Author Topic: Kinda Stuck...Pants-On-Fire Situation  (Read 11467 times)

coachfrigo

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 76
Kinda Stuck...Pants-On-Fire Situation
« on: February 25, 2018, 06:34:13 PM »
Life Situation: Single filing status, no dependents, live in Morgantown, WV. 25 years old next month, still on parents' insurance.

Gross Salary/Wages: Currently am a car salesman, and make about $1,600 post-tax. I don't mention deductions, because I'm not eligible for them at this job yet. And even when I am, only a 1% match on the 401(k), and no input on allocation. There is the potential for bonuses, as I've been getting recently, usually about $450/month, but I would like to be conservative, and only account for what I know I'm guaranteed to get.

Current expenses:

Want to preemptively say that I'm not looking to go 100% full-throttle Mustachian immediately. For example, definitely will not give up my gym membership (most important thing to me, honestly), and definitely must have plenty of cell phone data (I use it for EVERYTHING, including work). So, I know there are definitely places where I could go lower (like my cell phone bill), but I'd ideally like to keep a few luxuries.

Rent: $292/mo. ($875 total split 3 ways)
Utilities (internet/electricity): $65/mo.
Phone: $75/mo. (with the option to freeze at any time, and my phone has a 2nd SIM slot if I want to put a cheap plan in that I can also freeze at any time)
Food: $250/mo. (probably overestimating, but this also includes my dog...he's family, so no, giving him away is not an option I'm considering, even if it's the wrong financial decision)
Student loan public: $0/mo.
Student loan private: $150/mo.
CC payment Huntington: $300/mo.
CC payment Chase: $25/mo.
CC payment Capital One: $25/mo.
Car Payment: $252/mo. (I know...)
Car Insurance: $66/mo.
Gas: $50/mo.
Misc: $50/mo. (would rather overestimate than underestimate)

Total: $1,600 (...I know...)

Liabilities: Car loan through Ally Bank, 6.6% interest, about 54 payments left, owe about $11k on it. Car could most likely sell in my area for around $10.5k (from my research and personal experience trying to sell it). Huntington cc debt $8,500 (lost my job for almost a year, had no choice), Chase and Capital One $500 each.


Specific Question(s):

Okay, well, obviously, this is a complete pants-on-fire disaster. My expenses are WAY too high, and I'm trying to find a way out. Currently, I'm a car salesman that is only guaranteed to make $1,600/mo. post-tax, right around my expenses. I almost always make more than that (as long as I sell 7 in a month, I get a $425+ bonus, and my paychecks are usually around $1,200 rather than $800 anyways), but I just want to account for GUARANTEED pay. The car business can be brutal and slow at time. I currently have about $1,500 in savings, and I'm trying to figure the best way to start snow-balling this debt, and improving my life to hopefully reach FIRE as soon as I can.

Here's what I was thinking. I'm not a financial planner, so really just looking for suggestions.

I want to wait another month or so to save up some more, probably around $2,000, sell my car at a $500 loss, and then buy an old, used car for about $1,500 or so. Probably something crazy like a '98 Civic with 140k miles. Still something that can get my from point A to point B. Or, since winter isn't bad here, and it's over next month, I also thought about buying a Honda Shadow for around that same price. Won't be a junker, better gas mileage, MUCH better insurance (I was quoted for $25/mo.).

So, I'd save almost $300 the first month just based on not having that car payment and lowered insurance. Over the next few months, I'd take those savings, and pay off my Capital One and Chase credit cards, freeing up that $50/mo. to put towards my Huntington debt.

Now, I do have a police fitness test on April 12 that I hope to pass. If I do, I'm nearly guaranteed to get the job. If not, I'll still be on the search. This will solve a whole host of both my financial and lifestyle problems. But I'm not going to bank on it. If I get it, GREAT, if not, at least I planned for the worst. Regardless, whether it's now, or three years from now, I will be a police officer or a firefighter. Anyways...

I'd then be able to take the $350/mo. that would normally go to car payments, insurance, and the other credit cards, and combine that with the current $300/mo. payment to attack my Huntington credit card debt. It'd still be a struggle, but it'd definitely put me on a much better track. I could be credit card debt-free in under 2 years. Then, I'd have to start attacking the student loans...

Now, a more pragmatic plan is one that assumes I can get one of these police/fire jobs within the next couple of years.

In both cases, the very least any in the area pay is ~$40k/yr. In the first year alone, I could most likely pay off all credit car debt and get rid of my car payment. My student loan payments would move me closer to forgiveness (need 120 qualifying). If, after paying off most debts my first year, I got my MAGI below a certain point by investing in my 401(k) and IRA, I'd qualify to keep my Nelnet loans at $0/mo., and I'd also qualify for Medicaid (having to pay healthcare costs next year terrifies me more than anything else).

The entire point of FIRE, to me, is to take back the most valuable commodity you have in life: time. By getting a public service job, not only would I be doing a great thing for the community and have a job I could take pride in, and genuinely enjoy, but I'd get paid decently to do it, I would get a good pension, and I would be able to live a semi-RE lifestyle (with firefighter schedules usually being 1 on/2 off). I'm applying to every major city within a 10-hour driving distance, and I'm applying for the Miami-Dade Fire Department as well (I used to live in West Palm Beach, my brother is currently in MDFR, and they have a large department with amazing benefits). I love their pay, their benefits, the size of their department, their weather, how they take care of their roads, everything. I could see myself making a 20-year career out of it, retiring before 50. They're opening up quite a few positions in June, so I really would like to save some money for short-notice flights to Miami for tests/interviews/etc. It'd be hard, but I'm certain I could get in, especially if I keep running more and losing more weight.

I want more than anything to be a firefighter, but I really just want to get out of this mess I'm in. As I said before, there are only a few things I won't compromise on. I'm keeping my dog. No doubt about it. Not even a question in my mind. Keeping my gym membership (what good is FIRE if I'm in too poor health to enjoy it?). And I want to keep at least a moderate talk/text/data plan (as I said, I use it for EVERYTHING, from work, to furthering my hobbies, and even learning skills which I hope to earn money for later on [programming]).

I know this post is all over the place, and maybe I didn't articulate myself as best as I could have. I also know that there are many excuses in my post. I apologize in advance. I'm truly an open-minded person simply seeking help, and I know this is the place to come.

EDIT: I also wanted to mention that there are a few non-necessities that I'm planning on ridding myself of to save some extra money. I have an iPhone 6s 16gb that I'm planning on selling for $150 or so. I don't use it, so I don't need it. I have a MacBook Air 2013 13" that I'd like to sell if I could fix my old Linux system (or buy a cheap $200 laptop to dual-boost Linux on). I have some clothes that I'm looking to sell to some thrift stores (probably won't net much, but who knows, most are expensive skin-tight Under Armour shirts). Also, I have some old sports cards that might be able to net me a few hundred dollars. Have thousands of them, some of them pretty rare.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2018, 06:51:22 PM by coachfrigo »

coachfrigo

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 76
Re: Kinda Stuck...Pants-On-Fire Situation
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2018, 06:47:50 PM »
Now, it's irrelevant until I actually do something with it, but I would love to do some freelance programming once I become proficient with it.

In the mean time, I'm trying to create 2 apps that I will low-budget advertise in the Pittsburgh and DC Metro areas. First one will be credit score consulting. I know that I'm not in the greatest financial position now, but I do know quite a bit about how credit scores work, and how you can rebuild it quickly and efficiently.

The second one would be social media background check analysis. Poor social media management can kill your chances at many jobs, so I'd basically use all of my Catfish tricks in the book (as a geek, I have quite a few) to analyze peoples' social media profiles, and help them in fixing some things that may hurt their chances at getting jobs.

These wouldn't be expensive services, just ones to do in my downtime while watching TV or eating dinner to make a few extra bucks per month.

Daley

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3857
  • Location: Cow country. Moo.
  • Got that mustache feeling.
Re: Kinda Stuck...Pants-On-Fire Situation
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2018, 08:03:56 PM »
live in Morgantown, WV
[snip]
Current expenses:

Want to preemptively say that I'm not looking to go 100% full-throttle Mustachian immediately. For example, definitely will not give up my gym membership (most important thing to me, honestly), and definitely must have plenty of cell phone data (I use it for EVERYTHING, including work). So, I know there are definitely places where I could go lower (like my cell phone bill), but I'd ideally like to keep a few luxuries.

Phone: $75/mo. (with the option to freeze at any time, and my phone has a 2nd SIM slot if I want to put a cheap plan in that I can also freeze at any time)
Food: $250/mo. (probably overestimating, but this also includes my dog...he's family, so no, giving him away is not an option I'm considering, even if it's the wrong financial decision)
Student loan public: $0/mo.
Student loan private: $150/mo.
CC payment Huntington: $300/mo.
CC payment Chase: $25/mo.
CC payment Capital One: $25/mo.
Car Payment: $252/mo. (I know...)
Car Insurance: $66/mo.
Gas: $50/mo.
Misc: $50/mo. (would rather overestimate than underestimate)

Total: $1,600 (...I know...)
[snip]
Specific Question(s):

Okay, well, obviously, this is a complete pants-on-fire disaster. My expenses are WAY too high, and I'm trying to find a way out.
[snip]
I want more than anything to be a firefighter, but I really just want to get out of this mess I'm in. As I said before, there are only a few things I won't compromise on. I'm keeping my dog. No doubt about it. Not even a question in my mind. Keeping my gym membership (what good is FIRE if I'm in too poor health to enjoy it?). And I want to keep at least a moderate talk/text/data plan (as I said, I use it for EVERYTHING, from work, to furthering my hobbies, and even learning skills which I hope to earn money for later on [programming]).
[snip]
EDIT: I also wanted to mention that there are a few non-necessities that I'm planning on ridding myself of to save some extra money. I have an iPhone 6s 16gb that I'm planning on selling for $150 or so. I don't use it, so I don't need it. I have a MacBook Air 2013 13" that I'd like to sell if I could fix my old Linux system (or buy a cheap $200 laptop to dual-boost Linux on). I have some clothes that I'm looking to sell to some thrift stores (probably won't net much, but who knows, most are expensive skin-tight Under Armour shirts). Also, I have some old sports cards that might be able to net me a few hundred dollars. Have thousands of them, some of them pretty rare.

