Author Topic: Case Study - Digging out of the Debt Grave  (Read 6662 times)

Levi421

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Case Study - Digging out of the Debt Grave
« on: April 21, 2018, 12:04:32 PM »
Life Situation:
IRS filing status - Married filling jointly deductions are at the higher single rate.
Number & ages of dependents - My wife and I are both 27 years old with no kids yet.
We Live in Baton Rouge, LA and my wife is not 100% on board with being frugal, yet. She wants to buy a house when our credit cards are gone without a down payment (I have convinced her to keep the price range of the house low around $150,000 or less). She wants to try and start conceiving a kid once her private Sallie Mae loans are paid. I cannot fault her for wanting to start a family, as her genetics do not support late childbearing years.

My ask is to also realize this is not moaning or bitch fest. I understand we have to pay for the crimes of taking out loans and charging credit cards and what not. I am not seeking a loophole from this post. I my goal from this post is to learn

Gross Salary/Wages:
Wife - $23,400.00 (I'm not too sure, as I haven't looked at her pay stubs). She nets $15,080.00 after all deductions, and I know it is less than $12/hr. I think it is $11.25/hr.
Me (primary job) - $33280.00
Me (part-time job) - $9360.00

Individual amounts of each Pre-tax deductions 401k, HSA, FSA, IRA, insurance, etc. - whatever you have
I started my 401k about 4 weeks ago, I have contributed ~$110.00 so far and my company matches 50% of that at some point.
My wife has a pension where she contributes 9.5% of her pre-tax earnings and they match 32.5% - 38.5% of her annual earnings. As a result, she does not have Social Security taxes. (I don't know her current balance. I just know it is pretty nice, like a full month salary is in there after 2 months of working. We moved here in Aug 2017 and she started working that very month)

Other Ordinary Income: None.

Qualified Dividends & Long Term Capital Gains: None?

Rental Income, Actual Expenses, and Depreciation:

Adjusted Gross Income: If this is net income minus expenses it would be $733


Taxes:
Again, I can only tell you mine because I don't look at her pay stubs..
My primary job - bi-weekly deductions
Earnings Regular - 1,280.00
Deduction 401K EC - 51.52
Deduction Salary Life - 5.49
US Legislative Fed Add'l Tax - 10.00
US Legislative Federal Tax - 80.42
US Legislative Medicare - 18.68
US Legislative OASDI - 79.86
US Legislative State Tax - 39.57

My Part-time job - weekly deductions
Federal W/H 7.90
FICA 11.16
Medicare 2.61
LA W/H 1.96

Current expenses:

NET MONTHLY INCOME   
My primary $2,000.00
Her job    $1,160.00
My side job    $625.00
   
MONTHLY EXPENSES   
Rent            $842.00
SM Loans     $321.00
Groceries      $400.00
Her  Chase   $251.00
Her Car        $271.00
Gas                   $120.00
Her Fed Loan     $139.40
Car Insurance   $151.85
Levi Chase             $53.00
Levi Fed Loan     $95.00
Utilities             $80.00
Her Phone           $49.50
Levi Phone             $49.50
Internet             $40.00
WoW                     $30.00
Renter's Ins     $22.67
Save                     $25.00
Netflix               $8.00
Ink                       $3.50
Misc(usually pets)$100.00  My wife is a Zookeeper and she finds value it taking good care of animals - This is mostly the cost of food for the animals we have

Expected ER expenses: Unknown at this point

Assets:
$1000.00 in a savings account for emergency use.

Liabilities:
I have attached a list of the debt load and simple budget spreadsheet. Based on a snowball calculator, It will take 33 months to pay off everything except Andrea's federal Loan (I am not sure I should include this). Her federal loan should be forgiven after 10 years of paying income based payments since she works for a government entity. We are currently in our 1st year of repayment. Also, her federal loan consists of several "mini" loans all at varying interest rates, I just put the highest inters rate on the capture I attached.

Specific Question(s):
I am just following advise from what someone suggested in another post I made about my 401k allocations. My main goal from this post is to seek perseverance over our debt. I would like to keep things positive. I want hope and I am looking for help. I'm looking for inspiration and also instruction. I also don't quite know everything means under each category, I just did my best to follow the instructions. I am still very new to this aspect of my life but I listen to the BiggerPockets Money podcast every week and it almost always references MMM. If you need me to add anything to try to clarify, please let me know.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2018, 09:12:21 AM by Levi421 »

Allie

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Re: Case Study - Digging out of the Debt Grave
« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2018, 12:47:16 PM »
Oh!  I hope you get some really good advice!  Some of the four members here can create budgets and debt repayment plans that are amazing.

Almost 100% of your wife's take home is going to debts!  That's crazy. 

I'll give some of the basics, and you can go from there. 

A $270/month car loan is a lot for your income and debt level.  If you sell the car and get a much less expensive car for cash or a smaller loan, this will make a huge difference. 

Groceries are high for 2 people. 

Cell phones seem high too.

Could you make a concerted effort to cut those two areas?  Maybe $250/month for groceries and see how it feels.  Investigate ting, cricket, etc. for cell phones.  I'm not near your area, so I have no idea who the providers are, but I'm sure someone on the forum has figured out how to get cheaper coverage in LA!

If you get rid of the car and cut the food/cell, you could easily get an extra $500 for debt payment/month.  That would kill one of the chase loans in 3 months and with that gone, the next highest will be done in under 2 years!

Without some increases in income, this will be a bit of a process, but it's doable.  I hope you are able to get your wife on board!  That makes a huge difference.

MrsWolfeRN

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Re: Case Study - Digging out of the Debt Grave
« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2018, 01:05:33 PM »
Your income is very low for college educated people. You could get out of debt a lot faster by finding higher paying jobs. Your wife probably loves being a zookeeper (who wouldn't?), but that kind of fun job is for after you are FI, not while you have hair on fire debt. I wouldn't trust that pension either. You didn't say what sort of job you do but it might be worth it to look in other areas of the country with higher wages.

I agree with the previous poster about the phones, groceries, and car.  I also suggest dropping the gym membership and taking on more side hustles to get out from under that debt, especially if there is a biological clock involved.

Allie

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Re: Case Study - Digging out of the Debt Grave
« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2018, 01:25:50 PM »
Not to pile on...but if you guys end up with kids, will she still work?  Her income is so low and infant/full time childcare can be so high.  If she stops working, or you have to pay for childcare, your financial life may be fubar depending on how her programs work.  SLs may not be forgiven, pension may not be worth much, mortgage plus paying on these long term debts and baby costs...which can be high depending on the kiddo...could be a bit overwhelming p, especially if you have a full and part time job yourself!

I think you guys are on the edge now, and may be over the edge with any change in circumstances, especially if you add a house and baby.

You have to kill all the loans if you want a house and kids and not be paycheck to paycheck.  Can your wife side hustle animal care?  Can she pick up a part time job, too? 

IDK, I think a happy, debt free life with a nice family and good work life balance is possible, but not how you've constructed it now. 

marty998

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Re: Case Study - Digging out of the Debt Grave
« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2018, 04:12:01 PM »
Ouch, those credit card debts are not very nice. Yeah you gotta thrash them out. I think you'd benefit from knocking out debts one at a time, rather than attacking them all at once.

