Author Topic: Making 38k+ and can't get out of debt. Desperate!  (Read 16572 times)

dragnmastr85

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Making 38k+ and can't get out of debt. Desperate!
« on: October 25, 2012, 06:15:54 PM »
Quote
Latest update
Not sure what all I can include to give you guys the best picture of my finances but here goes. I am 27, married, with a 2 year old.

Monthly bills
Rent 715
Storage unit 45
Car insurance 70
Cell plan 160
Life insurance 10
Electric 150
Internet 30
Hulu 8
Netflix 8
Total ~1370

Revolving Totals and monthly minimums:
Student loan 1 - 1240 - 50/mo
student loan 2 - 10823 - 115/mo
Medical payment plan - 5700 - 50/mo
dept store - 150 - 25/mo
credit card 1 - 1200 - 25
credit card 2 - 600 - 15
car loan + personal loan - ~2000 - 150
Total ~21000 - 430/mo

monthly budgets:
Groceries 400
Medicine 10
gas 60
laundry 20
total 490

net income after pre-tax deductions and taxes:
me 2052
wife 358 (stay at home mom mostly)
total 2410

This leaves us with about 130 of buffer money. No savings or anything. We usually eat up that buffer money in consumables like diaper wipes and every day stuff that isn't budgeted. Every time I hear from a friend or read that anyone making 50k/yr should have no issues, I feel ashamed. According to payscale, I am in the 80th percentile in terms of salary for my education and experience. We are at a loss. Any advice at all would be great. Thanks :)
« Last Edit: January 22, 2014, 01:58:24 PM by dragnmastr85 »

gooki

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Re: Making 50k+ and can't get out of debt. Desperate!
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2012, 06:23:43 PM »
1. What's the storage unit for? Is it making you money? No. Then clear it out and get rid of it.

2. $160 a month on cellphone plans? This has to be fixed NOW!!!! You are not a self employed business man, your family does not need to spend that much time or money on a cellphone.

3. With your spare cash, start aggressively paying down those loans, start with the highest interest one. Don't get back into debt once your out.

And finally what's going on with your taxes? Earning $50,000, but only taking home $24,600? That's a lot of money disappearing somewhere.

dragnmastr85

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Re: Making 50k+ and can't get out of debt. Desperate!
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2012, 06:31:04 PM »
Storage has furniture and keepsakes that we have no room for. I know it's wasted money but until we can find a bigger place I don't see a way out of it. I have tried for a long time to think a way out of it. And it's just not happening. It is making us money but not necessitating a larger place to live I suppose. Shitty logic but there it is.

The cell plan is a family plan and actually has the fewest minutes possible. There are data plans on the lines which we cannot take off. Not to mention I use the data plan for work purposes almost daily. The plan is servicing 3 phones (brother in law is on it because of an abusive situation with his living situation). Ive trimmed this down pretty much as much as I can. Even has a corporate discount on it.

It's not just taxes. It's 401k contributions, health insurance and a few other things that come out. If you want I could break down my paycheck and see if there's something we are missing there.

Thanks a ton for your help.

needmyfi

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Re: Making 50k+ and can't get out of debt. Desperate!
« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2012, 06:41:51 PM »
How high is your current 401 k and how high are the interest rates on the various loans?  Does your company match? The first thing that jumped out at me was your low take home compared to your salary.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2012, 06:45:27 PM by needmyfi »

Paul der Krake

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Re: Making 50k+ and can't get out of debt. Desperate!
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2012, 06:43:12 PM »
You seem pretty sincere in wanting to cut your expenses, so I won't sugarcoat it.

Your groceries budget reasonable, but still high. So does your electric bill. Go to bed earlier, run appliances less often, whatever works. Sounds like you could save a quite a bit there.

160 for what I'm assuming is three cell phones is an epensive luxury for now. There are unlimited plans with Virgin Mobile for under $50 a month, and even less if you use your phone reasonably (seriously, who talks for 500 minutes each month?). If you two have subsidized iphones or some other luxurious handsets, find a way to get out of your contract, and get rid of them. You just can't afford them now.

Hulu and netflix? Drop one.

I'm going to assume that rent and storage unit are not up for discussion.

What on earth is a department store debt? Pay that off immediately, using the money you saved by selling your phones. I'm willing to bet the rates are through the roof on those, just like your credit cards. Pay as much as you can, every month. Eat nothing but rice if necessary. Those rates are bleeding you dry, stop it while you still can. What are the rates on all your loans? You typically want to pay the highest first.

You car is almost paid for, so downsizing is probably not necessary. You can always try calling your insurance company and see if they will lower your premiums, especially if your contract is soon up for renewal. Same for medical bills btw: oftentimes, hospitals will lower the total bill in the hope that you will actually pay them. Tell them what you think you can pay, and see what they say.

See if you can find remote work for your wife too.

Congratulations for acknowledging your problem, and best of luck to you. And welcome to the forums!

dragnmastr85

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Re: Making 50k+ and can't get out of debt. Desperate!
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2012, 08:03:37 PM »
Here is a redacted pay stub. I chose one that has no overtime or other anomalies. This job is about 38k/year. The wife brings in close to 5k (but just started her job).

So I guess 50k was a bit of an overestimation. But this does NOT include the overtime, prevailing wage work, and meal per diem, which may bring me closer to 50k. 

Company matches 50% of the first 3% of my 401k contributions. I max that out I believe. Any advice would be greatly greatly appreciated.


« Last Edit: October 25, 2012, 08:10:36 PM by dragnmastr85 »

CB

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Re: Making 50k+ and can't get out of debt. Desperate!
« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2012, 08:17:07 PM »
Looks like your gross biweekly pay is $1442.  Multiply times 26 to get your annual and you're at about $37,500, well shy of $50,000.  I also note that your paystub date is for 8/3/2012, which is 215 of 365 days in the year.  At that point (215/365 days or about 60% through the year) your gross pay total is about $25,000.  At this rate by the end of the year you're on track to earn around $40,000 gross.  Again well below $50,000.  Maybe that's one issue: you think you have $50k of income to work with when at best you're at about 80% of that?