Okay, I'm going to tackle the sacred cow you don't want to touch because it's low hanging fruit. You're in Morgantown, so that means your two major realistic network choices are AT&T and Verizon, correct? Which network are you on, and what is the smartphone in question (I suspect given you mentioned a second SIM slot, possibly a Blu phone - which might imply AT&T as your carrier)?

Exiting the Apple ecosystem can help save a lot of money, but I'm also a fan of using up and wearing out what you buy.

...but back to the phone, your "huge" data use, your "luxury" with it, and your work related usage. How much data are we talking about here? What sort of minute and text usage is involved? Where do you use it the most? Is there WiFi available from work when you're in the building? Are you wasting a lot of time/resources on social media and streaming content? There's ways to optimize here. A lot of ways.

First, I'm just going to throw two MVNO links out there for you: US Mobile and Puretalk USA. Your best choice is to stick with the network you're already on, if AT&T - then Puretalk, if Verizon - then US Mobile "Super LTE". I'm also going to point out that you have the option to do "unlimited" mobile data at 5Mbps without hotspot and "unlimited" talk and text with US Mobile for $56/month with the option to save another $10/month if you're willing to go with 1Mbps data, and Puretalk USA has "unlimited" talk and text plans with 10GB of high speed data for $45/month with even more savings if you can keep things under 5GB or less. Both are decent companies with decent support with plans considerably less than what you're paying now with absolutely ridiculous data packages, so the excuse of staying on your current mobile plan really isn't going to fly around here... especially if you're not under contract.

Both US Mobile and PureTalk should support iPhones, too. The addition of iPhone MMS support for Puretalk is recent as an AT&T provider (which is a rare thing to find, outside of the noxious providers), and I haven't had and reports yet, but @Paul der Krake should have some experience on this front by now.

There's no reason you can't reduce mobile data usage without much sacrifice these days, either. There are ways to optimize. First, use WiFi when you can, even and especially at home. After all, you're already paying for internet at home, don't pay for internet again! Second, gut background data and auto updates and take the data usage teeth out of your social media apps. Third, reduce or eliminate any streaming media habits and replace it with cheaper offline storage - even Spotify Premium at $10/month can frequently be cheaper in the price gap between the amount of mobile data you actually use and what you could use, and there's other legal options that are cheaper and cheaper still to free (such as music podcasts).

If you're at work or home, use WiFi whenever possible. If you're driving? You don't need internet. Seriously, put the phone down! That alone will save a lot of mobile data.

As for tweaking and minimizing mobile data usage if a hard data diet is right out for you (which, seriously, you need to prioritize here and focus on business expenses currently over pleasure and take advantage of pre-existing internet connections whenever possible - so get this bill as low as possible without impacting your work usage), here's a good recent outline from me of what you can do on Android:

The solution is to learn all the ins and outs of moble data wrangling under Android, restrict updates to WiFi only, find out what used the mobile data (I suspect it was a ROM and core Google Apps update - so a one-off if you get those things forced to update over WiFi only from here), and restrict social media data usage settings or utilize lite app versions of any social media apps he may use (though I'd recommend side-loading via F-Droid's Yalp Store if they aren't available in your country instead of APK Mirror as Yalp downloads directly from Google, but I've occasionally found suspect APK binaries from APK Mirror where Play Store would match signature and update with installed Yalp binaries, but not side-loaded APK Mirror binaries which indicates some tampering).

Speaking of work usage, if the work usage is legit and necessary, I certainly hope your employer is giving you at least some stipend for you phone expenses or at least providing WiFi access on the lot. If not, seriously re-evaluate how you're using your phone in your job.

As for alternate Android handsets, I've been recommending the Moto G4 Play these days. User replaceable battery, decent specs, mostly vanilla Android, boot unlock capacity for running third party ROMs to extend service life past official Android updates, blah blah blah, cheap. I just mention it for academic curiosity.

Regarding laptops and further academic curiosity, you'd be amazed what you can get in the way of refurbished corporate machines for the money. I've posted on this several times in the past. Post Meltdown/Spectre, my current recommendations quote from here should be your best bet:

Buy a refurbished Lenovo Thinkpad T series (430/530 is the sweet spot feature/price wise currently), or Dell Latitude E series (The E5430/6430 models are the sweet spots here). US Micro has a good refurbish program, good prices, and decent warranty. Following these recommendations, you shouldn't have to spend more than $200-300 for a solid laptop built like a tank and easy to repair/upgrade.

Don't get too lost in processor speeds. Pretty much any 2-4 core i3/i5 will be plenty for most anyone. The biggest changes hasn't been so much processing speed as power consumption and battery life for some time now. There's some screaming multi-core processors out there, but they're not worth the premium given that all but specialty high-end applications and games don't need them to run. Even Windows 10 doesn't have much beefier system requirements (beyond RAM/graphics) than XP SP3 and Win7. Don't sweat it, and care more about how much RAM the thing has... that'll be the biggest performance booster. Aim for 4-8GB.

Maybe pay a bit more attention to processor speed these days post Meltdown/Specter patching. I'd also try and push you more towards the T430 due to it having UEFI over regular BIOS on the T420 now, but unless the system is actually set up and the OS installed using SecureBoot under UEFI, it won't do you much good (no refurbisher installs Windows in Secure Boot mode - so if you want this, you'll have to enable it in the BIOS yourself which is a small thing if you're planning to replace the hard drive with an SSD anyway).

The best go-to places for shopping for these things are US Micro, Arrow, and EPC. Aim for Windows 10 Pro as your OS.

I recommend Dell Latitudes over Thinkpads post Thinkpad T430 era, and only T430s on the Thinkpad end due to UEFI support after the security vulnerabilities at the beginning of the year. Dell and UEFI are a non-issue as Dell made the switch to secureboot long before Lenovo did. No matter what though, if you take your time and shop around a bit, you'll be amazed at the machine you can get for the money from one of the suppliers namechecked in the quote.

So, congratulations! You were just given a solution that can help shave at least another $20/month (or much more) off your monthly expenses by addressing your sacred cow that you weren't interested in optimizing, and given some ideas on how to save money on any future Windows/Linux friendly laptop purchases.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2018, 08:18:35 PM by Daley »

OkieM

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 45
Re: Kinda Stuck...Pants-On-Fire Situation
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2018, 08:42:42 PM »
You come off as pretty smart. You also might consider broadening your horizons and being more ambitious with what you are trying to achieve. If you were rocking an $80k income youíd be killing it. Miami - Dade and WV are both strange places compared to most of America and have high income inequality that can change how people think about themselves. Just trying to say donít sell yourself short.

coachfrigo

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 76
Re: Kinda Stuck...Pants-On-Fire Situation
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2018, 08:45:11 PM »
Quote
Okay, I'm going to tackle the sacred cow you don't want to touch because it's low hanging fruit. You're in Morgantown, so that means your two major realistic network choices are AT&T and Verizon, correct? Which network are you on, and what is the smartphone in question (I suspect given you mentioned a second SIM slot, possibly a Blu phone - which might imply AT&T as your carrier)?

Exiting the Apple ecosystem can help save a lot of money, but I'm also a fan of using up and wearing out what you buy.
It's AT&T. It's a Huawei Honor 6x. GREAT budget phone, but can't go on Verizon. I tried US Cellular, but it just doesn't fit my needs at all. Coverage is far too poor.

And definitely a fan of exiting the Apple ecosystem. I'm more of a Linux guy. I like being able to unlock the full power of my hardware. And be able to actually use SD cards. Hell, on my MacBook, the RAM is soldered on. What a load of junk.

Quote
..but back to the phone, your "huge" data use, your "luxury" with it, and your work related usage. How much data are we talking about here? What sort of minute and text usage is involved? Where do you use it the most? Is there WiFi available from work when you're in the building? Are you wasting a lot of time/resources on social media and streaming content? There's ways to optimize here. A lot of ways.
Usually about 15gb/mo. Wi-Fi at work is unstable and kicks you off very often. Minute data not too much, text a few dozen times/day. Probably 50 or so. A LOT of video streaming. I use my phone as my main means of studying CompSci/programming, and a host of other hobbies.

Quote
First, I'm just going to throw two MVNO links out there for you: US Mobile and Puretalk USA. Your best choice is to stick with the network you're already on, if AT&T - then Puretalk, if Verizon - then US Mobile "Super LTE". I'm also going to point out that you have the option to do "unlimited" mobile data at 5Mbps without hotspot and "unlimited" talk and text with US Mobile for $56/month with the option to save another $10/month if you're willing to go with 1Mbps data, and Puretalk USA has "unlimited" talk and text plans with 10GB of high speed data for $45/month with even more savings if you can keep things under 5GB or less. Both are decent companies with decent support with plans considerably less than what you're paying now with absolutely ridiculous data packages, so the excuse of staying on your current mobile plan really isn't going to fly around here... especially if you're not under contract.
I'll definitely check those out, thanks!

Quote
Both US Mobile and PureTalk should support iPhones, too. The addition of iPhone MMS support for Puretalk is recent as an AT&T provider (which is a rare thing to find, outside of the noxious providers), and I haven't had and reports yet, but @Paul der Krake should have some experience on this front by now.

There's no reason you can't reduce mobile data usage without much sacrifice these days, either. There are ways to optimize. First, use WiFi when you can, even and especially at home. After all, you're already paying for internet at home, don't pay for internet again! Second, gut background data and auto updates and take the data usage teeth out of your social media apps. Third, reduce or eliminate any streaming media habits and replace it with cheaper offline storage - even Spotify Premium at $10/month can frequently be cheaper in the price gap between the amount of mobile data you actually use and what you could use, and there's other legal options that are cheaper and cheaper still to free (such as music podcasts).

