Author Topic: Help Me See More Light (Being Stung By Killer Bees)  (Read 12701 times)

jj20051

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Help Me See More Light (Being Stung By Killer Bees)
« on: March 05, 2015, 11:20:12 PM »
Hello,

So I'm being stung by killer bees and my hair is on fire. I've come to realize that and I've decided to change things. I'm hoping for any advice you can give me and anything you can think of to reduce my money burning quickly without too much pain.

I posted about my situation here: http://www.lastworkday.com/2015/03/taking-stock-of-my-finances.html
(Mods: If you feel me linking to it is a problem I can copy and paste it here instead).

What I know needs to change:
- Rent is too expensive. (I can't fix this until my lease is up.)
- My cell phone bill are way too high (I can't decrease them without $,$$$ to throw at the problem yet)

Is there anything else I can do in the sort term to stop the bleeding?

About me: I'm a programmer. I've started looking for additional side work (I already have some, but it's apparent I need more to fix this).
« Last Edit: March 05, 2015, 11:25:13 PM by jj20051 »

swick

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Re: Help Me See More Light (Being Stung By Killer Bees)
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2015, 11:49:31 PM »
First, welcome to the forums. This will probably not be easy for you - but stick around and if you are open to ideas and taking some drastic, and uncomfortable actions you may be able to turn this around.

Second, Shit son, you are in a world of hurt.  I copied from your blog and have highlighted a few areas I can see, but you need to do a 180 and quickly and get your wife on board ASAP. You need to be freezing all the extra cards and only keeping the one to act as a stop gap while you fix this mess. STOP SPENDING MONEY NOW!!!

Current Credit Card Debt:
Name    Balance    Change
Discover    $922.85    N/A
Amazon / Chase    $343.64    N/A
Capitol One (Spark)    $878.04    N/A
Capitol One (Mine)    $392.91    N/A
Capitol One (Wife)    $188.75    N/A
Navy Federal    $1879.46    N/A
Bill Me Later    $298.22    N/A
Total    $4903.87    N/A

Current Loans:
Name    Balance    Change
Navy Federal (Car #1)    $14908.83    N/A
Navy Federal (Car #2)    $10497.55    N/A
Navy Federal (Personal Loan)    $700.45    N/A
Family Loans    $2400.00    N/A - are you actively paying this back? Is there a chance you can talk to your family about taking a break while you sort things out, if you are?
Total    $28,506.38    N/A
Monthly Expenses (Precalculation):
Name    Balance    Change
Rent    $1585.78    N/A - You can't afford this. Full stop. How long is your lease for? what would be the cost of breaking it? Is there a possibility for you to sublet or bring in a roommate?
Cell Phones    $259.68    N/A - Again, you can't afford this. Have you called your provider and knocked down the payments to as low as they can go? Have you told them you are having trouble paying it and seeing what they can do? Find out how much it would cost to break the lease, more often then not you will end up ahead in the long run. CELL PHONES ARE A LUXURY YOU CAN"T AFFORD
Internet    $0.00 (Prepaid, normally ~$70)    N/A - USE the library, or if you are a programmer, do you do any work from home? Can your employer cover part of the cost?
Electricity    $91.07    N/A
Car Insurance    $233.07    N/A
Water Service    $35.00    N/A
Natural Gas    $55.97    N/A
Fuel (Budgeted For Car #1)    $100.00    N/A Don't drive unless it is necessary. Cost out a bus pas. 
Spending Funds (Budgeted)    $100 (Should be $0, I know.)    N/A The fact that you have anything in this category right now suggests that you don't quite realize how bad of shape you are in.
Groceries (Budgeted)    $200    N/A
Business Expenses (Budgeted)    $25.00    N/A
Car Shipping (Story below)    $675.00    N/A
Car Tags (Not possible?)    $500.00    N/A Can't afford
Loan Payments (Minimum)    $594.15    N/A
Credit Card Payments (Actual)    $1322.85    N/A
Upcoming Taxes (IRS)    $2600.00    N/A
Total    $8372.57    N/A

You mention monthly income is $5333.03 (Plus maybe $450 from side gigs) You aren't making enough money to support your debt and lifestyle. You don't mention your wife working. Is there any chance she can get a job or contribute to the family finances?

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Re: Help Me See More Light (Being Stung By Killer Bees)
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2015, 11:50:41 PM »
Your spending $2300 to ship a car that is worth MAYBE $3000.. is it really worth $3k?.. or could you only get $2300 for it?

The reason I ask is.. the cost of the car is sunk.. you might as well call the scrap yard in Hawaii and have it towed away and save a bunch of hassle!.. Put it on CL and have your friend sell it for whatever he can get for it. You'll be money ahead as opposed to shipping it.

Then take the $2300 you saved by not shipping and pay that off the balance of your highest interest rate card.

You have serious but not insurmountable problems.. start at one point and chip away at it.

You can't afford a damn cell phone!.. find out what the termination pay off is.. get out of it.. now.. yes borrow money to get rid of it.

