Author Topic: Newbie-trying to get my self healthy financially and mentally (please be gentle)  (Read 39410 times)

horsepoor

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Sorry for the loss of your father.  I don't have much to add on helping your mom, but agree that you should, whether that is monetary or in other ways (helping with medical appointments, managing bills etc.).  She is lucky to have you looking out for her.

Just read through this thread from the beginning and you've made awesome progress.  Keep it up!

There are several threads on this forum about cooking cheaply and eating healthfully while on the road.  How you do it will probably depend on whether you're flying or driving, and if you have access to a grocery store where you're staying.  Obviously driving is the best scenario since you can pack a cooler full of stuff from home and even a crock pot and utensils.  Flying it gets a little trickier but can still be done.  Even if you can't cook in your hotel room, just hacking your diet to minimize eating out will mean you can save most of your per diem which is pretty cool since it's untaxed.  $41x20 days a month - an extra $820/month on top of essentially doubling your salary.  Pretty awesome!

Glad you didn't go for a $600 suitcase.  I travel a fair bit and use the same Olympic brand roller for ~15 years now that I bought at Ross for like $40 and it has plenty of life left in it.   

mozar

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For your mom it sounds like all her expenses are covered by ss and disability? I would figure out how much you can give her a month and tell her she will get no less and no more. You can adjust if she becomes more disabled. So figure out how much you tend to spend on her a year and divide by 12. That way it will become a regular expense that you can plan for.

10dollarsatatime

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The salary is 61k yr not 75k yr like i originally thought. There is some bonus pay though for overtime. From what I have heard you will basically make an addtl 25k a yr unless something crazy happens. So i might be making 86k per year!!!!! Plus i get per diem!!! I get 41 bucks a day per diem. Need to figure out some good ways to cook in my hotel with only a fridge lol


I went on tour with a small rice cooker in my carry-on.  Rice, lentils, and dehydrated mixed vegetables (or not dehydrated, since you have a fridge) with a mix of spices; curry, taco, veggie boullion... whatever sounds good to you... Just don't transport the spices in ziploc baggies.  Keep them in spice jars or your entire carry-on will end up smelling like indian food... ask me how I know. :)  You could also pick up cans of chicken or those bags of precooked crumbled beef to up your protein.  They can be used to heat up canned soups and such things.  Also, steel cut oats with dried fruit work well.  Experiment at home before you head out so you know what you like and what you can do.

Axecleaver

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Shop around for hotels that will let you store a travel bag of your "leave-behinds." Most will check a bag for you until next Monday, or sometimes even let you keep a room or give you a discount monthly rate. You can also leave stuff at the client site with a little planning. Also look for places that serve free breakfast or "manager hour" happy hour snacks, some folks eat all their meals for free there and pocket the per diem.

It's tough to have family with needs like that. At some point, she needs to take responsibility for herself. Anxiety and depression are real problems, but so is learned helplessness. Your job really isn't to take care of all of her problems, it's to help her transition into solving her own problems. She probably needs your emotional support far more than your monetary support. Teach her how to budget and track her expenses, show her how you're doing it. If her lifestyle in unsustainable, then help her come to terms with that and figure out a new lifestyle and budget.

Social services can help with a lot of this, but if she can't handle picking up the phone and getting help for herself (and many people can't) then you'll need to be her advocate. Getting her into a mental health program for her anxiety may be a good place to start. Good luck!

Dezrah

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Kevin,

I just read through your thread from beginning to end (at least all of your posts) and I have to say I've been really blown away by the progress. Even the set backs you've encountered show you're not giving up.

I don't mean to make light of your situation, but if it helps, think about how much harder it would be for you and your mother if you hadn't made the progress you have. I'm not saying it's going to be easy but you deserve to feel some peace that this too can be handled.

I'm also a Structural Engineer who earns more than her SO, so your relationship hits especially close to home. Your description of how you challenge and support each other is really lovely. Whatever happens in the long run it sounds like you have each changed for the better.

Kevin S.

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Welp update time!

Job making more money and traveling all the time...didn't work out.

I officially resigned 3 weeks ago !

I really like being home every night with my soon to be wife. Bought her a ring but have not officially asked her yet! I like having a life that involves my friends and family. Sitting on a hotel room for 8-9 days straight got really old...really quick! Oh and the travel. Not for me. If was a mid 20 something guy with no tie downs then it might have worked. My situation with my mom basically requires me to be here. I'm ok with that!

