Author Topic: feeling frustrated, defeated, and not getting anywhere....  (Read 7591 times)

lindsayk

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ive made a few posts in the last month or two after having read the MMM blog for awhile and was really excited to "get it together" and working towards being debt free then FI. I have zero savings...or from time to time maybe a few hundred dollars in savings. I have a side hustle photography business but I dont have consistent income from it. I sold my 2010 Jeep about 2 mos ago that i had no problems with...I owed around $6500 on it and had a $204 month payment with $50/60 month insurance. I then paid $2500 cash for a 1999 Saturn and my insurnace dropped to $15month.....I was so excited and everyone thought I was crazy and made a stupid decision. I had a car that only had 80,000 miles on it and no problems for one that had 145,000 miles on it and who knows what would start to go wrong with it. But i stuck to my guns and was so happy to not have that $204 month payment anymore. My brother in law went with me to look at it and drove it and all seemed well. Since ive had it has needed two repairs totaling $700. My dog cost me $200 at the vet this weekend and is continually costing me money in vet bills for small things like bladder infections or bacterial infection. I know people are going to say "you cant afford a dog"....well no, I cant but he's my baby and how do you put down your baby when he's not seriously ill or super old. I was photographing a wedding this weekend (side hustle) and my camera stopped working. ( i borrowed a friends as a back up cause mine is getting old).....so now my extra income earning tool is needing repair. So frustrated and dont know what to do. Feeling like anytime i make progress I always get kicked back 5 steps and that cycle just repeats.

choppingwood

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Re: feeling frustrated, defeated, and not getting anywhere....
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2015, 01:41:58 PM »
It sounds like you have been running into a pretty normal series of expenses that come from having a life.

A small emergency fund could help you deal with that financially. Maybe some spending cutbacks or a part-time job would help you get that in place and help you keep it funded.

You also need a mentally tough attitude to bring to financial hurdles. I wouldn't worry about what people say about your vehicle decision or what they might say about having a dog. These are your decisions. None of the expenses you are talking about are outrageous. You just need to keep on making good decisions and learning about how you are going to deal with situations you hadn't expected.


humbleMouse

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Re: feeling frustrated, defeated, and not getting anywhere....
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2015, 01:48:01 PM »
Sounds like you still came out ahead on the car.  Usually with cars in that mileage range you just need to make sure the mission critical stuff is up to date and then you will be fine. 

Frankies Girl

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Re: feeling frustrated, defeated, and not getting anywhere....
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2015, 02:34:47 PM »
I've been through this type of thing before and when you're in the middle of a bunch of unexpected issues that (of course) cost money, it is VERY easy to feel discouraged and get depressed and feel like you'll never get out of this mess because little things just keep coming up.

You did fine on the vehicle situation, it is just unfortunate timing that the needed repairs on the replacement vehicle had to happen right when you're experiencing lots of other sucky stuff. It is a snowball effect - little things that normally you'd just handle are starting to build up and make it seem like one big crappy pile of crap. But this stuff just happens sometimes and try to keep perspective - you've made some sweeping changes in your life, and you're going to come through all of this in a much better position than you were a year ago, and it will get better.

And it sounds like you're handling things very well; got a replacement car that replaced that car payment and got a great reduction in insurance, had a friend's backup camera so you could finish up your freelancing (that is awesome and you should be proud of yourself for not panicking and having a backup plan in place- that is super smart!), and your dog is getting the care he needs... you are doing great!

The only way ahead is to just keep going forward, and you can make it!


And I just thought of another possible side hustle that might work out for either barter for services or outright cash... maybe ask your vet's office if you could do pet picture day on location, like some of the big pet store chains do for things like holidays. I could even see doing a monthly picture day and offering a calendar deal to pet owners. They could advertise it to their clients to drum up more business, and give you free vet services or split the proceeds? In any case, something to think about!