Not to pile on...but if you guys end up with kids, will she still work?  Her income is so low and infant/full time childcare can be so high.  If she stops working, or you have to pay for childcare, your financial life may be fubar depending on how her programs work.  SLs may not be forgiven, pension may not be worth much, mortgage plus paying on these long term debts and baby costs...which can be high depending on the kiddo...could be a bit overwhelming p, especially if you have a full and part time job yourself!

I think you guys are on the edge now, and may be over the edge with any change in circumstances, especially if you add a house and baby.

You have to kill all the loans if you want a house and kids and not be paycheck to paycheck.  Can your wife side hustle animal care?  Can she pick up a part time job, too? 

IDK, I think a happy, debt free life with a nice family and good work life balance is possible, but not how you've constructed it now.

This is exactly what I was thinking. You won't have the life you want on your income(s).

I'm having a chuckle at the $360 World of Warcraft subscription (you and your spouse?) I guess you can justify that as cheap entertainment instead of spending $100 a month going out. But it's $360 not going towards paying debt, as is the $480 internet connection to pay for playing, and $96 on netflix, and $1200 on phones.

You're paying over $2100 a year on screen time.... I hope it is providing you with $2100 of value each year. If not, you should re-evaluate, especially because these are the things that will hold you back from your goal of a house (and the bills that will come with that).

« Last Edit: April 21, 2018, 04:13:32 PM by marty998 »

MrsWolfeRN

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Re: Case Study - Digging out of the Debt Grave
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2018, 04:45:10 PM »
I interpreted WoW as Workout World, a chain of discount gyms :) Either way, get rid of it.

marty998

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Re: Case Study - Digging out of the Debt Grave
« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2018, 05:02:46 PM »
I interpreted WoW as Workout World, a chain of discount gyms :) Either way, get rid of it.

Haha wow

$360 a year actually sounds cheap for a gym - I'd love to be paying that.

Awesomeness

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Re: Case Study - Digging out of the Debt Grave
« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2018, 09:51:26 PM »
I lived in Alabama briefly and Wow was the cable provider so Iím assuming thatís it.

If so I highly recommend antenna tv.  Itís free and the quality is great. Much better than Wow ever was.


shelbyautumn

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Re: Case Study - Digging out of the Debt Grave
« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2018, 10:02:24 PM »
I agree with all the advice given so far.

Is there stuff laying around your home that you could sell on Craigslist? My husband and I do a purge a couple times a year and walk away with $500-1000. We go through everything. Do you have a set of pans but really only use 2 of the 4? Do you have extra cutting boards or colanders that are never touched? An extra dresser or decorations that are hiding away? For a while we even flipped things on Craigslist. Bought stuff for cheap, took  better photos than the original post, and then sold it for way more. A lot of times people donít know what their stuff is worth.

Could you rent a house and share it with someone to lower the cost? When we owned a home with a basement we rented it to friends and that helped bring in some extra income. Back then we made around $60k a year and paid off $15k in debt in about 6 months. It just takes being creative!

Good luck to you - it is possible!

Edited to add: my husband found MMM before I did and it took me a while to become interested. Now I might be more into it than he is. Give your wife time, but set a good example and talk to her about what youíre learning. Thatís what made me start reading.

Also talk to her about how your past and present decisions affect your future. My husband and I recently sat down and talked about what our goals and values are and used the answers to those questions to drive our spending and saving. We had talked about those things before, but not in regards to finances. I really value having a beautiful home, so weíre willing to spend some money on that. I donít really care about having a nice car, so we wonít spend money on that. He values being outside and exercising, so when he wanted a skateboard for Christmas it was an obvious yes. So was a used kayak. Having conversations like these can help you from getting to this spot again.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2018, 10:13:29 PM by shelbyautumn »

Awesomeness

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Re: Case Study - Digging out of the Debt Grave
« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2018, 10:37:08 PM »
Iím digging out of debt too. I have about 23000 to go, juggling it on no interest cards, after the fee of course. 

I ageee that selling stuff and house hacking does work. I have been selling anything I can and itís going really well.  I first thought I had about a thousand dollars in stuff but Iíve made 3 grand and still going.   Itís amazing what people will buy.  I guess I was a good shopper though, I used to hit outlets and had good stuff to sell.  Just a few examples are Starbucks coffee mugs, bought a few on a road trip, used pottery barn beach towels, linens from target and ikea, old Pyrex.  Iíve made my money back and then some. I just looked up a Vera Bradley suitcase I have, itís ten years old I received it as a gift they sell for a hundred or more plus shipping so Iíll be selling that after my trip this summer. My point is you can sell anything and people will buy it. I use eBay but Iíve heard good things about selling on Facebook.

Ironically the hardest thing Iíve tried to get rid of is my best jewelry, very nice wedding set and some ruby and sapphire things.  Paid 5 grand many years ago and canít even get 2, I wonít go less than that right now.  Had really good luck selling lots of silver pieces.  Almost made all my money back.


Debt is crushing and really limits your choices.  Mine is from a divorce and none of it is from my lifestyle so I actually feel good paying it off, it represents freedom to me and some of it is a surgery for my son which was the right thing to do, ex refused to contribute so Iím carrying it all. Once itís gone it will stay gone.  But man itís the reason I canít relocate or buy another property and Iíd really like to do that someday.   

Youíre in a rough spot as it is but it will be a million times harder adding a child so good job in trying to tackle this now.

I put some money in my house making my basement into an apartment, I get 800$ a month and itís going well, so definitely explore house hacking. Makes me feel pretty badass.  Maybe you could start with a duplex and live on one side while renting the other.  Good luck.

mustachepungoeshere

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Re: Case Study - Digging out of the Debt Grave
« Reply #10 on: April 22, 2018, 05:15:21 AM »
Assets:
1 paid off 2006 Chrysler Sebring - Blue Book value is around $1500.00

Your 12-year-old car is not an asset. Assets appreciate.

MrUpwardlyMobile

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Re: Case Study - Digging out of the Debt Grave
« Reply #11 on: April 22, 2018, 05:43:50 AM »
Life Situation:
IRS filing status - Married filling jointly deductions are at the higher single rate.
Number & ages of dependents - My wife and I are both 27 years old with no kids yet.
We Live in Baton Rouge, LA and my wife is not 100% on board with being frugal, yet. She wants to buy a house when our credit cards are gone without a down payment (I have convinced her to keep the price range low around $150,000). and she wants to try and start conceiving a kid once her private Sallie Mae loans are paid. I cannot fault her for wanting to start a family, as her genetics do not support late childbearing years.