Have to echo others' comments about the cell phone.  My wife and I average less than $10 a month TOTAL (not per person) for two cell phones.  We only use them when we really need to.

gooki

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Re: Making 50k+ and can't get out of debt. Desperate!
« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2012, 08:22:10 PM »
There are data plans on the lines which we cannot take off. Not to mention I use the data plan for work purposes almost daily.

I which case I'd be gunning for my workplace to be paying my cell bill. They are not paying you a sufficient salary that for you to be shouldering their costs.

For the storage, you really have to think are these items worth keeping. I know it's not easy, I have a problem hoarding stuff, but I'm not paying someone else to store it. Be ruthless, let it go.

Thanks for posting the pay info. The only thing that stands out markedly is the Medical PPO - not being from the US I don't know what this is.

On the bright side you are saving some money with the 401k contributions. And my personal goal would be to clear those debts in say (12 months/24 months tops), which will allow you to save a whole lot more.


dragnmastr85

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Re: Making 50k+ and can't get out of debt. Desperate!
« Reply #8 on: October 25, 2012, 08:24:34 PM »
Looks like your gross biweekly pay is $1442.  Multiply times 26 to get your annual and you're at about $37,500, well shy of $50,000.  I also note that your paystub date is for 8/3/2012, which is 215 of 365 days in the year.  At that point (215/365 days or about 60% through the year) your gross pay total is about $25,000.  At this rate by the end of the year you're on track to earn around $40,000 gross.  Again well below $50,000.  Maybe that's one issue: you think you have $50k of income to work with when at best you're at about 80% of that?

Have to echo others' comments about the cell phone.  My wife and I average less than $10 a month TOTAL (not per person) for two cell phones.  We only use them when we really need to.

We don't use my salary figure to determine how much we have. We have always used my take home. I just threw the 50k out there as a ballpark when taking into account my pay, her pay, and my overtime and meal per diems. A big chuck of that expense check figure is government rate meal per diems that come back to me untaxed. But I don't like to use OT or per diems to figure my monthly income. I just threw the 50k out there as an idea of what I'm taking home and why it's not working :/

JJ

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Re: Making 50k+ and can't get out of debt. Desperate!
« Reply #9 on: October 25, 2012, 08:29:47 PM »
You really need to think hard about the storage shed.  You are clearly fine in the place you have so why do you need to save up furniture to move to a bigger place? I can't see how that is a priority now.  Are you better off selling the furniture and repaying some of the smaller, high interest debts, moving the keepsakes into your home and getting rid of the storage shed?  If you really need more furniture for a larger place at some point in the future buy it then for a similar price that you sell yours today (i.e. second hand).  If you don't have enough room at your home for all your keepsakes sell some stuff from home until you do, or rethink how much of a positive impact the keepsakes are really going to make on your life.  My wife is a full-on minimalist so anything not bolted down ends up in the charity shop or gets sold [with the exception of tools and bits of wood I might need :)].  It is amazing what a relief it is to dump "stuff".

Just saw you have gas PLUS electric, total heating & cooling is therefore around $210 p/m.  Surely you can do something about that - it seems crazy high for a family with one young child.  I assume you don't have a swimming pool, live on the equator or in the arctic circle.   MMM has plenty of posts about toughening up, putting on warm clothes, not taking long hot showers 10 times a day, don't shave your legs (or chest or whatever) in the shower etc.

If you need the data plan for work get work to contribute.  Your BIL should probably contribute something towards your cell plans too if those costs are tipping you into a world of stress.

Looking at your loans, you are paying $5,160 pa on $21,000 of borrowings.  I hope that debt is going down real quick, but judging by the title of your post, it isn't.  That's a crazy 25% interest rate.  Holy f***.  That's insane.  Assuming there are some sensible loans in amongst there, there must be some very high interest ones.  This is a real "hair on fire" situation.  Rice and beans (except for the kid), no aircon, showers once a week etc until you have paid off the crazy interest rate loans.  I don't know much about maxing 401K etc, but you may want to consider maximising your take home pay instead until you have the high interest debt sorted - ask someone from the US on the implications.

dragnmastr85

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Re: Making 50k+ and can't get out of debt. Desperate!
« Reply #10 on: October 25, 2012, 08:30:10 PM »
There are data plans on the lines which we cannot take off. Not to mention I use the data plan for work purposes almost daily.

I which case I'd be gunning for my workplace to be paying my cell bill. They are not paying you a sufficient salary that for you to be shouldering their costs.

For the storage, you really have to think are these items worth keeping. I know it's not easy, I have a problem hoarding stuff, but I'm not paying someone else to store it. Be ruthless, let it go.

Thanks for posting the pay info. The only thing that stands out markedly is the Medical PPO - not being from the US I don't know what this is.

On the bright side you are saving some money with the 401k contributions. And my personal goal would be to clear those debts in say (12 months/24 months tops), which will allow you to save a whole lot more.

We currently have work phones paid for but I don't use it. We don't use enough minutes on our regular family plan to necessitate me using the company's minutes. And the company doesn't cover data. I think management is considering cutting the corporate phones and letting us manage and expense our own phones. That would allow me to take a good chunk of that cell bill and expense it off. I'll wait to hear about that before I trigger a bunch of early termination fees on my cell plan.

I have reconsidered the storage and I think I may be able to sell off a lot of it. A big chunk of whats in storage is classic video game consoles and games. Truth is, I can emulate almost all of that and would probably never use it productively again. It would all be show-off stuff. And I'm paying out the ass for the possibility of being able to show it off when I get a house. Doesn't make much sense.

The PPO is my medical insurance. No way to gut that. In fact, it will go up next year when I add dental. Prob close to 80/mo.

