New here!

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-24-2012
New here!
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Mon, 12-24-2012 - 5:46am

Hi everyone!

Well, I'm here because I have debt.  Not a big shocker, I'm sure!  I basically went into debt when I was around the age of 26 (I'm 34 now) because I wanted to go back to school.  It has been an incredibly challenging road, from me not knowing what I wanted to do with my life, to not being employed for months on end, to difficult and frustrating job searches, to finally finding employment.  

At any rate, I had a plan set out to tackle my debt starting in the New Year.  I've been working for a little over a month, and while I wanted to jump right in and start clearing up some debt, I had a bunch of things that my pay had to go to first.  I was living off practically nothing, so I needed to pay off some bills and get my feet underneath me.

I still feel so far behind, and I can't even imagine a light at the end of the tunnel.  I roughly calculated how I could start paying back my debt.  To be honest, I felt so deflated to see that even if I was super aggressive with making payments to lower my current debts, I'd still be so far behind in a year.  I have a line of credit, a student loan, and a credit card.  All of them together total about 70K in debt. 

I don`t want to chop up my credit card, because there have been times when I`ve needed to use it in the past.  I did that with my last one, and was really good at not charging anything to it until I found myself in a pickle one day.  I know that if I still keep my credit card but leave it stashed away at home I won`t use it at all.  I don`t have a problem with impulse purchases, thankfully.

I guess I`m going to try to plan out my debt reduction goal again, and see where I stand.  It just seems so overwhelming, and I really have nothing to show for it but a piece of paper in a frame, hanging on the wall.

Looking forward to meeting everyone!

L.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 10-28-2009
In reply to: hotsnowshoe
Mon, 12-24-2012 - 3:16pm

Welcome and congrats on coming here, it is a supportive and informative place. Post often and ask questions.

Good job on recognizing why you are in debt and wanting to make a change, that is usually the not so fun first step. A lot of people agree that saving up $1000 in an emergency fund, while staying current on all your bills, is a great place to start. This will help the unexpected and unplanned spending, car repairs, medical, etc

Have you tracked your spending? You'll be able to see in black & white any category you can cut back on to help.

Also, re: the getting overwhelmed by the big picture. Maybe break down your big goal into some smaller ones, to get victories along the way. Tackle one debt at a time, and celebrate your accomplishments!

Post often, good luck!

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-08-2008
In reply to: hotsnowshoe
Tue, 12-25-2012 - 1:43pm
Welcome to the board! I know exactly what you mean about seeing what things look like in the next couple of years. It will take us more than one year to get out of debt as well. I have to remind myself that one year is unrealistic for debt repayment. You have to look at the change...we started 2012 with 202K in mortgage and car loans. We are ending 2012 with 191K left. At that rate, it will take forever :) But once the car loans are paid off, life will be so much easier. You start with $70K and by the end of next year, you will have less. That means less interest and more paid off the year after. And so it goes. We have also started to pick up odd jobs to help speed things up - and that money ended up being NEEDED or we would have been short. So maybe you can get exercise and deliver door hangers...or help out a senior citizen in your neighbourhood by driving them or cleaning for them...it really does help to feel like you are "doing something" and "all you can" :) Dee
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-08-2008
In reply to: hotsnowshoe
Tue, 12-25-2012 - 1:49pm
PS - I know how to use the ENTER button. It didn't seem to help!
Avatar for poorboy2011
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-02-2011
In reply to: hotsnowshoe
Tue, 12-25-2012 - 10:17pm
The biggest lesson I've learned is that the number may seem daunting, but time will wear it down. This is a marathon, and persistence and discipline help. On the other hand, we do have human weaknesses, and we will fall off the wagon once in a while. I myself just came back, and we'll work on digging ourselves out together.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-14-2008
In reply to: hotsnowshoe
Wed, 12-26-2012 - 11:08am

Welocome to the board. You are in the right place.

I agree with dollars. You must save the $1000 efund so you don't back track and break up this large amount into small chunks. Reward yourself for achieving them and this is doable. Many people here have paid off this large of a sum including me. More even. 

So dig in and get started!

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-01-2008
In reply to: hotsnowshoe
Wed, 12-26-2012 - 3:16pm

Hi & welcome.  

I also suggest taking a close look at expenses.  Sometimes we can find savings here and there that don't seem like a lot in one month, but add up over the year.  For instance, I called my cable company and got my bill lowered $15 a month for 12 months. = $180.  I am returning one of the cable boxes from the bedroom and I'm saving another $9.00 a month.  Be sure to check your car insurance and renters insurance if you have those to see if you can save some money.  Coupons help cut some household expense but can also occupy a lot of time to work them correctly.  Set a monthly budget for food,  Eating lunch out is a big expense for me that I need to get under control.  We seldom ever eat out on the weekends.  That is considered a real treat.  Make it a game to find at least one good savings a week, be it at the grocery store, drug store or phone/cell phone bill.  You never know what little savings is out there that can add up to a decent amount over a year.

