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Hello. I'm new here, except that I've been getting the FW Deals email for about a year now. Browsing the forums I noticed someone who had a thread like mine, so I was hoping to get some advice for myself. I had a bankruptcy when I was 20 that kind of haunted me for a long time. Always been terrible about paying my bills on time and so my credit is awful. When we got married she had New credit... not really good or bad. But it has gone down hill over the last several years. The house is in both our names and we have made many late payments and our credit took a hit each time.

She's has been with the same company since she got out of college and has a really nice job that offers pretty much unlimited OT opportunities. She always gets 15 hrs OT every week. We have insurance through her company. They offer 401k but she has not activated it yet.

I have a new job (less then 3 months) that pays well. No insurance offered. No 401k offered.


Married: YES
Ages: Early 30s.
My Education: HS
Her Education: BoFA
Children: Two (5 and 7 years old)
Job: Both Employed FT
My Take Home: $1,600 (Bi-weekly)
Her Take Home: $1,300 (Bi-weekly, Amount includes 15 hours OT she generates every two weeks, this is guaranteed and does not fluctuate)
Combined Take Home: $5800/mo
Region: Southeast
My 401k: $5,300 (I no longer work at the company where this 401k was started, and no longer contribute to it but I still get quarterly statements.)
Her 401k: $0 (Have not initiated her 401k yet... but her company will match 3% and contribute up to 6%)
Savings: $0
NO OTHER ACCOUNTS OF ANY KIND

Expenses
My mortgage was an 80/20 split. Recently Wells Fargo admitted to fraud and I was part of a class action settlement that netted me $300. My interest rates are 7% on each loan. House is small 2 bedroom, 1 bath, 1100sq/ft. I feel like I was ripped off when I bought this house. It had major problems with the roof, the plumbing, etc. It was a rental before I bought it and man was it dirty! But I loved the neighborhood and the house has charm. Still, I feel like a sucker for paying so much monthly on this small house. I know I am not getting any bang for my buck here. Outstanding balance on house is: $75,000
Mortgage #1: $735/mo
Mortgage #2: 135/mo
Electric: $200/mo (New Heat Pump Coming, should cut this down quite a bit.)
Cellular: $178/mo (Was able to get $9 taken off our bill.)
Auto Insurance: $75/mo (Currently we have 1 vehicle)
Fuel Expenses: $240/mo or $60/wk, sometimes more if go "for a drive".
Groceries: $600/month
Satellite TV: $225/mo. (We just upgraded to premium service for HBO... Game of Thrones is back on!!) (See below, cut back, no HBO now. *Sad Face*)
Internet: $70/mo
Netflix: $8/mo (See below, cancelled)
Child School Lunch Program: $30/mo
Other Expenses: $45/mo (Equifax Membership $20; Netflix $8; Misc Membership $15; DSC $7)
Her Student Loan: $150/mo. (Owe $12,000, we haven't been paying this for years and have been doing deferments where they carry the loan over for 6 months)

Credit Cards
Bank of America (Closed): $600 Balance (Going on 5 years)
Hospital Bills: $1,500 (Going on 7 years)
2012 Taxes Owed: $500 (Extension filed)
No other debt of any kind.

We are all caught up on all monthly bills.

Current Spending Priority: New Heat Pump by June 1 or we have NO A/C for summer! Estimated Cost: $2800 installed.

4 Year Goal: Improved Credit, Move to Larger House!

THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART FOR ALL YOUR COMMENTS!

--== UPDATES BELOW ==--

5/8/2013 - Cut Netflix OFF. Saving $7.99/mo.
5/8/2013 - Reduced DirecTV to basic package, $64.99/mo.
5/8/2013 - Activated Her 401k. Contributing 6%, Co matching 3%.
5/8/2013 - Having trouble finding cheaper wireless that is on par with AT&T, still checking.
5/10/2013 - Cancelled 2 Day Family Trip on 5/25/13, saving us $150 Hotel Expense and an estimated $150 in Fuel/Food/Park Fees.
5/10/2013 - We do NOT owe the House Insurance Bill, it will be paid by our mortgage company escrow account. Good break!
5/14/2013 - Was able to get $9 taken off our AT&T bill a few days ago.