Thanks for the great suggestions. You guys have been absolutely awesome so far.

dragnmastr85

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Re: Making 50k+ and can't get out of debt. Desperate!
« Reply #11 on: October 25, 2012, 08:37:27 PM »
You really need to think hard about the storage shed.  You are clearly fine in the place you have so why do you need to save up furniture to move to a bigger place? I can't see how that is a priority now.  Are you better off selling the furniture and repaying some of the smaller, high interest debts, moving the keepsakes into your home and getting rid of the storage shed?  If you really need more furniture for a larger place at some point in the future buy it then for a similar price that you sell yours today (i.e. second hand).  If you don't have enough room at your home for all your keepsakes sell some stuff from home until you do, or rethink how much of a positive impact the keepsakes are really going to make on your life.  My wife is a full-on minimalist so anything not bolted down ends up in the charity shop or gets sold [with the exception of tools and bits of wood I might need :)].  It is amazing what a relief it is to dump "stuff".

Just saw you have gas PLUS electric, total heating & cooling is therefore around $210 p/m.  Surely you can do something about that - it seems crazy high for a family with one young child.  I assume you don't have a swimming pool, live on the equator or in the arctic circle.   MMM has plenty of posts about toughening up, putting on warm clothes, not taking long hot showers 10 times a day, don't shave your legs (or chest or whatever) in the shower etc.

If you need the data plan for work get work to contribute.  Your BIL should probably contribute something towards your cell plans too if those costs are tipping you into a world of stress.

Looking at your loans, you are paying $5,160 pa on $21,000 of borrowings.  I hope that debt is going down real quick, but judging by the title of your post, it isn't.  That's a crazy 25% interest rate.  Holy f***.  That's insane.  Assuming there are some sensible loans in amongst there, there must be some very high interest ones.  This is a real "hair on fire" situation.  Rice and beans (except for the kid), no aircon, showers once a week etc until you have paid off the crazy interest rate loans.  I don't know much about maxing 401K etc, but you may want to consider maximising your take home pay instead until you have the high interest debt sorted - ask someone from the US on the implications.

Yeah, I'm definitely reconsidering the storage. See the post above.

Gas meant car fuel. Sorry about that confusion.

As far as the data goes, I can do most of my job without it. It's just a lot easier to do it with. See my post above. I may be able to nail the company for that in due time.

Not sure where you are getting the interest rates from. The biggest chunk of that is student loan debt. Yes interest is included in those payments but I'm not sure where you are getting 25% from? Also, student loan interest is usually refunded come tax season. Or at least it used to be, not sure for this year.

needmyfi

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Re: Making 50k+ and can't get out of debt. Desperate!
« Reply #12 on: October 25, 2012, 08:44:16 PM »
You clearly need to track what you are taking in and what is going out more closely.  To be that off on what you are making is a pretty good indicator that you are not paying close enough attention.  Also, you don' t take home 2052 every month, that is what you take home every four weeks. That may seem like a small detail, but that is another two thousand bucks a year not accounted for. That being said, you are not as bad off as you may think.  First of all you say you are not saving any money, but you are saving some in your 401k (maybe not mustachiaan but at least some peach fuzz).  I doubt that you are paying interest only on your loans so you are getting out of debt by paying down principal, just way too slowly.
 Your debt is not as high as alot of folks who make less. If you were willing to trim some and consider some good suggestions that have already been made you could easily pay off many of these smaller loans in a short amount of time. Also, if you could get in a few more hours of overtime, tax returns whatever to pay off debt you will be  on your way


If you really want to reduce your spending you can. 
« Last Edit: October 26, 2012, 05:10:33 AM by needmyfi »

JJ

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Re: Making 50k+ and can't get out of debt. Desperate!
« Reply #13 on: October 25, 2012, 08:47:24 PM »
Ha - the international confusion factor.  Gas = a gaseous hydrocarbon substance that you burn to heat water, cook etc over here.  Not sure why you call a liquid "gas" over there, but anyway - my mistake.

Rate was calculated by multiplying repayments per month ($430) by 12 and dividing by total loans ($21,000) and assuming that the debt wasn't reducing (from title of post "can't get out of debt").  May be useful to share the interest rates...

Saw your new post re: storage.  Make sense why it would be hard to let the gear go.  Could you do something else with them?  It sounds like the ideal is you get to keep them without the cost of storage.  How about going one step further and making some money from them.  Could you rent them out to a cafe or similar?  They "store" them, they pay you for the privilege and you could probably make sure they insure them in case someone spills a latte over one and fries the electronics.  If they are that unusual that you want to keep them they should be an attraction for some kind of business.  Maybe rent them to a local tech shop... Just ideas.

CB

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Re: Making 50k+ and can't get out of debt. Desperate!
« Reply #14 on: October 25, 2012, 09:09:25 PM »

As far as the data goes, I can do most of my job without it. It's just a lot easier to do it with. See my post above. I may be able to nail the company for that in due time.

Can you get your mobile data needs met with a prepaid MiFi or similar?  Plans run $30-$50 a month, and would free you from feeling tied to a phone contract.  Even with a couple of prepaid phones added you could still cut your phone+mobile data bill in half.

dragnmastr85

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Re: Making 50k+ and can't get out of debt. Desperate!
« Reply #15 on: October 25, 2012, 09:16:29 PM »

As far as the data goes, I can do most of my job without it. It's just a lot easier to do it with. See my post above. I may be able to nail the company for that in due time.

Can you get your mobile data needs met with a prepaid MiFi or similar?  Plans run $30-$50 a month, and would free you from feeling tied to a phone contract.  Even with a couple of prepaid phones added you could still cut your phone+mobile data bill in half.

I would love to move out of my plan and go with one of these suggestions but I am under contract and the ETF would hurt pretty bad. MiFi would work but the data caps suck. I get 100% unlimited for 30/mo.

billc

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Re: Making 50k+ and can't get out of debt. Desperate!
« Reply #16 on: October 25, 2012, 09:55:46 PM »

The PPO is my medical insurance. No way to gut that. In fact, it will go up next year when I add dental. Prob close to 80/mo.