Oh well I was able to get my job back and keep my senority. The pay cut is a bit tough but since I've adjusted my way of life and how much I spend on a daily basis I think I can manage it.

Still knocking down debt and should be debt free (hopefully) by the end of the year.

Hopefully in the next 5 yrs I will still be here at this job making a bit more money.

Hope all is well in mustachian land...

Stoked for my future !



Kevin S.

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Quick update. Me and the lady are looking at buying a home possibly as soon as the end of 2018. Trying to decide how much down, how much house we can afford. I make 45k yr and will have no debt at come the end of this year. My SO makes right over 90k yr. She has a good amount of debt - although she is kicking butt and taking names. It's down from 50k this time last year to right around 35k currently !

We are really doing well. Saving money is actually easy when you just think about it. I have learned so much and I can not thank everyone here enough for all the help ! I don't make impulse buys anymore and personally for me, the hardest part  - not looking at craiglist for project cars / car parts lol

My mom is doing better but still a major financial burden for me and my future wife. 

My mother put her mobile home officially into my name last week. She is on multiple lists for senior subsidized housing. Once she is called and allowed to move into one of those. I will be selling her property. Appraisal value is 15k.

My question is what to do with this 15k(when the property does sell)?

My mother will need some kind of nest egg. I was thinking take 5k off and put that in to a separate savings account for her immediate needs / emergency funds, etc.

Then take the 10k and invest that in mutual fund account ? My mother wants me take some of the money for myself but I don't know if I like that idea. She has zero savings and I have a little but i'm also working and making money and have my shit (relatively lol) together haha

Thanks all !

Cassie

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Mobiles are hard to sell. My MIL's was in a park and they had to approve the new owner. Lot rent goes up every year. Finally to get rid of it we sold it way below value to someone for 100/month/no interest and paid off in 4 years. That gave a poor person a chance to own something but got us from under the lot payment.  I would save the $ for your from the sale Mom when she needs it in the future. 

Axecleaver

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I like the idea of a dedicated "emergency Mom fund." Hopefully the waiting lists for subsidized housing are not too long, and this will help her get to a more stabilized living situation. Most of the homes have related services too, like busing to the grocery store and social services caseworkers.

Be careful with the taxes around the sale - she will need to file a gift tax return for a gift over 14k to you, and I believe the 14k sale will be taxable to you when it happens. A rent-to-own deal like Cassie recommended might be a better outcome for you. You might want to ask on the Taxes or real estate board for advice.

ooeei

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Quick update. Me and the lady are looking at buying a home possibly as soon as the end of 2018. Trying to decide how much down, how much house we can afford. I make 45k yr and will have no debt at come the end of this year. My SO makes right over 90k yr. She has a good amount of debt - although she is kicking butt and taking names. It's down from 50k this time last year to right around 35k currently !

We are really doing well. Saving money is actually easy when you just think about it. I have learned so much and I can not thank everyone here enough for all the help ! I don't make impulse buys anymore and personally for me, the hardest part  - not looking at craiglist for project cars / car parts lol

My mom is doing better but still a major financial burden for me and my future wife. 

My mother put her mobile home officially into my name last week. She is on multiple lists for senior subsidized housing. Once she is called and allowed to move into one of those. I will be selling her property. Appraisal value is 15k.

My question is what to do with this 15k(when the property does sell)?

My mother will need some kind of nest egg. I was thinking take 5k off and put that in to a separate savings account for her immediate needs / emergency funds, etc.

Then take the 10k and invest that in mutual fund account ? My mother wants me take some of the money for myself but I don't know if I like that idea. She has zero savings and I have a little but i'm also working and making money and have my shit (relatively lol) together haha

Thanks all !

With regard to buying a house, I'd be hesitant to recommend it when you both still have other debt.  A great resource is this calculator: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/upshot/buy-rent-calculator.html?_r=2

That being said, I just skimmed the thread and am very impressed with the changes you've made.  Keep it up!

Kevin S.

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I like the idea of a dedicated "emergency Mom fund." Hopefully the waiting lists for subsidized housing are not too long, and this will help her get to a more stabilized living situation. Most of the homes have related services too, like busing to the grocery store and social services caseworkers.

Be careful with the taxes around the sale - she will need to file a gift tax return for a gift over 14k to you, and I believe the 14k sale will be taxable to you when it happens. A rent-to-own deal like Cassie recommended might be a better outcome for you. You might want to ask on the Taxes or real estate board for advice.

