Author Topic: Reader Case Study - $231k in debt and need help!  (Read 47661 times)

Vindicated

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Re: Reader Case Study - $231k in debt and need help!
« Reply #150 on: February 02, 2017, 12:40:17 PM »
Keep it up, Dashh!

I'm posting to follow your journey.

I'd like to second the idea of a debt drawing.  I am doing one as well.  It's meditative and motivating!

What city/state do you live in, or are planning to move to?  Sorry if I missed this somewhere before.
My MMM Journal: https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/journals/my-almost-perfect-life-experience/

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dashh

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Re: Reader Case Study - $231k in debt and need help!
« Reply #151 on: February 08, 2017, 08:45:52 PM »
Keep it up, Dashh!

I'm posting to follow your journey.

I'd like to second the idea of a debt drawing.  I am doing one as well.  It's meditative and motivating!

What city/state do you live in, or are planning to move to?  Sorry if I missed this somewhere before.

Thanks Vindicated!

We are located around the Raleigh area of NC. 


dashh

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Re: Reader Case Study - $231k in debt and need help!
« Reply #152 on: February 08, 2017, 09:02:59 PM »
So the DW and I have made some more progress on our budget.  We canceled the house cleaner, dog wellness plan, reduced our tithing and the DW agreed to forgo the nail salon! 

I am planning on listing my truck for sale on Craigslist this weekend.  I was going to run by Carmax just to see what they would offer me, but I am pretty sure I can get more by selling on CL.  I have found a few nice Honda Civics on CL for $4,500 - $5,000.  The wife is not quite ready to give up the Pilot just yet so that will take some more discussion.  It would really help to get rid of it though to save $515/mo and knock out $25k of debt (not to mention the gas guzzling). 

Baby steps...I believe I am going to start a journal to share more of our journey.  I think it would help me to stay on track and we can use all the support we can get!

PJ

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Re: Reader Case Study - $231k in debt and need help!
« Reply #153 on: February 08, 2017, 09:51:04 PM »
Great to look back at your first post and see where you've followed up on some of the things you identified right at the beginning.  It's only been a couple of weeks, and you're making your way right through that list! 

Good for you, and keep up the good work.
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Vindicated

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Re: Reader Case Study - $231k in debt and need help!
« Reply #154 on: February 09, 2017, 06:17:02 AM »
Baby steps...I believe I am going to start a journal to share more of our journey.  I think it would help me to stay on track and we can use all the support we can get!

I'll keep an eye out for your journal!  Keep trimming that fat!
My MMM Journal: https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/journals/my-almost-perfect-life-experience/

"Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck.” - Dalai Lama

jessicat

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Re: Reader Case Study - $231k in debt and need help!
« Reply #155 on: February 09, 2017, 06:36:48 AM »
I am excited for you and your wife.  You guys can do this and you are changing the way you view money.  You are choosing happiness.  You will love the way it feels when all of your debt is gone.

ysette9

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Re: Reader Case Study - $231k in debt and need help!
« Reply #156 on: February 09, 2017, 06:43:55 AM »
You're making good steps. Congrats! Keep it up and keep posting so we can cheer you on.
"It'll be great!"

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Re: Reader Case Study - $231k in debt and need help!
« Reply #157 on: February 09, 2017, 08:52:34 AM »
Posting to follow.  I'm inspired by your determination to not give up and tackle a very scary pile of debt.  It will be a long haul but in accordance with the principles of Mustachianism, simplifying your lifestyle and living more frugally should actually make you happier, healthier, and wealthier.  Good luck!

kkenn

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Re: Reader Case Study - $231k in debt and need help!
« Reply #158 on: February 09, 2017, 10:23:28 AM »
Good luck Dashh! Rooting for you from California! You can do this :) 

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Step37

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Re: Reader Case Study - $231k in debt and need help!
« Reply #159 on: February 09, 2017, 08:09:22 PM »
Posting to follow.  I'm inspired by your determination to not give up and tackle a very scary pile of debt.  It will be a long haul but in accordance with the principles of Mustachianism, simplifying your lifestyle and living more frugally should actually make you happier, healthier, and wealthier.  Good luck!

+1 - you seem to have the right attitude about this! :)
"Not wanting something is as good as possessing it." ~Donald Horban

dashh

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Re: Reader Case Study - $231k in debt and need help!
« Reply #160 on: February 16, 2017, 12:50:11 PM »
Hello all,

I wanted to post an update regarding our progress and also to just share some of things I have been going through:

1)    Monthly Budget:  The monthly budget cuts have gone really well with us shaving around $1K/month.  We are tracking all of our expenditures with YNAB and things are going pretty good.  I am really happy that we were able to cancel all of the Y early/after care which is saving us $277/mo!  The bus is working out great for our son.  We still need to tighten up our grocery/eating out as I had not factored in my wife’s café at work.  She usually eats lunch there (at a discount) and sometimes brings home meals for dinner.  We also still have money budgeted ($100) for eating out, but need to bring it down even more.  That is one of my issues that I have to lead on.  I did take the tip that someone posted about buying cheaper frozen pizzas to have on hand.  Sometimes we get home and are spend and just order pizza but instead I told my wife we could just cook the frozen pizzas for much less cost.  Another area I can help with is with my soda/junk food problem.  Not only does it cost us money at the grocery store, but it is terrible for my health.  Not to mention my oldest son has already been influenced by my setting a very bad example about eating and drinking junk.  I feel really bad about it and must make some changes.  If anyone here has been able to change your habits regarding soda/junk food/fast food I would really appreciate any tips.

2)   Autos:   So I was supposed to get my truck ready to sell last weekend.  My wife was out of town with the kids which gave me a chance to clean it up and take pictures to post on CL.  I found myself avoiding it and ended up cleaning the entire garage and house instead.  My internal dialogue went something like this, “I worked hard for many years to get this truck paid off and I deserve to keep it,” and “this truck has been very helpful in my house flipping business and I am going to need it in the future,” and “what if I buy a lemon and have to spend more money to fix it?”  I think there is a bit of truth in all of these but the bottom line is I have equity in that truck that can help me get out of debt!  My entitled mindset really kicked in and I started to rationalize keeping it.  I told my wife I changed my mind and she came up with her own rationalizations to not sell it as well.  But then she said something that made me think – she said now I know how she was emotionally tied to our house since I was emotionally tied to my truck.  That made me think and it just felt wrong to not sell it.  What message is that sending to her?  I am supposed to be leading this and committing to it.  The past few days I have thought more about it and I know I need to sell it.  I think part of me is also hung up on the fact that my wife does not want to sell her Pilot.  My plan was to use $5k of the $13k or so I can get for my truck to buy me a car and then use the rest to buy her something else.   That way we can sell the Pilot and get rid of $25k of debt and a $515/mo payment.  So I don’t want to sell my truck and use the money to pay off other debt because then I will not have the money to buy her another car if we can ever agree on selling it.  I am open to suggestions here.  I know I just need to start with selling the truck (which I still plan to do) but should I pay off some debt or hold the money for another car?

3)   House:  Where do I begin – we had agreed to pretty much put this on hold and look at options depending on where I land on the job front.  However, this weekend while deciding I didn’t want to sell the truck I also did a complete 180 on the house too.  It is like my old mindset just kicked in and said “screw it we are staying and I am not selling my truck…we deserve all of this and will just make the budget changes and take 5 years to pay this all off.”  A big part of that mindset is my job/career.  I have always resisted accounting/finance for some reason and when I got into real estate flipping thought that was what I wanted to do.  I really enjoy it and it is great but I just cannot make that much money at it right now.  So a part of me is saying to suck it up, get a job in finance that I can tolerate and will help us get out of debt faster and move forward.  The other part is saying keep the house and try to get a job closer to home (which will not pay as much IF I can find one) and still pursue this real estate dream.  The problem is the real estate stuff is part of the reason we are in this mess.  I need to keep it as a side hustle and just get a job that can get us out of this hole.  And that job will most likely be closer to my wife’s work which puts us back where we started with the commutes.  So it would make sense for the house to go too and we move closer.  Anyway I know I am not helping things with my wife if I flip flop on this and she is just going to be confused and frustrated (and much less likely to want to sell and move). 