You may want to really think over adding a $960 annual expense unless you're due for some kind of dental surgery. Standard cleanings for two adults should be much lower than that (obviously any additional dental needs swings the math). In general things like vision and dental often end up being cheaper if you self insure.

dragnmastr85

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Re: Making 50k+ and can't get out of debt. Desperate!
« Reply #17 on: October 25, 2012, 10:02:42 PM »

The PPO is my medical insurance. No way to gut that. In fact, it will go up next year when I add dental. Prob close to 80/mo.


You may want to really think over adding a $960 annual expense unless you're due for some kind of dental surgery. Standard cleanings for two adults should be much lower than that (obviously any additional dental needs swings the math). In general things like vision and dental often end up being cheaper if you self insure.

The wife and I have cavities that are probably close to a decade old. Wife is starting to get real dental pain. We have been putting it off for a long time. Unfortunately it's time to pony up for a year and get our teeth fixed. It will cost more long term if we neglect it further.

billc

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Re: Making 38k+ and can't get out of debt. Desperate!
« Reply #18 on: October 25, 2012, 10:31:23 PM »
There's a saying: "Desperate times call for desperate measures"

Income
1. Can your wife watch another kid while she's at home to make some cash? Any other at home income ideas?
2. Can you find a way to get a part time job? Surely hard to do with a child, but if you really are desperate...
3. Your federal tax burden should be pretty low, so depending on what kind of employer match you're getting on 401k contributions you may want to consider suspending contributions and hammering away at those loans.

Expenses
1. Storage unit has to go.
2. Both Netflix and Hulu have to go (it's a relatively small cost but it's unquestionably a luxury)
3. Electric bill seems really high. I live in a moderate size one bedroom with electric heat and cooling and I'm half that in the hottest and coldest months in DC.
4. 160 for a cell plan is a luxury.... MMM and the board have lots of options here.
5. Are you doing your laundry in a laundromat or is the 20/mo for laundry supplies/dry cleaning? At a minimum try not using the dryer.
6. Try to reduce the food budget. http://earlyretirementextreme.com/day-3-grocery-shopping.html
7. Student loans: http://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/understand/plans/income-based (something to consider)

Here's what I'm thinking (annually):
Wife at home income: $5,000 (gross)
You part time job: $5,000 (gross)
Storage unit: $540 savings
Hulu/Netflix: $192 savings
Food: $600 savings
Cell Phones: $1,200 savings (may not be possible depending on contracts)
Electric: $360 savings (20% less than now)

Even with taxes coming out of the side incomes that's still over $10k in money you didn't have/spent elsewhere. Almost covers the principal on your non-student loan debts in just 1 year!

All this stuff sounds hard because it is. Remember, it gets way easier when you don't have the debt payments over your head. Suck it up now. By 30 years old you'll be well on your way to financial freedom.

KingCoin

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Re: Making 38k+ and can't get out of debt. Desperate!
« Reply #19 on: October 25, 2012, 10:58:36 PM »

A big chunk of whats in storage is classic video game consoles and games.

Palm -> Forehead. I was picturing family scrapbooks and sentimental heirloom furniture. Sell all that stuff for $500 on Ebay and pay down the credit card. In 5 years, you'll be able to buy it all back for $300 (in the rather unlikely event that you actually want to buy them back). You will have saved $2700 in storage fees, and potentially hundreds in interest payments on the credit cards. I'm sure they have a ton of sentimental value, but it's time to take some photos of your epic video game hoard as a memento of wasted youth and wave goodbye to Sonic and Mario. This a no-brainer.

N

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Re: Making 38k+ and can't get out of debt. Desperate!
« Reply #20 on: October 25, 2012, 11:41:19 PM »
car insurance- you have checked progressive and geico and have gotten the best price possible?

phones-if you have 3 phones on there, you may be able to downsize your wife and your relatives to prepaid plans that are much less expensive. if they have smartphones that you could sell, that could offset ETFs (are there ETFs for ALL 3 phones?) and get less expensive handset phones for time being. there are a couple of docs in the telephone super thread by ip daley that can help you figure out if its cost effective to change your phone plan.

medical bills-IME, if you send them *something* every month, they dont really get on your case. I have about 7 different medical bills with varying amounts owed. Since they dont accrue any interest, I am focussing more on paying off the debts with interest. I do send all of them something, though, every month. A couple of them only get 20$ each. Eventually, once I get the other bills paid off, more of the pie goes to them and they will get bigger checks until they are all gone. Try sending 20$ and then sending the other 30 to your dept store bill. Id pay the smaller bills first then apply all of it to the bigger bills.

I think you can shave off some in your food budget, (menu plan, reduce waste, eat less meat, get creative)

figure out why the electric is so high and trim that, and see how you can tweak laundry to lower that any amt you can. (I mix my own laundry soap. We also do laundry every two weeks or so, and wash stuff less often (of course, when its actually dirty!) which does save us.

obviously, the storage unit has to be reconsidered, which it sounds like you have done. sell whatever you can. look around your house and see what else you can sell. books. shoes that dont get worn. unused small appliances. clothes. cameras. extra baby stuff that you dont need.

also, with the cc debts- you have to commit to not adding to them. I know its hard. its a big change. and I was there, too. when we had our first baby 9 years ago, I stopped working, and we lived on my husbands income, which was perhaps 34K gross at the time. I really just put my head in the sand and spent away on cc's...thinking it would all work out some day...well it doesnt. I wish I had heard MMM message way back then!

But, taking stock and asking for advice is good. especially from people who are walking the walk and have the same goals. You can do it! Good luck!

n

RadicalPersonalFinance

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Re: Making 38k+ and can't get out of debt. Desperate!
« Reply #21 on: October 26, 2012, 08:26:13 AM »
In addition to all the great comments above about expenses, you have an income problem.

