Author Topic: Reader Case Study - My Hair Is On Fire & My Piggy Bank Is Empty HELP!  (Read 6828 times)

lindsayk

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Life Situation: 32yrs old, Female, Single(recently divorced), No Kids, located in Illinois, Tax Withholding on Income are Single-1

Salary/Wages: $17/hr or $2000 month after taxes, health insurance, 401k deductions

Pre-tax deductions: $15.55 a week for health insurance premium and $33.22 401k (5% matched and starting this next week)

Other Ordinary Income: Part Time Photography Business - Inconsistent Income profiting around $5k year. (Need my tax return handy to get indepth on this - will post hard expenses for this below)

Current expenses:
Monthly
Rent: $833 (lease thru December)
Utilities: $75
Car Ins.: $15 (pay semi-annually but budget out over 12mos)
Renters Ins.: $27 (pay annually but budget out over 12mos)
Term Life Ins: $12 (pay annually but budget out over 12mos)
Food/Toiletries: $200 (I also feed 1 medium/large sized dog so $30mo of this is for him)
Medical: $100
Internet: $65 (used mostly for photo business to upload client images)
License Sticker Renewal: $9 (pay annually but budget out over 12mos)
Gas: $120 (guesstimated - lower some months depending upon # of photoshoots)
Student Loans: $340 ($15,500 left to payoff - one is 3% interest and one is 3.5% interest)
Credit Card 1: $94 ($5000 balance @ 11% interest)
Credit Card 2: $25 ($1500 balance @ 0% interest until December)
Total Monthly: $1915

Photography Business Expenses:
Business Ins.: $40mo
Online Proofing/Hosting: $10mo
Go Daddy Web Hosting: $25yr.
Website: $150yr
*My records/calculations on income vs. expenses need improvement here and the income is not consistent....The last two years I've grossed around $18,000 but with mileage deductions, above expenses, home office deductions, sponsorships, printing lab costs, camera maint, etc...the amount taxable was only around $2000. So the #'s above are the hard numbers that I know of for sure for 2015.

Liabilities: listed above but totaling around $22,500

Savings: $500 in Savings Account

Assets: None

Specific Question(s): The dust has settled from my divorce and ive picked up the pieces and am ready to move towards a simple Mustachian Financially Independent Lifestyle. I know my hair is on fire and my income is small. Im asking for suggestions advice on what to do from here.
Should I be cutting my expenses more somehow? If you were me, what steps would you be taking next to achieve financial independence. Keeping in mind that my income will never go much higher at this current job but I love the job. The photography business can be beefed up to bring in extra money now and my ultimate goal would be to...keep the current job because i enjoy it but be able to take time off for vacations and scale back my hours to part time in the spring/fall when business is very slow and to only do photoshoots for my love it not because i need the money to pay bills/debt.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2015, 11:21:03 AM by lindsayk »

tarheeldan

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Re: Reader Case Study - My Hair Is On Fire & My Piggy Bank Is Empty HELP!
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2015, 11:14:22 AM »
Hi!

Good on starting to pick up that 5% 401k match! :-)

What are the interest rates on credit cards? Those I think are top priority (after 401k match)

Interest rate on student loans? That would help determine what next do to there vs. investing more.

Expenses generally look good, and I like the way you calculated the monthly!

Renters insurance is high! That's $27/mo or $324/yr? I pay maybe 1/3rd that.

What's life insurance for now?

Photography is $5k profit above those $775 fixed expenses and also variable expenses?




JLee

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Re: Reader Case Study - My Hair Is On Fire & My Piggy Bank Is Empty HELP!
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2015, 11:18:45 AM »
Can you get a roommate? Splitting rent would make a huge difference for you.

lindsayk

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Re: Reader Case Study - My Hair Is On Fire & My Piggy Bank Is Empty HELP!
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2015, 11:25:37 AM »
Hi!

Good on starting to pick up that 5% 401k match! :-)

What are the interest rates on credit cards? Those I think are top priority (after 401k match)

Interest rate on student loans? That would help determine what next do to there vs. investing more.

Expenses generally look good, and I like the way you calculated the monthly!

Renters insurance is high! That's $27/mo or $324/yr? I pay maybe 1/3rd that.

What's life insurance for now?