So we have made progress on the budget cuts but not so much on the things that will really speed up the process for us financially and in terms of quality of life.  I think once I looked at the snowball calculator and saw that we could keep the house and cars and still be debt free in around 5 years it really messed with my head and mindset.  I am just struggling with this back and forth in my head.   

This ended up being longer than I had planned so thanks for reading and for any advice as always!

nereo

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Re: Reader Case Study - $231k in debt and need help!
« Reply #161 on: February 16, 2017, 12:58:48 PM »
Quote
If anyone here has been able to change your habits regarding soda/junk food/fast food I would really appreciate any tips.

Awesome update! 
Regarding avoiding junk food/fast food, I first had to realize that I wound up eating junk food because I was hungry, and it was fast, and it was simple.
My solution early on was better planning and having a small arsenal of ready-to-heat meals.  It's often about the same amount of work to prepare 4 lasagnas and freeze 3 then it is just to make one.  There's a whole list of things that can be prepped ahead and then frozen (you've already found frozen pizzas).  Most of the time our ready-to-cook meals take less time plate-to-table than if we ordered takeout.  We'll spend 2 or 3 sundays per month bulk-prepping meals.

We also always make enough for to take for lunch, eliminating the need/desire to buy lunches at work.

Regarding soda - just don't buy it.  I drink seltzer water + lime/lemon most of the time (yes, I have a sodastream), or plain old water.
"Do not confuse complexity with superiority"

homestead neohio

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Re: Reader Case Study - $231k in debt and need help!
« Reply #162 on: February 16, 2017, 01:18:37 PM »
If anyone here has been able to change your habits regarding soda/junk food/fast food I would really appreciate any tips.
...
Anyway I know I am not helping things with my wife if I flip flop on this and she is just going to be confused and frustrated (and much less likely to want to sell and move). 

Great update, dashh. 

For my family it was easy to change diets after realizing how terrible the industrial food complex is.  This happened slowly over time through reading (try "Salt, Sugar, Fat") and watching entertaining and disturbing documentaries ("Fast Food Nation").  There are lots of others.

If you can do your flip-flopping on this thread, we can help you think through this stuff without exposing the DW to the confusion/frustration.  Or let her see that this is hard for you, too, but so important you still go through with it.  You certainly haven't squandered any opportunities, you are just doubting some major decisions before pulling the trigger.  Doubt away, re-think, but ultimately make the best decisions for future you, instead of falling for smoke and mirrors and re-re-re-mortgaging your future.


horsepoor

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Re: Reader Case Study - $231k in debt and need help!
« Reply #163 on: February 16, 2017, 01:22:15 PM »
http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/help-me-regain-my-health/msg1405572/#msg1405572

This thread has lots of good info on improving dietary habits.

Great work on cutting your budget down.  You're going  to see results so quickly as those crazier interest rate debts get knocked out, and you gain momentum!

pachnik

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Re: Reader Case Study - $231k in debt and need help!
« Reply #164 on: February 16, 2017, 01:23:06 PM »
Re:  soda.

In my 20's I used to drink a litre of diet Pepsi per day.  I stopped by switching to club soda for a little while, then to mineral water and then to plain tap water.   I never went back to drinking pop or soda.  It is really bad for you - stains your teeth, can create cavities, and IIRC, there is a chemical in it that leaches calcium from your bones.  So just bad stuff all around.

Good luck!!!!   

Also, planning really helps me stay away from junk food.  One thing I always do is keep some almonds/trail mix in a container in my desk at work.  If my lunch isn't enough or i get hungry, then I just eat that rather than buy a snack from a coffee shop or corner store.   

FrozenBits

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Re: Reader Case Study - $231k in debt and need help!
« Reply #165 on: February 16, 2017, 01:34:56 PM »
Congrats on making progress with the budget!  I still say sell the truck and use the money to buy a cheaper car or two that will replace one or both of your vehicles.  If I were you I would just take it one step at a time and focus on replacing your truck for now and freeing up some cash.  You can figure out the wife's vehicle when the time comes.  Progress is made one small step at a time.  You got this!

marty998

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Re: Reader Case Study - $231k in debt and need help!
« Reply #166 on: February 16, 2017, 01:45:21 PM »
Congrats for starting to turn things around dashh. Keep it up and stay motivated and you'll be out of this hole before you know it!

Step37

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Re: Reader Case Study - $231k in debt and need help!
« Reply #167 on: February 16, 2017, 02:15:48 PM »
Sounds like good progress. When you sell the truck and buy a more mustache-friendly vehicle for yourself, could you pay the remaining extra funds against your wife's Pilot? Then the equity would be there for when she's ready to sell (or at least it would be paid off more quickly). Having the cash tied up in the Pilot would give you less flexibility to jump on good deal on a different vehicle if it came available, but if you think she's going to take a long time to make this move, it could be a reasonable compromise and keep the funds allocated where you want them. Or maybe the monthly payment could be lowered by paying a lump sum?
"Not wanting something is as good as possessing it." ~Donald Horban

galliver

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Re: Reader Case Study - $231k in debt and need help!
« Reply #168 on: February 16, 2017, 02:17:28 PM »
If anyone here has been able to change your habits regarding soda/junk food/fast food I would really appreciate any tips.

The simplest (and I'm not saying easiest) way is to not buy it. Not bring it in your home in the first place. Growing up, with rare exceptions, we'd only have chips and soda at parties (sometimes picnics/barbeques). They weren't an everyday snack. Having that attitude made it easier to instill a similar rule for myself as an adult (after developing some less-than-stellar habits in college, heh). Point is, 100% prohibition probably won't work, but treating these things as truly rare indulgences rather than something you pick up weekly will drastically decrease consumption. Up to you what your rules are. I do like having some food groups reserved for parties/gatherings.

For sodas, I personally am not a huge fan of fizzy and/or extremely artificial flavors, but I do like a flavored/sweetened beverage now and then...however, I limit myself to one on normal days (i.e. non-celebrations/gatherings) whether it's a glass of juice or ginger beer, beer or cider, glass of wine, etc and I don't always have that. Bf and I might split a bottle of wine on weekend... Other things I like to do are homemade iced tea or lemonade (I add far less sugar than is in the packaged stuff), flavored water (add cucumber, herbs like basil or mint, citrus, berries, etc and just sit it in the fridge a few hours up to a few days...feels very fancy IMO), or flavored fizzy water like LaCroix. The last is not cheaper than soda, but if you like it less, even as it fulfills your desire for bubbles you'll likely consume less and less of it. Finally, I do drink black tea in basically unlimited quantities whenever I want, as well as water of course.