My ask is to also realize this is not moaning or bitch fest. I understand we have to pay for the crimes of taking out loans and charging credit cards and what not. I am not seeking a loophole from this post. I my goal from this post is to learn

Gross Salary/Wages:
Wife - $23,400.00 (I'm not too sure, as I haven't looked at her pay stubs). She nets $13,920.00 after all deductions, and I know it is less than $12/hr. I think it is $11.25/hr.
Me (primary job) - $33280.00
Me (part-time job) - $9360.00

Individual amounts of each Pre-tax deductions 401k, HSA, FSA, IRA, insurance, etc. - whatever you have
I started my 401k about 4 weeks ago, I have contributed ~$110.00 so far and my company matches 50% of that at some point.
My wife has a pension where she contributes 9.5% of her pre-tax earnings and they match 32.5% - 38.5% of her annual earnings. As a result, she does not have Social Security taxes. (I don't know her current balance. I just know it is pretty nice, like a full month salary is in there after 2 months of working. We moved here in Aug 2017 and she started working that very month)

Other Ordinary Income: None.

Qualified Dividends & Long Term Capital Gains: None?

Rental Income, Actual Expenses, and Depreciation:

Adjusted Gross Income: If this is net income minus expenses it would be $733


Taxes:
Again, I can only tell you mine because I don't look at her pay stubs..
My primary job - bi-weekly deductions
Earnings Regular - 1,280.00
Deduction 401K EC - 51.52
Deduction Salary Life - 5.49
US Legislative Fed Add'l Tax - 10.00
US Legislative Federal Tax - 80.42
US Legislative Medicare - 18.68
US Legislative OASDI - 79.86
US Legislative State Tax - 39.57

My Part-time job - weekly deductions
Federal W/H 7.90
FICA 11.16
Medicare 2.61
LA W/H 1.96

Current expenses:

NET MONTHLY INCOME   
My primary $2,000.00
Her job    $1,160.00
My side job    $625.00
   
MONTHLY EXPENSES   
Rent            $842.00
SM Loans     $321.00
Groceries      $400.00
Andrea Chase   $251.00
Andrea Car   $271.00
Gas                   $120.00
Andrea Fed Loan$139.40
Car Insurance   $151.85
Levi Chase             $53.00
Levi Fed Loan     $95.00
Utilities             $80.00
Andrea Phone     $49.50
Levi Phone             $49.50
Internet             $40.00
WoW                     $30.00
Renter's Ins     $22.67
Save                     $25.00
Netflix               $8.00
Ink                       $3.50
Misc(usually pets)$100.00  My wife is a Zookeeper and she finds value it taking good care of animals - This is mostly the cost of food for the animals we have

Expected ER expenses: Unknown at this point

Assets:
1 paid off 2006 Chrysler Sebring - Blue Book value is around $1500.00
$1000.00 in a savings account for emergency use.


Liabilities:
I have attached a list of the debt load and simple budget spreadsheet. Based on a snowball calculator, It will take 33 months to pay off everything except Andrea's federal Loan (I am not sure I should include this). Her federal loan should be forgiven after 10 years of paying income based payments since she works for a government entity. We are currently in our 1st year of repayment. Also, her federal loan consists of several "mini" loans all at varying interest rates, I just put the highest inters rate on the capture I attached.

Specific Question(s):
I am just following advise from what someone suggested another post I made about my 401k allocations. My main goal from this post is to seek perseverance over our debt. I would like to keep things positive. I want hope and I am looking for help. I'm looking for inspiration and also instruction. I also don't quite know everything means under each categor, I just did my best to follow the instructions. I am still very new to this aspect of my life but I listen to the BiggerPockets Money podcast every week and it almost always references MMM. If you need me to add anything to try to clarify, please let me know.

Jeez this is a tough one.

I hate to say this but you need to cut internet and wow. Time to become avid library users because youíre presently broke in a crazy bad way.  I say youíre broke but honestly it looks more like your wife is extremely broke and youíre a little less broke. That said, itís a team effort when youíre married and I operate with the assumption that you are going to make it work.

First, cut the cord. Wow and internet are for people that arenít broke.  Youíll save $360 and $480 respectively.

Second your food budget looks more like the budget my family has except we live in New York where things are expensive as heck and we really donít skimp on food. Also, our finances are bit more settled.  Cut that down to $250/month.  Thatís still plenty of room for good eating but itís cutting out the convenience food youíre buying to run up a $400/month food budget. That will save you $1800.  A ton of people will say you should get that food budget down to $200/month. Thatíd obviously be better as it would save you another $600.

Your car insurance seems high. It strikes me that you might want to reevaluate that coverage by raising deductibles and perhaps trimming things you donít need like glass coverage. You should be able to save another $50/month there. $600 annually.

What is Ink?

Save $25.00.  I want to say spend this on debt, but this is probably a smart move to increase your emergency fund.

What the ever living heck if your wife driving? Thatís a big payment that you two arenít even close to being able to afford. Sell it. Her car shouldnít cost more than $2000. Youíre paying more per month than the new car i bought after my personal income grew above $100k

Pets. I realize this may not be something you can easily cut. Just donít get more pets for now. You really canít afford the ones you have. I wouldnít tell someone to abandon the existing pets or put them for adoption.  I find all of that too heartbreaking.

It seems like youíre working two jobs and bringing a lot less debt to the table.  In fact you bring in twice as much income.  I am not proud that Iím going to say this but you may need to have a frank conversation with your wife about earning more money.  Sheís drowning you both in debt but earning half as much as you.  At the very least, she needs a second job or new job. College educated and making under $40k at this point in her life isnít a job, itís a hobby.

I applaud your hard work but you should aim to be making at least $50k.  There are a ton of jobs out there that pay $50k+ regardless of college education. MMM did two huge and awesome list posts on this topic.

Youíre a DINK (dual income, no kids) couple that somehow has none of the benefits of DINK.  You need your finances in order before you can ever discuss a house or kids.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2018, 05:47:57 AM by MrUpwardlyMobile »
http://upwardlymobile.life

Refinance Student loans with Earnest.  Theyíll pay you $200 and their rates are cheaper than SoFi.

MrUpwardlyMobile

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Re: Case Study - Digging out of the Debt Grave
« Reply #12 on: April 22, 2018, 06:22:53 AM »
https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/throw-down-the-gauntlet/student-loan-challenge-(2018-edition)/?topicseen

This is the thread for tracking and motivating paying off your student loan burden.
http://upwardlymobile.life

Refinance Student loans with Earnest.  Theyíll pay you $200 and their rates are cheaper than SoFi.

CrustyBadger

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Re: Case Study - Digging out of the Debt Grave
« Reply #13 on: April 22, 2018, 08:21:11 AM »
I didn't see disability insurance in your list of expenses. I think you should consider it.  If you became disabled tomorrow, you guys would be sunk.  If you are both healthy at your age the premiums shouldn't be very much.

$100 for animal food seems very high to me. Can you cut back? Buy in bulk, get slightly less high quality, etc?  I understand caring for animals, but if your wife wants to have a baby and a house, I think some of that concern for the animals needs to be directed towards those other goals.  Look at it this way -- if YOUR food budget is going from $400 a month to $250 a month, the animal's food budget should be able to be reduced, as well!

Levi421

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Re: Case Study - Digging out of the Debt Grave
« Reply #14 on: April 22, 2018, 08:24:15 AM »
Thank you so much everyone for your input!

I do know of things I want to cut. I would like to spend less on groceries and cell phones, for sure!