The buy a $20 phone (Walmart) and but a $5 a month PTEL phone plan.

jj20051

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Re: Help Me See More Light (Being Stung By Killer Bees)
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2015, 12:04:33 AM »
@swick - I'll just go down your list with my responses. I want to take some drastic action. There's a few limits, but I'll listen as best I can to the advice I'm given.

Family Loans - Yes I'm actively paying it back.
Rent - Absolutely can't afford it, you're right... Looking into getting a new place. My lease is up in June. I'm going for a place $800 or less per month.
Cell Phones - It would cost $1500 to break the lease. I'm better off hanging on to the phones for now. It's not just my line... I'm also paying for 2 family members who pay me $60 each. It's still quite bad.
Internet - ABSOLUTELY needed otherwise my income drops by up to ~$1 - $2k. I've already chopped the cable and the other expenses tied to this. It's just internet at this point.
Fuel For Car - Bus does not run between here and where I work. Where I work is a military base in the middle of nowhere.
Spending Funds - I talked about it in the post I made. I originally budgeted $100 for it, but I've changed my tune on that one. It's now $0.00.
Car Tags - I get that I can't afford them. I'll be paying for them within the next month. I can't afford to have that car towed either.

My wife seems perfectly content not to have a job. Every time we discuss it I feel like I'm getting nowhere.

@Exflyboy - The car's KBB is about $8k to a private buyer. The problem is it has frame damage on the car fax (no actual frame damage). So if I went to sell it I'd have to disclose that which means I'll be able to get like 1/2 of what it's worth at most. The car isn't in Hawaii it's on a carrier truck to Maryland.

I can't sell the vehicle as my bank will not allow me to without the FULL value of the loan being paid up to release the title. I've called and talked to them many times about this.

Next cell phones: Where am I going to get the money to pay that off? It's $1500 easily. Even then it's a minimum of 3 phones (I have a homeless brother who I MUST provide a phone to). I get that cell phones are an expense I can cut back on (and I have a plan to get my monthly bill down to $110.00 as soon as possible, likely May of this year). The logic of not having a phone or cutting down to a $5 PTEL plan is appealing, but this hits a bit too hard for me to cut it cold turkey. It does burn that I'm unable to cut this right away and/or at all.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2015, 12:14:32 AM by jj20051 »

swick

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Re: Help Me See More Light (Being Stung By Killer Bees)
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2015, 12:18:26 AM »
My wife seems perfectly content not to have a job. Every time we discuss it I feel like I'm getting nowhere.

You need to develop a different strategy/communication style ASAP. Does she know all the numbers? Does she understand them? Unless you have kids and she is a SAHM with SIGNIFICANT responsibilities or a condition which she is on disability for - just being "content" to not work is not an option for either of you.

Have you told her how much strain and pressure you are under? Does she know that you could lose your job if you have to declare bankruptcy? Has she thought about the future and have any goals in place? 

Without the one-off  things like the transport that you can't get out of and the car tags, you aren't too far away from at least breaking even - She needs to be contributing. If you aren't working as a team your battle will be much harder and messier.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2015, 12:20:36 AM by swick »

jj20051

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Re: Help Me See More Light (Being Stung By Killer Bees)
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2015, 12:22:17 AM »
@swick - I've tried talking to her. I've shown her the numbers. She complains that she doesn't currently have a car and thus can not get to work. I've told her I'd drop her off (I have a semi-flexible work schedule.) At this point I think she's just given up and stopped looking. I don't know how to "force" her to see the light and it's very frustrating. Maybe once the 2nd car gets here and has tags things will change. I'm just kinda lost really.

swick

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Re: Help Me See More Light (Being Stung By Killer Bees)
« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2015, 12:30:35 AM »
Are there any anxiety or depression issues? Does she have any marketable skills? Would going to a career councilor hep her identify what she does want to do? And I am going to call bullshit on the "I don't have a car, so I can't get to work" unless you live remote or very suburban. Is there nothing within walking distance?

You probably won't have a lot of luck "forcing" her to do anything as it implies conflict which I'm guessing she doesn't respond to - you might have to try a different approach or communication style. Does she handle any of the fiances? would teaching her and making her an equal partner/decision maker help? Even if you phrase it along the lines of"If something happens to me, I want to know you'll be okay, so let's do this together"

Going forward, you do have some hair on fire debt - but aside from a bunch of bad financial decisions you can recover from - this might be a larger issue and have a bigger impact on your life. Finances are a cause of stress in a relationship - but more often then not, they are also a reflection of the relationship itself.

jj20051

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Re: Help Me See More Light (Being Stung By Killer Bees)
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2015, 12:34:06 AM »
@swick - Well I just spoke with her about it. She said she doesn't feel comfortable walking to a job (nearest "jobs" would be 2 miles away really...) so I understand her apprehension. I gave her a mini-ultimatum. When the car gets here find a job or we'll get rid of it as quickly as possible. She said she would. I told her to start looking because even if the car doesn't have tags for a few weeks we'll work it out. I suppose the issue is finding a job for her now. She has an associates in Business Administration. Ideally I see her and she sees herself in a lower stress retail job.

former player

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Re: Help Me See More Light (Being Stung By Killer Bees)
« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2015, 01:30:14 AM »
You obviously have an immediate money crunch, but the real problem is that your monthly expenses (everything other than tax due and car shipping is almost exactly the same as your income.  Given the size of your debts (and I'm betting on some pretty high interest rates to go along with them), you will be barely treading water.  One small emergency or extra expense (I'm seeing nothing for medical/dental or car maintenance) and you will be tipped over the edge.