--== SHORT TERM FINANCE UPDATE ==--

17 - 30 May
My Pay: 1600
Her Pay: 1700 (Anticipated, she's worked a lot of OT)
Mortgage 755
Electric 240
Grocery 300 (Will try to lower)
Fuel 120
Tires for Vehicle & Alignment 350
Part for Moto (Previous Commitment to Seller) 60
Family Trip 2-Day (Previously booked Hotel, non-refundable) 300 <-- CANCELLED!
Nephews Birthday 50 (Will lower)
Brothers Birthday 150 (Will try to lower)
Amount remaining after bills: 1175

31 - 13 June
My Pay: 1600
Her Pay: 1700 (Anticipated, she's signed up for a lot of OT)
Heat Pump: 2800 (Installed)
Groceries 200 (Usually we would spend 100 more, will try to go lite for this two week period)
Fuel 120
Amount remaining after bills: 180

14 - 27 June
My Pay: 1600
Her Pay: 1300 (Anticipated, with usual 15 hour OT)
1st Mortgage 755
2nd Mortgage 135
Cellular 177
Electric 200
Insurance 75
Internet 70
Renew Drivers License 60
Grocery 300
Fuel 120
Amount remaining after bills: 1008 <-- Probably the soonest I could begin building an emergency fund / taking care of debt / etc.

The money left over from the May 17 pay period will need to help us float all the way to June 14 pay period. So, we will see how frugal we can be and hopefully come out with some left over. Will be keep a strict eye on my spending and will keep this thread updated. Thanks for all the responses.

Member Summary
Most Recent Posts
while it worked out this time. Hotel/travel insurance is typically not a good use of money.

imbatman (May. 10, 2013 @ 9:01a) |

I wouldn't assume that you were able to cancel because of the hotel insurance. Most hotels have pretty reasonable cancel... (more)

MissCrabette (May. 10, 2013 @ 9:18a) |

Didn't see this anywhere, but I would definitely sign up for Mint.com to figure out where your money is going. It also ... (more)

tbird1706 (May. 10, 2013 @ 9:43a) |


Saved
"Satellite TV: $225/mo. (We just upgraded to premium service for HBO... Game of Thrones is back on!!)
Internet: $70/mo"

bevo2k1 said:   Saved
"Satellite TV: $225/mo. (We just upgraded to premium service for HBO... Game of Thrones is back on!!)
Internet: $70/mo"


I know I could lower my DirecTV bill to around $125 and still have HBO. But I don't see any way around $70/mo for Cable Internet, that's just the basic fee I thought.

Also, wife is required to have Cable Internet to work from home for her Over Time. They reimburse us $50/mo for it. Which I included in her take home pay amount.

Sorry, I know I could of explained better. First time.

You are losing at the Game of Life so that you can watch the Game of Thrones.

Lack of retirement account and paying 7% on the mortgage are the only things that stand out for me.

These problems are fixable. Go fix them.

germanpope said:   Lack of retirement account and paying 7% on the mortgage are the only things that stand out for me.

These problems are fixable. Go fix them.


A year ago we tried LendingTree.com to see if we could refinance. They could not locate us anyone. I'm under the impression I need to develop a savings account and bring up my credit score before I can refinance to anything low/meaningful. But is it really that simple? Do I just need 10k in a savings account and to pay my bills on time? How long until my credit score tops out? How much do I actually need saved? And for how long?

I know the ultimate goal is to save over your lifetime. But I'm looking for goals I can hit to see results.

This may be tough, but it's recommended to have at least 6 months worth of expenses in savings. Thats a good starting point.

EDIT: But paying off any high-interest debt is pretty important, too.

whereimightbe said:   germanpope said:   Lack of retirement account and paying 7% on the mortgage are the only things that stand out for me.

These problems are fixable. Go fix them.


A year ago we tried LendingTree.com to see if we could refinance. They could not locate us anyone. I'm under the impression I need to develop a savings account and bring up my credit score before I can refinance to anything low/meaningful. But is it really that simple? Do I just need 10k in a savings account and to pay my bills on time? How long until my credit score tops out? How much do I actually need saved? And for how long?

