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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: Help Me :) on December 29, 2017, 08:21:35 PM

Title: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Help Me :) on December 29, 2017, 08:21:35 PM
Hi...first time poster. This is a call for help. 2017 was one hell of a year. I took a job in May that I thought was great, ended up being bad. Laid off 4 weeks later and unemployed for 5 months. I live in the Silicon Valley and support myself/fiance/3 cats. My fiance works 20 hours a week and this pays some of his expenses + school loan. He is resuming school in January (his current career doesn't pay enough) - we were awarded grants for school so that's great.

I've attached a spreadsheet of my current financial situation. Remember, I'm supporting 2 people. I have no savings (gone during unemployment), no 401k, no bonds, no stock - nothing. I will have $30 left to my name (hopefully) for the next 2 weeks after I pay all of my bills (below).

I'm at a loss. My young idiotic self used my credit card too often from age 18 - 26 | I blame no one but myself (and fiance lol). Some were emergencies, car repairs, ER - a lot were living beyond my means. This year I really buckled down, got 1 large loan from SoFi to pay it all down - and all seemed well. Then I got laid off and debt accumulated $8k+ more :)...due to forabarance from 1 loan and credit cards to survive.

I just got paid today, below is my bills I have to pay. Do the calculations....

In March I will be getting a much cheaper car (and lesser car payment), going to figure out a way to get out of my Verizon phone plan, lower our internet, etc. Fiance and I have discussed all the ways we will live even MORE frugally.

I met with a bankruptcy attorney 2 weeks ago and shortly realized after that I do NOT want to live my entire 30s bankrupt, even if my debt will be gone. I am hopeful in the next 3-5 years I will have this paid off if I play my cards right.

Do you see any hope for me? I finally this year realized what a budget was. I will not be (and have not) using my credit card.

1ST - 15TH
$2392 is what I have in checking
--------------------------------------
RENT - $970
CHRYSLER - $357
XFINITY - $80
Cats - $60
GROCERIES - $240
GAS - $40 
VERIZON - $253
RENTERS INSURANCE - $12.50
LUNCH @ WORK - $54


CAR REGISTRATION - $295
------------------------
Jewlery Insurance?
WF CC?
------------------------
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: ShoulderThingThatGoesUp on December 29, 2017, 08:36:43 PM
What food do you have in the house? Eating down your pantry and freezer can be a big short-term cash flow boost if yours look like mine - but you may already have been doing that.

You can't afford to have "Lunch at Work" be a separate category from groceries.

Is the Chrysler a lease? Why is that change in March?
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Help Me :) on December 29, 2017, 08:42:46 PM
We grocery shop all the time and I eat the same dinner every evening (chicken or pasta sauce with whole wheat pasta).
I show lunch at work since I buy lunch at work. $6 a meal, or $3 if I'm eating a sandwich.

Yes a lease, it's due back in March. Will be getting a cheaper car with a $100+ less monthly payment.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: shuffler on December 29, 2017, 08:53:17 PM
What is your line of work?  If you're in software (and being in SV) then I think you can expect that $95k to grow.  The overall $30k of debt won't be an issue in the long term, certainly not worth bankruptcy, but you do have to survive the short-term and start making progress against it.

Cut the Sling TV.  Save $20.
Break your phone contract, return the phone.  (I pay ~$10/mo via AirVoice.)  Save $200-ish.
Cut the gym.  Save $19.
Cut lunch @ work.  Save $50-ish.
Cut the insurance for your ring.  Save $8-ish.

That's $307-ish.  Plus more when you return the car.

See if you can reduce your levels of coverage on your car.  Remove replacement-cost for your car.  Drive a cheap car so that you can replace it yourself if needed.

Groceries are next.
Comcast after that.

Oh, also, marry your man tomorrow, and then you can be MFJ when you pay your 2017 taxes.   ;^)
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Paul der Krake on December 29, 2017, 10:09:27 PM
Jewelry insurance... unless you run a jewelry store, that seems totally unnecessary.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Frankies Girl on December 29, 2017, 10:42:52 PM
Oh my goodness.... you and fiance need to buckle down HARD and you might do just fine, but if either one of you decides that you're not willing to give up a few luxuries, you won't make much progress.

You have hair on fire debt and are not going dig out of this without sticking to a serious no-frills budget, and/or bringing in more money. You admit you were crazy about racking up charges through your younger days, so thing to realize is that you're both going to be paying for it now by denying yourself all those luxury things you've taken for granted as necessary (like lunches at work).

Every dollar you spend now on non-essentials is a dollar that digs that debt hole deeper. You really, really need to have a complete 180 on how you view spending and debt because until you get this straight, it's too easy for you to keep trickling away $5 here, $10 there and never really get out of trouble.

Fiance needs to get or keep part time job working as many hours as they can when they are not in class, doing classwork or sleeping. It's lovely that they got grants to go back to school, but you have hair on fire debt and expecting you to shoulder the lion's share of living expenses and debts accumulated while they go to school is not fair or a great way to start out life together. You are a team, so both of you need to be working together hard as possible to get this ship back on course.

You need to consider a second job if your current one doesn't allow overtime. Anything that is close to home or your 1st job, and can provide you with extra money to throw at the debt.

Track every penny of expenses ASAP. Get Mint, YNAB whatever but you are missing way too much spending that everyone forgets about (cleaning supplies? toilet paper? soap, haircuts, clothes? Do you drink? Entertainment expenses?), and without knowing where your money is going you won't ever be able to properly stop up the bleeding and funnel the money to where it needs to go.

Cut everything that is not necessary for basic living:
NO sling tv.
No gym (check out bodyweight routines, yoga and walk/jog trails for free exercise)
No eating out at all
No lunches at work
No presents
No clothes shopping
No fancy toiletries or name brand, single serve stuff
NOTHING THAT ISN'T VITAL FOR LIVING

Insurance on jewelry is weird - how could you afford a ring that is so expensive that it requires insurance? Who paid for it? Can you return it and get a simple silver band or really ANYTHING? I am flabbergasted that you would buy (or your broke fiance) a ring that cost more than a few hundred... this is madness. You can get a "nice" ring for an anniversary when you have actual money and can afford it.

No more pets. I would not tell you to get rid of your animals, but do not spend a single penny more than necessary, and do not adopt any more until you're out of debt. Right now, assess the costs involved on their food/litter/etc., and see about finding cheaper alternatives ASAP. The big thing that people seem to forget: pets are a luxury. What happens if you have an emergency vet bill? You're screwed, because you will either have to go into even deeper debt or make a very terrible decision based solely on the fact that you can't afford their upkeep. Take as good a care of your existing pets as you can, but cut costs - Aldi for instance sells large bags of dry cat food, canned food, scoopable litter and treats even. Buying larger containers when possible will save more usually (assess the cost vs weight of product - this is important with groceries as well to assess whether the price is a good deal).

Lunch at work? No more lunches out at all and that includes at work. You say it's only $6 or even $3... that's still VERY high. Sure, not as high as going to like Panera or Chipoltle or something, but if you cook at home, pack your lunch, you can get it under $1 or closer to 50Ę/lunch easily. You are (say it with me) in HAIR ON FIRE DEBT, so saving $100/week is $400 a month, $1,200 a year. This is HUGE! 

And groceries... $500 a month on groceries for 2 people. This is INSANE. It should be closer to $250. Learn to cook simple meals. Batch cook, and freeze into portions so you have a week's worth of lunch and dinner ready to go. Shop discount grocery stores and only sales - no buying fancy stuff or convience packages. Bulk rice and beans with a bit of spice/oil could be the basis for a great meal. Then add in a bit of cheap veggies for variety. Frozen veggies are cheap, but can buy fresh veggies that are on sale if it's a great deal, but NO NON-SALE ITEMS EVER. Check out the clearance sections too - dented cans still have good food in them, meats due to go out in the next day or so for half price or better are still good and can be frozen if you can't eat it all within a few days of purchase.

Organics are a luxury. Meat as the main part of a meal is a luxury. Prepared foods are luxury. Boxed or bagged or fancy meal plans are luxury. None of this should be on your shopping list until you are out of debt and have a healthy emergency fund built up. Check out budgetbytes.com for great, easy recipes for pennies.

Definitely get out of that phone contract ASAP. I don't know what is available where you live, but many MVMOs now offer payback for breaking a contract. Get the cheapest phone you can find, and the cheapest phone plan you can find. I can't even imagine buying a phone for over $500, and I'm assuming your fiance is also on the same plan with an expensive phone. You should be able to get that bill down below $50 after phones (which should be under $100 for both). No one needs unlimited data, text and voice. Treat your phones as emergency contact only and not as entertainment - texts and short calls only and no data unless it's an emergency. You can't afford entertainment like this.

Cheapest beater car you can find that is mechanically sound as soon as you can get rid of the stupid lease. NEVER GET A LEASE AGAIN. And get basic required insurance coverage and drop the full as soon as the lease is gone.

As far as the debt - every penny you can scrounge should go towards paying down the CC debt first. I would also start paying back the relatives (track this carefully) at $10 each/month just to show you're serious about paying them back. But the bulk of the money you save should go towards the high interest debts. Pay the minimums on the other debts until the high one is gone, and then switch to the next highest (the sofi?) with everything you have (maybe increasing the friend/relative paybacks to $25/month after the highest one is gone).

You can turn this around in a relatively short period of time - honestly if you and the fiance worked hard at cutting costs and cooking at home - you likely could be debt free in 2-3 years even with him working part time. But it would require you both to really work at it and sacrifice a bit so hopefully you're both strong and determined enough to go forward on this. Good luck!!
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Help Me :) on December 29, 2017, 11:50:15 PM
What is your line of work?  If you're in software (and being in SV) then I think you can expect that $95k to grow.  The overall $30k of debt won't be an issue in the long term, certainly not worth bankruptcy, but you do have to survive the short-term and start making progress against it.

Cut the Sling TV.  Save $20.
Break your phone contract, return the phone.  (I pay ~$10/mo via AirVoice.)  Save $200-ish.
Cut the gym.  Save $19.
Cut lunch @ work.  Save $50-ish.
Cut the insurance for your ring.  Save $8-ish.

That's $307-ish.  Plus more when you return the car.

See if you can reduce your levels of coverage on your car.  Remove replacement-cost for your car.  Drive a cheap car so that you can replace it yourself if needed.

Groceries are next.
Comcast after that.

Oh, also, marry your man tomorrow, and then you can be MFJ when you pay your 2017 taxes.   ;^)

I'm an Executive Assistant. No college education, worked my way up in the corporate world. I support an officer of the company, so I'm hopeful down the road I'll get a raise, bonus, or possibly more RSU's (just joined 2 months ago). Thank you friend - that is definitely why I said no to bankruptcy, I'm hopeful my future will be debt free and I think I can do it without bankruptcy :).
I think if I cut my phone contract, I'll owe a fee as well as what is owed on the phones themselves ($1000+). There has to be a way out of the contract so that I can go to a cheap service provider?? I just don't know it. I asked my friend who works at Verizon to look into it.

Insurance is a 1 time annual payment, covers my fiance's $4k engagement ring. So I will just pay the $89 when I get my tax return. Agree on cutting all other parts.

Yeah I've told my fiance we need to marry so that we can both be better financially off!
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Help Me :) on December 29, 2017, 11:51:02 PM
Jewelry insurance... unless you run a jewelry store, that seems totally unnecessary.

Insurance for my fiances ring ($4k). A one time annual payment. Just on my list of todo's I haven't been able to afford yet. Avoiding using the CC.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Help Me :) on December 29, 2017, 11:54:56 PM
Comcast needs to drop to cheapest internet only plan.

No pre-made meals at lunch.  Bring things from home that cost $1-2/meal (PB&J and whatever fruit is on sale).

If your local foodbank doesn't verify assets by household, your partner might be able to get some stuff there -- including pet food.

The phone costs are ridiculous.

File your 2017 taxes as soon as you can -- as long as you can get a refund.

School or not, your partner needs to be doing whatever they can to bring in extra income to get you both out of this mess.   And if there are low-stress ways for you to bring in some sideline income  (I'm thinking weekend childcare -- caring for sleeping kids is pretty chill so even people who aren't into kids can do it pretty easily-- pet sitting, etc.) you should get on that too to help dig out of the hole faster.

Congrats on the low rent, BTW -- that is one thing you have going for you.

Thank you. I currently do have internet only, just the cost for what I'm currently at. Already reached out about lowering the cost and it is quite high in the Silicon Valley. I am able to cut it down $20 a month if I get in a 2 year contract.

The phone costs ARE ridiculous, I fricking have hated them since day 1. Decided to do it when I found out I had a 20% corporate discount Verizon and Tmobile (previous) was shit service. Well, Verizon is still a ridiculous cost. I'm trying to find a way to get over to Tmobile or Metro, save $100+ a month.

Yes I plan on doing taxes ASAP, not sure what it will mean with being unemployed 5 months this year, but anything I get back will go into savings.

My monthly rent is $1921 a month (the price you see in the post is the 1/2 cost). BUT still cheap in this valley. Most people I know are paying $2500 - $3500 for a 1bedrm.

I need to find a good side hustle...def not Uber or Lyft. I read one of mustache's blogs on how shitty the income is.

Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: MaaS on December 30, 2017, 12:10:11 AM
Comcast needs to drop to cheapest internet only plan.

No pre-made meals at lunch.  Bring things from home that cost $1-2/meal (PB&J and whatever fruit is on sale).

If your local foodbank doesn't verify assets by household, your partner might be able to get some stuff there -- including pet food.

The phone costs are ridiculous.

File your 2017 taxes as soon as you can -- as long as you can get a refund.

School or not, your partner needs to be doing whatever they can to bring in extra income to get you both out of this mess.   And if there are low-stress ways for you to bring in some sideline income  (I'm thinking weekend childcare -- caring for sleeping kids is pretty chill so even people who aren't into kids can do it pretty easily-- pet sitting, etc.) you should get on that too to help dig out of the hole faster.

Congrats on the low rent, BTW -- that is one thing you have going for you.

Thank you. I currently do have internet only, just the cost for what I'm currently at. Already reached out about lowering the cost and it is quite high in the Silicon Valley. I am able to cut it down $20 a month if I get in a 2 year contract.

The phone costs ARE ridiculous, I fricking have hated them since day 1. Decided to do it when I found out I had a 20% corporate discount Verizon and Tmobile (previous) was shit service. Well, Verizon is still a ridiculous cost. I'm trying to find a way to get over to Tmobile or Metro, save $100+ a month.

Yes I plan on doing taxes ASAP, not sure what it will mean with being unemployed 5 months this year, but anything I get back will go into savings.

My monthly rent is $1921 a month (the price you see in the post is the 1/2 cost). BUT still cheap in this valley. Most people I know are paying $2500 - $3500 for a 1bedrm.

I need to find a good side hustle...def not Uber or Lyft. I read one of mustache's blogs on how shitty the income is.

I have a Republic Wireless plan for $20/month, and am in the Bay area all the time for work. It works great. Something to consider!
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Help Me :) on December 30, 2017, 12:13:19 AM
Oh my goodness.... you and fiance need to buckle down HARD and you might do just fine, but if either one of you decides that you're not willing to give up a few luxuries, you won't make much progress.

You have hair on fire debt and are not going dig out of this without sticking to a serious no-frills budget, and/or bringing in more money. You admit you were crazy about racking up charges through your younger days, so thing to realize is that you're both going to be paying for it now by denying yourself all those luxury things you've taken for granted as necessary (like lunches at work).

Every dollar you spend now on non-essentials is a dollar that digs that debt hole deeper. You really, really need to have a complete 180 on how you view spending and debt because until you get this straight, it's too easy for you to keep trickling away $5 here, $10 there and never really get out of trouble.

Fiance needs to get or keep part time job working as many hours as they can when they are not in class, doing classwork or sleeping. It's lovely that they got grants to go back to school, but you have hair on fire debt and expecting you to shoulder the lion's share of living expenses and debts accumulated while they go to school is not fair or a great way to start out life together. You are a team, so both of you need to be working together hard as possible to get this ship back on course.

You need to consider a second job if your current one doesn't allow overtime. Anything that is close to home or your 1st job, and can provide you with extra money to throw at the debt.

Track every penny of expenses ASAP. Get Mint, YNAB whatever but you are missing way too much spending that everyone forgets about (cleaning supplies? toilet paper? soap, haircuts, clothes? Do you drink? Entertainment expenses?), and without knowing where your money is going you won't ever be able to properly stop up the bleeding and funnel the money to where it needs to go.

Cut everything that is not necessary for basic living:
NO sling tv.
No gym (check out bodyweight routines, yoga and walk/jog trails for free exercise)
No eating out at all
No lunches at work
No presents
No clothes shopping
No fancy toiletries or name brand, single serve stuff
NOTHING THAT ISN'T VITAL FOR LIVING

Insurance on jewelry is weird - how could you afford a ring that is so expensive that it requires insurance? Who paid for it? Can you return it and get a simple silver band or really ANYTHING? I am flabbergasted that you would buy (or your broke fiance) a ring that cost more than a few hundred... this is madness. You can get a "nice" ring for an anniversary when you have actual money and can afford it.

No more pets. I would not tell you to get rid of your animals, but do not spend a single penny more than necessary, and do not adopt any more until you're out of debt. Right now, assess the costs involved on their food/litter/etc., and see about finding cheaper alternatives ASAP. The big thing that people seem to forget: pets are a luxury. What happens if you have an emergency vet bill? You're screwed, because you will either have to go into even deeper debt or make a very terrible decision based solely on the fact that you can't afford their upkeep. Take as good a care of your existing pets as you can, but cut costs - Aldi for instance sells large bags of dry cat food, canned food, scoopable litter and treats even. Buying larger containers when possible will save more usually (assess the cost vs weight of product - this is important with groceries as well to assess whether the price is a good deal).

Lunch at work? No more lunches out at all and that includes at work. You say it's only $6 or even $3... that's still VERY high. Sure, not as high as going to like Panera or Chipoltle or something, but if you cook at home, pack your lunch, you can get it under $1 or closer to 50Ę/lunch easily. You are (say it with me) in HAIR ON FIRE DEBT, so saving $100/week is $400 a month, $1,200 a year. This is HUGE! 

And groceries... $500 a month on groceries for 2 people. This is INSANE. It should be closer to $250. Learn to cook simple meals. Batch cook, and freeze into portions so you have a week's worth of lunch and dinner ready to go. Shop discount grocery stores and only sales - no buying fancy stuff or convience packages. Bulk rice and beans with a bit of spice/oil could be the basis for a great meal. Then add in a bit of cheap veggies for variety. Frozen veggies are cheap, but can buy fresh veggies that are on sale if it's a great deal, but NO NON-SALE ITEMS EVER. Check out the clearance sections too - dented cans still have good food in them, meats due to go out in the next day or so for half price or better are still good and can be frozen if you can't eat it all within a few days of purchase.

Organics are a luxury. Meat as the main part of a meal is a luxury. Prepared foods are luxury. Boxed or bagged or fancy meal plans are luxury. None of this should be on your shopping list until you are out of debt and have a healthy emergency fund built up. Check out budgetbytes.com for great, easy recipes for pennies.

Definitely get out of that phone contract ASAP. I don't know what is available where you live, but many MVMOs now offer payback for breaking a contract. Get the cheapest phone you can find, and the cheapest phone plan you can find. I can't even imagine buying a phone for over $500, and I'm assuming your fiance is also on the same plan with an expensive phone. You should be able to get that bill down below $50 after phones (which should be under $100 for both). No one needs unlimited data, text and voice. Treat your phones as emergency contact only and not as entertainment - texts and short calls only and no data unless it's an emergency. You can't afford entertainment like this.

Cheapest beater car you can find that is mechanically sound as soon as you can get rid of the stupid lease. NEVER GET A LEASE AGAIN. And get basic required insurance coverage and drop the full as soon as the lease is gone.

As far as the debt - every penny you can scrounge should go towards paying down the CC debt first. I would also start paying back the relatives (track this carefully) at $10 each/month just to show you're serious about paying them back. But the bulk of the money you save should go towards the high interest debts. Pay the minimums on the other debts until the high one is gone, and then switch to the next highest (the sofi?) with everything you have (maybe increasing the friend/relative paybacks to $25/month after the highest one is gone).

You can turn this around in a relatively short period of time - honestly if you and the fiance worked hard at cutting costs and cooking at home - you likely could be debt free in 2-3 years even with him working part time. But it would require you both to really work at it and sacrifice a bit so hopefully you're both strong and determined enough to go forward on this. Good luck!!

Thank you for your message! You are too kind - I am going to take a lot of the advice you provided and incorporate it.

The $500 a month in groceries include the aforementioned toiletries, cleaning supplies, etc. That isn't just food, but ALL home items. Yeah we have no budget for fun or eating out, which we don't do anyways. We are both not drinkers :).
Actually this entire year what I've done is on Sunday I cook 8 days worth of chicken (in one oven batch) and freeze it into meals, I then cook pasta sauce split into 3 meals. Every night for dinner I have the same meal. Whole Wheat pasta, English muffin garlic bread, and chicken or spaghetti sauce. Definitely has saved me money. Drink water only, no juice or soda. I've also downloaded the coupon app for my grocery store and search around through best deals on certain items with my coupon. I always look at the best/discounted deals at the store and don't buy otherwise. I've had to educate my fiance on this one too, because he used to just grab whatever!

Through unemployment I learned how to track every dollar, every penny - where it goes before it goes. It definitely taught me some very useful lessons I hadn't had before (I was surviving on unemployment checks).

Luckily fiance is a hair stylist so I haven't paid for a haircut in over 6 years.

Our 3 cats are rescues, have had them from 3-5 years combined. One of them is on a diet food due to him getting crystals in his bladder that put him in the ER earlier this year (for 3 days) - luckily I had pet insurance that covered bulk of the stay. We have to feed him, and the other cats - that food. It is what it is. Definitely no more pets!

Totally agree on the phones. I really hope I can get out of this damn contract, I HATE Verizon - they are damn crooks. I am unhappy that I ever switched over to them.

I personally won't get a beat up piece of shit car ever again. I've had 2 of them, and dropped thousands of dollars into them - broke down on the freeway once. Thousands I didn't have and added to that previous credit card debt. I will be getting another lease, but it will be a cheap car ($15K or under) with $0 down payment and payments $200 or under a month. This will save me $150+ a month. It's the one thing I won't budge on - even though I'm sure Dave Ramsey would scream at me. I just feel better driving a car that is full of warranty and covered for any mechanical reason. I live in the valley, good condition cars are a necessity, especially in my profession where I have to run errands for my manage/company often, and some times have to drive around customers/clients in my car. Can't have a POS for that purpose.

What I will be doing is rolling my CC debt accrued from unemployment, into my large SoFi loan - that way I have it all under one big loan with a much lower interest rate. Probably a 7 year loan, payments will be around $500 a month. I'm hoping as I receive more money over time, and save money from cutting bills down - I can pay off bigger chunks. As it stand, I'm barely scraping by! Unemployment truly screwed me. But I am hopeful, I will have 5 stock units vest at the end of the year that should help too. Fingers crossed NO MORE EMERGENCIES!
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Help Me :) on December 30, 2017, 12:18:45 AM
Comcast needs to drop to cheapest internet only plan.

No pre-made meals at lunch.  Bring things from home that cost $1-2/meal (PB&J and whatever fruit is on sale).

If your local foodbank doesn't verify assets by household, your partner might be able to get some stuff there -- including pet food.

The phone costs are ridiculous.

File your 2017 taxes as soon as you can -- as long as you can get a refund.

School or not, your partner needs to be doing whatever they can to bring in extra income to get you both out of this mess.   And if there are low-stress ways for you to bring in some sideline income  (I'm thinking weekend childcare -- caring for sleeping kids is pretty chill so even people who aren't into kids can do it pretty easily-- pet sitting, etc.) you should get on that too to help dig out of the hole faster.

Congrats on the low rent, BTW -- that is one thing you have going for you.

Thank you. I currently do have internet only, just the cost for what I'm currently at. Already reached out about lowering the cost and it is quite high in the Silicon Valley. I am able to cut it down $20 a month if I get in a 2 year contract.