For groceries - My wife and I are vegetarians and we like to eat alot of food (we are both overweight)... I would really like to see our cost in this category to go down. We are currently trying to lose weight, so the more veggies and less grains the better. The cheapest place I have found in my area to get groceries is Costco and Wal-mart (I wish we had an ALDI's!!!). I don't have much time to coupon cut or scavenge through all the sales ads, but I wish I did. We have a super small kitchen in our 700 square ft. apt. so storage is slim. I would LOVE to see some resources and examples where I can go to look at high veggie low cost food/meal plans. Time is hard for me to find so I would like to automate cooking as much as possible (Crockpot meals, Instapot, or even baking entrees where I can do other chores while waiting for the meal to cook. I have heard of these timer's for outlets that you can set to kick on after so many hours, which I want to explore!!!

Cell phones -- I REALLY want to find someone local who has Republic wireless to see what they think about the coverage and such since they use Sprint and Tmobile towers. I know I don't get $600.00 of value from my current Straight Talk plan. I rarely use 2gb of data per month because I am always at a place that has wifi. If I do switch, I would have to buy a new phone from Republic as well, which would set me back a little but my monthly bill would be cut  in half even if I give myself a generous 3gb per month. My wife works in a park, and I am not sure how much data she uses, but she is ALWAYS on her phone. She streams Pandora, messages on facebook. She may get the $49 value out of it. But I think I will do my best to lead by example on this issue, and hope my wife follows suit.

Entertainment (WoW, Internet, etc.) - All great tips in this catagory! I haven't played WoW in 2 months, therefore I have not paid the subscription for for it. I just don't have alot of time. My wife wants to play it, but I just don't have enough time to get the value out of it. I did alot of digging before we set up our Internet service and I think we get the $50.00 of value out having Internet services and Netflix services.

New Jobs - I REALLY want to increase my income. I just got hired recently in the one of the major healthcare systems here in Baton Rouge in an entry level job and I have to be in my current position for at least 6 months until I can look to transfer. I have a Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Administration, and even though I have this degree, it seems very hard to get a supervisor/management job in healthcare. Most want licenses in whatever department it is, and I don't have anything else...  When we lived in the Portland, OR area I was interviewed for a manger job that I applied for but I never got a call back. I guess I was not a good match for what the hiring manager was looking for. I am not sure the best way to approach this issue. I LOVE where I work now, but I do need more money... I actually talked with my current supervisor (who is resigning next month) about my future goals and where I wanted to go. She pretty much said I have no hope of moving up in Radiology without a tech degree/certificate... I was very bummed because I LOVE radiology. It might be worth it to talk with my current supervisors boss, since she would be the hiring manager?

Craigslist selling -- We have already started this, we have already sold some of our college text books and have made almost $100 so far and we only started a week ago!

House hacking - Have talked with my wife about this every now and again over the years and she is VERY against it... I wish that were no the case because It would reduce our biggest cost!

Car -I know Mustashians like having only 1 car. For the time being, I think the car's will stay I would like to focus on the all the other things for the time being. I might be willing to look at our car Ins plans to see where we can save money somehow. We have AAA car insurance, which we switched from State Farm about a year ago.

Thanks again everyone, I am grateful for all the input so far!
« Last Edit: April 22, 2018, 08:27:48 AM by Levi421 »

Hirondelle

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Re: Case Study - Digging out of the Debt Grave
« Reply #15 on: April 22, 2018, 08:39:06 AM »
For groceries - My wife and I are vegetarians and we like to eat alot of food (we are both overweight)... I would really like to see our cost in this category to go down. We are currently trying to lose weight, so the more veggies and less grains the better. The cheapest place I have found in my area to get groceries is Costco and Wal-mart (I wish we had an ALDI's!!!). I don't have much time to coupon cut or scavenge through all the sales ads, but I wish I did. We have a super small kitchen in our 700 square ft. apt. so storage is slim. I would LOVE to see some resources and examples where I can go to look at high veggie low cost food/meal plans. Time is hard for me to find so I would like to automate cooking as much as possible (Crockpot meals, Instapot, or even baking entrees where I can do other chores while waiting for the meal to cook. I have heard of these timer's for outlets that you can set to kick on after so many hours, which I want to explore!!!


For the groceries, check out this thread: https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/share-your-badassity/have-a-sub-$200month-grocery-budget/

Exact cheap deals will heavily depend on the area you're in, but my all-time cheapness goodies that have worked in 6 cities over 3 continents were carrots, onions, potatoes, bananas (yes that's a fruit, I know), cucumber and possibly a few more that don't pop up in my head now. Visit a farmers market and you'll easily find the best deals for your area. Beans are always cheap and a good replacement for grains, especially considering you're vegetarian. Also some open doors: buy fresh, unpackaged, no pre-cut. Frozen veggies like peas are also often cheap and okay quality.

You say you're overweight and trying to lose weight. That's great and a good reason to cut down on quantities (yes, I heard you saying "we like to eat a lot"). Just taking 10% off the quantities could already save you $40 a month.


I also agree with one of the previous posters that your wife's more spendy habits require her to take up another job or at least make some sacrifices on the spending side. Geez, she owes more on her car than what she nets in a whole year. How?!

Levi421

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Re: Case Study - Digging out of the Debt Grave
« Reply #16 on: April 22, 2018, 09:13:52 AM »
I removed my paid off car from the assets sections and I updated her net income, after closer examination of her bi-weekly deposits. Thank you for the post about groceries! I'm going to go read it now!!!

Freedomin5

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Re: Case Study - Digging out of the Debt Grave
« Reply #17 on: April 22, 2018, 09:26:59 AM »
Iím curious... whatís keeping you from getting the certificate that would allow you to get the promotion? Will your workplace pay for employee development? When I worked in a healthcare system years ago, there was funding for employees interested in professional development.

Also, is your wife willing to take on a side hustle to fund her expenses?

Levi421

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Re: Case Study - Digging out of the Debt Grave
« Reply #18 on: April 22, 2018, 09:42:06 AM »
A Radiology Tech licence is 2 years of school and most of which contains unpaid clinicals (On the job training). You work full shifts of unpaid work to learn. I cannot afford to take on more school debt and lose time where I could be making an income. My employer will pay for a part of continuing education, it is like $1500.00 per year, it could be less than that amount. But if I join the program, I would not be able to work my normal job for that benefit. The continuing education credit is not really a full semester of college expenses.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2018, 10:04:00 AM by Levi421 »

Allie

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Re: Case Study - Digging out of the Debt Grave
« Reply #19 on: April 22, 2018, 12:27:52 PM »
That's a bummer about the job. 

How not onboard with this is your wife?  Facebook messenger, pandora, a shiny $271/month car, and such are not worth the house and a baby dream.  Or your dream of eventually having upward mobility in your job.  You guys are paying for lots of little, unnecessary things at the expense of the big, important, happiness creating things.  For this to work, your wife has to be part of the team.  Since you don't share financial information, this is going to be a process.  But, I got my husband onboard, so it can work!

There are tons of ways to eat vegetarian without spending a lot.  How vegetarian are you?  There are lots of great, low cost things you can do that skip all of that premade "I want it to taste like meat but not actually hurt animals" stuff (which I think is pretty gross anyway).  Most of my family is carnivorous and hunters, but I make lots of meat free meals for myself.  Everyone scoffs at beans and rice, rice and beans as Dave Ramsey likes to say, but beans and rice is really freaking delish and reheats really, really well.

