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Taking control of my debt!

ancientgirl
April 8th, 2009, 11:53 AM
I contacted a few organizations that help with debt counseling. I found a place that I liked and the woman who is my counselor was very helpful. I called 3 places. The first place wouldn't help me right away, and I had to make an appointment to have someone call me. I didn't like that, since I felt if I'm calling it's because I need help now, and making an appointment seems odd. The second place, some guy answered who sounded like he was bothered and tired. I gave him some information, the amount of the 3 cards I wanted to bundle, and he told me my payments monthly would be $124 a month. It wasn't too terrible, but I had hoped for less. Right now, I have 3 cards that I pay at least $50-$75 a month. It's still a savings to me, but not that much, plus they charged $30 a month just for their service. Um...no. The last place I called is Family Credit Management. I gave the same information and was told my monthly payments for the next 4 years would be $103 a month. That's including their monthly fee of $3.00. I did have to do a one time set up, for the legwork and them contacting my creditors, but $50 one time is less than $30 a month. I was also able to set it up so that I can have them just take half on the 1st of the month and the other half on the 16th. I get paid on the 15th and 30th of the month, so it works out well for me. It won't be taken out in one large chunk at the end of the month, and it's easier to do it split, and I am able to make sure I have the money in my account by doing it on the day I choose. So $103 a month is at least a $50 savings for me, and more so when you figure I sometimes try to pay more and wind up being left with no money until I get paid again.

I worked the payments out on my excel budget sheet (anybody wants a copy of this budget/expenses sheet let me know. I can email it to you. It's a lifesaver and really helps.) and by doing this, I'm able to actually save some money at the end of the month. AND, if I wish I can send an extra payment when I have it and pay things off faster. So instead of 4 years I can pay it off in 2 or 3. I know it sounds like a long time, but I don't look at it that way. It's 4 years, but I'm actually paying down the debt and not interest. If I did it the regular way, I'd be still paying off these cards in 15 years! Also, this is allowing me to actually try to save some money. I can actually put money aside for emergencies, or clothes, regular check ups for the cats, and best of all it will help me save some money so I can buy a house in the future.

I feel a certain sense of relief that I haven't felt in a long time. I feel like I'm going to be able to slowly get out from under this mountain of debt and come out the better for it all. I do have one card I kept. It's one card I am still in good standing with, and I can manage. I wanted to have that one also, for emergencies.

I feel hopeful and just a little bit cheery. My dad also came by last night to drop off a letter he wants me to look at, he gave me $200. I don't know what it is, but he has a way of just knowing when I am in need. Yesterday, I was in need, desperate need. I'd spent my last $9.00 on gas, and it only filled a little over a quarter of my gas tank. I was going to have no money until the 15th. I spent 2 hours just looking in my pursed, pants, just everywhere I may have hidden some money. I found the one final ring that was worth anything and decided to pawn it today. When my dad called me at 8:30, to come downstairs, I only expected him to hand me the letter, but he did so along with some much needed money.

There have been times when I've literally been panicked because I haven't had a dime, and it's been those times when he's shown up and given me money. I went upstairs and sat down and realized my blessings were in the hundreds. Not because my dad is rich, he's far from rich, but that in my most desperate of moments, I have someone I can count on, and I don't even have to open my mouth, he just knows.

Okay, I'm tearing up, and I decided I'm going to be happy today.

I stashed half of what he gave me, and will add to it here and there, as I need to have a cash on hand fund, as well as add the extra monthly money I'm saving to one of my checking accounts. I have two, one I just use sort of like a savings. Having the extra checking allows me to at least keep some money apart from my regular checking, which I pay everything from. :D

Winston
April 8th, 2009, 12:04 PM
Ag this all sounds so wonderful for you! I have to ask though are these companies that offer the counselling charging a fee? Alot of these places do because they have to make a living as well.

Have you tried contacting the credit card companies and asking for either interest relief or a break on monthly payments? Some comoanies will do that especially in these economic times! they may feel its better to help you than loose the money if you have to file for bankruptcy.

Here in Canada we have Canada Savings Bonds which are sometimes issued through various employers. I took out one of these as a davings tool and it has turned out to be quite a safety net at times. I put away $75.00 per month and the only time I touch it is if there is an emergecny or sometimes I use it as my RRSP fund. Its just a way to sock the money aside before I receive it.