You need to cut expenses even further.  Your car insurance looks high: can you shop around on this?  I wouldn't suggest increasing your excess or not having comprehensive cover, because you haven't got the emergency funds to cover yourself, but you may be able to get a better quote even so, if you haven't shopped around already.

Utilities need to be as low as possible - switching off electrical items not in immediate use, reducing heating/air con use, limiting water use if it's metered.

Can the relatives you provide phones for contribute more to their cost?  Can someone else pick up the cost on your brother's phone - perhaps the person who gave you the family loan?

Can you cut your gas usage by getting hold of a free/cheap bicycle?

Apart from that, more income is what will get you out of this, either a side hustle from you or a job for your wife.  All the extra inome needs to go to paying off debt, highest interest rates first.

Good luck.

kathrynd

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Re: Help Me See More Light (Being Stung By Killer Bees)
« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2015, 01:48:42 AM »
I'm going to take a different approach here.

Let your wife stay home. The amount she will probably bring in, won't probably make much difference, when you consider, you will both be tired, and the chances are the costs of working will wipe out many savings (unless she is able to get a full time job paying more than minimum wage)
There are transportation costs, clothing, and usually more money is wasted on take-out and groceries, because you are both tired.

Have your wife's job, be to reduce costs in the home as much as possible.
Reduce, reuse, recycle.
Line dry clothes etc.
Get rid of the second car asap. You only need one car.
Find ways to reduce cost.
Find ways to earn extra income at home...such as pet sitting in your home while people go on vacation?
Not just dogs, but maybe others such as hamsters, gerbils, rabbits, birds....the pets that boarding places may charge too much for th average family.

Does your wife have any talents...make delicious cakes, preserves, cookies...she could sell to your co-workers (you could take in samples , and maybe  brochure of items/prices) , or maybe sell at a week end market?

Call the credit card companies and tell them you are having difficulties, and you want the interest rate reduced.
alternately
find new credit cards where you can balance transfers for 0% or low rates.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2015, 01:51:03 AM by kathrynd »

MsPeacock

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Re: Help Me See More Light (Being Stung By Killer Bees)
« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2015, 06:14:14 AM »
A few questions because I may have missed something here:

Did you already ship the car? If not I would recommend selling it in Hawaii. There is a good market for used cars there due to the military limits on shipping only one car.
How much are the cars currently worth? (I just see the raining loan balance)
Can you get a cc with zero percent and no fees for balance transfers? Not only would this save you in interest, but would reduce the number of ' minimum monthly payments' you are trying to make each month. Navy federal currently has an offer for these cards.
Take your savings (2k?) and pay off the 3 or 4 lowest balance cards. If you have an emergency you will likely have to put it on a card anyhow (don't have any emergencies).

What is the actual cost of terminating your cell phone plan? You say at least 1500. If you don't have an exact figure, call the company and ask. Often the fee is prorated over the course of the contract. Additionally, you may be able to change to a less expensive plan from the company w/o any penalty at all.

Maryland car tags are very expensive. Try to sell your car w/o updating the tags.

Food bank. Do it. You can't afford groceries this month.

Not sure why your wife is comfortable not working when the two of you can't afford food. Has she seen the balance sheet? Does she understand the situation you are in? What does she think will happen if things continue as they are? Assuming you don't have children, she needs to work. If she has health issues that prevent her from working, then it is critical that she gets treatment so that she can work. And work can de dog walking or pet sitting or working at Trader Joes or whatever. Anything.

Ask other family members to pay for your brother's cell phone. I know it is critically important when you have a family member in dire circumstance to have some way to reach them, but at this point you can't afford to cover the cost.

Davin

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Re: Help Me See More Light (Being Stung By Killer Bees)
« Reply #11 on: March 06, 2015, 10:42:12 AM »
If your brother is homeless than he likely qualifies for a free phone. http://www.assurancewireless.com/Public/Welcome.aspx
I have friends who do social work who say they are easy to qualify for.

Sibley

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Re: Help Me See More Light (Being Stung By Killer Bees)
« Reply #12 on: March 06, 2015, 11:29:47 AM »
Talk to the IRS, see if you can set up a payment plan. It can't hurt.

Also, you've got a lot of credit cards, is there a spending problem? Maybe you need to do a Dave Ramsey and physically cut them up. Definitely take all credit cards off amazon, paypal, wherever you have them online. It should not be easy to buy anything.