The phone costs ARE ridiculous, I fricking have hated them since day 1. Decided to do it when I found out I had a 20% corporate discount Verizon and Tmobile (previous) was shit service. Well, Verizon is still a ridiculous cost. I'm trying to find a way to get over to Tmobile or Metro, save $100+ a month.

Yes I plan on doing taxes ASAP, not sure what it will mean with being unemployed 5 months this year, but anything I get back will go into savings.

My monthly rent is $1921 a month (the price you see in the post is the 1/2 cost). BUT still cheap in this valley. Most people I know are paying $2500 - $3500 for a 1bedrm.

I need to find a good side hustle...def not Uber or Lyft. I read one of mustache's blogs on how shitty the income is.

I have a Republic Wireless plan for $20/month, and am in the Bay area all the time for work. It works great. Something to consider!

Is there an unlimited plan? I would love to switch to them! Also, any tips on how to get the hell out of my Verizon contract....owe on the Droid and Iphone 8 (fiance loves apple) - yeah, he knows we no longer live beyond our means. If we don't have the cash, we ain't getting it!
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: K-ice on December 30, 2017, 01:05:04 AM
I just have a question. How do you and your fiance plan to share expenses? 50:50 or proportional to your incomes?

We have always done 50:50. This is hard when one is a student and one isn't, but it helps to avoid lifestyle creep if you both live on a student budget.
 
We have done 50:50 through school, unemployment, parental leave, starting own business etc.
 
In hindsight proportional may have been better, but I think it would have worked out about even over our 15+ years together.

Just a talk you two need to have.

Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Help Me :) on December 30, 2017, 01:19:48 AM
I just have a question. How do you and your fiance plan to share expenses? 50:50 or proportional to your incomes?

We have always done 50:50. This is hard when one is a student and one isn't, but it helps to avoid lifestyle creep if you both live on a student budget.
 
We have done 50:50 through school, unemployment, parental leave, starting own business etc.
 
In hindsight proportional may have been better, but I think it would have worked out about even over our 15+ years together.

Just a talk you two need to have.

Proportional to our incomes. He makes $12 an hour, I make $46 an hour. He's in the beauty industry I'm in tech. He is going back to school for video game design/language - currently on grants, while continuing to work part time to cover his expenses. I've always been the main source of income.

If we were 50/50, I'd be sooooooooooooo much better off. This wouldn't even be an issue, but that's why he's going to school, so he can make more money.

Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: former player on December 30, 2017, 02:55:11 AM
You've got some good advice, and I think you've made the right decision to pay the bills rather than go bankrupt: a debt of $32k on income of $95k should be manageable once the salary starts coming in.  You've just got to manage the "hump" of the next few months.  Your spreadsheets and the advice above about cutting costs is the way to go.

I do find it slightly odd that with a gross income that high and no deductibles you list your monthly income as only $4.4k.  Do you really pay tax at over 50%?  I mean, I know California is expensive on taxes, but that seems high.  Do your taxes immediately for 2017 to see if you get a refund, and make sure your withholdings for 2018 are no more than they need be.

On the Verizon contract: you need to buckle down and read your terms and conditions for yourself, not just rely on your friend.  Make a list of the costs of keeping it or breaking it and find the point at which the numbers make sense in terms of having the money on hand to reduce future costs.

You are your fiancť are young, in good health, and working hard on your careers.  With an MMM attitude to money you will be fine.  Best of luck.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Help Me :) on December 30, 2017, 04:35:07 AM
You've got some good advice, and I think you've made the right decision to pay the bills rather than go bankrupt: a debt of $32k on income of $95k should be manageable once the salary starts coming in.  You've just got to manage the "hump" of the next few months.  Your spreadsheets and the advice above about cutting costs is the way to go.

I do find it slightly odd that with a gross income that high and no deductibles you list your monthly income as only $4.4k.  Do you really pay tax at over 50%?  I mean, I know California is expensive on taxes, but that seems high.  Do your taxes immediately for 2017 to see if you get a refund, and make sure your withholdings for 2018 are no more than they need be.

On the Verizon contract: you need to buckle down and read your terms and conditions for yourself, not just rely on your friend.  Make a list of the costs of keeping it or breaking it and find the point at which the numbers make sense in terms of having the money on hand to reduce future costs.

You are your fiancť are young, in good health, and working hard on your careers.  With an MMM attitude to money you will be fine.  Best of luck.

Thank you, it has taken me awhile to get back on my feet after starting 2 months ago. I had 2 times where my bank account went negative, had to postpone 2 bills - but finally in a normal positive cash flow.

Yes I am not sure why the taxes are that high but they are. Included in the deductions are $86 pre tax per check for medical benefits (dental/vision included in the price). Otherwise, that's it. I'm claiming 0.

How do I find out what is the max I can claim without having to owe on taxes? Is there a website?

Thanks for your kind words :)
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: ShoulderThingThatGoesUp on December 30, 2017, 05:16:55 AM
Since you have an immediate cash flow problem, can you terminate the lease early and roll it in to something incredibly cheap to buy and operate? I'm thinking a used Leaf, 500e, or smart electric. Since you're in California I'm hoping you can charge at work, and the limited range won't be a problem because you can't afford a road trip.

Or do you not need the car for work? In that case, don't get another car.

You absolutely cannot afford to pay $6 for a lunch at work. Make yourself a sandwich and brown-bag it.
(A substantial sandwich so you don't hit the vending machine, with a banana or two.)

Do the math on the cost of your daily sandwich too. I don't have to do that but you are in a crisis and you need to.

But this is recoverable! If you take it seriously and keep your job you will be done soon.

(You would be done sooner if that $4k ring went back. You should be able to have a serious conversation about that with your fiancť.)
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: former player on December 30, 2017, 05:39:32 AM
How do I find out what is the max I can claim without having to owe on taxes? Is there a website?

This thread has some suggestions -

https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/taxes/best-paycheckwithholding-calculator(s)/


I ran your figures for 2017 through the ADP calculator and it came about at about what you are currently paying.  Hopefully that means a decent refund on the couple of paychecks you got from last year.  It may be a bit soon to work out how the recent changes will affect you - the single withholding goes up but the limits on state taxes may be against you.

I ran the same figures through our UK Inland Revenue tax calculator.  You would pay less tax in the UK (although about the same when you include local property taxes) and have free health care thrown in.  Not what I would have expected!
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Engineer_Erik on December 30, 2017, 08:38:40 AM

Is your fiance going back to school because he doesn't like being a hairstylist or because he's not making enough money?  A six figure income is very attainable for a hairstylist, especially in the Bay Area.  My wife is a hairstylist, and she's going to make around $90k this year averaging less than 40 hours a week behind the chair.  Is there any way to move upward at the current place he is at?  Maybe he should find a place that would help him grow?   

Video game design is a very different field, where you sit behind a desk verses standing and talking to people all day.  If he's a social type of person he may hate it.



Proportional to our incomes. He makes $12 an hour, I make $46 an hour. He's in the beauty industry I'm in tech. He is going back to school for video game design/language - currently on grants, while continuing to work part time to cover his expenses. I've always been the main source of income.

If we were 50/50, I'd be sooooooooooooo much better off. This wouldn't even be an issue, but that's why he's going to school, so he can make more money.



Sent from my Moto G Play using Tapatalk

Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Paul der Krake on December 30, 2017, 10:53:49 AM
Wait a second, I had the genders wrong.

What kind of ring for men costs 4k?!?!

Also, yeah, $500 groceries for two is nuts, even if it includes household goods. You should be able to trim it down to $300 without too much effort.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Help Me :) on December 30, 2017, 03:43:05 PM
Since you have an immediate cash flow problem, can you terminate the lease early and roll it in to something incredibly cheap to buy and operate? I'm thinking a used Leaf, 500e, or smart electric. Since you're in California I'm hoping you can charge at work, and the limited range won't be a problem because you can't afford a road trip.

Or do you not need the car for work? In that case, don't get another car.

You absolutely cannot afford to pay $6 for a lunch at work. Make yourself a sandwich and brown-bag it.
(A substantial sandwich so you don't hit the vending machine, with a banana or two.)

Do the math on the cost of your daily sandwich too. I don't have to do that but you are in a crisis and you need to.

But this is recoverable! If you take it seriously and keep your job you will be done soon.

(You would be done sooner if that $4k ring went back. You should be able to have a serious conversation about that with your fiancť.)

I looked into that, but I'd be charged over $700 plus the $375 disposition fee. It's financially better to wait to turn in my lease on March 1st. Right in March I will be searching for a very cheap $0 down payment/$0 due at signing lease! A charging port car is a good idea. We sometimes drive to Paso Robles to visit my fiances family (staying at their house) - so it would need to be something that could get there and back.

Yes I do need a car for work.

Ring wouldn't go back - we chose it together. He is literally in love with it - it was a stupid purchase over a year ago, and made at a time that I could afford it better, a bad purchase - but one I have to live with (it's already getting paid off).

Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Help Me :) on December 30, 2017, 03:44:49 PM
How do I find out what is the max I can claim without having to owe on taxes? Is there a website?

This thread has some suggestions -

https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/taxes/best-paycheckwithholding-calculator(s)/


I ran your figures for 2017 through the ADP calculator and it came about at about what you are currently paying.  Hopefully that means a decent refund on the couple of paychecks you got from last year.  It may be a bit soon to work out how the recent changes will affect you - the single withholding goes up but the limits on state taxes may be against you.

I ran the same figures through our UK Inland Revenue tax calculator.  You would pay less tax in the UK (although about the same when you include local property taxes) and have free health care thrown in.  Not what I would have expected!

I'll try out these calculators :). I heard through Trumps new tax law that we will all be taking more money home...not sure though (FYI I didn't vote for either candidate just so people know ha)
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Help Me :) on December 30, 2017, 03:46:34 PM
Wait a second, I had the genders wrong.

What kind of ring for men costs 4k?!?!

Also, yeah, $500 groceries for two is nuts, even if it includes household goods. You should be able to trim it down to $300 without too much effort.

He's a man, but he's essentially a woman - lol. Think a feminine gay guy. His ring is a woman's ring.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Hargrove on December 30, 2017, 08:24:34 PM
You actually look like you can get into great shape and kill off your debt in 1-2 years if you make it a priority.

You're paying way too much for your car, and you could probably trade in those fancy phones for less fancy, paid-off phones with another carrier. You're buying into salesman jargon with your "0 down, 0 first month" lease nonsense. Those structures don't save you money, they just trick you into thinking your budget is better and spread your bills out so you can't see the hit to your net worth.

I got a Hyundai Accent with 10k miles at 1.49% for 13.2k and I probably slightly overpaid. 264/month and I'll own it when I'm done. Needed wiper fluid and oil changes over 75k miles driven in just two years. Now I might need a battery. The facepunch of this presentation is asking yourself whether your fancy car and supercomputer phone is worth a 10-year bankruptcy sentence.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Help Me :) on December 30, 2017, 08:36:32 PM
You actually look like you can get into great shape and kill off your debt in 1-2 years if you make it a priority.

You're paying way too much for your car, and you could probably trade in those fancy phones for less fancy, paid-off phones with another carrier. You're buying into salesman jargon with your "0 down, 0 first month" lease nonsense. Those structures don't save you money, they just trick you into thinking your budget is better and spread your bills out so you can't see the hit to your net worth.

I got a Hyundai Accent with 10k miles at 1.49% for 13.2k and I probably slightly overpaid. 264/month and I'll own it when I'm done. Needed wiper fluid and oil changes over 75k miles driven in just two years. Now I might need a battery. The facepunch of this presentation is asking yourself whether your fancy car and supercomputer phone is worth a 10-year bankruptcy sentence.

Yes I feel the same way, that I can get my debt paid off with hard work and determination (cutting a lot of my unecessary expenses). I hate our phones, hate Verizon, hate that I am stuck in a contract! I owe $400 on my phone and he $400. If we walk away we owe all of that plus a contract cancellation fee.
Trust me, once we get out - we will be going to metro or something cheap. I'll also never finance a phone in the future.

My next car will be $250 or under, irregardless of how I get it. All I know is I don't have thousands on me for a downpayment, so that's why I may have to go to the $0, $0 deal. If you pay $1500 down for $210 a month at 36 months - you just negotiate it to where you say $0 down but you will pay $251 a month for 36 months (it comes out to being the same amount).

Yes this year is living WAY more frugal, that's why we decided against bankruptcy - it will just be an extremely tight year (and hope no emergencies pop up till I can get my emergency savings again). I have already taken advantage of coupons! Saved an extra $5 on a 5 item purchase at the store tonight. Going to look into cash back cards too.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Hargrove on December 30, 2017, 08:39:38 PM
I'm suggesting 264/month to own the car, though. You won't drive anywhere near what I did, I'm guessing, and you'll have a car for 8-10 years for half the price of the leases.

You could also look into one more refi with Lightspeed if you have excellent credit. Your income is high enough.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Help Me :) on December 30, 2017, 08:52:21 PM
Most people have already said everything useful already, but I really think that you and your fiancť need to be on the same page.

Also, I donít get the insurance on the ring...what for? In case itís lost or stolen?
That really canít be your priority right now. Put the ring away somewhere safe if you are worried about it being lost or stolen, donít pay a yearly premium for something that isnít necessary. The ring itself isnít necessary, so why prioritize insurance to replace it. Just donít lose it.
You are paying a premium for your fiancť to wear a ring and not worry about losing it. You are literally paying for nothing.

I have easily 30K worth of jewelry and I donít bother insuring it. I wonít lose it and on the off chance that itís stolen, I wonít be replacing it because I donít *need* a string of antique pearls. This is not a critical thing to insure. My life will go on without my grandmothers pearls.
Likewise with my engagement ring, I love it, but I wouldnít replace it if I lost it. Itís not a necessity. I also donít wear it all the time and never bring it traveling.

And $500 a month for groceries for two people when one is buying lunch every day is kind of nuts, even if it does involve all house supplies. Check out websites like Budget Bytes for cheaper ways to bulk cook. It takes me 3 hours to cook all of our meals for an entire week, plus maybe you can vary your eating a bit. If you always cook the same thing, you are obviously going to want to buy lunches. If you start learning how to make delicious meals at home, you wonít want to buy lunch because what youíve made will be better.

I enjoy the challenge of bringing my grocery bill down while making gourmet level meals. DHís coworkers are always jealous of the meals he brings for lunch (which are all vegetarian btw because meat is stupid expensive), and theyíre even more envious of our grocery budget.

As for those house supplies driving up your monthly costs, well, what are they? Are they necessary?
Body wash, shampoo/conditioner, hair products, facial cleansers, house cleaning supplies, laundry detergent, dish soap, hand soap, etc...you realize that you are mostly paying for water, right?
Try solid shampoo, concentrated cleaning supplies that you dilute yourself, cleaning with diluted vinegar, etc etc. There are countless resources here and online for how to cut monthly spending at the grocery store, and a lot of these alternatives are actually better and more effective.

I tried a $2 solid shampoo bar for travel purposes and I love it. It rinses better and doesnít need conditioner, doesnít strip my hair colour, and leaves a light waxy residue that works like a styling product so my hair is less frizzy and air dries nicer. Overall, itís cut my hair effort and costs by 80% and my hair looks and feels nicer.

Remember, the benefit of the Mustachian lifestyle is that you can find ways to live BETTER on less, not live worse on less until you have enough money to live better again. This isnít about denying yourself the things you enjoy, itís about learning how to enjoy life to its fullest while minimizing spending.
A frugal life is actually a more fun life, start building a happier and healthier life through wasting less and you will find you probably really enjoy it.

DH and I make plenty of money. We donít live this way due to cash flow restrictions, we live this way because itís more fun. I think you and your fiancť need to sit down and plan your future marriage and what you want it to look like and not define that happiness as something that will happen in the future ďwhen the debt is goneĒ. DH and I often take very long walks and just toss ideas back and forth about our spending, our future, our goals, the value of things, etc. We have no money conflicts because we have basically an ongoing stream on consciousness dialogue that we both contribute to.

Learn how to be happy *now*, together, on less and you will build a very strong foundation moving forward. If you make this all about putting off happiness, then you are setting the stage for resentment from the start when now is a critical time for setting the tone of your marriage.

Trust me, this can be very fun and exciting (and romantic) if you let it, or it can be miserable and erode your marriage.

Yes it's a one time annual payment in case it's lost stolen or damaged, as we couldn't afford a new one if it happened. He wears it every single day 24/7. Do you wear your wedding ring?

Thank you for budget bytes! I will check out their website now. I only buy what we need & don't eat out. That $500 ensures we don't eat out, but I will definitely research the website you gave me. I will look into it for lunches at work too - love the idea of not spending $6 a day! Honestly what angers me is that my company doesn't offer it for free (I know it's a luxury), but my last job did! Oh well.

I like the idea of making my own cleaning products....kitchen counter cleaner, dish soap, dishwasher soap, body wash, shampoo, tooth paste, mouth wash - do you have any pointers? There's also things like trash bags, toilet paper, paper towels that bring up the price. Everything seems to be more expensive in the Silicon Valley (and I don't shop at Whole Foods of course).

Yes I'm learning about mr money mustache and the community. I've been reading blogs a bit today, this is honestly my 2nd day here...ha!

Money seems to be a sensitive topic. Our entire 6 years together I have been the main financial support, but he has ALWAYS worked and paid for his school, car, etc. He is NOT good with money, whatsoever - just today he spent $40 on his credit card at a japanese market...I made him return a previous jacket he purchased at Hollister (he realized it was a dumb idea). Previously I used to not care either and just thought as using my credit card like "building memories". I regret it all. He's stubborn as hell, but we talked about money a week or two ago and he wants us to not go bankrupt. He said himself we should cut internet, cut sling & netflix, live more frugal etc. So I think he's on board. It's just very new to us, you know?
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Help Me :) on December 30, 2017, 08:55:10 PM
I'm suggesting 264/month to own the car, though. You won't drive anywhere near what I did, I'm guessing, and you'll have a car for 8-10 years for half the price of the leases.

You could also look into one more refi with Lightspeed if you have excellent credit. Your income is high enough.

I'll definitely consider it. I used to own a Chevy Corsica and a 1999 Isuzu Rodeo for 5 years prior to leasing. I dropped what feels like nearly $10k in repairs (broke down on the freeway) that's ultimately why I leased, and why I was worried to finance.

I am happy I didn't finance my car now! It is a piece of shit that was discontinued this year, and has lost SO much value. I'd still be paying $16k more on it (I've only paid $12k and lease is due) and the car is already having issues! See, in my case I made a smart move. I am so worried about getting screwed again.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Hargrove on December 30, 2017, 09:03:06 PM
Oh, if it's just not knowing what brand, in that case...

just get a Civic.

Civics are mentioned often here because they're consistently rated most-reliable and they're cheap for the quality. Hyundais are under-rated and very reliable today, too (I guess they rate crash-tests a little worse). Toyotas are generally fine, also.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Help Me :) on December 30, 2017, 09:33:08 PM
Oh, if it's just not knowing what brand, in that case...

just get a Civic.

Civics are mentioned often here because they're consistently rated most-reliable and they're cheap for the quality. Hyundais are under-rated and very reliable today, too (I guess they rate crash-tests a little worse). Toyotas are generally fine, also.

I was actually looking at the 2018 Hyundai Kona - comes out Spring 2018 when my lease is due back. It's supposed to be a very affordable (under $18k) vehicle. But I will look at the others you mentioned :)
I want a hatchback
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: former player on December 31, 2017, 04:00:26 AM
Money seems to be a sensitive topic. Our entire 6 years together I have been the main financial support, but he has ALWAYS worked and paid for his school, car, etc. He is NOT good with money, whatsoever - just today he spent $40 on his credit card at a japanese market...I made him return a previous jacket he purchased at Hollister (he realized it was a dumb idea). Previously I used to not care either and just thought as using my credit card like "building memories". I regret it all. He's stubborn as hell, but we talked about money a week or two ago and he wants us to not go bankrupt. He said himself we should cut internet, cut sling & netflix, live more frugal etc. So I think he's on board. It's just very new to us, you know?

Getting your fiancť on board will be key, and it sounds to me as though he's on the way there, you just need to communicate positively with each other for you both to settle into these new ways of thinking.  You might like to check out lifejoy's excellent thread on converting your SO to the ways of the Mustache -

https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/how-to-convert-your-so-to-mmm-in-50-awesome-steps/
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: ShoulderThingThatGoesUp on December 31, 2017, 04:49:22 AM
Would your fiancť be on board with putting the cards in ice? (A literal block of ice in the freezer.) It sounds like impulse purchases are hard for him to resist.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: YttriumNitrate on December 31, 2017, 08:46:23 AM
He is going back to school for video game design/language - currently on grants, while continuing to work part time to cover his expenses. I've always been the main source of income.
Back in the late 90s I was fairly into 3D CAD modeling, and spent way too much time on it. Perhaps things have changed since then, but it seemed that most of the video game schools were for-profit schools that targeted people who liked to play video games rather than those who wanted to code. While it's great that your fiancť is getting grants, before spending a lot of time (and money if the grants stop) on a video game school be sure to talk to some of the school's graduates to see if it's worthwhile.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: rubybeth on December 31, 2017, 09:05:47 AM
Oh, if it's just not knowing what brand, in that case...

just get a Civic.

Civics are mentioned often here because they're consistently rated most-reliable and they're cheap for the quality. Hyundais are under-rated and very reliable today, too (I guess they rate crash-tests a little worse). Toyotas are generally fine, also.

I was actually looking at the 2018 Hyundai Kona - comes out Spring 2018 when my lease is due back. It's supposed to be a very affordable (under $18k) vehicle. But I will look at the others you mentioned :)
I want a hatchback

Lesson: only buy used cars. You can still finance them, if needed, but you lose tons of money buying new cars. My sister just replaced her 2007 Honda Civic which was totaled in an accident with a 2014 Honda Civic for total price of slightly under $14,000, including taxes, etc. Hondas are incredibly reliable. So are Toyotas. A Corolla or Camry might be another good option.

Another tip for living frugally: use the HECK out of your local public library for entertainment--books, downloadable eBooks/eAudiobooks, DVDs (even television shows), and some even offer free streaming services for music and things to watch (Hoopla). This could help you drop Netflix or whatever, too. It's small, but it adds up.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Sibley on December 31, 2017, 09:26:07 AM
Where do you do your grocery shopping? Different stores have different prices. Do not go to Whole Foods - there's a reason they're called Whole Paycheck. Look at prices overall, and make sure you're shopping at the cheaper store. Generics won't hurt you and will save you money. If you have an Aldi's, check them out. Also, if you're overeating, stop. You'll be healthier in the long run, and save money on food.

Make sure you're not over using household products. You typically need 1/3-1/2 of the amount of laundry detergent that the container says. You need 1/2 the dishwasher detergent. You do not need fabric softener, period. Stop using paper towels and start using cloth. Buy cheaper toilet paper.

You've got 3 cats. I get it, I have 2. And one of yours has crystals. Look for discounts/coupons/aid for the food, even temporarily. Shop around to find the best price. Get the cheapest cat litter that they'll use, and stretch between box changes. I scoop boxes daily, sometimes 2x daily and change out litter every couple months (I use sand type, not clay), you'll add enough new litter over time that it cycles pretty quickly. (One of mine has kidney issues, so litter box output from my 2 is equivalent to your 3, and sometimes more.) Cut back on treats and replace with love. Don't buy new toys, and repurpose random stuff into cat toys. The best cat toy in my house? Tissue paper. Seriously. Pens are also very popular.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Peachtea on December 31, 2017, 11:12:48 AM
A lot of major phone carriers, like T-mobile will pay your cancellation fee/buy out your phones if you switch to them and buy a phone with them instead. But they catch you with another contract. You could still do this to cut your bill; I.e. switch to T-Mobile contract for $120/month for two lines and buy cheaper phones while they pay to get you out of Verizon. That cuts your bill in half, but you can do better with a MNVO.

My husband and I use Mint Sim which is on t-mobileís network. They have a $15/month unlimited text/talk + 2GB data or $20/month for 5GB. If you still want Verizonís network you can try Go Red Pocket, and get plans from $10/line or a unlimited text/call + 3GBof data for $30/month. I think it would be worth throwing all your extra money (after you cut other things like work meals, gym, and Sling tv) at paying off the phones early rather than paying down cc debt. Because after a few months you would then free up $200/month to pay down cc debt. Given your credit situation, I hesitate to suggest this... But you could get a new 0% Interest for first 12 moths credit card to payoff the phone and cancellation fee. Then use the savings of almost $200/month to pay off the new cc in 5 months before any interest starts. If you go this route, destroy the credit card once you pay off the phones to prevent temptation of putting anything else on it.