Tackle you debts one at a time and try not to get overwhelmed.  As someone once said...you didn't get into debt over night and it will not disappear overnight either.  Unfortunately it all takes time and patience.  

GOOD LUCK!  and come back often.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-31-2002
In reply to: gracemae59
Wed, 12-26-2012 - 6:49pm

welcome, first begin tracking every penny to spend if that is difficult keep an envelope or pencil box in the car. For 1 month throw all your receipts into the box. At the end sort the receipts into categories gas/car, food/groceries, dining out, household expenses, etc. Once everything has been sorted total all receipts in each category you will be amazed of where your money went. To create that 1000 emergency fund, direct deposit each month a certain amount 25.00 or 50.00 into a separate acct, this way you don't see it.

Next: list your debt beginning with the highest and go down the list

Beginning paying 10.00 or 20.00 toward the principal in addition to your regular payment, make sure you send in two payments. The principal in memo line use a a red pen and write PRINCIPAL Payment then take a sticky note again red pen principal payment only. This will knock the debt down quickly.

Any additional income: throw 1/2 into emergency savings and the 1/2 towards an extra payment on highest debt.

 

Extra jobs: pet sitting, proctor for exams, houseclean, have a spare bedroom? rent it out, I am a teacher by day and I do all these extra's I paid off my debt of 30,000 in 2 years. In the yr 2011 I was able to buy a small home. I live in a city where there are two major hospitals and a medical school. I rent only to female medical students and female interns at the local newspaper, I rent to females only because it is a shared bathroom, the room is furnished and I rent it out for 325.00 this goes into my summer fund since I don't get paid. Pet sitting and proctoring I bring in over the year an extra 2,000.00 dollars. I don't have credit cards, I use credit uniions and will never put my money in a bank. I have bill pay so the bills are paid online each month, including a 50.00 payment into my Roth. I have a checking, savings at one credit union the first savings has 1000 in it and the second savings at the other credit union has my summer funds.

 

Hopefully this helps, once you have paid off a debt completely take a red pen and draw a line thru it, you will see progress:)

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-04-2004
In reply to: hotsnowshoe
Wed, 12-26-2012 - 8:37pm
Welcome, you've come to the right place. I know it seems overwhelming at the moment, but try not to let it get you down. I would highly recommend tracking your spending, writing down every cent you spend and see if there is any way you can cut your expenses. In the meantime, if you are behind on any of your bills, see what you can do to get current with them, then start working on reducing the balances more than just paying the minimums due. You'll get there.

~leanne

deciding to be happy doesn't mean that everything is perfect, but that you had decided to look beyond the imp

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-04-2004
In reply to: hotsnowshoe
Wed, 12-26-2012 - 8:40pm
These are all great suggestions!! I might have to steal a few of them myself. :)

~leanne

deciding to be happy doesn't mean that everything is perfect, but that you had decided to look beyond the imp

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-09-2002
In reply to: hotsnowshoe
Thu, 12-27-2012 - 10:04am
Hi and Welcome!!! I have been here on and off since about 2001....a LONG time a LONG road. But, good news is, I have paid off all my debt once before (except my student loan). Felt wonderful!! I want that feeling again. :) You can get there!! DH and I paid off both of our cars years ago, but it was FINALLY time for me to get a new one (his has 178k on it so fingers crossed his will hold up). Because I am now very aware of how much I hate debt, I resisted the urge to buy a car I really really wanted, and instead found a great used vehicle for a car payment of under $200 a month, and the vehicle still has AWD for the Northeast snow country. Just knowing about this board, being on this board will help! I promise. I agree with PB - we sometimes fall off the wagon. It is the human condition. But, as long as we keep it up, keep coming back....we can do it. Because of my awareness of debt due to this board, I have stopped buying coffee out so much. I used to think "what's the big deal, I never get fancy lattes just regular coffee"...but due to tracking my spending, I noticed it adds up FAST. Also, if it makes you feel better, I owe more in student loans then your entire debt load. EIK!!!! (I was about $7k away from paying off my undergrad when I decided to go back for my MBA. I worked full time and did it part time at night, and still managed to rack up a huge debt load. But it is worth it, I now have a job I love for the first time in my life and I'm slowly paying it back. I want to be debt free, but I also want to live happy. Wish I found a way to pay more out of pocket as I went along, but that is water under the bridge I guess and we have to learn to let mistakes go as long as we learned from them.) Well, that's my long welcome. Your piece of paper hanging on the wall is a chapter in your life that introduces the next one.

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