If you're at work or home, use WiFi whenever possible. If you're driving? You don't need internet. Seriously, put the phone down! That alone will save a lot of mobile data.
Definitely solid advice. Definitely getting rid of the iPhone, though. I just don't use it. Though, could just keep it around for little side projects and tinkering with it. $150 in the grand scheme of things isn't much. Especially for hardware I paid far more for. I try to optimize my data usage. Thinking about it, I know I can definitely use under 10gb/mo. I just couldn't handle the 1gb/mo. that US Cellular had me at for $55/mo. It was WAY too little. I eliminate all background refreshing, and only do updates/downloads through Wi-Fi. Spotify Premium I DO have, and can't see that being something I get rid of. Saves space on my phone, can listen to any song at any time, can download playlists for offline listening, etc. But wouldn't absolutely ruin me to go back to the basic Spotify. An ad here and there, no offline listening, and shuffle-only isn't that bad.

Quote
As for tweaking and minimizing mobile data usage if a hard data diet is right out for you (which, seriously, you need to prioritize here and focus on business expenses currently over pleasure and take advantage of pre-existing internet connections whenever possible - so get this bill as low as possible without impacting your work usage), here's a good recent outline from me of what you can do on Android:

The solution is to learn all the ins and outs of moble data wrangling under Android, restrict updates to WiFi only, find out what used the mobile data (I suspect it was a ROM and core Google Apps update - so a one-off if you get those things forced to update over WiFi only from here), and restrict social media data usage settings or utilize lite app versions of any social media apps he may use (though I'd recommend side-loading via F-Droid's Yalp Store if they aren't available in your country instead of APK Mirror as Yalp downloads directly from Google, but I've occasionally found suspect APK binaries from APK Mirror where Play Store would match signature and update with installed Yalp binaries, but not side-loaded APK Mirror binaries which indicates some tampering).
Will look over all of these, thanks! One thing I do have is an automation app that actually connects me to all open networks whenever possible. For ones I use often, I actually have it set up that it'll connect, and for any buttons I have to click "Agree" or use a fake email and click "Connect", my phone will automatically hit those buttons for me.


Quote
Speaking of work usage, if the work usage is legit and necessary, I certainly hope your employer is giving you at least some stipend for you phone expenses or at least providing WiFi access on the lot. If not, seriously re-evaluate how you're using your phone in your job.
It's not absolutely necessary, but I do give my personal number out to customers. Many call me on my off days, and I come in before someone can take my commission.

Quote
Regarding laptops and further academic curiosity, you'd be amazed what you can get in the way of refurbished corporate machines for the money. I've posted on this several times in the past. Post Meltdown/Spectre, my current recommendations quote from here should be your best bet:

Buy a refurbished Lenovo Thinkpad T series (430/530 is the sweet spot feature/price wise currently), or Dell Latitude E series (The E5430/6430 models are the sweet spots here). US Micro has a good refurbish program, good prices, and decent warranty. Following these recommendations, you shouldn't have to spend more than $200-300 for a solid laptop built like a tank and easy to repair/upgrade.

Don't get too lost in processor speeds. Pretty much any 2-4 core i3/i5 will be plenty for most anyone. The biggest changes hasn't been so much processing speed as power consumption and battery life for some time now. There's some screaming multi-core processors out there, but they're not worth the premium given that all but specialty high-end applications and games don't need them to run. Even Windows 10 doesn't have much beefier system requirements (beyond RAM/graphics) than XP SP3 and Win7. Don't sweat it, and care more about how much RAM the thing has... that'll be the biggest performance booster. Aim for 4-8GB.
My little Mac has a pathetic 2gb of RAM. My Thinkpad running Linux has 3gb of RAM, and I can actually adjust the swapiness (with how I use my laptops, it's a pretty significant boost that, to my knowledge, I can't obtain on Mac). Now, I know that Macs already are low on swapping, but sometimes, it's not enough for me.

Quote
So, congratulations! You were just given a solution that can help shave at least another $20/month (or much more) off your monthly expenses by addressing your sacred cow that you weren't interested in optimizing, and given some ideas on how to save money on any future Windows/Linux friendly laptop purchases.
Thanks. Definitely a wide array of information for me to go down the rabbit hole with. See you in a few hours/days.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2018, 08:52:32 PM by coachfrigo »

Livethedream

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 101
  • Location: Northern California
Re: Kinda Stuck...Pants-On-Fire Situation
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2018, 08:50:46 PM »
Your biggest problem is an income problem. If you really want to dig out of your whole, now is the time to do it while your young and have the energy and time.

Go get a job delivering pizzas a few nights a week.

Your total debt $500 $500 $8500 $11000 +unspecified student loans.

$20,500 in debt. + student loans???

$750/1600 of your budget goes to debt, thatís 47% of your take home pay.

Sure, as mentioned you could switch cell plans blah blah blah, you need more income and gotta sell your car.

Sell your car, get a second job, pay off debt, keep pursuing a better job.

You can do it. I graduated college in the shitty economy 2010. Took first full time job I found $9 hour. Found another job 5 months later $11 hour, raises to $12. Year later got into an apprenticeship program starting at $15. 8 years after graduating Iím now making about $38 an hour, 4 times what I started at.

I was frugal: no smartphone, never ate out, no car payment, you canít afford to go to the bar. Before I started my apprenticeship I had saved up cash for a wedding ring $3.5k and street bike $3k, and savings.

Donít listen to ďnormalĒ people, they are broke and In debt up to their eyeballs.

At the end of the day, it comes down to what you want in life.

coachfrigo

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 76
Re: Kinda Stuck...Pants-On-Fire Situation
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2018, 08:51:25 PM »
You come off as pretty smart. You also might consider broadening your horizons and being more ambitious with what you are trying to achieve. If you were rocking an $80k income youíd be killing it. Miami - Dade and WV are both strange places compared to most of America and have high income inequality that can change how people think about themselves. Just trying to say donít sell yourself short.
Oh, I'm certainly not trying to sell myself short. MDFR, if that's the route I can go, could definitely get me far past $80k. I know guys in their second year there making $81k because they went to Paramedic School their first year, and got a big pay increase. MDFR pays you for what you CAN do, not necessarily what you DO.

On the other hand, if the public sector doesn't work out for whatever reason, I still am hoping to eventually complete my Computer Science degree. I enjoy programming greatly, and I try to learn more about it every day. I would love to one day make a decent living freelancing.

coachfrigo

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 76
Re: Kinda Stuck...Pants-On-Fire Situation
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2018, 09:02:52 PM »
Your biggest problem is an income problem. If you really want to dig out of your whole, now is the time to do it while your young and have the energy and time.

Go get a job delivering pizzas a few nights a week.
I get the concept, but can't quite do that. Had quite a few speeding tickets about 5 years ago, and it still stops me from getting driving jobs now (even though I have none since). Oddly enough, doesn't stop me from passing police background checks.

Quote
Your total debt $500 $500 $8500 $11000 +unspecified student loans.
Should have elaborated more on that disaster. $37k from Nelnet, $11k through Navient (with a 10% interest rate!). Have tried getting a lower rate on Navient to no avail.

Quote
$20,500 in debt. + student loans???

$750/1600 of your budget goes to debt, thatís 47% of your take home pay.

Sure, as mentioned you could switch cell plans blah blah blah, you need more income and gotta sell your car.

Sell your car, get a second job, pay off debt, keep pursuing a better job.
Oh, I know I definitely need to make more and sell my car. My car and going to a private university my freshman year were my two biggest mistakes. Actually, I would have rather gone homeless for a few months than rack up all that cc debt when I lost my job.

Quote
You can do it. I graduated college in the shitty economy 2010. Took first full time job I found $9 hour. Found another job 5 months later $11 hour, raises to $12. Year later got into an apprenticeship program starting at $15. 8 years after graduating Iím now making about $38 an hour, 4 times what I started at.
Oh, I know it's possible. I've seen my parents' earnings over the years. Started off at $18k at my age, went up to 19, 20, 21, 24, 24, 24, 24, 48, 61...120, etc. I know the American dream is well within my reach. I just need to build marketable skills and knowledge. But I'd like firefighting to be my day job. Programming as freelance work, possibly.

Quote
I was frugal: no smartphone, never ate out, no car payment, you canít afford to go to the bar. Before I started my apprenticeship I had saved up cash for a wedding ring $3.5k and street bike $3k, and savings.

Donít listen to ďnormalĒ people, they are broke and In debt up to their eyeballs.

At the end of the day, it comes down to what you want in life.
Definitely don't think I could go without my smartphone. But I don't eat out, I'm trying to get rid of my car payment, and don't drink. I want to maximize my income, and mostly minimize my expenses (I want to splurge A BIT sometimes, but ONLY a bit...not $100/mo. or anything).

Normal people have told me all kinds of crazy stuff, like how I got a great deal on my car, and how it would be stupid to sell it. Yeah, not like eliminating that one expense could put me in the green for once...

Daley

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3857
  • Location: Cow country. Moo.
  • Got that mustache feeling.
Re: Kinda Stuck...Pants-On-Fire Situation
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2018, 09:12:15 PM »
Definitely don't think I could go without my smartphone.

I don't think you could go without a mobile phone number for the current job you're in as specifically stated, but given the other statements you've made about your phone despite the whole programming thing... I'm just gonna attach an image here for your edification to help change your relationship with the thing.

As for myself, I'm in communications and IT, I freelance, and though business is slow and I'm transitioning to another path... well... I'm spending $12 a month on my mobile phone service with a Windows Phone. I use less than 100MB of data (average 30MB), under 100 minutes (though I have a cheap VoIP based home phone), and under 500 text messages a month. It's all about priorities. It's just a phone.

Greater income is always nice, but living more within your means is critical. You're not quite doing that yet... but you already know that. Keep axing unnecessary recurring monthly costs, especially the entertainment types. Pay for what you need, not what you want.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2018, 09:15:46 PM by Daley »

coachfrigo

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 76
Re: Kinda Stuck...Pants-On-Fire Situation
« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2018, 09:21:49 PM »
Checked out PureTalk as suggested above. Definitely something to look into! The coverage maps look solid, but US Cellular's does too on their map. I don't doubt it's accurate, I'd just want to ensure that I always have solid coverage.


Definitely don't think I could go without my smartphone.

I don't think you could go without a mobile phone number for the current job you're in as specifically stated, but given the other statements you've made about your phone despite the whole programming thing... I'm just gonna attach an image here for your edification to help change your relationship with the thing.