Photography is $5k profit above those $775 fixed expenses and also variable expenses?

thanks for the respsonse! I edited my above post to show the interest rates but student loans are 3% & 3.5% and the credit cards are 11% & 0% right now. I probably could get rental insurance cheaper but the same local agent in town also has my auto and business insurance. I figured it was better to combine them all in one spot? Also, they've been very good to me over the years in dealing with claims. 
Life Insurance is $100,000 and the term expires when I am 56. I realize im not married now and have no dependents but also have no savings for my funeral/burial expenses if something were to happen suddenly while im building savings. Also, in the event I would re-marry, adopt, etc the cost is cheaper the healthier you are.....I was 26 and healthy when I got it vs. cancelling and re-applying in few years and being older.

lindsayk

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Re: Reader Case Study - My Hair Is On Fire & My Piggy Bank Is Empty HELP!
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2015, 11:28:56 AM »
Can you get a roommate? Splitting rent would make a huge difference for you.

I would not be opposed to getting a roommate however, my apartment is only a (1)  bedroom and I use the dining room as small photo studio (wahoo tax deduction) so im not sure I could get anyone to take me up on that. The rent is high for a 1 bedroom but it is close to my work (1 mile) and I feel safe/comfortable by myself there as a single female whose never lived by herself. It is also the only apt complex in my area that allows me to have my dog.

tarheeldan

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Re: Reader Case Study - My Hair Is On Fire & My Piggy Bank Is Empty HELP!
« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2015, 11:37:42 AM »
Things are pretty tight, JLee's point is a strong one. Maybe you could look at a 2br and for a good roommate for after the lease is up.

What rate does the 0% CC move to when that rate expires? Either way, it looks like any available funds should go towards CC1 for now, then the highest interest rate after that point. You could also analyze doing further 0% balance transfers, I've never done it so I'm not familiar with the fees.

Every little bit on the expense side is going to count, since you don't see strong prospects on the income side of the equation.


MDM

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Re: Reader Case Study - My Hair Is On Fire & My Piggy Bank Is Empty HELP!
« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2015, 11:44:04 AM »
Things are pretty tight, JLee's point is a strong one. Maybe you could look at a 2br and for a good roommate for after the lease is up.

What rate does the 0% CC move to when that rate expires? Either way, it looks like any available funds should go towards CC1 for now, then the highest interest rate after that point. You could also analyze doing further 0% balance transfers, I've never done it so I'm not familiar with the fees.

Every little bit on the expense side is going to count, since you don't see strong prospects on the income side of the equation.

+1

A guaranteed 11% return on paying CC #1 is your best bet for now.  You could drop your 401k down to the minimum needed to get the match and put every penny to pay the CC.

After the CCs are paid, consider putting enough in the 401k and a traditional IRA to get your AGI below $29,250 and thus get ~$200 Saver's Credit.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Reader Case Study - My Hair Is On Fire & My Piggy Bank Is Empty HELP!
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2015, 11:52:22 AM »
Is that $75 in utilities a winter number, or averaged out over the year? Just trying to shine some light if possible.

tarheeldan

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Re: Reader Case Study - My Hair Is On Fire & My Piggy Bank Is Empty HELP!
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2015, 11:54:34 AM »
After the CCs are paid, consider putting enough in the 401k and a traditional IRA to get your AGI below $29,250 and thus get ~$200 Saver's Credit.

+1   

Makes a big difference not paying taxes on all of that and getting the credit. With your student loan rates so low, it makes more sense to invest as well.

Louisville

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Re: Reader Case Study - My Hair Is On Fire & My Piggy Bank Is Empty HELP!
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2015, 12:05:31 PM »
You need to make more money. What do you do for a living, and would you be willing to go back to school for a solid degree (tech or some other in demand field)? As poor as you are right now, you could qualify for tuition assisstance, provided you don't already have a degree. Post-divorce is a great time to make a move like this. Was for me, anyway.

Don't be afraid of getting into something you wouldn't "enjoy". It's for making money. You can always keep doing photography on the side

RangerOne

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Re: Reader Case Study - My Hair Is On Fire & My Piggy Bank Is Empty HELP!
« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2015, 12:37:08 PM »
Your internet bill seems high. I would double check if there is a promotion going on that can get you the same service cheaper. Many times simply calling the cable company you can get them to give you the promotional rate. Also make sure you are not renting a modem, that is always a rip off.

