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Old 07-02-2013, 11:33 AM   #1171
disneychic2
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I just came across this thread and wanted to say a few words of encouragement. You are all heading in the right direction. Just admitting you made past mistakes in financial choices is huge. DH and I are debt free except a small mortgage and it is great. We have an emergency fund and 5 or 6 months of household expenses saved up, so we're ready for anything. Our cars are 9 and 10 years old, but they look and run great, so we're keeping them until the wheels fall off. We're saving so we can pay cash for the next one.

Just to encourage you, when we got married 28 years ago, DH and his ex had declared bankruptcy. She had not been paying their bills (mortgage included) and was spending the money on other things. When the dun notices showed up, she was home to intercept them. By the time DH knew what was going on, they were so far in debt, there was no way they could get out. When we got married, he still had several years before this blight on his credit was gone, so it was quite a struggle for a while. But once we got through that together, we began to save. We never had huge cc debt, but we did have some. We borrowed from his 401K, which Dave frowns on (we did this before taking his course), but we did it for college and a wedding. Now, we are where you all are striving to be and I'm here to tell you you can make it. Sure, we didn't take vacations while the kids were little and I had to be pretty creative with the budget, but it was all worth it. Just as Dave Ramsey says: "You have to live like no one else in order to LIVE like no one else." Keep up the good work everyone!
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Old 07-02-2013, 11:54 AM   #1172
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Thanks so much for the encouragement Disneychic!!! You're right where I want to be and it's so great to hear it's possible to come back even from the position you started in!
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Old 07-02-2013, 12:55 PM   #1173
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Hi everyone! I just found this thread today, and I'm definitely going to keep an eye on it. I desperately want to start formulating a plan to pay down our debt, but I'm completely overwhelmed by the uncertainties in our lives right now that I'm not sure where to begin. I'm just going to lay it all out here so you can see what a headcase I am!

I was laid off in 2009 from a well-paying and stable (I thought) career, and wasn't able to find any other opportunities in my line of work. So, I went back to school for a Master of Library Science degree, working sporadically while going through the program. I just finished my thesis and it was approved this week (woohoo!!!), so I should have my degree by the middle of August, but I haven't been able to find anything full time in that field yet, and I'm not holding my breath. I currently work part time for a company in my previous field, but it could literally end any day. Long story, but this was supposed to be a one month temp position to handle overflow after someone retired, but now I've been here for over a year with no "official" end date. Basically, whenever they can't afford me anymore, I'll be cut loose. The part time hours were PERFECT while I was in school, but now that I'm done with classes I need full time work again and can't seem to find any jobs that pay well enough to voluntarily leave here.

My husband works full time and recently got a small raise and promotion after years of being promised one and being let down, so we do have a bit more money coming in than we had a few months ago. His job seems pretty secure, but really, what job is totally secure these days?

We own a home that we took out 2 mortgages on when we both had stable jobs, and now my part time work just about covers the mortgage payments. I know how stupid it was to do this looking back, but we got some bad advice from our mortgage broker and didn't know any better. The kicker is that my dad was a mortgage broker and I'm sure he was rolling over in his grave when we took out 2 mortgages. We tried to refinance after I was laid off and we were turned down, which was a major, major blow. Oh, and our home is worth substantially less than what we paid for it or owe on it.

And then there's medical....I have an unpredictable illness that, so far, has not hindered me from working and getting my degree, and knock on wood, it never will. But that is a real possibility somewhere down the line, so there's always that veil of uncertainty looming. Terrifying on several levels. And I know this is an unpopular way of thinking when there is outstanding debt, but I WANT to travel now, and have experiences now, because I honestly don't know if I will be limited to what I can do in the future and I don't want to miss out on opportunities to see and do the things I want to do. We don't travel a lot or anything, but if an opportunity arises I always try to keep costs as low as possible and we don't splurge on anything when we do go somewhere. Here's one example. My father died about 10 years ago, and after he did, my mom and I went to WDW together for the first time since I was 11 or 12 years old. We had such a wonderful time, and it completely helped us escape the reality of what was happening in our lives. Ever since then, we have gone every year, just the two of us, to escape for a few days. She's now on a fixed income, so we always go during value season and never go without Free Dining or a mondo room rate discount. It's not the SMART choice when considering our financial situations, but it's the RIGHT choice for us.