As for myself, I'm in communications and IT, I freelance, and though business is slow and I'm transitioning to another path... well... I'm spending $12 a month on my mobile phone service with a Windows Phone. I use less than 100MB of data (average 30MB), under 100 minutes (though I have a cheap VoIP based home phone), and under 500 text messages a month. It's all about priorities. It's just a phone.

Greater income is always nice, but living more within your means is critical. You're not quite doing that yet... but you already know that. Keep axing unnecessary recurring monthly costs, especially the entertainment types. Pay for what you need, not what you want.
I mean, I know I COULD go without a smartphone, but I use it so much. Not social media or anything, but it's my greatest learning tool. After I've made all my calls, followed-up with all my clients, dealt with my walk-in customer (my "up"), I sit back, and usually watch videos and read technical articles on programming, computer architecture, football coaching, standup comedy, exercise physiology, motorcycle repair, etc. I just can't see separating myself from all of that info. I have so many things that I want to perfect in life, and I don't want to wait until after work, having to condense a bunch of different topics into two hours, as bad as that sounds.

Daley

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3857
  • Location: Cow country. Moo.
  • Got that mustache feeling.
Re: Kinda Stuck...Pants-On-Fire Situation
« Reply #10 on: February 25, 2018, 09:54:37 PM »
Checked out PureTalk as suggested above. Definitely something to look into! The coverage maps look solid, but US Cellular's does too on their map. I don't doubt it's accurate, I'd just want to ensure that I always have solid coverage.

PureTalk is AT&T coverage without off-network roaming. If AT&T works for you now, PureTalk should be fine.

I mean, I know I COULD go without a smartphone, but I use it so much. Not social media or anything, but it's my greatest learning tool. After I've made all my calls, followed-up with all my clients, dealt with my walk-in customer (my "up"), I sit back, and usually watch videos and read technical articles on programming, computer architecture, football coaching, standup comedy, exercise physiology, motorcycle repair, etc. I just can't see separating myself from all of that info. I have so many things that I want to perfect in life, and I don't want to wait until after work, having to condense a bunch of different topics into two hours, as bad as that sounds.

I'm going to stop you right there. The epitome of learning is not videos. Information retention, in fact, is pretty low. Learning is a good thing, but a lot of even your "learning" looks like entertainment and time wasting from my crusty old perspective, and you're spending a lot of money and words defending it. Calling it information and getting the whim-whams over separation from it is silly. I get having down time in sales, but if you really want to expand your knowledge during that idleness, don't watch videos and depend on the interbutts in a magic glowing rectangle... that's horse pucky. It's not a substitute for real and practical understanding. Put down the phone, it's a distraction masquerading as what you think you need and want. Go to a library. Read a book. Interact with others. Live life.

There's an old African proverb, "A wise man never knows all; only a fool knows everything."

There's also the old aphorism, "Perfect is the enemy of good."

You don't need to know everything, and perfection is well out of reach of us all.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2018, 10:04:04 PM by Daley »

jeroly

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 64
Re: Kinda Stuck...Pants-On-Fire Situation
« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2018, 12:39:00 AM »
Big picture :

You are doing an amazing job at keeping your spending down.
You have an amazing amount of debt relative to your income.

1.  If you can get a reliable car for less, by all means sell the one you have.
2.  Use every extra buck you earn to pay down your other debt, the highest interest rate loans first.
3.  With your ability to live inexpensively, you could clean up in an area where jobs with your skills pay more.  My daughter for example is your age and is also in sales, but in NYC, where her base in software sales is $72K plus commissions.  Granted rent will be higher, but with sharing a space you could still do way better than now in terms of cashflow.

coachfrigo

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 76
Re: Kinda Stuck...Pants-On-Fire Situation
« Reply #12 on: February 26, 2018, 05:51:43 AM »
Big picture :

You are doing an amazing job at keeping your spending down.
You have an amazing amount of debt relative to your income.

1.  If you can get a reliable car for less, by all means sell the one you have.
2.  Use every extra buck you earn to pay down your other debt, the highest interest rate loans first.
3.  With your ability to live inexpensively, you could clean up in an area where jobs with your skills pay more.  My daughter for example is your age and is also in sales, but in NYC, where her base in software sales is $72K plus commissions.  Granted rent will be higher, but with sharing a space you could still do way better than now in terms of cashflow.

Well, usually I'd go from highest to lowest interest rate-wise, but I'm trying to take care of my smaller expenses first that have much more immediate impacts.

For example, my car loan is only at 6.6%, while my Navient loan is at 10%. It'd make sense to pay Navient, right? Well, that's $11k in debt, so it will take quite a while to save just $150/mo. On the other hand, I'm only $500 underwater on my car loan. If I could take that, and about $1,500 to get a low-end vehicle, it'd save me almost $300/mo., which could then go into a different bill.

So, my thinking is to take care of the things that cut down my expenses more immediately, and in return, I could use that freed up cash flow to pay off the higher-interest, less-immediate bills.

Basically, rather than paying $300 towards my student loans every month, I'd rather free up $300/mo. and pay $600 towards student loans.

And while my spending isn't as crazy as I've seen here, it's still far too high for me. Not much I can do about rent (even if I do find a cheaper place, it'd be more than made up in water, seweage, lawn care, paying for dog and cat, etc. But still always looking. Currently live with GF of 3 years, and her best friend.

Nice thing is, we're month-to-month with our lease with a landlord that really only cares if we pay rent on time. Bad thing is, landlord didn't pay his property taxes, and some LLC has the tax lien on it. Who knows if they'd raise rent, or make us start paying water/paying for dog and roommate's cat.

Phone, as mentioned above, could be brought down. If I can get the same speed and coverage, very well may switch to PureTalk. Though, bad ratings scare me.

Food, could definitely go lower. Hell, I need to budget my diet FAR better. I need to stick with chicken thighs, rice, cashews, peanut butter, etc.

If I can get rid of my car, pay off my two lower credit cards, and then start attacking my credit card debts, and private loan debt, I'll be in a much better position. What really scares me, though, is the public loan debt. If I get a service job, I can rely on debt forgiveness, otherwise, it's $350/mo. MINIMUM for making over $18k/yr. Then, I have to worry about healthcare costs. That should be a good amount as well. It terrifies me. Why should I be forced to get healthcare that I can't afford? The government sees the pay that I make, but they don't take into consideration that those extra payments would bankrupt me immediately.


EDIT: And one thing that I will say is that I'd still consider myself unskilled. Only been in car sales 3 months, and have no real skills outside of that. I'm trying to teach myself programming after two semesters of Computer Science classes, but it's definitely hard finding out WHAT to learn, not necessarily how to learn it. Programming comes easy to me, I'm just not sure what languages/frameworks/whatever to learn.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2018, 05:55:07 AM by coachfrigo »

coachfrigo

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 76
Re: Kinda Stuck...Pants-On-Fire Situation
« Reply #13 on: February 27, 2018, 06:56:04 PM »
So, called my lienholder today to cancel my extended warranty on my current vehicle. Will take $1,200 off my car loan, meaning I'll no longer be underwater. I'm most likely going to sell it, and use that profit, and some of my savings, to buy a cheap motorcycle.

It's more than just saving on gas, insurance, and repairs. I genuinely just love the lifestyle. Can't get enough of it. While I consider myself to be mostly-Mustachian, or at least on the path to it, I do like a small luxury here and there so that I can experience life in the future AND now.

retireatbirth

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 254
Re: Kinda Stuck...Pants-On-Fire Situation
« Reply #14 on: February 27, 2018, 07:38:22 PM »
What's your plan for the CS degree? Seems almost certain to be the financially better option than public service, but I respect you for going that route regardless. It's harder to keep up your motivation for both school and programming as you get older so I'd recommend really figuring out the plan for the degree so it doesn't fall by the wayside.

coachfrigo

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 76
Re: Kinda Stuck...Pants-On-Fire Situation
« Reply #15 on: February 27, 2018, 07:56:01 PM »
What's your plan for the CS degree? Seems almost certain to be the financially better option than public service, but I respect you for going that route regardless. It's harder to keep up your motivation for both school and programming as you get older so I'd recommend really figuring out the plan for the degree so it doesn't fall by the wayside.

Currently work 55 hours per week. College doesn't have class schedules that fit any working adult's schedule.

Only way I can go back realistically is if public service job pays me to go.

jc4

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 130
Re: Kinda Stuck...Pants-On-Fire Situation
« Reply #16 on: February 28, 2018, 02:50:19 PM »
How do you track your spending?

You don't include:
Car Maintenence
Clothes
Tech / Toys
Travel / Vacation
Movies / Entertainment
Medicine / Supplies
Gifts / Family
Charity

You may be super-mustacian, but I'd guess a lot of this is hidden under that bonus money you get. Given that you've got under-armor clothes with re-sale value, and extra iphones laying around.

All said, it may be worth double checking that you've got your baseline set right. And making sure you've got a good tool (mint, ynab, etc.) for tracking.

coachfrigo

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 76
Re: Kinda Stuck...Pants-On-Fire Situation
« Reply #17 on: March 01, 2018, 12:04:22 PM »
How do you track your spending?

You don't include:
Car Maintenence
Clothes
Tech / Toys
Travel / Vacation
Movies / Entertainment
Medicine / Supplies
Gifts / Family
Charity

You may be super-mustacian, but I'd guess a lot of this is hidden under that bonus money you get. Given that you've got under-armor clothes with re-sale value, and extra iphones laying around.

All said, it may be worth double checking that you've got your baseline set right. And making sure you've got a good tool (mint, ynab, etc.) for tracking.
I don't currently track my spending. Would love to do zero-based budgeting. Mint doesn't sync with my banks for some reason (Capital One and Huntington). Tried multiple devices, multiple browsers. Just won't work. YNAB looks nice, but not sure I want to add another $7-8/mo. to my expenses. Any good free tools that will actually sync with my banks? Huntington, Capital One, Chase.

I don't include car maintenance because I've literally had to do 0 maintenance for the entire life of my vehicle. Plus, I'll be selling it soon, so I'll then have to worry about the expenses on the other vehicle.