Thanks "Axecleaver"

Weird they didn't mention any of the gift tax return filing when I went with her and had the title signed over into my name. I did have to pay the small fee 35 bucks to get the title in my name. I do have to pay property tax on it every year (i'm already doing this anyway).

Maybe I setup a rent to own process. Not sure if I like that idea though. How can I protect myself from a potentially harmful / irresponsible buyer ?

Gonna have to do some more research on this for sure !

Kevin S.

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Just updating my thread. Went back and read the first page...wow what a difference a year and a half (roughly) can make !

My debt is as follows

$ 2600 cc debt at 0 % interest until July of 2017

$ 4500 cc debt at 0 % interest until December of 2016

Other than that ! I owe nothing ! No personal loan, car payments, etc

I'm currently saving about 50 % of my income. Could possibly bump that up to 60-65 % a month if I really get busy with my frugality !

I'm saving up for either a down payment on a house or putting it away into a nice index fund with very low fee's.

My 401k - currently matching. I max it out for the first 6 months of the year and now I'm matching for the remaining 6 months.

My girlfriend - soon to be fiancÚ - once I sack up the courage to ask her is also doing well and paying down her debt. Although it's still a large amount she is down from over 35k to right under 20k in total debt !

Her 89 corolla all trac is rocking, starting to blow a little smoke on start up but doing well otherwise.

My 07 ranger is a tank! I expect to keep this thing until I die ! lol seriously !

I keep fighting with my spare money and wanting to part with it on car hobbies. The new mustang 5.0 is a great car ! The car payment would be not so great lol.
There is also my hairbrain idea of buying a Toyota mr2 for a fun car and throwing a bunch of money at it. Or maybe another Miata.
Hey look...squirrel !

The struggle is real my friends !


My mom...she is doing a lot better! I was fortunate to sell her mobile home to a nice fellow here. She made money on it and was happy with the deal. The best thing out of all of this is that now she can pay all her bills on her own. I'm currently managing the money for her but it's more of just a very relaxed overlook of her money. If she wants something we go over the details and she will generally decide it's not worth spending the money on or if it's something she really wants we go and find a great deal !

We were able to get her into a low income senior housing area. She loves the place. All is well !

At any rate I just thought I'd share and also I would like to extend my gratitude to you guys/gals for all your help.

Just read jlcollins book "the simple path to wealth" ! Great read and I highly recommend it !

I'm hoping to hit the zero debts goal sometime before summer of next year !

Life is good. My job still sucks and it makes me want to punch a baby and light my boss's desk on fire but eh. My soon to have FU money is going to make this place a lot easier to deal with ! haha

Stashing Swiss-style

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Great to hear from you Kevin!  It sounds like you have make some really strong progress and you can be very proud of yourself (and your girlfriend).  December 2016 is next month - do you have a plan to repay the $4500 cc debt?  If not, what rate of interest will apply. 

Stay strong - STAY AWAY FROM ANY CAR STUFF :-)  Seriously, wait until you are debt-free and your emergency fund is in place before you even so much as look at another car!!

You have done a great service to your mum - well done.

Kevin S.

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whoops ! meant dec 2017 haha

Typed all that out in a rush apparently...


Thanks for kind words "Stashing Swiss-style"

It's so hard to stay away from my car hobby. It's basically a huge chunk of my life but I'm trying my best. Trying to fill that hobby / passion with other stuff. Looking at getting a bicycle soon to go riding with my lady. possibly getting an older dog and just trying to enjoy the day in / day out.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2016, 01:07:14 PM by Kevin S. »

horsepoor

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Love this update, thanks for posting!

Kevin S.

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Love this update, thanks for posting!


Welcome ! Thanks for the helpful info previously !

Vindicated

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Great work, Kevin!

I've just started my journey, so it's encouraging to see the progress you've made over the past year+. 

Now you know, your story is inspiring others.  Good on you!

-Vin

Kevin S.

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Hey Vin ! Thanks ! Glad I'm able to inspire others ! It was really a major shift in my life. Possibly one of the biggest I have gone through...

I'd say getting divorced and then becoming smart about my money have been huge shifts in my life !

Basically everything in my life has changed from really bad (after the divorce) to really good (after I have realized what's important in life and become mustachian or whatever term you wanna call it with my money / financial well being) !


Kevin S.

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Quick update ! I'm officially (well as soon as it clears my bank) going to be cc debt free ! I owe no one!!!!! So stoked !

