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Pay them now or later?

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    Pay them now or later?

    Hmmm...First time poster here.


    CC (Bank) $2K max currently at $1,500+ Payments of $65 a month
    CC (Best Buy) $1,500 Max currently at max (NO INTEREST for 6/18 months) Payments of $65 a month
    Gas (Vehicle) $50 weekly ($200 monthly)
    Propane heat/cook $64 monthly
    Vehicle insurance $64 monthly
    Food $100-$125 monthly
    Community center $39 Monthly (Showers/exercise I live in van)
    phone (Cell) $16 monthly

    Income Average $7 per hour (After taxes Oregon) Average working week 33.75 hours.

    So, if I get a full week, it's $280. I have had a few of them, yes, looking for another job, but at 53, many companies just throw your application away. Not looking for $15 an hour, but would be happy with $11 (Before taxes)

    I have moved nearly everything to the CC (Bank) and plan to pay on it and the BB CC. Is it better to wait till the billing cycle or to pay as I go? (Food cannot be put on CC as Winco won't take credit)

    I've been homeless in the past, and my parents lived in a very small camper for a while, so I feel for you.

    Do you have a 24 Fitness around you? My husband pays around 23$ a month for his membership and it's a pretty nice facility. There is also Planet Fitness which he says is even cheaper, and they have free pizza every Friday. I think pizza at a gym is kind of ridiculous, but it could be a real bonus for you. The library is a good place to hang out too, read, get online, but since you are only paying 16 for your cell, and are apparently able to get online, you may already know that.

    I don't know if you are against accepting outside help, but I would visit a food bank. It will help stretch your income a little more. If you don't have refrigeration and have limited cooking facilities they should be able to accommodate for that.

    If you don't have health insurance look into signing up on the Oregon health insurance exchange. Your premiums should be minimal if anything. You really don't need massive medical bills right now. Not that anyone does.

    You might be eligible for food stamps and subsidized housing. You should know that since you are currently homeless you will automatically be fast tracked for housing. But you will have to pay 1/3 of your take home in rent, so if you are OK living in your van for now that might actually be the better option.

    Donating plasma can bring in an extra $50-75 a week.

    So you have about 450ish a month left after the expenses you listed. I'm sure you also have expenses for laundry and occasionally other non food things. You should still have a good amount left to work with though. I would be putting a couple hundred a month into savings until you have a thousand or so in there. You can use it for a deposit when you get into an apartment again if there are no emergencies.

    I would start paying off the interest free card first, then the other. If your credit is still decent you can call and ask about decreasing the interest. Whether or not you should pay them off quickly sort of depends on how much you want to get out of your van though. On the other hand, paying them off will free up $130 a month, which will make it much easier for you to pay for housing. If you have an easy way to make payments regularly you should pay as you go and not wait till the billing cycle is up.

    What kind of work do you do? If you can do something where you make tips that could bump your income up quite a bit. Hotel. Valet. Pizza delivery driver. Restaurant work also comes with the bonus of free food. Your van will smell like pizza all the time though. Fair warning.


      I think that the last thing on your mind right now should be credit cards. You are homeless. You need to find better work and save up some money. The credit cards can wait. Your credit will take a hit, but who cares right now. Food, shelter, and money are more important than making timely credit card payments.


        If you can pay min payments,

        Your focus should be to separate those most essential outgoings, those things you need to live. But saying that avoiding defaults on credit cards would be beneficial longer term
        I think with the credit card payments it depend on how organized you are. I personally would be inclined to pay as you go if your are organised. I know there is an interest free purchase period but this will allow you to have much closer control on your finances, rather than letting things spiralling out of control.
        The alternative is just to forget the credit card and pay when you can, you can do that but you might find it hard in the future to obtain credit/

        Hope it helps.


          Oh my, I'm sorry to hear you are living in your van!
          I can't give any financial advice as I'm no good at it, but I wish the best for you!


            I am sorry, sorry, sorry I didn't explain it better.

            First, living in my van is BY CHOICE. I "Could" take an apartment/room but that's $400 a month (Plus utilities) so that's the main reason. I'd be so tight money wise, I'd be in agony...Well, close.

            Second, the community center is the closest facility to where I work (North Portland) and where I park at night (Vancouver, WA) All others would require more driving.