I rarely buy clothes. I gained quite a bit of weight the last few years, but knew I'd eventually slim back down, so I have all of my medium-sized clothing stuffed in my closet. I might need new dress shoes in the summer, and it'll be about $80 for the ones I like (brown wingtip Oxfords).

I don't buy toys, don't really go to the doctor, don't go to the movies, don't go on vacation (but will definitely go on road trips if I get a motorcycle), don't have any medications, don't give gifts, don't give to charity.

There definitely are miscellaneous expenses I should add in. That's for sure. I'd rather overestimate my expenses than underestimate them.

As for my bonuses, they are deposited onto a pre-loaded VISA automatically. Haven't touched it yet.

As for the Under Armour clothes and the iPhone, those were purchases when I was still living with my parents and was a poor spender. I still have A LOT of work to do (my bills are over double what I want them to be), but no more iPhones for me.

Anyways, making a couple of changes. First one is, I think I'll be able to sell my car by next week. Really depends when my extended warranty refund comes in. But once it does, and I sell the car, will most likely buy a cheap motorcycle that can get me from point A to point B efficiently and relatively cheap.

As suggested earlier in the thread, I checked out MVNOs. Switching from AT&T to Puretalk USA, so that'll save me a good amount. Checking to see what my options are for internet. I only pay $23/mo. for my share, so not really sure if getting half the upload speed for $15/mo. less is really worth it to save $5/mo. Especially considering how much I stream video and multi-tab browse.

Trying to create a solid, cheap food plan. So far, here's what I got for some staples:

Chicken thighs (still not ecstatic about the price...)
Tuna
Eggs
Peanut Butter
Rice
Olive Oil
Sunflower Seeds (usually just buy 1 per month. Gives me something to chew on to prevent overeating, but have to watch sodium intake)
Cashews
Oats
Broccoli (not cheap, but helps my osteoarthritis A LOT)
Cucumbers (see above)


With the savings from my first few months without a car payment, and with lowered insurance, I'm going to pay off my Chase and Capital One cards to free-up an extra $50/mo.

Still stuck regarding student loans. I know that if I lower my monthly expenses, I can use deductions to get my MAGI low enough to qualify for Medicaid next year, and also have my public loan stay at $0/mo., but if I can't get my income low enough, the public loan will be $350+/mo., and the health insurance, who knows...

Those will really challenge me.

Would love to get rent down, but most likely can't, since we don't pay water, and have a cat and a dog (cat is my roommate's). Hell, if I were single, once I was in a good financial position, I'd just buy a cheap RV and live in that with my dog.

TVRodriguez

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 365
Re: Kinda Stuck...Pants-On-Fire Situation
« Reply #18 on: March 01, 2018, 12:15:13 PM »
Did you include the gym membership in your list of expenses?   I missed it.  I know you don't want to give it up, but is it even accounted for? 

coachfrigo

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 76
Re: Kinda Stuck...Pants-On-Fire Situation
« Reply #19 on: March 01, 2018, 12:20:34 PM »
Did you include the gym membership in your list of expenses?   I missed it.  I know you don't want to give it up, but is it even accounted for?
Thanks, forgot that. It's $35/mo. I'd be willing to shop around on this, but I should mention that I am a very serious lifter. If there are a lot of free weights, dumbbells up to at least 150, and numerous squat/power racks with benches, I won't even consider a gym.

Planet Fatness serves you pizza and gets mad if you deadlift. They're right about one thing: they are not a gym.

coachfrigo

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 76
Re: Kinda Stuck...Pants-On-Fire Situation
« Reply #20 on: March 01, 2018, 12:27:18 PM »
Though, I'll backtrack a bit. While I believe it's inferior to lifting free weights, if I could find some decent, SMALL STORAGE supplies, I wouldn't mind saving $37/mo. and 7 miles one-way there in driving every time I go.

I know for sure I'd need at least 500 pounds of weight, and I already have Fat Gripz and farmer walk handles. Still would need stuff to replace the Big 3, though. Bodyweight just isn't enough for me.

coachfrigo

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 76
Re: Kinda Stuck...Pants-On-Fire Situation
« Reply #21 on: March 01, 2018, 01:11:13 PM »
One thing I definitely need is a side-hustle. Not only is my pay uncertain, but I constantly fear for my job. I AM training for a police fitness test on April 12, but not sure if I'll pass.

At least in the meantime, I want to make some extra money once I have to start paying my public loan and my health insurance costs. I have an app idea that I believe could make me some money. I think I could learn enough to do most of the back-end stuff myself, but am completely lost when it comes to connecting the UI and the back-end.

It's a crowdsourcing-like app, I just have to learn to program first. I personally use an Android, but Apple has far better engagement, especially when it comes to paid apps and subscriptions.

Thought about trying to learn WP development, as I'm experienced with WP, but I don't know the underlying CSS/HTML/SQL/JS/whatever.

life_travel

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 152
  • Location: Australia
Re: Kinda Stuck...Pants-On-Fire Situation
« Reply #22 on: March 02, 2018, 03:47:08 AM »
Definitely don't think I could go without my smartphone.

I don't think you could go without a mobile phone number for the current job you're in as specifically stated, but given the other statements you've made about your phone despite the whole programming thing... I'm just gonna attach an image here for your edification to help change your relationship with the thing.

As for myself, I'm in communications and IT, I freelance, and though business is slow and I'm transitioning to another path... well... I'm spending $12 a month on my mobile phone service with a Windows Phone. I use less than 100MB of data (average 30MB), under 100 minutes (though I have a cheap VoIP based home phone), and under 500 text messages a month. It's all about priorities. It's just a phone.

Greater income is always nice, but living more within your means is critical. You're not quite doing that yet... but you already know that. Keep axing unnecessary recurring monthly costs, especially the entertainment types. Pay for what you need, not what you want.
That addiction picture is awesome. How do I share it ? It doesn't let me to save or even copy the link .

Daley

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3857
  • Location: Cow country. Moo.
  • Got that mustache feeling.
Re: Kinda Stuck...Pants-On-Fire Situation
« Reply #23 on: March 05, 2018, 09:07:20 AM »
Coach, hope you've been able to move forward on the changes you've outlined thus far. Good to see you were able to get right-side up on the vehicle before you sell it.




That addiction picture is awesome. How do I share it ? It doesn't let me to save or even copy the link .

Ironically, that highly useful infographic came from a high-interest rate, payday loan outfit of all places. I just found this out trying to find the original source of it. Heh. Link to the original:
https://www.cashnetusa.com/blog/how-to-free-yourself-from-your-smartphone/

formerlydivorcedmom

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 570
  • Location: Texas
Re: Kinda Stuck...Pants-On-Fire Situation
« Reply #24 on: March 05, 2018, 10:20:18 AM »
Mint doesn't work with my bank either.  It does work with my credit cards and other debt (now just a mortgage).  I spend 5 min/day or 30 min/week manually entering the bank information into Mint as cash transactions. It's worth it to me to have everything listed out in an easy way to categorize.

Ben Kurtz

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 120
Re: Kinda Stuck...Pants-On-Fire Situation
« Reply #25 on: March 05, 2018, 03:09:04 PM »
You should have sold the car by now and got the motorcycle -- how did it go?

You have to keep in mind that the financial trap with a car you buy for more than $10,000 is not just the interest on the loan. It's also the depreciation on the car itself that you pay for, month after month. Trading a $10,000+ car for a $2,500 motorcycle will turn your financial life around, between savings on depreciation, insurance, gas and eventual maintenance.

Did you say that you put your monthly bonuses on pre-paid Visa cards and then just ignore them? That's crazy. Take all that money immediately and throw it at one of your credit cards.

Also, given your current pay scale, aren't you going to exceed the $18,000 earnings threshold you appear to have on your public loans? $1,600 / month base pay x 12 months = $19,200. Plus you say you get bonuses on some months for hitting sales targets. I think you need to go back and look again at your public student loans. Many such loans will have income-based payment plans on a sliding scale that don't require you to be in public service. You don't get forgiveness if you are not in public service, but then you are not required to make monthly payments you cannot afford. Many of them also have 30 year payment plans (even 30 year graduated payment plans) which allow you to make low monthly payments while you are starting out. Which reminds me: while you are not paying the public student loan, interest is probably ticking away adding itself to the principal, causing you to lose ground. Best to account for that in your case study writeup.

Obviously, none of the above is to say that you should make low minimum payments on all your obligations and blow the rest. It's just that you are probably better off letting interest accrue on semi-reasonable student loans while putting every last possible cent into paying off your high-interest credit card loans and such, and only paying down the student loans once those are all paid off. Which is where you seem to be going with this.

You already have a clear enough focus on the need to increase your earnings level, and have a good deal of focus on that. Good luck on the police and fire interviews!

coachfrigo

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 76
Re: Kinda Stuck...Pants-On-Fire Situation
« Reply #26 on: March 05, 2018, 06:36:35 PM »
You should have sold the car by now and got the motorcycle -- how did it go?
I still am having trouble selling it. A few hard bites, but haven't been able to close just yet.

Quote
You have to keep in mind that the financial trap with a car you buy for more than $10,000 is not just the interest on the loan. It's also the depreciation on the car itself that you pay for, month after month. Trading a $10,000+ car for a $2,500 motorcycle will turn your financial life around, between savings on depreciation, insurance, gas and eventual maintenance.
Oh, I know. Not only is it cheaper, but also incredibly fun? Sign me up!

Quote
Did you say that you put your monthly bonuses on pre-paid Visa cards and then just ignore them? That's crazy. Take all that money immediately and throw it at one of your credit cards.
They automatically go to it. Nothing I can control. Was thinking of paying my monthly bills with what's on there, because I'm going to need cash in hand to buy a used motorcycle in a private sale.