Then there are the unexpected expenses. My husband's company just switched medical insurance providers for the 3rd time in 3 years, and each time the plans get worse and more expensive. Because of my medical situation, I go to a lot of doctors, have ridiculously expensive medication, and have a lot of tests. Things that were covered in May are now not, and I'm trying to sift through the doubletalk to find out exactly what I'm looking at in terms of how much the things I know I'll need in the coming year will cost me. My husband's car just needed $1500 worth of work last month, and our cat is very sick with cancer and needs expensive treatments. (Our cats are our kids, and we will do whatever needs to be done....no comments from non-animal people on this subject please!!! ) And how can I forget my newly-acquired student loans?!

My husband has never been one to think about the financial future, which is so incredibly frustrating, and something my mother in law frequently tells me she regrets not instilling in him. I really do try to tackle this myself, but it seems like whenever I start to dig myself out of the hole it caves in on me. ONE MONTH BEFORE I was laid off, I paid off my car and all of my credit cards. For one month I was debt free, besides the mortgage. I was about to start working on my husband's debt when everything fell apart. I have so much stress because of our financial situation, but all of the work and health variables have made it difficult for me to figure out how to prioritize. In the past couple of years I've paid much more attention to smaller money-saving steps like couponing (saved $1800 last year!), sales and discount codes, cash-back or rewards credit cards, and other things like that. But I haven't BANKED anything.

SO.....here I am, writing a book to you all . I haven't read through this entire thread yet, but I plan on it. Any tips I can get from you guys will be much appreciated. I see a lot of you use Dave Ramsay's plan. I haven't been able to pull the trigger to PURCHASE something to help me SAVE money though. Do you recommend one of his books or the monthly subscription? At least with the books I can probably find them cheaper on Amazon, but they're static, whereas the website is interactive and more appealing to me. I think the thing that has caused me to freeze up when thinking about setting a plan in motion is the all or nothing approach so many people seem to take. I'm just not willing to wait years to do something fun so that I can pay everything off when I don't know what my health will be like in 5, 10, 20 years. And I don't have enough money coming in right now to save, pay down debt, and still have something left for leisure. So, although it's the wrong way to go, I continue to ignore the future while it subconsciously eats away at me. From what I've read of this thread so far, it seems like a lot of you have managed to find room for some fun every once in a while, and I'm hoping to figure out how to do that too while still being responsible with my money.

Phew! Don't rip me apart too badly, please, I'm fragile enough as it is!!!
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Old 07-02-2013, 01:16 PM   #1174
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Wow, that is a log going on Peel, I can see why you are overwhelmed.

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Here's one example. My father died about 10 years ago, and after he did, my mom and I went to WDW together for the first time since I was 11 or 12 years old. We had such a wonderful time, and it completely helped us escape the reality of what was happening in our lives. Ever since then, we have gone every year, just the two of us, to escape for a few days. She's now on a fixed income, so we always go during value season and never go without Free Dining or a mondo room rate discount. It's not the SMART choice when considering our financial situations, but it's the RIGHT choice for us.
I can understand putting a priority on that -- family time is important. I wouldn't give up quality time with my mom for anything in the world.

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Then there are the unexpected expenses. My husband's company just switched medical insurance providers for the 3rd time in 3 years, and each time the plans get worse and more expensive. Because of my medical situation, I go to a lot of doctors, have ridiculously expensive medication, and have a lot of tests. Things that were covered in May are now not, and I'm trying to sift through the doubletalk to find out exactly what I'm looking at in terms of how much the things I know I'll need in the coming year will cost me.
Are you in CT? the CT Health Care exchange will begin enrolling people in new health plans this October -- the marketplace in other states has really let to some great improvements in coverage with lower premiums. That might be something to look out for in a few months.

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our cat is very sick with cancer and needs expensive treatments. (Our cats are our kids, and we will do whatever needs to be done
I'm sorry to hear that, I know it can be difficult. Our dogs are our kids too, so I totally understand.

