Had a panic moment

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-26-2003
Had a panic moment
Fri, 06-06-2003 - 11:40am
I hate looking ahead for the bills.:) But last night I tried to budget and got so discouraged. I discovered that after all the minimums on the credit cards are paid, and the loan we have it leaves us about 600 dollars for food/gas and diapers. I guess we could work this ok..but it will mean a lot of kraft dinner.

I started to cry. I sat there just so upset about the debt we built , and the mess we made. A weak moment.

Also I had a question. Has anyone ever dealt with MBNA ? We got a card with them about a year ago, consolidated all the other cards we had to them ( low interest) and pretty much maxed out the 5500 limit we had. Well today I get this letter from them saying we are now "high risk" and they boosted my interest to 24 percent. Doing a quick check means that continuing the minimums means I will end up paying them over 20 000 dollars. I feel so outraged by this. I wonder if there is anything I can do to fight this.

Avatar for mquin73
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Fri, 06-06-2003 - 11:51am
I had a card with MBNA once, but ended up transferring the balance to another card with a lower rate. That's been awhile ago so I can't remember if I had ever called them to lower or not. You might try calling them to see if they can lower it even a little, and explain to them that you're working on getting your debt paid down and them hiking the rate up just doesn't help. Who knows, maybe you'll get a nice person and they'll do it for you.

As for the $600 you have left over, I'm gonna assume that it's monthly. Well, after I add up all my cc min, mtg, utilities, babysitter, life ins, auto ins, and auto loan I have $100 left over. My suggestion as far as trying to cut your grocery bill, start clipping coupons and scan the ads. Look for loss leaders in the ads, these are usually items that are really cheap to get you in the store. Using coupons with some of these loss leaders will make them even cheaper. Check the grocery stores around you to see if any of them double or even triple coupons. You may need to visit more than one store to get the better deals. Also, there are lots of websites around where you can order coupons or even trade with other people for the coupons that you need. Believe me, the time spent on coupons is well worth the money. I've gotten lots of free or really cheap stuff b/c of them. Also, there are tons of easy recipes around for meals. You can go to meals.com for some really good ones. Just do some searching. Groceries are the best way to cut costs w/o depriving your family.



signature 2008

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 06-06-2003 - 11:58am
Is that $600 for the rest of the month, meanin gyou ahve no other bills to pay exscept if an emergency comes up?? If so, then I think you are doing pretty darn good - at least you are on the positive and if you can get by without charging anything then that is even better. I'm trying to be supportive, I hope it is sounding supportive.

Forgiveme as I don't recall your story, just remember every little baby step adds up!

Personally, I hate MNBA. They charged us a late fee on apayment I know I made in time. We called and had the late fee reversed but I don't trust them. I've heard others say that MNBA was awful and they have closed their accounts. I hesitate to close the account as my DH has had it for a very long time - we never use it - except for a yearly member ship thing.


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-31-2003
Fri, 06-06-2003 - 2:01pm
$600 for food/gas diapers seems like plenty to me, unless you have a family of nine teenage boys!

There's a great Frugal Living message board here at ivillage, as well as the Frugal Kitchen message board. One of the first things they'll probably tell you is to use cloth diapers.

They have recipes for homemade laundry soap, and all kinds of cool stuff. There's one guy on there who feeds his family of (I think) 7 on $45/week, or something crazy like that. It's kind of fun to try to be frugal, kind of like a challenge to myself. There's only two of us, but since we're both gone from the house 12 hours per day, it's a challenge to keep clothes ready, food ready and house clean without wasting money by buying new clothes because I didn't get to the cleaners, eating out because I didn't plan any meals, or hiring a housekeeper when I've got two good hands (and I've done all those things).

I buy my gas at Hess, for $1.46/gallon. My DF buys his at Shell, for $1.70/gallon. My car runs the same whether he fills it, or I do.

