Sometimes a second job is not a feasible idea

I know this is not to me, BUT sometimes a second job is not a feasible idea.

It would cost me more in fuel than I would make, I think I figured it up, and I would clear approx. $50 / month while running myself ragged.

I do feel there are other ways to make money without a second job, and I am lucky in my job that if I work harder at it, I make more money, and can increase my income that way.

One thing that everyone seems to forget is the grocery bill.

I spend $20 every 2-3 months for www.grocerygame.com I use her lists, and what coupons she says to use, and I save AT least 50-60% every week, on the bill that I buy. I cut my grocery bill by 2/3.

As I stated in another post, I am moving, I didn’t realize how much stuff I had that I had stockpiled.

I did the grocerygame for approx. 3 months, I lived off what I had stockpiled for 5 months, other than milk, soda, and a bit of meat. I would say 95% of my dinners came from my stockpile.

I haven’t bought shampoo or body wash in a YEAR.

I buy 6 Sunday newspapers for the coupons, spend an hour or two organizing them, and if say, BBQ sauce is on sale, BOGO – regularly $1.99 per bottle, and I have 6 $1 off coupons – I just got 6 bottles of BBQ sauce for FREE. I have done this. I have paid 10 cents a package for Lenders Bagels, etc, etc, etc.

I am not stockpiling right now, due to the move, why bring more in to move it. BUT I went from spending $100-200 per week to feed my family of 3 – that includes paper products, toiletries, and pet food – to approx. $50-80 per week for the same stuff.

CVS is YOUR FRIEND. I don’t know how much shampoo, conditioner, lotion, shaving products, that they PAID me to take. Combine their sales, easy care bucks, and coupons and you can make a KILLING.

You do have to be disciplined, and follow the lead, you can do it without the website, I just find it’s much easier for me, to know what the true loss leaders are. I figure that I would spend 4-6 hours doing what she does. And that 4-6 hours, I could be working my job, and making money.

I have done the same as well.

I forgot a couple of the free items from Safeway yesterday and went back to get them – handed over the coupons and the checker announced “Score!!” LOL – I save a lot of money that way and probably could live on our stockpile for a few months. I go a week or two without buying groceries just as Thomas does (I have a large family though) and that saves hundreds.

I also got the “Tightwad Gazette” from the library and have tried several of her things to save money. Make your own laundry soap and dishwashing soap (I used to do that) – wash your Ziploc baggies instead of throwing away – don’t buy anything without thinking about how to make it first.

You can’t cut rent necessarily, and the car payments are “sell the car or just keep paying” – daycare is what it is. But utilities, food, and “stuff” are totally under your control. That is where I cut our budget amazingly – and we are still alive to tell the tale!!!!

I would say work on your budget first to get a little more than “squeak” room. Then, start working on modest payments with these collection people. It will all come together if you just start reaching in the right direction and keep trying.

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No money to pay collectors

What do you do if you don’t have enough money each month to pay collection agencies? After taking a 20% pay cut, I’m budgeting as much as possible just to meet monthly expenses such as rent, car payment, day care, groceries, utilities, etc. Most months we squeek by, but the credit card payments went by the wayside, and are now in collection. I did talk to one of those companies that offers help with paying debts before letting things slide, but after going through my budget, they simply suggested bankruptcy, which I don’t want to do.

Do I just let the agencies call for now, until I’m in a better position to make payments? I can see that a year from now, I’ll be able to start making some type of repayment plan. In the meantime, do I just let it go? I’m not sure how to handle this. Thanks.

Take care of your necessities first. Let the collectors go hang. What I did for a little while was send them a copy of my budget – and a check for $1 or $5. That way they know you are still trying. It doesn’t really make a dent in the debt, but gives you some leverage to work with them later.

I would like to add that not only focus on building a budget that pays your monthly necessities to live but put away as much as you can in cash(not in a bank account that can be seized should you end up defaulting). Think on the scale of at bare minimum 1 months worth of living expenses in cash at the ready so if you are(not saying you will be)faced with having wages garnished or your bank account seized you can keep the roof over your head until you figure out something else. My own situation more recently I had to let a credit card debt go and it was charged off.

Now the sleazy debt collectors have discovered it and I’ve managed to keep them at bay with the debt validation issue among other things and I’ve consulted with a couple of attorney’s thinking I may have to file BK again myself even tho the one I have on record is slated to fall off of my credit report in a few months. I dont want my spouse’s wages garnished and its a possibility in the long run but unlikely as the debt is not that large. It has opened my eyes tho to the fact that I need to take care of me, and my spouse and I need to have a better plan since this is looming over our heads. We’ve decided to sink all of our extra cash into building a cash reserve that will at least pay our bills/one month’s living expenses first.

Once that is accomplished and its almost there, we might try for another. We’ve also opened up two additional bank accounts- in spouse’s name since spouse does’nt currently have any credit problems such as this. They are small but we are adding to them. I am planning on opening another account at a different bank in my own name before Sept.’s end. They are offering a 100.00 incentive to boot! I’m tired of being a victim of the credit industry in this country. Someone here wrote in asking what they are missing.. they are’nt missing anything.

