Author Topic: What's next! Stuck in a rut!  (Read 3664 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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What's next! Stuck in a rut!
« on: August 01, 2014, 12:16:09 PM »
I found this site several months back.  The first few days I spent most of my free time getting caught up. Little did I know I was already on my way. I have detailed below my story of the changes I have made. I am just stuck I need to figure out what is next. The money I have cut from my spending has been nice. But in some ways it seem that it is non existent in reality because I was over extended in the first place. I am  better off now.  My savings vary from scant to non existent as I stray back and forth from paying off debt or saving my money instead.  I just need a good solid plan. Please help.

Me 14.52/hr          1920
Wife 13.00/hr        1200 varies with school load
Total                    3120

House                  680   
Car1                     179
Car2                     134
Car Ins.                80
Life ins                 149
city services          58
cell                       20
Cable Int              53
Nat. Gas               12 summer 40 winter
Electricity              70 summer 30 winter
Food                     270 including eating out
Netflix                   28
CC payment           65
Total                     1798

Roth                8981   T rowe Cap Appreciation and Equity Income
401k               1109    company started last year
ESOP               34380  Free money from Employer, Privately held over the last 22 years it averages 19% returns. Seriously. No its not a drug cartel.
Total           44470

Visa               3657
Car1              9375
Car2              3744
House            105000 @ 3.25% still paying PMI refinanced from 5.25%
Total        121766

Plan was originally to pay off car 2 with tax refund but our neighbors and I put in a fence instead. I have since increased my withholding rate to increase my take home.

I had refinance my house. Changes in the pmi rules reduced most of my potential savings but I did still squeak in about $8o/mo.

Reading MMM convinced me that my Dakota had to go.  I hadn't had it long so a small loan from the International Bank of Ma & Pa's helped me dig out from the negative equity.  I found a used Honda Fit listed a bit below Blue Book. Come to find out it was because of a horrid cigarette smell.  I had looked at several cars this one was my final choice. The wife was totally opposed.  She told me that if I bought it she would never drive it (promise?).  After renting a rug doctor and buying some carpet fresh powder we now fight over who drives it and who rides their bike to work.  We work about equal distances from home. However, she does take the kids to the sitters (Daycare located in the back of the Intl' bank!) and also had to go to the University several months out of the year. We did got 4 years with a single car. One year I got really sick from the below zero weather. I bought a beater truck. It got expensive at one point to keep it going so we parted ways. Hindsight says repairs would have been cheaper.  Savings $111/mp not including gas.

I ditched my VZW cellphone plan even with my employer discount.  I went to Ting and have been sharing my happy song of savings in the break room every time one of my co-workers tells me about how their cell plan is somewhere in the range on $160 (I try not to snicker). Even my "loan officers" didn't believe that my off market cell service would prove sufficient.  Once I had it in my hand I showed her see right there it is Sprint service from a secondary provider.  Now that the CFO of the bank stands with his job in jeopardy due to a corporate buy out loan officer number one really interested. Savings $52/mo.

Recently our old handmedownfifteenyearsago mower finally died.  Whilst shopping for a mower. I opted for the cheapest reel mower in the store.  I had seen my Grandpa use one of these years ago but didn't know anyone that currently had one. A few of my neighbors stopped to ask about it. I let them give it a try. It is certainly easier than dragging a big heavy motor through the gravel on the sides of my house.  It also stores nicely on the hooks in the garage where the jogging stroller use to go (kids are too big for it now.) Savings say $200 over a gas mower.

I have been home with two sick kids for the last couple days.  During that time I decided to make a clothes line in my garage.  I had previously made a large shelf in my garage (I am no handy man.) With 2 2x4's(?) a few screw hooks and 1 large thick sheet of plywood and 10 feet of chain I made a simple shelf.  One 2x4 screwed horizontally into the wall the other 2x4 screwed on to the far edge of the ply wood.  Screws in the ceiling and on the 2x4 plywood side and wholla I had 32 sq ft of off the floor storage. Really nice for coolers, skis, fishing poles and Costco sized toilet paper packages.  I decided that with it being 100 plus degrees in my garage and 84 in the house it didn't make sense to spend money to heat air in the dryer and just put the free heat to work for me.  I took some thin rope that was laying around and make a few loops around the ply wood to have a few clotheslines.  Every few inches I tied small strip of rope into knots to help keep things spaced for quicker drying. A few weeks ago while at the local center of money wasting (mall) getting my wife's gifted phone fixed, I went dumpster diving.  I found a nice 6ft tall wire rack that some store had gotten rid of. I called up the CFO from the bank and he met me with his Ram 2500 and we loaded the rack in the back.  CFO was impressed my swan diving skills. Savings from this have mostly been realized in time savings.  Since the dryer takes longer to dry than to wash I am able to keep the washer going and not have to wait for the dryer to finish its current load.