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And how can I forget my newly-acquired student loans?!
Check out http://www.ibrinfo.org/ and pay particular attention to the information about PSLF (Public Service Loan Forgiveness) -- if you get a job in a library, chances are it will be a non-profit and you'll qualify for PSLF which can really remove the stress from student loan debt

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Originally Posted by peel View Post
My husband has never been one to think about the financial future, which is so incredibly frustrating, and something my mother in law frequently tells me she regrets not instilling in him.

SO.....here I am, writing a book to you all . I haven't read through this entire thread yet, but I plan on it. Any tips I can get from you guys will be much appreciated. I see a lot of you use Dave Ramsay's plan. I haven't been able to pull the trigger to PURCHASE something to help me SAVE money though.
I like Dave Ramsey's principles, but I'm less fond of the subscription fee help and the books (a subscription model seems counter to his message of frugal living, IMHO . . .) I've recently started budgeting with a program called YNAB (You Need A Budget) and it's been life-altering in helping me understand where our money goes and getting my husband on the same page. It's basically a computer version of the envelope budgeting system. The program is $54 (with a coupon code found online), but has a 34 day free trial so you can get the hang of it -- and the YNAB forums have been really helpful to me and others who are trying to get started and figure things out. If you happen to have an Apple or Android smartphone, it also has an app which makes tracking the budget really easy.

You've done it before, you can do it again. Really, it's so impressive that you've already pulled yourself out of debt once before losing your job -- it proves you CAN do it!!
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Old 07-02-2013, 01:42 PM   #1175
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Thanks so much for the quick reply and all the suggestions!

I am in CT, but I was under the impression that if you had the option of getting healthcare through an employer you weren't eligible to take part in the state exchange. Am I incorrect?

Going to check out that budgeting program when I get home. I have an iPhone, so whatever program I choose will definitely have an app component.

As for the library thing, I hadn't planned on working in one. That sounds weird, but my goal has been to work in some kind of archive or historical society. However, those jobs are few and far between, so if I can find a public or academic library job close to home I would jump at it, and then I might be eligible for that program you mentioned. I did know about it, but didn't think about it too much when I took out the loans because it wasn't the plan to work in a traditional library.
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Old 07-02-2013, 01:50 PM   #1176
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just about any non-profit would qualify, so I bet any historical society you found would qualify you as well.

I'm pretty sure that anyone will have access to the insurance exchange. Not everyone will qualify for a subsidized plan, but even unsubsidized could be cheaper, depending on your husband's coverage. And I believe you can qualify for subsidized plans if your husband's job doesn't offer family coverage, if the cost for single coverage is more than 9.5% of income, OR if the policy won't cover at least 60% of your bills -- so it depends on the details of your situation.
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Old 07-02-2013, 01:56 PM   #1177
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just about any non-profit would qualify, so I bet any historical society you found would qualify you as well.

I'm pretty sure that anyone will have access to the insurance exchange. Not everyone will qualify for a subsidized plan, but even unsubsidized could be cheaper, depending on your husband's coverage. And I believe you can qualify for subsidized plans if your husband's job doesn't offer family coverage, if the cost for single coverage is more than 9.5% of income, OR if the policy won't cover at least 60% of your bills -- so it depends on the details of your situation.
Interesting. That's definitely something to keep tabs on, thanks! I don't think we qualify under those criteria, but I also haven't attempted to get my medication refilled under this new plan yet. I know it's on their list of approved meds, but I don't know yet how much of a copay they'll charge me. Here's something REALLY scary, if we didn't have insurance at all the medication costs almost $20,000 for a 3 month supply!
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Old 07-02-2013, 02:29 PM   #1178
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I've just been reading up on YNAB a little. Would you say it's conducive to two people using it regularly? I'm really aiming to get my husband as gung ho about sticking to a plan as I am, and I think if I say "I'll handle it" it will be a miserable failure. If both of us could make entries through our phones or computers we would both see the progress and the problem areas, but if I take charge (like I usually do ) I don't think he would stay motivated.
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Old 07-02-2013, 02:46 PM   #1179
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I've just been reading up on YNAB a little. Would you say it's conducive to two people using it regularly? I'm really aiming to get my husband as gung ho about sticking to a plan as I am, and I think if I say "I'll handle it" it will be a miserable failure. If both of us could make entries through our phones or computers we would both see the progress and the problem areas, but if I take charge (like I usually do ) I don't think he would stay motivated.
Yes!! This has been my favorite thing about it. I've been married for 9 years and my husband has finally started taking an active role in finances. Before, he either just bought things without considering our money or he asked me and I had to be the bad guy who said no. (or more often than not, said yes when I should have said no . . .)