            Third, the bills aren't hard to pay. I was just wondering if it's better to pay them as the money comes in (And put some away for an emergency) or wait until the next billing cycle.

            Fourth, Food stamps have ended for me. I was asked for a "Re-certification" and now the amount is $15 a month. It was higher, but lucky for me, I like chicken and rice, spam and some other foods which I can prepare in the van (Yes, I have a propane stove and heater also)

            I would hit a food bank, but I am not THAT hurting and hate to think I may be taking food from a child.

            My total bills are around $575-$625 a month, my income will change due to hours but I expect $1,000 a month on average. I HAVE UI, but it's no good after 25 hours.

            I am looking for a better paying job, but like I said, there's not much call for older workers...I'm looking north (Longview/Kelso) next year...Or even Salem OR if the money is right.

            I would sell plasma, but have to check where the facility is.

            I work putting size tags on hangers (Major sporting goods importer) change price labels and insert hangers into bags (W/coats/jackets) Stand 10 hrs daily work 4 days a week....

            Thank you dearly for the responses. Oh and Dotty, I read your situation. I am happy, very, very happy with mine, yours sounds much worse. Take care.


              I second looking into pizza delivery. You'd have to determine whether the cost of gas (you should receive a stipend for gas as part of your pay) and the wear & tear on your van is worth it, though. No idea what kind of gas mileage you might get, but I'm guessing a van isn't all that fuel efficient.

              Our Dominos has several "older" pizza delivery people, one of which regularly delivers to my house. Not that we order pizza all that often, but when we DO, it's often the same guy. And frankly, I always give him a bigger tip than I do to the teenagers. I figure someone that age is delivering pizza because he needs the money. Maybe that's judgemental of me, but I'll always give the older guy $5-6, and usually only $4 to a teenager.

              I worked at my 2nd job with a guy who delivered pizzas in the town he moved from, and he said he always made a killing, $150 - $200 a weekend, easy. I'd expect delivery in a densly packed city would be more lucrative than a more rural area, since you can make 3-4 deliveries in one go.


                Netskyblue I would do that, but yes, my van is only good at 10 MPG. Plus my insurance prohibits the usage for such

                I found a plasma donation center, will be hitting them Friday. I can make up to $300 that will help a lot. It's also in line with my drive, so I hit them (After Friday) on Wednesday and Saturday or Sunday. (They're closed Mon-Tues)


                  Hi Disgusted,

                  How do you receive your mail?

                  Just wanted to caution you on that Best Buy card. You probably already know this, but the interest is usually deferred, which is different than no interest. If you do not pay the balance in full by the due date, they will add all of the deferred interest to your balance. For this reason, I would make paying Best Buy in full my priority.

                  To answer your question, yes, you want to make your credit card payments as soon as you can. Interest accrues daily, so the sooner you reduce your balance, the less interest you pay. You do need to make certain that each billing period includes at least the minimum payment. (If you are making the payment so early that it falls into the previous billing cycle, that could be a problem if you don't make at least the minimum payment in the next billing cycle).

                  Best of luck to you.


                    I thought there was a good chance it might be by choice. Are you doing it as a long term thing or just to allow you to pay your CC bills down more quickly? I would not feel bad about hitting up the food bank. It depends on the area, but most of them wind up having to throw food out because it goes bad before they can give it away. You can always ask if you're concerned about that. Definitely try for a job that makes tips. There are many you wouldn't need to drive your van for.


                      Hi Petunia, I get my mail at a local private mailbox. The owner is nice and didn't require a lot of proof or as to why I wanted the mailbox.

                      And yes, the "Interest" is deferred (18 months) so that's why the high amount paying on it. I could do $25, but I learned (From paying off van in 14 months) every extra dime to payments, helps when paying it off at the end.

                      Hamchan, this is for the rest of my life, unless circumstances change it. I just saw the van (Shuttle bus) I would have loved to have, but I said "No, this is NOT the time to go deeper into debt, quit digging!" Yes, could have rang up a loan company, but 29.99% interest is not fun to pay.

                      I looked more at the plasma donation place, I don;t know if they'll refuse or not, so I'll go in and check to see if they'll accept me. I have a license (Still valid till 2015) My mail shows a different place (The computer bill doesn't list suite and the PMB (Private Mail box) as an "Apt"

                      So, I'll just wing it. I'll consider the food bank.

                      Thanks all for the advice and good wishes.