Do you and your fiancť both have a car? Anyway you could get by with one? Set up your commutes so one person drops the other off? Can one person bike or use public transit? Or move someplace where only one person needs a car to commute?

It sounds like your fiancť needs to contribute more, unless Iím reading your posts and spreadsheet wrong. It looks like you pay all expenses except his college, car, and personal shopping. It also looks like you continued paying for both your living expenses in ccs under your name when unemployed (rather than you both paying your halves on individual cards). I get him not wanting to take out student loans for living expenses, but with your current debt you canít afford to support him until youíre debt free. If necessary, he can take out student loans for his living expenses while you pay off cc debt. After your cc debt is gone, then you can support him and help him pay off his student loans early. There are lots of different ways to split expenses ďfairly,Ē but the 90/10 split your describing seems far from fair even with the income difference. I make 2x my husband and our expenses are split 60/40.
Title: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: ysette9 on December 31, 2017, 12:01:55 PM
I feel from what I read that you are still fixated on a monthly cost of your car and not the true cost of ownership. You really need to start thinking about the true/total cost. You think you dodged a bullet with your lease but in fact you threw $12k away with nothing to show for it in the end except maybe you avoided a $250 tow to a mechanic. You could have spent half of that on a reliable used car and have the title in hand by now. All cars will need maintenance, you won’t avoid that. You can avoid major repairs by either buying new, paying a bunch in depreciation, getting a lease and paying a ton to rent a car, or buying a used car wisely and owning something reliable.

If you went to know which used cars go get, start with Consumer Reports car issue (free from library) and then take a car you think you want to buy to a mechanic for a pre-purchase check before buying. This will week out the lemons and give you something with a good reliability track record.

I’d recommend getting married right away, as others have said, for the tax benefits. More importantly if you really are set on combining your lives, I think you will do better advancing your goals if you are a team. No his money and her money but “our money” with your joint goals and budget and agreements on what is important in life. Financial success is SO much easier with a partner who shares your vision.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Pizzabrewer on December 31, 2017, 12:03:32 PM
If you haven't read this MMM post, please do.  It will put you in the right frame of mind about your debt:

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/04/18/news-flash-your-debt-is-an-emergency/ (http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/04/18/news-flash-your-debt-is-an-emergency/)

I particularly like the point he makes in this paragraph:

"Even if you are an absolute Beginner Consumer Sucka and your goal is still to consume the maximum amount of luxury products, you are still cheating yourself out of stuff just by running a consumer debt balance. Every dollar you pay in interest to the credit card company is stealing dollars away that you could be using for more luxury purchases for yourself. Those dollars are gone forever, and youíve permanently lowered your ability to consume luxury products, for the rest of your life.

Since you need those luxury products so much, youíd better get out of debt quickly so you can afford to buy more. The credit card debts [in the example he cites] are eating up over $4000 per year of your after-tax salary just due to interest payments. Thatís hundreds of lattes, several pairs of shoes, thousands of miles worth of gasoline for your SUV, and even some massages at the spa and a couple of cross-country flights that you are foregoing every year."

It should also piss you off having to work every day to pay someone 17.49% interest on that debt.

You can do this.  Pretty much all of us here were in the same spot at one time.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: FiftyIsTheNewTwenty on December 31, 2017, 07:03:07 PM


My monthly rent is $1921 a month (the price you see in the post is the 1/2 cost). BUT still cheap in this valley. Most people I know are paying $2500 - $3500 for a 1bedrm.

I need to find a good side hustle...def not Uber or Lyft. I read one of mustache's blogs on how shitty the income is.

As far as your rent goes, that's great!  Count your blessings.

I would steer clear of Uber/Lyft as a side hustle.  Besides that everyone does it, it increases your car expenses -- not just the obvious work miles, but preventing the downgrade that could save you a lot of money.

Depending on where you are, restaurant jobs, especially bartending, might pay very well in Silicon Valley.  The hot setup is an early-evening after-work hotspot, where there's enough time to get there after work, and the action is over with by 9pm.

Also, construction is on fire everywhere.  There are plenty of contractors doing it as a side gig, working weekends and evenings, doing finish carpentry, painting, etc.  Even if you're not ready to go into business yourself doing this, you might work for some of these people.

Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Help Me :) on December 31, 2017, 11:07:35 PM
He is going back to school for video game design/language - currently on grants, while continuing to work part time to cover his expenses. I've always been the main source of income.
Back in the late 90s I was fairly into 3D CAD modeling, and spent way too much time on it. Perhaps things have changed since then, but it seemed that most of the video game schools were for-profit schools that targeted people who liked to play video games rather than those who wanted to code. While it's great that your fiancť is getting grants, before spending a lot of time (and money if the grants stop) on a video game school be sure to talk to some of the school's graduates to see if it's worthwhile.

Definitely not a video game school or ANY trade school. He's going to normal community college right now and will transfer to a 4 year one day. He is doing creative art design, which can fall under the category of video games and cartoons (pixar, cartoon network, etc.). His eventual goal is to be a creative director.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Help Me :) on December 31, 2017, 11:20:15 PM

Yes it's a one time annual payment in case it's lost stolen or damaged, as we couldn't afford a new one if it happened. He wears it every single day 24/7. Do you wear your wedding ring?
I canít wear my ring at work, thatís why I donít wear it often. I get that you canít afford to replace the ring, you couldnít afford it in the first place. But use this as a mental exercise in spending. Do you NEED to replace the ring if itís lost or damaged? If no, then why are you paying a premium for something you donít need?
Iím not telling you not to insure it, Iím telling you to think through it logically. You are falling into a type of spending trap where ďit doesnít cost much compared to the benefitĒ, but you need to be more diligent in truly analyzing the value of things. Not just the price tag.

Oh, and I used to be a total diamond slut, I was eyeing 2+ carat rings just a few years ago at 25K+, I wanted to take a trip to Antwerp just to buy a stone. I get where your fiancťís mind is.


Thank you for budget bytes! I will check out their website now. I only buy what we need & don't eat out. That $500 ensures we don't eat out, but I will definitely research the website you gave me. I will look into it for lunches at work too - love the idea of not spending $6 a day! Honestly what angers me is that my company doesn't offer it for free (I know it's a luxury), but my last job did! Oh well.

Leftovers dude, just bring leftovers. Itís not complicated and itís very little work to just make more of something. $6/day is insane. Plug $6/day into a compounding calculator and see how much impact that would have on your debt.

I like the idea of making my own cleaning products....kitchen counter cleaner, dish soap, dishwasher soap, body wash, shampoo, tooth paste, mouth wash - do you have any pointers? There's also things like trash bags, toilet paper, paper towels that bring up the price. Everything seems to be more expensive in the Silicon Valley (and I don't shop at Whole Foods of course).

Donít make your own toothpaste. But yeah, the rest is pretty simple. I use concentrated castile soap or diluted vinegar for most things, but thatís more for eco reasons. Just aim for concentrated products that need water added and youíre good to go. You can also bulk order disposable paper products from restaurant supply companies, which is usually a lot cheaper

Yes I'm learning about mr money mustache and the community. I've been reading blogs a bit today, this is honestly my 2nd day here...ha!
Welcome to the rabbit hole. Itís an intense fall. The more open you are to feeling stupid, the more benefit you will get...remember that 25K diamond I mentioned...yeah...Iíve come a long way

Money seems to be a sensitive topic. Our entire 6 years together I have been the main financial support, but he has ALWAYS worked and paid for his school, car, etc. He is NOT good with money, whatsoever - just today he spent $40 on his credit card at a japanese market...I made him return a previous jacket he purchased at Hollister (he realized it was a dumb idea). Previously I used to not care either and just thought as using my credit card like "building memories". I regret it all. He's stubborn as hell, but we talked about money a week or two ago and he wants us to not go bankrupt. He said himself we should cut internet, cut sling & netflix, live more frugal etc. So I think he's on board. It's just very new to us, you know?

Itís a process, which is why itís critical to make it a fun collective thing. Brand it as Dream Building,  not as some sentence you both need to serve because youíve been bad and now the fun is over. This isnít about not being able to afford things, itís about not losing pointless amounts of money so that you can afford the things you truly want. For you that might be nice clothes and diamonds, for others itís an earlier retirement, for others itís buying property.

It really really isnít about not being able to afford what you want, itís about being able to afford what you want, but to do that, you need to be real about what you actually want from life and not just mindlessly filling your life with consumer shit because you arenít willing to take the time and energy to understand your own happiness.

Make this about happiness. Make this about identifying shared goals and understanding each other better. When DH and I talk about money, we rarely talk about money, we talk about lifestyle and ideas and things that excite us.

We are frugal because through these extensive talks, weíve learned about each other so much that weíve realized what makes us tick and we have no patience anymore for wasting money on things that donít make us happy enough to justify the cost. We donít buy crap because it seems silly, not because weíre sad sacks who canít treat ourselves. If we evaluate something as worthwhile, we donít hesitate to spend. Our bar for worthwhile is just quite high. Things have to be pretty awesome to justify spending on.

Make this about your marriage, make it about your future, make it about dreaming of the life you want to start building together. There is nothing more romantic for my DH and I than having deep and enthusiastic conversations about how we want our life to look, because you realize that you can live however you want when you take your head out of the pre-programmed routine that youíve been coasting in.

Contrary to what it seems, this really really isnít about taking things away, this is about gaining what you actually want by pruning out what you donít need. Do you even know what each otherís basic needs are? You learn A LOT about someone by figuring out what they can and canít go without. Otherwise, youíre just the penny pinching spouse who is controlling him because you make more money. See how toxic that will become??

Start from scratch.
Build a life from there.
Itís actually A LOT of fun.
You have so much more control over your lives than you realize. Start taking advantage of that.


Yes my fiances ring is valuable, it took us months to choose it - it's probably going to just be his wedding ring. It's also a Sapphire ring, the Sapphire is natural. Diamonds are worthless. I feel that insuring it for the time being, with it being such a new ring, is important. A once a year annual payment that equals less than $10 a month isn't a huge expense covering something so valuable (he's in love with it). Dumb purchase at the time - won't be making any other in the future like it. But it is what it is.

I have no leftovers. I cook all my weeks dinner in one day and freeze it into portions. But I will be researching lunch ideas.

Will be researching bulk purchases for paper towers/TP!

I totally agree, being unemployed for 5 months this year taught us A LOT about living within our means. I made good money before being unemployed, but still spent way more than I needed and charged my card on things that were unnecessary. I've realized SOO much this year, him too. No more purchasing unnecessary things, NEVER using the credit for ANYTHING - and learning to find ways to save/coupon/etc. Having goals, cutting more expenses. I think this year 2018 will be a fun learning lesson for both of us.

Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Help Me :) on December 31, 2017, 11:25:41 PM
Where do you do your grocery shopping? Different stores have different prices. Do not go to Whole Foods - there's a reason they're called Whole Paycheck. Look at prices overall, and make sure you're shopping at the cheaper store. Generics won't hurt you and will save you money. If you have an Aldi's, check them out. Also, if you're overeating, stop. You'll be healthier in the long run, and save money on food.

Make sure you're not over using household products. You typically need 1/3-1/2 of the amount of laundry detergent that the container says. You need 1/2 the dishwasher detergent. You do not need fabric softener, period. Stop using paper towels and start using cloth. Buy cheaper toilet paper.

You've got 3 cats. I get it, I have 2. And one of yours has crystals. Look for discounts/coupons/aid for the food, even temporarily. Shop around to find the best price. Get the cheapest cat litter that they'll use, and stretch between box changes. I scoop boxes daily, sometimes 2x daily and change out litter every couple months (I use sand type, not clay), you'll add enough new litter over time that it cycles pretty quickly. (One of mine has kidney issues, so litter box output from my 2 is equivalent to your 3, and sometimes more.) Cut back on treats and replace with love. Don't buy new toys, and repurpose random stuff into cat toys. The best cat toy in my house? Tissue paper. Seriously. Pens are also very popular.

I do all of my shopping at Safeway. I coupon through them (saved $6 extra yesterday on a $31 shopping trip) and if things pop up I will search my coupon app that shows all the local stores (CVS, Walgreens, etc.).

I bought cheaper toilet paper and my fiance about ripped my head off. Calls it "prison paper" lol, so I buy Charmin - but Charmin often has coupons. I don't use fabric softener. Often also use my moms house for laundry.

My cats love shoelaces!! Too funny. Also my dad for Christmas every year gets them a new cat tree that I build (lasts a year) - so that's pretty much their toys. We rotated through about 5 brands of cat litter and our 1 bedrm apartment always stunk. FINALLY found one that literally makes it to where you can't smell any pee or poo even sitting 5 feet away from the litter box. It's amazing. Sometimes we forget to clean it for 2 days...and you still smell nothing. The cat food I have is unfortunately prescription (need a letter from the vet) - but I've switched all of my cats to the 1 to save money.

Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Help Me :) on December 31, 2017, 11:32:35 PM
A lot of major phone carriers, like T-mobile will pay your cancellation fee/buy out your phones if you switch to them and buy a phone with them instead. But they catch you with another contract. You could still do this to cut your bill; I.e. switch to T-Mobile contract for $120/month for two lines and buy cheaper phones while they pay to get you out of Verizon. That cuts your bill in half, but you can do better with a MNVO.

My husband and I use Mint Sim which is on t-mobileís network. They have a $15/month unlimited text/talk + 2GB data or $20/month for 5GB. If you still want Verizonís network you can try Go Red Pocket, and get plans from $10/line or a unlimited text/call + 3GBof data for $30/month. I think it would be worth throwing all your extra money (after you cut other things like work meals, gym, and Sling tv) at paying off the phones early rather than paying down cc debt. Because after a few months you would then free up $200/month to pay down cc debt. Given your credit situation, I hesitate to suggest this... But you could get a new 0% Interest for first 12 moths credit card to payoff the phone and cancellation fee. Then use the savings of almost $200/month to pay off the new cc in 5 months before any interest starts. If you go this route, destroy the credit card once you pay off the phones to prevent temptation of putting anything else on it.

Do you and your fiancť both have a car? Anyway you could get by with one? Set up your commutes so one person drops the other off? Can one person bike or use public transit? Or move someplace where only one person needs a car to commute?

It sounds like your fiancť needs to contribute more, unless Iím reading your posts and spreadsheet wrong. It looks like you pay all expenses except his college, car, and personal shopping. It also looks like you continued paying for both your living expenses in ccs under your name when unemployed (rather than you both paying your halves on individual cards). I get him not wanting to take out student loans for living expenses, but with your current debt you canít afford to support him until youíre debt free. If necessary, he can take out student loans for his living expenses while you pay off cc debt. After your cc debt is gone, then you can support him and help him pay off his student loans early. There are lots of different ways to split expenses ďfairly,Ē but the 90/10 split your describing seems far from fair even with the income difference. I make 2x my husband and our expenses are split 60/40.

Yeah we did that from Sprint --> Tmobile then Tmobile --> Verizon. The one issue...you still owe the cancellation fees/phone fees on the previous bill while waiting for the new phone company to send you a Visa git card in the reimbursed amount (takes 2-3 months). My Tmobile bill ended up going into collections because I had to stop paying it when I became unemployed. What I'm trying to do is not be stuck in any more shitty phone contracts while paying payments on a phone. But it may be my only option to save $100+ a month.

Unfortunately we both need our own cars. I work Mon - Fri 9am - 6pm and he is starting school Mon & Wed at a much earlier time and works part time at odd retail hours.

Last year (2016) my fiance made $10k, I made $105k. He was paying his bills (dental surgery bill, school, gas, food at work, car loan) - then essentially had $0 left.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Help Me :) on December 31, 2017, 11:37:02 PM
If you haven't read this MMM post, please do.  It will put you in the right frame of mind about your debt:

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/04/18/news-flash-your-debt-is-an-emergency/ (http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/04/18/news-flash-your-debt-is-an-emergency/)

I particularly like the point he makes in this paragraph:

"Even if you are an absolute Beginner Consumer Sucka and your goal is still to consume the maximum amount of luxury products, you are still cheating yourself out of stuff just by running a consumer debt balance. Every dollar you pay in interest to the credit card company is stealing dollars away that you could be using for more luxury purchases for yourself. Those dollars are gone forever, and youíve permanently lowered your ability to consume luxury products, for the rest of your life.

Since you need those luxury products so much, youíd better get out of debt quickly so you can afford to buy more. The credit card debts [in the example he cites] are eating up over $4000 per year of your after-tax salary just due to interest payments. Thatís hundreds of lattes, several pairs of shoes, thousands of miles worth of gasoline for your SUV, and even some massages at the spa and a couple of cross-country flights that you are foregoing every year."

It should also piss you off having to work every day to pay someone 17.49% interest on that debt.

You can do this.  Pretty much all of us here were in the same spot at one time.

Thank you, yes I had read that blog post before actually posting this on here :). It's a great read. Completely agree with it. Prior to being unemployed (May 2017 and before) I was bad with $$. Then when I got laid off I am WAY more frugal. Will continue to be.

I'm hopeful my future will bt debt free with hard work and lifestyle changes.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Laura33 on January 01, 2018, 12:54:05 PM
So I think you have learned some wrong lessons ó e.g., the problem is not ďused cars are bad,Ē itís that you bought crappy used cars.  So you ďfixedĒ that by spending a lot of money to lease another crappy car, and now you want to fix that by leasing another new car?*  You have solved the wrong problem, and in doing so dug yourself a deeper hole.  You basically rented a brand spanky new car that you couldnít afford for several years, because it gave you the appearance of security; and now you are turning it in and will replace it with another brand spanky new car that you still canít afford.  Just so you can tell yourself that you will be safe from breakdowns/repairs.  Question:  how much were your repairs on those old beaters?  More than $4k/yr?  Because thatís what you have been paying for the privilege of avoiding that possible inconvenience. 

You obviously canít do anything about the past, but now itís time to learn the right lessons.  The first is that the problem was that you chose crappy cars, not that all used cars are crappy.  The second is to look at the real cost over time (e.g., the actual cost of repairs vs the cost of your replacement option), instead of focusing on your fears and the possible inconvenience.  And the third is that leasing is always a suckerís bet ó itís a way you can talk yourself into justifying a spanky new car because the monthly payments seem low, without paying attention to the fact that over the same amount of time you could have fully paid for a reliable used car and actually still have a car to drive at the end of it.  ďLow down, easy monthly paymentsĒ is the siren song of perpetual poverty.

The way you get ahead is by keeping your total cost of ownership low over time.. And you do that by buy something affordable and driving it for years and years.  I get that I am not going to be able to persuade you to try another beater.  So just go to someplace like Honda or Hyundai and buy a low-end car that is a couple of years old that is coming off lease, and drive it forever.  Youíre looking at a brand new Hyundai for $18k; I just got a used 2017 Impreza for $17k, with moonroof and crash avoidance and leather seats and all that ó 5-month-old car for thousands below original price, just for the privilege of letting someone else drive it for a few months.

Also:  look for ALDI for groceries.  No more lunches.  Forget asking about who has unlimited data plans ó you canít afford that.  You are still thinking like someone who has savings and money to spare, not like someone who is underwater and barely breaking even each month.  You have to throw all those assumptions aside about what you ďdeserveĒ or ďneedĒ and cut to the bare bones. 

Finally, your fiancť also needs to be more responsible ó he should be working his ass off to help pay down the debt, not taking off to go back to school while still shopping at Hollister and dropping $40 that you donít have at the market.  You canít cover all of that alone; if he isnít going to be sharing the load, he at least needs to not add to it.  Does he really get how deep your hole is right now, and how tight the budget is on your income?  If he wants to spend more, he is going to have to bring in more, period ó and now, not in however many years when he gets his degree.  If he canít get on board with the emergency measures, perhaps he needs to consider postponing school until the debt is paid off so he can bring in more money now to pay for those luxuries he wants.

*And for the love of Pete, never buy the first year of a new model.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: ysette9 on January 01, 2018, 01:39:41 PM
If you are in the Bay Area, shop at Trader Joe’s instead of Safeway. Cheaper and tastier
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Help Me :) on January 01, 2018, 04:33:21 PM
If you are in the Bay Area, shop at Trader Joeís instead of Safeway. Cheaper and tastier

Trader Joes is cheaper than Safeway? Wait seriously? If so I had no idea....I thought they were compared to Whole Foods (everything is healthier and organic)?! I'd love to shop there!
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Help Me :) on January 01, 2018, 04:41:52 PM
So I think you have learned some wrong lessons ó e.g., the problem is not ďused cars are bad,Ē itís that you bought crappy used cars.  So you ďfixedĒ that by spending a lot of money to lease another crappy car, and now you want to fix that by leasing another new car?*  You have solved the wrong problem, and in doing so dug yourself a deeper hole.  You basically rented a brand spanky new car that you couldnít afford for several years, because it gave you the appearance of security; and now you are turning it in and will replace it with another brand spanky new car that you still canít afford.  Just so you can tell yourself that you will be safe from breakdowns/repairs.  Question:  how much were your repairs on those old beaters?  More than $4k/yr?  Because thatís what you have been paying for the privilege of avoiding that possible inconvenience. 

You obviously canít do anything about the past, but now itís time to learn the right lessons.  The first is that the problem was that you chose crappy cars, not that all used cars are crappy.  The second is to look at the real cost over time (e.g., the actual cost of repairs vs the cost of your replacement option), instead of focusing on your fears and the possible inconvenience.  And the third is that leasing is always a suckerís bet ó itís a way you can talk yourself into justifying a spanky new car because the monthly payments seem low, without paying attention to the fact that over the same amount of time you could have fully paid for a reliable used car and actually still have a car to drive at the end of it.  ďLow down, easy monthly paymentsĒ is the siren song of perpetual poverty.

The way you get ahead is by keeping your total cost of ownership low over time.. And you do that by buy something affordable and driving it for years and years.  I get that I am not going to be able to persuade you to try another beater.  So just go to someplace like Honda or Hyundai and buy a low-end car that is a couple of years old that is coming off lease, and drive it forever.  Youíre looking at a brand new Hyundai for $18k; I just got a used 2017 Impreza for $17k, with moonroof and crash avoidance and leather seats and all that ó 5-month-old car for thousands below original price, just for the privilege of letting someone else drive it for a few months.

Also:  look for ALDI for groceries.  No more lunches.  Forget asking about who has unlimited data plans ó you canít afford that.  You are still thinking like someone who has savings and money to spare, not like someone who is underwater and barely breaking even each month.  You have to throw all those assumptions aside about what you ďdeserveĒ or ďneedĒ and cut to the bare bones. 

Finally, your fiancť also needs to be more responsible ó he should be working his ass off to help pay down the debt, not taking off to go back to school while still shopping at Hollister and dropping $40 that you donít have at the market.  You canít cover all of that alone; if he isnít going to be sharing the load, he at least needs to not add to it.  Does he really get how deep your hole is right now, and how tight the budget is on your income?  If he wants to spend more, he is going to have to bring in more, period ó and now, not in however many years when he gets his degree.  If he canít get on board with the emergency measures, perhaps he needs to consider postponing school until the debt is paid off so he can bring in more money now to pay for those luxuries he wants.

*And for the love of Pete, never buy the first year of a new model.

Well remember I am 28 years old. My first ever car was a Chevy Corsica for $600 (literally bought with saved up spare change) that I had to put water in the coolant tank daily. My second car at age 18 was a 1999 Isuzu Rodeo with 74k miles on it. Lasted 6 years. I bought it for $5k with my grandpas inheritance (which was only $10k). My dad helped me find this car. It lasted awhile but then all at once problems started popping up, brand new tires, starter, spark plugs, axels, suspension, fan belt, probably over years $8k - $10k in repairs. I then leased a new shiny car (yes dumb idea I could of gone cheaper) and I was SO HAPPY. It was also 1/3 of my salary so seemed manageable. But I continue to charge my credit card like an idiot and the rest is history.