You can crockpot or stove top (or instant pot if you had one) a big batch of beans* (we're in alaska, so prices may be different but pinto from Costco in the really big bag are by far the cheapest) and drain then freeze.  You can use these for homemade bean burgers, rice and bean meals, bean fajitas or tacos, big pots of soups.  All of this can be made in huge batches and frozen in portions for 1-2 people.

The reality is that you can get your grocery bill down super low, but I don't know if you are starting from a place where you are spending on fancy yogurts and premade salads and fast casual food or you are already making things at home but need to cut back on expensive ingredients and food waste. 

If you really want, I can link up or post some of our favorite big pot lentil/bean dishes.  I don't know your tastes, but you can see what you think.

*except kidney beans don't crock pot those

Levi421

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Re: Case Study - Digging out of the Debt Grave
« Reply #20 on: April 22, 2018, 01:15:00 PM »
Yeeeea... My wife is not on board at all. She hates it when I bring up money and suggest ways to save. She always tells me "we are in a great situation, 20% of our income is paying off our debt." She does not want to give up ANYTHING. A week ago, I told her I wanted to look into Republic Wireless to reduce our phone bill because I don't use what we are paying for, she flipped out and said that you NEED good cell service. It is very a frustrating situation. I am not sure what I can do other than be patient. I have worked 2 jobs since 2014 and I don't want to do it forever. Up until the last 2 years, she worked 2 jobs as well and we hit the debt hard, but more debts has been incurred since and we are in a worse position now than we were 2-3 years ago. I have suggested her getting a part time job for her off days like before and even found some she would enjoy. She hates that I bring it up, and just loses her cool. Often times I do feel resentment creep up because I feel that I am trying harder than she is to knock this debt out, but at the same time that this happens, I feel bad about being resentful. I do not want my marriage to die, I love her. I want her to be with me in this endeavor and help me achieve what I want to achieve for the both of us.  I have dreams of being an investor. Maybe rental properties, or I might just be happy with Index funds. I have always loved the idea of investing and I almost majored in finance in college. (My goal in life is to make more than enough passive cash flow to not have to work till I am 67 years old. This is most of our goal here on MMM)

Please share with me your food ideas, if you want to leave it off this post, you can. Is there a way you can message me idea privately on this website?

Allie

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Re: Case Study - Digging out of the Debt Grave
« Reply #21 on: April 22, 2018, 04:03:43 PM »
I can send you a PM!  It will pop up under "my messages". 

Hirondelle

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Re: Case Study - Digging out of the Debt Grave
« Reply #22 on: April 22, 2018, 11:37:01 PM »
That's a tough situation. It looks like most of the debts are hers, so it's basically you working another job to pay off her debs. Does she understand how 17% interest on the 10k CC debt is basically killing you? How much you could save there by paying it off faster?

You said she wants to start a family and buy a house rather sooner than later. Have you framed your attempts to savings in a way that explained to her how much faster you could buy the house and start the family and how much more money you'd have if you aren't stuck spending so much money on debt repayment.

Also check out the "50 ways to convert your SO"-page for some advice in this field.

MDM

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Re: Case Study - Digging out of the Debt Grave
« Reply #23 on: April 22, 2018, 11:48:06 PM »
Is there a way you can message me idea privately on this website?
Do you see "My Messages" between "Profile" and "Members"?

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Case Study - Digging out of the Debt Grave
« Reply #24 on: April 23, 2018, 04:55:29 AM »
Weíre only seeing one side here, but I think your wife needs to reevaluate how sheís treating you. She has a car with a $271/month payment; you drive a 12-year-old Chrysler. You work two jobs; she works one. Itís not a good situation for your marriage and she needs to see that.

Bee21

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Re: Case Study - Digging out of the Debt Grave
« Reply #25 on: April 23, 2018, 05:23:57 AM »
People change.  You never know.  It may take a while, but if you manage to have regular, argument free budgeting sessions, she should be able to face the gravity of the situation. The reality is, you can't afford this lifestyle. Not with this level of debt.Just because you can afford the monthly payments, does not mean you can afford that car.

I suggest you look at annual numbers, those are scarier than the monthly numbers. And definitely calculate the interest you are paying, that will put every unnecessary 30 dollar purchase into perspective. Also, do a 'real hourly rate' analysis and calculate how many hours do you have to work to afford xyz. You are not really in the position to talk about getting 50$ value out of say a cable subscription. You can't afford it.

As for the food, having a vegetarian diet is way cheaper than the standard fare, so you are in a good position.. If you stay away from the fake meat and processed  vegetarian products, you should be able to keep costs down. Veg curries and stir fries cost no more than 2-3 dollars to make. Try going vegan in the dessert department, that will also help with weight loss (no eggs and butter=no cake). 


zoe2dot

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Re: Case Study - Digging out of the Debt Grave
« Reply #26 on: April 23, 2018, 12:48:06 PM »
I second the suggestion of doing an annual budget.

The snapshot above doesn't have anything allocated for doctor's visits, dentist, haircuts, body products, clothes, holidays, travel, date nights, car maintenance/oil changes, tires, registration etc. 

Levi421

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Re: Case Study - Digging out of the Debt Grave
« Reply #27 on: April 23, 2018, 01:48:13 PM »
Thank you everyone for all of the amazing advice and suggestions! I look forward to looking into my options and seeing just how much I can save! Great idea on the annual budget! I will look into making one!

Cranky

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Re: Case Study - Digging out of the Debt Grave
« Reply #28 on: April 23, 2018, 02:07:56 PM »
I think this is going to take a lot of serious talking to each other, but you can do it! You don't have a lot of extra to play with, but you do have several places where you can thoughtfully trim back, and use that to work on your debt.

Your wife does have goals - a house and a baby - and that's a good place to start. What will that life look like? (I'd start by pricing out what good daycare will cost. It's pretty sobering, and should help her come around to getting your financial lives in better order.)

It sounds like her job is pretty new. She's not making very much money now, but does it improve with time? That state pension is not to be sneezed at, either - my mom is still collecting her LA teacher's pension 30 years after retiring.

Lady SA

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Re: Case Study - Digging out of the Debt Grave
« Reply #29 on: April 23, 2018, 02:28:34 PM »
Yeeeea... My wife is not on board at all. She hates it when I bring up money and suggest ways to save. She always tells me "we are in a great situation, 20% of our income is paying off our debt." She does not want to give up ANYTHING. A week ago, I told her I wanted to look into Republic Wireless to reduce our phone bill because I don't use what we are paying for, she flipped out and said that you NEED good cell service. It is very a frustrating situation. I am not sure what I can do other than be patient. I have worked 2 jobs since 2014 and I don't want to do it forever. Up until the last 2 years, she worked 2 jobs as well and we hit the debt hard, but more debts has been incurred since and we are in a worse position now than we were 2-3 years ago. I have suggested her getting a part time job for her off days like before and even found some she would enjoy. She hates that I bring it up, and just loses her cool. Often times I do feel resentment creep up because I feel that I am trying harder than she is to knock this debt out, but at the same time that this happens, I feel bad about being resentful. I do not want my marriage to die, I love her. I want her to be with me in this endeavor and help me achieve what I want to achieve for the both of us.  I have dreams of being an investor. Maybe rental properties, or I might just be happy with Index funds. I have always loved the idea of investing and I almost majored in finance in college. (My goal in life is to make more than enough passive cash flow to not have to work till I am 67 years old. This is most of our goal here on MMM)


I work as a facilitator, so I have one suggestion for how you can approach your wife. Focus on a concept called "Impact Feedback" - ie "When you do X, I FEEL Y."