If you try to remain in good standing and want to do the right thing it seems to fall on deaf ears. No one cares. They can write off the debt you are slaving away to repay in a blink of an eye. Dont kill yourself over it or sacrifice your quality of life and time with your kids. Its not worth it. Its debt. Even BK can only stay on your record for 10 years. Eventually it all will disappear. Eventually you can start over from a clean slate. Really. I’ve been there and I’m back there but not on the scale I was. Just do the best you can but things in this economy right now are so uncertain I would seriously urge everyone to have some kind of cash reserve that is available to them at a moment’s notice. I dont care if you have to start with 10 or 20 bucks. Thats what I did. I now have a nearly a months worth of expenses sitting here in cash just in case.

Another thing I’m doing is paying things like my phone and utilities in advance as far as I can. Every little bit helps. If spouse’s wages were to be suddenly garnished.. my lights,heat, phone and internet will stay on. I guess what I’m trying to say is think about what means the most to you and if you woke up tommorrow to find your bank account seized or your wages garnished what would you like to have already taken care of so you wont do without? Use that as a starting point and start building to take care of that so if you are faced with the worst then there is only so much they can take from you. I fyou pay your rent in advance and your utilities or you are not behind in your mortgage and have enough in cash to cover it one or two months- your better off and wont be caught with your pants down. Try to think of the worst case scenario and what you need to do to combat it.

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Debt settlement companies

Hi all. New here, with a lot of debt. I am thinking of using debt settlement companies to negotiate with my creditors. They claim that they can reduce the debt by 50%. Has anyone had any experience with this type of approach??

Stay away from them. While in some cases they might be able to negotiate settlements for you, you can do the same thing for yourself without their help and you wont have to pay their fees. Also the way most are set up, you send them money to hold in escrow, then when you have enought in the fund, they start offering settlements to your creditors. Until that point the collection action against you will continue by your creditors.

The settlement company can do nothing to stop it, even if they tell you they can. Also keep in mind that you are responsible for the taxes due on the amount that go unpaid. They creditors call that amount the “forgiveness”.. The most important thing to understand about settlement companies is that while you are sending them money to offer as settlements, if you decide to stop using their program, and there is money sitting in the escrow account that has not been used, you wont get it back. Most companies are set up that way. I was a collector for long time, I have dealt with many of these companies. They are not a good solution.

The only one I’m familiar with is Consumer Credit Counseling. I don’t know if they are nation wide, but I know people who have had first hand experince, with great success and minimal fees. Not sure about reducing debt by 50%, but they negotiate with your creditors for lower or no interest/fees and a repayment plan to meet your budget.

Consumer Credit Counseling and Profina (the two I have used past) – they did not do this.

Profina did not actually cut any deals except making Bank of America drop the interest from 30% to 0% (that was good enough for me!!). They took a monthly amount by direct withdrawal and sent it to creditors. When a creditor continued to hassle me, the Profina lady got on the phone with me and talked to the creditor and reamed them out. It was great!!! They also split our accounts properly at divorce. They took $15 a month “donation” – but I think that was because Washington State Law limits it to that. I think you could probably do what they do on your own, but they did make it easier.

CCC – They did the same. I did not finish with them because the IRS sent prison notices on us during this time and I freaked and my mom paid the bills and I paid her back. But I delivered cash to them each month in person and they paid the creditors. No escrow, no huge fees.

I am aware that there are other agencies out there that are as you describe. I also believe that you can do all this stuff for yourself without the fees – it is like paying a maid service to clean your house. But they are not all terrible.

They are no help to you if you are still spending more than you earn, if you don’t have a budget, if you owe student loans, back taxes, utility bills, medical debts. CCC showed up on my credit report and didn’t look good. Profina did not.

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Debt Consolidation Help Needed

Ok. I’m new to the blog and have joined in an effort to seek advice. So, here goes. I am in the process of trying to pay-off debt that dates back to early as 2001, all due to a boyfriend, but that’s another story and I take full responsibility for everything!!!

Long story short, I would, at all cost, love to avoid bankruptcy. I have called several lawyers in my area (South-Central PA), but they have all veered away from the debt negotiation process and are doing solely bankruptcy at this time. I have contacted two debt negotiation companies, but still feel that I would be better off with an attorney handling this. I have a family member willing to help me out to start over and he is able to help me pay off the debt entirely. I do not want to be put on a payment plan but am in need of someone to negotiate for me and make sure the debts are settled on my report. Thing is, my credit reports from the three agencies vary and it looks as if some of the debts are coming off this year and next due to the length of time passing.

Any help/advice you could give would be greatly appreciated. I just don’t know where to start!!!!

It is not as hard as you think to do it for yourself. I grabbed a Google Spreadsheeet (for portability) and entered everything from each credit report – one by one. If things look like they match up across the three, I matched them up.