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Re: Help Me See More Light (Being Stung By Killer Bees)
« Reply #13 on: March 06, 2015, 05:30:42 PM »
If I understand correctly, the OP doesn't have the option of not shipping the second car because it has already been shipped and is sitting in Maryland.
He can't sell the car either because he won't get enough to pay off the loan, and he can't come up with the difference out of pocket. The OP has to pay the shipper, and has to make payments on the car for a while at least. Is that right?

Is there a chance of putting the family loan on hold while you dig out?

I second contacting the IRS for a payment plan. You have nothing to lose by trying.

And the wife has to start making money somehow, every penny of which needs to go to the debts. Could she work part-time, like 20 hours, and do the thrifty homemaking too?

Does the wife understand how dire the situation is?

southern granny

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Re: Help Me See More Light (Being Stung By Killer Bees)
« Reply #14 on: March 07, 2015, 01:35:08 PM »
You can do this.  Transfer all your balances to a low interest card and only pay the minimum for a couple of months until you get the car situation resolved and the IRS paid.  Your total debt in only 35K... not good, but not terrible.    Give the wife a choice of either working or selling the car.  As someone else said, she can save you as much money as she would make working if you can give up a car and she will cook meals and shop on a budget.   June is not that far off, once you reduce the rent you can get those credit cards paid off in six months, then attack the other debt.  Also call the cell phone company and see if or when you can switch to a lower cost plan.  Good luck to you.

netskyblue

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Re: Help Me See More Light (Being Stung By Killer Bees)
« Reply #15 on: March 07, 2015, 01:45:07 PM »
A spouse who just plain refuses to work?  Screw that!  Move into a new apartment under your name only.  Move the money in the bank to your name only.  She's not working because you subsidize her life.  Assuming there are no kids, I'd just get rid of the wife.  Screw feelings.  She's a leech sucking away 50% of your man hours. 

I don't wanna work either, but if I don't work, I don't eat and I live in a cardboard box.  She needs to suck it up.


jj20051

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Re: Help Me See More Light (Being Stung By Killer Bees)
« Reply #16 on: March 07, 2015, 01:48:59 PM »
@NoraLenderbee - The second car is on a truck en route to Maryland and yeah I can't sell it. I have to finish paying the shipper (that's where most of my savings went).

Maybe some of you misunderstood my situation. The IRS bill is one-time. I think I can pay it off before the 15th of April and still manage most of my other bills. If I'm unable to come up with a couple hundred I can put it on a CC for a month. (I'd rather pay $5 - $10 in interest instead of paying the IRS $120 + interest to give me time to pay them.)

I might put the family loan on hold until the end of April, but my situation isn't that bad that I need to start holding off paying my family. They're important to me and I wouldn't have my current job without that loan.

As for my wife, she's applying to jobs. It's not like they fall off trees though.

@netskyblue - Talked it over with her. She's looking for a job.

cavewoman

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Re: Help Me See More Light (Being Stung By Killer Bees)
« Reply #17 on: March 07, 2015, 02:07:01 PM »
Good luck. My only piece of advice is to change the way you think about the suggestions you are getting here. You seem to be discounting them with excuses. Maybe make a list of them and work through them on your own. If you can't meet the suggestion outright, then at least try to implement part of it or find a work around. There is a lot of wisdom in these forums, but not all of it is easy or comfortable.

jj20051

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Re: Help Me See More Light (Being Stung By Killer Bees)
« Reply #18 on: March 07, 2015, 02:17:00 PM »
@cavewoman - A lot of it involves money or methods I don't have available to me at the moment. Examples:

Cancelling my cellphones would cost $600 per phone for 2 of the phones. Then I'd have to pay the remainder of the last bill which would be ~$200.00. I did call and ask them about it and it's just not something I have money to pull off at the moment.

Transferring all of my balances to a 0% card would involve getting approved for a 0% card. My credit isn't great and I'd be lucky to get a $500 - $1000.00 available balance on a car WITHOUT special features.

Getting my wife a job. We're now looking into that whereas it was more of a "not really" before.

Someone else suggested that I pay off my CC with the money I have right now. The problem with doing that is that leaves me with $0 to pay the IRS which in turn means taking out a $2600 loan from them. The first thing the IRS does is slap a $120 fee on their financing. That's equivalent to $2000 on a credit card for 6 months at my current interest rates. In 6 months I can have the IRS paid up and the $2000 worth of CC debt.

Updating the tags. Took someone's suggestion here. I'm slapping a tarp on the car and ignoring the tags until my wife gets a job and actually needs the vehicle.