Also check and see if you can get away with lower speed. I usually find that about 15 MB is fast enough if you stream movies and play games. You can go even lower if you do none of these things.

Or better yet look into splitting a cable bill with some neighbors if you are in a complex and can get good wifi through someones walls.

Argyle

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Re: Reader Case Study - My Hair Is On Fire & My Piggy Bank Is Empty HELP!
« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2015, 12:59:25 PM »
Are you in a field where you're going to make more as time goes by?  Or is this an average salary already?  Because $24,000 a year is tight, and I don't think you'll be happy with that in the coming years.  Is there a chance of working toward a higher-paying job in a related field?

charis

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Re: Reader Case Study - My Hair Is On Fire & My Piggy Bank Is Empty HELP!
« Reply #12 on: April 17, 2015, 12:59:37 PM »
There may be a lot of reasons why that apartment is a good fit for you, but you cannot afford to waste that kind of money on rent on your salary.  Being a mile from work is not that much of a bonus unless you can get rid of your car (which you indicated you need to get to photo shoots).  You need to get a roommate or find a less expensive place.  That will lower your rent, utilities and internet (which you can split) costs.

Shop around for cheaper renter's insurance - it's nice that your like your company, but don't pay more than you need to.  You could probably shave a little off your food/dog food expenses by getting cheap groceries at a discount grocers like Aldi or the like.  I would drop the life insurance at least until you pay of the 11% credit card balance and maybe wait until  you make more money/acquire dependents.  You are still young.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2015, 01:01:09 PM by jezebel »

Frankies Girl

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Re: Reader Case Study - My Hair Is On Fire & My Piggy Bank Is Empty HELP!
« Reply #13 on: April 17, 2015, 01:09:13 PM »
I would drop the term life. You are young, and have no dependents. Having dependents that would need your income for support is the ONLY reason to have term life at all (I wonder why you had it in the first place?). Keeping it now just on the off chance you might die or get married and have kids in the "what if" future is a poor use of your very small resources. Drop it and use that money to pay down the credit cards. You can always get term life again in the future. Sure it might be a few dollars more expensive, but you are bleeding money right now and have very little coming in, so every little bit helps right now!

Look at raising your rates on your photo biz, and really start hustling for business. Can you work overtime at your main job? Start asking for as much as they can give you while still enabling you to work your side gig. I'd be picking up extra shifts until those credit cards were paid off at the very least. If there is no room for advancement and no extra shifts to pick up, then despite liking the main job, it is going to mean you're trapped in a low salary spiral unless the photo gig really takes off... and I wouldn't count on that. Might be time to find a new (main) job?

Shop around for your auto/renters/biz insurance. I think you can get it cheaper, especially since you've got it bundled together. Check the big national chains like GEICO, Progressive, etc... And sure, your current insurance is nice and handled the claims fine for you, but misplaced loyalty might be costing you money. It doesn't hurt to check around.

Also, what kind of car do you have that costs $120 month in gas? I would think you'd have to be driving hundreds of miles a month, and you said you don't drive to work, so why is it so high?

The biggie is your rent. WOW is that a huge amount of money - almost 50% of your take-home pay! You need to find a cheaper/efficiency apartment ASAP. Does your apartment complex have smaller/studio apartments? Did you keep the apartment after your divorce, or was this where you moved (as they might be more lenient if you divorced and needed to move and break the lease because you no longer can afford it). In any case, until you're bringing in a significantly larger salary, that apartment is more than you should be paying right now. If you were open to roommates, I'd even check into renting a small house (2-3 bed) and getting a few roommates, and seeing if that would work out better cost-wise (would work out with having the dog better as well). I personally wouldn't want to live with other people, so I'd be doing my best to find a tiny place that doesn't cost that much and then working every shift I could to make up for the cost.

And as much as I love my animals, I'd suggest that you do not get another pet if something happens to your current dog. You shouldn't be a pet owner right now because you can't cover the monthly expenses for you and your dog and also cover emergencies without going further into debt. If you have a vet emergency, you'll be even more in debt trying to save your dog, and you really can't afford that right now. But you have the dog NOW, so you're kind of stuck. The fact that you are unable to rent other apartments due to having an animal (and paying a pet deposit probably) also increases the costs to you. Again, I love my pets, and know I'd be pretty sad without them, but you're not in a good position to really support yourself and dig out of debt, and adding an animal to mix just makes it worse.