You certainly sound like your headed in the right direction! You must feel pretty good that your getting a handle on it!

ancientgirl
April 8th, 2009, 12:16 PM
Winston, the monthly charge is actually something they are charging me is something the state of Florida requires. Don't ask me why. I've done this before and I also had to pay a fee, but it was $5. Actually, I came out good, because depending on what state I live in, it could have been more.:eek:

I tried working with my creditors. All they did was offer to stop charging me late fees and over limit fees, but no dropping interest. And I can't afford to pay a $35 minimum payment and keep having $21 go towards just interest.:frustrated: I'm guessing once they see you go to a credit counseling place, they know it's either work with you then or they are :censored:.

I'd like to do something like a bond, but the market and economy being what it is, I'm afraid of putting my money anywhere other than just a checking/savings account.

Winston
April 8th, 2009, 12:35 PM
Actually AG its just like a bank account..rates are pretty much the same and you dont loose any of it like the stock market. I like it because I cant just go and withdrawl the money on the spot..it usually takes 5 business days so it keeps me from spending it. The nice part is I usually forget about the amount coming from my pay since I dont see it to begin with.

How does the credit counselling get the credit card companies to work with you if you tried and you cant make the minimum? are you not essentially paying it off the same way? or do they reduce the amount you owe because you are using a counselling service?

ancientgirl
April 8th, 2009, 12:53 PM
Okay, I get it. Yeah that does help that you don't see the money going out, and making you wait until you get the money helps you from just spending it on stupid things.

I'm not sure why they are more willing to work with a counseling service. I've done this in the past a couple of times, and have always tried to work things out with them myself first, only to be refused. Then I turn around and get myself on a program and all is hunky dory.:shrug: Maybe they see it as your last ditch effort and they better play ball or they get nothing.

Really, I was to the point of just saying to hell with it and not paying anymore period! I didn't want to do that, I wanted to pay them, but they wouldn't work with me so...

Winston
April 8th, 2009, 01:49 PM
Hey AG check out this...maybe your employer could offer something like this? Trust me when the amount is directly taken from your pay you dont even realise it! Maybe you could start off with a small amount and then increase your bond amount once you get back on your feet? Just a thought.

I have to say your honesty about your situation is admiring! many peopple would not want to air their info lets say! I applaud you for having that courage!
:thumbs up

http://www.savingsbonds.com/buying-us-savings-bonds.cfm

ancientgirl
April 8th, 2009, 02:06 PM
Hey AG check out this...maybe your employer could offer something like this? Trust me when the amount is directly taken from your pay you dont even realise it! Maybe you could start off with a small amount and then increase your bond amount once you get back on your feet? Just a thought.

I have to say your honesty about your situation is admiring! many peopple would not want to air their info lets say! I applaud you for having that courage!
:thumbs up

http://www.savingsbonds.com/buying-us-savings-bonds.cfm

I've worked with my boss for 5 years, here at his company. For 5 years he's said he's going to set up a 401K for me. He hasn't. At the end of the year last year he said he talked to his financial planner about doing a pension for me starting this year. I have yet to see any paperwork on it, so I don't think he will do this. I have to plan for my future myself, because I can't leave it up to him. Of course, you know he has all sorts of funds set up for himself.:rolleyes: I'll look into doing something like this for myself. Maybe I can set up my own IRA at some point, when I've got a substantial bit of money saved.

Winston, It helps me to talk about this. I hope that in my talking about it, it might help someone else who may be having the same issues realize they are not alone. I know many times I've though I was a loser or just unlucky in my problems, but then I start talking about it and find out, there are other people going through the same thing. Then I don't feel so much like it's me, I feel I have some support and I'm not the only one.

Winston
April 8th, 2009, 02:15 PM
Your right! and you do have a wonderful cyber family here that always supports you!


The way I look at it is this: if you have to save it yourself rather than the employer go for it girl! sometimes I think the employers out there only care about their plans! so if you have to stuff it in your mattress or make up your own financial plan all the power to you!

ancientgirl
April 8th, 2009, 02:26 PM
Your right! and you do have a wonderful cyber family here that always supports you!


The way I look at it is this: if you have to save it yourself rather than the employer go for it girl! sometimes I think the employers out there only care about their plans! so if you have to stuff it in your mattress or make up your own financial plan all the power to you!