I know the ultimate goal is to save over your lifetime. But I'm looking for goals I can hit to see results.



you need to spend some time at creditboards --- that is the forum where the gurus on credit rebuilding reside

You need to cut out the wants and begin aggressively paying down that mortage and credit card so you will be in a position to refinance. You're losing far too much in interest.

$75k @ 4.5% on a 30 year fixed would be $380/month (plus taxes and insurance). That's $118/month in savings.

TV can go and Internet can be cut back to $30+taxes.

That electric bill is high for southeast rates on a house that size. You need to police your energy use better.

There should never be an "other" or "misc" column when you can't afford not to budget - it encourages waste.

You can do better in groceries, too.

I think it's reasonable to expect an easy $500/mo reduction in expenses - that comes out to $6k per year for your joint Roth IRA. At roughly 28 years out from 60, assuming a $500/month deposit and a 7% rate of return, your Roth would be valued at over half a million dollars by the time you retire.

That TV alone is killing you.

Doing the math for $225/month, for 28 years, at 7%, zeroing the TV would result in a Roth balance of $233,704.85. Once you add in the cost of the equipment and electricity you're easily over $250k. Is TV worth a quarter of a million bucks to you?

Those who understand interest collect it, and those who don't understand interest pay it.

Good job asking. Next step: Dig in!

Credit Boards can help, as can a number of debt reduction / get back on track money blogs. Start Googling and reading. Pledge (and achieve!) five hours a week on educating yourself and your spouse on personal finance.

Getting ahead financially is all about decreasing expenditures and gaining income. For you, it looks to me like decreasing expenditures is your top priority. Cut to the bone! Start thinking about gaining satisfaction from saving / paying down debt instead of watching TV.

After you’ve been ruthless with reducing your costs, then you can focus on increasing income. This could come from additional education, performing better at your current job, expanding in to a new area, taking on a second job, etc.

You can start getting an emergency fund, investing in the 401 and IRAs as you gain some cash flow.

I wouldn’t think about a new larger house until you are consistently paying your bills on time, all of your non-mortgage debt is paid off and you have only the conventional mortgage. Again, think about satisfaction – try and gain it by paying these things down.

As to your credit situation, your score is probably most dependent on your record of late payments. Don’t let another payment be late! You might be able to petition some lenders to remove the negative information from your record, but that is spotty at best. Read more about this for other factors that affect your score. Your savings doesn’t affect your score, but may affect your ability to get a better mortgage. It seems like maybe you could benefit by getting a credit card and using it responsibly. This might be a challenge… consider a local credit union. Only do this if you can really manage it – paid in full every month. Find your credit score and start monitoring it. There are a number of places to get this for free (Digital Federal Credit Union is one place).

You are in a much better place than a lot of folks and have taken a very important step in getting better. All the best to you in your pursuit.

tomjef said:   
Those who understand interest collect it, and those who don't understand interest pay it.


Love this statement! Gonna use it every time my friends think I waste my time reviewing rates, offers, and promos.
That'll shut'em up

Is this some kind of joke? If not, than where is $3250 a month going?

Do you have a gambling problem? Or are you smoking or drinking away the money? Or is it both? Or all three?

Until you figure out or admit where you are blowing $3250 a month, there is really no helping you.

She on the other hand can do a couple of things immediately that will help. First thing she does is walks into work today and opens up her 401k for a minimum of 6% of her pay, but instead it should be 10% to at least keep you guys from blowing some of that money.

Next she starts paying on that student loan. She needs to stop destroying her credit. You don't need to go "for a drive". She's working overtime, so should you. If you can't get overtime get a second job.

You grocery bill is way to high. Is your whole family overweight? Stop eating expensive garbage food. Buy a freezer and stock up on items when they are on sale. The grocery bill can be cut in half easily.

Of course no saving tips are going to help you until you two figure out where you are blowing $3250 a month.