« Last Edit: April 17, 2015, 01:54:03 PM by Frankies Girl »

charis

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Re: Reader Case Study - My Hair Is On Fire & My Piggy Bank Is Empty HELP!
« Reply #14 on: April 17, 2015, 01:29:48 PM »
The biggie is your rent. WOW is that a huge amount of money - almost 50% of your take-home pay! You need to find a cheaper/efficiency apartment ASAP.

Yeah. Just for illustration, my monthly take home is significantly more than $2K and my home mortgage payment is $984 (including taxes and insurance).  I have many friends who pay a LOT more for their homes and rents, but we deliberately bought a place that was well under what we could technically "afford" so could make on one salary or a significant pay cut.

lindsayk

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Re: Reader Case Study - My Hair Is On Fire & My Piggy Bank Is Empty HELP!
« Reply #15 on: April 17, 2015, 01:40:26 PM »
Thank you all for the responses! Going to try and make sure I answer each question...

The 0% interest rate card goes to 16.5% in December. I can have it paid off by then for sure with the photo shoot money I will have coming. Summer and Fall are my busiest months.

The $75 for utilities is more of an average based on what the previous renter paid. Im ground level and its warmed up quite a bit here in the last week and im shaded a good part of they day and its very cool in the apartment without me running fans or even opening windows at this point.
And I get cold pretty easily so Im not one to run the A/C like crazy. Hopefully I can get this bill lower.

I am a dispatcher/office manager for a Heating & Cooling company. My hourly wage/salary is right at average for that type of position here. I have great health insurance that I only pay $62 in premiums and they cover the rest. I have a bachelors degree in Communications. I think my best choice income wise would be with the photography business and trying to acquire more photo sessions. I made $2000 this weekend shooting little league soccer team pictures with the memory mates and used that to buy my $2500 car...i have an event like that 4 times a year for 4 different sports....I have 3 sessions this weekend that will bring in $200 each...its just not consistently like that...i dont have any more scheduled after that until middle of may.....they will trickle in like that over summer and fall.....and im struggling to find ways to book a lot of sessions right away unless I lower prices. Any suggestions on that? "Lindsay Photo Mustachian Special" lol. ?? 

Question on the internet - My employer pays for my cellphone (smartphone) and I can get interent for web surfing on my phone The main thing I have actual high speed wireless internet for is for uploading customer images/galleries from photo sessions and it is a tax deducted expense. The clubhouse in my apartment complex has (2) computers with internet that I could go down and plug my hard drive into for this purpose when I had galleries to upload. I just thought of that.

Im stuck with the apartment until my lease is up in December or I have to pay $3k in termination fees for bailing on lease early. Will see if I can find a way to share a 1 bedroom and find a roomate.

lindsayk

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Re: Reader Case Study - My Hair Is On Fire & My Piggy Bank Is Empty HELP!
« Reply #16 on: April 17, 2015, 01:53:28 PM »
I would drop the term life. You are 26, and have no dependents. Having dependents that would need your income for support is the ONLY reason to have term life at all (I wonder why you had it in the first place?). Keeping it now just on the off chance you might die or get married and have kids in the "what if" future is a poor use of your very small resources. Drop it and use that money to pay down the credit cards. You can always get term life again in the future. Sure it might be a few dollars more expensive, but you are bleeding money right now and have very little coming in, so every little bit helps right now!

Look at raising your rates on your photo biz, and really start hustling for business. Can you work overtime at your main job? Start asking for as much as they can give you while still enabling you to work your side gig. I'd be picking up extra shifts until those credit cards were paid off at the very least. If there is no room for advancement and no extra shifts to pick up, then despite liking the main job, it is going to mean you're trapped in a low salary spiral unless the photo gig really takes off... and I wouldn't count on that. Might be time to find a new (main) job?

Shop around for your auto/renters/biz insurance. I think you can get it cheaper, especially since you've got it bundled together. Check the big national chains like GEICO, Progressive, etc... And sure, your current insurance is nice and handled the claims fine for you, but misplaced loyalty might be costing you money. It doesn't hurt to check around.

Also, what kind of car do you have that costs $120 month in gas? I would think you'd have to be driving hundreds of miles a month, and you said you don't drive to work, so why is it so high?

