A good letter today!

I got a good letter from MBNA about them receiving my last payments of the loan from 2010! “PAID” is a good thing to see!!

I sold my 1984 Martin guit to get rid of the debt, and feel a lot better now.

I have a LOT of hours this week coming, so will be able to pay another good chunk off Juniper and the Target Card…. (So the Times article about Target was VERY timely)!

I started off in 2010 in the pits. While I’m in no way ‘debt free’, it IS looking up. Little selling off here and there, getting that P/T job and taking hours for the others there, it’s all helping. little bits throughout the years, I’ve shot down three biggies, and have Target, Barclaycard and GE Financial, The collectors, and then I’m up and out I’m thinking in roughly 5 years. 2 more on the collectors, and then the others will be paid with that $300.00 a month. even with the Juniper… even that little $20-35.00 a month extra…. That is making a difference too.

I even got an order for 4 hand painted tee shirts from someone off the internet yesterday who also happens to live locally near to my place (YAY!), and so that’ll net me a bit of spare to use for debt, or to help with regular expenses in August!

No matter how hopeless it seems, it WILL and DOES get better. I made the last payment to Micro center 2 years ago, and paid off MBNA, now to get Target and Barclaycard gone. This alone is a huge step for me. I remember feeling so hopeless and out of it at the beginning of Yule in 2001, But I guess I’m hoping this may offer some hope for others in debt like me.

congrats on all your hard work! it seems to be paying off! Good luck with your plan…. looks like your doing just great!

Thank you… I think when we all have ‘little successes’ it’s good to post to the list so others can see there is light at the end of a dark tunnel. I still have debt, but getting it relieved every time I can is a big step, and makes me feel better.

On the TODAY show this morning, they had a debt lady on talking about how “Sale!” is always in our faces and how we should avoid them, really, because every week there’s a SALE. Half the time we don’t need what we get, but as she says many folks are using ‘retail therapy’ in order to feel better about something or themselves.

I know *I* feel better when I shop for electronics, but can’t. When I get anything now, it is with cash. I feel just as good and almost relieved because I know there’s no more debt on my head when I do get something.

When I quit smoking I gained weight too

When I quit smoking I gained weight too. I was a sleek young woman, and then I gained like 50lbs. With the savings from not smoking however, I joined a health club. Of course, ironically the club membership was one of my downfalls with getting into debt. Since the membership was already paid for, once I started my get out of debt plan (besides a low monthly due) and with a tight food budget then, I worked out at that club at least 4 times per week to get rid of stress, weight and get in shape. It worked and was great diversion. Now, I’m not saying run right out and join an expensive gym (not while in debt) but doing any kind of stress relieving regular exercise that’s free or already paid for is a terrific way to let go of any bad habit, such as smoking, overspending, over-eating….etc….

I’ll never be down to 120lbs ever again in my life, now I’m in the mid 130’s and I’m quite happy with that.

Weight is gained and it can be lost (with some effort), but getting a chronic illness from smoking can be irreversible and will cause early death.

They don’t even get into how they suck people in with low grocery and spend millions on marketing to ensure you buy lots more then just what you need. It is not a lack of self control it is thousands of hours of research by people who do nothing but study how to get you to buy what they want you to buy. With the majority of Americans having trouble with debt and over consuming it is like having an AA meeting in the back of a BEV-MO. I have found the Sales and Coupons, Malls and Superstores like Wal-Mart, K-Mart and Target are problem areas and for me to stay on track I have to stay clear. I no longer have TV and I don’t read the Newpaper those marketing people have a real tough time reaching me.

Farmers Markets, Local Speciality stores where I pay a bit more but I stay on track when it comes to spending.

When one is in bad times, the LAST thing they want to hear is how better off they are than others. That doesn’t change the situation one bit. Further, elderly and disabled get government assistance that I pay a fortune for. Billions spent in Iraq. Buffett giving away his billions for education and disease control. I don’t see one charity that helps white middle-aged men that worked loyally for 24 years only to be let go because he was checking on his mom who had her second hip replacement. The bastard boss had no health benefits and no retirement plan and he’s lounging in Tahoe charging exorbitant rent on SF apts. Please DO NOT tell me things could be worse. As I’ve said many times, if it didn’t scare me I’d just go ahead and kill myself to get out of debt.

I am not going to be the one to tell you what others might do

However, I will tell you what I done to help myself. To give you a background on me. I am 27, college full time, 2 kids 7 and 5 and my husband is 27 and full time student working on his Doctorate degree. We have 2 new vehicles, and I work from home. I have inherited Attention Deficit (ADD) most people say, bipolar, depression, and a sleeping disorder.(I never sleep, about 2-3 hrs in 24 hour period) I have a really hard time dealing with stress, completing any task I start and I snap if I do not take my medication.