I had a nice break and was able to sell off some of my car parts that I really did not want to part with but the money was nice to have !

No more vw bug project...sad day. Oh well, when the time is right me and the fiancÚ will be ready !

I proposed to the better half about a week ago. She said yes ! We are on the fence about having a wedding or just getting eloped and saving our money.

We have been looking at houses but we have both decided to keep saving and rent. It's just not cost effective / make sense for our life(s) to buy right now. Maybe one day...

She is working on her debt but still it's a much bigger mountain to climb. I plan to help her every step of the way that I possibly can !

Just thought I'd share. It's a really great feeling to not owe any credit card companies. I don't think I have been here since possibly 99 when I got my first credit card.

meandmyfamily

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Awesome!!!

Retire-Canada

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Quick update ! I'm officially (well as soon as it clears my bank) going to be cc debt free ! I owe no one!!!!! So stoked !

Congrats! Nice work. :)

pbkmaine

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If she has debt, elope.

Retire-Canada

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If she has debt, elope.

Even better decide to elope right after the debt is paid off so you start off married life debt free. :)

Stashing Swiss-style

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That is a fantastic result!  You really have turned things around.  Congrats on your engagement. With your support, I'm sure your girlfriend will become debt-free sooner rather than later.  Weddings don't have to be expensive, but they have to be fun!  If there is no rush to get married, then focus on the debt first.  Starting out together in a strong financial position will give you a great foundation.  Good luck.

Trifele

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Congratulations on both paying off your debt and the engagement! I've followed your story and that is fantastic. 

+2 on either eloping or doing a wedding on the cheap.  We did it on the cheap -- justice of the peace in our backyard, barbecue with friends and family, and it was great.  Happy memories. 

All the best to both of you!

wenchsenior

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Awesome!  Congratulations on all progress. No need for a spendy wedding (ours wasn't an elopement, but it was pretty pretty cheap (about 3K total, I think) and it was great. No need to rush the wedding anyway...engagements are a good time to really think about your partnered roles and get psyched for them.

I suggest holding off on buying the house until your fiancee's debt is paid. You'll need to build a down payment anyway, and it's good to have the frugality habit well ingrained or you might be tempted to overbuy.

Also, in a few years when you are solid in your frugal habits, you could then consider setting a budget for your car hobby. But not until then LOL! That's what I did with my main hobby (thankfully not as expensive) after a few years of tracking how I burned cash on it.

Moonwaves

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Congratulations on clearing the CC debt. It's a great feeling. Now just enjoy being engaged for a while before deciding on the wedding (but, yep, as the others say, definitely spend least possible amount of money on that and, if possible, wait until her debt is cleared).

Kevin S.

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Thanks everyone for the replies, nice comments !

It's really a great feeling. Looking at my next paycheck and wondering now what do with all my extra money. I can finally start getting serious about investing !

So my plan so far is the following -  maxing out my 401k first, then open and max a roth then invest the rest in an index fund. I doubt I will have enough extra to do all that but I can at least max my 401k and open a roth.

I think if we do any kind of wedding it will be very frugal. Even if all her debt is taken care of in the next year. The idea of spending over 5k even for a wedding is just sickening to me lol

My last wedding (which I paid for) was roughly 25k. Crazy to think about how much financially and my life in general has changed since then. I would never even dream of spending that much now.

I would like my thread to show that even my financially illiterate self can tackle some big debt , just have to change your life goals and what you want out of it ! Hard at first but so rewarding now! The idea of FI is becoming more of a reality with every passing day ! Super stoked for my future and potentially being able to fulfill my life long goal of being an artist !

NewbieFrugalUK

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You, sir, are an inspiration :)

Kevin S.

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You, sir, are an inspiration :)

Thank you very much "NewbieFrugalUK"

I will say as much hard work as I have done. I couldn't have done it without a lot of help from the members here and of course my wonderful and very supportive fiancÚ!

This is probably one of the most helpful / generally caring forums I have ever been a part of !

Tyson

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Man, you are rockin' it!  I used to be in a lot of debt so I know exactly how awesome this tipping point is.

The thing I now realize, which I wish I would have learned sooner, is that when you are in debt, you are paying other people to use THEIR money.  But when you get out of debt and start investing, other people are paying YOU to use YOUR money.  That's pretty dang cool.

Kevin S.

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Man, you are rockin' it!  I used to be in a lot of debt so I know exactly how awesome this tipping point is.