So, what this might look like:
"I'm looking at lowering our phone bill."
"What?! Having good cell service is NECESSARY!!" *flips out*
"Wife, when you blow off my suggestions, it makes me feel like you don't care that this is a problem for me."
"Huh?"
"I'm really worried about our financial picture and I want to make a plan to fix this so we can have what we want. Don't you feel the same?"
"..."

You take it from there. But focusing on your feelings disarms her and makes this conversation less about making scary changes (yikes!) and more about how her reactions to this are making you feel bad. It is just a mind-shift, and that shift in perspective might allow your wife to listen to you without getting so defensive or angry.
https://www.earnest.com/invite/lillian2 --> Use this referral to refinance your student loans with Earnest and get a $200 bonus!

Fiscal_Hawk

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Re: Case Study - Digging out of the Debt Grave
« Reply #30 on: April 25, 2018, 08:17:53 AM »
With all due respect, you and your wife need to have a good sit-down conversation and possibly some marriage counseling. This is fixable but it needs to be addressed.

1) You need to come to an agreement that there is in fact a problem.
2) Honestly, she needs to find a better paying job. Time to face the music on that one. 23k is crazy low for a college educated individual
3) You have way too much debt but again this is where point 1 comes into play.

SwordGuy

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Re: Case Study - Digging out of the Debt Grave
« Reply #31 on: April 25, 2018, 10:26:15 AM »
Yeeeea... My wife is not on board at all. She hates it when I bring up money and suggest ways to save. She always tells me "we are in a great situation, 20% of our income is paying off our debt." She does not want to give up ANYTHING.

Why should she want things to change?

She's driving the new car you're working a second job to pay for.

Think about it.

SwordGuy

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Re: Case Study - Digging out of the Debt Grave
« Reply #32 on: April 25, 2018, 10:29:39 AM »
As for the 10 year loan forgiveness program, don't trust that will happen.  I've read too many horror stories.

I have no idea how you go about doing this, but you need to get written verification each and every year she works in a qualifying job.  You need to get written verification that "the folks who keep track of this to approve it", whomever the heck that is, has recorded that year of service.

 That way, 10 years from now, you aren't being told "Oh, we don't have proof you did that for 10 years, you'll have to pay for 6 more years before the loans are forgiven."   Or, if you are told that, you'll have written proof it's not true.

wonkette

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Re: Case Study - Digging out of the Debt Grave
« Reply #33 on: April 25, 2018, 12:16:52 PM »
As for the 10 year loan forgiveness program, don't trust that will happen.  I've read too many horror stories.

I have no idea how you go about doing this, but you need to get written verification each and every year she works in a qualifying job.  You need to get written verification that "the folks who keep track of this to approve it", whomever the heck that is, has recorded that year of service.

 That way, 10 years from now, you aren't being told "Oh, we don't have proof you did that for 10 years, you'll have to pay for 6 more years before the loans are forgiven."   Or, if you are told that, you'll have written proof it's not true.

The folks who keep track of this are a federal student loan servicer, Fed Loan Servicing which is run by Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency. You just have to fill out the appropriate government form, which isn't exactly a joy but it is significantly easier than something like a 1040EZ https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/sites/default/files/public-service-employment-certification-form.pdf

The biggest hurdle can be if you (like me) were the first person to put one of these forms in front of your supervisor. Hopefully by now most non-profits know if this program and will have no problem signing it. Then you send it into the address on the form, they review your payment history starting with the start date you listed on your form and assess how many qualifying payments you've already made. Then each month you can see it increase towards the magic number of 120. If you leave one qualifying PSLF employer for another (i.e. gets a job at a different zoo) you have to submit the form again but you don't have to submit it every year. You do have to submit your income information every year to calculate your student loan payment though.

Maybe you're thinking of this case of a teacher in the wrong repayment plan? https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/27/your-money/paying-for-college/student-loan-payments.html That does seem like a heartbreaking mistake but being in the right repayment plan is a part of qualifying. OP - make sure you're in one of the qualifying income based repayment plans if you plan on PSLF.


diapasoun

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Re: Case Study - Digging out of the Debt Grave
« Reply #34 on: April 26, 2018, 06:08:55 PM »
I think a fundamental part of your success is going to be getting your wife on board. That's clearly not going to be easy; I think you have an uphill (though not impossible) battle. I'm rooting for you.

Some easier things to address/resources:

Another resource is budgetbytes.com for good cheap food (including many vegetarian meals). Generally, beans are cheap, and you can cook them in very large batches to keep in the fridge. Eggs are cheap and quick and easy. A bowl of steaming grits with beans and a poached egg on top, with some greens or grilled peppers n onions and a dash of hot sauce? Delicious and fulfilling vegetarian food on the cheap, and the only "expensive" thing is the peppers. A bowl of shredded cabbage, carrots, black beans, tomatoes, bell pepper, topped with a dash of homemade dressing and a splash of shredded cheese? Delicious, filling, low carb, high fiber vegetarian food, and again pretty cheap -- tomatoes, bell peppers, and shredded cheese are your most expensive items.

I added up your monthly income and your monthly expenses, and though I may have missed something in doing my calculations, I'm finding 732 dollars that aren't accounted for -- 732 dollars that are getting spent somehow, somewhere, and not going into your savings accounts. Where's that money going? That's more than you net in your side gig every month, mysteriously disappearing.

How far do you live from work? $120 is more than I spent on gas every month when I was driving 60 miles round trip to work every day, and I live in California, land of high gas prices and incredibly dumb, gas-guzzling traffic congestion. Could one of you walk or bike to work? It's cheaper, it's healthier, and it's frankly way more pleasant than driving. And if you're that far from work, why not move? It looks like you have close to median rent for your area; can you not get median rent near at least one of your workplaces? Maybe even below-median rent?

Also, is your savings automated? If not, I'd suggest doing that. Pay yourself first and make it easy and effortless. If you don't miss the $25, try upping it -- $50, $100, whatever. Keep adjusting as time goes on.