Re: your 2) and 3)....it's ultimately up to you what your priorities are. People here will likely try to convince you to sell your house/car/etc but the real question is: what do you want more: to be out of debt sooner or to have these things? And if your answer is "the latter and I'm willing to cut the rest of the budget and scrimp for 5 years"...there's not a lot of point in convincing you otherwise, I think.

frugaldoc

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Re: Reader Case Study - $231k in debt and need help!
« Reply #169 on: February 16, 2017, 02:28:11 PM »
Hello all,

I wanted to post an update regarding our progress and also to just share some of things I have been going through:

1)    Monthly Budget:  The monthly budget cuts have gone really well with us shaving around $1K/month.  We are tracking all of our expenditures with YNAB and things are going pretty good.  I am really happy that we were able to cancel all of the Y early/after care which is saving us $277/mo!  The bus is working out great for our son.  We still need to tighten up our grocery/eating out as I had not factored in my wife’s café at work.  She usually eats lunch there (at a discount) and sometimes brings home meals for dinner.  We also still have money budgeted ($100) for eating out, but need to bring it down even more.  That is one of my issues that I have to lead on.  I did take the tip that someone posted about buying cheaper frozen pizzas to have on hand.  Sometimes we get home and are spend and just order pizza but instead I told my wife we could just cook the frozen pizzas for much less cost.  Another area I can help with is with my soda/junk food problem.  Not only does it cost us money at the grocery store, but it is terrible for my health.  Not to mention my oldest son has already been influenced by my setting a very bad example about eating and drinking junk.  I feel really bad about it and must make some changes.  If anyone here has been able to change your habits regarding soda/junk food/fast food I would really appreciate any tips.

2)   Autos:   So I was supposed to get my truck ready to sell last weekend.  My wife was out of town with the kids which gave me a chance to clean it up and take pictures to post on CL.  I found myself avoiding it and ended up cleaning the entire garage and house instead.  My internal dialogue went something like this, “I worked hard for many years to get this truck paid off and I deserve to keep it,” and “this truck has been very helpful in my house flipping business and I am going to need it in the future,” and “what if I buy a lemon and have to spend more money to fix it?”  I think there is a bit of truth in all of these but the bottom line is I have equity in that truck that can help me get out of debt!  My entitled mindset really kicked in and I started to rationalize keeping it.  I told my wife I changed my mind and she came up with her own rationalizations to not sell it as well.  But then she said something that made me think – she said now I know how she was emotionally tied to our house since I was emotionally tied to my truck.  That made me think and it just felt wrong to not sell it.  What message is that sending to her?  I am supposed to be leading this and committing to it.  The past few days I have thought more about it and I know I need to sell it.  I think part of me is also hung up on the fact that my wife does not want to sell her Pilot.  My plan was to use $5k of the $13k or so I can get for my truck to buy me a car and then use the rest to buy her something else.   That way we can sell the Pilot and get rid of $25k of debt and a $515/mo payment.  So I don’t want to sell my truck and use the money to pay off other debt because then I will not have the money to buy her another car if we can ever agree on selling it.  I am open to suggestions here.  I know I just need to start with selling the truck (which I still plan to do) but should I pay off some debt or hold the money for another car?

3)   House:  Where do I begin – we had agreed to pretty much put this on hold and look at options depending on where I land on the job front.  However, this weekend while deciding I didn’t want to sell the truck I also did a complete 180 on the house too.  It is like my old mindset just kicked in and said “screw it we are staying and I am not selling my truck…we deserve all of this and will just make the budget changes and take 5 years to pay this all off.”  A big part of that mindset is my job/career.  I have always resisted accounting/finance for some reason and when I got into real estate flipping thought that was what I wanted to do.  I really enjoy it and it is great but I just cannot make that much money at it right now.  So a part of me is saying to suck it up, get a job in finance that I can tolerate and will help us get out of debt faster and move forward.  The other part is saying keep the house and try to get a job closer to home (which will not pay as much IF I can find one) and still pursue this real estate dream.  The problem is the real estate stuff is part of the reason we are in this mess.  I need to keep it as a side hustle and just get a job that can get us out of this hole.  And that job will most likely be closer to my wife’s work which puts us back where we started with the commutes.  So it would make sense for the house to go too and we move closer.  Anyway I know I am not helping things with my wife if I flip flop on this and she is just going to be confused and frustrated (and much less likely to want to sell and move). 

So we have made progress on the budget cuts but not so much on the things that will really speed up the process for us financially and in terms of quality of life.  I think once I looked at the snowball calculator and saw that we could keep the house and cars and still be debt free in around 5 years it really messed with my head and mindset.  I am just struggling with this back and forth in my head.   

This ended up being longer than I had planned so thanks for reading and for any advice as always!
Tons of good stuff here. The finance stuff is easy and simple, the psychology stuff is hard and complex. You just gotta keep working through this stuff until you settle on a plan that will make you happy. I  would suggest continuing to push into the uncomfortable and see where it takes you. For me that is how I grew and changes my mindset. Keep writing, I get the feeling putting your thoughts out here is helpful to you.
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Poundwise

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Re: Reader Case Study - $231k in debt and need help!
« Reply #170 on: February 16, 2017, 03:57:19 PM »
Quote
I know I just need to start with selling the truck (which I still plan to do) but should I pay off some debt or hold the money for another car?

I'd use that money to pay off your highest interest debt.  It may take your wife some time to get to the point where she wants to sell off something, and during that time your debt will still be accumulating at high rates.

PJ

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Re: Reader Case Study - $231k in debt and need help!
« Reply #171 on: February 16, 2017, 05:53:03 PM »
Hey, just wanted to say that your self-awareness when it comes to your own thought process, and how your feelings about all these changes affect your wife's attitude, and all the stuff you talked about in your post - this is awesome!  Not awesome that you're wrestling with internal resistance, but awesome how aware of it you are.  That kind of insight can be slow and hard to come by, and some people never achieve it - they see their problems as created by society, or themselves as unluckier than others, etc.

You've got lots of decisions to make, but I'm pretty confident that you're going to be able to do what you need to do - which may include 100% of what's been suggested by people here, or only 75%, or some other number.  It's all about how fast or slow you want to go, what's right for you and for your family.

Please, keep posting.  After a seeing a couple of heartbreakingly desperate case study threads implode recently, without the people seeming to really be able to grasp the lifeline that's being offered, it's great to hear/read some positive news.
'To be human you must bear witness to justice. Justice is what love looks like in public." 
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dashh

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Re: Reader Case Study - $231k in debt and need help!
« Reply #172 on: February 16, 2017, 06:37:01 PM »
If anyone here has been able to change your habits regarding soda/junk food/fast food I would really appreciate any tips.
...
Anyway I know I am not helping things with my wife if I flip flop on this and she is just going to be confused and frustrated (and much less likely to want to sell and move). 

Great update, dashh. 

For my family it was easy to change diets after realizing how terrible the industrial food complex is.  This happened slowly over time through reading (try "Salt, Sugar, Fat") and watching entertaining and disturbing documentaries ("Fast Food Nation").  There are lots of others.

If you can do your flip-flopping on this thread, we can help you think through this stuff without exposing the DW to the confusion/frustration.  Or let her see that this is hard for you, too, but so important you still go through with it.  You certainly haven't squandered any opportunities, you are just doubting some major decisions before pulling the trigger.  Doubt away, re-think, but ultimately make the best decisions for future you, instead of falling for smoke and mirrors and re-re-re-mortgaging your future.

Thanks!  I just recently came across the "Salt, Sugar, Fat" book and listened to some interviews with the author and also just watched "Super Size Me" over the weekend which both have me thinking much harder about my diet. 

Great suggestion for me to share/bounce things off the forum first to work things out before discussing with the DW.  I really like that and will continue to post for feedback. 

dashh

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Re: Reader Case Study - $231k in debt and need help!
« Reply #173 on: February 16, 2017, 06:37:53 PM »
http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/help-me-regain-my-health/msg1405572/#msg1405572

This thread has lots of good info on improving dietary habits.

Great work on cutting your budget down.  You're going  to see results so quickly as those crazier interest rate debts get knocked out, and you gain momentum!

Thanks for the link to the health post - I will definitely check it out!


wenchsenior

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Re: Reader Case Study - $231k in debt and need help!
« Reply #174 on: February 16, 2017, 06:41:17 PM »
Most people on here will give you great suggestions, and I don't have time to do that, but it is SO EXCITING to see you really starting this process and actively engaging with the psychology of change. It's particularly gratifying given the lack of apparent progress in some of the other threads with terrible debt situations.