I am very lucky I have such a great support system here. When I first began posting here, I never thought this would be more than just a great place to get some information about how to care for my cats. I'm so glad to have found so much more.:D

My boss is and has been good to me, but he's dragging his feet here, and I can't continue to wait on him. He's always telling me that without me here he'd be up the creek. Fine way to show me huh? The way I see it, I've got to start now if I want to be able to have a decent retirement, and not be working a grill when I'm still 70! Ideally, when the stock market recovers, I'd like to make just a few small investments. Nothing crazy. Hopefully, make a little bit from a small investment, cash it in and save it. I think my best bet might be an IRA at some point. However, my current plans are socking away money at home and in the bank.

Chris21711
April 8th, 2009, 02:52 PM
Happy to see that you are making headway with your burden AG, it can be very worrying, I know I have been in that situation.

This is not the first time that you have mentioned about having money worries, which leads me to wonder.....why would you spend $100 on paying somebody else to clean your apartment, when you could have that money in your own pocket.

My apologies if I am overstepping my boundries :o

ancientgirl
April 8th, 2009, 03:00 PM
Happy to see that you are making headway with your burden AG, it can be very worrying, I know I have been in that situation.

This is not the first time that you have mentioned about having money worries, which leads me to wonder.....why would you spend $100 on paying somebody else to clean your apartment, when you could have that money in your own pocket.

My apologies if I am overstepping my boundries :o

Chris, I didn't want to, but from the time I moved in to my apartment I've always had a terribly hard time cleaning the bathtub. The previous tenants let it get moldy and generally terrible looking. I tried to clean it myself, but could never get it clean enough, and then my asthma would start giving me issues if breathed in those fumes for too long.

Add to that, just my general depression and anxiety, I just stopped caring about what the place looked like. I cleaned just on the surface.

It wasn't easy spending that money, but I knew if I could start with a clean slate, so to speak, I'd be able to maintain it. It felt nice to know the place was clean! No mold on the tub or tiles, clean floors, dust gone, cat hair on carpet manageable:rolleyes:. It lifted my spirits when I really needed them to be lifted and it's allowed me to act upon that and push myself to get a better handle on my surroundings as well as my finances. Did that make sense?

Chris21711
April 8th, 2009, 03:11 PM
Yes that makes sense AG :) Some folks go shopping, hair salon etc to lift their spirits, so it all falls in the same category.

I have the ability or disability, that when I get down about something that I can't fix right away, I just think f*** it and chip away at things one at a time. I find if I try to fix everything all at once, I feel as if I'm not getting anywhere.

For example: If I have a lot to do one day, I think I have to do this, that and the other and can feel overwhelmed, but then I think, ok what is most important and work my way from there, one at a time.....does this make sense? That way I have one less thing to think about, which in turn lifts my spirits. :)

ancientgirl
April 8th, 2009, 03:15 PM
Yes that makes sense AG :) Some folks go shopping, hair salon etc to lift their spirits, so it all falls in the same category.

I have the ability or disability, that when I get down about something that I can't fix right away, I just think f*** it and chip away at things one at a time. I find if I try to fix everything all at once, I feel as if I'm not getting anywhere.

For example: If I have a lot to do one day, I think I have to do this, that and the other and can feel overwhelmed, but then I think, ok what is most important and work my way from there, one at a time.....does this make sense? That way I have one less thing to think about, which in turn lifts my spirits. :)

That's exactly what happened. I was overwhelmed! And when I saw I just couldn't get a handle on it all, I just gave up, which made me feel worse!

I could have certainly bought myself something with that money like clothes, which I need, but it would not have given me the same satisfaction. This way, my surroundings are cheerful, and I was happy to know my babies weren't running around in all of that dust and mold too!

Chris21711
April 8th, 2009, 03:23 PM
That's exactly what happened. I was overwhelmed! And when I saw I just couldn't get a handle on it all, I just gave up, which made me feel worse!


Maybe trying not to get a handle on everything all at once will help AG, also I find the odd f*** it helps too with a glass of wine, works a treat :D

ancientgirl
April 8th, 2009, 03:28 PM
Maybe trying not to get a handle on everything all at once will help AG, also I find the odd f*** it helps too with a glass of wine, works a treat :D

I'm trying to tell myself that. That it's okay if something isn't done today or tomorrow, just do it then move on and do something else.

And yeah, the odd f*** it helps a lot!:laughing: