Author Topic: Flaming Emergency Case Study - How to get out from under a car that's worth less  (Read 4421 times)

kayteemacbee

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Hi everyone!!
I would appreciate any knowledge you more seasoned folks may have about how to get rid of a car you can't afford, but that is worth less than the balance of the loan against it. I estimate from the below that my car is my primary hurdle right now... it is a 2017 Chevy Cruze that I didn't research well enough after a fiasco buying a mechanically unsound used car from a local dealership.

Also, if you see any glaring issues I may need to correct below, feel free to let face-punching ensue. I'm in a pretty big financial pickle - an "I acquired a bike, but can't afford the tubes to ride the bike" kinda pickle - so I welcome it.

Here are my deets:
I am unmarried but living with my partner, no dependents.

I have 2 jobs. I work from home for my primary source of income.

My second job is weekends-only at my discretion, and requires quite a bit of driving because it is event based. Gasoline is usually an average of $6-9 per day worked. I make $25 per hour, and work short, 2-3 hour shifts one day per week unless it is a holiday, then there can be several shifts in a row for about 6-8 total hours. So far, I loosely estimate an average of $150 gross earned per month, saving 11% for taxes, so net average $133.50.

Job 1
***Gross Monthly Pay $3,360***
***Gross Annual Pay $40,320***

Statutory Deductions
Federal Income Tax -279.88
Social Security -193.42
Medicare -45.00
Arizona State Income Tax -84.22

Voluntary Deductions
Medical insurance -240.42

***Net Monthly Pay $2516.72***
***Net Annual Pay $30,200.64***

Job 2.
 ***Gross Monthly Pay $150***
***Gross Annual Pay $1800***

Less 11% for state and federal taxes

***Net Monthly Pay $133.50***
***Net Annual Pay $1602.00***

Monthly budget:
Rent 500
Utilities 75 average (This factors in AZ summers, but we mostly use a dirt cheap evaporative cooler)
Cell 42
Cable 0
Internet 0 (employer pays)
Car insurance 116
Groceries 200
Gasoline 60
Savings 40-60
Dog food 25

Debt payments:
**CAR. $20,790.82 balance (worth around 13k now), 6.3% int, $369 mo payment

LOAN 1. 7,018.31 balance, 11.50% int, 208.00 mo payment

LOAN 2. 5,182.66 balance, 11.50% int, 136.53 mo payment (recently converted from 15% credit card with same balance - credit union consolidated to loan for me)

LOAN 3. 5,009.47 balance, 8.00% int,  89.50 mo payment

STUDENT LOAN 1. $23,620.29 balance, 4.75% int, $79.00 mo payment

STUDENT LOAN 2. $36,112.45 balance, 4.75% int, $79.00 mo payment

Savings:
SAVINGS 1. $2,400 ("Non-prototype" fidelity account through employer that I cannot touch in any way and cannot add to. My employer offers no other retirement options.)

SAVINGS 2. $90.87 in 1.5% APY savings account

ROTH IRA.  $34.50


My problem is largely that I don't have breathing room with my cash flow... I'm not particularly spendy with what I do have, but I have a hell of a spending hangover from my early and mid 20s due to poor decision making. I recently paid off 3 credit cards so I am optimistic this can be done! My very ambitious goal is to make all of my consumer debt (not student loans) die in 2 years.

I have considered training to be a web developer to boost my salary, but I'm not sure I have the mind for it. I am very hesitant about "going back to school" for anything due to my hefty student loans.

Thanks for all of your help!!

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Your side job pays $150/month before gas and wear on your car? Itís losing you money. Can you ditch the car entirely?

kayteemacbee

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Correct! I'd prefer to do that, but being underwater on it confuses me. I can't sell for the full loan amount without downright swindling someone, and I suspect that surrendering it would still leave me responsible for the 7k or so that would be left on the loan, plus I imagine there would be repercussions on my credit.

Freedomin5

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Your 11.5% interest rates are killing you.

Is there some way you can refinance/consolidate the loans to reduce the 11.5% & 8% interest rates? For example, are there any 0% introductory offer credit cards that you can use to transfer your loans, just to give you a bit of breathing space. Just make sure to pay off the loans before the introductory offer expires and youíre saddled with a 20%+ interest rate.

You can also reduce your cellphone bill. There are lots of threads in this forum on how to use Google FI or Cricket or whatnot to get your bill down to $5/month.

Your expenses are actually not bad. You have a loans problem and an income problem.

Find some way to increase income. For example, Iím guessing you have a college degree. Consider tutoring English online with VIPKID or VIPABC. There is a thread on this forum that will teach you how to do that, and there are several forum members who do this. Pay is $20/hr but you work from home so no commute time. And you can work more than 2-3 hrs per week. If you can work 15 hours per week (working weekends), that will give you an additional $1200 per month minus taxes to throw at debt.

I have no comment on the car loan. Never had a car loan. Donít know the repercussions. Iím guessing others on the forum can speak to this though.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2018, 08:26:54 AM by Freedomin5 »

kayteemacbee

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I love the tutoring idea!! Thank you. I will look into this today, it seems like a perfect side gig. I do have a degree in computer science, but I'm stronger in English anyway.

Consolidation is a no-go because of my debt to income ratio (I was recently denied), however, these rates were just lowered from around 15%, so it's getting better! 😊

Blonde Lawyer

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Do you have gap insurance on the car? In an ideal world, if you could sell the car for what it was worth, what are you planning to replace it with? I'm trying to figure out how much you expect to save by getting rid of it.  Why has it depreciated so much? Did you roll in prior car debt?


Tuskalusa

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Iím not an expert on car loans, but my general feeling is that youíll need to keep the loan until you can cover the balance due from a sale, unless there is a way to finance the balance due. Someone else on the forum may have better input on this.

Agree that your best way out of this is to keep your spending low (no more consumer loans), and try to raise your income. Are there other full-time employment options that would bring in more money?  Otherwise, changing side-gigs to someone more lucrative is a good approach.

Clearing the consumer debt as quickly as possible if a good first step. Trying to increase income to eliminate debt as aggressively as possible is a good start.

babybug

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My calc shows
Total net Income : 2650
Expenses: 1018
Debt minimums: 962
Left over: 670

My take on the car: if the car is reliable and you can drive it to the ground for the next 10-15 yrs just suck it up and pay the loan as scheduled.

 You've already eaten the steepest part of the depreciation curve.

Bottom line you need a higher income.

Sent from my KIW-L24 using Tapatalk


ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Correct! I'd prefer to do that, but being underwater on it confuses me. I can't sell for the full loan amount without downright swindling someone, and I suspect that surrendering it would still leave me responsible for the 7k or so that would be left on the loan, plus I imagine there would be repercussions on my credit.

I mean that your side job is losing you money, straight up.

freya

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I'm also confused about the car situation...how do you end up being that far underwater on a one year old car?  If getting rid of it is not an option, maybe you could find a good use for it like becoming an Uber driver.  Also note, your car insurance bill seems high for your area.

I agree that your employment situation is the biggest barrier you have to getting out from under all this debt.  Definitely quit that weekend gig as it's not only costing you $$, it's an opportunity cost as your time/energy could be better spent.  Working from home is nice, but $40K per year with minimal benefits is not worth it.  The $240/month for health insurance, for example, is steep for an employment situation - you might possibly do better with Obamacare, given your low income, or see if you could get insurance through your partner.  With a computer science degree and in your area you should be earning at least twice that.   The only situation where I could see this being worthwhile is if you plan to develop your own business on the side that can eventually become your main source of income.

It might be worth trying again to get a 0% balance credit card if it's been a few months since the last attempt.  Have you considered going to Lending Club or Prosper, to see if you can get a better rate?  Meanwhile, throw any extra $$ at Loan 2, and it'll be gone in ~6 months.



kayteemacbee

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Do you have gap insurance on the car? In an ideal world, if you could sell the car for what it was worth, what are you planning to replace it with? I'm trying to figure out how much you expect to save by getting rid of it.  Why has it depreciated so much? Did you roll in prior car debt?

I do not have gap. Initially I bought a used vehicle from the same dealership, which fell apart two weeks after purchase. Rather than replacing or refunding, the dealership rolled over that loan and gave me only a modest discount on a new car to help "make it right". I didn't do enough research here and got taken advantage of as a result.

I have no preference on my potential replacement - just a small passenger car, early 2000s model with good A.C. 😉

kayteemacbee

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With everyone's input, this is my plan:
  • Lose the side job and possibly tutor from home as a side gig instead
  • Find a job in my field / computer science
  • Suck it up with my current car and pay as much as I can, drive as little as I can, and keep it
  • Re evaluate car insurance & cell

All of your thoughts are invaluable and I appreciate everyone's responses! This is a shit situation of my own making but I'm very ambitious and optimistic about these ideas! I will keep everyone posted as I make more progress.

freya

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FYI, you may still have recourse on that used car situation:

Quote
Under the Arizona lemon law, your used car is covered for the first 15 days or 500 miles after your purchase, whichever comes first.

If your car breaks during this period, you'll need to contact the manufacturer or an authorized dealer. You may be required to pay up to $25 for the first 2 repairs required.

If your "two weeks" was within the 15 day period, you might want to consider pursuing legal action.  It might be worth consulting an attorney, or simply filing in small claims court for the difference between what you paid for the car and the discount you got on the new car.  This limits the amount you can recover to something in the $3-5K range, but you'd avoid having to pay attorney fees.  Hopefully you kept all the receipts, repair estimates etc?

Assuming you were within 15 days....a horrid story, as it sounds like you were victimized by this dealer - especially if the lemon law was never mentioned.  It is most definitely not a situation of your making.  Hopefully the experience will make you that much more cautious in future, when dealing with potentially shady characters.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2018, 08:18:37 AM by freya »

Freedomin5

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Also, I just read on @politenessman Ďs journal that they were recently able to sell off two cars with car loans and get a smaller used car. No mention of how they did that, but maybe this ping will bring him/her here and they can provide more info that may help.

Blonde Lawyer

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I'd definitely talk to a consumer protection attorney in your state about recourse.  The dealership could be required to take the car back and let you out of your loan.  Most initial consults with these types of attorneys are free.

Ben Kurtz

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For future reference: Buy old used cars from private sellers, not dealerships. Dealerships operating in the sub-$5,000 segment are in the business of screwing people. Stick with smaller economical Toyotas and Hondas as a first rule of thumb. A Prius with less than 150,000 miles on it is a great car.

Normally, I'd advise someone in roughly your circumstances to find enough money to pay off the negative equity in the car loan and ditch the car even with higher rate debt outstanding -- reason being that the depreciation on a new-ish car kills wealth, even if the car loan interest rate is not terrible. But I think your case tips the other way. The Chevy Cruze is not a bad car to be stuck with under the circumstances (good fuel economy, and the depreciation won't be worse than $1,500 per year on average if you drive it until the end of its useful life), and because you have no free cash at the moment it will take a very long time to pay down the car loan to get rid of the car before turning your attention to the high-interest loans, meaning those will throw off a lot of interest in the meantime.

So plan on keeping the car for its entire useful life and focusing on paying off the high-interest loans. If you really have a legal case on the dealer mis-selling the old car or the Cruze then by all means pursue it, but I wouldn't hang your hat on that.

For your student loans, it looks like you've put those on some kind of income-based plan, rather than a standard 10-year payoff plan. Which is the right plan in that it allows you to put more cash flow into your high interest loans. But don't get too comfortable -- once you've made progress on your other loans you're going to have to get serious about paying those off, which will soak up $8,000 per year for a good long time. 

I agree with many of the foregoing posters: look hard for a side-gig or weekend job that doesn't require excessive driving. Pretty much anything -- even stocking shelves at a local store -- will do you better than what you've got now. You need to boost your income, but you also don't need to lose money on car expenses while trying.

If your two year plan includes retiring your car loan as well then I'd say that's suitably ambitious. If not, then I'd suggest you add your car loan to the plan, and try to keep the time to payoff under 2.5 years. Every six months or so it is probably worthwhile to talk to your credit union and look into balance transfer offers to try to lower the interest rate on the consumer debt you have outstanding. As your debt-to-income ratio improves you'll start to qualify for more offers.

caseyzee

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Are you sure your listed expenses covers everything?  Gifts?  Clothing?  I see minimum payment expenses as @2039ish, on an income of $2600ish.  Where did all of the credit card debt come from?  It implies that you are spending way more than you earn.  I read that you've paid off 3 credit cards recently.  What was the balance on those? 

I think it's important to really understand where all of your money is going - and if it's all going to debt, great - so that you can make sure that you don't find yourself in this situation again.  Somewhere you spent an extra $17,000 - not counting the car!  Do you know where and why?  Have you stopped doing that?

Good luck to you!

doggyfizzle

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Is your degree an AS or BS?  If it is a BS, $40k for someone with a degree in Computer Science seems very low compared to what I think you could make if you were to start looking for jobs elsewhere.

politenessman

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Also, I just read on @politenessman Ďs journal that they were recently able to sell off two cars with car loans and get a smaller used car. No mention of how they did that, but maybe this ping will bring him/her here and they can provide more info that may help.
We had a Toyota 4 Runner and Subaru Outback.
The Toyota had a pay off value of about 16K and a trade in value of about 26k
The Outback had a pay off value of 18k and trade in value of about 28k

We traded both vehicles for a new Subaru (value ~31k) and ended up with a small loan of about 15k once all the dust settled, with a check in the mail to us for about $2100.

Let me be clear, this was a deal of convenience and not really a mustachian deal. This is not the right way to do it. However for us, it made sense, and we have also saved a shed load on the insurance and gas. The loan will be gone in about 4 months.

No pun intended but your mileage can and will vary!


kayteemacbee

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Are you sure your listed expenses covers everything?  Gifts?  Clothing?  I see minimum payment expenses as @2039ish, on an income of $2600ish.  Where did all of the credit card debt come from?  It implies that you are spending way more than you earn.  I read that you've paid off 3 credit cards recently.  What was the balance on those? 

I think it's important to really understand where all of your money is going - and if it's all going to debt, great - so that you can make sure that you don't find yourself in this situation again.  Somewhere you spent an extra $17,000 - not counting the car!  Do you know where and why?  Have you stopped doing that?

Good luck to you!

Hi! :) I did a quick dive into my past 30 days of spending and here's what I came up with for every cent that went out, other than debt payments. This did not include the new job yet-

Rent - $566.25 (forgot to factor in that my rent just went up)
Groceries  - $ 234.44 (higher than budgeted)
Insurance - $114.00
General Merch (bike equipment and shampoo) - $ 36.94
Utilities -  $ 30.00
Gasoline/Fuel - $ 29.03
Pets/Pet Care - $ 21.54
Healthcare (not insurance) - $ 6.00

Regarding paid off credit cards - those were largely due to a veterinary bill and unexpected "emergencies", compounded by a lack of an emergency savings fund and cash flow (I have since built up a tiny bit of savings). The balances were 300, 500, and a smaller one of 75.

I have nixed any sort of clothing or gift expenditures, and while I do buy the occasional personal care item like deodorant or shampoo, those are usually lumped in with my grocery bill.

As for the loans, I would say that they are largely consolidation of former major credit card debt. The reasons for that debt are more varied, but involved financial issues after a breakup, general overspendiness with food and vacations, and going into debt for other family members' financial crises, like taxes, a blown out tire, etc., which I have since stopped doing. I tend to throw money at problems in life but I recognize that now and believe I am currently being taught my lessons here.

Thanks for your input! :)

kayteemacbee

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Is your degree an AS or BS?  If it is a BS, $40k for someone with a degree in Computer Science seems very low compared to what I think you could make if you were to start looking for jobs elsewhere.

I have both, BS in Computer Science, AS in Sociology. Others seem to echo that sentiment, so I'm on the hunt! Thank you!

FINate

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Is your degree an AS or BS?  If it is a BS, $40k for someone with a degree in Computer Science seems very low compared to what I think you could make if you were to start looking for jobs elsewhere.

I have both, BS in Computer Science, AS in Sociology. Others seem to echo that sentiment, so I'm on the hunt! Thank you!

BS in CS? Yeah, you're significantly underpaid. In the Phoenix area the greenest SWEs should be pulling base salary of about $60k-$65k. Glad you're looking for jobs elsewhere.

GetSmart

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You say you're living with your partner.  Are you splitting expenses 50/50?  Maybe you can negotiate to pay by percentage according to your income level if he is making more -- at least until you get out from under. 

Ben Kurtz

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...going into debt for other family members' financial crises, like taxes, a blown out tire, etc., which I have since stopped doing...

Taxes and flat tires are humdrum facts of life, not "financial crises." Or, put another way, if someone is managing his affairs such that an ordinary bill for unpaid taxes or a flat tire does push him over the financial brink, he's not fit for grown-up living, at least not in the financial arena.

That's a harsh thing to say about your relatives, but it's true. And whether you put in those terms or in softer phrasing, I am happy you've finally come to some sort of realization along those lines, because it sounds like before you were constantly involved a typical water-rescue tragedy scenario -- the panicked drowning man pulling under the swimmer who's come over to help him, killing both.

I've been blessed with relatives with generally decent money sense, so I don't have great advice as to how to keep doing what you're doing. I'm very family oriented, so it would be hard for me to say "no" to a relative. But in your current financial position you simply don't have the resources to say "yes" to such things.

Longer term, as you improve your day job and grow your earnings, you should be sure to sign up for 401ks, IRAs and other tax-advantaged retirement accounts. You'll save a bit towards retirement and financial independence, you'll save in the current year on taxes, and it will hopefully help you avoid lifestyle inflation and allow you to continue to plead poverty whenever you need a social excuse for frugality -- you won't have that much cash in your bank account to spend even if you got the sudden urge to do so.

kayteemacbee

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You say you're living with your partner.  Are you splitting expenses 50/50?  Maybe you can negotiate to pay by percentage according to your income level if he is making more -- at least until you get out from under.

I like the idea, but he is making about the same income, unfortunately!

kayteemacbee

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...going into debt for other family members' financial crises, like taxes, a blown out tire, etc., which I have since stopped doing...

Taxes and flat tires are humdrum facts of life, not "financial crises." Or, put another way, if someone is managing his affairs such that an ordinary bill for unpaid taxes or a flat tire does push him over the financial brink, he's not fit for grown-up living, at least not in the financial arena.

That's a harsh thing to say about your relatives, but it's true. And whether you put in those terms or in softer phrasing, I am happy you've finally come to some sort of realization along those lines, because it sounds like before you were constantly involved a typical water-rescue tragedy scenario -- the panicked drowning man pulling under the swimmer who's come over to help him, killing both.

I totally agree with you here - in the past, I think this largely stemmed from being a people-pleaser, and although I genuinely wanted (and want) to help whomever I can, I no longer do so to my own detriment. Money doesn't buy love, right? ;o)

This whole experience has certainly been an eye-opener with regard to habits and behaviors, so even though it's a tough row to hoe, I appreciate it for what it is. I'll be keeping my eye out for smart investment accounts as well, thank you!

kayteemacbee

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For future reference: Buy old used cars from private sellers, not dealerships. Dealerships operating in the sub-$5,000 segment are in the business of screwing people. Stick with smaller economical Toyotas and Hondas as a first rule of thumb. A Prius with less than 150,000 miles on it is a great car.

The Chevy Cruze is not a bad car to be stuck with under the circumstances (good fuel economy, and the depreciation won't be worse than $1,500 per year on average if you drive it until the end of its useful life), and because you have no free cash at the moment it will take a very long time to pay down the car loan to get rid of the car before turning your attention to the high-interest loans, meaning those will throw off a lot of interest in the meantime.

So plan on keeping the car for its entire useful life and focusing on paying off the high-interest loans. If you really have a legal case on the dealer mis-selling the old car or the Cruze then by all means pursue it, but I wouldn't hang your hat on that.

For your student loans, it looks like you've put those on some kind of income-based plan, rather than a standard 10-year payoff plan. Which is the right plan in that it allows you to put more cash flow into your high interest loans. But don't get too comfortable -- once you've made progress on your other loans you're going to have to get serious about paying those off, which will soak up $8,000 per year for a good long time. 

I agree with many of the foregoing posters: look hard for a side-gig or weekend job that doesn't require excessive driving. Pretty much anything -- even stocking shelves at a local store -- will do you better than what you've got now. You need to boost your income, but you also don't need to lose money on car expenses while trying.