Cellular: $187/mo (drop this and switch to prepaid service like metropcs, boost, StraightTalk, etc.) Savings: $100.00+ a month
Auto Insurance: $75/mo (checkout other competitors rates to ensure you are getting the best rate) Savings: unknown
Groceries: $600/month (Switch to store brand. Only buy essentials. Savings: $150.00 + a month.
Satellite TV: $225/mo. (Get rid of Satellite TV and get FiOS tripple play or Comcast triple play for $99.00) Savings: $115.00+ a month
Internet: $70/mo (This would be included within the triple play package. Savings: $70.00 a month
Child School Lunch Program: $30/mo (Bring lunch from home). Savings: $30.00 a month.
Other Expenses: $45/mo (What are these "other expenses"

Total possible savings: $465.00 per month.

whereimightbe said:   
4 Year Goal: Improved Credit, Move to Larger House!


You haven't paid your bills on time, are okay kicking the can down the road (Student loan), have poor credit, no savings, almost non existent retirement... all of which are bad habits, and you want to go buy a larger home as your reward. You should likely live in current house until retirement, and hopefully have it paid off at that time, if you were wise.

Completely understand where you are, then you can think about where you might be.

Have you ever put your income and expenses in an excel workbook?

You have 37k/yr you are not accounting for.

depalma13 said:   Is this some kind of joke? If not, than where is $3250 a month going?

Do you have a gambling problem? Or are you smoking or drinking away the money? Or is it both? Or all three?

Until you figure out or admit where you are blowing $3250 a month, there is really no helping you.

She on the other hand can do a couple of things immediately that will help. First thing she does is walks into work today and opens up her 401k for a minimum of 6% of her pay, but instead it should be 10% to at least keep you guys from blowing some of that money.

Next she starts paying on that student loan. She needs to stop destroying her credit. You don't need to go "for a drive". She's working overtime, so should you. If you can't get overtime get a second job.

You grocery bill is way to high. Is your whole family overweight? Stop eating expensive garbage food. Buy a freezer and stock up on items when they are on sale. The grocery bill can be cut in half easily.

Of course no saving tips are going to help you until you two figure out where you are blowing $3250 a month.


This needs to be expanded upon. Literally, you listed a combined take home pay of $5800 but only listed $2550 in monthly expenses that is currently being paid. You have zero savings, almost no retirement funds, and somehow $3250 is missing from the picture. However, a reasonable explanation to this might be that since your job is less than 3 months old, the expenses listed was from living on her income alone ($2550 expenses vs $2600 income). And now you've come to ask advice on what to do with this additional income?

As others have said, first refinance the mortgage, cut out many of the expenses, and you could easily be looking at an additional $500+ in reduced spending. That said, with the additional $3250 + $500 per 4 weeks, that comes out to a minimum of $48,750 per year that you have to play with. With that, you could easily max out both IRAs and her 401k and have enough to use $1400+ per 4 weeks paying off debt or build an emergency fund.

Your wife needs to work a lot more OT hours to justify your current spending.

And you need to stay out of FW Hot Deals.

$200/month electric tab for 1100 sq.ft house seems high to me. How old is the home? How far southeast are you?

I can't get OT at my work. My wife can get unlimited OT. The reason I can't get a second job is that we both work opposite schedules and if I overlap her at all then we have to get daycare. Pretty much anything I earn at a 2nd job would only cover daycare so it's not worth it. We've looked into it before but I will think more on it.

Thanks everyone for suggestions on cutting my monthly bills! I'm going to implement those suggestions! I will return with updated cost cutting measures I have taken.

Groceries: is there really a way to feed a family of four for less then $150 a week? I thought I was doing well here.
DirecTV: will cut it
Internet: will look for cheaper rate
Cell: will look for cheaper rate, will I be able to escape my current contract? Is it worth it. I'm right in the middle of it. With AT&T we have two IPhones.

My other expenses of $45 were for Equifax membership, Netflix, and Dollar Shave Club which saves me BIG on razerblades.

Yes my heating bill is enormous for my house size. I've had many HVAC ppl out and they've all said its because my Heat Pump is 20 yrs old with more leaks then can be counted. It needs coolant every two weeks. It's a giant heap. We've had it this way for 5 years. I think we are making a wise LT decision by replacing it in 3 weeks.