MrsWolfeRN

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Re: Case Study - Digging out of the Debt Grave
« Reply #35 on: April 26, 2018, 08:30:11 PM »
I first got here through the eco-angle, maybe you can get your wife on board that way, instead of making it about the money. You are already vegetarians so that is a good start. She obviously cares about animals. Why not go a bit further and stop destroying habitat with those carbon-spewing cars and consumer items. Dry your clothes outside. Ride bikes. Tread lightly. Talk about how you eventually want your own house with solar panels on the roof. Talk about how the interest on that debt goes to big banks and corporations who are destroying the planet. Find data to back up your arguments. Talk about the carbon footprint of each new purchase.

zoe2dot

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Re: Case Study - Digging out of the Debt Grave
« Reply #36 on: April 27, 2018, 07:49:01 AM »
So @Levi421 what are you going to start with first?
I found it helpful to make a list then just cross things off as I got them done. 
E.g. from my case study:
1. Immediately move cash from checking to savings.
2. Investigate money market account
3. Look for cheaper phone plan
4. Google home waxing (ruled it out)
5. Think about storing activity gear in my home vs storage unit
6. Think about moving to a job on my side of the river
7. Save September grocery receipts for analysis of purchases
8. Read investment order link
9. Re-read posts about IRAs

jezebel

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Re: Case Study - Digging out of the Debt Grave
« Reply #37 on: April 27, 2018, 08:24:03 AM »
As for the 10 year loan forgiveness program, don't trust that will happen.  I've read too many horror stories.

I have no idea how you go about doing this, but you need to get written verification each and every year she works in a qualifying job.  You need to get written verification that "the folks who keep track of this to approve it", whomever the heck that is, has recorded that year of service.

 That way, 10 years from now, you aren't being told "Oh, we don't have proof you did that for 10 years, you'll have to pay for 6 more years before the loans are forgiven."   Or, if you are told that, you'll have written proof it's not true.

As stated above, it's not difficult to verify your employment.  You print a form from your loan servicer's website once a year, have your boss or HR administrator sign it, and upload it.  It takes a couple of minutes.   

The biggest issue is people not being on the right repayment plan, having ineligible loan-types, or believing that their employer qualifies as non-profit or government when they don't.   I assume the OP has meticulously verified all of this, because I've seen one or more of these issues burn everyone I've known to be seeking forgiveness under the PSLF at some point.


Levi421

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Re: Case Study - Digging out of the Debt Grave
« Reply #39 on: April 27, 2018, 10:42:21 AM »
Thank you everyone for all of the help and discussion!

I think I will be consistently working on converting my wife, slowly. It will be an uphill battle, but I will do my best to lead the way for us both.

I have already presented her with some "low bearing fruit" that we can save money on.  I will be proactive at looking at cheaper options. A lot of folks have suggested getting rid of the car, but I don't think I should fight that battle with my wife just yet. I will continue to suggest getting a part time job every so often. I want to get these small things first and see what she thinks and I can go from there. Taking baby steps so to speak. I haven't had too much time to review cheaper food yet, but I have taken note of everyone's suggestions and I will look into them this weekend. I have also talked to my Mom about shopping for food, and she is going to help me as well. She is a trooper when it comes to buying groceries.

I have been looking for cheaper cell phone options, and republic wireless seems to be a good option, but I am not sure what to expect out of a WIFI-first plan. I have only made 1 VOIP call in my life and it was not a good experience. But I will look into other's this weekend as well.

If I can reduce our expenses and show my wife how great it is to dig faster at this debt, it will get her on board faster. Thanks for the link to the 50 ways to get my spouse on board. It is going to be a process but I am optimistic.

Thank again everyone, I have a lot of homework to do this weekend.

Wayward

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Re: Case Study - Digging out of the Debt Grave
« Reply #40 on: April 27, 2018, 12:00:00 PM »
I would be cautious about PSLF for your wifeís student loan.  Also, a requirement when I signed up was to consolidate all my federal loans.  A few payments in the beginning didnít count for me because of little things that were not clear.  So, if you are going to go this route, make sure to call them and confirm her job is eligible and that you are meeting all requirements. 

Something to consider though, if you want to have children it might make more sense for her to stay at home with the baby as her salary probably wonít even cover childcareÖ In that case she wouldn't make the 10 year minimum service for forgiveness.  BTW, why are the interest rates so high?!  Have you tried speaking with the loan servicer?  Once the credit cards are more settled it might be better to refinance them at a lower rate and accelerate payment.

I would suggest making a presentation with graphs with all your finances laid out (like the show Money Morons Ė you can watch episodes on YouTube).  As others have stated, most of the debt is hers and money issues are one of the biggest causes for divorce.  If she really wants a house and baby itís going to take A LOT more than 20% of your income to kill this debt so there needs to be sacrifices.  You have goals, make sure to include them as motivation.  If we want x, we need to do y.  What is more important to her, the fancy car or a baby?  Get her involved in the solution. Lead by example, start cooking cheaper, healthier meals and working out and talk about all you're are learning about non-money related things here too.  It's really about a mindset/lifestyle change more than money and she seems to be burying her head in the sand when it comes to finances.

Honestly, her car needs to go and she needs to get a side job or better paying job, but start out small until she gets more on board.  Is your credit score high enough to open up a card with a no fee, 0% interest balance transfer?  Chase Slate and Barclaycard Ring are great cards.  Just make sure you do not add ANY purchases to the card and figure out a minimum payment to pay off the balance transferred within the 0% interest timeframe!!!

I would also suggest marriage counseling because resentment will continue to build and you need to have a strong partnership to get past this together. 

https://cards.barclaycardus.com/cards/barclaycard-ring-mastercard.html
https://creditcards.chase.com/balance-transfer-credit-cards/chase-slate?CELL=6TKV&IP3H=Y71UH0&F42G=FH24R8&jp_aid_a=SLAT&jp_aid_p=mptarg1/ccpers2
 
I really wish you a lot of luck, it's a hard situation, but you can get through it!
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Laura33

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Re: Case Study - Digging out of the Debt Grave
« Reply #41 on: April 28, 2018, 01:02:30 PM »
I agree with others that your primary issue is going to be persuading your wife.  As of now, paying her debts and her pet hobby is costing you guys all but about $200 of her monthly salary.  So she is basically working to pay back her past consumption, while you are working to pay for your own past consumption and almost all of your current needs.

Your wife needs to learn that just because you can cover a monthly payment doesn't mean you can afford something.  Life is an "or"; you can't have your cake and eat it too.  If her dream is to work at a zoo and take care of animals, then she needs to live the kind of lifestyle a zookeeper lives, which basically involves beater vehicles, renting apartments, and minimal consumer goods.  And, it's hard to say, but the more you subsidize her lifestyle, the longer it will take for her to figure that out.  The path you are on will end up with you working double jobs forever, while she ends up quitting to stay home with the babies because her job makes a lot less than childcare would cost.  If you want a different outcome, you need to start those changes now.

It sounds like planning for kids is the top priority given the timing.  So if that is the case, then I'd say why don't you start figuring out a plan and budget to get there?  I.e., here is what daycare costs; that means we need to pay off these debts before we have kids; that means we need to cut our lifestyle by X to throw that much more money at the debt; etc.  And then, whenever you want (meaning: she wants) to buy something else, you weigh it against the plan and think of something else to cut or decide to postpone the kiddos long enough to get that paid for.  The only way to bring her around is to help her make the connection that her current wants are getting in the way of what she says she really wants out of life.  Oh:  and it goes without saying that all of these plans are based on you making only as much as you make now, or less if your two jobs are not sustainable.  It is not remotely reasonable for her to expect you to work more and more to cover fancy lifestyle stuff that she wants and you don't.  I mean, if you do have kids, don't you want to get to spend time with them too?