This time around, yes I will be searching for 2017 cars as well (a little bit used with a lot of $ off, sounds good to me). I'm not opposed to finance, but I do know I can NOT afford a down payment because I literally don't have the money. 5 months of unemployment this year drained my savings.

All I know is this, I will not be comfortable buying a car outside of warranty without money in my savings. Because if a repair comes up, and I can't afford it I don't want to charge it to my credit card (which I won't be able to for the next 1+ year due to me getting back on my feet and owing $ back to family) . So Finance or lease, whatever I do - this has to be #1 priority.

There's no ALDI in the bay area. Safeway, Luckys, Grocery Outlet - few others. I often search coupons for best deals.

Yes agreed that Fiance needs to be on board. He's actually the one who talked me out of bankruptcy after I met with the attorney. When he was younger he lived in Woman's shelters with his mom until she met a man (albeit abusive) who had money. I think that may have to do with his bad habits. BUT he is the one who said we will cut ''this bill or that bill if we need to'' - so I think he's definitely more so on board than before. 

Why never buy first year new model?? lol :D
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Another Reader on January 01, 2018, 04:59:52 PM
Trader Joe's in not cheaper than Safeway, especially if you use the specials and the "just for you" offers at Safeway.  Meat and produce are generally much more expensive at Trader Joe's, especially considering sales at grocery stores.  Milk, eggs, and some cheeses will likely be less at TJ's.  Do you have Sprouts in your area?  Best prices for really good boneless skinless chicken around and good prices on produce as well.  The sales circulars are your friends.  Use them to cut your grocery bill.

I see now you are in the Bay Area.  Grocery Outlet often has good sales on a few items if you are near one.  Too much trouble for the few good prices for me to drive to the nearest one.

Seriously, look at the Sprout's circular on line.  This week boneless skinless chicken breasts are $1.88 a pound in the large pack.  Boneless pork loin roast is the same price.  Yellow onions and green cabbage are 3 pounds for a dollar.  Check it out.

I hear you on the car.  Certified used cars are almost as expensive as well negotiated deals on new cars.  Leasing?  That's a ripoff.  You should be able to get a low/no down payment deal if your credit score is high enough, which may be a problem given your recent past.  Get your credit score from a couple of sources before you do anything.  It's worth checking around with lenders to get rates before you look at any cars.  You may find it's going to be a lot more expensive than you thought.  Just don't get forced into a bad deal because you have to return the leased car and you are in a pinch.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Help Me :) on January 01, 2018, 05:09:53 PM
Trader Joe's in not cheaper than Safeway, especially if you use the specials and the "just for you" offers at Safeway.  Meat and produce are generally much more expensive at Trader Joe's, especially considering sales at grocery stores.  Milk, eggs, and some cheeses will likely be less at TJ's.  Do you have Sprouts in your area?  Best prices for really good boneless skinless chicken around and good prices on produce as well.  The sales circulars are your friends.  Use them to cut your grocery bill.

I see now you are in the Bay Area.  Grocery Outlet often has good sales on a few items if you are near one.  Too much trouble for the few good prices for me to drive to the nearest one.

Seriously, look at the Sprout's circular on line.  This week boneless skinless chicken breasts are $1.88 a pound in the large pack.  Boneless pork loin roast is the same price.  Yellow onions and green cabbage are 3 pounds for a dollar.  Check it out.

I hear you on the car.  Certified used cars are almost as expensive as well negotiated deals on new cars.  Leasing?  That's a ripoff.  You should be able to get a low/no down payment deal if your credit score is high enough, which may be a problem given your recent past.  Get your credit score from a couple of sources before you do anything.  It's worth checking around with lenders to get rates before you look at any cars.  You may find it's going to be a lot more expensive than you thought.  Just don't get forced into a bad deal because you have to return the leased car and you are in a pinch.

That's what I thought. We've been to grocery outlet a few times, but the quality of the shit is just TOO low. I'll check out sprouts - there are a few around here. Thanks for the pointers. I often cook chicken.

Luckily my credit score is good (over 700) and my history is perfect with no delinquencies, which is another reason I opposed bankruptcy. My car lease is due back anytime in March, so I will be shopping around in March and won't be carless during is so that I don't feel pressured :).
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Another Reader on January 01, 2018, 05:26:03 PM
I'm going to get punched by the zealots here, but I see nothing wrong with buying something like a new 2018 Toyota Corolla LE on sale with financing if you can get a good price and cheap financing.  Those things are generally well made, reliable workhorses, and one should easily last you 10 years or more, depending on how many miles you drive.  You need to do your homework on financing, discounts, and rebates, but it might be a good solution for you.  I hate repairing cars because it's time consuming and stressful and my time and peace of mind are valuable to me.  It's also very difficult around here to find well maintained and undamaged used cars at reasonable prices, even from private parties.  I therefore consciously make the choice to buy new. 
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Pizzabrewer on January 01, 2018, 05:30:15 PM
No one here is going to endorse your car logic.  New cars, and particularly leasing new cars, are the worst financial mistakes most people make.

If you buy a 5-year-old Honda (check the Carfax) it will be just as reliable as a new car costing you 2 to 3 times as much money. 

I drive a 2002 Subaru (bought about 10 years ago for around $9k) and my wife drives a 2007 Honda Accord (bought 3 years ago for around $6k).  We haven't had a car payment in years.  Subarus are a bit controversial here so I won't recommend them (despite my good experience), but it has had minimal repair costs and my wife's Honda has performed flawlessly.  Our maintenance costs are far less than what you're paying to rent a car.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: ysette9 on January 01, 2018, 05:31:41 PM
Good heavens, no. Not at all on the same level as Whole Foods though the quality of the food is good. Staples like a loaf of bread I find to be cheaper. If you have a food allergy I find it easier because their prepared foods are much closer to something you would cook at home than the stuff at Safeway made with five hundred ingredients.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Help Me :) on January 01, 2018, 05:34:57 PM
No one here is going to endorse your car logic.  New cars, and particularly leasing new cars, are the worst financial mistakes most people make.

If you buy a 5-year-old Honda (check the Carfax) it will be just as reliable as a new car costing you 2 to 3 times as much money. 

I drive a 2002 Subaru (bought about 10 years ago for around $9k) and my wife drives a 2007 Honda Accord (bought 3 years ago for around $6k).  We haven't had a car payment in years.  Subarus are a bit controversial here so I won't recommend them (despite my good experience), but it has had minimal repair costs and my wife's Honda has performed flawlessly.  Our maintenance costs are far less than what you're paying to rent a car.

Totally agree. Leasing and financing are the least financial intelligent decision. Most times there is no value in cars, so buying it new is a HORRIBLE investment. I just bought it for ease of mind, and if you lived in this valley all the driving we do and daily traffic...a good reliable car is necessary. Also I'm an Executive Assistant so I have to run errands often. Though I agree, I will take advantage of the fact that I will be carless in a few months and look into good used cars. I just don't have thousands to pay for one if you read my previous comments - so whatever I decide...it has to be a payment plan, with no down payment.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Help Me :) on January 01, 2018, 05:36:55 PM
I'm going to get punched by the zealots here, but I see nothing wrong with buying something like a new 2018 Toyota Corolla LE on sale with financing if you can get a good price and cheap financing.  Those things are generally well made, reliable workhorses, and one should easily last you 10 years or more, depending on how many miles you drive.  You need to do your homework on financing, discounts, and rebates, but it might be a good solution for you.  I hate repairing cars because it's time consuming and stressful and my time and peace of mind are valuable to me.  It's also very difficult around here to find well maintained and undamaged used cars at reasonable prices, even from private parties.  I therefore consciously make the choice to buy new.

LOL! Yes I am going to go with a reliable brand (used or new) and it will be under 20k. My current car was 28k. I am SO happy I didn't finance it, because it is a discontinued piece of shit junker. Lost SO much valuation. I'd be in worse if I had bought this thing.

Yes very difficult around here, and so many car deals. I will do my homework for sure.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: fuzzy math on January 01, 2018, 05:37:33 PM
What cat food are you buying and what are you paying for it? I have a cat with urinary issues and ended up going with Royal canin S/O. It can be bought in 17.5 lb bags for much cheaper per lb than the 4 lb bag. I used to pay $70 per bag at pet smart but found it on www.chewy.com for $53ish per bag with auto ship. You just mail them your prescription and they ship it to your door for free.
It is actually not cheaper to feed all 3 cats the same food. Any non prescription food can be bought for much cheaper than $55-70 per bag, but it requires the hassle of locking up the prescription needing cat during meal time and picking up all the food afterwards. I used to accomplish this when I had 4 cats by locking prescription cat up in the closet for 9 hrs at night. Now that we are down to 2 cats and in a different house with different space it's just easier to feed both the expensive food.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Help Me :) on January 01, 2018, 05:38:18 PM
Good heavens, no. Not at all on the same level as Whole Foods though the quality of the food is good. Staples like a loaf of bread I find to be cheaper. If you have a food allergy I find it easier because their prepared foods are much closer to something you would cook at home than the stuff at Safeway made with five hundred ingredients.

Well, I have paid attention to what I consume over the last 1.5 years. Prior to that it was fast food and eating out, then I switched to cooking at home with raw ingredients (no pre made sauces) AND I also make fruit smoothies with my own fruit. So I will definitely check out trader joes on the weekend soon and see what kind of deals there are! :)
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Help Me :) on January 01, 2018, 05:42:19 PM
What cat food are you buying and what are you paying for it? I have a cat with urinary issues and ended up going with Royal canin S/O. It can be bought in 17.5 lb bags for much cheaper per lb than the 4 lb bag. I used to pay $70 per bag at pet smart but found it on www.chewy.com for $53ish per bag with auto ship. You just mail them your prescription and they ship it to your door for free.
It is actually not cheaper to feed all 3 cats the same food. Any non prescription food can be bought for much cheaper than $55-70 per bag, but it requires the hassle of locking up the prescription needing cat during meal time and picking up all the food afterwards. I used to accomplish this when I had 4 cats by locking prescription cat up in the closet for 9 hrs at night. Now that we are down to 2 cats and in a different house with different space it's just easier to feed both the expensive food.

I also buy Royal Canin S/O - recommended by my vet. I have to tell you....seeing my cat in pain knowing something was off and rushing him to the ER was a super shitty moment. Poor baby was 100% blocked and had to be in the ER for two days ALL because of effing crystallization caused by food (I had blue buffalo prior too!). I'm so happy I noticed something was off before the blockage killed him...

For a 7.7lb bag I pay $40 at the vet. I went to 2 stores in person and asked if they had any and they didn't stock it. I will check out chewy!! Thank you.

Well it's saved me money to feed them all the same brand. I was buying blue buffalo then instinct for $20 ish a bag and feeding the other cats that. Then I switched to just royal canin and save money. The reason I'm not feeding my other 2 cats a shitty/cheap brand is because I don't want them to end up in the hospital with issues (costing me more).
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Another Reader on January 01, 2018, 06:13:18 PM
No one here is going to endorse your car logic.  New cars, and particularly leasing new cars, are the worst financial mistakes most people make.

If you buy a 5-year-old Honda (check the Carfax) it will be just as reliable as a new car costing you 2 to 3 times as much money. 

I drive a 2002 Subaru (bought about 10 years ago for around $9k) and my wife drives a 2007 Honda Accord (bought 3 years ago for around $6k).  We haven't had a car payment in years.  Subarus are a bit controversial here so I won't recommend them (despite my good experience), but it has had minimal repair costs and my wife's Honda has performed flawlessly.  Our maintenance costs are far less than what you're paying to rent a car.

In theory, you are correct.  However, my experience is that it is very difficult to buy a used car in good mechanical condition with no damage at a reasonable price.  And I have decades of car buying experience in the OP's used car market.

I can buy a new Corolla LE for less than $18k out the door because of discounts, rebates, and my negotiating skills.  A two year old certified used is not going to be that much less.  And you are spinning the roulette wheel to buy private party, especially if you don't have a trusted mechanic to look it over.  I suspect that's the case with the OP.  The OP values not having to deal with car issues - he has a demanding job.  The extra cost may be worth it to him as it is to me.  After he cleans up his financial mess and quits wasting money on other things, the car will be a minor part of his financial world.

In my view, the OP would do well to minimize the car stress and use his energy to get all the other spending under control and pay off the debt.  He can ramp up his savings and investing as he gets to the end of the debt payoff, which will insulate him from future shocks.  Based on what he has said, doing things this way will make him happier in the long run.
Title: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: ysette9 on January 01, 2018, 07:25:31 PM
Hmm, I live in the same area and have bought several used cars successfully using the method I outlined earlier in the thread. I can’t believe I’m on the MMM forums reading someone endorsing buying cars new, especially when the OP is in debt. Our net worth is a seven figures and both of our cars were bought used.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Another Reader on January 01, 2018, 07:49:47 PM
Hmm, I live in the same area and have bought several used cars successfully using the method I outlined earlier in the thread. I canít believe Iím on the MMM forums reading someone endorsing buying cars new, especially when the OP is in debt. Our net worth is a seven figures and both of our cars were bought used.

Well, get over your disbelief.  There is not one right solution to every problem in MMM land.  In the OP's case, he has shown no interest in or skill with dealing with cars.  Despite his serious debt problem, he appears to have seen the light and is serious about cleaning up the financial mess.  The last thing he needs to do is make the wrong car purchase, finance it at a ridiculous used car interest rate because he has no cash, and then have to deal with a $2,500 repair because he did not have the skills needed to buy a reliable car.

Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Broadway2019 on January 01, 2018, 08:02:44 PM
Hmm, I live in the same area and have bought several used cars successfully using the method I outlined earlier in the thread. I canít believe Iím on the MMM forums reading someone endorsing buying cars new, especially when the OP is in debt. Our net worth is a seven figures and both of our cars were bought used.

Well, get over your disbelief.  There is not one right solution to every problem in MMM land.  In the OP's case, he has shown no interest in or skill with dealing with cars.  Despite his serious debt problem, he appears to have seen the light and is serious about cleaning up the financial mess.  The last thing he needs to do is make the wrong car purchase, finance it at a ridiculous used car interest rate because he has no cash, and then have to deal with a $2,500 repair because he did not have the skills needed to buy a reliable car.

I agree with buying new cars and usually keep it to myself on here. LOL. I realize many on here disagree too. However, everyone has different interests and is in different situation. Some people don't know about fixing cars and don't want to. I am in that camp. I much rather buy a new car under warranty then take a gamble with a used car. A few months ago I actually tried to find a low mileage car in decent shape and found everything I looked at was near what I could get a new car for. There is not a bunch of low mileage cars for great prices just sitting there. Dealers are marking up used ones near new prices which equals not much savings when factoring in miles, how many years old is it, outdated technology or body, and piece of mind. I tried private party too and did not have any luck.

Good for the people that actually find these great deals on used cars, but I am not one of them.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Help Me :) on January 01, 2018, 08:09:30 PM
Hmm, I live in the same area and have bought several used cars successfully using the method I outlined earlier in the thread. I canít believe Iím on the MMM forums reading someone endorsing buying cars new, especially when the OP is in debt. Our net worth is a seven figures and both of our cars were bought used.

Well, get over your disbelief.  There is not one right solution to every problem in MMM land.  In the OP's case, he has shown no interest in or skill with dealing with cars.  Despite his serious debt problem, he appears to have seen the light and is serious about cleaning up the financial mess.  The last thing he needs to do is make the wrong car purchase, finance it at a ridiculous used car interest rate because he has no cash, and then have to deal with a $2,500 repair because he did not have the skills needed to buy a reliable car.

I agree with buying new cars and usually keep it to myself on here. LOL. I realize many on here disagree too. However, everyone has different interests and is in different situation. Some people don't know about fixing cars and don't want to. I am in that camp. I much rather buy a new car under warranty then take a gamble with a used car. A few months ago I actually tried to find a low mileage car in decent shape and found everything I looked at was near what I could get a new car for. There is not a bunch of low mileage cars for great prices just sitting there. Dealers are marking up used ones near new prices which equals not much savings when factoring in miles, how many years old is it, outdated technology or body, and piece of mind. I tried private party too and did not have any luck.

Good for the people that actually find these great deals on used cars, but I am not one of them.

Yes thank you. My serious debt problem was all from stupid credit card purchases (a large amount was also to car repairs on a used car and random emergencies over the years). But my day to day cash spending was also very stupid/careless. That's all changed within the last 12-18 months. Just really recently even more so (after unemployment).

I can't afford repairs, but I also know not to purchase a car beyond my means. That's why I think it's fair to buy a new/used car for $20k or under with a great warranty for many years.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Another Reader on January 01, 2018, 08:30:27 PM
In addition, if you buy a Toyota, you get the first two years or 24,000 miles of maintenance thrown in.  Not worth a lot of money, but oil changes and tire rotations are paid for with the car.  You should be past your debt issues by the time you need to pay to get the car serviced.  You should get good gas mileage, probably high twenties to thirty overall.  It's enough car to visit the out of town family comfortably and you should get at least 30 mpg on the trip.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: ysette9 on January 02, 2018, 08:56:47 AM
I’m still going to push back, in the spirit of the fact that this is the MMM forums after all.
I know nothing about cars and have no interest in doing my own repairs. Nevertheless, I have successfully bought high-quality used cars on multiple occasions using the guidance I provided up-thread. There is nothing magical about it. You simply pay an expert for their expert opinion before purchasing anything (mechanic). This costs $250 or so versus the thousands extra you will pay for a new car (depreciation is a bitch initially). Buy a car that is 2-4 years old if you want that new feel and smell and are afraid of repairs. Buy a car brand and model that has a proven history of being reliable (Consumer Reports). It isn’t that tough.

With cars, used or new, you will still need to pay for regular maintenance. That can be upwards of $500 at a time. You have to plan for these expenses regardless because that is part of car ownership. That is why MMM talks so much about getting rid of cars if you possibly can because there is no way around it: cars are expensive. The way to reduce those expenses is to buy a used, small, fuel-efficient, reliable car.

I’m not going to post anymore about this subject since it seems to be falling on deaf ears. Good luck educating yourself on personal finance topics and un-learning some bad things you have picked up along the way.

I think I’ll head over to the thread on how these forums are going soft now. :)
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Apple_Tango on January 02, 2018, 09:06:46 AM
A family member of mine bought a non-MMM endorsed vehicle (Honda C-RV) used. The old owner traded it in after a year to move up to an Audi. So the used car was scooped up for a cool $5000 less than a new one. I think deals are out there! I bought a new car on finance myself recently and I REALLY regret it. I wish I had paid cash for something I could afford.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: YoungGranny on January 02, 2018, 10:04:15 AM
Not trying to be rude but this is the MMM forum right?? YOUR HAIR IS ON FIRE!!! THIS IS A DEBT EMERGENCY!!! Even $20k for a car is A LOT of money!!! I understand you can't pay cash and need to finance but there's definitely some great maintenance-free cars for closer to $10k. How much do you drive everyday? Can any of this be reduced?  I know you have to do errands in a car at work sometimes but are there days you could walk/bike/public transit instead? It's going to be tough and it's going to take a lot of creative solutions but you'll be able to pay off this debt faster if you cut in every possible area.

So no more lunches at work, find ways to cook for cheaper (I've ordered food w/friends before from nutstop.com in bulk before to save on beans/rice/peanuts), no sling, no gym, get out of that ridiculous phone situation and when you find a company that will buy you out of it get the cheapest phones possible. You're living outside of your means and have been for a long time. It's tough to make these cuts but people do it all the time. You got this and we're all here to cheer for you along the way but you have got to flex those frugal muscles and annihilate this debt!
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: zinnie on January 02, 2018, 10:33:25 AM
Smart & Final is another low-cost grocery option in your area. It has a limited selection but what they carry is very well priced. I find Safeway to be one of my more expensive options, and mostly use it when I can't find something at other places. I divide between Smart & Final, Sprouts, and Trader Joe's for the most part. Produce is the least at Smart & Final and they have bulk bins, TJs is good for low prices on fancier items (cheeses, pancetta, mushrooms, butter, canned tomatoes, olives, chocolate), and I like Sprouts for bulk bins and produce that S&F doesn't have. Also check out produce markets, and don't be afraid of "ugly" produce. California has a ton of these kinds of markets. I go to one that has crazy low prices on the produce that wasn't pretty enough and/or cylindrical enough for places like Safeway. 

Looking at this from an outside perspective, your car costs are CRAZY between the lease and your insurance rate. Remember that a cheaper car costs less to insure, as well. I have a 2007 Honda Civic with 80k miles that is in excellent condition and is worth ~$4-5k in my area. You could easily buy a car like this--finance it is you have to--but at least at the end of a year or two you would own a reliable car and not have to pay so much every month for the rest of your life.

I would also focus on getting your fiance on board with a shared financial plan before you get married. You're going to need a plan that the two of you are both all in on if you want to be financially healthy.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: lbmustache on January 02, 2018, 11:47:08 AM
If you are in the Bay Area, shop at Trader Joeís instead of Safeway. Cheaper and tastier

Trader Joes is cheaper than Safeway? Wait seriously? If so I had no idea....I thought they were compared to Whole Foods (everything is healthier and organic)?! I'd love to shop there!

My parents thought this too for a very long time... I was like actually Trader Joe's is pretty affordable and definitely some stuff is cheaper (or at least the same price) as your regular Safeway/Ralphs/etc. The only downside is less choice (like, only 2 coffee creamer choices instead of 20) but it's great for a budget shopper.

I'd honestly finance a $10k car and call it a day. Also yes, T-Mobile and Sprint will buy you out of your contract.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Laura33 on January 02, 2018, 11:59:54 AM
This time around, yes I will be searching for 2017 cars as well (a little bit used with a lot of $ off, sounds good to me). I'm not opposed to finance, but I do know I can NOT afford a down payment because I literally don't have the money. 5 months of unemployment this year drained my savings.

All I know is this, I will not be comfortable buying a car outside of warranty without money in my savings. Because if a repair comes up, and I can't afford it I don't want to charge it to my credit card (which I won't be able to for the next 1+ year due to me getting back on my feet and owing $ back to family) . So Finance or lease, whatever I do - this has to be #1 priority.

. . . .

Why never buy first year new model?? lol :D

Right.  So one more shot:  yes, older cars will involve maintenance that is not covered by warranty.  The good news is that they also cost significantly less, so you have more room in your budget to plan for those repairs.  And you need to plan that into your budget regardless of what you buy, because even brand-new cars need things like oil changes and tires.  So if you think you have $250/mo. free, limit yourself to a car that you can swing for $200/mo., and then save that extra $50/mo. in a "shit happens" fund.  You may not be able to do this now, when every penny needs to go to the debt -- but it is critical once that debt is gone.  Because shit always happens.

And you don't buy a first-year model because many times the manufacturers don't have all the kinks worked out.  [Ask me how I know]

FWIW, I get the sense that your car-buying focus is driven by a significant degree of what's "cool."  You have clearly come around to the need to economize, but I don't think you've really let go of the desire to have a spanky new car, so you rationalize that choice as, well, I need a new car because it has to be reliable and I can't afford repairs and and and.  The problem is that you cannot afford cool right now.  If your primary worry is truly reliability, a brand-new Hyundai Accent lists at $14K, a Toyota Yaris at $15K (and of course you won't pay list).  But here's the secret:  if you buy a used version, you also get the balance of the warranty (you don't even need "certified used" for that), so you should easily be able to pick up a lightly-used one of those for under $10K that comes with the protection you want.   

I'd suggest looking at your situation logically, not emotionally.  No. 1:  This focus on reliability is emotional, not logical.  The reality is that almost everything that goes wrong with cars in their first 8-10 years is NOT covered by warranty.  You live in a temperate climate, so you don't have to worry much about flooding or corrosion or extreme temperatures, which means that a properly-maintained, boring, reliable vehicle should last for at least 200,000 miles.  The odds of you picking a crappy one are small if you do the research. 

No. 2:  Remember that you are looking at a limited time.  Your budget cannot handle unexpected costs right now, because you have massive debt on a single income.  OK.  How long is that going to last -- a year?  Maybe two?  So the reality is that you don't need a car that is reliable forever -- you just need one that will make it through the next couple of years.  So why lock yourself into a permanent solution to a temporary problem?

