well.

    This forum offers such great motivation!

    Leave a comment:


  • jpg7n16
    replied
    If I got to set up your payoff method it would go like so...


    High Interest
    • Credit Card 2 (22% interest, $5,500 limit) - $3,490.66 minus 700 = 2,790.66
    • Personal loan (16.x% interest, ~55 months left) - $11,465.63/$293.87 monthly payment


    Moderately High Interest (non-deductible)
    • Car loan (7.99% interest, ~70 months left) - $16,765.14/$297.92 monthly payment
    • Credit Card 1 (7% interest, $1,000 limit) - $969.99


    Deductible Moderately High Interest
    • Private student loan (8.x% interest [variable], ~284 months left) - $32,112.48/$270.97 monthly payment

    {note - this is likely around 6.5% tax adjusted}

    ---Begin Building Legitimate 3-6 month EF Here---

    Low Interest
    • Credit Card 3 (N/A interest, $1,500 limit) - $700 @ 0% for 12 months (balance transfer)
    • NelNet graduate school loan (in-school so not paying at the moment) - $10,250.00


    And move the 0% card to the appropriate place after it starts charging you interest


    When you're left with only debts that are less than 4% (or with 0 debt!), start working to save 15-20% of your income towards retirement. That should be your goal. Something to work towards, not something to beat yourself up over.
    -------------------------------------------

    Some potential steps to help you out:

    - Put student loans on deferral if you can. Would free up $271/month that could be paid towards higher interest debt.
    - Prune your budget starting with the advice DS presented earlier. Examine your largest monthly expenses 1st. Look at the $400/month expenses before trying to decide if it's time to switch to generic toothpaste.
    - And cut back on fast food I eat out too much too, so I know it's a gold mine for freeing up cash if you can eat at home more often.

    - Work to pay as much towards the debts as you can. Don't fall into the 'I can lower my payment' mentality. The bigger payments you make the faster the debt will go away, and the sooner you'll be free to save all that money for yourself!

    Leave a comment:


  • disneysteve
    replied
    Originally posted by DanielB View Post
    New Order of Priority

    1. Payoff major CC debt on 22% card
    2. Payoff CC debt on 7% card
    3. Payoff CC debt on 0% card
    4. Payoff auto loan
    5. Payoff private loan
    6. Payoff private student loan
    7. Payoff federal student loan
    The Personal Loan should be before the car loan due to the much higher interest rate of 16% vs. 8%. Otherwise, I think that sounds good. Can you do it by 2017? Absolutely. I think you can do it way before that if you really tighten your belt and stay focused.

    Leave a comment:


  • DanielB
    replied
    New Order of Priority

    1. Payoff major CC debt on 22% card
    2. Payoff CC debt on 7% card
    3. Payoff CC debt on 0% card
    4. Payoff auto loan
    5. Payoff private loan
    6. Payoff private student loan
    7. Payoff federal student loan

    Does this order make the most sense for my situation? (Note: I would be snowballing payments as I finish each debt off.)

    Leave a comment:


  • DanielB
    replied
    Originally posted by disneysteve View Post
    And what are her plans to repay you for the help you provided? If you lent her money, which I'm guessing you did, does she have any intention of repaying it?
    Here's the part that's going to make me sound stupid: it was all a gift, and I even told her this up-front. Part of the funds were used to help her purchase basic necessities for living, and a little bit was given as cash. I sent the rest as an anonymous donation. I made it clear that all of it (at least, what she knew I gave) was a gift and didn't have to be repaid unless she absolutely wanted to. Whether she will or won't, I don't know and I'm not counting on it either way.

    Wasn't the smartest thing for me to do when I am still not doing financially well, I know, but I didn't have a heart to sit this one out. (To be clear, this situation was complex and wasn't due to her irresponsibility. I don't want to get into details on any of the cases, but I've had other friends who got into big financial trouble and could have used help, but whom I did not help because their problems were of their own making. This friend's situation was very tragic and very different from my other friends'. She didn't ask me for help at all - I volunteered it.)

    I agree that you should focus on the 22% debt first. Also, if your credit score is in the low 700s, why is your rate 22%? I would call and request a better rate.
    I am pretty sure now that I can pay this whole balance off within a month. This is based on $2,600 in cash that I know is coming in, plus $700 from the 0%-for-one-year offer, plus $200 I am pretty sure I can scrounge up.

    I agree that you don't need a $1,500 EF right now. $1,000 is good enough to start.
    Are you also recommending that I payoff the 22% card first, or are you saying I should make the efund a bigger priority?

