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Trying your forum: 12K in debt (groan!)

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    #16
    I posted my message before seeing the expense list by the (very direct) asst. professor.

    No cable (really, you should try it). Cell is 80/month (for two lines, and we only use them to--gasp!--call people. No texting, internet.) We have internet at home with phone (60/month).

    Clothes are rarely for adults (no, we do wear), but mostly for kids, but don't know how much. (this is a good place where your "Hey, you DONT have a budget, DO YOU?!" comes in, professor.)

    Gas 50/month, medical copays are rare (maybe we should see a doctor once in a while), and our heat is central, incredibly much less than the oil when we rented, (although we didn't intentionally seek this out when buying a house.) Eating out--never (really). Car insurance about 80/month.

    But the point is you see I can't pinpoint exact amounts for many things, especially groceries and trash bags (man,oh,man do we go through those like water.)

    BTW, we have had a membership to Costco for the last year...I am so incredibly UNimpressed with the prices. What is the big draw? You can find things much cheaper during sales other places!

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      #17
      tax refund at end

      Many mentioned about switching from large tax refund at end of year to greater monthly pay.
      I can't seem to do that. It seems I already give my max allowances (9) or whatever you call them (dependents?) on w-4 , but still get a large refund at the end. Is this possible? It still seems a lot is being taken out of my check.

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        #18
        Progress, in a couple of days since your initial post, you've identified groceries and children's clothes as items with significant expenditures and no specific allocated sum. An often used basic formula is 20% savings, 50% Needs. 30% Wants. Use your household income to work out sums while you're working out budget amounts for applicable categories.
        If your wife does not yet have a meal plan, you could help her create a weekly plan based on what the family will eat using items already in the pantry and freezer plus the 'loss leaders' at the grocery stores on your regular route. Perhaps older DKs could help doing the prep work for some meals.

        Possibly you can identify small, helpful cuts. Since you use cell phones, I suggest monitoring how much you use the land phone. Could it go? If you have items in good condition but no longer used, consider selling on CraigsList or Yard sale. Would DW consider buying gently used clothes for DKs? Toys, games, sports equipment from yard sales or exchanges?

        If funding private school is pinching but important, other items need to be set aside.

        While you grumble about medical costs, our hospitals and medical services used and abused via a much higher tax rate. You'd hate it!

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          #19
          lose the phone? hmmm......

          Thanks for your input. Private tuition (and the registration which goes with it each year) is very pinching, but very important.

          I don't know if we can give up the land line, but I see the point. Older toys and clothes have been hand-me-downs...for our younger kids! So that has always saved a little.

          The meal plan is a nice idea...especially since I'm the one who cooks.

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            #20
            Hey smart aleck I'm not the one in $12k CC debt, but I've lived without cable many a year so making ASSumptions...By the way I live in the Northeast, probably make as much as you and live on a lot less. So the direct professor says...you have much to learn, you remind me of a lot of people I met who don't realize how "upper middle class" they are.

            Anyway you don't qualify for help because PRIVATE School is not a "NEED". It's a WANT. You make more than enough money but CHOOSE to spend it on private school. Again a WANT, not a NEED.

            $7400 income net, grossing $90k, you get a tax refund from the child tax credit. Look at last years taxes and tell me what you really paid.

            Expenses
            $2000 Mortgage
            $1000 Child Care
            $800 Medical Premiums
            $280 Car Loan, $7500 Left
            $89 Student Loan, $9k left
            $80 Cell Phones
            $60 Internet/Home Phone
            $350 Utilities - heat/electric
            $80 Car Insurance
            $50 Gas
            $1166 Private School Tuition
            = $5955 accounted for

            $1445 spent on food? And nothing else? And then some since you have $12k in CC debt. So assume maybe something like $2k spent on food and miscellaneous a month. Why are you running red? The direct professor was wrong maybe not private school, maybe just overspending.
            LivingAlmostLarge Blog

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              #21
              Originally posted by rlk67 View Post
              Many mentioned about switching from large tax refund at end of year to greater monthly pay.
              I can't seem to do that. It seems I already give my max allowances (9) or whatever you call them (dependents?) on w-4 , but still get a large refund at the end. Is this possible? It still seems a lot is being taken out of my check.
              The max is not 9. You can claim more. We claim 13 with no problem.

              Here is the worksheet and form. Go through the worksheet and see what number you get. Fill out the form and turn it in. http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw4.pdf

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                #22
                We only learn from drill seargants

                I like your comments, and thanks for the run-down, professor.
                You've probably helped me more (directly) than anyone.

                Yes, we do get child credits, which is why we have a big refund at the end.