If your two year plan includes retiring your car loan as well then I'd say that's suitably ambitious. If not, then I'd suggest you add your car loan to the plan, and try to keep the time to payoff under 2.5 years. Every six months or so it is probably worthwhile to talk to your credit union and look into balance transfer offers to try to lower the interest rate on the consumer debt you have outstanding. As your debt-to-income ratio improves you'll start to qualify for more offers.

This is very helpful- I'm saving this post for future reference. In my case, I agree, sticking with this car is likely best. I have stopped driving it almost entirely during the standard work week, and plan to use it mostly for my current side job, which I plan on keeping through the end of June, but no longer.

Regarding any legal action on my car situation, I was *just* outside of the 500 mile rule for the lemon law. I'm talking under 50 miles... which I'm sure could have been argued at the time, but I was not up for the fight. It took the dealer several months of heated calls and letters to even get around to offering me a deal on a replacement.

I am on an income-based student loan repayment plan for now, to focus on settling my higher priority debts, but I will be snowballing everything onto those once my consumer debt is paid. Under my current plan, I qualify for forgiveness of the loan balance after 20 years, but that will be a massive drain on my income while I "wait it out", assuming legislation even stays the same.

Lastly, my two year out-of-debt plan does include my auto loan. This community is ripe with stories of people who tackled a sh#&load of debt with modest means with successful results, so I don't have any reason to believe I can't be one of them. ;o)

Thanks for your input!!

Ben Kurtz

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I have stopped driving it almost entirely during the standard work week, and plan to use it mostly for my current side job, which I plan on keeping through the end of June, but no longer.

By all means, keep the weekend job until you find a better one. With the true cost of driving, each $50 to $75 shift is probably costing you $20+ dollars just to take the job. So you are coming out ahead and occupying your time productively, but not nearly as much as you think once you do the math.

But compared to 4 hours stocking shelves at a local store for $10 an hour inside a walking / biking distance commute, your high-driving $25 per hour job is probably leaving you no better off monetarily. And if you can swing anything better than a basic minimum wage job (teaching / tutoring, tending bar where the patrons are generous, lawn care contractor in your local area), you'll come out well ahead -- so start looking.

One last point which I sympathize with, though, is whether this side job is connected with a passion or hobby of yours: being an assistant to a photographer or a DJ at weddings or other sorts of parties might be a bit of fun to you, in addition to earning a wage. A hobby that actually pays you back, even if the net wages aren't very high, isn't entirely comparable to the boredom of working in a stockroom simply because you need the money. So don't let me or any other random person on the internet talk you out of a weekend activity you enjoy, simply because it doesn't pay you enough. But if it's really just a weekend job, and not a source of socialization or joy, by all means trade it in for one which pays better without hesitation.

wirednuke83

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If you have a BS in CS, check out the local power companies. The electrical transmission industry is heavily dependent on the IT crowd. I ran a quick indeed search of power grid related IT jobs and I found half a dozen right out.

I work in the industry and we are always hiring new CS people!


Finances_With_Purpose

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Your 11.5% interest rates are killing you.

Is there some way you can refinance/consolidate the loans to reduce the 11.5% & 8% interest rates? For example, are there any 0% introductory offer credit cards that you can use to transfer your loans, just to give you a bit of breathing space. Just make sure to pay off the loans before the introductory offer expires and youíre saddled with a 20%+ interest rate.

You can also reduce your cellphone bill. There are lots of threads in this forum on how to use Google FI or Cricket or whatnot to get your bill down to $5/month.

Your expenses are actually not bad. You have a loans problem and an income problem.

Find some way to increase income. For example, Iím guessing you have a college degree. Consider tutoring English online with VIPKID or VIPABC. There is a thread on this forum that will teach you how to do that, and there are several forum members who do this. Pay is $20/hr but you work from home so no commute time. And you can work more than 2-3 hrs per week. If you can work 15 hours per week (working weekends), that will give you an additional $1200 per month minus taxes to throw at debt.

I have no comment on the car loan. Never had a car loan. Donít know the repercussions. Iím guessing others on the forum can speak to this though.