Put those together, and it is clear that the advantage provided by a new car is that IF it breaks down, and IF that is caused by something covered under warranty, and IF that happens within the next two years, you won't have to put the repairs back on your CC.  OK.  What is the likelihood of that actually happening with something like a 2012 Yaris?  Answer:  really, really, really low.  And what is the cost if it does?  What, another month or two to get the debt paid off?  Paying an extra $10K+ on a spanky new car, simply to avoid the risk of something that isn't going to happen over the next two years, and that would cost you a small fraction of that figure if it did, is an emotional decision, not a smart financial one.

So, again, I would recommend buying the cheapest, least-cool, most reliable POS you can find, which should keep you well under $10K (and yes, every dealer and every credit union will finance a used car).  Then, once you have the debt paid off and have established a reasonable emergency fund, if you still want a cool new car, you can start saving for it.  It doesn't have to be "never" -- it just cannot be "right now." 
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Help Me :) on January 02, 2018, 01:22:06 PM
I'm surprised by how many people recommend cancelling gym. That is something I will never do. "do cardio at home" - "go on walks"...that BARELY has the same positive affect on your body as weight training does (i.e. upper/lower body weight lifting routine). Health should always be the #1 priority in someones life, and should never be cut out.

I would use the gym at my work, except they only cardio machines (which again has no where the same positive affect as weight lifting does). I also don't have a yard around me to supply my own weights.

Sorry but that is something that I just disagree with and one piece of advice people should not take. Yes you should go to your minimal gym membership, but I still believe a gym membership is extremely important, unless of course you have property and can supply your own full supplies (bench press, pull up bar, squat rack, multiple barbells, etc.).
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Help Me :) on January 02, 2018, 01:24:08 PM
This time around, yes I will be searching for 2017 cars as well (a little bit used with a lot of $ off, sounds good to me). I'm not opposed to finance, but I do know I can NOT afford a down payment because I literally don't have the money. 5 months of unemployment this year drained my savings.

All I know is this, I will not be comfortable buying a car outside of warranty without money in my savings. Because if a repair comes up, and I can't afford it I don't want to charge it to my credit card (which I won't be able to for the next 1+ year due to me getting back on my feet and owing $ back to family) . So Finance or lease, whatever I do - this has to be #1 priority.

. . . .

Why never buy first year new model?? lol :D

Right.  So one more shot:  yes, older cars will involve maintenance that is not covered by warranty.  The good news is that they also cost significantly less, so you have more room in your budget to plan for those repairs.  And you need to plan that into your budget regardless of what you buy, because even brand-new cars need things like oil changes and tires.  So if you think you have $250/mo. free, limit yourself to a car that you can swing for $200/mo., and then save that extra $50/mo. in a "shit happens" fund.  You may not be able to do this now, when every penny needs to go to the debt -- but it is critical once that debt is gone.  Because shit always happens.

And you don't buy a first-year model because many times the manufacturers don't have all the kinks worked out.  [Ask me how I know]

FWIW, I get the sense that your car-buying focus is driven by a significant degree of what's "cool."  You have clearly come around to the need to economize, but I don't think you've really let go of the desire to have a spanky new car, so you rationalize that choice as, well, I need a new car because it has to be reliable and I can't afford repairs and and and.  The problem is that you cannot afford cool right now.  If your primary worry is truly reliability, a brand-new Hyundai Accent lists at $14K, a Toyota Yaris at $15K (and of course you won't pay list).  But here's the secret:  if you buy a used version, you also get the balance of the warranty (you don't even need "certified used" for that), so you should easily be able to pick up a lightly-used one of those for under $10K that comes with the protection you want.   

I'd suggest looking at your situation logically, not emotionally.  No. 1:  This focus on reliability is emotional, not logical.  The reality is that almost everything that goes wrong with cars in their first 8-10 years is NOT covered by warranty.  You live in a temperate climate, so you don't have to worry much about flooding or corrosion or extreme temperatures, which means that a properly-maintained, boring, reliable vehicle should last for at least 200,000 miles.  The odds of you picking a crappy one are small if you do the research. 

No. 2:  Remember that you are looking at a limited time.  Your budget cannot handle unexpected costs right now, because you have massive debt on a single income.  OK.  How long is that going to last -- a year?  Maybe two?  So the reality is that you don't need a car that is reliable forever -- you just need one that will make it through the next couple of years.  So why lock yourself into a permanent solution to a temporary problem?

Put those together, and it is clear that the advantage provided by a new car is that IF it breaks down, and IF that is caused by something covered under warranty, and IF that happens within the next two years, you won't have to put the repairs back on your CC.  OK.  What is the likelihood of that actually happening with something like a 2012 Yaris?  Answer:  really, really, really low.  And what is the cost if it does?  What, another month or two to get the debt paid off?  Paying an extra $10K+ on a spanky new car, simply to avoid the risk of something that isn't going to happen over the next two years, and that would cost you a small fraction of that figure if it did, is an emotional decision, not a smart financial one.

So, again, I would recommend buying the cheapest, least-cool, most reliable POS you can find, which should keep you well under $10K (and yes, every dealer and every credit union will finance a used car).  Then, once you have the debt paid off and have established a reasonable emergency fund, if you still want a cool new car, you can start saving for it.  It doesn't have to be "never" -- it just cannot be "right now."

Yes, when I got my Chrysler it was because of 1. Having a new car I didn't have to worry about 2. Something luxury and exciting I felt I earned. Today, I feel differently, I just want reliability and affordability. Used doesn't bother me as much at all, I don't need a brand new car. But I also won't be buying a POS that ''hopefully'' has no repairs come up. I need something that will be covered (major repairs) for the next couple years ahead. But I am definitely OK with spending $15k. My next car purchase will no matter what save me hundreds a month, that is definitely the plan!
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Help Me :) on January 02, 2018, 01:26:15 PM
If you are in the Bay Area, shop at Trader Joeís instead of Safeway. Cheaper and tastier

Trader Joes is cheaper than Safeway? Wait seriously? If so I had no idea....I thought they were compared to Whole Foods (everything is healthier and organic)?! I'd love to shop there!

My parents thought this too for a very long time... I was like actually Trader Joe's is pretty affordable and definitely some stuff is cheaper (or at least the same price) as your regular Safeway/Ralphs/etc. The only downside is less choice (like, only 2 coffee creamer choices instead of 20) but it's great for a budget shopper.

I'd honestly finance a $10k car and call it a day. Also yes, T-Mobile and Sprint will buy you out of your contract.

I used to be a part of Tmobile and Sprint, I left because the service was shit (but I think that's changed). Both bought out each others contracts (FYI Verizon was absolutely the WORST at this service).
When I get my phones paid down enough, I definitely plan on switching. I still owe to much that other phone companies won't cover.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Help Me :) on January 02, 2018, 01:28:10 PM
Smart & Final is another low-cost grocery option in your area. It has a limited selection but what they carry is very well priced. I find Safeway to be one of my more expensive options, and mostly use it when I can't find something at other places. I divide between Smart & Final, Sprouts, and Trader Joe's for the most part. Produce is the least at Smart & Final and they have bulk bins, TJs is good for low prices on fancier items (cheeses, pancetta, mushrooms, butter, canned tomatoes, olives, chocolate), and I like Sprouts for bulk bins and produce that S&F doesn't have. Also check out produce markets, and don't be afraid of "ugly" produce. California has a ton of these kinds of markets. I go to one that has crazy low prices on the produce that wasn't pretty enough and/or cylindrical enough for places like Safeway. 

Looking at this from an outside perspective, your car costs are CRAZY between the lease and your insurance rate. Remember that a cheaper car costs less to insure, as well. I have a 2007 Honda Civic with 80k miles that is in excellent condition and is worth ~$4-5k in my area. You could easily buy a car like this--finance it is you have to--but at least at the end of a year or two you would own a reliable car and not have to pay so much every month for the rest of your life.

I would also focus on getting your fiance on board with a shared financial plan before you get married. You're going to need a plan that the two of you are both all in on if you want to be financially healthy.

Oh yeah my mom and step dad love shopping there. There are SO many grocery stores around me so I just need to find deals. Luckily I always buy the same things so that shouldn't be too hard.

Yes my car cost is outrageous, I'm so happy I didn't buy it. It's a POS now, will be looking at affordability and reliability for my next vehicle!
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Another Reader on January 02, 2018, 01:29:51 PM
Lots of advice, none of it really actionable for someone in the OP's position.  He uses his car daily for work, not just commuting.  He needs a reliable car with little to no cash in his pocket.  He has no positive experience with buying used cars and no mechanic to evaluate the car.  It's close to impossible to finance a private party sale, even if he knew what he was buying.  He would be stuck buying an overpriced used car at a dealer and financing it at a higher rate than a new car.

The OP's financial situation is precarious at best.  He needs to keep this job, so he must be there on time and run errands for his boss.  A couple of missed mornings because of car trouble and a few days of not being able to run errands because the car is in the shop might cost him the high paying job he just scored.

Buying a new car, even a cheap one, entails some risk.  Another job loss would be disastrous for the OP, especially with a car payment.  Laura's suggestion is right on target for someone kin the OP's position that could execute the purchase and had a job that was not car-dependent.  However, that's not the OP.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Help Me :) on January 02, 2018, 01:30:30 PM
Not trying to be rude but this is the MMM forum right?? YOUR HAIR IS ON FIRE!!! THIS IS A DEBT EMERGENCY!!! Even $20k for a car is A LOT of money!!! I understand you can't pay cash and need to finance but there's definitely some great maintenance-free cars for closer to $10k. How much do you drive everyday? Can any of this be reduced?  I know you have to do errands in a car at work sometimes but are there days you could walk/bike/public transit instead? It's going to be tough and it's going to take a lot of creative solutions but you'll be able to pay off this debt faster if you cut in every possible area.

So no more lunches at work, find ways to cook for cheaper (I've ordered food w/friends before from nutstop.com in bulk before to save on beans/rice/peanuts), no sling, no gym, get out of that ridiculous phone situation and when you find a company that will buy you out of it get the cheapest phones possible. You're living outside of your means and have been for a long time. It's tough to make these cuts but people do it all the time. You got this and we're all here to cheer for you along the way but you have got to flex those frugal muscles and annihilate this debt!

Yeah that's why I was so close to bankruptcy, this will be a tough year for sure (and actually many years ahead) - but I am going to cut down a lot of bills in the coming months. I hate Verizon and hate that I'm stuck in their horrific contract, I wish there were a way out. I can't afford to switch to another carrier just yet.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: YoungGranny on January 02, 2018, 01:47:09 PM
T-mobile will pay up to $650 per phone to buy out contracts: https://www.t-mobile.com/cell-phone-plans?icid=WMM_TM_Q217CARRIE_OYCWNWQUPJ8955

I haven't personally done this but one of my friends had mentioned this recently. Seems like it's worth looking into for you because it would get you out of the dreaded Verizon contract and while $120 a month for two phones isn't great it's less than half of what you're paying now. You'd likely have to finance phones again but you could pick ones that would work on Google Fi/Republic Wireless then after you pay off the phone with T-mobile (24mo) you could switch and lower this line item even more.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Pizzabrewer on January 02, 2018, 01:50:21 PM
I can't believe all the whiney-pants-itis going on about used cars. There is no skill or knowledge needed. Just a tiny bit of smarts.

OP is in the Bay area I believe?  A 10-second search found this dealership with several Hondas around $10k:

https://www.sftoyota.com/used-inventory/index.htm?invtype=used&make=Honda&model=&tcdkwid=541925034&tcdcmpid=484626&tcdadid=191555159030&locale=en_US&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIl73Jt5G62AIVAlgNCh2gwQCEEAAYAiAAEgL9GfD_BwE

I'm sure there's plenty more to be found with a minimal amount of research.

A 5-7 year old Honda with 70-100k miles is not going to leave you stranded.

Sheesh.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: LittleWanderer on January 02, 2018, 01:51:28 PM
So you say you run errands for work a lot in your car.  Is work reimbursing you for those miles? 
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: AccidentalMiser on January 02, 2018, 01:54:55 PM
MOVE.

Short of that, do everything Laura33 says.  She's the best advice-giver on this forum.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Pizzabrewer on January 02, 2018, 01:59:13 PM
no mechanic to evaluate the car.

Seriously?

I assume he knows six people.

All you have to do is ask six people "do you have a mechanic you can recommend?"

That's all it takes.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Help Me :) on January 02, 2018, 02:07:27 PM
T-mobile will pay up to $650 per phone to buy out contracts: https://www.t-mobile.com/cell-phone-plans?icid=WMM_TM_Q217CARRIE_OYCWNWQUPJ8955

I haven't personally done this but one of my friends had mentioned this recently. Seems like it's worth looking into for you because it would get you out of the dreaded Verizon contract and while $120 a month for two phones isn't great it's less than half of what you're paying now. You'd likely have to finance phones again but you could pick ones that would work on Google Fi/Republic Wireless then after you pay off the phone with T-mobile (24mo) you could switch and lower this line item even more.

I've done it 3 times. It sometimes takes months to get the money from them (in the form of a Visa Gift Card) and horrible Verizon put HALF of the reimbursement on the phone bill which really annoyed me. For the first couple of months, if you have no cash, you will be paying way more. Also when going to a new phone company you need to pay a couple hundred when you sign up (tax on new phones, initiation fees etc).
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Laura33 on January 02, 2018, 02:29:00 PM
Lots of advice, none of it really actionable for someone in the OP's position.  He uses his car daily for work, not just commuting.  He needs a reliable car with little to no cash in his pocket.  He has no positive experience with buying used cars and no mechanic to evaluate the car.  It's close to impossible to finance a private party sale, even if he knew what he was buying.  He would be stuck buying an overpriced used car at a dealer and financing it at a higher rate than a new car.

The OP's financial situation is precarious at best.  He needs to keep this job, so he must be there on time and run errands for his boss.  A couple of missed mornings because of car trouble and a few days of not being able to run errands because the car is in the shop might cost him the high paying job he just scored.

Buying a new car, even a cheap one, entails some risk.  Another job loss would be disastrous for the OP, especially with a car payment.  Laura's suggestion is right on target for someone kin the OP's position that could execute the purchase and had a job that was not car-dependent.  However, that's not the OP.

Excuses, excuses, excuses.  I have done all of the things I recommended here:  I have bought used cars from the dealer and gotten hundreds/thousands off the listed price; I have sold cars through private party sales to buyers who managed financing with their credit union/bank just fine; I have had dealers basically throw money at me to finance with them; I have driven cars for years and years and only been stranded twice -- and one of those was a brand spanking new car that my mom loaned me the money to buy because (irony alert) she was worried about my previous POS leaving me stranded (and the other was my own damn fault, because I was stupid enough to buy a BMW).  Oh, yeah, and I have also had 25 years of jobs that required a reliable car, including jobs that would happily dock my pay if I didn't show on time.  And yet somehow -- miraculously -- I was never fired because of car trouble, despite driving cars that averaged over 4 years old* over that entire time. 

And I am not remotely special.  Or even particularly Mustachian.  I am a fucking creampuff on these boards.

The fundamental problem is that all of the things I listed take effort.  They require research into different car makes and models and reliability history (how often does a 2012 Yaris actually leave you stranded?), and different financing options, and finding a local mechanic, and following car prices in the area until you can spot a deal, and learning enough about cars to spot a lemon, and learning to negotiate effectively, and figuring out fallback options in the event of a problem (Zipcar?  Uber/Lyft?), and a bunch of other stuff.  You never know what is possible until you actually try.  And it is pretty clear that the OP has no interest in doing that.  So, ok, take the easy way out, and pay an extra $10K for the illusion of reliability.  It's definitely better than the current lease -- and if that's the standard, then, well, good enough.

But this is the goddamn MMM forum.  Arguing that a new car is "necessary" is absolute, total bullshit -- especially when it is based on broad assertions about the impossibility of XYZ, and especially when pretty much everyone else here on this board has managed to accomplish XYZ just fine.  And even more to the point:  advocating for the easy way out, because doing anything else is just to haaaarrrrdd/risky, is antithetical to the ethos here -- especially when the guy's hair is on fire.  And you want to know the real kicker?  The mental attitude is far more important than the money -- that willingness to dive in and learn hard shit, to deal with adversity, to distrust the bullshit that MegaCorp throws at you, to do what is smart and right and good instead of what is easy, that is what leads to long-term success.  If you go through life talking yourself into buying shit you don't need with money you don't have to keep yourself safe from problems that won't happen, you will never escape consumer suckaville.

And with that, we've reached "teaching a pig to sing" territory, and all this pig is doing is getting annoyed, so I'm out.  OP, I wish you the best of luck in getting through this difficult pass.

*Toddler years by Mustachian standards; hobbling to the grave, apparently, here.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Help Me :) on January 02, 2018, 02:39:56 PM
Lots of advice, none of it really actionable for someone in the OP's position.  He uses his car daily for work, not just commuting.  He needs a reliable car with little to no cash in his pocket.  He has no positive experience with buying used cars and no mechanic to evaluate the car.  It's close to impossible to finance a private party sale, even if he knew what he was buying.  He would be stuck buying an overpriced used car at a dealer and financing it at a higher rate than a new car.

The OP's financial situation is precarious at best.  He needs to keep this job, so he must be there on time and run errands for his boss.  A couple of missed mornings because of car trouble and a few days of not being able to run errands because the car is in the shop might cost him the high paying job he just scored.

Buying a new car, even a cheap one, entails some risk.  Another job loss would be disastrous for the OP, especially with a car payment.  Laura's suggestion is right on target for someone kin the OP's position that could execute the purchase and had a job that was not car-dependent.  However, that's not the OP.

Excuses, excuses, excuses.  I have done all of the things I recommended here:  I have bought used cars from the dealer and gotten hundreds/thousands off the listed price; I have sold cars through private party sales to buyers who managed financing with their credit union/bank just fine; I have had dealers basically throw money at me to finance with them; I have driven cars for years and years and only been stranded twice -- and one of those was a brand spanking new car that my mom loaned me the money to buy because (irony alert) she was worried about my previous POS leaving me stranded (and the other was my own damn fault, because I was stupid enough to buy a BMW).  Oh, yeah, and I have also had 25 years of jobs that required a reliable car, including jobs that would happily dock my pay if I didn't show on time.  And yet somehow -- miraculously -- I was never fired because of car trouble, despite driving cars that averaged over 4 years old* over that entire time. 

And I am not remotely special.  Or even particularly Mustachian.  I am a fucking creampuff on these boards.

The fundamental problem is that all of the things I listed take effort.  They require research into different car makes and models and reliability history (how often does a 2012 Yaris actually leave you stranded?), and different financing options, and finding a local mechanic, and following car prices in the area until you can spot a deal, and learning enough about cars to spot a lemon, and learning to negotiate effectively, and figuring out fallback options in the event of a problem (Zipcar?  Uber/Lyft?), and a bunch of other stuff.  You never know what is possible until you actually try.  And it is pretty clear that the OP has no interest in doing that.  So, ok, take the easy way out, and pay an extra $10K for the illusion of reliability.  It's definitely better than the current lease -- and if that's the standard, then, well, good enough.

But this is the goddamn MMM forum.  Arguing that a new car is "necessary" is absolute, total bullshit -- especially when it is based on broad assertions about the impossibility of XYZ, and especially when pretty much everyone else here on this board has managed to accomplish XYZ just fine.  And even more to the point:  advocating for the easy way out, because doing anything else is just to haaaarrrrdd/risky, is antithetical to the ethos here -- especially when the guy's hair is on fire.  And you want to know the real kicker?  The mental attitude is far more important than the money -- that willingness to dive in and learn hard shit, to deal with adversity, to distrust the bullshit that MegaCorp throws at you, to do what is smart and right and good instead of what is easy, that is what leads to long-term success.  If you go through life talking yourself into buying shit you don't need with money you don't have to keep yourself safe from problems that won't happen, you will never escape consumer suckaville.

And with that, we've reached "teaching a pig to sing" territory, and all this pig is doing is getting annoyed, so I'm out.  OP, I wish you the best of luck in getting through this difficult pass.

*Toddler years by Mustachian standards; hobbling to the grave, apparently, here.

Ah! People are arguing on my behalf.

Couple of things...I do know a mechanic, one my entire family uses - who had fixed my previous used cars many times.
Another thing, when I got this lease 3 years ago, I was financially better. I had gotten a raise making 84K a year and felt I deserved a reward, so I got myself a 28k lease. At the time it was manageable, then the years of shit credit card purchases, fiance and I being unemployed a combined 10 months...that's what made it difficult ($20k cc debt during this time).

Lastly, I don't mind buying a used car. No, I will not buy a 2007 with 80k miles on it - I just won't, but I don't mind buying a 2014 for thousands less than new cars.

I'll take everyone's advice and do my research.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Bicycle_B on January 02, 2018, 02:45:07 PM
HelpMe, the wisest advisor on these boards is usually Laura33; ignore her advice at the peril of your pocketbook.

I am putting my 2 cents in because you chose your own screen name.  As a literalist, I interpret your screen name to mean that you need help.  Your responses in this thread indicate the name was a good choice. Since you haven't bought your car yet, please listen.

You can buy a good used car for 4k to 10k.  If you add $4k in repairs to that, it will be cheaper than a 15k car.  Add 4k to 10k, you'll see it's less than 15k.  Your 15k proposed car purchase is not financially your best option.  Follow Ysette9's suggestions.  Since you got a Sofi loan, your credit is good enough to float a personal note for the purchase if you have to.

By doing other savings moves in the next 2 months, you can accumulate part of the needed cash. 

IN my first 30 years of buying cars, I bought 5 used cars.  All were excellent.  I didn't buy from dealers, rather from private parties.  Today my source would be Craigslist private sellers.  I have no mechanical skills, I just did the same technique as Ysette9.  I highly recommend following the suggestion of the other poster who said ask around to find good mechanics.  Google and Yelp may help you too; search for ones who evaluate used cars.  Pro tip:  if you bring a car to the mechanic and he says "How much did they want for that?... If you don't buy it, I'd like it", you have a winner.

Re groceries, pack your lunch.  Also use Google and cook your own food, you can get under $200/person easily with no restaurants at all. Google "cook quick cheap (food style of your choice) at home", you'll get answers.

For a group with more expertise than us about wanting nice things and getting out of debt, call or meet with Debtors Anonymous.  Everyone there knows what it's like to get out from crushing debt.  Anyway, good luck.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: YoungGranny on January 02, 2018, 02:59:11 PM
T-mobile will pay up to $650 per phone to buy out contracts: https://www.t-mobile.com/cell-phone-plans?icid=WMM_TM_Q217CARRIE_OYCWNWQUPJ8955

I haven't personally done this but one of my friends had mentioned this recently. Seems like it's worth looking into for you because it would get you out of the dreaded Verizon contract and while $120 a month for two phones isn't great it's less than half of what you're paying now. You'd likely have to finance phones again but you could pick ones that would work on Google Fi/Republic Wireless then after you pay off the phone with T-mobile (24mo) you could switch and lower this line item even more.

I've done it 3 times. It sometimes takes months to get the money from them (in the form of a Visa Gift Card) and horrible Verizon put HALF of the reimbursement on the phone bill which really annoyed me. For the first couple of months, if you have no cash, you will be paying way more. Also when going to a new phone company you need to pay a couple hundred when you sign up (tax on new phones, initiation fees etc).

Helpful information. If it costs a couple hundred to switch then as soon as you can jump over to Republic wireless. The moto E costs $129 so you can get new phones and a way cheaper monthly bill for the same cost as sign-up fees.

Until then focus on areas you can cut spending.

Since the car debate is heating up I wanted to throw my 2 cents in. I used to be terribly afraid of older cars with high miles. To me, anything over 75-80k meant my car could obviously break down at any minute. Now our main vehicle is a 2007 Civic with 107k on it and I never worry about breaking down. We have a mechanic we trust and we take care of it but we don't spend more than a couple hundred a year on average. I know you had a lemon in the past but do your research and don't be afraid of cars if you buy smart used cars will still last for a long, long time.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: ysette9 on January 02, 2018, 03:09:30 PM
Ah, Laura333, you are my hero. :)

Finding a mechanic is not tough. Just pull up your Yelp app and find one with good ratings. It is as easy as finding someplace good to go out to for dinner.