I am reading and applying suggestions. It may look like I'm skipping ones that are inconvenient, but the reality is quite a few just aren't possible at the moment. I'll continue to revisit them in May.

netskyblue

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Re: Help Me See More Light (Being Stung By Killer Bees)
« Reply #19 on: March 07, 2015, 02:39:28 PM »
2 of the cell phones belong to other people.  Why are you paying for them, when you CAN'T afford them.  It's not that hard to transfer a line to someone.

cavewoman

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Re: Help Me See More Light (Being Stung By Killer Bees)
« Reply #20 on: March 07, 2015, 02:55:51 PM »
Good job on the changes you're already making and working on. I didn't mean to sound like you weren't open minded. Something I just though of, which I don't know if it would work in your case, but Verizon has an option to "pause" your bill and service for three months. I used it once when I was in a contract and living in a no cell area. It is a small fee, but even the fee + burner phone would be cheaper for the short term, and you could revisit cheaper overall options when you've cut your rent.

Chrissy

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Re: Help Me See More Light (Being Stung By Killer Bees)
« Reply #21 on: March 07, 2015, 03:14:30 PM »
Definitely get yourself in a cheaper living situation asap.  That's where you'll see the most mileage.

The only other place I know for sure you can cut right now is your electric.  It could probably be half your current amount, especially once the wife is working and out of the house more.  To make it simple, put everything on surge protectors, and turn them off when you leave.

You can tackle the phones later when you have some capital.  Hey, at least you know what to do next!

jj20051

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Re: Help Me See More Light (Being Stung By Killer Bees)
« Reply #22 on: March 07, 2015, 03:28:41 PM »
@netskyblue - One of the two extra phones is paid for by said family member. The other one is with my homeless brother. If I knocked his phone off the plan it would save me $25 /mo and then I'd feel really bad about it and have no way to contact him.

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Re: Help Me See More Light (Being Stung By Killer Bees)
« Reply #23 on: March 07, 2015, 03:56:34 PM »
@netskyblue - One of the two extra phones is paid for by said family member. The other one is with my homeless brother. If I knocked his phone off the plan it would save me $25 /mo and then I'd feel really bad about it and have no way to contact him.

Read Davin's post above. It would save $300/year. You need the money

jj20051

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Re: Help Me See More Light (Being Stung By Killer Bees)
« Reply #24 on: March 07, 2015, 04:09:27 PM »
Read Davin's post above. It would save $300/year. You need the money

They don't cover his area :( - It's not spotty or whatever it's pure white on the map. I have emailed my sister however and asked if she would contribute to my costs.

Side note: I'm looking for side work so if anyone needs a programmer or website developer let me know. (Doesn't hurt to try.)
« Last Edit: March 07, 2015, 04:12:18 PM by jj20051 »

kib

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Re: Help Me See More Light (Being Stung By Killer Bees)
« Reply #25 on: March 07, 2015, 04:39:38 PM »
Because I'm projecting and this is the biggest drain on my marriage's financial picture:

CARS CARS CARS!

Could you possibly find another outlet for your passions and let go of the whole motorized conveyance obsession?  You need one reliable beater.  At most, two reliable beaters.  This ought to cost you in the neighborhood of ... nothing, compared to the amount of conveyance-related expense you're dealing with.

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Re: Help Me See More Light (Being Stung By Killer Bees)
« Reply #26 on: March 07, 2015, 05:17:34 PM »
The poster that said he can get a free phone is right. It is called the life line program. Low income people qualify so being homeless should do it. You can have some income.

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Help Me See More Light (Being Stung By Killer Bees)
« Reply #27 on: March 08, 2015, 10:55:16 PM »
Cell phones- lower your plan. I just did this with verizon and saved $30 a month. There was no penalty, I did online by lowing the gb allowance for our dumb phones. We only go "online" when we hooked to wifi at work or home.

Get one cc you can consolidate all the others onto or as many as possible. Pat the it's this way too. On a cc card cause u don't want their plan with their fees and interest.

Cars- see of you can lower your insurance , see if your wife can get a pt job like as a barista, waitressing or grocery store, something working mornings where she has rest of day open so it's not her whole day and she has time to try save money other ways.  Maybe give her the "goals" and when you both have this all paid off you can take a weekend trip somewhere ( on a budget) as a way to entice her.
Use a notebook. I write all our expenses every single month in advance. Then actuals.  This keeps things in check. Like when my internet jumped $20 one month I just threatened them with the competition and my bill went down $40. 

Good luck!

octavius

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Re: Help Me See More Light (Being Stung By Killer Bees)
« Reply #28 on: March 08, 2015, 11:14:50 PM »

Mind telling us more about your phone situation? Does that $250 amount include paying for the phones?  Or is that just the service? What carrier are you with?

Some carriers will now buy you out of your contract with other carriers to get you to switch to them.  You can often downsize your phone and plan during that process.  The small prepaid guys won't do this, but T-Mobile and Sprint are doing it -- they will buy you out of any contract from the big 4 (VZ,ATT,TMO,S).  You can often also use that as leverage with your current carrier to get them to redo your phone and service plans.  They don't want you to leave -- and will do almost anything to keep you as a customer.


jj20051

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Re: Help Me See More Light (Being Stung By Killer Bees)
« Reply #29 on: March 14, 2015, 08:35:10 PM »
Mind telling us more about your phone situation? Does that $250 amount include paying for the phones?  Or is that just the service? What carrier are you with?