Remember, this is a  process of recognizing where your psychological 'traps' and bad habits are, and then focusing on them and figuring out how to defuse the traps and build better habits. You have to go through the process to make it stick, and it isn't always fun. We've been doing it for about 8 years really aggressively, and we still occasionally slip a bit. Just keep swimming/get back on the horse/pick your metaphor. 

Same with your diet. Pick one thing first, and concentrate on that. So maybe figure out how to eat out less by focusing on that for a month, then move onto the soda/junk food thing. Or the other way round, whatever. 

After you've got a few financial and health habits under control, you can stop thinking about those and concentrate on the next.  The trick is to make the new habits stick once you turn your attention to items further down on the list. Just plod along, stay focused, and pick the low hanging fruit first to make habit building easier.

Good luck! I'm excited for you!

Laura33

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Re: Reader Case Study - $231k in debt and need help!
« Reply #175 on: February 16, 2017, 07:49:00 PM »
Hey, just wanted to say that your self-awareness when it comes to your own thought process, and how your feelings about all these changes affect your wife's attitude, and all the stuff you talked about in your post - this is awesome!  Not awesome that you're wrestling with internal resistance, but awesome how aware of it you are.  That kind of insight can be slow and hard to come by, and some people never achieve it - they see their problems as created by society, or themselves as unluckier than others, etc.

You've got lots of decisions to make, but I'm pretty confident that you're going to be able to do what you need to do - which may include 100% of what's been suggested by people here, or only 75%, or some other number.  It's all about how fast or slow you want to go, what's right for you and for your family.

Please, keep posting.  After a seeing a couple of heartbreakingly desperate case study threads implode recently, without the people seeming to really be able to grasp the lifeline that's being offered, it's great to hear/read some positive news.

I second everything here.  Your self-awareness and willingness to challenge your own way of thinking is the best evidence that you will find your way through this.  Just remember:  it is your role to lead your family.  That means you make the uncomfortable, hard steps first.  It is totally natural to think, "well, if she doesn't want to, why should I do without?"  But your changes may inspire your wife to follow suit when she sees that you are still happy even with a "lesser" vehicle.  And even if it doesn't -- dude, have you looked at your interest rates lately?  :-). How good will it feel to send that extra cash off to one of those ridiculous rate loans/cards and not pay usury every month??  Do whatever you need to do to keep your eyes on the prize.  Talk/vent/kvetch/worry here, so you can go off and do great things at home.
Laugh while you can, monkey-boy

homestead neohio

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Re: Reader Case Study - $231k in debt and need help!
« Reply #176 on: February 17, 2017, 07:30:58 AM »
+1 to those who have suggested equity from your vehicle sale goes to killing high interest debt, not tied up as equity in something else you may decide to sell.

jessicat

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Re: Reader Case Study - $231k in debt and need help!
« Reply #177 on: February 17, 2017, 07:11:16 PM »
I find it interesting that our mind likes to tell us we deserve things just because we are breathing.  We don't deserve things we can't pay for in cash.  And yet our mind will try to block our progress because to our minds progress is scary because it is the unknown.  I feel like I have to fight my brain to do the stuff that is good for me and will make me happy.  So glad you are fighting your brain freaking out because you are changing.

PizzaSteve

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Re: Reader Case Study - $231k in debt and need help!
« Reply #178 on: February 17, 2017, 07:23:21 PM »
If anyone here has been able to change your habits regarding soda/junk food/fast food I would really appreciate any tips.

The simplest (and I'm not saying easiest) way is to not buy it. Not bring it in your home in the first place. Growing up, with rare exceptions, we'd only have chips and soda at parties (sometimes picnics/barbeques). They weren't an everyday snack. Having that attitude made it easier to instill a similar rule for myself as an adult (after developing some less-than-stellar habits in college, heh). Point is, 100% prohibition probably won't work, but treating these things as truly rare indulgences rather than something you pick up weekly will drastically decrease consumption. Up to you what your rules are. I do like having some food groups reserved for parties/gatherings.

For sodas, I personally am not a huge fan of fizzy and/or extremely artificial flavors, but I do like a flavored/sweetened beverage now and then...however, I limit myself to one on normal days (i.e. non-celebrations/gatherings) whether it's a glass of juice or ginger beer, beer or cider, glass of wine, etc and I don't always have that. Bf and I might split a bottle of wine on weekend... Other things I like to do are homemade iced tea or lemonade (I add far less sugar than is in the packaged stuff), flavored water (add cucumber, herbs like basil or mint, citrus, berries, etc and just sit it in the fridge a few hours up to a few days...feels very fancy IMO), or flavored fizzy water like LaCroix. The last is not cheaper than soda, but if you like it less, even as it fulfills your desire for bubbles you'll likely consume less and less of it. Finally, I do drink black tea in basically unlimited quantities whenever I want, as well as water of course.

Re: your 2) and 3)....it's ultimately up to you what your priorities are. People here will likely try to convince you to sell your house/car/etc but the real question is: what do you want more: to be out of debt sooner or to have these things? And if your answer is "the latter and I'm willing to cut the rest of the budget and scrimp for 5 years"...there's not a lot of point in convincing you otherwise, I think.
A tried and true method is to simply not even allow yourself to walk down the soda, chips, cookie aisles at the grocery store.  My wife and i go to the veggies, meat, and occasionally flour/sugar/spices aisles, grab our eggs and dairy and are out.  We dont even walk down those rows and rarely hit the frozen section, because it is also full of unhealthy, processed things.  It takes 1-2 hours to learn how to make home made pizza dough.  Even less to saute some onions until they are sweet, drain some canned tomatoes, crush them with garlic and olive oil, and grind/spice some home made sausage.  You would be shocked at how fun and cheap it is to make 4-5 pizzas on parchment paper,  stack them and freeze them.  They taste better with only a little research at somewhere like a home pizza site,  so you can even improve on frozen in both cost, quality and healthiness (try less cheese and some home made pesto, for example).
All posts are opinions of the author subject to independent verification by the reader.  No representations of fact are asserted regarding commercial products or services.

Neustache

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Re: Reader Case Study - $231k in debt and need help!
« Reply #179 on: February 18, 2017, 09:02:31 PM »
Re:  soda.

In my 20's I used to drink a litre of diet Pepsi per day.  I stopped by switching to club soda for a little while, then to mineral water and then to plain tap water.   I never went back to drinking pop or soda.  It is really bad for you - stains your teeth, can create cavities, and IIRC, there is a chemical in it that leaches calcium from your bones.  So just bad stuff all around.

Good luck!!!!   

Also, planning really helps me stay away from junk food.  One thing I always do is keep some almonds/trail mix in a container in my desk at work.  If my lunch isn't enough or i get hungry, then I just eat that rather than buy a snack from a coffee shop or corner store.


Yes!  Food chain yourself to plain water by going a soda<carbonated water (no sugar)<water route.  I get carbonated water (again, no sugar or fake sugar) and it's amazing how a little carbonation and flavoring is still such a treat to me. 


J_Stache

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Re: Reader Case Study - $231k in debt and need help!
« Reply #180 on: February 19, 2017, 07:39:54 PM »
I know I just need to start with selling the truck (which I still plan to do) but should I pay off some debt or hold the money for another car?
Both options are good.  Let your wife know that the extra money from selling your truck can be used for a replacement vehicle for her or will be put towards debt repayment.  Convince her to look at some replacement vehicles, but let her know that the decision to buy vs. stick with what she has is completely up to her.

baburu

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Re: Reader Case Study - $231k in debt and need help!
« Reply #181 on: February 20, 2017, 10:01:11 AM »
dashh, I just wanted to say that your frankness is really inspiring. And congratulation to you both on the excellent work in reducing expenses already!