As for not wanting to buy a 2007..... I don’t even have words.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: NeonPegasus on January 02, 2018, 03:18:17 PM
Yes it's a one time annual payment in case it's lost stolen or damaged, as we couldn't afford a new one if it happened. He wears it every single day 24/7.

Check with your renters insurance to see about the cost of insuring the ring through a rider. It's got to be cheaper than $89. But to be clear, I do not think you should re-up. My ring has enough carats to hurt your eyes but I don't insure it. I just don't lose it.

I like the idea of making my own cleaning products....kitchen counter cleaner, dish soap, dishwasher soap, body wash, shampoo, tooth paste, mouth wash - do you have any pointers? There's also things like trash bags, toilet paper, paper towels that bring up the price. Everything seems to be more expensive in the Silicon Valley (and I don't shop at Whole Foods of course).

Get spray bottles (for cleaning). Fill half with vinegar, half with water. It cleans damn near everything. The only cleaning specific supplies I buy are bath and tub cleaner from dollar general (it's seriously good and seriously cheap) and knock off magic erasers.

You can buy dish soap on BOGO sale. I pour some in spray bottles, dilute it and spray on dishes. It makes it go a lot further. Check toothpaste prices online. If you don't color your hair, and especially if your hair is short, you can wash your hair with baking soda and water and then condition it with apple cider vinegar. I used to do that and it left my hair very soft and manageable. I've read it can damage your hair over time (and it'll strip color) but I've always had short hair so I cut it before anything is too damaged. If I had hair on fire debt, I'd be using that again. For tp and paper towels, look for an aldi near you. Shoot, for everything, look for an aldi. I have a family of 5 and our grocery bill is $675/mo so $500 for two is crazy.

Money seems to be a sensitive topic. Our entire 6 years together I have been the main financial support, but he has ALWAYS worked and paid for his school, car, etc. He is NOT good with money, whatsoever - just today he spent $40 on his credit card at a japanese market...I made him return a previous jacket he purchased at Hollister (he realized it was a dumb idea). Previously I used to not care either and just thought as using my credit card like "building memories". I regret it all. He's stubborn as hell, but we talked about money a week or two ago and he wants us to not go bankrupt. He said himself we should cut internet, cut sling & netflix, live more frugal etc. So I think he's on board. It's just very new to us, you know?

In the long run, you may want to establish a second checking account that is his alone and maybe one that's just yours. All your money should go into a joint account and then each of you should have a monthly allowance transferred into your personal accounts. You can each spend it on whatever you want. That may help him stick to a budgeted amount.

Right now, though, you can't afford that.

Also, I have two cats and buy world's best clumping cat litter and good cat food and spend NOWHERE near that much. I spend about $40/mo. I understand one cat has dietary problems but, still, I can't fathom how you're spending $120/mo. As much as I love my flushable cat litter, in your shoes, they'd be getting the cheapest stuff that'll do the trick.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: MayDay on January 02, 2018, 03:27:08 PM
OP, I'm curious how many miles is too many for you?

Because 70k is not that many.

I say that as someone driving an older Civic that I bought new and who might buy a new Camry or Subaru in a couple years. I'm not hating on new cars.

And with that in mind, 70k is brand new.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Help Me :) on January 02, 2018, 03:31:25 PM
Guys! I just got home from the bank (rent) and found my fiances credit card in the freezer. He hadn't been using it as of recent - but I was talking to him about this new forum (this post) I'm on and found that.
WOOH!

Baby steps...
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Help Me :) on January 02, 2018, 03:32:50 PM
OP, I'm curious how many miles is too many for you?

Because 70k is not that many.

I say that as someone driving an older Civic that I bought new and who might buy a new Camry or Subaru in a couple years. I'm not hating on new cars.

And with that in mind, 70k is brand new.

I honestly am not sure. I got my 1999 Isuzu Rodeo at 70k miles and it lasted to a little over 100k. That is the one that had many repairs after a year or two. I just need something reliable that I won't have to worry about ANY repairs for a couple of years (oil change/normal is OK). So whatever mileage that is....
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Help Me :) on January 02, 2018, 03:34:50 PM
T-mobile will pay up to $650 per phone to buy out contracts: https://www.t-mobile.com/cell-phone-plans?icid=WMM_TM_Q217CARRIE_OYCWNWQUPJ8955

I haven't personally done this but one of my friends had mentioned this recently. Seems like it's worth looking into for you because it would get you out of the dreaded Verizon contract and while $120 a month for two phones isn't great it's less than half of what you're paying now. You'd likely have to finance phones again but you could pick ones that would work on Google Fi/Republic Wireless then after you pay off the phone with T-mobile (24mo) you could switch and lower this line item even more.

I've done it 3 times. It sometimes takes months to get the money from them (in the form of a Visa Gift Card) and horrible Verizon put HALF of the reimbursement on the phone bill which really annoyed me. For the first couple of months, if you have no cash, you will be paying way more. Also when going to a new phone company you need to pay a couple hundred when you sign up (tax on new phones, initiation fees etc).

Helpful information. If it costs a couple hundred to switch then as soon as you can jump over to Republic wireless. The moto E costs $129 so you can get new phones and a way cheaper monthly bill for the same cost as sign-up fees.

Until then focus on areas you can cut spending.

Since the car debate is heating up I wanted to throw my 2 cents in. I used to be terribly afraid of older cars with high miles. To me, anything over 75-80k meant my car could obviously break down at any minute. Now our main vehicle is a 2007 Civic with 107k on it and I never worry about breaking down. We have a mechanic we trust and we take care of it but we don't spend more than a couple hundred a year on average. I know you had a lemon in the past but do your research and don't be afraid of cars if you buy smart used cars will still last for a long, long time.

There's that, Metro, Google Fi, a few others I am keeping my eye on. The goal is to get a reliable phone that lasts for years (i.e. not bullshit iPhones, which I don't have anyways).

It seems Honda and Toyota are good brands...so if I am to go used I will probably go that route. I will do my research, thank you :)
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: NeonPegasus on January 02, 2018, 03:37:44 PM
Well remember I am 28 years old. My first ever car was a Chevy Corsica for $600 (literally bought with saved up spare change) that I had to put water in the coolant tank daily. My second car at age 18 was a 1999 Isuzu Rodeo with 74k miles on it. Lasted 6 years. I bought it for $5k with my grandpas inheritance (which was only $10k). My dad helped me find this car. It lasted awhile but then all at once problems started popping up, brand new tires, starter, spark plugs, axels, suspension, fan belt, probably over years $8k - $10k in repairs. I then leased a new shiny car (yes dumb idea I could of gone cheaper) and I was SO HAPPY. It was also 1/3 of my salary so seemed manageable. But I continue to charge my credit card like an idiot and the rest is history.

This time around, yes I will be searching for 2017 cars as well (a little bit used with a lot of $ off, sounds good to me). I'm not opposed to finance, but I do know I can NOT afford a down payment because I literally don't have the money. 5 months of unemployment this year drained my savings.

All I know is this, I will not be comfortable buying a car outside of warranty without money in my savings. Because if a repair comes up, and I can't afford it I don't want to charge it to my credit card (which I won't be able to for the next 1+ year due to me getting back on my feet and owing $ back to family) . So Finance or lease, whatever I do - this has to be #1 priority.

Why never buy first year new model?? lol :D

Chevy Corsica and Isuzu Rodeo are both shit cars. I'm not a car person but I know enough to not judge a used car by those stinkers.

I'm driving an '08 Highlander (I've got 3 kids so I need the space) that I got used in '11. I have had ZERO problems with it (I can email you my maintenance records to prove it, lol) and I've now got over 100k miles on it. I researched the hell out of that bitch before I bought it. I'm planning on driving it until at least one kid is out of the house, so another 8 years minimum.

The car retailed brand new for $30k. When I bought it, certified preowned, with 30k miles on it, I paid around $24k. So I received a 20% discount for letting someone drive it for 30k miles. And the person who drove it 30K miles paid $6k.

It is a bad decision financially to buy a car brand new because depreciation is highest when the car is new. The older the car is, the slower the rate of depreciation. The value of a car goes down the moment you drive it off the lot.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: MayDay on January 02, 2018, 03:39:19 PM
OP, I'm curious how many miles is too many for you?

Because 70k is not that many.

I say that as someone driving an older Civic that I bought new and who might buy a new Camry or Subaru in a couple years. I'm not hating on new cars.

And with that in mind, 70k is brand new.

I honestly am not sure. I got my 1999 Isuzu Rodeo at 70k miles and it lasted to a little over 100k. That is the one that had many repairs after a year or two. I just need something reliable that I won't have to worry about ANY repairs for a couple of years (oil change/normal is OK). So whatever mileage that is....

So as a PP mentioned with your Corsica, the problem is your previous car choices, not ALL cars failing at 100k miles.

Read the total cost of ownership stats for some cars. They will vary wildly. A Fit or a Corolla or whatever the Hyundai equivalents are will not be falling apart between 70-100k. Sure they may need routine maintenance like new brake pads, but that is a few hundred bucks, not a few thousand.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Help Me :) on January 02, 2018, 03:45:03 PM
HelpMe, the wisest advisor on these boards is usually Laura33; ignore her advice at the peril of your pocketbook.

I am putting my 2 cents in because you chose your own screen name.  As a literalist, I interpret your screen name to mean that you need help.  Your responses in this thread indicate the name was a good choice. Since you haven't bought your car yet, please listen.

You can buy a good used car for 4k to 10k.  If you add $4k in repairs to that, it will be cheaper than a 15k car.  Add 4k to 10k, you'll see it's less than 15k.  Your 15k proposed car purchase is not financially your best option.  Follow Ysette9's suggestions.  Since you got a Sofi loan, your credit is good enough to float a personal note for the purchase if you have to.

By doing other savings moves in the next 2 months, you can accumulate part of the needed cash. 

IN my first 30 years of buying cars, I bought 5 used cars.  All were excellent.  I didn't buy from dealers, rather from private parties.  Today my source would be Craigslist private sellers.  I have no mechanical skills, I just did the same technique as Ysette9.  I highly recommend following the suggestion of the other poster who said ask around to find good mechanics.  Google and Yelp may help you too; search for ones who evaluate used cars.  Pro tip:  if you bring a car to the mechanic and he says "How much did they want for that?... If you don't buy it, I'd like it", you have a winner.

Re groceries, pack your lunch.  Also use Google and cook your own food, you can get under $200/person easily with no restaurants at all. Google "cook quick cheap (food style of your choice) at home", you'll get answers.

For a group with more expertise than us about wanting nice things and getting out of debt, call or meet with Debtors Anonymous.  Everyone there knows what it's like to get out from crushing debt.  Anyway, good luck.

YES! I do need help :).

I will be researching used cars, and financing through my bank since I have no way of accumulating enough cash in a few months. Recovering from unemployment is a long path. BUT, I'm definitely not opposed to buying used.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Help Me :) on January 02, 2018, 03:46:13 PM
Lots of advice, none of it really actionable for someone in the OP's position.  He uses his car daily for work, not just commuting.  He needs a reliable car with little to no cash in his pocket.  He has no positive experience with buying used cars and no mechanic to evaluate the car.  It's close to impossible to finance a private party sale, even if he knew what he was buying.  He would be stuck buying an overpriced used car at a dealer and financing it at a higher rate than a new car.

The OP's financial situation is precarious at best.  He needs to keep this job, so he must be there on time and run errands for his boss.  A couple of missed mornings because of car trouble and a few days of not being able to run errands because the car is in the shop might cost him the high paying job he just scored.

Buying a new car, even a cheap one, entails some risk.  Another job loss would be disastrous for the OP, especially with a car payment.  Laura's suggestion is right on target for someone kin the OP's position that could execute the purchase and had a job that was not car-dependent.  However, that's not the OP.

And yet in your detailed study of what the OP needs, you have failed to notice that she is a she...

:)

I'm a he, just a gay he. I assume you got that I was a she from me calling my fiance a he, but we are both men :p
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Help Me :) on January 02, 2018, 03:47:23 PM
OP, I'm curious how many miles is too many for you?

Because 70k is not that many.

I say that as someone driving an older Civic that I bought new and who might buy a new Camry or Subaru in a couple years. I'm not hating on new cars.

And with that in mind, 70k is brand new.

I honestly am not sure. I got my 1999 Isuzu Rodeo at 70k miles and it lasted to a little over 100k. That is the one that had many repairs after a year or two. I just need something reliable that I won't have to worry about ANY repairs for a couple of years (oil change/normal is OK). So whatever mileage that is....

So as a PP mentioned with your Corsica, the problem is your previous car choices, not ALL cars failing at 100k miles.

Read the total cost of ownership stats for some cars. They will vary wildly. A Fit or a Corolla or whatever the Hyundai equivalents are will not be falling apart between 70-100k. Sure they may need routine maintenance like new brake pads, but that is a few hundred bucks, not a few thousand.

Hey, what 18 year old had a good first car? It was my first bought with quarters, give me a break lol. It got me from A to B. Then my 99 Isuzu (bought for $5k) lasted me 6 years.

Trust me I will be doing my research for my next car.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Help Me :) on January 02, 2018, 03:55:36 PM
Yes it's a one time annual payment in case it's lost stolen or damaged, as we couldn't afford a new one if it happened. He wears it every single day 24/7.

Check with your renters insurance to see about the cost of insuring the ring through a rider. It's got to be cheaper than $89. But to be clear, I do not think you should re-up. My ring has enough carats to hurt your eyes but I don't insure it. I just don't lose it.

I like the idea of making my own cleaning products....kitchen counter cleaner, dish soap, dishwasher soap, body wash, shampoo, tooth paste, mouth wash - do you have any pointers? There's also things like trash bags, toilet paper, paper towels that bring up the price. Everything seems to be more expensive in the Silicon Valley (and I don't shop at Whole Foods of course).

Get spray bottles (for cleaning). Fill half with vinegar, half with water. It cleans damn near everything. The only cleaning specific supplies I buy are bath and tub cleaner from dollar general (it's seriously good and seriously cheap) and knock off magic erasers.

You can buy dish soap on BOGO sale. I pour some in spray bottles, dilute it and spray on dishes. It makes it go a lot further. Check toothpaste prices online. If you don't color your hair, and especially if your hair is short, you can wash your hair with baking soda and water and then condition it with apple cider vinegar. I used to do that and it left my hair very soft and manageable. I've read it can damage your hair over time (and it'll strip color) but I've always had short hair so I cut it before anything is too damaged. If I had hair on fire debt, I'd be using that again. For tp and paper towels, look for an aldi near you. Shoot, for everything, look for an aldi. I have a family of 5 and our grocery bill is $675/mo so $500 for two is crazy.

Money seems to be a sensitive topic. Our entire 6 years together I have been the main financial support, but he has ALWAYS worked and paid for his school, car, etc. He is NOT good with money, whatsoever - just today he spent $40 on his credit card at a japanese market...I made him return a previous jacket he purchased at Hollister (he realized it was a dumb idea). Previously I used to not care either and just thought as using my credit card like "building memories". I regret it all. He's stubborn as hell, but we talked about money a week or two ago and he wants us to not go bankrupt. He said himself we should cut internet, cut sling & netflix, live more frugal etc. So I think he's on board. It's just very new to us, you know?

In the long run, you may want to establish a second checking account that is his alone and maybe one that's just yours. All your money should go into a joint account and then each of you should have a monthly allowance transferred into your personal accounts. You can each spend it on whatever you want. That may help him stick to a budgeted amount.

Right now, though, you can't afford that.

Also, I have two cats and buy world's best clumping cat litter and good cat food and spend NOWHERE near that much. I spend about $40/mo. I understand one cat has dietary problems but, still, I can't fathom how you're spending $120/mo. As much as I love my flushable cat litter, in your shoes, they'd be getting the cheapest stuff that'll do the trick.

I'll do a little research on ring insurance.

Does that work for cleaning windows (Windex) too?

I like that future bank account idea. Makes sense.

$120 was a high guesstimate. Between the food and litter, it costs $60. I am not sure how long that lasts though, definitely not a month. Which litter brand do you use? The problem with the other 4 or 5 we tried was that the smell of pee and poo was horrible. This litter literally blocks those smells out.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: ysette9 on January 02, 2018, 04:12:50 PM
Nice move on freezing the credit card! Yes, baby steps.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: YttriumNitrate on January 02, 2018, 04:13:21 PM
While a lot of people are focusing on the car, I'd suggest taking a good look at your two biggest expenses: payroll deductions and housing. What is the impact on your taxes of switching from single to married filing jointly? Since your fiance doesn't make much, even if you don't do the party for a while, it might make a lot of sense to get married sooner rather than later. Also, how much are you paying for health insurance?

Since you are paying almost $2k a month for housing, is there any chance you could put another person in your rental? Having someone pay $600 a month for a space on your couch would put a lot of breathing room back into your budget.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Bicycle_B on January 02, 2018, 04:49:18 PM
@HelpMe, congratulations on 6 year stable relationship.  Finances aside, I'm sure your beau is glad you put a ring on it.  ;)

Re cars to research, +1 to the comments stating that some makes/models are more reliable than others.  Here is an article to use a starting point for general research on car makes/models to buy used:

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/03/19/top-10-cars-for-smart-people/

When you actually research individual cars, use Craigslist and that good mechanic.  Get your $ ready, and don't wait until the last week of your lease to buy.  Shop for the actual car a few weeks ahead of the lease end, and get through some of the "new" used car's shakedown period before you drop off the old one.  A good chunk of the needed repairs will appear in the first few weeks of driving.  Preparation will reduce your stress level and enable you continue your work life smoothly.
Title: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: pbkmaine on January 02, 2018, 05:04:46 PM
For lunches, just Google “budget lunches” and you will see many recipes/websites. Or you can try this one: https://www.budgetbytes.com.

I commuted into NYC on public transit (3 hours round trip) for many years and always carried my lunch. Many times I had my breakfast and a snack as well. Since it sounds, from your dinners, that you are highly tolerant of repetitious meals (I am, too), I will tell you what I typically made:

For breakfast: hard boiled eggs or instant oatmeal. I made my own instant oatmeal “packet” with pumpkin spice and powdered stevia. I also packed a can of V-8 juice (cans from a warehouse store) or a piece of fruit.

For lunch: a salad in the summer and homemade vegetable soup in the winter. I bulk made and packed these on the weekend. During the week, it’s grab a container and go. With the soup or salad I also had a sandwich. This might be peanut butter or chicken or turkey or pot roast or ham. Meat was NOT purchased at the deli counter for $10 a pound, but was cooked by me at home and sliced and frozen in weekly increments.

Tuna salad and salad dressing went in separately in Tupperware containers. I also also kept small bottles of oil and vinegar and salt and pepper in my desk. I also had a jar of peanut butter or dry roasted peanuts for emergencies.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: MayDay on January 02, 2018, 05:46:22 PM
OP, I'm curious how many miles is too many for you?

Because 70k is not that many.

I say that as someone driving an older Civic that I bought new and who might buy a new Camry or Subaru in a couple years. I'm not hating on new cars.

And with that in mind, 70k is brand new.

I honestly am not sure. I got my 1999 Isuzu Rodeo at 70k miles and it lasted to a little over 100k. That is the one that had many repairs after a year or two. I just need something reliable that I won't have to worry about ANY repairs for a couple of years (oil change/normal is OK). So whatever mileage that is....

So as a PP mentioned with your Corsica, the problem is your previous car choices, not ALL cars failing at 100k miles.

Read the total cost of ownership stats for some cars. They will vary wildly. A Fit or a Corolla or whatever the Hyundai equivalents are will not be falling apart between 70-100k. Sure they may need routine maintenance like new brake pads, but that is a few hundred bucks, not a few thousand.

Hey, what 18 year old had a good first car? It was my first bought with quarters, give me a break lol. It got me from A to B. Then my 99 Isuzu (bought for $5k) lasted me 6 years.

Trust me I will be doing my research for my next car.

Very fair point!

Just try to keep in mind that your experience wasn't typical.

Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: MayDay on January 02, 2018, 05:50:53 PM
For lunches,I realize it can depend on office culture. My office is a mix of going out and bringing form home, with a few vending machine eaters thrown in (gag!).

It is totally accepted here to bring a loaf of bread, lunch meat or peanut butter, etc, and leave it for the week. Or leave your salad dressing, and just bring the salad every day. Things like that can make it easier.

If you batch cook for the whole week, can you double that to cover lunches? Maybe work out the price per meal of your regular dinner and compare it to the 3$ work lunch.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: NeonPegasus on January 02, 2018, 06:21:33 PM
I'll do a little research on ring insurance.

Does that work for cleaning windows (Windex) too?

I like that future bank account idea. Makes sense.

$120 was a high guesstimate. Between the food and litter, it costs $60. I am not sure how long that lasts though, definitely not a month. Which litter brand do you use? The problem with the other 4 or 5 we tried was that the smell of pee and poo was horrible. This litter literally blocks those smells out.

Vinegar and water is great for windows. I use it on the following: windows, counters, stovetop, stainless steel dining table, hardwood floor spills, bathroom counters, mirrors, toilets. It doesn't quite cut it on the acrylic shower, which is why I use this stuff - https://www.dollartree.com/The-Works-16-oz-Tub-Shower-Cleaner/p6065/index.pro/. A few other basic supplies such as bleach and a good scrub brush will take you far.

I use Worlds Best Cat Litter Multicat. You can flush it. It smells natural and controls odor very well. But it's way more than you need to spend ($26 for 28 lbs). I went to Chewy's website and sorted by average customer review. I'd start trying the best rated cheap litter - https://www.chewy.com/s?rh=c%3A325%2Cc%3A410%2Cc%3A411&sort=rating.

I feed my cats this stuff and it lasts over a month - https://www.chewy.com/taste-wild-rocky-mountain-grain-free/dp/34263. But, again, in your position I'd be searching for cheaper alternatives. Awhile back, there was a thread on here about pet food and several vets recommended Purina One. While it's certainly not cheap, it's less than what I'm serving. Between switching litters and foods, you could probably drop $30/mo while still getting a decent product and not jeopardizing your cats' health.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Help Me :) on January 02, 2018, 06:36:23 PM
While a lot of people are focusing on the car, I'd suggest taking a good look at your two biggest expenses: payroll deductions and housing. What is the impact on your taxes of switching from single to married filing jointly? Since your fiance doesn't make much, even if you don't do the party for a while, it might make a lot of sense to get married sooner rather than later. Also, how much are you paying for health insurance?

Since you are paying almost $2k a month for housing, is there any chance you could put another person in your rental? Having someone pay $600 a month for a space on your couch would put a lot of breathing room back into your budget.

Looks like I'd be taking home a little over $200 more a paycheck. I'm not sure if that's before or after taxes. So $400 ish a month?

I pay $86 per paycheck pre tax, so about $160 a month, for the both of us full coverage (medical/dental/vision).

Thing is I don't think that person would want to share a living room with my 3 cats and a litter box...lol.

Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: remizidae on January 02, 2018, 06:48:10 PM
I'm surprised by how many people recommend cancelling gym. That is something I will never do. "do cardio at home" - "go on walks"...that BARELY has the same positive affect on your body as weight training does (i.e. upper/lower body weight lifting routine). Health should always be the #1 priority in someones life, and should never be cut out.

I would use the gym at my work, except they only cardio machines (which again has no where the same positive affect as weight lifting does). I also don't have a yard around me to supply my own weights.

Sorry but that is something that I just disagree with and one piece of advice people should not take. Yes you should go to your minimal gym membership, but I still believe a gym membership is extremely important, unless of course you have property and can supply your own full supplies (bench press, pull up bar, squat rack, multiple barbells, etc.).

I hear you there (two gym memberships here!). While I don't think it's *necessary* for health to lift weights (come on, we care about aesthetics more), it's awesome for your physical and mental health and is relatively cheap compared to all the other hobbies you could have.

On the tax issue--please don't get married just for the tax bonus! If you're sure you want to marry this person, mazel tov, but it's not something that you should rush into for the sake of an extra ~$3k a year. Divorce can be extremely expensive.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Help Me :) on January 02, 2018, 06:49:58 PM
I'll do a little research on ring insurance.

Does that work for cleaning windows (Windex) too?

I like that future bank account idea. Makes sense.