The biggie is your rent. WOW is that a huge amount of money - almost 50% of your take-home pay! You need to find a cheaper/efficiency apartment ASAP. Does your apartment complex have smaller/studio apartments? Did you keep the apartment after your divorce, or was this where you moved (as they might be more lenient if you divorced and needed to move and break the lease because you no longer can afford it). In any case, until you're bringing in a significantly larger salary, that apartment is more than you should be paying right now. If you were open to roommates, I'd even check into renting a small house (2-3 bed) and getting a few roommates, and seeing if that would work out better cost-wise (would work out with having the dog better as well). I personally wouldn't want to live with other people, so I'd be doing my best to find a tiny place that doesn't cost that much and then working every shift I could to make up for the cost.

And as much as I love my animals, I'd suggest that you do not get another pet if something happens to your current dog. You shouldn't be a pet owner right now because you can't cover the monthly expenses for you and your dog and also cover emergencies without going further into debt. If you have a vet emergency, you'll be even more in debt trying to save your dog, and you really can't afford that right now. But you have the dog NOW, so you're kind of stuck. The fact that you are unable to rent other apartments due to having an animal (and paying a pet deposit probably) also increases the costs to you. Again, I love my pets, and know I'd be pretty sad without them, but you're not in a good position to really support yourself and dig out of debt, and adding an animal to mix just makes it worse.

Thanks Frankies Girl for all the input! Im actually 32...i got the term life when i was 26 and got married. I thought i was supposed to have some kind of life insurance so I got it. Im not sure how my family would pay for my funeral/burial expenses if i unfortunately died in a car accident tomorrow...maybe that comes from the other persons insurance? So probably a good idea to cancel that.

Will look into cheaper insurnaces for auto,renters,biz.

I probably dont spend $120 now with the car I have. That was with the one I just sold. And I was commuting 25min each way everyday before I got divorced. That amount would be lower now. I do drive 45min each way to a special doctor for a medical issue once or twice a month that accounts for some of that.

Im realizing my rent is a problem. My option right now until December is search for a roommate. This apt was not from the divorce. Its just where I moved to...i probably deserve a face punch for it but hindsight is always 20/20 so for now....roommate search.

I have no intentions of getting another pet if something were to happen to this one. He's 8 and ive had him since a puppy. He's my baby. Part of the credit card debt is vet expenses. About $3k worth from last year. When taking my financial situation into account I probably should have put him down instead of taking care of the issues but with the separation/divorce being very very new I did not have the emotional capacity or strength to lose my "baby" too.

GetSmart

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Re: Reader Case Study - My Hair Is On Fire & My Piggy Bank Is Empty HELP!
« Reply #17 on: April 17, 2015, 01:58:18 PM »
You should look into a balance transfer for the 11% CC.  Try Discover - they seem to be pretty liberal in doling out the cards - there was a deal for 18 mos. for a 3% fee upfront.  Also Slate had a no fee transfer for 15 mos. - might not get the whole 5k on that one though.  And there's Slate Ink - which you can get for your small business - also 3% fee and good for 12 mos. but in addition there is a good cash back deal on certain business expenses that might be worth looking into.  Be sure to say it's for a balance transfer when you apply - otherwise they might think you're in too deep.

Frankies Girl

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Re: Reader Case Study - My Hair Is On Fire & My Piggy Bank Is Empty HELP!
« Reply #18 on: April 17, 2015, 02:00:47 PM »
I would drop the term life. You are 26, and have no dependents. Having dependents that would need your income for support is the ONLY reason to have term life at all (I wonder why you had it in the first place?). Keeping it now just on the off chance you might die or get married and have kids in the "what if" future is a poor use of your very small resources. Drop it and use that money to pay down the credit cards. You can always get term life again in the future. Sure it might be a few dollars more expensive, but you are bleeding money right now and have very little coming in, so every little bit helps right now!

Look at raising your rates on your photo biz, and really start hustling for business. Can you work overtime at your main job? Start asking for as much as they can give you while still enabling you to work your side gig. I'd be picking up extra shifts until those credit cards were paid off at the very least. If there is no room for advancement and no extra shifts to pick up, then despite liking the main job, it is going to mean you're trapped in a low salary spiral unless the photo gig really takes off... and I wouldn't count on that. Might be time to find a new (main) job?

Shop around for your auto/renters/biz insurance. I think you can get it cheaper, especially since you've got it bundled together. Check the big national chains like GEICO, Progressive, etc... And sure, your current insurance is nice and handled the claims fine for you, but misplaced loyalty might be costing you money. It doesn't hurt to check around.