Quote
Also, given your current pay scale, aren't you going to exceed the $18,000 earnings threshold you appear to have on your public loans? $1,600 / month base pay x 12 months = $19,200.
Unfortunately, yes. But I'm not yet in the position to where I can use deductions to lower my MAGI enough. I need to get rid of some bills first, like my car payment. THEN I'll be able to afford to throttle down my income.
Quote
Plus you say you get bonuses on some months for hitting sales targets. I think you need to go back and look again at your public student loans. Many such loans will have income-based payment plans on a sliding scale that don't require you to be in public service. You don't get forgiveness if you are not in public service, but then you are not required to make monthly payments you cannot afford. Many of them also have 30 year payment plans (even 30 year graduated payment plans) which allow you to make low monthly payments while you are starting out. Which reminds me: while you are not paying the public student loan, interest is probably ticking away adding itself to the principal, causing you to lose ground. Best to account for that in your case study writeup.
Currently on IBR, which is why it's $0/mo. Once I get to a certain amount, it'll jump to $350+ minimum, which would destroy me financially. I'm really, really hoping to get one of these service jobs. At least then, I'll know that I'll only need 120 payments.

Quote
Obviously, none of the above is to say that you should make low minimum payments on all your obligations and blow the rest. It's just that you are probably better off letting interest accrue on semi-reasonable student loans while putting every last possible cent into paying off your high-interest credit card loans and such, and only paying down the student loans once those are all paid off. Which is where you seem to be going with this.
I'm not necessarily doing it by interest rate. I'm truly just trying to lower my monthly obligations to free up cash flow to pay off my loans. Sure, my credit card interest is higher than my car payment. But I'd have to pay $9,500 to save $300/mo. I can save $300/mo. by selling my car, and spending $1,500 on a used motorcycle.

If I try to pay off my cc debt first, it'll take forever to save up $9,500. But, by selling my car first, even if the interest on the loan is much lower, it immediately frees up $300/mo. that I can use to attack the $9,500 cc debt, if that makes sense. Basically, instead of doing the snowball method, or paying off based on interest, I'm trying to free up immediate cash flow so that I can use that money on my loans.

Quote
You already have a clear enough focus on the need to increase your earnings level, and have a good deal of focus on that. Good luck on the police and fire interviews!
I truly hope I get one of them (very preferably the FD, as that would essentially bring a semi-retired lifestyle, which is really the goal of FIRE...free time).

Once I do start making a decent amount, and actually paying off my debts, after a couple of years I'll have lowered my expenses enough to where I can just max my 401(k), max my IRA, and throttle my MAGI just low enough to where I can get Medicaid and $0 public loan payments (saving a lot of money per month, AND having those $0 payments count towards loan forgiveness!).

Ben Kurtz

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 120
Re: Kinda Stuck...Pants-On-Fire Situation
« Reply #27 on: March 06, 2018, 05:32:22 AM »
If I try to pay off my cc debt first, it'll take forever to save up $9,500. But, by selling my car first, even if the interest on the loan is much lower, it immediately frees up $300/mo. that I can use to attack the $9,500 cc debt, if that makes sense. Basically, instead of doing the snowball method, or paying off based on interest, I'm trying to free up immediate cash flow so that I can use that money on my loans.

Of course you've come to the right conclusion -- sell the car promptly and replace it with a more economical mode of transportation -- but your analysis seems a bit muddled.

You need to sell the car because it is too much car for you. The depreciation and expenses are too high given your income -- putting all thoughts of debt aside. If you had your current income and owned that car free and clear and had no debt whatsoever I'd still recommend that you trade down from a  $10,000 set of wheels to a $2,000 set of wheels and invest the rest in a Roth IRA, because you need to build wealth and savings, not just exterminate debt, if you want to lead a free and prosperous and happy life. To build wealth you need to spend a good bit less than you earn, using the difference to build your net worth. With an annual income of $20,000 to $25,000 you can't afford to do much spending if you want to set aside money to improve your financial condition. Owning and operating too much car is a surefire way to box yourself in to spending too much. That's the key lesson on the car.

I'm just an old man giving out free advice to youngsters on the internet, but take it from me: I have a seven figure net worth which I generated by hard work and savings, I have a very high yearly income, and my current set of wheels is an ancient Volvo wagon that I bought used for less than $1,000. I did the math long ago, and I walk the walk.

Given your overall level of debt, in some ideal universe you'd sell the car, get a $2,000 set of wheels and put the remaining $8,000 of sale proceeds towards your highest interest loan. However, the car loan that you have is secured, meaning that if you sell the car you are compelled to put the proceeds of the sale towards paying off that loan first, even though it isn't your highest interest loan. In fact, that's why car loan companies are generally willing to charge normal people single-digit interest on car loans while credit card companies charge the same people double-digit interest on credit card debt -- the car loan is secured by a hard asset on which the car loan company has "dibs" in case you sell, or in case you stop paying and they send the repo man out to seize the car and sell it for you. It is lower risk for them so they charge you less.

The point is, we're advising you to sell the car promptly not because it is a way to attack the car loan first, but because on your income you can't afford to own a car like that. (For people on this site with six figure incomes, my advice is that a $10,000 car is the fanciest one they should consider owning until they have over a million dollars of savings in their bank accounts / retirement plans -- but you don't have a six-figure income, so you need to scale down.) It is slightly sad you can't use some of the sales proceeds to retire even higher interest debt, instead of the cheaper car loan, but that's life.

Having sold the car (and been forced to retire the car loan in the process), your expenses will be lower meaning you will have greater disposable income and free cash flow every month. Of course, when thinking about what to do with free cash flow when you carry hair-on-fire credit card debt, the usual pieces of advice are either (a) put everything into the highest interest loan, because that is mathematically the correct answer or (b) set up a Dave Ramsey snowball and attack the smallest loan first, so you score a quick victory, improve your motivation, cut out a requirement monthly payment, and then turn to the next biggest loan. If strategy (b) is what keeps you upbeat and motivated then by all means go for it!
« Last Edit: March 08, 2018, 11:56:19 AM by Ben Kurtz »

civil4life

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 272
    • My Journal
Re: Kinda Stuck...Pants-On-Fire Situation
« Reply #28 on: March 08, 2018, 11:04:08 AM »
As far as side hustles...putting ads on craigslist to fix computers, other internet freelance, work fast food or grocery store, anything for extra income.

You mentioned some possible larger expenses coming up (Dress Shoes)...keep your eyes open for deals on craigslist, letgo, facebook etc.  Also getting weight lifting equipment should be fairly easy to find used.

The motorcycle is definitely a step up.  You are getting out of the winter what about a good old fashion bicycle?  That would definitely help with the endurance for the police/firefighter training.

How is your credit score?  Would you qualify for a good balance transfer card to get 12 to 18 months no interest?

Also, take advantage of the time you have left on your parents health insurance.  Get a physical, go to the dentist, etc.  Get an eye exam.  Just because you are healthy does not mean you should never see a doctor.  The best medicine is preventative.

Potterquilter

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 113
Re: Kinda Stuck...Pants-On-Fire Situation
« Reply #29 on: March 08, 2018, 05:42:04 PM »
Can you get a very part time job at he gym?  There must be some kind of check in person. You might get a free membership out of it too. 

Hope your truck sells soon.  Agree motorcycle would be much cheaper.  Great idea to go to the MD now.  See if there is a free physical or wellness check under your insurance coverage. Call the company to see exactly what it would include and make sure MD office knows how to bill it.

Good luck on getting the job of your dreams. 

ltt

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 732
Re: Kinda Stuck...Pants-On-Fire Situation
« Reply #30 on: March 12, 2018, 06:34:59 AM »
I do not understand.  In your line of work, why is your employer not paying for your monthly phone expenses?

coachfrigo

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 76
Re: Kinda Stuck...Pants-On-Fire Situation
« Reply #31 on: March 13, 2018, 05:32:17 AM »
Good/bad update:

So, my boss threatened to fire me over something very trivial the other day. A gentleman I was talking to on the lot received a call, and had an emergency he had to rush to. My boss threatened to fire me because I "let" the guy leave without speaking to a manager first. That's not the kind of business I want to be in. Human beings don't have to be "let" to do anything. I think everybody, particularly on this forum, would agree with that sentiment. Anyways, he said that next time it happens, I'll have to start packing. So, basically, I could be fired at any moment now.

So I didn't work yesterday. I took the opportunity to apply for my old call center job. I hated that job. Back-to-back-to-back calls, and WAY too much sitting. Very stressful, and the days seem to last forever. The atmosphere is definitely worse there. But at least it would be more stable employment at this time.

Currently, make about 1,680 after taxes and before any bonuses at my current position. At the call center job, I'd be making a little over 1,500 after taxes and before any bonuses. Current position has nearly zero benefits. No 401k, no vacation, nothing. Current position also has me working 53 1/2 hours per week. Call center position has an HSA, a good 401k, a decent amount of vacation, and I'd only be working 40 hours per week.

The 40-hour weeks are the most enticing to me, though those 40 hours would be very stressful. At the same time, while I like the environment of the dealership far better (a lot more downtime), I can't trust that I won't be fired at any moment's notice.

I really want to become a police officer or a firefighter, and I don't want job-hopping to be on my employment record (though, it already is), but being fired would look FAR worse.

If I take the call-center job, for a period of 7 weeks, I'd have weekends off that I otherwise wouldn't, so I'd be able to do two big things: renew my First Aid/CPR/AED certification to help my job prospects with police/FD, and take the MSF course so that I can get my motorcycle license, and have my car emergency out of the way.

My plan is that I'll only have to spend a month or two at most in the call center before I get into the PD/FD, but the only thing stopping me from taking this is the fear that I DON'T get either job (or they simply wait years to hire me), and I'll be stuck in the call center job.

But, here's where I believe the call center job, despite how stressful it is, comes out ahead: I'd have enough flexibility in the schedule to take time off and "flex" my hours to different days so that I could actually attend all of these PD/FD interviews/tests. At the dealership, I basically would just have to call off to go to these things, which would get me fired.

So not really sure what to do. I think it makes more sense to go back to the call center. Better benefits, less hours, a flexible schedule to go through the police/fire hiring processes. But I just don't know if I can handle the stress of ZERO breaks between calls (other than lunch, of course).
« Last Edit: March 13, 2018, 05:33:54 AM by coachfrigo »

TVRodriguez

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 365
Re: Kinda Stuck...Pants-On-Fire Situation
« Reply #32 on: March 13, 2018, 11:55:35 AM »
Good/bad update:

So, my boss threatened to fire me over something very trivial the other day. A gentleman I was talking to on the lot received a call, and had an emergency he had to rush to. My boss threatened to fire me because I "let" the guy leave without speaking to a manager first. That's not the kind of business I want to be in. Human beings don't have to be "let" to do anything. I think everybody, particularly on this forum, would agree with that sentiment. Anyways, he said that next time it happens, I'll have to start packing. So, basically, I could be fired at any moment now.