I make $14.52 working in an employee owned store.  Its not great, I've been looking for other jobs but without moving or commuting(ND oil) that seem to be about the best I've been able to find.  Some of it seems to be companies protecting themselves from Obamacare requirements.  I have tried getting corporate jobs with the same company (based locally). But they prefer to hire off the street because of the way our collective bargaining agreements work they can hire fresh meat and pay them less. I have tried college when I was less mature. I am not a terribly motivated student. I would rather be making money vs. paying to take the same class 2 or 3 times until I pass.
On the bright side I do get 20% of my wages every year in company stock at no cost to me.  Current worth is $34k.  Monthly medical insurance is $40/mo for a family of four with really good coverage $1000 max out of pocket.

 Sorry for bits and pieces missing here or there. I keep trying to edit or add more detail perhaps I have made it more confusing.  Thanks for your time.

« Last Edit: August 01, 2014, 12:50:00 PM by cycopathicrunna »


  • Pencil Stache
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Re: What's next! Stuck in a rut!
« Reply #1 on: August 01, 2014, 12:30:22 PM »
Hmm, so if I'm reading this right, you have about $1300 leftover after your basic bills (assume that $3120 is your net pay).  Where is all this currently going?  I think you have accounted for your BILLs, but you have not accounted for your SPENDING.  For example, you mention kids, but I don't see any expenses that would typically be kid-related.  And what about things like car and house repair/maintenance (gas for the mower, light bulbs, etc)?  Are toiletries included in Food?  What about gifts/charity?  What about clothes/shoes?

Being that you have a fair bit of discretionary money (~$1300), you could be throwing that at your Visa bill (not paying off the 2nd car).  What exactly is the question here?


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: What's next! Stuck in a rut!
« Reply #2 on: August 01, 2014, 12:44:16 PM »
Yeah specific questions would help. You seem to be on track, finding efficiencies, creating solutions that don't involve automatically buying the solution, and reducing monthly expenses. Keep pushing on those things and you'll just be fine.

Cheddar Stacker

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Re: What's next! Stuck in a rut!
« Reply #3 on: August 01, 2014, 12:56:02 PM »
Life insurance is waaaay to high. How old are you guys? Are you in really poor health? Are those term or whole-life policies? If it's whole-life drop it right away and get term policies. If it's term, consider getting new policies and shop through a broker.

Put all extra funds towards the debt, but it's hard to tell you which debt without interest rates.

Stop buying fences and the like.

Welcome to the forum!


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: What's next! Stuck in a rut!
« Reply #4 on: August 01, 2014, 01:19:18 PM »
I have been wanting to buy some Quicken software to shore up some of this missing money.  I did notice that things like college, books, gas and clothes and gifts (wife has a very large family plus their kids) are missing from the original post.

CC is no interest till Nov. so that is the priority at the moment.

Life policies are 75k whole life for the wife and I, Term of 300k for income replacement Wife is unwilling to let this go. Once the term expires I am not going to renew since my ESOP will function as life insurance as well. 50k whole each for 2 kids (about $25 a piece.)

Auto loans are at 4.25% each.  I think from the first few comments its seems the discretionary spending is what is killing me. I can tell you its not lattes and manicures.  I think its more my wife getting to the mail box and feeling compelled to use the 20% coupon at whatever store is advertising that week.

I don't like to be nagging and telling my wife that she can't spend her money. But I can tell you by the time payday gets here I already feel behind on bills.

We are both 31 years old and in good health. I have shopped around all the insurances and have had reps from different companies totally baffled at "how low" my current rates are. I shop them every 2 years or so.

Cheddar Stacker

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Re: What's next! Stuck in a rut!
« Reply #5 on: August 01, 2014, 01:34:10 PM »
Software - have you looked into It was created by the Quicken people, but it's free. Only downside is you have to provide them all your internet passwords, but most people don't care.

Pay off that CC, but you already knew that.

Get rid of the whole life policies on you, your wife, kid #1, and kid #2. They are all likely a poor use of your money, and they cost waaaay tooooo much. That money will do you much better if you pay off debts and invest it once the debt is gone.

Pay off the cars as soon as you can, but at least the rates are relatively low.

All that discretionary spending will hurt and you need to try to reign it in, but don't make it your priority without being on the same page with your wife. Do what you can on the stuff you have full control over, like the life insurance. It's a waste of money unless it's term, and you're on the right track with letting the term go once your other assets are sufficient to replace the income stream.