Also, what kind of car do you have that costs $120 month in gas? I would think you'd have to be driving hundreds of miles a month, and you said you don't drive to work, so why is it so high?

The biggie is your rent. WOW is that a huge amount of money - almost 50% of your take-home pay! You need to find a cheaper/efficiency apartment ASAP. Does your apartment complex have smaller/studio apartments? Did you keep the apartment after your divorce, or was this where you moved (as they might be more lenient if you divorced and needed to move and break the lease because you no longer can afford it). In any case, until you're bringing in a significantly larger salary, that apartment is more than you should be paying right now. If you were open to roommates, I'd even check into renting a small house (2-3 bed) and getting a few roommates, and seeing if that would work out better cost-wise (would work out with having the dog better as well). I personally wouldn't want to live with other people, so I'd be doing my best to find a tiny place that doesn't cost that much and then working every shift I could to make up for the cost.

And as much as I love my animals, I'd suggest that you do not get another pet if something happens to your current dog. You shouldn't be a pet owner right now because you can't cover the monthly expenses for you and your dog and also cover emergencies without going further into debt. If you have a vet emergency, you'll be even more in debt trying to save your dog, and you really can't afford that right now. But you have the dog NOW, so you're kind of stuck. The fact that you are unable to rent other apartments due to having an animal (and paying a pet deposit probably) also increases the costs to you. Again, I love my pets, and know I'd be pretty sad without them, but you're not in a good position to really support yourself and dig out of debt, and adding an animal to mix just makes it worse.

Thanks Frankies Girl for all the input! Im actually 32...i got the term life when i was 26 and got married. I thought i was supposed to have some kind of life insurance so I got it. Im not sure how my family would pay for my funeral/burial expenses if i unfortunately died in a car accident tomorrow...maybe that comes from the other persons insurance? So probably a good idea to cancel that.

Will look into cheaper insurnaces for auto,renters,biz.

I probably dont spend $120 now with the car I have. That was with the one I just sold. And I was commuting 25min each way everyday before I got divorced. That amount would be lower now. I do drive 45min each way to a special doctor for a medical issue once or twice a month that accounts for some of that.

Im realizing my rent is a problem. My option right now until December is search for a roommate. This apt was not from the divorce. Its just where I moved to...i probably deserve a face punch for it but hindsight is always 20/20 so for now....roommate search.

I have no intentions of getting another pet if something were to happen to this one. He's 8 and ive had him since a puppy. He's my baby. Part of the credit card debt is vet expenses. About $3k worth from last year. When taking my financial situation into account I probably should have put him down instead of taking care of the issues but with the separation/divorce being very very new I did not have the emotional capacity or strength to lose my "baby" too.

Darn it, missed the age in my post (fixed), but you're still young. ;)

You are still to be commended for trying to get all this figured out now... most people go through life and never figure out their income/debts/expenses and wonder why they never seem to get ahead!

And I honestly wouldn't have been able to put down any of my pets under those circumstances, so totally get going into debt for vet bills. It just sucks that money is an issue when it comes to pets, but if you can better your income/debt ratio, then you'll never be in the position of worrying about money vs saving your pet again.

You can do this!! Good luck! :)



JLee

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Re: Reader Case Study - My Hair Is On Fire & My Piggy Bank Is Empty HELP!
« Reply #19 on: April 17, 2015, 02:05:38 PM »
You should look into a balance transfer for the 11% CC.  Try Discover - they seem to be pretty liberal in doling out the cards - there was a deal for 18 mos. for a 3% fee upfront.  Also Slate had a no fee transfer for 15 mos. - might not get the whole 5k on that one though.  And there's Slate Ink - which you can get for your small business - also 3% fee and good for 12 mos. but in addition there is a good cash back deal on certain business expenses that might be worth looking into.  Be sure to say it's for a balance transfer when you apply - otherwise they might think you're in too deep.

Slate is definitely worth a shot. I'm not sure what the OP's credit situation is, but I'm 780-ish and they gave me $10k.

swick

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Re: Reader Case Study - My Hair Is On Fire & My Piggy Bank Is Empty HELP!
« Reply #20 on: April 17, 2015, 02:40:38 PM »
You are sitting on a GOLD MINE with your sports teams contacts. One of the most profitable holidays for portraits is coming up (that no one takes advantage of) Mother's Day!