I agree with others here in that you have to set the example. In my case, I have found that DW sometimes doesn't immediately take to an idea, but after meditating on it and seeing initial results, she eagerly comes onboard. That's how we avoided buying a house or condo a few years ago in the biggest boom/bust cycle ever in Brazil, are still renting (much cheaper than buying here) are now much better prepared for when/if the time to buy comes.

You have reached this site and its ideas on your own, and reached your own conclusions (which may undergo revisions from time to time) about what to do. So you didn't need any convincing; you convinced yourself. But your wife is a different story.

Don't nag her about selling her vehicle. Sell yours first and pay off some debt, thereby reducing debt, monthly payments and interest, and gas costs. That way she'll see that improving the family's financial situation really matters to you, even if it means getting rid of things you are attached to.

pachnik

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Re: Reader Case Study - $231k in debt and need help!
« Reply #182 on: February 20, 2017, 10:09:10 AM »
dashh, I just wanted to say that your frankness is really inspiring. And congratulation to you both on the excellent work in reducing expenses already!

I agree with others here in that you have to set the example. In my case, I have found that DW sometimes doesn't immediately take to an idea, but after meditating on it and seeing initial results, she eagerly comes onboard. That's how we avoided buying a house or condo a few years ago in the biggest boom/bust cycle ever in Brazil, are still renting (much cheaper than buying here) are now much better prepared for when/if the time to buy comes.

You have reached this site and its ideas on your own, and reached your own conclusions (which may undergo revisions from time to time) about what to do. So you didn't need any convincing; you convinced yourself. But your wife is a different story.

Don't nag her about selling her vehicle. Sell yours first and pay off some debt, thereby reducing debt, monthly payments and interest, and gas costs. That way she'll see that improving the family's financial situation really matters to you, even if it means getting rid of things you are attached to.

This.  You set the example.  When I found this website,  I started to do some of things I read about people doing here:  stopped buying coffee when out (made it at home); bought lunch out much less often etc.   I never really bugged my husband about this kind of stuff because in many ways he was much less wasteful than I was. 

Fast forward a few years, my husband is reading books about investment and personal finance from the library.  I did not imagine this happening ever.  So you just get going on what you can control and see what comes of it. 

Good luck!

baburu

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Re: Reader Case Study - $231k in debt and need help!
« Reply #183 on: February 20, 2017, 11:56:44 AM »
dashh, since you're in Raleigh NC, check out this guy who lives there and retired at 33: http://rootofgood.com .

BlueHouse

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Re: Reader Case Study - $231k in debt and need help!
« Reply #184 on: February 23, 2017, 11:27:46 AM »
If anyone here has been able to change your habits regarding soda/junk food/fast food I would really appreciate any tips.
...

I have the same problems and I go in spurts.  But I find that it takes me about 3 days to change a diet habit.  I will find myself doing the fast food thing without even thinking about it, so I have to have no cash or credit cards* with me for about 3 days before the habit of driving to the fast food drive-through is gone. 

Soda -- it's really hard for me to make it through those first three days without soda, but after that, it's much easier.  I drink a LOT of tea (with caffeine and without) when I'm off soda.  I'm currently on no-soda, and I'm realizing I probably can't ever have another early-morning Diet Coke without falling right back into the habit. I love the feeling of a cold aluminum can against my teeth when the fizzy cherry liquid hits my tongue.  Guess what else I've noticed?  I have NO DESIRE for anything salty (chips, crackers) unless I'm drinking soda.  Check and see if your soda drinking causes other overeating/poor food choices and maybe that will help too.  It goes the other way too.  If I pick up a bag of chips, I can't enjoy those chips without a sweet drink...so just be aware.

Instead of ordering pizza, here's a VERY SIMPLE, and fun crock pot recipe for baked ziti.  no boiling water, no giant clean up.
http://buildyourbite.com/easy-crockpot-baked-ziti/
 And after you teach them once, your kids can make this for the family once per week.    Maybe you want to help them start a notebook of dishes that they can make.  I'm still trying to get meal planning figured out, so maybe if you can get your kids to show an interest, it will be more fun for everyone.   Another pointer for getting the kids to like home cooking:  When grating cheese or chopping vegetables, get the kids to guess when you have 1/2 cup, or whatever amount you need, and then put it in the measuring cup, it will be fun and will help get them better at estimating volumes and weights.  I wish I had learned these tips years ago!


*I've found that I use plastic mindlessly and that seems to be my weakness.  So on a somewhat regular basis, I'll purposely avoid using credit cards.  But I still want the safety/security of having one with me in case of emergency.  So I keep one of my seldom-used cards encased in plastic laminated film.  No need to have it with me most of the time and I keep it in a desk drawer.  But on these "Plastic Diet" days, I switch out my wallet for this card.  Now I'm safe, but I can't spend money unless I pull that plastic off.  I've never had to do it.   

Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand

wintertell

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Re: Reader Case Study - $231k in debt and need help!
« Reply #185 on: February 24, 2017, 05:43:18 PM »
I just want to chime in and say that I was very similar to you just 3 years ago! When I graduated from graduated school, we were 183K in debt, with over 133K in student loans, plus two car loans, and a mortgage for our mobile home. This was in our second month of marriage. I was so overwhelmed. It caused a lot of stress on my relationship, even the month after the honeymoon!

However, I found the journal section here to be a safe place to write and go back and forth, and then I tried to be all action and helpful around my husband.  Now, we are down to about 20K in debt - 6k of the original debt, plus a new-to-us car that we financed in Oct. 2016. Not perfect, but progress. (As an FYI, I live in NC too).

You can do this!!! Some folks in the journal section have decided to live life a bit more, and so are paying stuff off slowly. Some people put the petal to the metal and crush it. I would argue for the petal to the metal approach and to try a bunch of stuff and see what sticks and works for your family. Any area of personal growth requires being uncomfortable and trying new things. Reforming financial habits - at least at first - requires that uncomfortable tenacity. Take advantage of your enthusiasm now to make changes so you can see and feel progress. A good start makes the journey easier.

On trust:
But at the same time, I think your awareness that you must lead by example is right on / is key. You can lead by example, try new things (with DW's acceptance) and make a lot of progress. That will build trust -- in yourself that you can do this, and with each other, to keep each other mutually accountable. I think you need to build that financial trust between you and DW by leading with your behavior, especially given the spending history/background you gave us. So, I would start with the truck.

This series on The Simple Dollar is one of my absolute favorites in terms of reforming behavior. What Trent advocates is golden. Devote an hour a day or a week to better yourself and your family financial, by working on the emotional side of spending, or working on cutting a bill.  http://www.thesimpledollar.com/31-days-to-financial-independence-intro-and-day-1-the-shallows-and-the-deep/

The connections between health and finances:
One last thought: Now that our financial act is in order, I am turning to health. I did not have the mental capabitliy to deeply focus on two big life-changing projects at once. But I find that the same behaviors that led to pay off my debt apply in a similar-but-not-the-same way to weight loss.

The biggest thing that crosses over is:
1) This is a journey that requirements a very big "why", to keep going in the long term. Why pay off the debt? Do you want to retire? Do you want to help your kids through college? Do you want to be a good role model for your wife and your kids? Do you want them to have healthy financial habits so they can live a rich life. What's your why??

2) The journey requirements a relentless commitment to tweaking and self-improvement. What's one behavior you can change today? What's one phone call you make to better your financial situation today?

This also means a constant, low-level drumbeat of change as you change your habits.  Change can be uncomfortable. It can also be exhilarating when you see your results. Luckily for you, you will be able to see the change through knocking your debts out one by one.