    You didn't list all of your assets. You have cable so that implies you have a TV. Sell it on craigslist. You have an iPad. Sell it on craigslist (unless that's your only computer). What else do you have that could be sold?
    This is true. The iPad is definitely valuable and could fetch $500-$600 based on actual selling prices I'm seeing...I have been using it for school, but I have an old laptop that might suffice - I'll have to check and see. The TV is probably worthless due to its age and features (or lack thereof). But an extra $500 from selling the iPad would eliminate over half of the 7% CC debt! I like that idea.

    If you cancel cable ($58), Netflix ($11), iPad internet ($25) and ditch the website ($40), that frees up $134 per month that you can use to attack debt.
    Interesting thought....I could do all of this by Monday and instantly have $134 in extra monthly cashflow from this + the $133.33 extra from minimizing tax withholding in my paycheck. A total extra income of $267 would be very significant in my case, I assume?

    I'd suggest you start looking for the place you will move to in May when your current lease expires. You currently spend 32% of income for rent and that will rise to 35% in May. You need to knock that down. Either that or take in a roommate to share costs.
    I did look at a new place last week. I could probably rent a unit there for about $690-700/month, so I would save about $50 there (this cost doesn't include the water/sewer that my current rent does).

    You've got a huge mess on your hands and you're going to need to make some major sacrifices if you want to get it cleaned up. And you definitely need to reconsider the 2nd job. More income, even just a few hundred dollars per month, would have a huge impact on your situation.
    I do have quite a mess. Thank you so much for taking a look and taking the time to give advice for my situation! Can I ask you this: do you think if I buckle down and get serious that I can meet my goal of being 100% debt-free by July 2017?

    Leave a comment:


  • DanielB
    replied
    Originally posted by jpg7n16 View Post
    Your 22% card is charging you $12.83/month in interest.

    So unless you are able to pay it off in the next 2 months, yes it would be worth it to transfer the debt to 0% for a year by paying $21
    That makes sense. I'll be doing this on Monday and have already written the check! This $700 combined with the $2,600 cash will knock the biggest credit card's balance down to just about $200.00!

    Once I pay that $200.00 off (I am confident I can scrape together the $$$ to do that within a month), I should start on the $969.99 credit card balance, right?

    Leave a comment:


  • DanielB
    replied
    Originally posted by jpg7n16 View Post
    Nothing. You're about $6k upside down and with the current debt you already have, I doubt you'd be able to sell the car and finance the $6k difference. If the amount were closer to what you owe, I would think that selling the car and buying a $5k car would help. Not solve all your problems, but help.


    1) Change your mindset about debt.

    I'm not sure if you still think that way, but what you have debt-wise is the result of a 'if I can afford the payment, I can afford to buy it' mentality.
    You are right on this point. I have started to change my way of thinking, but it's not yet where it needs to be.

    2) Create a budget that accounts for each and every dollar each month. $38k isn't a fortune, but it is good enough to make some progress on paying off this debt
    How should I handle flexible expenses (like electricity or groceries) that will vary from month to month? Should I allow for the maximum possible, or take an average of the last 12 months?

    3) Stop trying to invest your money. Yes it's wise to invest in general, but only once you're in a position to invest. It's not wise when you have all this high interest rate debt out there. Stop the sharebuilder brokerage, stop the sharebuilder Roth, stop pretty much all investing (unless you get a company match at work - then take the match; no more, no less)

    4) You don't need a $1k EF and a $500 cushion. You'll have to use credit line as part of emergency planning.

    5) Talk to the HR peeps at work and get rid of your tax refund. All that a refund means you've paid more in taxes than you should have all year long. A $1600 refund means you should have been getting $133.33/month more in your paychecks.
    This is a different track than I was thinking down, and I am so glad you have offered up this advice. It does make sense on all counts.



    No, I don't like your plan for your windfall. As sad as it is, 7% is your lowest interest rate debt! You could get more than 3x the bang for your buck by paying down the 22% (unreal) CC.

    I'd put it all towards that 22% card. It'd be available in case of emergency and would save the most interest in the meantime.
    That makes a lot of sense. I will definitely do that. I can knock $2,600 right off the top, maybe more as I'm selling a couple of other things (like an aquarium and stand I'm not using).

    Then you've got to do something about this debt!


    Your interest alone is costing you $6,578.88/year! That's eating up 17% of your income. Income that could have gone to retirement savings, or a vacation, or just to your bank account.


    I hope this begins the process of changing how you think about debt.
    17% of my income! Yikes! Put that way, I need to get on the ball!

    Thank you so much for taking a look at my situation. I really appreciate your help and advice.

    Leave a comment:

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