Roothy

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Re: feeling frustrated, defeated, and not getting anywhere....
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2015, 03:39:45 PM »
Think about it this way: the thing with your dog and your camera would have happened no matter what.  But now, because you are smart and in control of your financial destiny and making wise decisions like selling your expensive car and replacing it with an even better one, you have reduced your expenses by over $250 a month.  This means you can pay for your dog, pay for your camera repair, even pay for your minor car repairs (which you might have had to do on the other car anyway--and it being a Jeep would have likely cost an arm and a leg to fix)--and within three or more months or so, you'll be back in the black.  Would that be true if you *hadn't* sold the Jeep?

So congratulations!  You are making great decisions, and making your life immeasurably easier.  :)

mathstache

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Re: feeling frustrated, defeated, and not getting anywhere....
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2015, 04:21:59 PM »
You're doing stellar. I've got a 1999 Saturn as well, with the same -145,000 miles on it so I think you're ok. If you're feeling up to it, get the owner's repair manual (Chilton or Haynes, I got Haynes) and check some of the major things off that they recommend. I replaced a fuel filter, some old hoses, the serpentine belt, and put new transmission and brake fluid in it. This is the first car I've ever worked on, and with the help of a car savvy friend did it in a relaxed 2 days. You-tube and the repair manual are your friends.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2015, 04:24:23 PM by mathstache »

DaveInVirginia

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Re: feeling frustrated, defeated, and not getting anywhere....
« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2015, 05:12:37 PM »
As a pet owner and former photo/videographer, who has had lots of camera equipment break, stolen, or become obsolete, I feel your pain.  Vet bills and camera repair bills come on quick, and always seem exorbitant.  I just had to remind myself how much joy my cats and cameras brought to my life.  They're good investments for the soul. 

Wedding photography is a fun and potentially lucrative side-gig, or even main-gig.  It kept me going through many lean years.  Hang in there, you sound like you're making good decisions and are on your way.


PJ

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Re: feeling frustrated, defeated, and not getting anywhere....
« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2015, 10:50:50 PM »
Hey lindsayk, I feel you ... this shit is hard! 

At the early stages, you can pick some low-hanging fruit for some small wins, but then it only takes one big problem to push you two steps back.  Yup, I'm mixing my metaphors big time - because that's how complicated this all feels, at this stage.  I think it's normal.  As a Christian, when I encounter the "one thing after another" scenario, I tend to assume that the evil one is at work.  He doesn't like it when we have our shit together and are living the life we're meant to live, or taking the steps we need to take to get there.  People from other perspectives might talk about bad luck, or fate, or "the universe conspiring against me."  However you view it, the response is the same.  Don't get mad (or sad, frustrated, or defeated!)  Get even!

Remember that you're already in a better place than you were a couple of months ago, even if the numbers aren't showing it yet.  That's 'cause you've got a plan, and you're working it.  And look at how you've already coped.  You didn't dump the car and buy back another more expensive one.  You didn't rush out and get a new camera.  And you've prioritized what's important to you - keeping your baby healthy.

Ok, so what to do now?  First, remember that it could have been worse.  You could have been continuing to make the same car payment and have had all your other bills piling up, and still have had all this stuff happen.  Second, think through all the ways that you could still make some forward momentum right now, or at least lessen the damage.  Can you continue to borrow your friend's camera, or find a new-to-you-but-used one, or repair yours cheaply?  Maybe trade in some less used gear to help cover the cost?  Can you drive way less for a couple of weeks to put off filling up the gas tank, and learn about hypermiling for when you absolutely have to go somewhere?  I know you're already working on the food thing - this is a great time to see if you can live out of your kitchen cupboards and fridge.  If you have to, give yourself a small amount ($10-20) to pick up a few things to round out your meals.  Take a load of CD's, DVD's or books to used book/media store.  Sell some stuff on Craigslist.  Cash in Air Miles or other reward points for gift cards for gas and groceries.  Have a garage sale (my brother and his ex once fundraised a fair amount of stuff to pay for medical care for a stray dog they adopted off the street - cute pictures and a heartwarming write-up really reduced the haggling you usually see at a garage sale!)  Have an art sale, with some of your photos printed on nice paper and in inexpensive frames (but only if this is stuff you already have around!)  Sell some unwanted jewellery to one of those gold-buyers.  In other words, do whatever you can for a wee bit of extra cash right now, to help cover those extra expenses you've had. 