                I do scratch my head about how I can be 12K in debt since May. I check the statements...nobody else seems to have my CC# (although the bank has called twice about 'suspicious activity', but, yes, that was me who bought gas in some far away Pennsylvania village).

                While I personally don't consider private school a 'WANT' (it's not worth arguing, believe me), I wonder how we overspent on food and as I mentioned, Target/Walmart type purchases. And we have had our share of 'fixing' expenses...burst pipes, slashed tires, impossibly clogged sinks etc. and I try to seek help from HomeownershipfortheClueless.com and other sites to do it myself.

                Last night we agreed to save receipts and write down everything we buy. And maybe we can make sense of it. In the meantime, I thank everyone about ideas about what to drop (my weight, maybe?) and helping me out.

                I'd be afraid to claim 13 exempts unless my accoutant says ok.

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                  #23
                  Originally posted by rlk67 View Post
                  I'd be afraid to claim 13 exempts unless my accoutant says ok.
                  Afraid of what? You can claim as many exemptions as you need to claim to make the numbers work. If you are getting a huge refund, you aren't claiming enough. Most people think it is based on your family size but it really has very little to do with your family size.
                  Steve

                  * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
                  * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
                  * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

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                    #24
                    Whew...i thought we had to have 7 more kids.

                    I am in the general category of 'most people' regarding everything.
                    'Most People Think...' Yes, that's me. I'm usually proud to be part of the majority, but only when the numbers work.)

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                      #25
                      You seem pretty remarkable blase and glib about your situation.

                      I'd me a little more serious about this if you want to gt out of debt and avoid getting back into it.

                      As far as allowances, and two high earners with no kids, we not only declare the minimum allowances, but I also have an additional $450 a month taken out for taxes. It's all about making the money work out at the end of the year. The actual number you put down makes no difference.

                      I'm curious how much you're spending on an accountant. I find it hard to believe that you need one unless you have a seriously complex financial and tax situation.

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                        #26
                        Hmm...300 is a lot isn't it...

                        My acct. charges 300. Is that the first expense to go? I have no time or ability to figure out how to get the amount of refund that he gets for me. (I dont' know if that fits my category of 'most people' or not.) Maybe when my kids are married, I'll have more time.

                        I am certainly most concerned about my debt, but should I panic and cry?! I mentioned above that I can't afford the price of a nervous breakdown. It is what it is, and I need to deal with it, and all of you have helped me incredibly mucho!

                        I have looked over my last two checking acct. statements. Utilities, car, student loan, child care, health care, mortgage, and checks for some home repair. Nothing I can eliminate now. But my CC statement has constant supermarket and supermarket and groceries and groceries and this is a must to start with. And figuring out what to do with my w-4.

                        I only know this because all of you have alerted me to these type of things. My eyes are open much more than a few days ago when I started this thread.

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                          #27
                          We are married with 3 kids. Doing the form gives us 9 exemptions. It's not enough, so we put down 13 and it's much closer. We still get some back, but not a lot and we're good with that. How big of a refund do you usually get? If you can set your budget and get spending on track where you are living within your means and working towards paying off the CC, then use the refund to pay it down.

                          If by changing your exemptions gives you more per month and you just spending it on whatever rather than adjusting your budget, it's not worth it. You really need to spend less than you make.

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                            #28
                            We are married as well with 2 kids and get nothing back. We pay. We make too much for the child tax credit, hence why I say please don't say you pay taxes. If you can get the child tax credit trust me you aren't paying a ton. Not that the tax credit covers the cost of kids.

                            Yeah I'd dump the accountant for $300. Turbo tax $49. It'll give you a better handle on your finances to see what you really pay in taxes and what you really spend.

                            If you've been charging all these months I'd sit down and look at the charges. How many kids do you have? If you are working do it during a break or lunch or commuting. Since you have daycare are they there from 7-6? If not then leave them and work on finances for 1 hour a couple of days. I find people who work and utilize a daycare have more flexibility to get time to do stuff than parents who always have their kids underfoot.
                            LivingAlmostLarge Blog

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                              #29
                              w4: Thanks for your responses

                              We have 7 kids. We're working on the charges. Kids need a diet. Never heard of Tax-turbo.

                              We think in our workplace, our employer is reluctant to let us put more than 9 on the w4 because something then goes to the IRS. However, my wife also works, and she's at 5 or 6, so I can raise her to 9 (we work at the same place) and use the extra change for...hmm...tubo-tax?

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                                #30
                                a little help

                                So we're getting a 6k refund, but the house didn't matter so much. It helps, but we're still obviously quite in debt, and need to do major budgeting.

                                I was told to tell my employer "No federal tax withheld", and next year, we'll still have a 2k refund. My acct didn't charge too much b/c of my situation, and i'm happy to have him.

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