We're paying for three of the phones. The total bill is $265.00 (was higher but we paid off and removed the ipad recently). $40 of that is paid for by a family member (their actual share). Which puts our monthly bill at $225.00. Of that $89.50 goes to financed phones.

My current plan is to pay my tax bill then work to pay off cell phones and switch to cricket thus reducing my actual cost to ~$70.00. After that it's on to the CCs and then car loans.

In other news my wife got a job and starts sometime next week. Also sold some of my unused stuff on CL for $50 which paid for groceries so I didn't have to use other money.

former player

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Re: Help Me See More Light (Being Stung By Killer Bees)
« Reply #30 on: March 15, 2015, 01:47:02 AM »
Congratulations on making progress in the right direction: you have a sensible plan and the wife's job should be a big help.

Just to say, on the cell phones. $70 would be a big improvement but it is still high compared to a lot of mustachians.  You'll have the chance to try getting it lower still, so why not go for it?

caseyzee

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Re: Help Me See More Light (Being Stung By Killer Bees)
« Reply #31 on: March 15, 2015, 07:51:25 AM »
Hi.  I just wanted to pipe up on the car insurance.  Do you pay $233 a month?  That really, really seems like a lot.  If i were you I would try to shop that around.  If the one car is sitting under a tarp, surely you can lower that?

For comparison, I pay $239 for 6 months.  I have 2 cars, maybe worth $2500 combined.  Another example of how cheap cars save money all around.

Good luck.

jj20051

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Re: Help Me See More Light (Being Stung By Killer Bees)
« Reply #32 on: March 15, 2015, 12:10:28 PM »
Congratulations on making progress in the right direction: you have a sensible plan and the wife's job should be a big help.

Just to say, on the cell phones. $70 would be a big improvement but it is still high compared to a lot of mustachians.  You'll have the chance to try getting it lower still, so why not go for it?

Three phones totaling $70 per month is $23.33 per phone per month which is under $25 which is what many would consider mustashian. I've done the math and I would pay $14,000 for a lifetime cellphone plan for me and my wife. The phone I gave to my brother will remain on the budget for now as I NEED (yes NEED) to make sure he's able to contact me and able to job hunt.

Hi.  I just wanted to pipe up on the car insurance.  Do you pay $233 a month?  That really, really seems like a lot.

I do. Both of my car loans require full coverage. I've shopped around in the past and haven't been able to shave much off. I suppose I can try again...
« Last Edit: March 15, 2015, 12:12:03 PM by jj20051 »

mm1970

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Re: Help Me See More Light (Being Stung By Killer Bees)
« Reply #33 on: March 15, 2015, 03:21:33 PM »
@cavewoman - A lot of it involves money or methods I don't have available to me at the moment. Examples:

Cancelling my cellphones would cost $600 per phone for 2 of the phones. Then I'd have to pay the remainder of the last bill which would be ~$200.00. I did call and ask them about it and it's just not something I have money to pull off at the moment.

Transferring all of my balances to a 0% card would involve getting approved for a 0% card. My credit isn't great and I'd be lucky to get a $500 - $1000.00 available balance on a car WITHOUT special features.

Getting my wife a job. We're now looking into that whereas it was more of a "not really" before.

Someone else suggested that I pay off my CC with the money I have right now. The problem with doing that is that leaves me with $0 to pay the IRS which in turn means taking out a $2600 loan from them. The first thing the IRS does is slap a $120 fee on their financing. That's equivalent to $2000 on a credit card for 6 months at my current interest rates. In 6 months I can have the IRS paid up and the $2000 worth of CC debt.

Updating the tags. Took someone's suggestion here. I'm slapping a tarp on the car and ignoring the tags until my wife gets a job and actually needs the vehicle.

I am reading and applying suggestions. It may look like I'm skipping ones that are inconvenient, but the reality is quite a few just aren't possible at the moment. I'll continue to revisit them in May.
I don't understand (I'm not in a cell phone contract), can't you just give the phones back?  Or sell them?  I don't know what kind of phones they are?  If they are nice you can sell them.

jj20051

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Re: Help Me See More Light (Being Stung By Killer Bees)
« Reply #34 on: March 15, 2015, 04:24:02 PM »
I don't understand (I'm not in a cell phone contract), can't you just give the phones back?  Or sell them?  I don't know what kind of phones they are?  If they are nice you can sell them.

We'd get $100 - $200 for them (each)... we owe like $500 on them (each). There's little reason to sell them just to turn around and buy another... Also the phone company won't unlock them until they are paid off so we'd have to have the money to pay them off right now.

@caseyzee - Thanks I was able to cut the insurance to $180 by switching so that's $50 more towards the stash per month.

Chrissy

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Re: Help Me See More Light (Being Stung By Killer Bees)
« Reply #35 on: March 15, 2015, 06:46:51 PM »
@caseyzee - Thanks I was able to cut the insurance to $180 by switching so that's $50 more towards the stash per month.