Make more money.  Somehow.

Work on being better at your job and increasing your skills to make more money. Work on finding a newer, better job that pays you more money.  Or, work another job (business) on the side for more hours and make more money.

Remember. YOU'RE IN A DEBT EMERGENCY!!! YOU SHOULD BE FREAKING OUT THAT YOU OWE PEOPLE MONEY AND WORKING 80 HOURS A WEEK TO GET RID OF IT!!!  YOU CAN AFFORD TO TAKE IT EASY WHEN YOU'VE PAID OFF ALL YOUR DEBTS. YOU HAVE DUG YOURSELF INTO A DEBT HOLE AND YOU WILL DROWN UNLESS YOU DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!!!


There's a saying: "Desperate times call for desperate measures"

Income
1. Can your wife watch another kid while she's at home to make some cash? Any other at home income ideas?

Consider starting a home daycare operation. There are nice benefits for doing so in the tax code: the portion of your home expenses allocable to the daycare operation are deductible expenses.  This can help on both the "make more money" side and also on the "keep more money" side.

CB

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Re: Making 38k+ and can't get out of debt. Desperate!
« Reply #22 on: October 26, 2012, 08:29:32 AM »
...WORKING 80 HOURS A WEEK ...

According to the paystub it's 80 hours every two weeks, not every week.

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Re: Making 38k+ and can't get out of debt. Desperate!
« Reply #23 on: October 26, 2012, 08:42:02 AM »
1. Can your wife watch another kid while she's at home to make some cash? Any other at home income ideas

I've looked into this myself in Pennsylvania, and it's not too hard to get up and running:

http://www.dpw.state.pa.us/provider/earlylearning/childcareregulations/index.htm

Daycare around Philly (I'm not sure where in PA you are, but based on your income taxes, I'm guessing it's not Philly) bottoms out around $40 a day.

Do you have a spare room?  Maybe try renting it out on www.Airbnb.com

Captain and Mrs Slow

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Re: Making 38k+ and can't get out of debt. Desperate!
« Reply #24 on: October 26, 2012, 08:45:24 AM »
OK for those wondering I completely edited my post!

Quote
Hulu and netflix? Drop one.

Drop both, Bit Torrent (Pirates Bay) and an over the air HD antenna both completely free!

Unfortunately there are no big wins only a series of small steps but they can over time really add up. What need to do is to look at each category and see if there small ways of cutting costs that won't affect your lifestyle that much. At first it won't seem like much but over time provide really add up. Much like doubling up on a mortgage payment, doesn't seem like much at first but over time it can really make a huge difference.

Secondly what you want is a clear financial or debt free plan (Dave Ramsey is good at that)  and make sure your savings are gong to good use. The problem is that human nature means to tend to fight fires while the long term plan languishes. This you want to avoid.

People have given some great ideas here, better cell phone plan, getting rid of the storage locker but two things I want to add.

1. Emergency fund before anything. life has a way of pulling the rug out from underneath you, broken tooth while on holidays, 2000 Euro dentist bill before you know it (big time ouch) car repairs any number of things, draining the savings sucks, but putting it on credit even worse

2. Where and how can you cut your utilities (yes this has been touched on). What surprises me is how some of the most frugal people I know put very little effort into reducing this costs. MMM has an OK post on electricity (not enough details) he talks how he cut his hydro usage by 75% with minimal hassle but for starters how many computers, TVs cell phone chargers etc are left plugged in draining hydro. Yes it's a total pain in the ass to unplug them all the time, especially when you walk out with a dead battery cause you forgot to plug it back in.

Under this check out your fridge, my niece (single in a one bedroom apartment) has a hydro bill almost as big as her parents 3000 sqft house due to an old fridge. 

3. Where and how you spend money. this was a big personal surprise to me, been trying for years to get some of costs down, but it wasn't till I took a summer off of work (first time) and stayed home for most of it, my wife works from home and most of our friends were gone so I did something I haven't done before, hardly went out.

A big surprise was how much and where my spending dropped, not just on gas (petrol) due to much less driving, but also shopping and general spending, because since I'm out and about all day (freelance English teacher or was quit due to move) I have many opportunities to spend, from eating out cause I'm too lazy to make lunch to stopping in at the store 3 times picking up things we need. Now going shopping is a pain and I put if off for as long as possible, no more popping in to get a liter of milk and walking out with 10 Euros of stuff.

This was a big surprise to me.

What I would do is pick one or two projects and work on that, my current one is getting my utilities. .  down by a third.

good luck



« Last Edit: October 26, 2012, 09:47:09 AM by Captain and Mrs Slow »

unitsinc

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Re: Making 38k+ and can't get out of debt. Desperate!
« Reply #25 on: October 26, 2012, 08:48:29 AM »

A big chunk of whats in storage is classic video game consoles and games.

Palm -> Forehead. I was picturing family scrapbooks and sentimental heirloom furniture. Sell all that stuff for $500 on Ebay and pay down the credit card. In 5 years, you'll be able to buy it all back for $300 (in the rather unlikely event that you actually want to buy them back). You will have saved $2700 in storage fees, and potentially hundreds in interest payments on the credit cards. I'm sure they have a ton of sentimental value, but it's time to take some photos of your epic video game hoard as a memento of wasted youth and wave goodbye to Sonic and Mario. This a no-brainer.

As someone who has very similar impulses in regards to classic video game stuff, they actually tend to appreciate in price rather than depreciate. So if he really wants this stuff eventually, he'd be better off keeping what he has now instead of reacquiring later.

Though I'm definitely on board with getting rid of the storage unit.

And my youth was far from wasted. :P

Mactrader

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Re: Making 38k+ and can't get out of debt. Desperate!
« Reply #26 on: October 26, 2012, 08:53:52 AM »

A big chunk of whats in storage is classic video game consoles and games.