My point in all of this you ask, I resort to spending money as my point of relaxtion. I have an addiction to spending money. I will be on my way to my destination and have 2 dollars only and find myself ordering off of the dollar menu at Micky Dees. (McDonalds)Do you see my point, I was not even hungry.

I enrolled into a church to calm me down and redirect some of my rage. I took on teaching Sunday school and a Special education seminar for parents with Special Needs Children, I began getting counseling threw the church for money management (free most every where including at banks, just ask), I started medication and you would not even believe the change. I in 3 months, paid off 10,000 dollars of debt on my Discover card, 8,000 dollars debt on my visa, and had 4,000 dollars in savings until we went to Disney World w/kids.

Ken there are places in communities, churches, banks and even libraries have classes on finance. Just pick up the phone book and start calling. Also do like my husband if you wife cant budget the check book then sit down do it together or you do it. He took it from me until I new how to control the situation. I still have some problems but with the Lord behind me I can and will accomplish it. I will keep you in my prayers. Good Luck.

Unfortunately, that is the way of Politics and capitalism. We are here to get out of the trap laid for us, and that’s it. You live in a good area for public transport, why buy Gas? Times I was in SF, it was a lot like NYC… almost better to NOT have a car to worry about in the City. You don’t have to support their gas habit if you don’t want to, at least not all the time.

I also note SF is one of the highest cost places to live too. If you’re not anchored there, have you thought of getting out of that area? It’s more expensive to live there than where I live and it’s pretty upper end here too…..

Bank debit card would also work if there’s a visa or MC logo on it. No debt, comes out of your checking account right away.

I usually don’t use those services. I go to friends’ houses and borrow their stuff 🙂

The Government does not want us to live within our means

They want us to artificially inflate the economy by borrowing until it hurts. Bankrupting the country is of no concern to them as they are just in office a short period of time. They make as many favorable policy changes during that time and assume when the ^&%$^ hits the fan they can just go on vacation for 10 years and reap the benefits of there actions. If you think that this will continue forever and credit will be pass out like sample cigarettes were 30 years ago then you’re a fool. Eventually everyone has to pay up but when it comes to the government since that is us then what ever they charge us or out children will have to pay.

Besides when government is broke they can’t afford social programs which means that people have to work for cheap. Cheap labor is how big companies make money. Our current government is all about providing for big business as that is who put them in office in the first place. They want to end the social programs that allow people to demand reasonable wages because they hurt those that fund their careers.

The only way to stop this is to not be in a position to be cheap labor and have your financial ducks in a row despite all the pressure to do otherwise. Make sure you help everyone you can to do the same. Lead by example and be that shinning light. Dry up that pool of cheap labor by supporting a culture of financial responsibility with frugal spending and elimination of a consumerism driven lifestyle should be the goal of everyone that finds what is going on appalling.

I will say “things can be worse” Tom. Not to you, right now, true. But think of it this way: If you off yourself, THEY WIN! What then have YOU proven? Why the heck you would have to ‘leave’ is beyond me.

Yeah, I got SSI for years, because of the damn blindness. Because I did NOT want to be a freeloader, I still tried for work! For 22 years and being turned away for something I grew up with…. Not something I ’caused’, so I’m sorry if you paid a few dollars in taxes to keep ‘people like me’ (My quotes) alive. If it makes you feel better, now I pay into the system as well too, and am dang proud to!

I see comments about the elderly and disabled you make, It reminds me of the views I’ve been up against all my life. Even my fellow was told “Your girlfriend’s just a sponger! Livin’ on our taxes… Whyn’t you dump her?”…

I still maintain, my biggest “disability” would usually be the people around me!

It’s time to finally stop paying your bills!

First stop stressing yourself out. They don’t throw people in prison for not paying bills these days unless it is child support. You need to accept and learn to deal with that fact that you can’t keep this up.

Second you need a budget. Budget for rent and minimal food and hygiene and electric and gas, water and garbage and one phone either prepaid cell or a land line(notice NO cable TV), childcare. Once you have those figures then you need to choice whether a car is a need or a convenience and budget accordingly for bus or public transportation or your car. Now add $50 emergency fund per household member and deduct that from your take home pay. What you have left you will put toward paying your credit cards. From today on you will pay yourself first.