On the right method for debt payoff for you:
This is why I would consider the Dave Ramsey-like approach, so that you can have the reward of knocking debts off and seeing results. A disclaimer: I did not follow the Dave Ramsey approach. I just paid off whichever debt bothered me the most. This alternated between lowest balance and highest interest rate, depending on what I felt was achievable.

Since paying off a large sum of debt requires change over a long period of time, it might be worth it to figure out consider what method isn't the "best", but rather what motivates you (and DW) more? Knocking down debts fast (AKA snowball approach, lowest balance) or paying the least amount of money (highest interest rate) or the "emotional" approach (pay whatever sucker you hate the most).

Good luck! I will be cheering for you!
« Last Edit: February 24, 2017, 05:49:04 PM by wintertell »

COEE

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Re: Reader Case Study - $231k in debt and need help!
« Reply #186 on: February 25, 2017, 12:38:41 PM »
Wow - what a great story.  I'm rooting for you as well.

I know selling your truck and home are hard things to do.  For a long time I had had difficulty with selling our home... it was our 'home'.  We had bought it as a foreclosure and updated most of it to where we wanted it.  It was a nice home in a gated community with many geological features surrounding and butting up to a state park - stunning is quite the understatement.  We will probably never live in such a beautiful place again. 

Anywho - one day I eventually looked at our income and expenses and realized we were still barely making it - even without the debt that we paid off - Our 30 year 5.25% loan ($1800/mo), HOA $1600/year, taxes $3000/year, higher than normal utilities ($500/mo), 30 minutes from town ($30 round-trip @ $1/mile ~10x per week), etc all ate into our wealth - and I had a burning desire to FIRE.  It took me a couple years to warm up to the idea of moving, but I did last year.  I had to find a better job in another area of town before it was worth my time, but boy-oh-boy was it worth my time.

I rolled the proceeds of the house into a cheaper home with a 15 year 2.875% loan ($1400/mo), no HOA ($0/year), lower taxes ($1600/year), normal utilities ($300/mo), walking distance to work ($4 round trip when I drive (about half of the time) - So about $10 per week).  That is almost $2000 savings a month.  I didn't do the math exactly... but that's about right.  I contribute about $1000 more a month to my 401k (sadly this just offsets my previous company match), and I have about $1000 more spending money a month.

My family is WAY better off now - A very good decision for us.  It took us a while to warm up to the idea that we'd be leaving my house that I had worked so hard on, but ultimately it was worth it.  Really I wish I had done it while I was in my debt payoff stage - it would have moved much quicker.

Good luck!

dashh

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Re: Reader Case Study - $231k in debt and need help!
« Reply #187 on: February 26, 2017, 06:12:18 PM »
Hey, just wanted to say that your self-awareness when it comes to your own thought process, and how your feelings about all these changes affect your wife's attitude, and all the stuff you talked about in your post - this is awesome!  Not awesome that you're wrestling with internal resistance, but awesome how aware of it you are.  That kind of insight can be slow and hard to come by, and some people never achieve it - they see their problems as created by society, or themselves as unluckier than others, etc.

You've got lots of decisions to make, but I'm pretty confident that you're going to be able to do what you need to do - which may include 100% of what's been suggested by people here, or only 75%, or some other number.  It's all about how fast or slow you want to go, what's right for you and for your family.

Please, keep posting.  After a seeing a couple of heartbreakingly desperate case study threads implode recently, without the people seeming to really be able to grasp the lifeline that's being offered, it's great to hear/read some positive news.

Thank you for this.  Yes, I believe that I have developed pretty good self awareness over the years (which I partially credit to therapy and meditation).  My problem has always been committing and taking action once I am aware.  So that is what I have to focus on if I really want to make these changes.   

 

dashh

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Re: Reader Case Study - $231k in debt and need help!
« Reply #188 on: February 26, 2017, 06:14:30 PM »
Hey, just wanted to say that your self-awareness when it comes to your own thought process, and how your feelings about all these changes affect your wife's attitude, and all the stuff you talked about in your post - this is awesome!  Not awesome that you're wrestling with internal resistance, but awesome how aware of it you are.  That kind of insight can be slow and hard to come by, and some people never achieve it - they see their problems as created by society, or themselves as unluckier than others, etc.

You've got lots of decisions to make, but I'm pretty confident that you're going to be able to do what you need to do - which may include 100% of what's been suggested by people here, or only 75%, or some other number.  It's all about how fast or slow you want to go, what's right for you and for your family.

Please, keep posting.  After a seeing a couple of heartbreakingly desperate case study threads implode recently, without the people seeming to really be able to grasp the lifeline that's being offered, it's great to hear/read some positive news.

I second everything here.  Your self-awareness and willingness to challenge your own way of thinking is the best evidence that you will find your way through this.  Just remember:  it is your role to lead your family.  That means you make the uncomfortable, hard steps first.  It is totally natural to think, "well, if she doesn't want to, why should I do without?"  But your changes may inspire your wife to follow suit when she sees that you are still happy even with a "lesser" vehicle.  And even if it doesn't -- dude, have you looked at your interest rates lately?  :-). How good will it feel to send that extra cash off to one of those ridiculous rate loans/cards and not pay usury every month??  Do whatever you need to do to keep your eyes on the prize.  Talk/vent/kvetch/worry here, so you can go off and do great things at home.

Thanks you for this - I really appreciate it. 


dashh

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Re: Reader Case Study - $231k in debt and need help!
« Reply #189 on: February 26, 2017, 06:16:23 PM »
dashh, since you're in Raleigh NC, check out this guy who lives there and retired at 33: http://rootofgood.com .

I will definitely check out this site!

dashh

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Re: Reader Case Study - $231k in debt and need help!
« Reply #190 on: February 26, 2017, 07:43:25 PM »
I wanted to thank everyone for their continued feedback and support.  It truly helps me!  I may not respond to every post but rest assured that I am reading each one and taking it to heart.  Posting is also helpng me to process a lot of this and to become even more aware of my habits.  I wanted to give another update on the past week or so.

We had a pretty rough weekend financially.  First our plasma tv went out on Friday night and so the dilemma of what to do presented itself.  I believe the issue was the same one that happened a year of so ago and the repair would cost almost as much as a replacement.  I know buying a new tv when we are in so much debt is not a very Mustachian thing to do and will draw face punches but that is the choice we made.

I will say that in the past I would have taken this as an opportunity to upgrade tv's (larger and Ultra HD) but I chose the cheapest replacement I could find (that had good reviews) which was a 50" LED for $400 at Walmart.  Again I know this was probably a face punchable decision so I am prepared.

Then on Saturday we took the Pilot in for a routine oil change ($70 which is ridiculous enough since Honda recommends synthetic oil) and ended up dropping $900.  Turns out we needed tires and a new battery plus the front wheel bearings are damaged which will cost another $600.  I passed on the wheel bearings because frankly I didn't trust the shop.  I checked out our warranty and luckily it is covered under the powertrain so IF we truly need the bearings it should be covered by Honda.  That was a relief but I certainly wasn't planning on the tires/battery this month but life happens.