Yes we do bring in an extra $3250 over our bills every month. And that's my main problem. We flitter this money away on crap. Honestly I don't know where it goes. Out to eat, day trips, clothes, toys, etc etc I guess. I bought a motorcycle. And I know there must be a better use for it. I'd like specific recommendations from the gurus here on the proper types of accounts to put extra money in. Should we use my wife's 401k only? Where should I start a Roth? Or do I even need one? What about children's college down the road? My retirement goals are: house paid off, maybe a camper lot paid off on the gulf coast somewhere, an end of life trip around the world w my wife, some money in the bank... maybe 500k at 60 years old??

Thanks again. I know I may be naive but I'm really trying to learn where to put my money.

Also regarding our extra $3250 income. I know we need a lifestyle change! We are the kings of short term spending. We love to blow our money as soon as we get it. And we never save it up even a couple of months for any big purchases. If we can't afford something with one Paycheck we often don't buy it.

whereimightbe said:   I can't get OT at my work. My wife can get unlimited OT. The reason I can't get a second job is that we both work opposite schedules and if I overlap her at all then we have to get daycare. Pretty much anything I earn at a 2nd job would only cover daycare so it's not worth it. We've looked into it before but I will think more on it.

Thanks everyone for suggestions on cutting my monthly bills! I'm going to implement those suggestions! I will return with updated cost cutting measures I have taken.

Groceries: is there really a way to feed a family of four for less then $150 a week? I thought I was doing well here.
DirecTV: will cut it
Internet: will look for cheaper rate
Cell: will look for cheaper rate, will I be able to escape my current contract? Is it worth it. I'm right in the middle of it. With AT&T we have two IPhones.

My other expenses of $45 were for Equifax membership, Netflix, and Dollar Shave Club which saves me BIG on razerblades.

Yes my heating bill is enormous for my house size. I've had many HVAC ppl out and they've all said its because my Heat Pump is 20 yrs old with more leaks then can be counted. It needs coolant every two weeks. It's a giant heap. We've had it this way for 5 years. I think we are making a wise LT decision by replacing it in 3 weeks.

Yes we do bring in an extra $3250 over our bills every month. And that's my main problem. We flitter this money away on crap. Honestly I don't know where it goes. Out to eat, day trips, clothes, toys, etc etc I guess. I bought a motorcycle. And I know there must be a better use for it. I'd like specific recommendations from the gurus here on the proper types of accounts to put extra money in. Should we use my wife's 401k only? Where should I start a Roth? Or do I even need one? What about children's college down the road? My retirement goals are: house paid off, maybe a camper lot paid off on the gulf coast somewhere, an end of life trip around the world w my wife, some money in the bank... maybe 500k at 60 years old??

Thanks again. I know I may be naive but I'm really trying to learn where to put my money.

Start by selling the motor cycle and any other toys you don't need.

Also, forget about saving for college. The way you are going, your kids will be eligible for all kinds of financial aid.


Was the BOA credit card closed by you or by them?

Because the BOA Cash Rewards would net you $100 bonus, $145 back on groceries, and $86 back on gas in the first year.

While the "spend less" advice makes the most sense, you have to eat and you have to buy gas, so I would at least try to make a bit back on those expenses.

The Barclay Card Rewards Mastercard does 2x on gas, groceries, and utilities - which may or may not cover your satellite & internet. If it does - that would be another $70 back.

The prevailing thinking about retirement is that it is to be funded with money which is left over. This is dangerous.

Budget for retirement. Complete the budget worksheet with well funded IRAs and 401(k)s. Build it into your monthly budget as something you must pay. Consider it a necessary expense, because your needs in retirement are expenses you will incur, and you need to plan for them.

If you're squandering money now and not putting away enough to retire then you are buying things you cannot afford - you're in effect sacrificing future needs for present day wants.

Let's do the math. Suppose you and her fully fund your IRA ($11k/year) and contribute $5k to her 401(k) (actual cost basis will be less due to tax benefits and the matching), earn a nominal 7%, and are 28 years away from retirement, the balance will have grown to a nominal $1,384,914.16 by the target date.

You can retire a millionaire before 60 if you can put $1333.33 per month away for the future. That's the power of savings with compound interest. You might not even remember your motorcycle nearly three decades from now.