So I didn't work yesterday. I took the opportunity to apply for my old call center job. I hated that job. Back-to-back-to-back calls, and WAY too much sitting. Very stressful, and the days seem to last forever. The atmosphere is definitely worse there. But at least it would be more stable employment at this time.

Currently, make about 1,680 after taxes and before any bonuses at my current position. At the call center job, I'd be making a little over 1,500 after taxes and before any bonuses. Current position has nearly zero benefits. No 401k, no vacation, nothing. Current position also has me working 53 1/2 hours per week. Call center position has an HSA, a good 401k, a decent amount of vacation, and I'd only be working 40 hours per week.

The 40-hour weeks are the most enticing to me, though those 40 hours would be very stressful. At the same time, while I like the environment of the dealership far better (a lot more downtime), I can't trust that I won't be fired at any moment's notice.

I really want to become a police officer or a firefighter, and I don't want job-hopping to be on my employment record (though, it already is), but being fired would look FAR worse.

If I take the call-center job, for a period of 7 weeks, I'd have weekends off that I otherwise wouldn't, so I'd be able to do two big things: renew my First Aid/CPR/AED certification to help my job prospects with police/FD, and take the MSF course so that I can get my motorcycle license, and have my car emergency out of the way.

My plan is that I'll only have to spend a month or two at most in the call center before I get into the PD/FD, but the only thing stopping me from taking this is the fear that I DON'T get either job (or they simply wait years to hire me), and I'll be stuck in the call center job.

But, here's where I believe the call center job, despite how stressful it is, comes out ahead: I'd have enough flexibility in the schedule to take time off and "flex" my hours to different days so that I could actually attend all of these PD/FD interviews/tests. At the dealership, I basically would just have to call off to go to these things, which would get me fired.

So not really sure what to do. I think it makes more sense to go back to the call center. Better benefits, less hours, a flexible schedule to go through the police/fire hiring processes. But I just don't know if I can handle the stress of ZERO breaks between calls (other than lunch, of course).

Are these your only options?  There are no other possible jobs?

If so, and if you decide to go back to the call center, you don't even have to list the car dealership on your resume, whether you quit or get fired.  Just skip over it and keep the call center alone.  Well, I guess it can depend on how long you've been away from there, but I've seen people do it.  But there is no requirement that you list every single job you've ever had on your resume.

OTOH, ask your co-workers if your boss was bluffing--if he says that kind of stuff (threatening to fire people over something trivial) all the time and never follows through.

coachfrigo

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 76
Re: Kinda Stuck...Pants-On-Fire Situation
« Reply #33 on: March 13, 2018, 06:38:11 PM »
Good/bad update:

So, my boss threatened to fire me over something very trivial the other day. A gentleman I was talking to on the lot received a call, and had an emergency he had to rush to. My boss threatened to fire me because I "let" the guy leave without speaking to a manager first. That's not the kind of business I want to be in. Human beings don't have to be "let" to do anything. I think everybody, particularly on this forum, would agree with that sentiment. Anyways, he said that next time it happens, I'll have to start packing. So, basically, I could be fired at any moment now.

So I didn't work yesterday. I took the opportunity to apply for my old call center job. I hated that job. Back-to-back-to-back calls, and WAY too much sitting. Very stressful, and the days seem to last forever. The atmosphere is definitely worse there. But at least it would be more stable employment at this time.

Currently, make about 1,680 after taxes and before any bonuses at my current position. At the call center job, I'd be making a little over 1,500 after taxes and before any bonuses. Current position has nearly zero benefits. No 401k, no vacation, nothing. Current position also has me working 53 1/2 hours per week. Call center position has an HSA, a good 401k, a decent amount of vacation, and I'd only be working 40 hours per week.

The 40-hour weeks are the most enticing to me, though those 40 hours would be very stressful. At the same time, while I like the environment of the dealership far better (a lot more downtime), I can't trust that I won't be fired at any moment's notice.

I really want to become a police officer or a firefighter, and I don't want job-hopping to be on my employment record (though, it already is), but being fired would look FAR worse.

If I take the call-center job, for a period of 7 weeks, I'd have weekends off that I otherwise wouldn't, so I'd be able to do two big things: renew my First Aid/CPR/AED certification to help my job prospects with police/FD, and take the MSF course so that I can get my motorcycle license, and have my car emergency out of the way.

My plan is that I'll only have to spend a month or two at most in the call center before I get into the PD/FD, but the only thing stopping me from taking this is the fear that I DON'T get either job (or they simply wait years to hire me), and I'll be stuck in the call center job.

But, here's where I believe the call center job, despite how stressful it is, comes out ahead: I'd have enough flexibility in the schedule to take time off and "flex" my hours to different days so that I could actually attend all of these PD/FD interviews/tests. At the dealership, I basically would just have to call off to go to these things, which would get me fired.

So not really sure what to do. I think it makes more sense to go back to the call center. Better benefits, less hours, a flexible schedule to go through the police/fire hiring processes. But I just don't know if I can handle the stress of ZERO breaks between calls (other than lunch, of course).

Are these your only options?  There are no other possible jobs?

If so, and if you decide to go back to the call center, you don't even have to list the car dealership on your resume, whether you quit or get fired.  Just skip over it and keep the call center alone.  Well, I guess it can depend on how long you've been away from there, but I've seen people do it.  But there is no requirement that you list every single job you've ever had on your resume.

OTOH, ask your co-workers if your boss was bluffing--if he says that kind of stuff (threatening to fire people over something trivial) all the time and never follows through.
It wasn't even just if he was bluffing or not. I also was not very good at the job, and there was no flexibility with the hours, which would prevent me from pursuing PD/FD jobs. Also, with extensive background checks done, you have to list ALL employment. Their background checks go through the FBI, so they WILL find out if you're lying.

Anyways, a quick update: resigned from the job about half an hour ago, filling out formal paperwork tomorrow. Ended on a good note, with no hard feelings on either side, which is always great. Call center job will absolutely suck, but it pays the bills, and gives me the flexibility I need to attend every fitness test/oral board interview/civil service exam I need to.

coachfrigo

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 76
Re: Kinda Stuck...Pants-On-Fire Situation
« Reply #34 on: June 03, 2018, 08:40:22 PM »
Long time away update. Still at the call center job. Does absolutely suck. Still have the car, which sucks more. Been trying to sell it, and had a few bites, but no nibbles. Each time a buyer is interested in the car at the listed price, they magically can only put together $3-4k less. Can't afford to eat that cost. But, the good news is that I think I'll soon be able to afford to take a loss there, as I very well may have gotten a job with the Prince William County Fire and Rescue Department.

I'm just scared it'll put me into a WORSE financial position. Sure, it pays $48k starting, but when rent + utilities jumps from $350 to $2500, that's going to hurt a lot.

Applying for MDFR (Miami-Dade) as well, just in case this doesn't work out. They have a lower starting salary, but you easily jump up much higher. I have a good chance of getting on there as well. No oral interviews, have a family member already on the department, and will be a FL certified EMT by the time the hiring process is over (and they get preference for MDFR).

Now, if I do stick with Prince William County, finding affordable housing will be HUGE. The real jump in COL will be because I won't be splitting rent at all, when I'm splitting 3 ways now. Once GF came (IF she did...), it would still only split two ways. Very real possibility that rent alone could go from $292 to $2k for me. I'd only be slightly better off financially in that aspect. Though, once I got through paramedic school, I'd also get a $6k raise, not including any normal raises. Definitely a better position than my current one.

Still would like to have MDFR, but REALLY trying to figure out how to live comfortably in Prince William County. I don't care if I live in the ghetto or not, I just don't want to be paying $1,500 in rent, no utilities included. But I have to live within the county.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2991
  • Location: Emmaus, PA
Re: Kinda Stuck...Pants-On-Fire Situation
« Reply #35 on: June 03, 2018, 08:59:12 PM »
You canít find roommates online in Maryland?

coachfrigo

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 76
Re: Kinda Stuck...Pants-On-Fire Situation
« Reply #36 on: June 03, 2018, 09:10:13 PM »
You canít find roommates online in Maryland?

Definitely don't want roommates. And I'm looking at 1br.

lhamo

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7948
  • Location: Seattle
Re: Kinda Stuck...Pants-On-Fire Situation
« Reply #37 on: June 03, 2018, 09:21:32 PM »
What towns/zip codes are you looking in, exactly?  I did a quick CL search for Manassas (largest town according to wikipedia -- have no idea of the geography) and there are plenty of options well under 2k, esp for 1br.

If you want cheaper/more flexible housing then roommates are a great way to go.  Don't understand why you wouldn't consider that, at least until you were sure the job was a keeper.


coachfrigo

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 76
Re: Kinda Stuck...Pants-On-Fire Situation
« Reply #38 on: June 03, 2018, 09:32:35 PM »
What towns/zip codes are you looking in, exactly?  I did a quick CL search for Manassas (largest town according to wikipedia -- have no idea of the geography) and there are plenty of options well under 2k, esp for 1br.

If you want cheaper/more flexible housing then roommates are a great way to go.  Don't understand why you wouldn't consider that, at least until you were sure the job was a keeper.
If affordable, I want to avoid roommates at all costs. Roommates are not the lifestyle I want to live. Unless it's my significant other.

gpyros85

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 152
Re: Kinda Stuck...Pants-On-Fire Situation
« Reply #39 on: June 03, 2018, 11:00:07 PM »
Long time away update. Still at the call center job. Does absolutely suck. Still have the car, which sucks more. Been trying to sell it, and had a few bites, but no nibbles. Each time a buyer is interested in the car at the listed price, they magically can only put together $3-4k less. Can't afford to eat that cost. But, the good news is that I think I'll soon be able to afford to take a loss there, as I very well may have gotten a job with the Prince William County Fire and Rescue Department.