Palm -> Forehead. I was picturing family scrapbooks and sentimental heirloom furniture. Sell all that stuff for $500 on Ebay and pay down the credit card. In 5 years, you'll be able to buy it all back for $300 (in the rather unlikely event that you actually want to buy them back). You will have saved $2700 in storage fees, and potentially hundreds in interest payments on the credit cards. I'm sure they have a ton of sentimental value, but it's time to take some photos of your epic video game hoard as a memento of wasted youth and wave goodbye to Sonic and Mario. This a no-brainer.

As someone who has very similar impulses in regards to classic video game stuff, they actually tend to appreciate in price rather than depreciate. So if he really wants this stuff eventually, he'd be better off keeping what he has now instead of reacquiring later.

Though I'm definitely on board with getting rid of the storage unit.

And my youth was far from wasted. :P

How much stuff (in sqft) does this guy have? Grab a few rubbermaid containers, drop the stuff in it, and let them sit along the wall in the family room or something. Make better use of the space in your current living arrangement. That's definitely worth $45/mo. If you have so much that it can't fit, you're better off selling that and due to the sheer amount available, you should be solving much of your problem.

It may be a tough pill to swallow, but your youth is gone, as fun as it is to take a trip to nostalgia, it's never coming back. Look forward to your family and future financial freedom!

Paul der Krake

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Re: Making 38k+ and can't get out of debt. Desperate!
« Reply #27 on: October 26, 2012, 08:54:49 AM »
Oh come on, how much video games could he possibly have? Shove 'em under the bed/couch/sink, wherever you find space. If you have so much stuff in your house that you cannot find room for an additional 2-3 cubic meters of stuff, you're already hoarding.

unitsinc

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Re: Making 38k+ and can't get out of debt. Desperate!
« Reply #28 on: October 26, 2012, 08:57:54 AM »

A big chunk of whats in storage is classic video game consoles and games.

Palm -> Forehead. I was picturing family scrapbooks and sentimental heirloom furniture. Sell all that stuff for $500 on Ebay and pay down the credit card. In 5 years, you'll be able to buy it all back for $300 (in the rather unlikely event that you actually want to buy them back). You will have saved $2700 in storage fees, and potentially hundreds in interest payments on the credit cards. I'm sure they have a ton of sentimental value, but it's time to take some photos of your epic video game hoard as a memento of wasted youth and wave goodbye to Sonic and Mario. This a no-brainer.

As someone who has very similar impulses in regards to classic video game stuff, they actually tend to appreciate in price rather than depreciate. So if he really wants this stuff eventually, he'd be better off keeping what he has now instead of reacquiring later.

Though I'm definitely on board with getting rid of the storage unit.

And my youth was far from wasted. :P

How much stuff (in sqft) does this guy have? Grab a few rubbermaid containers, drop the stuff in it, and let them sit along the wall in the family room or something. Make better use of the space in your current living arrangement. That's definitely worth $45/mo. If you have so much that it can't fit, you're better off selling that and due to the sheer amount available, you should be solving much of your problem.

It may be a tough pill to swallow, but your youth is gone, as fun as it is to take a trip to nostalgia, it's never coming back. Look forward to your family and future financial freedom!


Haha, I definitely agree with you. Unless he has an ungodly large collection, a few plastic bins will take care of it all.

Mactrader

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Re: Making 38k+ and can't get out of debt. Desperate!
« Reply #29 on: October 26, 2012, 09:03:17 AM »
On a side note, as much affection as I have more video gaming youth (which was RICH), every time I pick up one up I'm SORELY disappointed with the experience and realize that the nostalgia in my head is much better than in reality. It existed in that time period, and that's it. Thinking of throwing my stuff on Craigslist now. Just a few consoles and games, but not worth keeping, especially in the world of Roms.

unitsinc

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Re: Making 38k+ and can't get out of debt. Desperate!
« Reply #30 on: October 26, 2012, 09:15:18 AM »
On a side note, as much affection as I have more video gaming youth (which was RICH), every time I pick up one up I'm SORELY disappointed with the experience and realize that the nostalgia in my head is much better than in reality. It existed in that time period, and that's it. Thinking of throwing my stuff on Craigslist now. Just a few consoles and games, but not worth keeping, especially in the world of Roms.

I have suppressed all urges to recollect my old consoles/games, but I still love browsing through vintage shops. I actually still play video games quite a lot. I'm really cheap about it. I emulate stuff from PS1 and back. There are tons of great games for the PS2 that I never played and I can easily find cheap copies(10-15 dollars) that I play and then resell for near 100% of their value. For whatever reason RPGs tend to hold their value exceptionally well, and those are usually my game of choice.

It is exceptionally rare that I will buy a game new. It has to be incredibly anticipated and promising a lot of hours of entertainment(Diablo 3, waited a decade for that game.) My yearly budget for games is in the area of 150 dollars or so.


Sorry to have hijacked the thread. My apologies to the creator.

KingCoin

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Re: Making 38k+ and can't get out of debt. Desperate!
« Reply #31 on: October 26, 2012, 09:52:39 AM »
unitsinc:

If you're still playing them, then yes, $10 for a used video game that can provide tens of hours of entertainment is probably a good, if not productive, form of frugal entertainment.

Is this stuff appreciating in value? If by appreciating in value you mean bottomed near 0, then yes. A quick search on ebay shows me that you can pick up big lots of this stuff for less than $1 game (RPG's notwithstanding). I think I recall games retailing for $50 a pop.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/SEGA-GENESIS-CONSOLE-MODEL-2-WITH-GAMES-CONTROLLER-LOT-40-GAMES-WITH-CORDS-/261116420655?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3ccbc0622f
The last thing you want to do is hang on to tons of clutter with the vague justification that it's some sort of "investment".

It's funny how something like this can be such a trip down memory lane:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lNk4-Up1aws
Though, I wish I had dedicated half the time I spent on learning things like fatality codes in Mortal Combat to learning piano or something more rewarding. Ah well.