$120 was a high guesstimate. Between the food and litter, it costs $60. I am not sure how long that lasts though, definitely not a month. Which litter brand do you use? The problem with the other 4 or 5 we tried was that the smell of pee and poo was horrible. This litter literally blocks those smells out.

Vinegar and water is great for windows. I use it on the following: windows, counters, stovetop, stainless steel dining table, hardwood floor spills, bathroom counters, mirrors, toilets. It doesn't quite cut it on the acrylic shower, which is why I use this stuff - https://www.dollartree.com/The-Works-16-oz-Tub-Shower-Cleaner/p6065/index.pro/. A few other basic supplies such as bleach and a good scrub brush will take you far.

I use Worlds Best Cat Litter Multicat. You can flush it. It smells natural and controls odor very well. But it's way more than you need to spend ($26 for 28 lbs). I went to Chewy's website and sorted by average customer review. I'd start trying the best rated cheap litter - https://www.chewy.com/s?rh=c%3A325%2Cc%3A410%2Cc%3A411&sort=rating.

I feed my cats this stuff and it lasts over a month - https://www.chewy.com/taste-wild-rocky-mountain-grain-free/dp/34263. But, again, in your position I'd be searching for cheaper alternatives. Awhile back, there was a thread on here about pet food and several vets recommended Purina One. While it's certainly not cheap, it's less than what I'm serving. Between switching litters and foods, you could probably drop $30/mo while still getting a decent product and not jeopardizing your cats' health.

I'll try the water and vinegar trick soon!

Ugh can't believe someone suggested Purina. I had a kitten that passed away from FIP (unrelated) but I learned A LOT about the right kinds of foods that cats should consume. I was originally giving them all Blue Buffalo, but then my little one got the blockage.
The litter I buy is $20 for a 40lb bag. It's GREAT, looks like I can keep using it.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Help Me :) on January 02, 2018, 06:52:09 PM
For lunches,I realize it can depend on office culture. My office is a mix of going out and bringing form home, with a few vending machine eaters thrown in (gag!).

It is totally accepted here to bring a loaf of bread, lunch meat or peanut butter, etc, and leave it for the week. Or leave your salad dressing, and just bring the salad every day. Things like that can make it easier.

If you batch cook for the whole week, can you double that to cover lunches? Maybe work out the price per meal of your regular dinner and compare it to the 3$ work lunch.

We have a full serviced cafe run by Bon Appetit. Very good / yummy / fresh food. The sandwiches are $3, I think I could make it stretch 2 days (it's big) to where I'd spend $1.50 a day. That may actually be cheaper than bringing my own.

But I'll still look into home meal options.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Help Me :) on January 02, 2018, 06:55:58 PM
I'm surprised by how many people recommend cancelling gym. That is something I will never do. "do cardio at home" - "go on walks"...that BARELY has the same positive affect on your body as weight training does (i.e. upper/lower body weight lifting routine). Health should always be the #1 priority in someones life, and should never be cut out.

I would use the gym at my work, except they only cardio machines (which again has no where the same positive affect as weight lifting does). I also don't have a yard around me to supply my own weights.

Sorry but that is something that I just disagree with and one piece of advice people should not take. Yes you should go to your minimal gym membership, but I still believe a gym membership is extremely important, unless of course you have property and can supply your own full supplies (bench press, pull up bar, squat rack, multiple barbells, etc.).

I hear you there (two gym memberships here!). While I don't think it's *necessary* for health to lift weights (come on, we care about aesthetics more), it's awesome for your physical and mental health and is relatively cheap compared to all the other hobbies you could have.

On the tax issue--please don't get married just for the tax bonus! If you're sure you want to marry this person, mazel tov, but it's not something that you should rush into for the sake of an extra ~$3k a year. Divorce can be extremely expensive.

No but it's definitely beneficial. Yes definitely we want to look sexy, but it helps you in so many more ways. Flexibility, endurance, resilience, etc. And weight lifting is just super good for the blood flow, and yes MENTAL HEALTH. Stress is up there with the other #1 killers. That is what kept me sane through unemployment, gym 4x a week.

We've been together since August 2011, but yes we are still not rushing into marriage. We got engaged because we got sick of calling each other boyfriends, we were WAY beyond that after living together for 5 years. Just enjoying it day by day :)

Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Help Me :) on January 02, 2018, 06:57:01 PM
OP, I'm curious how many miles is too many for you?

Because 70k is not that many.

I say that as someone driving an older Civic that I bought new and who might buy a new Camry or Subaru in a couple years. I'm not hating on new cars.

And with that in mind, 70k is brand new.

I honestly am not sure. I got my 1999 Isuzu Rodeo at 70k miles and it lasted to a little over 100k. That is the one that had many repairs after a year or two. I just need something reliable that I won't have to worry about ANY repairs for a couple of years (oil change/normal is OK). So whatever mileage that is....

So as a PP mentioned with your Corsica, the problem is your previous car choices, not ALL cars failing at 100k miles.

Read the total cost of ownership stats for some cars. They will vary wildly. A Fit or a Corolla or whatever the Hyundai equivalents are will not be falling apart between 70-100k. Sure they may need routine maintenance like new brake pads, but that is a few hundred bucks, not a few thousand.

Hey, what 18 year old had a good first car? It was my first bought with quarters, give me a break lol. It got me from A to B. Then my 99 Isuzu (bought for $5k) lasted me 6 years.

Trust me I will be doing my research for my next car.

Very fair point!

Just try to keep in mind that your experience wasn't typical.

True :) - I don't regret the car at all! Drove it to it's last breath (broke down and smoke came out of the engine lol).
I will definitely be researching Toyota/Honda's for my next car though.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Help Me :) on January 02, 2018, 06:58:30 PM
For lunches, just Google ďbudget lunchesĒ and you will see many recipes/websites. Or you can try this one: https://www.budgetbytes.com.

I commuted into NYC on public transit (3 hours round trip) for many years and always carried my lunch. Many times I had my breakfast and a snack as well. Since it sounds, from your dinners, that you are highly tolerant of repetitious meals (I am, too), I will tell you what I typically made:

For breakfast: hard boiled eggs or instant oatmeal. I made my own instant oatmeal ďpacketĒ with pumpkin spice and powdered stevia. I also packed a can of V-8 juice (cans from a warehouse store) or a piece of fruit.

For lunch: a salad in the summer and homemade vegetable soup in the winter. I bulk made and packed these on the weekend. During the week, itís grab a container and go. With the soup or salad I also had a sandwich. This might be peanut butter or chicken or turkey or pot roast or ham. Meat was NOT purchased at the deli counter for $10 a pound, but was cooked by me at home and sliced and frozen in weekly increments.

Tuna salad and salad dressing went in separately in Tupperware containers. I also also kept small bottles of oil and vinegar and salt and pepper in my desk. I also had a jar of peanut butter or dry roasted peanuts for emergencies.

I have peanuts at work and nature valley bars too, bought them both bulk/discount. We have a full service cafe and the sandwich are big @ $3.00 (made in front of you SUPER FRESH). It can easily last 2 days so technically $1.50 a day for lunches is a possibility for eating at work...but I'll research other budget eating.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Help Me :) on January 02, 2018, 07:01:26 PM
@HelpMe, congratulations on 6 year stable relationship.  Finances aside, I'm sure your beau is glad you put a ring on it.  ;)

Re cars to research, +1 to the comments stating that some makes/models are more reliable than others.  Here is an article to use a starting point for general research on car makes/models to buy used:

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/03/19/top-10-cars-for-smart-people/

When you actually research individual cars, use Craigslist and that good mechanic.  Get your $ ready, and don't wait until the last week of your lease to buy.  Shop for the actual car a few weeks ahead of the lease end, and get through some of the "new" used car's shakedown period before you drop off the old one.  A good chunk of the needed repairs will appear in the first few weeks of driving.  Preparation will reduce your stress level and enable you continue your work life smoothly.

Thank you! It was no easy thing...we met when we were young (me just 22 him just 19). We've been through a lot together, including a lot of firsts (apartments, careers, cats, international travel, therapy - ha). But happy where we are today :)

I remember reading that blog, thanks for the reminder. Will take a look at some of them.

Ugh...that sounds stressful. So stressful.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: ysette9 on January 02, 2018, 07:24:13 PM
Your relationship sounds sweet. I started dating my husband when I was 19 too and it is really lovely to have grown up” with someone like that. Best of luck to you both.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Help Me :) on January 02, 2018, 07:43:53 PM
Your relationship sounds sweet. I started dating my husband when I was 19 too and it is really lovely to have grown upĒ with someone like that. Best of luck to you both.

And we are definitely growing up! We have been on our own for 5 years. Obviously learned very recently that we shouldn't of ever used a damn credit card, but it is what it is! At least I have a good credit history now :p

We are now on the path to lose this debt and live WAY more frugally. Tonight we were $20 under our grocery bill budget which was awesome! We are usually over, so I'm happy with how this year is already going

That is awesome that you met someone young too. I'm sure you guys went through the growing pains of life together.

Hopefully in a year or two we will finally be able to go on vacations again and be in control of our money! Thank you for all of your helpful advice.

Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: ysette9 on January 02, 2018, 07:46:01 PM
We have definitely been through a lot together and have learned a lot from each other, as well as from our own mistakes. 17 years together and now we even have two sprogs, both who love waking me up at night. Enjoy those cats!
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: ooeei on January 03, 2018, 06:17:52 AM
$89/year ring insurance works out to around $1000 every 10 years to insure the ring. Every 20 years you're paying over $4000 for insurance when you consider the lost investment returns on the money (I used 7%).

You could literally buy a new ring every 20 years and come out ahead compared with buying insurance. That's assuming there's no deductible (which there almost definitely is) and puts no value on the hassle of insurance. With a $1000 deductible it's down to more like every 16 years. This also ignores the rising cost of the insurance (granted, the cost of a replacement will rise as well, probably about the same)

Assuming you keep insurance for the next 60 years, you will have used $82,628.78 to insure a $4000 item. Compound interest is a beast here.

http://www.moneychimp.com/calculator/compound_interest_calculator.htm
Inputs:
$89
$89
60
7

If you still want it that's your call, but just be aware of what you're doing. Insurance companies are in the business of making money, so if it's something that isn't life critical or you could absolutely never afford like brain cancer, it's not usually worth insuring.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Help Me :) on January 03, 2018, 10:37:21 AM
$89/year ring insurance works out to around $1000 every 10 years to insure the ring. Every 20 years you're paying over $4000 for insurance when you consider the lost investment returns on the money (I used 7%).

You could literally buy a new ring every 20 years and come out ahead compared with buying insurance. That's assuming there's no deductible (which there almost definitely is) and puts no value on the hassle of insurance. With a $1000 deductible it's down to more like every 16 years. This also ignores the rising cost of the insurance (granted, the cost of a replacement will rise as well, probably about the same)

Assuming you keep insurance for the next 60 years, you will have used $82,628.78 to insure a $4000 item. Compound interest is a beast here.

http://www.moneychimp.com/calculator/compound_interest_calculator.htm
Inputs:
$89
$89
60
7

If you still want it that's your call, but just be aware of what you're doing. Insurance companies are in the business of making money, so if it's something that isn't life critical or you could absolutely never afford like brain cancer, it's not usually worth insuring.

That's assuming I pay ring insurance for 20 years, let alone 10 (I definitely won't)- that most likely won't be the case ($4,000 won't seem like such a large amount of money to me by then I assume). It's just that it's so new, and it holds a lot of $ value + emotional value, that I insured it. I literally got it November 2016 ha :) - but yes I totally see your point.

Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Help Me :) on January 03, 2018, 10:59:46 AM
That's assuming I pay ring insurance for 20 years, let alone 10 (I definitely won't)- that most likely won't be the case ($4,000 won't seem like such a large amount of money to me by then I assume). It's just that it's so new, and it holds a lot of $ value + emotional value, that I insured it. I literally got it November 2016 ha :) - but yes I totally see your point.

So...you are literally paying money you canít afford simply because you bought something you canít afford?? You are literally paying for emotional irrationality.

Honestly, you need to see how insane that is.

Actually it's paying to cover an expensive asset. The ring is paid off.

You can re frame from nasty comments. Actually if you don't have anything nice to say, don't respond to this thread at all. I already mentioned above my stupid purchases from my past are mine to own and I am paying for it (obviously), but it doesn't mean you shouldn't cover what you have. You insure a car, you insure a house, you insure your body - I can damn well insure a ring if I so choose to.

I haven't yet, but spending $7.41 a month to cover my fiances ring for my peace of mind is my choosing. All other advice on this thread I am taking and really excited that I have already started (and I'm really excited to get a cheap reliable car in 2 months), but I am done defending myself for this insurance payment and my reasoning behind it.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: ysette9 on January 03, 2018, 11:50:29 AM
I guess the question is, if he lost the ring, what would you do? Would you replace it with the exact same thing? Something different? Take a breather and reconsider? Not replace it?

In my case I can honestly say that I adore my engagement ring and I also would not replace it if it were lost. Then again, I can also afford to replace it if it were lost with no sweat, so there is no point in insuring it. I insure against the things that I either can’t afford (massive medical situations) or things that would put a big dent in my net worth (totaled car, earthwork, tree crashing down on my roof). I don’t insure things like my cell phone because I can afford to replace it myself, which means that insurance is statistically going to be a bad deal for me in the long run.

I hope that made sense.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Help Me :) on January 03, 2018, 11:58:52 AM
I guess the question is, if he lost the ring, what would you do? Would you replace it with the exact same thing? Something different? Take a breather and reconsider? Not replace it?

In my case I can honestly say that I adore my engagement ring and I also would not replace it if it were lost. Then again, I can also afford to replace it if it were lost with no sweat, so there is no point in insuring it. I insure against the things that I either canít afford (massive medical situations) or things that would put a big dent in my net worth (totaled car, earthwork, tree crashing down on my roof). I donít insure things like my cell phone because I can afford to replace it myself, which means that insurance is statistically going to be a bad deal for me in the long run.

I hope that made sense.

Yes the exact same thing. The insurance was through the jeweler (a ma and pa place - not the big corporate ones) and the insurance covered lost, stolen, damaged 100%. The ring was something very special to both of us, and beautiful too - it has Sapphire in it - we custom built it and it took a couple months to decide on the exact features, in hindsight we would of looked at a cheaper one but the whole point was it wasn't a spur of the moment purchase - it was our 5 years together and we wanted to get something special. Again I got it at a time we could afford it, then all the other bad stuff happened (10 months unemployment, bad credit card purchases, loan going into forbearance accruing interest).

I can't afford to replace it right now - that's why I said above that in a few years, probably 5 or less, I will no longer insure it. As it stands, $7 a month is something I think that I don't need to beat with a hammer. It's half the price of Netflix, it's not going to make or break me, and it gives me peace of mind. Yes, people insure things that mean A LOT to them. I own it outright, it is what it is.

Moving forward though, I will not be purchasing anything I can't afford to replace. I couldn't even afford to replace my phones and that's why I insure them too (thank god too because awhile ago I broke my phone accidentally and it only cost me $150 vs $750).

But all other points on this thread are super valid and I appreciate them, I have taken each of them to heart and I really do appreciate everyone being kind enough to offer their input. I KNOW this year will be good in paying down debt and building a savings, as well as constant frugal shopping. Last night we went grocer shopping and I brought coupons, we paid attention to every item we purchased and were actually $20 under our budget - which was super exciting for us.


Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: ysette9 on January 03, 2018, 12:11:20 PM
I applaud your positive attitude and commitment to making changes. Best of luck to you.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: meghan88 on January 03, 2018, 12:48:12 PM
You've made a conscious decision to make changes and I'm sure you'll start seeing progress if you keep at it.  Getting from where you were to where you are now to where you want to be takes a huge change in mindset.  Caring less what people think about what you're wearing/driving/eating etc., changing your values, establishing long-term goals, cutting out things you used to purchase without a second thought - that takes work and dedication.

If you keep an eye on your cash flow and keep cutting, and maybe increasing what's coming in, you'll get there.  It's a game you want to win.

Further up in the thread, there were a few posts about DIY cleaning products.  I recommend cheap white vinegar as a basic household cleaner.  Dilute with an equal part of water in a reusable spray bottle and you have a cheap, environmentally safe, solution for windows, mirrors, and most hard surfaces including hardwood floors.  The smell dissipates pretty quickly, in case that concerns you.  Save old t-shirts and sheets to use as rags.  Eliminate paper towels and napkins - use rags or sponges for spills.  In general, try not to spend money on one-use disposable stuff.  Minimize your waste and you'll even save $ on garbage bags.  Mustachianism means being green, and everybody wins, especially you.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: ooeei on January 03, 2018, 12:55:04 PM
I guess the question is, if he lost the ring, what would you do? Would you replace it with the exact same thing? Something different? Take a breather and reconsider? Not replace it?

In my case I can honestly say that I adore my engagement ring and I also would not replace it if it were lost. Then again, I can also afford to replace it if it were lost with no sweat, so there is no point in insuring it. I insure against the things that I either can’t afford (massive medical situations) or things that would put a big dent in my net worth (totaled car, earthwork, tree crashing down on my roof). I don’t insure things like my cell phone because I can afford to replace it myself, which means that insurance is statistically going to be a bad deal for me in the long run.

I hope that made sense.

Yes the exact same thing. The insurance was through the jeweler (a ma and pa place - not the big corporate ones) and the insurance covered lost, stolen, damaged 100%. The ring was something very special to both of us, and beautiful too - it has Sapphire in it - we custom built it and it took a couple months to decide on the exact features, in hindsight we would of looked at a cheaper one but the whole point was it wasn't a spur of the moment purchase - it was our 5 years together and we wanted to get something special. Again I got it at a time we could afford it, then all the other bad stuff happened (10 months unemployment, bad credit card purchases, loan going into forbearance accruing interest).

I can't afford to replace it right now - that's why I said above that in a few years, probably 5 or less, I will no longer insure it. As it stands, $7 a month is something I think that I don't need to beat with a hammer. It's half the price of Netflix, it's not going to make or break me, and it gives me peace of mind. Yes, people insure things that mean A LOT to them. I own it outright, it is what it is.

Moving forward though, I will not be purchasing anything I can't afford to replace. I couldn't even afford to replace my phones and that's why I insure them too (thank god too because awhile ago I broke my phone accidentally and it only cost me $150 vs $750).

But all other points on this thread are super valid and I appreciate them, I have taken each of them to heart and I really do appreciate everyone being kind enough to offer their input. I KNOW this year will be good in paying down debt and building a savings, as well as constant frugal shopping. Last night we went grocer shopping and I brought coupons, we paid attention to every item we purchased and were actually $20 under our budget - which was super exciting for us.

If you want to pay to insure it that's your prerogative, I just wanted to point out what you'd be giving up. If you pay it for 5 years, then it's only around $500, but over 40 years that $500 would grow to $7500 if invested at 7%.

The problem isn't specifically the ring, or the phone, or whatever it may be. The problem is your attitude toward these luxury items you now say you wouldn't buy if you could do it over. You've said you're going to stop buying things like that, yet here you are paying to keep them, and insisting on replacing them if they're lost/stolen. That tells us you aren't yet over them. If your $750 phone breaks, you can buy a perfectly great phone for $150 (or less) without any sort of insurance. THAT is the lesson to learn here. You don't need a $750 phone, so why are you so worried about losing/breaking it? If the ring is lost you can get by just fine with a $500 (or less) ring without bothering with any sort of insurance. You're throwing good money after bad at this point, and paying money now to preserve a purchase that you now say isn't important for you in the future.

Chances are you can't sell your phone because it's under contract, and you can't sell the ring because you wouldn't get more than a few hundred dollars for it (which is what a replacement would cost anyway), so it makes sense to keep both of them. What doesn't make sense to me is spending MORE money ensuring you can keep them for longer if you're irresponsible with them.  If you really love expensive phones, or rings, or cars, then get one, but if you can't afford to replace it yourself, you should reconsider buying it.

Insurance is for insanely high expense super rare occasions like getting cancer, or your house burning down with somebody in it. Electronics stores have their employees push insurance on $50 hard drives and shit like that because it makes them a lot of money. The insurance is cheap, only a couple dollars, but they make way more money than they pay out. Over your life you could get insurance on basically everything you buy, and individually they'd all seem reasonable, $2 here, $20 there, but over time you'll end up paying a LOT of extra money just to prevent occasionally having to re-buy something. I know plenty of people who would be happy spending $10/month on insurance to prevent a $400 event that happens statistically every 5 years. To them $10 a month sounds way better than paying $400 for a new whatever it is. Emotionally it makes sense, but mathematically it's nonsense and they're throwing away $200 every five years (not even considering investment gains). If you're remotely responsible and have some savings around you should be able to cover anything that breaks without too much trouble, and you don't have to pay an insurance company to do it for you.

In my example there an insurance company is statistically making $200 every time they sell 5 years worth of insurance on whatever that item is, that's half of the purchase price! That increases their probably 3-5% margin 10x up to 33%. It's no wonder they do it.

Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: former player on January 03, 2018, 01:09:15 PM
People, please. It's clear that OP understands the maths on the ring and insurance.  The ring is a done deal from a previous life and the insurance a temporary measure.  There comes a point at which advice becomes counterproductive nagging. 
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Help Me :) on January 03, 2018, 01:17:27 PM
People, please. It's clear that OP understands the maths on the ring and insurance.  The ring is a done deal from a previous life and the insurance a temporary measure.  There comes a point at which advice becomes counterproductive nagging.

THANK YOU. I wrote out a long response to the last message sent to me, but I deleted it. I'm done commenting on it and defending it. It is going to be his wedding ring too - and kept in our possession forever / passed down generations. This is why I currently insure it, and won't in the future when money isn't an issue.

I do understand the math and how insurance works, and buying things that are outside of your budget as unnecessary (hence why I will be buying a used Toyota or Honda as my next car, and also removing my phone insurance as I agree to the last comment about buying a cheaper phone). The suggestion of selling my ring was just off putting.

People are getting a bit TOO invasive with their comments on that topic and really need to back off.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Help Me :) on January 03, 2018, 01:20:43 PM
You've made a conscious decision to make changes and I'm sure you'll start seeing progress if you keep at it.  Getting from where you were to where you are now to where you want to be takes a huge change in mindset.  Caring less what people think about what you're wearing/driving/eating etc., changing your values, establishing long-term goals, cutting out things you used to purchase without a second thought - that takes work and dedication.

If you keep an eye on your cash flow and keep cutting, and maybe increasing what's coming in, you'll get there.  It's a game you want to win.

Further up in the thread, there were a few posts about DIY cleaning products.  I recommend cheap white vinegar as a basic household cleaner.  Dilute with an equal part of water in a reusable spray bottle and you have a cheap, environmentally safe, solution for windows, mirrors, and most hard surfaces including hardwood floors.  The smell dissipates pretty quickly, in case that concerns you.  Save old t-shirts and sheets to use as rags.  Eliminate paper towels and napkins - use rags or sponges for spills.  In general, try not to spend money on one-use disposable stuff.  Minimize your waste and you'll even save $ on garbage bags.  Mustachianism means being green, and everybody wins, especially you.

Trust me the mind set is there - I sound like a broken record but being unemployed for 5 months truly put things into perspective and taught me how to budget every single penny. I care more about a comfortable future, not working into my 60s, traveling, building a family - than how people view me. I'm young, made some dumb decisions - but have the mindset now (albeit it's new) to change all of that and give myself a healthy financial future :)

I definitely will be buying cheap white vinegar for cleaning moving forward.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: zinnie on January 03, 2018, 05:02:33 PM
Nice to see the post about your fiancť putting his CC in the freezer! Baby steps are fine, as long as you are moving in the right direction. You seem to have made progress in how you are thinking about expenses during the course of this thread already; good job on that!

I'm surprised by how many people recommend cancelling gym. That is something I will never do. "do cardio at home" - "go on walks"...that BARELY has the same positive affect on your body as weight training does (i.e. upper/lower body weight lifting routine). Health should always be the #1 priority in someones life, and should never be cut out.

I would use the gym at my work, except they only cardio machines (which again has no where the same positive affect as weight lifting does). I also don't have a yard around me to supply my own weights.