The thing I now realize, which I wish I would have learned sooner, is that when you are in debt, you are paying other people to use THEIR money.  But when you get out of debt and start investing, other people are paying YOU to use YOUR money.  That's pretty dang cool.

I Wish there was a like button ! lol

That is a great statement ! I hope to really start taking advantage of having people pay me to use my money !

Kevin S.

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So I have a general question. Figured you guys/gals have been very helpful in the past so why not ask again.

My fiancÚ is in debt. She has about 30k of debt. She makes just over 100k yr.

My question is, should I look at helping her get out of debt ?

She has not asked and I doubt she ever would.

After getting myself out of the hole. I feel that it would not be right to let her barely tread water.

We are a partnership. She is an amazing person and someone who I will be spending the rest of my life with !

I have no problem doing this at all. I feel that if I can help her get out of debt quicker than so be it.

I have not asked her...yet

So what is the average mustachians opinion ?

Thanks !

Retire-Canada

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So what is the average mustachians opinion ?

Thanks !

I would let her pay that off herself. She can kill that in about a year. It would be a good goal to shoot for to see that you are on the same page financially.

Kevin S.

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So what is the average mustachians opinion ?

Thanks !

I would let her pay that off herself. She can kill that in about a year. It would be a good goal to shoot for to see that you are on the same page financially.

Why let her struggle though, I mean I will have roughly 50-60 % of my income free - I could be putting that into FI funds but for now why not help her ? Then we can both start down our path to FI together. Helping each other and what not?


pbkmaine

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So what is the average mustachians opinion ?

Thanks !

I would let her pay that off herself. She can kill that in about a year. It would be a good goal to shoot for to see that you are on the same page financially.

Why let her struggle though, I mean I will have roughly 50-60 % of my income free - I could be putting that into FI funds but for now why not help her ? Then we can both start down our path to FI together. Helping each other and what not?

Paying it off herself would show her commitment to you and to a frugal life.

englishteacheralex

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Hi Kevin,

I've been enjoying this thread for a while. You're so upbeat and positive! Here's my perspective on your question about your fiance's debt.

My husband brought 45k of student loan debt and 10k of a car loan into our marriage, which was our only debt. When we met, he also had around 5k of credit card debt. Now, I've been very frugal my whole life and debt is Not An Option for me. So my then-boyfriend's debt worried me a bit.

What made me ok with it is that I could see he was changing his orientation towards debt very rapidly, and he was also fascinated with my own methods for tracking spending, saving, and investing. Unbenownst to me, he downloaded his own Mint account, paid off his credit card debt within six months of meeting me, and then saved up enough to buy me an engagement ring for $1,500.

When we got married right after our honeymoon we went to the bank together and I wrote a check to pay off his car loan, which pretty much drained the emergency fund I had saved over the course of my twenties. He then sold the car (put it back into the emergency fund) and we were a one car couple for four months while we saved to buy a beater.

The student loan is on a forgiveness plan because my husband is a government social worker. We pay on an income-based schedule and the rest of the debt will be cancelled in 2020. We could pay it off entirely right now but we've done the math and we come out about 10k ahead if we do it this way.

Long story short, once you're married, the debt is "our" debt, not "her" debt. Before that, in my opinion, it's best to keep things separate because the legal relationship is different.

As long as she's showing signs of being committed to being sensible with money, I wouldn't worry about it too much. My husband has become more frugal than I have ever been, and is now amazing at wealth-building stuff. He DIY's all repairs on youtube, researches asset allocation, does all our mortgage stuff, and now manages our joint Mint account along with me during our monthly budget date. He brags about how my financial skills turned him around to anyone who will listen, which always makes me feel good about myself. In our three years of marriage, our net worth has gone from about 30k to about 150k (we make a pretty good combined income). Marrying him was the best financial move I've ever made, despite his debt.

Retire-Canada

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Why let her struggle though, I mean I will have roughly 50-60 % of my income free - I could be putting that into FI funds but for now why not help her ? Then we can both start down our path to FI together. Helping each other and what not?

Firstly a $30K debt for someone making $100K a year is not a struggle. If it is there are other problems that need attention.

Secondly if you are really going to be a team then letting her flex her 'stash growing muscles is a good thing so you'll be able to work together on your married financial plans having both done some heavy lifting. And if she pays off that $30K while you save and invest $12K the $12K will be Team Money once you are married so what you are doing is also for the "team".