Priorities
1. Get that extra 3% that you are leaving on table by not taking the matching retirement funds
2. Drop cable. With internet and Netflix you can watch plenty of TV
3.Refi the mortgage 7% is super high these days and you can likely get it down near 3-4%
4. Track every last penny you spend for a few months likely it can be cut way down. (what you are wasting is not 3K it is your future and your kids futures) I bet by tracking you will realize how much of it is junk and be able to cut most of the spending.)
5. Cooking from scratch and coupons can easy move that 600 food bill in half.
6. With savings from not paying cable pay off the credit card and irs bills they should be gone in less then four months
7. Sell motorcycle and use money to pay down credit card and irs and then for ac

If you start maxing out both 401k accounts then you probably won't owe any taxes. You will probably get a refund. Like others said lower cable, cell-phone and Netflix monthly bills.

Electric: $200/mo
Cellular: $187/mo

Both of those seem high. My house is only a little larger than yours and my electric bill is about $100/month. Do you have any vampire (electrical devices that use electricity when off such as coffee pots, battery chargers, etc). Get in the habit of unplugging those. Turn off lights in room when not in room.

Your cell phone bills seem high. Get on a Straight Talk, Virgin Mobile, or other similar plan for $45-ish a month with tons of minutes and unlimited text/data.

Satellite TV seems high, Compare your current plan with what is on your provider's website. See if you can switch to a less expensive package.

Internet seems high at $70/month. Call provider and see if they have a $45-ish a month plan.

I'd look at your spending habits and see where everything is going.

1. She needs to contribute to her 401(k) whatever her company will match. That's free money on the table.
2. Figure out a way to refi your mortgage--HARP? If no HARP, pay down aggressively so that you can refi.
3. Cut your cable bill--that amount is ridiculous!
4. Cut your cellular bill. Look into Page Plus, you should be able to cut your bill to $110/mo max, less depending on your usage.
5. Your electric bill for 1,100 sqft is too high.
6. Build up an emergency fund ASAP--what happens if one of you loses your job? You'd be ruined.

OP, you're at an age where you have two clearly defined financial paths ahead of you...on one path, you watch game of thrones now, work until you die later, worrying all the live long day about how you're going to afford minor emergencies like a new A/C. On the other path, you give up TV, live below your means (which shouldn't be that hard given your income), feel secure in knowing that if an emergency comes along you have $ in the bank and know that you can retire someday (if you choose to). Most of the FWF community have chosen path #2...it's much easier to sleep at night on path #2.

Since you two have a major spending problem, you guys need to stop getting access to your cash. The easiest way to do it is to have your wife max out her 401K. Turn it on and forget it. When the easy money is not so easily available, you will be ready to make the serious changes to your lifestyle that you need to make.

Every debt you have except for her student loan can be paid off with the missing $3250. That means with one month of not wasting $3250, your bills will be paid. It's not magic. Taking advice about cutting TV and changing phone plans is not going to help you. It is just going to give you access to more cash that you will blow. Instead of $3250, it will be $3700 a month that you are blowing.

No more eating out, pack lunches. Buy the kids toys at flea markets or don't buy any at all. Stop thinking you get to play with toys when you shun your responsibilities. Take your next paycheck and pay your tax bill. Suffer for the next week after that.

Stay at home for two weeks straight. Homemade dinners. You want to get out of the house, go for a walk.

Take your debit and/or credit cards and put them in a bowl of water and stick that bowl in the freezer. Put $10 in your wallet on Monday and see how much of that $10 you have on Friday. If it's gone before Monday afternoon, you get no more.

It will be amazing how much money is in your checking account after those two weeks.

whereimightbe said:   
Groceries: is there really a way to feed a family of four for less then $150 a week? I thought I was doing well here.
DirecTV: will cut it
Internet: will look for cheaper rate
Cell: will look for cheaper rate, will I be able to escape my current contract? Is it worth it. I'm right in the middle of it. With AT&T we have two IPhones.


re the Iphones.. look at Straight Talk. you can pay the ETF to att and still come out ahead in a few months. IIRC att will prorate your etf so get on the phone or online and see what they can do for you. there may be unpublished discounts available. ask for 'retention' or 'customer care'.

re the outstanding boa CC bill, just pay them already.. you make over 5k takehome/mo and you are just procrastinating that bill. pydbdb

re the internet.. call comcast and threaten to cancel (assuming you can get dsl) and they may give you the current promo price for 6mo. after 6mo rinse/repeat. again, ask for 'retention' or 'customer care'.

depalma13 said:   Since you two have a major spending problem, you guys need to stop getting access to your cash. The easiest way to do it is to have your wife max out her 401K. Turn it on and forget it. When the easy money is not so easily available, you will be ready to make the serious changes to your lifestyle that you need to make.