It uses Dropbox to sync and so we can view the budget on our iphones and both know how much we have left for gas, lunches, coffee, etc. If the money isn't there for him to buy something, I'm not the bad guy who has to say no -- the budget does it for me! He's cut his coffee spending by 2/3rds since just becoming aware of how much it added up.

Entering things on your phone is really easy -- it uses your GPS, so once you've entered something once, most if it autofills -- for example, when I'm at the gas station, the app knows I'll be using my Discover card and automatically categorizes the spending under Gasoline -- I just take half a second to enter the actual amount. Same at the Grocery store, Wendy's, etc.

Once a month, or more often if one of us wants to, we sit down with a margarita and go over the budget together, adjust categories where we need more money, etc.

I'm so in love with it,I'm really geeking out over the program :lol I'm probably driving everyone I know IRL and on message boards nuts with my raving over how life-changing it has been for us.
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Old 07-02-2013, 03:00 PM   #1180
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Yes!! This has been my favorite thing about it. I've been married for 9 years and my husband has finally started taking an active role in finances. Before, he either just bought things without considering our money or he asked me and I had to be the bad guy who said no. (or more often than not, said yes when I should have said no . . .)

It uses Dropbox to sync and so we can view the budget on our iphones and both know how much we have left for gas, lunches, coffee, etc. If the money isn't there for him to buy something, I'm not the bad guy who has to say no -- the budget does it for me! He's cut his coffee spending by 2/3rds since just becoming aware of how much it added up.

Entering things on your phone is really easy -- it uses your GPS, so once you've entered something once, most if it autofills -- for example, when I'm at the gas station, the app knows I'll be using my Discover card and automatically categorizes the spending under Gasoline -- I just take half a second to enter the actual amount. Same at the Grocery store, Wendy's, etc.

Once a month, or more often if one of us wants to, we sit down with a margarita and go over the budget together, adjust categories where we need more money, etc.

I'm so in love with it,I'm really geeking out over the program :lol I'm probably driving everyone I know IRL and on message boards nuts with my raving over how life-changing it has been for us.
Fantastic! I love geeky tools like that, now I'm totally excited to set it up! Plus, when I tell DH it uses Dropbox he'll be psyched. He thinks that's the greatest invention ever.
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Old 07-02-2013, 07:41 PM   #1181
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Fantastic! I love geeky tools like that, now I'm totally excited to set it up! Plus, when I tell DH it uses Dropbox he'll be psyched. He thinks that's the greatest invention ever.
I agree 100% with your husband regarding Dropbox! We use it for work and love it!! It's the greatest thing!
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Old 07-02-2013, 07:43 PM   #1182
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I am having one of those days were I feel like we will never get out of this black hole we are in. Yes we have been doing good paying off are credit cards 6 so far but to be honest we have 9 left...... :confused and that doesn't include other debt like medical bills and what not. All credit cards have relatively low balances anywhere from 300 to 1500 on them but still I feel like it will be forever before we are done. Just so sick of my money going to something that wasn't worth it. I wish when I was younger I would have been so much smarter. Lesson learned I will keep chugging away. Hopefully tomorrow I will have a better attitude about all of this. Thanks for listening some days can just be so hard to get through.
You should be so proud of yourself for getting 6 cards paid off!! That is fantastic! Just keep plugging away and you will get the others paid off!
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Old 07-03-2013, 08:29 AM   #1183
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I agree 100% with your husband regarding Dropbox! We use it for work and love it!! It's the greatest thing!
It sure beats using those megafile upload sites! I think my husband will really get into using YNAB. It's kind of like those calorie counting apps. You stop yourself from eating too much when you're keeping track of your daily intake. He's been vigilant about using one of those, so I have high hopes that he'll feel the same way once he's keeping track of where the money goes.
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Old 07-03-2013, 02:59 PM   #1184
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peel, check out llnoe.com. A free site that follows DR's tenets.
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Old 07-04-2013, 09:58 AM   #1185
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Bumping thread

Happy 4th everyone!
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