Ok. No more about video games from me.

unitsinc

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Re: Making 38k+ and can't get out of debt. Desperate!
« Reply #32 on: October 26, 2012, 10:00:15 AM »
unitsinc:

If you're still playing them, then yes, $10 for a used video game that can provide tens of hours of entertainment is probably a good, if not productive, form of frugal entertainment.

Is this stuff appreciating in value? If by appreciating in value you mean bottomed near 0, then yes. A quick search on ebay shows me that you can pick up big lots of this stuff for less than $1 game (RPG's notwithstanding). I think I recall games retailing for $50 a pop.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/SEGA-GENESIS-CONSOLE-MODEL-2-WITH-GAMES-CONTROLLER-LOT-40-GAMES-WITH-CORDS-/261116420655?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3ccbc0622f
The last thing you want to do is hang on to tons of clutter with the vague justification that it's some sort of "investment".

It's funny how something like this can be such a trip down memory lane:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lNk4-Up1aws
Though, I wish I had dedicated half the time I spent on learning things like fatality codes in Mortal Combat to learning piano or something more rewarding. Ah well.

Ok. No more about video games from me.

Haha, I definitely should have been much more clear. Most games don't appreciate in value. I almost exclusively play RPGs, those are the ones that tend to hold or appreciate their value. But I am definitely not deluding myself into thinking that the ones I've still got are any sort of investment.

http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=dragon+warrior+4&_sacat=139973&_odkw=dragon+warrior&_osacat=139973&_from=R40

http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=earthbound&_sacat=139973&_odkw=suikoden+2&_osacat=0&_from=R40

http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=suikoden+2&_sacat=0&_odkw=suikoden&_osacat=0&_from=R40



Your last comment intrigues me though. I've heard people lament wasting time on various things, and I can agree that to a point, time can be "wasted" but entertainment and memories can go a long way towards the value of time spent.

You mention the piano, that seems like it has little or no actual value as a skill. Perhaps if you performed you could make a living, but I would argue even if you use it as some sort of creative outlet, it is just as much of a time waster as video games or reading, just a different form.

That could almost be made into a separate topic. Hmm...

cbr shadow

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Re: Making 38k+ and can't get out of debt. Desperate!
« Reply #33 on: October 26, 2012, 11:13:52 AM »
This thread has been highjacked by pale basement dwellers.  Also game systems do not appreciate like you're implying above - definitely not comparable to what he's paying in interest on CC's!


unitsinc

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Re: Making 38k+ and can't get out of debt. Desperate!
« Reply #34 on: October 26, 2012, 11:16:27 AM »
This thread has been highjacked by pale basement dwellers.  Also game systems do not appreciate like you're implying above - definitely not comparable to what he's paying in interest on CC's!

I'm most definitely pale, but basements rent for cheap. :P

grantmeaname

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Re: Making 38k+ and can't get out of debt. Desperate!
« Reply #35 on: October 26, 2012, 12:14:44 PM »

unitsinc

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Re: Making 38k+ and can't get out of debt. Desperate!
« Reply #36 on: October 26, 2012, 12:18:25 PM »


*insert snarky comment about your age here* ;P

grantmeaname

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Re: Making 38k+ and can't get out of debt. Desperate!
« Reply #37 on: October 26, 2012, 12:23:22 PM »
Zing. You got me. :)

NestEggChick (formerly PFgal)

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Re: Making 38k+ and can't get out of debt. Desperate!
« Reply #38 on: October 27, 2012, 07:37:42 PM »
Congratulations on taking the first steps to get rid of your debt! 

I would suggest that you sell off the items in your storage unit, then use that cash to seed an emergency fund.  It's important that you have some savings so that if something comes up (like a dental emergency) then you won't be using your credit card to go further into debt.

Also, before you get dental insurance, check all the terms.  Most dental insurances do not cover as much as you would expect.  It may not cover the full cost for those cavities and there could be limits.  Also, do you have access to an FSA through work?  If so, put money in there so that you can use it, tax-free, to pay for the dental costs.

I would argue that you should not be paying for data on your cell for work, but others have made that point.  However, I see no reason at all for your wife and BIL to have data plans on their phones.  Get that off immediately.

Remember that you're not saving huge amounts, right now, but you're also not spending more than you earn, and that's huge!  With some changes to your current setup, you could really see things improve soon.  Good luck!

TomTX

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Re: Making 38k+ and can't get out of debt. Desperate!
« Reply #39 on: October 27, 2012, 09:01:00 PM »
If you're not playing the games often enough that you can leave them in a STORAGE UNIT, you don't need all the games. You are spending nearly $600/year on storing those games/consoles/stuff.

You may be better off with a dental discount plan, than an actual dental insurance plan. Check out Dentalplans.com

Done by Forty

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Re: Making 38k+ and can't get out of debt. Desperate!
« Reply #40 on: October 28, 2012, 06:16:06 PM »
Rather than a specific prescription, I'd suggest sitting down with your significant other and coming up with a high level goal for the next month's budget:  e.g. - reducing your expenses by $200.  However you get there doesn't necessarily matter, as long as you can replicate it going forward.

I guess what I'm saying it that your bottom line won't care if you're cutting the cell phones or storage unit or anything else, so long as it happens and you can do it in a sustainable way.  Want to keep the storage unit?  No big deal -- but find the money elsewhere.

Tradies wife

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Re: Making 38k+ and can't get out of debt. Desperate!
« Reply #41 on: October 28, 2012, 07:12:37 PM »
Ok My 2 cents, the parts in bold have been quoted;

Not sure what all I can include to give you guys the best picture of my finances but here goes. I am 27, married, with a 2 year old.