This.  Google Dave Ramsey car underwater and there are a ton of radio pieces about this.  He's good on cars, especially situations like this.

The hard truth is that your options are very limited, especially since you probably can't take on another personal loan payment (for the $7k difference) and you're unlikely to have enough credit to do that now anyway. 

I encourage you to try some solutions anyway, but realize there may not be a magic bullet for this; it may require you to work things out the slower way, until you can get the consumer debt knocked out and enough to cover the difference on your loan and the value.

I would focus, frankly, on the 11+% loans you have - those are killers.  See if you can do another card and transfer the balance over at 0% or at least a low rate.  Or find other ways to divert more cash to those: extra/increased income, paying less somewhere else (as allowed), etc.

CindyBS

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I'd look into some credit card hacking to at least transfer some of those debts over to zero % interest for a while.  Some sign up bonuses would be a plus, but the main thing would be to stop the interest.  This website does a good job analyzing credit cards.  www.doctorofcredit.com

Also, how old is the dog?  If s/he is close to the end of her/his life (I am making this assumption on the big vet bill), after s/he passes, I think it would be wise to not get another pet for a while.  If you cannot afford a $5K - $10K health emergency for yourself, you can't afford the medical bills for a pet.  I'm not suggesting you get rid of the dog now. 

Asteinfort

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What about ditching the low return weekend side job and using the underwater car to generate income/pay for itself driving uber or lyft? Is that not an option in your area?

freya

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KTMacBee, am I right in assuming you're a woman?

In this thread there are at least three descriptions of people taking advantage of you:  the car situation, the low-paying job, and the mooching relatives.  This may be your most important task:  learning to stand up for yourself, to protect yourself and your livelihood.  This board can be a great source of support if you encounter another such situation.  I'm a woman too and I battle many of the same issues constantly.   I can't say that I've successfully fought off all the trolls, but I've made some progress in learning to say NO.

Regarding the job...if you like the at-home job and are willing to supplement your income with side gigs, here's an idea for you:  go job hunting and get a formal offer.  Then, go to your current employer, show them the offer, and ask them to match it or at least get close to it.  If your employer agrees, you may come out ahead since there are expenses associated with a job:  commuting costs, clothing, lunches.  The biggest cost, though is time:  commuting, meetings, bitch sessions, required "online training", anything that takes your time with minimal or no benefit to you.  With the at-home job, you get to spend that time on your work or on side gigs.

If you decide to keep your at home job, you might ask your employer to pay you as an independent contractor - that would have to include your salary plus benefits plus payroll tax.  With the 20% pass-through deduction and other schedule C deductions like home office, this would save you big time on taxes.  You would have to get health insurance through ACA, but with a lower-appearing income due to all the deductions this may actually be cheaper than what you're paying now.

Wayward

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FYI, you may still have recourse on that used car situation:

Quote
Under the Arizona lemon law, your used car is covered for the first 15 days or 500 miles after your purchase, whichever comes first.

If your car breaks during this period, you'll need to contact the manufacturer or an authorized dealer. You may be required to pay up to $25 for the first 2 repairs required.

If your "two weeks" was within the 15 day period, you might want to consider pursuing legal action.  It might be worth consulting an attorney, or simply filing in small claims court for the difference between what you paid for the car and the discount you got on the new car.  This limits the amount you can recover to something in the $3-5K range, but you'd avoid having to pay attorney fees.  Hopefully you kept all the receipts, repair estimates etc?

Assuming you were within 15 days....a horrid story, as it sounds like you were victimized by this dealer - especially if the lemon law was never mentioned.  It is most definitely not a situation of your making.  Hopefully the experience will make you that much more cautious in future, when dealing with potentially shady characters.
My mom was in a similar situation as you with a shady dealership last year.  The original car that died, I assume was financed, correct?  Which means you had full coverage insurance on it.  Did insurance kick in to pay off the loan or value of the car?  Why was it rolled into the new car?  I would look more into this and the lemon law, if it applies in your situation. 

Also +1000 on what @freya said. As a woman with student loans correcting past mistakes myself, I empathize with your situation.  Don't ever be afraid to stand up for yourself!