Every debt you have except for her student loan can be paid off with the missing $3250. That means with one month of not wasting $3250, your bills will be paid. It's not magic. Taking advice about cutting TV and changing phone plans is not going to help you. It is just going to give you access to more cash that you will blow. Instead of $3250, it will be $3700 a month that you are blowing.

No more eating out, pack lunches. Buy the kids toys at flea markets or don't buy any at all. Stop thinking you get to play with toys when you shun your responsibilities. Take your next paycheck and pay your tax bill. Suffer for the next week after that.

Stay at home for two weeks straight. Homemade dinners. You want to get out of the house, go for a walk.

Take your debit and/or credit cards and put them in a bowl of water and stick that bowl in the freezer. Put $10 in your wallet on Monday and see how much of that $10 you have on Friday. If it's gone before Monday afternoon, you get no more.

It will be amazing how much money is in your checking account after those two weeks.


Ask HR for both your employers if you can do direct deposits to more than one account. Open up an account at Ally (or another online bank), and send some of your paycheck there.

I'd also advise consider start using only cash to pay for things -- no CCs or debit cards. It might help curb your spending.

Auto Insurance: $75/mo (Currently we have 1 vehicle)
Fuel Expenses: $240/mo or $60/wk, sometimes more if go "for a drive".


What the hell are you driving?

Krazen1211 said:   Auto Insurance: $75/mo (Currently we have 1 vehicle)
Fuel Expenses: $240/mo or $60/wk, sometimes more if go "for a drive".


What the hell are you driving?


And, how far is work from home?

depalma13 said:   Since you two have a major spending problem, you guys need to stop getting access to your cash. The easiest way to do it is to have your wife max out her 401K. Turn it on and forget it. When the easy money is not so easily available, you will be ready to make the serious changes to your lifestyle that you need to make.



The flip side of this is that if he raids that 401k on an impulse he will get slapped with taxes and penalties.

stanolshefski said:   Krazen1211 said:   Auto Insurance: $75/mo (Currently we have 1 vehicle)
Fuel Expenses: $240/mo or $60/wk, sometimes more if go "for a drive".


What the hell are you driving?


And, how far is work from home?


that's the more important question. if you get 30 mpg, that's 600 miles per week. If your commute is 60 miles each way (which is normal in Atlanta in the southeast), that's your weekly gas to commute to/from work.

whereimightbe said:   If we can't afford something with one Paycheck we often don't buy it. This made me laugh... as I thought, yeah you only buy every last thing you can afford with each paycheck.

whereimightbe said:   
My Education: HS
Her Education: BoFA

My 401k: $5,300 (I no longer work at the company where this 401k was started, and no longer contribute to it but I still get quarterly statements.)

Satellite TV: $225/mo. (We just upgraded to premium service for HBO... Game of Thrones is back on!!)
Internet: $70/mo
Netflix: $8/mo

Why wouldn't it be cheaper to get all the pay TV and Internet access through a single provider instead of two?

What's her BFA in? If it's in art, can she make and sell art on the side? My mother has a BFA/BSE and used to make metal sculptures or take welding jobs. Some people with FA degrees make furniture.

If your 401k is in a high cost account (many are), consider doing a rollover into a cheap IRA.

depalma13 said:   
Take your debit and/or credit cards and put them in a bowl of water and stick that bowl in the freezer.


I liked this idea )

Skipping 71 Messages...
Didn't see this anywhere, but I would definitely sign up for Mint.com to figure out where your money is going. It also shows your net worth so you can see some of your improvements paying off from your net worth growing. I also think Credit Karma is offering free credit monitoring currently.



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