Awesome!  Pretty good return for a phone call.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2015, 10:01:10 PM by Chrissy »

GetSmart

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Re: Help Me See More Light (Being Stung By Killer Bees)
« Reply #36 on: March 15, 2015, 06:53:27 PM »
Have you thought about selling the car that does NOT have the so-called 'frame damage' - (also is it truly damaged or a mistake on the car fax? Is it possible to get that mistake erased?)

On the phones: phone companies have 'specials' all the time.  Keep calling them to see if they will drop your service to minimum usage or if they have any deals at the moment.

The electricity seems high - turn off the lights !; no hair dryers; no AC, unplug everything that isn't absolutely necessary, etc.

Also - you were an independent contractor last year?  Are you absolutely sure that you took as many deductions as possible on your taxes that you were entitled to?  How about mileage getting to and from job locations?  And did you deduct all business expenses including phone? 

And now that you're working a 'regular job' (I assume) - have you checked that your w-4 is filled out correctly?  With a non-working wife that's a big deduction - so maybe you should adjust this and you can get more in your weekly paycheck?  You can always change it again later in the year when she is working.

You'll get out of this - some of us have been in bigger holes! if that helps - you just need to be hard core about the expenses.  Good luck !

jj20051

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Re: Help Me See More Light (Being Stung By Killer Bees)
« Reply #37 on: March 15, 2015, 07:02:15 PM »
Have you thought about selling the car that does NOT have the so-called 'frame damage' - (also is it truly damaged or a mistake on the car fax? Is it possible to get that mistake erased?)

On the phones: phone companies have 'specials' all the time.  Keep calling them to see if they will drop your service to minimum usage or if they have any deals at the moment.

The electricity seems high - turn off the lights !; no hair dryers; no AC, unplug everything that isn't absolutely necessary, etc.

Also - you were an independent contractor last year?  Are you absolutely sure that you took as many deductions as possible on your taxes that you were entitled to?  How about mileage getting to and from job locations?  And did you deduct all business expenses including phone? 

And now that you're working a 'regular job' (I assume) - have you checked that your w-4 is filled out correctly?  With a non-working wife that's a big deduction - so maybe you should adjust this and you can get more in your weekly paycheck?  You can always change it again later in the year when she is working.

You'll get out of this - some of us have been in bigger holes! if that helps - you just need to be hard core about the expenses.  Good luck !

The car that doesn't have frame damage is my daily commute. It gets 46 MPG and it's KBB is about equal to the loan amount. I'd rather keep it as it's still under warantee. Last thing I need is to sell it and buy a beater that breaks down all the time right now. I have zero luck with used cars as they've always given me issues. The personal loan I'm still paying off is due to a used car needing repairs.

The electricity is below the national average, just the electricity cost per KWH is higher in this area than other areas... Still I've begun turning off extra devices at night.

I deducted everything I was allowed to deduct. I hate paying the IRS, but when you owe it you shouldn't fight it.

My wife will be working shortly so my deductions should go up not down...

theonethatgotaway

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Re: Help Me See More Light (Being Stung By Killer Bees)
« Reply #38 on: March 15, 2015, 07:07:07 PM »
Why didn't you sell the car back to a dealer in Hawaii??

jj20051

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Re: Help Me See More Light (Being Stung By Killer Bees)
« Reply #39 on: March 15, 2015, 08:05:27 PM »
Why didn't you sell the car back to a dealer in Hawaii??

Car is worth less that what I owe on it and bank refuses to allow me to sell it. They state I need to pay it off first or give it back to them (knowing full well I can't give it back to them).

Neustache

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Re: Help Me See More Light (Being Stung By Killer Bees)
« Reply #40 on: March 16, 2015, 06:33:21 AM »
Please forgive me if this was answered above - I scanned everything twice but didn't see it. 

What are the interest rates on the credit cards, and what is credit score like?  Can you even qualify for a low-APR balance transfer card?

ETA:  Sorry!  Found the one line where you address this above - answer is that you can't qualify.  Sorry!! :D
« Last Edit: March 16, 2015, 06:38:28 AM by Neustache »

Neustache

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Re: Help Me See More Light (Being Stung By Killer Bees)
« Reply #41 on: March 16, 2015, 06:47:42 AM »
Okay - if you work at a remote military base - how far of a drive is it to get there?  Any chance of car pooling with coworkers for a time?  Or riding a bike? 

Where is your wife's new job in relation to your job, and what will the hours be?   Can you drop her off, pick her up, even if it means she borrows a book from the library and waits for shift to start or end?

 I realize you like the safety of the warranty, but what are the mileages on each car?  How much will you save in taxes/insurance/car payments each month if you sell the commuter car?  Won't that quickly add up to be able to cover a small car emergency fund?  It should!