Last Fall we were spending ~$100/week on groceries for the two of us. Now we spend half that. I make bread in my bread machine, homemade cookies for the cookie jar, pudding and jello, coffee in the morning instead of hitting Dunkin's, buy a large box of snack crackers and divide them up into waxed paper bags to be grabbed for lunches, plan the weekly food menu around what's on sale and what I have in my cabinet. One chicken makes three meals. Things like that can help save money so we can pay down our debt faster.

Good luck!

Lee Ann


iVillage Member
Registered: 05-26-2003
Fri, 06-06-2003 - 2:05pm
Thanks everyone. I know 600 sounds like a good amount , but it goes for so many other things and always seems to gone so fast. I do have a family of 4 all men except me..lol and they all take karate.. Sorry if i sounded like I was complaining for nothing I guess if I did some cut back and cheaper grocery shopping I could make it go farther.

Gas is a big chunk of it. At least 40 a week is for the car. I guess that is why I figure that amount per month is a tough thing.

Thanks for all your tips and kind words. I appriciate it so much.
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-19-2003
Fri, 06-06-2003 - 2:13pm
I am sorry you are having such a hard time right now. I can't recall from your other posts the details for your situation so forgive me if I am asking what you may have already told us.

First, its great that you sat down and figure out your numbers. $600.00 is not bad to live on (for groceries and gas etc). We basically live on the same amount (but this is changing soon). There are so many ways to cut expenses. Have you looked at your spending to see where you can back? Cable, cell phones, magazine subscriptions? Get rid of them. Groceries is a wonderful area to cut back on as is usually the best place do it without depriving yourself. BTW - to me Kraft dinner is expensive - LOL all a matter of perspective. Personallly, I quit buying (well, have reduded the amount) prepackaged foods I buy. A whole chicken bought on sale costs me on average 3.00 (small one). It feeds my family dinner, or I boil it and make soup for the week or roast it for making sandwiches etc. Way better than KD and fairly inexpensive. There are Frugal Living Boards as well as the Frugal Kitchen boards that have lots of ideas. I have been making small but necessary steps to reduce my spending on groceries and now its a challenge to see what else I can come up with (rather than feeling like I am in a pit of dispair).

Once you cut back you can take that money and put it extra towards your debt. Have you checked the snowflake link at the top of the page? I have seen others on this board literally pay thousands of dollars down in a short time on their debt by snowflaking. Every dollar and penny counts and makes a differnece.

Right now for me, I am concentrating on setting up my Freedom Funds and starting a contingency fund. I am planning on having $1000.00 in my contingency fund before I really start to pay down my debt. It really helps me to have a plan in place. I know I will not be paying the minium forever and so if it "looks" like it will take years or 20,000 right now to pay it off thats okay because I know I will pay if off faster in the near future.

BTW this took a few months to come to a point where I have a real viable plan (not just a budget of where my money is going) but a plan for future spending and I truly believe that this is the key to staying debt free in the future.

I know you can do it. If you haven't already get Mary Hunt's book: Debt Proof Living. Its been a life saver for me.


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Sat, 06-07-2003 - 10:14am
Hi, I just had to respond (quickly because I just tried to type a post twice and it disappeared before I could preview it.)

I had MBNA do the same thing to me a few months ago and they said if I sent a letter stating that I would not use the card they would keep my rate the same. I was also eligible for a free credit report because they said my credit was the reason (although I saw nothing different when I reviewed it.) Call MBNA and they can tell you where to send a letter and a phone number for the free credit report.

Good luck!


iVillage Member
Registered: 04-26-2003
Sat, 06-07-2003 - 3:30pm
I have an MBNA card that is maxxed out too. I am paying 24.99 interest rate on it. I called them and asked if I could possibly have it lowered and they refused. They said at this point in time they couldn't and will re-evaluate my account in three months and to call back then. If I can somehow get this account transferred to another one I am going to. It is really sad when companies don't try to help out!