Next inventory your assets. Look for anything you can sell. Have a garage sale or use eBay and Craig’s list. Put all proceeds from your asset sells in a savings account. You will use this money as an emergency fund. If you have over $500 then you can use that as a negotiating tool with your creditors. Do not think of credit cards as usable in an emergency. Fund your emergency fund first so you don’t do that. Most people fail and go back to credit cards because they don’t fund an emergency fund. This is not to buy milk or eggs at the end of the month it is to buy antibiotics or pay for something unanticipated that you can’t live without. When I say live I mean physically not emotionally. You use money to meet your physical needs only.

At this point your have cut up all your cards and you won’t use a single one ever again. You have a list of your creditor with the contact information and the amount owed and the minimum payment and the interest rate.

Now let say you have about 50% of what you need to make minimal payments on all your cards. First don’t pay anything until you have your $500 emergency fund. Then pay those who will work with you.

Ignore the rest until they start moving toward you. Make your you get the name and or id of everyone you talk to. Have a pad a paper by every phone. Record the date and the time, person and mailing address and what was said. Don’t give any answers. Tell them you will call them back after talking to your counsel. This is for incoming calls and out going calls. You have a right to end any phone call at any time. Get everything in writing. Say, “When I see this in writing then I can give you an answer”. Don’t accept or give verbal commitments.

You will need to negotiate lower payments. This could take a few months of repeated calls. The best way to lower your payments is to lower the interest. There are many good books out I would suggest you go to your public library and see what they have available. There is loads of information on re negotiate debt and the subject to large to cover here. You also need to arm yourself to deal with collection calls either from your creditors or agency’s that have bought your debt. Looks at previous post and get off all mailing list and phone list for Credit Offers and other sales temptations. Contact all catalog companies that send you catalogs and ask to be removed from their mailing list. Don’t bring them into the house. Stop watching TV as the marketing makes it very hard to stay the course. Stay out of super center type stores. They may have lower prices but they have way too much stuff you don’t need. Shop in the stores that have just what you need.

What ever you do STOP using credit. Don’t Use credit to allow yourself to make your payments. This is a trap and you need to get out of it. It has not worked for you in the past so it is time to change.

Books to read at least once:

Mary Hunt – Debt-Proof Living or Dave Ramsey books

Scott Bilker – Talk Your Way Out of Credit Card Debt

HOW TO SETTLE YOUR DEBTS, by Norman H. Perlmutter

Dana A. Neal – BestCredit

Why do we have to live like this

And why do we have to live like this while a few rich politicians are making millions off $3+ a gallon gas that we can’t possibly afford? If they’d give me back all the taxes I paid that went to Irag, etc, I’d be debt free tomorrow.

Don’t you need a credit card for Netflix? Seems renting videos is a “luxury” according to recent posts. Whatever works for each person… I make lists whenever I go out..I try and stay strong and not give in to impulse buying. I can believe it that they spend big bucks in research marketing. It’s good to be aware!

I hate to say it, but it sounds like you have a fairly bad attitude and a major amount of anger.

Let that go. The only person you are harming is you. I’m a little younger than you, but I do know one thing for sure, and it’s when you have that anger and self pity (about whatever you can’t control – like the war in Iraq, your ex boss’s greed…. etc…) it seeps out of you. Even strangers can hear it and see it around you.

Believe it or not – there are things you can probably be grateful and happy about in your life. Change will happen when you change your attitude.

You’re right to feel the way you do, but the only thing that one can say is that no one can predict the future. Sure things can get worse, but there’s always that chance that life will get better too. That’s all many of us cling to, so I do whatever I can to stall what seems to be the inevitable. If I stopped to think about my situation logically, suicide would appear to be the best option here too, so logic doesn’t serve me well. Instead, quantum physics, where uncertainty is the rule, is the better philosophy.

I’ve been pondering whether to join a gym. The cost- I don’t need it. Yet, neglecting my health and weight will cost more down the road. I joined a gym during law school as a buffer to stress. I was reading intensely every waking hour. It was great to take two hours off and do physical activity. I was lucky enough to be able to join a gym where most of my classmates went. People to say ‘hi’ to-it was nice. Perhaps your post will make it happen. I am very ill right now.

And I have every right to be angry and bitter. I could go on about all the bullshit I’ve been through and have received nothing. Save your goddamn platitudes.

One part time thing I do is teach Excel for a corporate training company. After the class, the owner asked me to help with an Excel spreadsheet in which he could determine how much to give himself in wages and how much in dividends. If you make between something like $160,000 and $335,000 the tax bracket is 39% and magically if you make over $335,000 the bracket reduces to 34%!