Monthly bills
Rent 715 fair enough
Storage unit 45, Nah, you don't need it. Sell up the stuff. The "stuff" is costing you cash.
Car insurance 70 Fair enough, but look at different insurers.
Cell plan 160 Insane. Way Way too high. Look at having one phone, or NONE. Yes, people survived quite fine without mobiles. $50 should be enough.
Life insurance 10 Seems fairly cheap.
Electric 150 Ouch, high. Try to use less energy. Hey, without that extra mobile to charge, you probably will be able to get this one down easily. At least to $120.
Internet 30 That is ok I guess, but realize that Internet is a luxury.
Hulu 8 Nope, drop it!
Netflix 8 No, drop it. I mean you are paying more for TV than your life insurance, priorities?
Total ~1370 New total $995.

Revolving Totals and monthly minimums:
Student loan 1 - 1240 - 50/mo Not educated enough to comment, so I won't. (Non US)
student loan 2 - 10823 - 115/mo Not educated enough to comment, so I won't. (Non US)
Medical payment plan - 5700 - 50/mo Not educated enough to comment, so I won't. (Non US)
dept store - 150 - 25/mo Seriously, what is this all about? I'm clueless on why you would need this.
credit card 1 - 1200 - 25 Ok, CC? Pay it off chop it up.
credit card 2 - 600 - 15 Pay it off, chop it up.
car loan + personal loan - ~2000 - 150 Really? Does this mean you have 3 CC's and a Car loan & a personal loan? Have you ever just saved up for something and waited, compromising on 'perfect' and getting what is affordable? It's actually really, really cool and great to get into. If you haven't lived like this before, you might find that it actually is quite nice.
Total ~21000 - 430/mo Boy, you got yourself into quite a bit of debt. I wonder if some of that "stuff" you are stashing away may be able to pay some of it off for you.

monthly budgets:
Groceries 400 If this was in Australia, that total would be awesome. I don't personally think it is too much, eat well, live long.
Medicine 10 Yep, children's panadol and the like can easily add up to $10 a month.
gas 60 Fuel for car. Fair enough, that is quite low in my eyes.
laundry 20 Unsure what this is for, because groceries should cover washing powder.
total 490

net income after pre-tax deductions and taxes:
me 2052
wife 358 (stay at home mom mostly)
total 2410

This leaves us with about 130 of buffer money. No savings or anything. We usually eat up that buffer money in consumables like diaper wipes and every day stuff that isn't budgeted. Every time I hear from a friend or read that anyone making 50k/yr should have no issues, I feel ashamed. According to payscale, I am in the 80th percentile in terms of salary for my education and experience. We are at a loss. Any advice at all would be great. Thanks :)


Ok, firstly buy some kitchen cloth wipes that are on a roll, and wash them with the nappies. No cloth nappies? Why not start. I'm guessing there are quite a few holes in your budget too. Do you have to pay for water? Do you pay for registration? Clothing? Haircuts? Presents? These may be causing a cost blow out and making it difficult to get on top of that debt mountain and make it FLAT as a tack. I'd suggest keeping a register of everything you spend your money on for a month or two.

Maybe those games and consoles will go up in value. I doubt it very, very much, kind of like a Video player now being worth a pretty penny. The technology is dated, old and is like running Windows 95 on a computer. I loved Windows 95, but I'm not running it because of nostalgia. Actually I'm not running it at all, I still have a disk somewhere I should fling, I doubt it has monetary value. Anyway, I digress. If they are presently worth anything, sell them. They will make you more money this way than any other. Because, you will be saving a huge amount over the terms of your debt in interest alone for every $100 you can pay today.

So there are my two cents for what they are worth. But personally, if I were in that much debt it would be NO mobile phones, no TV, no extra expenses at all that weren't essential to life, yes, that means no internet connection, no nights out, no eating out, ect, ect. Talk to your spouse about minimizing your expenses to a level that you are both comfortable about. That also means talking about the level of debt you are comfortable with too.... for me & my hubby that number is 0.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2012, 07:17:38 PM by Tradies wife »

billc

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Re: Making 38k+ and can't get out of debt. Desperate!
« Reply #42 on: October 28, 2012, 09:47:09 PM »
I bought and sold game consoles in college and made good money, but here's the deal:

1. These things are costing you 500+/year in storage
2. The value of old game consoles is almost entirely for nostalgia purposes. Unless you have something really rare (you don't) then you've probably already missed high point in the market. Anything N64/PS1 and newer is not worth much. NES and SNES prices have been declining for 5 years. The time to sell is now. Dreamcast, Sega CD, even Sega Genesis have little value / are hard to sell.

The people who would have nostalgia for NES and SNES are in their later 20's now. The longer you wait the less likely these people are to buy video games.

It's time to move on from these things.

Captain and Mrs Slow

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Re: Making 38k+ and can't get out of debt. Desperate!
« Reply #43 on: November 05, 2012, 01:40:26 PM »
Any updates from the OP?

Just wondering how's it going! Suppose it's only been a few days

Rob

mindaugas

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Re: Making 38k+ and can't get out of debt. Desperate!
« Reply #44 on: November 06, 2012, 07:58:50 AM »
I sent the OP a PM regarding Ting. Otherwise this thread is stock full of good advice.

dragnmastr85

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Re: Making 38k+ and can't get out of debt. Desperate!
« Reply #45 on: January 22, 2014, 01:57:24 PM »
Hey guys, I know it's been a long long time and I kind of lost interest in the thread when it derailed. We took most of the advice to heart and I will post our current finances tonight to give you all an update. The advice given was fantastic and we have definitely made progress. I'll be back tonight with some figures.

grantmeaname

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Re: Making 38k+ and can't get out of debt. Desperate!
« Reply #46 on: January 22, 2014, 02:30:22 PM »
Great, glad you're back!

AccidentalMiser

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Re: Making 38k+ and can't get out of debt. Desperate!
« Reply #47 on: January 22, 2014, 06:57:06 PM »
IT'S ALIVE!!

Welcome back!  I can't wait to see how you've grown!