ETA -

Can you list the MINIMUM payments of your credit cards plus the balance and APR of each?  I feel like what you are paying on them doesn't add up to the actual minimums, and you should probably use the debt snowball method of getting rid of them so you can free up some room quickly in your cash flow.  I just don't see how 1300 in credit card payments on 5K of debt isn't getting you somewhere quickly.  Are you making extra payments on all the cards?  If so, stop and make minimum payments on all but ONE card - throw all your extra at that card, so you get rid of a payment - then put all the extra on the next card.  I personally would start on the lower balance cards, pay them off to give you some room, then attack the one with the highest APR.   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debt-snowball_method

« Last Edit: March 16, 2015, 06:57:04 AM by Neustache »

theadvicist

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Re: Help Me See More Light (Being Stung By Killer Bees)
« Reply #42 on: March 16, 2015, 07:53:18 AM »
I'd rather keep it as it's still under warantee.

This is the kind of reasoning which will get you in hot water on these boards. I'd rather go to work in a helicopter, but I can't afford it! Just like you can't afford that car, I'm afraid.

cashstasherat23

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Re: Help Me See More Light (Being Stung By Killer Bees)
« Reply #43 on: March 16, 2015, 08:32:24 AM »
Why didn't you sell the car back to a dealer in Hawaii??

Car is worth less that what I owe on it and bank refuses to allow me to sell it. They state I need to pay it off first or give it back to them (knowing full well I can't give it back to them).

Why can't you give it back to them? I don't know much about car loans as I've never had one, but if they are giving you an option to give them back the car without having to make any more payments on it and without having to worry about selling it, I would do that! If that's not the case, sorry for my misunderstanding.

If your wife's job is only 2 miles away, get her a bike. You do not need 2 cars to shuttle back and forth to work, paying gas, insurance, and all that jazz.


FoundPeace

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Re: Help Me See More Light (Being Stung By Killer Bees)
« Reply #44 on: March 16, 2015, 09:33:25 AM »
If your wife's job is only 2 miles away, get her a bike. You do not need 2 cars to shuttle back and forth to work, paying gas, insurance, and all that jazz.
+1

I'll also add that it doesn't have to be a bike. It could be a motorized scooter or an electric bike. If she doesn't feel comfortable doing that, then maybe you could find some other way to get to work? I know you said that you can't take the bus, but what about carpooling, using a scooter, combining riding your bike with the bus or carpooling. Be creative! If you can get rid of one of your cars it will save you a ton of money!

Jack

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Re: Help Me See More Light (Being Stung By Killer Bees)
« Reply #45 on: March 16, 2015, 10:11:57 AM »
Why didn't you sell the car back to a dealer in Hawaii??

Car is worth less that what I owe on it and bank refuses to allow me to sell it. They state I need to pay it off first or give it back to them (knowing full well I can't give it back to them).

Why can't you give it back to them? I don't know much about car loans as I've never had one, but if they are giving you an option to give them back the car without having to make any more payments on it and without having to worry about selling it, I would do that! If that's not the case, sorry for my misunderstanding.

That's called "defaulting on the loan and letting the car get repossessed." It'd be really bad for his credit score (and possibly also bad for his job, since he says his employer requires him to maintain half-decent credit).

If your wife's job is only 2 miles away, get her a bike. You do not need 2 cars to shuttle back and forth to work, paying gas, insurance, and all that jazz.

That's a great idea. However, the issue appears to be that he can't sell car #2 because he's underwater on the loan, and he can't sell car #1 because he can't afford to register car #2 (i.e., if he sold car #1 he'd have zero usable cars, not one).

Speaking of which...

Updating the tags. Took someone's suggestion here. I'm slapping a tarp on the car and ignoring the tags until my wife gets a job and actually needs the vehicle.

Have you thought about selling the car that does NOT have the so-called 'frame damage' - (also is it truly damaged or a mistake on the car fax? Is it possible to get that mistake erased?)

I think you've picked the wrong advice here: instead of tarping car #2, I think you should scrape together the $500 to register it so that you can drive it, then sell car #1. It doesn't matter that car #1 gets 46 mpg; you can't afford it! Not only will selling it free up the cash flow of the loan payment, it'll also free up about half of that ridiculous car insurance payment.

Then buy your wife a bike, scooter, or whatever.

accolay

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Re: Help Me See More Light (Being Stung By Killer Bees)
« Reply #46 on: March 16, 2015, 11:53:51 AM »
Beware money creep when your wife finds a job. What I mean is that you both need to make sure that paycheck goes directly into paying off bills. Or else you'll get home and find take away food for you, or see her with a new clothes (because she got a new job and she deserves it, right?) or whatever.

Well done on getting this far. It's not impossible. You've done harder things. And lets face it, there's only really one decision here if you want to be successful. Or consider the alternative.

Keep your nose to the grindstone on this and probably in less than two years you can be free of it.

theonethatgotaway

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Re: Help Me See More Light (Being Stung By Killer Bees)
« Reply #47 on: March 16, 2015, 03:49:10 PM »
I've done this with a dealer and the dealer took care of the new loan. What they do is pay the full amount that you owe to the bank, after you agree on market value price (the underwater number). The dealer then sets up a loan account with a bank and you sign new papers on the left over 'underwater' amount to be repaid.

Can u not contact some dealers in Hawaii about this?