I'm just scared it'll put me into a WORSE financial position. Sure, it pays $48k starting, but when rent + utilities jumps from $350 to $2500, that's going to hurt a lot.

Applying for MDFR (Miami-Dade) as well, just in case this doesn't work out. They have a lower starting salary, but you easily jump up much higher. I have a good chance of getting on there as well. No oral interviews, have a family member already on the department, and will be a FL certified EMT by the time the hiring process is over (and they get preference for MDFR).

Now, if I do stick with Prince William County, finding affordable housing will be HUGE. The real jump in COL will be because I won't be splitting rent at all, when I'm splitting 3 ways now. Once GF came (IF she did...), it would still only split two ways. Very real possibility that rent alone could go from $292 to $2k for me. I'd only be slightly better off financially in that aspect. Though, once I got through paramedic school, I'd also get a $6k raise, not including any normal raises. Definitely a better position than my current one.

Still would like to have MDFR, but REALLY trying to figure out how to live comfortably in Prince William County. I don't care if I live in the ghetto or not, I just don't want to be paying $1,500 in rent, no utilities included. But I have to live within the county.

There is a lot of programs available for first responders and housing costs, especially in HCOL areas... I would definitely ask your new employer regarding this.

coachfrigo

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 76
Re: Kinda Stuck...Pants-On-Fire Situation
« Reply #40 on: June 04, 2018, 03:17:56 PM »
Long time away update. Still at the call center job. Does absolutely suck. Still have the car, which sucks more. Been trying to sell it, and had a few bites, but no nibbles. Each time a buyer is interested in the car at the listed price, they magically can only put together $3-4k less. Can't afford to eat that cost. But, the good news is that I think I'll soon be able to afford to take a loss there, as I very well may have gotten a job with the Prince William County Fire and Rescue Department.

I'm just scared it'll put me into a WORSE financial position. Sure, it pays $48k starting, but when rent + utilities jumps from $350 to $2500, that's going to hurt a lot.

Applying for MDFR (Miami-Dade) as well, just in case this doesn't work out. They have a lower starting salary, but you easily jump up much higher. I have a good chance of getting on there as well. No oral interviews, have a family member already on the department, and will be a FL certified EMT by the time the hiring process is over (and they get preference for MDFR).

Now, if I do stick with Prince William County, finding affordable housing will be HUGE. The real jump in COL will be because I won't be splitting rent at all, when I'm splitting 3 ways now. Once GF came (IF she did...), it would still only split two ways. Very real possibility that rent alone could go from $292 to $2k for me. I'd only be slightly better off financially in that aspect. Though, once I got through paramedic school, I'd also get a $6k raise, not including any normal raises. Definitely a better position than my current one.

Still would like to have MDFR, but REALLY trying to figure out how to live comfortably in Prince William County. I don't care if I live in the ghetto or not, I just don't want to be paying $1,500 in rent, no utilities included. But I have to live within the county.

There is a lot of programs available for first responders and housing costs, especially in HCOL areas... I would definitely ask your new employer regarding this.
I'll have to look into this. I see that HUD has Good Neighbor or something. But none in Prince William, and not sure I'm ready ti PURCHASE yet.

civil4life

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 272
    • My Journal
Re: Kinda Stuck...Pants-On-Fire Situation
« Reply #41 on: June 04, 2018, 05:58:11 PM »
What is the demand for first responders in general?  I thought that they were in fairly high demand.  Is the VA just the first offer you have received?  If you skipped on the VA job and did not get the MDFD what other opportunities are out there.

Money is important, but where you live is important too.  There is a big difference between VA and FL.

Sounds like you have family in FL.  Have you done research to see what other municipalities in FL have openings?  Also, closer nearby states.

coachfrigo

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 76
Re: Kinda Stuck...Pants-On-Fire Situation
« Reply #42 on: June 04, 2018, 07:00:43 PM »
What is the demand for first responders in general?  I thought that they were in fairly high demand.  Is the VA just the first offer you have received?  If you skipped on the VA job and did not get the MDFD what other opportunities are out there.

Money is important, but where you live is important too.  There is a big difference between VA and FL.

Sounds like you have family in FL.  Have you done research to see what other municipalities in FL have openings?  Also, closer nearby states.
No others in Florida I qualify for to apply, since not Florida certified firefighter. PWC would be first offer, but I have to take the guaranteed job. Not in the financial positron to decline offers when I can barely pay rent.

Also applied for Fairfax and Indianapolis.

coachfrigo

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 76
Re: Kinda Stuck...Pants-On-Fire Situation
« Reply #43 on: June 06, 2018, 10:01:22 AM »
I can't seem to find the info online, but I believe PWC has residency requirements, and there aren't any HUD homes in PWC. That's unfortunate, because that would be HUGE for my long-term savings.

coachfrigo

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 76
Re: Kinda Stuck...Pants-On-Fire Situation
« Reply #44 on: June 12, 2018, 11:12:10 AM »
Found the info, and NO residency requirements. If I get this job (conditional offer, waiting for call back regarding polygraph exam), I may be looking for HUD homes after probationary period if I love the area.

Veritasvosliberabit

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 26
Re: Kinda Stuck...Pants-On-Fire Situation
« Reply #45 on: June 21, 2018, 11:27:44 AM »
You're doing some good things here, but you're also your own worst enemy.

-not prioritizing debt by interest rate
-not downgrading cell phone (lifestyle issue)
-need your specific gym (lifestyle issue)
-not willing to take second job (?)
-refusal to get roommates (lifestyle issue)

People are giving you great advice here.  At your current level of income, and with your large amount of debt, you can't afford to have "lifestyle" issues.  That's the hard truth.

Also: if your putting all your eggs in the police/fire path, and those paths require a fitness test that you aren't sure if you'll pass, is your current gym/workout routine the right one?  You've also mentioned gaining weight recently.  It costs nothing to go for a run.

coachfrigo

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 76
Re: Kinda Stuck...Pants-On-Fire Situation
« Reply #46 on: July 03, 2018, 07:10:47 AM »
Also: if your putting all your eggs in the police/fire path, and those paths require a fitness test that you aren't sure if you'll pass, is your current gym/workout routine the right one?  You've also mentioned gaining weight recently.  It costs nothing to go for a run.

Not sure if I mentioned it already or not, but I did pass my fitness tests. Still have a couple others to do, but they'll be the exact same test that I already easily passed.

Two departments that are the most realistic now are PWC and Indianapolis. PWC is a nice area,  but Indy is a dream dept. 20-year retirement (as opposed to 25 at PWC, and 30 at MDFR), great pay, lower cost of living than even where I am now. Plenty of HUD homes too, which could secure my financial future.

Right now, biggest priority, even more than worrying about any of my finances (not saying I'll ignore them, obviously), is studying my butt off to get nationally certified as an EMT. A bit behind on the material due to a few technical issues, but going to really hammer down on it, get certified, and get one of these careers.

They're all good choices, IMO.

reeshau

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 178
  • Location: Dublin, Ireland
Re: Kinda Stuck...Pants-On-Fire Situation
« Reply #47 on: July 03, 2018, 07:53:17 AM »
Also: if your putting all your eggs in the police/fire path, and those paths require a fitness test that you aren't sure if you'll pass, is your current gym/workout routine the right one?  You've also mentioned gaining weight recently.  It costs nothing to go for a run.

Not sure if I mentioned it already or not, but I did pass my fitness tests. Still have a couple others to do, but they'll be the exact same test that I already easily passed.

Two departments that are the most realistic now are PWC and Indianapolis. PWC is a nice area,  but Indy is a dream dept. 20-year retirement (as opposed to 25 at PWC, and 30 at MDFR), great pay, lower cost of living than even where I am now. Plenty of HUD homes too, which could secure my financial future.

Right now, biggest priority, even more than worrying about any of my finances (not saying I'll ignore them, obviously), is studying my butt off to get nationally certified as an EMT. A bit behind on the material due to a few technical issues, but going to really hammer down on it, get certified, and get one of these careers.

They're all good choices, IMO.

I loved my time in Indy.  There is also an annual firefighting convention there, too--good luck getting a hotel room with 60k firefighters in town!  Could be a good event to network and branch out from there.

patchyfacialhair

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 949
Re: Kinda Stuck...Pants-On-Fire Situation
« Reply #48 on: July 03, 2018, 12:06:03 PM »
Wherever you go, you can't afford to live alone and save enough to retire early, unless your income goes way up.

That's what comforts me when I "want" something. I can afford anything, but not everything. That saying rings true for you as well.

I hope you do get the Indy job.

coachfrigo

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 76
Re: Kinda Stuck...Pants-On-Fire Situation
« Reply #49 on: July 04, 2018, 02:34:36 PM »
Wherever you go, you can't afford to live alone and save enough to retire early, unless your income goes way up.

That's what comforts me when I "want" something. I can afford anything, but not everything. That saying rings true for you as well.

I hope you do get the Indy job.
I'll try my best. Only roommate I want is my significant other.

Anyways, STILL trying to sell my car. Dealers will only offer invoice (payoff is 8.5k, highest offer of 8.6k), which isn't enough profit to get another vehicle, which I definitely need.

Left call center for a job at Chick Fil-A, making $13/hr. Trying to get my Linux laptop to work again so I can sell my 13" MacBook Air. Also, going to be selling my old sports cards. Hopefully those, coupled with selling my car, allow me to get a new enough car to where I can still drive for Uber with it (application accepted yesterday).

Going to be a waiting game for 6+ months until any of the fire academies start, so really need to get rid of car payment and high insurance.

Landlord was having issues paying his property taxes, and sold our condo. Won't give us our security deposit back, and new landlord demanding a new one. So, it would be a better decision anyways, but most likely moving back in with my parents temporarily. That will save me a ton on rent and utilities. Even food. I tell them not to buy my food, but they do anyways. I'm definitely not complaining, and greatly appreciate it.

Either way, my part of the deposit was $292, and I'll get it back one way or another. Will most likely have to send a letter threatening legal action.

With lower insurance, no car payment, no rent or utilities, and I've also deferred my private loan for a few months (unfortunately, didn't have a choice), I think I'll be okay. When I hopefully get this Indy job, I'll be making enough to be financially secure forever.