Personally I look at relationships as a way to support each other as needed to reach our individual and couple goals. I don't look at it as life support for one or the other person. My GF is a smart capable woman I don't try and "fix" her shit when I see her working on something. I let her fix it unless she asks for help or is having some real significant problems. To my mind that shows that I have faith in her and her skills. Plus there is no way to become more competent at something if you never get a chance to own the issue and solve it.

Moonwaves

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There are always going to be different schools of thought on this. As long as she is working on paying off her debt, let her do so. You can help her in other ways, by supporting the frugal lifestyle that will allow her to do it as quickly as possible, for example. Have you thought about whether or not paying it off herself might be a point of pride for her? Perhaps she'd like to clear her debt herself before starting your new married life together.
You could just keep stashing and, if she hasn't managed to clear her debt by a certain time, like englishteacheralex you will have the cash to clear what's left of the debt in one fell swoop. If you don't need to and she clears the debt herself, well, then you've already got a decent start on building up your (both of your) FI stash.

SilveradoBojangles

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Hi Kevin - great work, really impressive to see how far you've come. And congrats on getting engaged. I have some thoughts about your question related to helping your fiance pay off her debt.

So, I got married fairly recently (2 years ago), and I think that one of the best things that we did was start to slowly merge our finances during our engagement, and discuss budgeting, etc. So maybe you guys should consider something similar, which would help you figure out a plan of attack for her debt as well as some of your longer term goals.

We started just by tracking our expenses for a few months (something you already appear to do - does she?). Then we made a joint monthly budget that took into account both our shared expenses like rent, food, utilities, as well as individual bills and fun money for hobbies. It also included some short term savings goals. We then created a joint bank account. We decided that to each contribute equal amounts to the shared bank account (we were both in grad school and making similar amounts at that point, but you may consider doing it based on percent of income). We used that account to pay all of our shared expenses, as well as put money away for an emergency fund and some other things we were saving for (like the wedding). This allowed us to get used to thinking about money decisions together, while still retaining mostly separate finances (our pay checks were deposited into our own accounts, and we could spend that however we liked). We used YNAB to budget and track spending, including personal (non-shared) spending. This encouraged us to be open about our spending, discuss our priorities, our weak points, etc, while still keeping most of our income (aside from joint expenses) separate. Luckily, we had no debt, but my husband had never really budgeted before, and needed to get a handle on his impulse purchases (which has has done very well), and in general we were just spending too much. We trimmed a lot of fat, and have reduced our average monthly spending by about 1500$, which was great. 

After we were married, we merged a bit more. We started having all of our paychecks deposited straight to the shared account, and then a certain amount of money (for us it is $300 each) was shuttled each month towards our personal accounts to use as we saw fit. We use this money on hobbies, clothes, hair cuts, individual travel (sometimes i go visit friends with out him), and presents for each other. Because we are now good at budgeting, our personal + shared expenses are far less than our income. So then we started making longer term savings goals, and discussing how best to handle retirement savings, tax planning, etc. We are also saving for a house. At this point I make more than 3 times what my husband makes (he's still in school, I'm out of it). We decided to keep our spending at the level it was in grad school, and save all of my extra income for a down payment. The plan is that, when he graduates and gets a job next summer, we will have enough to put a down payment on a house where ever we end up.

So, that was really long, but my basic point is that starting to merge your finances now in a slow, step-by-step fashion will facilitate conversations about short and long term goals, and may help you guys both decide how best to tackle her debt. Maybe what works for you both is that you take on a greater proportion of the shared expenses, allowing her to hammer her debt to eliminate it quickly. Maybe what works best is for you to be saving your extra cash towards a downpayment and an emergency fund while she handles the debt. There are many possible right answers, and she should be part of the conversation in determining a solution.

Best of luck.

Tyson

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Don't give her a fish.  Teach her how to fish. 

Stashing Swiss-style

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You got some great advice!  I believe we all learn best by doing things for ourselves.  Learning to be more frugal is easier for some than for others, but generally we learn fast when we have to do something.  Support your girlfriend, but don't bail her out - she's earning a good income and she will get there herself.  Remember how great you felt at your own achievement?  Don't take that away from her :-)

Kevin S.

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Thanks for the advice all ! I'm going to help her along the way as much as possible (without giving her anything financially). We are going to breakdown her expenses this weekend and see what fat we can start to trim. She is already pretty lean but I'm sure I can find some stuff. If she is 2yrs out before her debt is paid off to zero then so be it.

Like others have said. It will be more rewarding if she does it herself.