Longer term, I've seen you post about working on your side hustle, just trying to get some more gigs.  I'm wondering (maybe you've posted about this too, and I just haven't seen it) whether you've looking into monetizing your skills online.  Starting a blog (or more than one?) featuring your photos and generating ad revenue.  You could have a dog related one, a photography related one, etc.  Might even eventually get yourself new gear to review that way!  Stock photos?  Etsy?  And so on ...

Squirrel away

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Re: feeling frustrated, defeated, and not getting anywhere....
« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2015, 03:24:55 AM »
I sold my 2010 Jeep about 2 mos ago that i had no problems with...I owed around $6500 on it and had a $204 month payment with $50/60 month insurance. I then paid $2500 cash for a 1999 Saturn and my insurnace dropped to $15month.....I was so excited and everyone thought I was crazy and made a stupid decision. I had a car that only had 80,000 miles on it and no problems for one that had 145,000 miles on it and who knows what would start to go wrong with it. But i stuck to my guns and was so happy to not have that $204 month payment anymore. My brother in law went with me to look at it and drove it and all seemed well. Since ive had it has needed two repairs totaling $700. My dog cost me $200 at the vet this weekend and is continually costing me money in vet bills for small things like bladder infections or bacterial infection. I know people are going to say "you cant afford a dog"....well no, I cant but he's my baby and how do you put down your baby when he's not seriously ill or super old. I was photographing a wedding this weekend (side hustle) and my camera stopped working. ( i borrowed a friends as a back up cause mine is getting old).....so now my extra income earning tool is needing repair. So frustrated and dont know what to do. Feeling like anytime i make progress I always get kicked back 5 steps and that cycle just repeats.

I would echo the point about having an emergency fund tucked away for these types of things happening. We had a time like that in the months leading up to Christmas last year, we had one of our pets die and then another pet needed emergency vet treatment a short time after. We then had two water leaks in our house within a week, one leak occurred on the day of our wedding anniversary! Grr. We were really glad that we had money in savings as it all seemed to happen at once.

lindsayk

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Re: feeling frustrated, defeated, and not getting anywhere....
« Reply #9 on: May 26, 2015, 08:59:33 AM »
I just wanted to thank everyone for the replies. The encouragement helped bring my spirits up. Im in a better head space this week and was able to take care of all the repairs without more credit card debt (thanks photography side hustle and good friends who let me borrow their camera).....hoping i can keep making progress and get off this hamster wheel eventually!

PJ

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Re: feeling frustrated, defeated, and not getting anywhere....
« Reply #10 on: May 29, 2015, 11:39:12 AM »
Good for you lindsayk, for turning yourself around.  And give yourself a HUGE pat on the back for not putting the repairs on your credit card.  You done good ... keep going! 

Squirrel away

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Re: feeling frustrated, defeated, and not getting anywhere....
« Reply #11 on: May 30, 2015, 04:18:03 AM »
Good for you lindsayk, for turning yourself around.  And give yourself a HUGE pat on the back for not putting the repairs on your credit card.  You done good ... keep going!

+1.

lpep

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Re: feeling frustrated, defeated, and not getting anywhere....
« Reply #12 on: May 30, 2015, 04:33:44 AM »
Don't lose sight of the fact that you're on the treadmill so that these things won't ever be a big deal EVER AGAIN. As soon as you start getting ahead, you won't be in that position again. Isn't that freeing?

little_brown_dog

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Re: feeling frustrated, defeated, and not getting anywhere....
« Reply #13 on: May 30, 2015, 08:13:45 AM »
Have heart! The $700 in car repairs definitely sucks, but it is still a win compared to your previous payments (if you make it just the next 4 months without a repair, you have still saved money in the short term, never mind the long term).