Oh, and I know you didn't ask, but you need to understand her pension with 100% crystal clarity.  It sounds very much like she is on a federal pension program that substitutes for Social Security.  That means that she is not going to qualify for SS based on the work she does at this job.  Which is fine if she stays there forever and gets the pension.  But if she works there for a short time and doesn't vest in the pension, or the pension is cut in future budgets, she could be vulnerable later on.  Make sure you and she understand the real value and risks associated with that job.
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civil4life

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Re: Case Study - Digging out of the Debt Grave
« Reply #42 on: April 28, 2018, 02:27:36 PM »
With the food.  You do not need to coupon to save.  It does help though to shop sales.  Growing up we did not buy anything that was not on sale.  Especially with fruits and vegetables, be sure to buy what is in season.

Cell phone.  I tried mintSim a few months back.  It was on the Tmobile network.  Overall, it was ok, but service was not great.  Two months ago I switched to Total Wireless.  It is on the Verizon network and is much better in my area.  There are tons of prepaid phone plans out there.  It really depends on your location and data usage.  Total wireless actually has a pay as you go for data with unlimited text and talk for $25, then 5 gb of data for $10.  If you go to your local walmart or look at their website you can see what prepaids are good in your area.  You mentioned needing to buy a phone.  Depending on most providers you can bring your own phone.

 
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Levi421

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Re: Case Study - Digging out of the Debt Grave
« Reply #43 on: June 18, 2018, 01:04:41 PM »
Hello all,

Thanks again for all the prior suggestions!

Just posting again to kind of "track" my progress. (If I need to, I can move over the the Journals section).

As of Friday, my Chase credit card is paid off and I think I have gotten through to my wife, she if finding ways to save money too!
Now we will be dumping our excess money toward her credit card which has a current balance of $9800.00. We are striving to reduce our food budget by buying in bulk from our local Costco and pre-preparing breakfasts (example: we made 24 breakfast sandwiches that come out to about $1.15 each! We also make egg omelette muffins) We found some recipes we like from Budgetbytes.com and we are trying a new one tonight. We have switched cell phone plans from Straight Talk to MintSIM which was about $60/month in savings. We haven't played WoW in about 6 months. At the end of July, we are switching to Cox internet and saving $20/mo. Some things have cost us some money up front (cheese slicer, and a shredder attachment for the kitchen aid,) but we expect to save more in the long run. We still have A LONG way to go, but I will continue marching on our journey toward debt free!
« Last Edit: June 18, 2018, 01:18:17 PM by Levi421 »

diapasoun

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Re: Case Study - Digging out of the Debt Grave
« Reply #44 on: June 18, 2018, 01:20:20 PM »
Thanks for the update!

Congrats on paying off your card, and many big congrats to your wife for seeing the benefits of saving money! It's HARD to change your mindset, and it seems like both of you are putting in some real work. Keep on marching, and keep on updating us.

Also, breakfast sandwiches are delicious.

economista

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Re: Case Study - Digging out of the Debt Grave
« Reply #45 on: June 18, 2018, 03:08:53 PM »
Congratulations on paying off your card! It feels so good each time a debt component is paid off. Keep up the good work!
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Slow&Steady

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Re: Case Study - Digging out of the Debt Grave
« Reply #46 on: June 19, 2018, 03:35:26 PM »
@27 my husband was totally not in agreement with me about anything budget related.  I was always trying to pay off debt as fast as I could, leaving us with 0 money to do things that he enjoyed or leaving me freaking out because between my larger than planned debt payment and his unexpected purchase we didn't have enough cash for bills.  Every time I brought up the budget I was already cranky because I wasn't seeing the progress I wanted and he would quickly become cranky because he thought I was blaming everything on him.

We are in our mid-30s now and he is still not in a FIRE mindset but he completely participates in the budgeting and understands that I HATE having debt, I on the other hand understand that he needs freedom to spend (within a limit) without feeling like I am questioning his decisions.  So what helped?

We use YNAB now so if he wants something he pulls up the app and looks to see if there is money in the category or not (the app tells him yes or no, not me).  I no longer talk about our BUDGET, I talking about our PLAN or PRIORITY for our money.  There is money set aside every month into several different categories that gives us both permission to spend on things that fit those categories.  We have new debt now vs back then and I still try to figure out how I can pay it off faster but I know that we agreed to this debt before taking it on and I know that I can not steal from these other categories to pay it off faster (that will lead to stress and a breakdown of communication from both of us).

I suggest that you both come to an agreement with what your spending plan (expenses, debt, fun money) is and stick with it.  Sometimes when you want debt gone the hardest part is sticking to the plan and not pissing of your spouse by stealing her fun money to pay it off faster.  You can look at websites like undebt.it and it will show you how quickly you will be debt free based on how much money you have to pay towards debt or if you add a windfall in there somewhere.

Levi421

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Re: Case Study - Digging out of the Debt Grave
« Reply #47 on: June 20, 2018, 01:06:27 PM »
Quote
We are in our mid-30s now and he is still not in a FIRE mindset but he completely participates in the budgeting and understands that I HATE having debt, I on the other hand understand that he needs freedom to spend (within a limit) without feeling like I am questioning his decisions.  So what helped?

I did what @Lady SA suggested and used "Impact Feedback" and it worked like a charm. All of a sudden it became important to her! After that conversation, the very same day we decided to put a plan in motion to switch cell phone plans. (Thanks so MUCH Lady SA)
« Last Edit: June 20, 2018, 01:08:48 PM by Levi421 »

zoe2dot

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Re: Case Study - Digging out of the Debt Grave
« Reply #48 on: July 09, 2018, 01:46:26 PM »
@Levi421 how goes the digging out of debt? 
It hasn't been that long since your first post (April).
Let us know what you are working on now.

Levi421

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Re: Case Study - Digging out of the Debt Grave
« Reply #49 on: July 15, 2018, 11:56:36 AM »
Quote
@Levi421 how goes the digging out of debt? 
It hasn't been that long since your first post (April).
Let us know what you are working on now

@zoe2dot, thank you for requesting an update!

We have had a rough patch the past 30 days or so that has set us back a bit...  I have managed to pay off my credit card, as I posted last month. But we have not made significant progress recently as life has happened a couple of times. My dad passed away and I had to go to the funeral and spend some time with the family. This set us back a couple hundred dollars and my wife was asked to be the Maid of Honor for one of her best friends wedding. This set us back a few hundred as well. We are still finding ways to save some money by making changes over the long term. For instance, recently we have decided to switch to cheaper cleaners/personal hygiene products than we were using once before. In about 2 weeks we will be changing to a different internet provider reducing our internet bill in half. We have reduced our grocery bill by $100/mo. so far. I a nervous to reducing it more as I am trying my hardest to stay away from grain/rice to save on the calorie load. But I am still looking for great recipes, we are trying about 1 new cheap recipe/wk now. All in all, I think we are okay. It does really suck to see our progress slow down for the past 30 days. We will manage to make up for some of the loss because my wife will be getting 3 paychecks in August, so that helps.  Another set back will be that rent is increasing $20/mo in August.