I have not made much progress on the health front yet (soda/junk food) but I have started to notice my habits/patterns.  In terms of soda, I definitely see a pattern of only wanting it when I eat certain foods.  In other words, when I eat something healthier I would prefer to have water or tea.  But if I am going to have pizza, burgers, etc. (bascially fast food) I have to have a soda.  The other time I always have one is in the evenings when I snack while watching tv (junk food and a soda).  This habit has been around a long time and is really bad for my health in general, but especially since I have had issues with acid reflux.  For acid reflux, the worst thing I can do is eat anything before bed but especially not junk food and soda.  Yet my habit persists.  I am also noticing that my craving for fast food is many times tied to me feeling depressed or worn out during the work week.  When I get that feeling it seems like I focus on eating out because it makes me feel better at least at first, but then later I think I crash and feel worse.  It is very interesting to become more aware of these patterns especially since in the past I just saw it all as normal.  I really think a lot of this is tied to my issues with job/career which I am going to make a separate post about for advice.  And another part is not working out - I use to several days a week until I lost my job and fell out of the routine.  So I feel bad physically since I get very little activity, sit in a cubicle all day and put a lot of crap into my body.  I then wonder why I have no energy and just want to crash when I get home from my 1 hour commute each night. 

Anyway not the greatest week (our oldest son also had the flu) but we are trying to stay focused.  I did listen to the MMM inteview on the Tim Ferriss podcast and that was very inspiring and motivating.     
« Last Edit: February 26, 2017, 07:54:37 PM by dashh »

OutOfTheAbyss

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Re: Reader Case Study - $231k in debt and need help!
« Reply #191 on: February 27, 2017, 05:00:30 AM »
I had a similar (slightly less dire) situation. I think it's even more embarrassing when you work in finance and end up in this situation- that's how I felt. And yes, every finance job I've held requires a credit check, so bankruptcy just sounds like more fees to an attorney and impaired income.

I sold my 2015 sports car and bought a used 2007 sedan, which eliminated $1000 a month in payments. I had to finance the gap because like you, the commute was long. Still, using Lending Club to finance the gap took off years off payments. It will be gone soon.

I got a 7% interest personal loan from Sofi and consolidated over 50k in 14-24% interest credit cards. I see it dip month after month on Mint and it feels amazing.

I only buy "new with tags" clothes on Ebay. No new clothing from retail at all. If I buy something it's because my work shoes wore out. I also play a game to try to offset it anywhere else.

Think about your commute. I used to earn 30% more at a job with a 2 hour each way commute. The depression and exhaustion from that miserable lifestyle is what prompted me to buy a lot of stuff- clothes, fancy car, spa treatments- I didn't need. I took a lower paying job closer to home and the benefits offset a lot- ($600 less per month in health insurance, extra 4% 401K contributions, thousands less in car maintenance yearly..)  You should look into this. I feel human again, feel more in control of every aspect of my life, and the benefits to my family are priceless. I also have time to cook now and save money and we eat as well as if we were going out.

Declutter- read the Minimalists and similar articles. What can you donate, sell, part with? Look at everything and see if it brings you more enjoyment than getting rid of debt would. I sold a bunch of stuff on Craigslist, ebay, etc. It's also much easier to keep your house clean the less stuff is in it. It's amazing how many clothes I had with tags, brand new never used bike in the garage...text books sold on amazon..

I got our grocery bill down to $480 from $800. I discovered the local produce market and make alternating trips to Trader Joes and the market to buy what's cheaper at each location. I also downloaded Ibotta and my supermarket's coupon app. The trick is not to but it because you have a coupon, but to find good deals and stock up. 

I'm a fledgling compared to other people on this board, but I was able to get my credit back into the 800s (not that I intend to use it) from the high 600s from being in so much debt and refinancing it. I have a house I'd love to sell and can't yet- it's a money pit. I'd consider selling the house if you can and downsizing. I'd look at that as freedom and security and not waiting for some 4-10k expense shoe to drop on you while you're in such a precarious position.

Good luck!

Novik

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Re: Reader Case Study - $231k in debt and need help!
« Reply #192 on: February 27, 2017, 07:25:05 AM »
dashh, I just want to say that noticing and cataloging the habits you want to change and why/when they happen is such a positive step towards changing them. Congratulations on that and best of luck as you start to try and make those changes.

There's a book called The Happiness Advantage which has a chapter on changing habits, and the recommendation is basically to make it easier (mentally/physically) to do what you want to do, and harder to make the choice you'd like to avoid. For example, put the snacks/soda in the garage or basement or upstairs guest bedroom (basically far away from where you eat/watch tv). If you add even 20 seconds to how long it takes you to get them, it'll be a lot easier to avoid them. Another suggestion from the book was to create rules about new habits to avoid depleting your willpower by having to make choices (ie. I can eat snacks on days X Y and Z but only those days, and so the other days there's no argument with yourself about it).


With that out of the way, I think I do need to bring some facepunches to the table here. You are drowning in debt, unhappy with work, and you went out and bought a 50 inch TV for 400$???? Can you return it? Did you confirm the issue was the same and still expensive to fix? Would it have been that bad to step down to a 40" tv? Better yet, could you have lived without a tv for a couple weeks, watching sales, or used listings for a decent tv or projector? All these are the questions you need to start asking before you go out and use money you don't have to try to buy a brand-new luxury item.

I get it, a TV is a nice luxury. In fact, I acquired one for the first time in the last year. But I used a bank promotion related to accounts/credit card openings to get a perfectly nice 28" tv for free, that has some super luxury features like playing videos from USBs. I didn't drop 400$ one weekend on a whim because I couldn't live without a TV for a few days. The point of knowing Mustachian (or even just regular personal finance) principles, is to act on them, not to prepare for facepunches.


And then the car! I get it that you took the car in to a shop for the oil change. I don't change my own oil either right now (rented driveway + fear). But why take it to a shop you don't trust, and then proceed to spend 900$ on their recommendation, without a second opinion, when you don't trust them! With the sting of that money still in mind, now is the time to find a shop you do trust (ask friends/family), and to also price-compare who has the cheapest oil changes (the last city I lived in, it was the Honda dealer, for less than 70$ even with synthetic and in Canadian dollars).


You can dig yourself out of this hole. You can. We all believe in you. But you have to start slowing down and questioning big purchase "needs" or you're just digging yourself in deeper.
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With This Herring

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Re: Reader Case Study - $231k in debt and need help!
« Reply #193 on: February 27, 2017, 07:28:52 AM »
*snip*
We had a pretty rough weekend financially.  First our plasma tv went out on Friday night and so the dilemma of what to do presented itself.  I believe the issue was the same one that happened a year of so ago and the repair would cost almost as much as a replacement.  I know buying a new tv when we are in so much debt is not a very Mustachian thing to do and will draw face punches but that is the choice we made.

I will say that in the past I would have taken this as an opportunity to upgrade tv's (larger and Ultra HD) but I chose the cheapest replacement I could find (that had good reviews) which was a 50" LED for $400 at Walmart.  Again I know this was probably a face punchable decision so I am prepared.
*snip*

First, when, exactly, was the previous TV failure?  Is the TV that just broke the replacement that was purchased 1 year ago?  If it's possible that the TV that just broke is around 1 year old, then dig out the receipt and check!  You might still be covered by the manufacturer's warranty.

Is it something you could possibly fix yourself by looking up info on YouTube?

Why buy a new TV?  I bet with a little searching you could find a TV for much cheaper or free on CraigsList.  You wouldn't necessarily even need to settle for a heavy tube TV.  I am seeing some small flatscreens going for $20 in my area.  And, with an hour drive between work and home, you probably have two CL sites to use.

And Novik said it with the car repairs.
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frugaldoc

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Re: Reader Case Study - $231k in debt and need help!
« Reply #194 on: February 27, 2017, 08:33:42 AM »
Thanks for the follow up and good job.

The TV thing does deserve a face punch though. In addition to being a source of poisonous advertising and time wasting programming, televisions should be nearly free. Craigslist is good place to start. My last tv (Used very infrequently to watch movies) was free on Facebook. I asked my friends if anyone was wanting to get rid of an old television.

But all that aside, this was an opportunity to simply step away and realize you don't need a television. It is a meditative and philosophical exercise to not replace something when it breaks. Doing without something you think you need makes you more bad ass. Use it as a natural experiment to see if television makes you happy. I didn't realize how unhappy watching TV was making me, until I turned it off and didn't watch for a month, then 6 months, now almost never.