Sorry but that is something that I just disagree with and one piece of advice people should not take. Yes you should go to your minimal gym membership, but I still believe a gym membership is extremely important, unless of course you have property and can supply your own full supplies (bench press, pull up bar, squat rack, multiple barbells, etc.).

People can get good exercise without machines. Cardio like running is great for strengthening the heart and there are plenty of great bodyweight exercises for core strength. You will not be unhealthy if you trail run and do body weight exercises for a while.

Remember, too, that we are giving advice based on that fact that you have "almost bankrupt" in the title of your post. This is not the time to keep expenses that are not essential. Once your finances are in order and you have strengthened your frugality muscles you can spend money on things that you find valuable, like a reasonably-priced gym. But you have to wipe out the debt and get on the right track first! Of course it's your choice how you do that, but the gym is a good one to consider.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Help Me :) on January 03, 2018, 05:05:45 PM
Nice to see the post about your fiancť putting his CC in the freezer! Baby steps are fine, as long as you are moving in the right direction. You seem to have made progress in how you are thinking about expenses during the course of this thread already; good job on that!

I'm surprised by how many people recommend cancelling gym. That is something I will never do. "do cardio at home" - "go on walks"...that BARELY has the same positive affect on your body as weight training does (i.e. upper/lower body weight lifting routine). Health should always be the #1 priority in someones life, and should never be cut out.

I would use the gym at my work, except they only cardio machines (which again has no where the same positive affect as weight lifting does). I also don't have a yard around me to supply my own weights.

Sorry but that is something that I just disagree with and one piece of advice people should not take. Yes you should go to your minimal gym membership, but I still believe a gym membership is extremely important, unless of course you have property and can supply your own full supplies (bench press, pull up bar, squat rack, multiple barbells, etc.).

People can get good exercise without machines. Cardio like running is great for strengthening the heart and there are plenty of great bodyweight exercises for core strength. You will not be unhealthy if you trail run and do body weight exercises for a while.

Remember, too, that we are giving advice based on that fact that you have "almost bankrupt" in the title of your post. This is not the time to keep expenses that are not essential. Once your finances are in order and you have strengthened your frugality muscles you can spend money on things that you find valuable, like a reasonably-priced gym. But you have to wipe out the debt and get on the right track first! Of course it's your choice how you do that, but the gym is a good one to consider.

Yes true, it is an additional expense. It isn't a ''luxury'', but is isn't also a ''must need necessity''. I can probably meet myself halfway and go down to the $10 a month gym membership, from the $20. The $20 covers all the gyms in my area (I live in a big city), but the $10 will just be for the one gym. So I'll do that.

Cardio is good, but muscle workout is a whole different ball park. Just do the research.

Yes thank you, everyone's opinions have been great and I am going to introduce most of them to my life. I am really excited about getting a cheaper car payment & insurance payment, that will save a lot. I posted a separate thread about what to claim on my income so that I can get more take home - so doing every little thing I can :)
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Fomerly known as something on January 05, 2018, 08:23:02 AM
I'll do a little research on ring insurance.

Does that work for cleaning windows (Windex) too?

I like that future bank account idea. Makes sense.

$120 was a high guesstimate. Between the food and litter, it costs $60. I am not sure how long that lasts though, definitely not a month. Which litter brand do you use? The problem with the other 4 or 5 we tried was that the smell of pee and poo was horrible. This litter literally blocks those smells out.

Vinegar and water is great for windows. I use it on the following: windows, counters, stovetop, stainless steel dining table, hardwood floor spills, bathroom counters, mirrors, toilets. It doesn't quite cut it on the acrylic shower, which is why I use this stuff - https://www.dollartree.com/The-Works-16-oz-Tub-Shower-Cleaner/p6065/index.pro/. A few other basic supplies such as bleach and a good scrub brush will take you far.

I use Worlds Best Cat Litter Multicat. You can flush it. It smells natural and controls odor very well. But it's way more than you need to spend ($26 for 28 lbs). I went to Chewy's website and sorted by average customer review. I'd start trying the best rated cheap litter - https://www.chewy.com/s?rh=c%3A325%2Cc%3A410%2Cc%3A411&sort=rating.

I feed my cats this stuff and it lasts over a month - https://www.chewy.com/taste-wild-rocky-mountain-grain-free/dp/34263. But, again, in your position I'd be searching for cheaper alternatives. Awhile back, there was a thread on here about pet food and several vets recommended Purina One. While it's certainly not cheap, it's less than what I'm serving. Between switching litters and foods, you could probably drop $30/mo while still getting a decent product and not jeopardizing your cats' health.

I'll try the water and vinegar trick soon!

Ugh can't believe someone suggested Purina. I had a kitten that passed away from FIP (unrelated) but I learned A LOT about the right kinds of foods that cats should consume. I was originally giving them all Blue Buffalo, but then my little one got the blockage.
The litter I buy is $20 for a 40lb bag. It's GREAT, looks like I can keep using it.

On cat food, for preface I have a diabetic cat so all of my 3 eat food that is good for him.  I specifically do not feed perspiration diabetic food because in fact the prescription diabetic food is actually worse for diabetics than fancy feast or friskies. 

What is the best overall food for all cats including ones with crystals, raw homemade, what is the second best wet low carb food.  Currently I feed mine Merrick Limited ingredient because that is what they all agree is eatable and is fine for my sugar kitten. 

Please see this info from Dr. Lisa  http://catinfo.org/  (http://catinfo.org/)
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: slappy on January 05, 2018, 11:28:27 AM
Mostly posting to follow...

Sometimes on this forum we see people who "desperately need help", yet have multiple reasons why they can't do every suggestion that is made.  Sometimes we see those who take everything to heart and really make some great changes. As you can imagine, the latter is much less common than the former. So I'm following to see which one you turn out to be. :)  Feel free to consider that a challenge. :)

Out of curiosity, what cat litter are you using?
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Help Me :) on January 05, 2018, 12:04:22 PM
Mostly posting to follow...

Sometimes on this forum we see people who "desperately need help", yet have multiple reasons why they can't do every suggestion that is made.  Sometimes we see those who take everything to heart and really make some great changes. As you can imagine, the latter is much less common than the former. So I'm following to see which one you turn out to be. :)  Feel free to consider that a challenge. :)

Out of curiosity, what cat litter are you using?
I've already begun :). As mentioned in previous comments, I had no choice when I was unemployed for almost half a year and surviving on unemployment checks. I have a different state of mind now that I'm employed again - I'm excited for this year!

I use Integrity cat litter, it's a godsend.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Orion303702 on January 05, 2018, 01:43:33 PM
I'm sure you love the location you're in, but to be quite frank you can't afford to live in that location - even if you are getting a deal when comparing the competition.

There are plenty of places in the U.S. you could move to, make 60K-70K (and potentially more), and cut your housing costs by half or even 75%.

Ultimately, that seems like the best move in this instance. Your salary isn't justifying the housing costs. If both of you made 90K it would be feasible but unfortunately that's not the case. I doubt you'll move, and I'm sure you're optimistic about your fiancee's job potential and pay raises, but you're shooting yourself in the foot currently. Just my 2 cents.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Help Me :) on January 05, 2018, 02:13:13 PM
I'm sure you love the location you're in, but to be quite frank you can't afford to live in that location - even if you are getting a deal when comparing the competition.

There are plenty of places in the U.S. you could move to, make 60K-70K (and potentially more), and cut your housing costs by half or even 75%.

Ultimately, that seems like the best move in this instance. Your salary isn't justifying the housing costs. If both of you made 90K it would be feasible but unfortunately that's not the case. I doubt you'll move, and I'm sure you're optimistic about your fiancee's job potential and pay raises, but you're shooting yourself in the foot currently. Just my 2 cents.

No I'm not optimistic about his pay, it's been this way our entire relationship. He will probably be in college for the next 4-5 years before anything comes of it. I've always made more than him.

I made $105k last year, but the sad thing is Silicon Valley is one of the most expensive areas

Yes I understand cheaper costs (my step brother just moved to Oregon this morning) - but as it stands my entire family is within 5 miles of where I currently live. Whom I'm very close with and see on a weekly basis - and I have a huge family. I'd probably shoot myself in the head before leaving them (not literally but you get the point). Only way I move is if they move. That feeling may change in the future, but for now that's where I'm at mentally.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Another Reader on January 05, 2018, 03:25:18 PM
Realistically, going to school is not going to help your partner.  His career objective is "creative director."  Unlikely that a college degree is going to get him there.  In your shoes, I would be talking to my potential spouse about finding a job that will pay his half of the bills.  Otherwise, it looks like you are enabling him not to grow up and be self sufficient.  He is your dependent, not your partner.

No reason for you to move out of the area.  You just need to increase your family income and be more responsible with money going forward.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: a-scho on January 06, 2018, 12:39:47 AM
If you are in the Bay Area, shop at Trader Joeís instead of Safeway. Cheaper and tastier

Trader Joes is cheaper than Safeway? Wait seriously? If so I had no idea....I thought they were compared to Whole Foods (everything is healthier and organic)?! I'd love to shop there!

I would seriously recommend Grocery Outlet. I normally do not mention this chain on MMM because they are only in a few states. But, I know for a fact they are in the Bay Area/Silicon Valley. I only spend about 110.00 a month for two adult mouths and it's mostly because of Grocery Outlet. Safeway is NOT the way to go(unless you are picking up their deeply discounted stuff because it is nearing its sell by date) or TJ's for that matter. What's extra great about G.O. is that when their stuff gets near its sell by date, they also deeply discount.....on things that were already a deal. For example, a jar of Classico pasta sauce would normally be about 2.99 at Safeway would be at G.O. for 1.50. Then, when they are close to the sell by date, I have seen them priced at five jars for a dollar. Once, it was ten jars for a dollar. Each store is independently owned, so prices vary. I've done this with organic coffee, organic heavy cream, all dairy products, meat, cheese, snacks, chocolate, cereal, eggs, cleaning products, personal care products. They have all kinds of brands, main stream stuff you would see in Safeway but also higher quality stuff you would see in Whole Foods. I have found so many deals that my current problem is having too much stuff already that I do not need to go......but i go anyway because of fomo. Then, coming home with nine boxes of Green and Black's sea salt milk chocolate for 3.00, cos they were .33 per box.  Or the time I bought ten packs of Reese's pb cups for a dollar when I STILL had chocolate to finish.
I get fresh produce elsewhere, I have found Asian markets tend to have the best prices. Toilet paper is Costco's "Marathon" brand is the best price per sheet(I did the math). Math wise it is better than their Kirkland brand. Charmin is not the best option price wise. If you want to get super aggressive, you can cut up old cloth rags into "cloth toilet paper" I use it for #1 only, wash with my usual load of laundry. My toilet paper buying has gone from once a year to about once every three years.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: ysette9 on January 06, 2018, 03:34:20 PM
Just be careful at grocery outlet. I used to shop there when one was close to my house, but after bringing home some lunch meat and finding spots of blue mold of it, I decided it wasn’t worth the savings (plus the hassle of going to another store). Obviously your experience is positive though.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: rubybeth on January 08, 2018, 09:35:10 AM
I'm sure you love the location you're in, but to be quite frank you can't afford to live in that location - even if you are getting a deal when comparing the competition.

There are plenty of places in the U.S. you could move to, make 60K-70K (and potentially more), and cut your housing costs by half or even 75%.

Ultimately, that seems like the best move in this instance. Your salary isn't justifying the housing costs. If both of you made 90K it would be feasible but unfortunately that's not the case. I doubt you'll move, and I'm sure you're optimistic about your fiancee's job potential and pay raises, but you're shooting yourself in the foot currently. Just my 2 cents.

No I'm not optimistic about his pay, it's been this way our entire relationship. He will probably be in college for the next 4-5 years before anything comes of it. I've always made more than him.

I made $105k last year, but the sad thing is Silicon Valley is one of the most expensive areas

Yes I understand cheaper costs (my step brother just moved to Oregon this morning) - but as it stands my entire family is within 5 miles of where I currently live. Whom I'm very close with and see on a weekly basis - and I have a huge family. I'd probably shoot myself in the head before leaving them (not literally but you get the point). Only way I move is if they move. That feeling may change in the future, but for now that's where I'm at mentally.

Has your fiance read the 50 jobs posts that pay at least $50k without a degree posts from MMM? If not, I'd consider them vs. more schooling.

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/07/25/50-jobs-over-50000-without-a-degree-part-1/
https://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/08/05/50-jobs-over-50000-without-a-degree-part-2/

Some of them are definitely hard work, but some are ideal for extroverts. Or, would there be a way to get him a part-time internship in his field of interest for some experience, and jump into it without a degree? Honestly, real life experience on a resume can look 10x better than just a degree.

And I think there's an unknown financial benefit to being near family--DH and I specifically live near family and don't want to be too far from aging parents. Those close human connections help us in a lot of intangible ways, and some more tangible ones (like my dad who came to jump start my car and went with me to buy a new battery--sure, I could have called a tow truck to do it, but my parents did it on my schedule and made sure I got home safely). It also saves us our paid time off and travel expenses to go visit them. We know a lot of people who moved far away who now feel they have to visit at least annually, and that's time and money that we get to spend on vacations to go elsewhere. :)
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: cats on January 08, 2018, 09:56:29 AM
We have lived in several parts of the Bay Area and in each of them I've found Safeway to be a pricey option for groceries. 

Trader Joe's generally has the best prices on eggs and dairy.  For meat and produce I find Sprouts is also a good option--the "normal" prices are nothing amazing but they do have good specials and also a decent bulk selection. 

If you live near a Grocery Outlet check them out also--the selection can be kind of random but often good deals on eggs/meat/dairy, sometimes also on dry goods like pasta and legumes. The 99 cents only chain has a surprising amount of produce and other fresh/healthy food as well (I have not found this to be true of other dollar stores like Dollar Tree or Dollar General, not all dollar stores are the same!).  Smart & Final may also be worth a look. 

And in each area we've lived we've also managed to find a local option for produce that is much cheaper than Safeway or other chains.  Whereabouts are you located?  If you're down on the peninsula try Felipe's, Milk Pail, or Foothill Produce.

We pay $40/month to Comcast for internet only.  I called and told them we were cancelling and switching to another provider (Sonic) who would do $40/month and voila, Comcast for $40/month.

Also, with regards to the car, is it actually a necessity?  Could you go without for a while, maybe just until you have your debt paid off?

Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: BabyShark on January 08, 2018, 10:45:19 AM
Mostly posting to follow...

Sometimes on this forum we see people who "desperately need help", yet have multiple reasons why they can't do every suggestion that is made.  Sometimes we see those who take everything to heart and really make some great changes. As you can imagine, the latter is much less common than the former. So I'm following to see which one you turn out to be. :)  Feel free to consider that a challenge. :)

...

Doing the same thing!  Looking forward to your progress!
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Blonde Lawyer on January 08, 2018, 11:19:30 AM
One more suggestion on the cat food!  I volunteer at my local animal shelter and I get prescription foods 50% off the vet price.  The shelter gets a wholesale deal that they are allowed to pass on to their volunteers.  I don't even have to go that often.  I take some pictures every other Sunday for them.  See if you have anything like that near you.  As a bonus, you might get a discount from vets they partner with too. 
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: eliza on January 08, 2018, 05:41:12 PM
PTF.   You're in an interesting place and I'm interested to see which path you go down and how things turn out.  MMM and FIRE aren't for everyone and that's OK. 
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: le-weekend on January 08, 2018, 08:21:46 PM
Okay I will not chime in anything about cars :-)   But I would like to tell you that YOU CAN DO THIS.

I was your age, not making anywhere near your salary but with a similar amount of debt and also living in expensive metropolitan areas, and I finally got it paid off. I agree that Bankruptcy should only be used if one is absolutely desperate, as a last resort.

My journey took a really long time to complete -- I was in my early 40's when my credit card balances finally reached zero. I believe you can do it much more quickly than that with the right mindset and determination.  The reason I think you can do it, is that I was earning an average of $28K per year until I was in my early 30's --- and then got bumped up to what seemed like a jackpot of $60K in my mid-30's. All of that time, I still had not yet learned the skills to stop racking up debt, so the amount hovered around that $30K level for way too long.

I knew you were "supposed" to save, but I was under the impression that I needed every penny for my regular expenses and therefore simply had to use credit cards in order to pay for inevitable "unexpected emergencies" of life. I also had a delusional sense of the difference between "needs" and "wants" because I'd been in debt for so long (since age 17) I had this sort of dim acceptance that I could never pay it off anyway so I might as well have that nice (iPod / purse / trip). It was awful and it was always gnawing away at me. What hadn't gotten through my thick skull was that if I truly kept a budget, even one with generous allowances for eating out and other B.S., but just made sure that ONE OF THE BUDGET ITEMS WAS AUTOMATIC SAVINGS (even a small amount), I would have been able to pay for more 'unexpected' things with cash instead of credit. But here's the rub -- I was stuck in hopelessness and immaturity and anger over how unfair it felt and a whole bunch of emotions that may not apply to your situation at this point  :-)   But for what it's worth, these two books helped me more than anything else:

1) You're Broke Because You Want to Be (by Larry Winget)

and

2) The Debt-Free Spending Plan (by Joanneh Nagler)

It is liberating and amazing to finally be an adult about money and not have that weight on my back. Yes it will be a slog but please don't let that stop you from starting the way I let it stop me.... the sooner you start, the sooner you will reach the end goal and sweet relief!  Every little bit counts!  Pennies make dollars!  GOOD LUCK!!!!!!
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: innkeeper77 on January 08, 2018, 10:44:28 PM
Good luck! Posting to follow.

Just to add to the NO NEW CARS chorus- buy japanese, used, and older. Here are my examples:

My wife has a 2006 civic we bought a year ago for $6k. Great condition, only 100k miles on it, no rust, etc. It has needed zero repairs, just oil changes, and tire rotations, all of which I do myself, and I have an assumption that it will stay that way for a while. It needs brake pads and spark plugs sometime in 2018, but those are cheap (I expect to pay under $200 total even if I replace all the rotors) (I also had to have the Takata airbag replaced, but Honda did that for free.) If we have this car at 200k miles I will not be suprised, but I "KNOW" that it will last us three years at the very least! If it completely dies and we have to give it away in two years, it will have cost us WELL under $8k all in with maintenance. It will more realistically last us 5 to 10 or even more years, and repairs shouldn't be too much- it's a cheap car, with cheap parts, in great condition. Even with no salvage value, it will be far less than a new car per year/mile, and FAR FAR less than a lease.

I drive a 2000 Subaru Outback. I.... will be getting a new car soonish for peace of mind. I bought it on craigslist for too much, and have driven it 25k miles (starting at 200k). However, if I sell it for blue book today (doable) it will have only cost me about $2500 including maintenance (needed a timing belt, I did that myself, and a bunch of brake work, also learned how to do it myself) after the salvage value (Worth $1500 according to blue book, craigslist looks a bit higher, but it has a bunch of cosmetic issues) - for 2 years and 25k miles (Unusually high for us- visiting family a lot, and I took up a side gig as a pizza driver for a while, which more than paid for the car) - I probably paid too much, and will instead be looking for a "newer" car- meaning 2008 or 2009 - when I replace it! (Paying $7000 or less. Ideally a lot less)
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: MrsPete on January 09, 2018, 03:44:04 PM
I'm an Executive Assistant. No college education, worked my way up in the corporate world. I support an officer of the company, so I'm hopeful down the road I'll get a raise, bonus, or possibly more RSU's (just joined 2 months ago
You're getting loads of good advice on other topics, but this jumped out at me -- you sound exactly like one of my dear friends, and I want to warn you what happened to her: 

She went to college for a year -- young and stupid -- decided it wasn't for her -- she got a job as a secretary, was EXCELLENT at that job, largely because she is a very good writer and communicator (and most people ... aren't).  Very quickly she became attached to one of the company's rising stars -- I'll say he was a CEO; it's close enough to the truth.  He was a very difficult boss, but the two of them got along.  She knew the business, anticipated his needs, and could take his temper tantrums.  When he "went too far", she could say, "Enough", and he'd stomp off for an hour or two, and then he'd apologize and give her flowers or gifts.  Anyway, over the course of a few years, she became EXCEEDINGLY VALUABLE to this man, and she was being paid accordingly.  The boss let her use his beach house and his mountain house.  Given that she had no college degree, she thought she'd won the lottery -- Executive Assistant job, a professional salary, excellent benefits. 

Her first hint of trouble came when she married.  She married a farmer, so he wouldn't leave his land ... but her job was a solid hour's drive.  For the first time, she really realized that she was in an extremely fortunate situation ... but that situation wasn't "portable".  That is, she was attached to this one company, this one man ... but her skills wouldn't allow her to leave /go to another firm /step into the same level of job.  So she married her fellow and spent two hours a day on the road to keep her job.

Her second, more serious hint of trouble came very shortly after when she had her (only) child.  She decided she just couldn't keep up the commute, so she quit -- knowing she'd never find another job like that, knowing that she'd have to start again as a regular secretary.  Her boss was so determined to keep her that he gave her a raise that was enough to buy a new luxury SUV every couple years AND to put her son in daycare right there in their downtown building /pay for private school later.  She kept her job, but it was tough:  Most of her time with her son /most of their meals were in the car.  Many times she thought about quitting, but then she'd stay because without her job, her son would've had to be pulled out of the private school -- and he was flourishing.

The final straw came when the CEO had a heart attack (did I mention he was 70 something?), and he had an epiphany:  He had more than enough money for the rest of his life, and the work -- for which he had previously lived -- he LOVED his job, LOVED to win clients and make money -- but after the heart attack, he decided it could all go hang.  He didn't return to work.  You'd think that someone of her caliber would've been given another spot in the big company, but NO.  She was fired.  No other employee at "that level" needed an Executive Assistant, and the company knew she was vastly overpaid for her work ... because that one man had insisted upon keeping her. 

So she was late 40s, had a son ready to head out to college ... and her job is gone.  She made WAY more money than her farmer husband, so it hurt.  With no education, she isn't going to get back in that game.  She was extremely fortunate to have stayed in it as long as she did -- and if she hadn't been EXACTLY the right fit for this one CEO, she wouldn't have had the job all those years.  I heard her tell her son and his friends at least 50 times, "You must get an education.  I know, you see me doing very well without it, but that was a different generation.  You can never follow in my footsteps.  Education is your key."

If I see correctly, you're in kind of the same position ... but you don't have to go as many years as she did before you make some changes.  Be sure you're not a unique employee good for -- very, very good for -- one job only. 


Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: Apple_Tango on January 10, 2018, 11:17:43 PM
If you are valuable to the company, many times they will pay for your college if you do a night school, online school, or something part time. Following the post above, I would say look into that and see if your company offers that perk. My cousin is getting her degree that way (after a long and winding road). I also saw an episode of undercover boss for a hotel chain, and the employee really wanted to go to school but didn't know how she would pay for it. It turns out that the hotel chain offered free courses or something like that. But it hadn't been marketed well so no one knew about it.

If school isn't your thing, I understand. But degree creep is SO real and really...learning is fun! Especially when it's free.
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: TheStrenuousLife on January 11, 2018, 09:37:23 AM
Posting to follow!  Good luck!
Title: Re: 28yr old $95k a yr salary | Previously Unemployed - Almost Bankrupt
Post by: civil4life on January 11, 2018, 01:05:50 PM
Trader Joes is definitely cheaper.  Also, do not dig on Aldi's.  They actually carry organic now.

I had a cat that developed bladder stones.  4 days hospital and surgery.  Still paying that off.  He absolutely hated the food for the crystals.  He actually starved himself and I had to get him a feeding tube.  He now eats a regular wet food.  We check for crystals regularly with the vet, but since he is no longer on dry food the wet was enough to improve the health. 

I own a 2013 Toyota Prius that I bought in 2014 used.  It was a fleet vehicle and had 17k miles on it.  I want to say it was $15k.  My loan was $200 a month, but paid it off faster than that.  Additionally I financed through a credit union for a much better interest rate.  Besides routine maintenance I have not had any repair expenses.  So instead of leasing consider slightly used with plenty of life.  I will have it 4 years in May and I now have 95k on it.  I drive 30 mi each direction for work.   Plus my gas mileage is at least 45 mpg.

You should consider filling out a new W-4 at work and take at least 1 exemption.  That will give you a little more in each paycheck and you still should not owe taxes come tax time.