Vet bills are killer, but I commend you on your dedication to your furbaby. We are also painfully familiar with high vet bills for our 4 rescues (2 dogs, 2 cats) but I'd rather sell most of my stuff than compromise on their health. If you find yourself at the vet again in the near future, please feel free to inquire about income based repayment (sliding scale) fees. Many large animal hospitals and even small practices are extremely accommodating especially when they see that you have been paying a lot of vet bills recently. There is no shame in seeing if they can work with you to knock $50-100 off a bill and most will be happy to do it (especially if you have never needed assistance before).
Also - keep an eye out for reduced fee vet clinics in your area or near your family/friends. Around here, there are clinics that offer reduced prices on rabies vaccines, spay/neuter, and basic meds like heartworm preventative. Sometimes specific breeds (ex: pit bulls) qualify for reduced fee services. Your local animal control might know of them. This won't help with emergency care, but it could be a way to reduce your routine vet care expenses.

Bearded Man

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Re: feeling frustrated, defeated, and not getting anywhere....
« Reply #14 on: May 30, 2015, 11:52:01 AM »
OP, been there, done that. I used to bake in a car with broken AC and power windows that didn't work. The car broke down constantly and looked like crap. I lived in an apartment, barely had savings of 5K and every few months I had to dip into it for some car repair or some other issue. I was so depressed because I felt like I would never get ahead and be able to buy a house or even a condo.

Now I own four houses, have 500K, and make 150K a year salary from my job alone. Just when you hit bottom for you, you will come back strong. I never imagined I would ever have all this. I went from having nothing to have more than most.

What you need to do is increase your income and decrease your expenses. I think in your case it's easiest to increase your income by picking up extra hours at work if you are hourly, or a second job. Next focus on getting a better paying job. Shoot for the stars, not just a $2 an hour increase. Education could help, but it could also hurt if you get the wrong kind of degree from the wrong school. Get a useful major, not some low paying one.

Bicycle_B

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Re: feeling frustrated, defeated, and not getting anywhere....
« Reply #15 on: May 30, 2015, 03:22:15 PM »
Lindsayk,

Keep pushing forward, I'm sure you can succeed over time.  Changing the course on a ship is not always easy or quick, but it pays off.

On a more lighthearted (?) note, you are doing better than the people in this video of treadmill fails:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bx_aVbBbgIA

SingleMomDebt

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Re: feeling frustrated, defeated, and not getting anywhere....
« Reply #16 on: May 30, 2015, 03:38:56 PM »
OP, been there, done that. I used to bake in a car with broken AC and power windows that didn't work. The car broke down constantly and looked like crap. I lived in an apartment, barely had savings of 5K and every few months I had to dip into it for some car repair or some other issue. I was so depressed because I felt like I would never get ahead and be able to buy a house or even a condo.

Now I own four houses, have 500K, and make 150K a year salary from my job alone. Just when you hit bottom for you, you will come back strong. I never imagined I would ever have all this. I went from having nothing to have more than most.

+1 Thanks for sharing your story Bearded Man. Love hearing real outcomes like this.

lindsayk, one foot in front of the other. what you are going through is normal. But does get better. glad you were able to pay for the car repairs without harboring more cc debt. just remember its a journey. While we all just want to go straight up, its more of a curvy road. You might also consider marketing your photos to sites like istockphoto, shutterstock, bigstock or similar.

happy

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Re: feeling frustrated, defeated, and not getting anywhere....
« Reply #17 on: May 30, 2015, 05:39:21 PM »
I was just thinking about this issue yesterday. When you are trying to change life habits sometimes it really does seem like events are conspiring against you. If you are religious, PJs view of the evil one is relevant. If not, well maybe its just the momentum of the universe. It certainly happens when you are just starting out with financial control. You just have to keep pushing.  I certainly went through this with my finances - now I'm determined to improve my exercise habit…in the past 2 months I've fallen down twice..sprained ankle, grazed knees, bruises, harassed by an angry dog though fortunately not bitten, a mysterious weeklong episode of severe neck and arm pain so bad it needed US/scans, a range of people make sudden urgent demands on my time just as I'm walking out the door, struck by radar invisible torrential rainstorms 30min from home with no raincoat….. all this stuff would normally not happen but I need to persist and it will pass.

 

Wow, a phone plan for fifteen bucks!