Kill your television my friend. Take it back if you can and live without it for a while.
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horsepoor

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Re: Reader Case Study - $231k in debt and need help!
« Reply #195 on: February 27, 2017, 09:27:45 AM »
The soda thing:

How about making a jug of iced tea each week?  You can do an herbal tea if you need a decaf drink in the evening, or just have a hot, herbal tea.  This is how I weaned myself off soda.  It was pre MMM, so I tended to buy the Unsweetened PureLeaf bottled tea for like $2, but it gives a little caffeine kick without the carbonation and sugar from Coke. 

After you return that TV and have some spare time to read instead ;) you might try reading "The End of Overeating" which goes into quite a bit of depth about how junk food is engineered to make you crave more and more.  It helped me quite a bit with getting off that train.  The nice thing is that once you break the cycle, cravings go away and it's easy to avoid eating that crap forever.  Remind yourself that it's not a real reward, and the instant gratification just leads to disappointment later.

Tires:  it's probably too late now, but last time I bought tires, I shopped for them online and purchased them from TireRack.com.  They have a list of installers with prices listed, so you choose the best price installer, and Tire Rack sends them the tires, you set up an appointment, and they mount them for you.  They often have deals like a 4th tire free, or a Visa gift card with a set of 4 or whatever.

ToTheMoon

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Re: Reader Case Study - $231k in debt and need help!
« Reply #196 on: February 27, 2017, 09:50:39 AM »
*snip*
We had a pretty rough weekend financially.  First our plasma tv went out on Friday night and so the dilemma of what to do presented itself.  I believe the issue was the same one that happened a year of so ago and the repair would cost almost as much as a replacement.  I know buying a new tv when we are in so much debt is not a very Mustachian thing to do and will draw face punches but that is the choice we made.

I will say that in the past I would have taken this as an opportunity to upgrade tv's (larger and Ultra HD) but I chose the cheapest replacement I could find (that had good reviews) which was a 50" LED for $400 at Walmart.  Again I know this was probably a face punchable decision so I am prepared.
*snip*

First, when, exactly, was the previous TV failure?  Is the TV that just broke the replacement that was purchased 1 year ago?  If it's possible that the TV that just broke is around 1 year old, then dig out the receipt and check!  You might still be covered by the manufacturer's warranty.


I would also assume that the broken TV was purchased on a credit card.  Does that particular card have any purchase protection?  I know one of ours doubles the warranty period on many goods (not sure about electronics.)

Anyhow, I agree with the other posters that running out and buying a new TV within hours of yours quitting was a huge fail.  I would go to the trouble of returning it, just to teach myself a lesson, then spend some time looking into ALL the options.  If you have a cable package, consider putting it on vacation hold for a couple of weeks and have a tv time-out while you and your wife discuss.

It takes a while until you can flex your frugality muscles, but the TV thing is like doing a workout, then hitting McDonalds on the way home! :)

MountainFlower

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Re: Reader Case Study - $231k in debt and need help!
« Reply #197 on: February 27, 2017, 12:15:28 PM »
The soda thing:

How about making a jug of iced tea each week?  You can do an herbal tea if you need a decaf drink in the evening, or just have a hot, herbal tea.  This is how I weaned myself off soda.  It was pre MMM, so I tended to buy the Unsweetened PureLeaf bottled tea for like $2, but it gives a little caffeine kick without the carbonation and sugar from Coke. 


This is how I quit drinking Diet coke as well.  My daily heartburn is now gone.  I don't like regular tea, but I discovered Tazo Zen which is a mint green tea.  I found that if I paired it with Lemon Zinger or Rasberry Zinger along with Truvia sweetener, it was pretty darn good and satisfied that caffeinated, cold drink habit.   If you can switch, you will not only save money but you'll marvel at how much less garbage/recycling you create! 

Also, I eat a ketogenic diet (low carb, high fat) and have endless energy and very few cravings.  You might find something like that or a Paleo diet will help you break the cravings, even if it's just for a month.   Listen to Jimmy Moore's Keto Clarity in your car.  PM me and I can "loan" you my copy for free from Audible if you don't have a membership. 


CmFtns

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Re: Reader Case Study - $231k in debt and need help!
« Reply #198 on: February 27, 2017, 12:53:43 PM »
Then on Saturday we took the Pilot in for a routine oil change ($70 which is ridiculous enough since Honda recommends synthetic oil) and ended up dropping $900.  Turns out we needed tires and a new battery plus the front wheel bearings are damaged which will cost another $600.  I passed on the wheel bearings because frankly I didn't trust the shop.  I checked out our warranty and luckily it is covered under the powertrain so IF we truly need the bearings it should be covered by Honda.  That was a relief but I certainly wasn't planning on the tires/battery this month but life happens.

Hey, isn't it amazing how your spendypants car just cost you $900. Its funny how the argument everyone gives for brand new nice cars is that it will be worry free... Well spendypants car uses spendypants tires and spendypants oil and probably a spendypants battery...

Dash, I don't understand how this is an "oh well life happens" moment... New tires is absolutely a non-urgent thing unless you are completely oblivious to the world. Unless you have worn your tires down to no-tread racing slicks then you have at least a couple weeks to turn down the upsell from the jiffy-lube, inspect the tires yourself, determine if they are actually worn out, and research a good cheap tire and where to buy them at the least cost.

Also, if your car started when you drove it in for an oil change then how did it need a new battery? You need a new battery when you get up and turn your car on and the battery wont start the car. Then because you are a 2 car household you can jump start the car and drive it for a battery replacement that day for a minor 2 hour inconvenience.

I believe you fell for the jiffy-lube upsell tactic here that they make all their money on. They are able to do this because most people view car repairs as absolutely essential based on the recommendation of the "expert mechanic" who understands the "incredibly complicated process" of checking the tread on the tires or the wear and tear on your serpentine belts or whatever other crap they try to sell you...

Grow that mustache and question every expense... even the "absolutely essential" ones!
« Last Edit: February 27, 2017, 12:55:57 PM by CmFtns »
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nereo

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Re: Reader Case Study - $231k in debt and need help!
« Reply #199 on: February 27, 2017, 01:08:34 PM »
Then on Saturday we took the Pilot in for a routine oil change ($70 which is ridiculous enough since Honda recommends synthetic oil) and ended up dropping $900.  Turns out we needed tires and a new battery plus the front wheel bearings are damaged which will cost another $600.  I passed on the wheel bearings because frankly I didn't trust the shop.  I checked out our warranty and luckily it is covered under the powertrain so IF we truly need the bearings it should be covered by Honda.  That was a relief but I certainly wasn't planning on the tires/battery this month but life happens.

Hey, isn't it amazing how your spendypants car just cost you $900. Its funny how the argument everyone gives for brand new nice cars is that it will be worry free... Well spendypants car uses spendypants tires and spendypants oil and probably a spendypants battery...
...
I believe you fell for the jiffy-lube upsell tactic here that they make all their money on ...

Might seem a bit harsh, but I'm with CmFtns on this one...
A quick browsing of tires available from tirerack shows you could buy 4 name-brand new tires for <$600 delivered and a battery at CostCo for $80. Add mounting and balancing fees and you're still $150 less than what you spent. Mobile1 Synthetic and a filter run $30 Walmart, and changing your own oil takes 15 minutes. And that's all assuming you needed to get all those things this week, but chances are you didn't.

We've grown up in a society that normalizes and even glorifies spending money.  Step one is to question every purchase, asking "is this truly necessary and/or will this make me happier?" It's a hard notion to dispel, but it's the first step in wealth-building.
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