Reach out to all your contacts with a Mother's Day special - especially those sports teams dads!

You could:

 - Offer a package of "kids" photos to be delivered before Mother's Day

 - Offer a fancy certificate good for a family photo session

 - Offer a "Mother/child" photo package where moms can get their photos done with each child individually, organize these to be shot one after each other on a weekend in a "fun" place. Sell it as a way to create and capture memories.

 - (My favorite and probably the most profitable and unique) Offer Glamour and/or Boudoir sessions. The goal is to have fun and makes the moms feel sexy and pampered.

Scout out a location - somewhere decadent with nice furniture. I have rented a swanky hotel room for a night and scheduled everyone in. Usually I get a discount because I take a few shots of the rooms and it is good promotion for the place. Hire someone to come in and do hair and make-up (you can get a student to probably do it for free in exchange for taking some close ups of their work for their portfolios)

Have champagne or girlie drinks and chocolate to taste (You can hook up with a local company here, to save big or get it for free if you have their business cards available - it is a great opportunity to cross advertise - you could even take a few pictures of their products to give them in exchange.) If you want to make it more of an event, also hook-up with someone offering spa/massage services.

Schedule so there are three at a time, if there is room in the space, one getting hair done one getting make-up done and one getting pictures. Encourage a night-out where they get picked up from the location by their SO and taken out for dinner. You could even partner up with some local swanky restaurants and include a gift certificate for dinner out as part of your package.

This is an amazing money maker. It's really only about 20 min-1/2 an hour with each guest actually doing the photos but you can charge a PREMIUM. - of course you have to scale to your market, but for a little organizational work - it is one of the best ways to pull in fast cash for photography. You could also run the same promotion around February, another typically slow time.

If you develop relationships with the service industries around you, you can save on costs huge! Also, you can get a fair amount of spin-off business from these folks in the future, especially if you show them how your photography can showcase THEIR work.

lindsayk

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Re: Reader Case Study - My Hair Is On Fire & My Piggy Bank Is Empty HELP!
« Reply #21 on: April 17, 2015, 02:51:31 PM »
thanks swick, i thought the same thing......although not in a mothers day type special but last season which was basketball (and the pictures handed out end of march right before spring and nice weather) I made a 5x7 postcard (printed like 300 of them for way cheap but good quality) with a picture special...it had my name, number, website, images.......ive gotten NOTHING. not a single session from them. i know the photo biz is the best money making prospect i have im just struggling to find the way to rake in the sessions without my pricing being so low that after expenses, taxes, etc....that im not really making hardly anything and would be better off working nights and double shifts at mcdonalds on the weekends. hey, atleast there i get discounted meals!

mozar

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Re: Reader Case Study - My Hair Is On Fire & My Piggy Bank Is Empty HELP!
« Reply #22 on: April 17, 2015, 07:50:57 PM »
If you die tomorrow in an accident (I hope you don't) your family can have you cremated for $80. Well I'm just guessing but it won't be $100,000. I would be primarily concerned about where your dog will go. Your family will figure out what to do with the body if anything. Heck it's probably cheaper to buy your own burial plot for $20k.

Well, let's imagine your family is destitute. You could call your bank about some next of kin documentation. The way that works is that you put a family members name on a form for the bank and in case of death your family member can take your death certificate to the bank and they will release the money to them. Same thing with 401k and taxable investments. That way your family could get a few thousand dollars, which should be plenty.
I'm single and 32 and have done none of that.

If photography is what you love you should hustle with that. It seems easy but getting a job at McDonalds is not that easy and with their scheduling software they might not give you the hours you want.
 

ltt

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Re: Reader Case Study - My Hair Is On Fire & My Piggy Bank Is Empty HELP!
« Reply #23 on: April 18, 2015, 05:56:57 AM »
Do you need a vehicle with living so close to work?  Also, I would work on the credit card first.

frugaliknowit

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Re: Reader Case Study - My Hair Is On Fire & My Piggy Bank Is Empty HELP!
« Reply #24 on: April 18, 2015, 06:29:11 AM »
Echo FrankiesGirl plus:

You don't list auto expenses other than gas and the sticker...What about maintenance?

Can you do without a car?  If and when necessary, use "Zip Car" and charge it to your business for "shoots"?