Then I sorted smallest debt to largest. I sent registered, certified letters to each, asking for some explanation of the bill and proof that I owed it and that it was not beyond the statute of limitations. Just one at a time – keep copies of your letters and the green cards attached, all in their own file folders. As each comes back, then I pay it, along with a letter that says this is paid in full if you accept payment. Keep copies of the canceled checks, all correspondence. Check your credit report regularly and if they don’t come off, write to the credit agency, certified mail, including your proof. This is pretty much what the agencies you pay do, anyway. You can do it too!!!

And if you are planning to live debt free, that “magic credit score” does not mean a lot anyway – as long as you are paid off, then don’t fret it. You do not need to spend money paying a debt negotiator or an attorney to fix these things. Getting advise from someone is probably a good thing, but that can be done for much less money that what an attorney or dmp will cost you. I spent many years in the collection industry, I have gone round and round with those guys, all they do is eat up a clients money. You can really do it yourself. It involves contacting all of your creditors and simply offering them X amount of money to resolve the debt at settled in full. At this point they will probably be willing to cooperate.

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I need some help

hi everyone,i am in need of what to do.I have been sick for nearly a yr now and have only worked about 20 days.My family has accured nearly $50,000 in credit card and medical expenses.i am now healthy and ready to go back to work and hears the kicker i got notified that i will be laid off due to downsizing in September. We bearly make enough to cover all our debts now.i don’t want to file bankruptcy but is there an alternative? Jobs around here are hard to find and don’t pay much, i am loosing a $65,000 a yr job and may be able to find another making around $30,000 since i have no college education. anyone have any advice?

What were you doing that made you $65,000.00 a year? Is there a possibility you can use this past job and become a consultant in your field of work?

On the medical expenses front: Have you asked for the charity care forms from your doctors / hospital? A number of times I have not had insurance for my child or myself and have needed horribly expensive care. I call the hospital and explain that I can’t pay and 100% of the time they have sent me financial forms and written the balance off. The rest of it, you may need to just muddle through. Does anyone else in your family work?

Bankruptcy sounds like your only option to me. Even if you try to get fast no teletrack payday loan form company like this one – you will be rejected as you are unemployed and do not have any stable source of income. If you are well and can go back into the work force then file on this old accumulated debt and be rid of it. You’ll never be able to make a clean start and get ahead otherwise from what you are describing. It sounds like you have a good reason for the situation you are in unlike many who have just frivolously charged themselves into debt so talk to an attorney asap!

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looking for a part-time job

My husband has been out looking for a part-time job. He has actually been on interviews. Many times, he gets this “Why do you want to work for less than your full-time job pays?” or “You just want this job while you are laid off. You will quit once work picks up again at the full-time gig.” He has offered to sign with them on paper that he will stay a year or more, but still, they are reluctant to hire him.

Any advice?

The truth is, he can’t work your (part-time) position the same time he has to be at his full-time job, so when you ask him what hours he is available and he honestly tells you, why do you get mad? Would you prefer that he lie?

The pizza delivery places want the college/high school kids. They haven’t hired him either and he keeps going back. McDonalds says they want closers, but they haven’t hired him. Is a grown man with a family to support and a proven work record a bad thing these days????

hiring for a jobHiring someone for a job has a little more involed than you seem to see.

First if you hire someone who has been trained somewhere else, you will have to retrain them. They may have learnt bad habits you don’t want them to do at your work place.

Second, it cost money to hire someone and train them. You are investing into the future of your company. They work slow make lots of mistakes and have to be watched all the time until they get things down packed.

Third during the training period, even if they are trained in your required field,you are using your time and energy to watch this person.

Mistakes can be costly, they should bare part of the cost by not asking top pay during this period. Younger people tend to stay ,they learn quickly, and in the long run are a better chance for a long term employee. Some times you must see from the other side. If it is a dangerous job, and a mistake could cost injury or death, it will take longer to train, checkup on and inspect their work. Believe you me, it cost to hire, train, a new work person. What about Starbuck’s? They hire folks of all ages from what I’ve seen and they provide great benefits for 20 hours a week.

My husband works part time at Lowe’s and has now for 3 years. Its great. They offer separate part and full time benefit packages and alot of other things. They are always hiring it seems. You can apply online and designate the store you are applying to and if they are interested they will call you.

My DH applied online and withing an hour got a call for an interview and they dont care why you are there really.. at least in his case. He explained he needed a second job for income and debt reasons and needed dental and vision insurance(which they offer) and that was it. He’s starting his 3rd year there now. You can also apply at Home Depot on line this way too.

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I do think you should look into a cheaper home

I do think you should look into a cheaper home. Your credit card debt is not going to just go away, and you’re just going to be swimming in debt forever if you continue with the lifestyle you have. You have to change your lifestyle, and it seems like the house is going to have to be the first to go. You have a fairly good income and you should be able to knock out the debt, if you didn’t have the burden of the enormous house payment to meet every month. I’m new on the list, and I don’t know what part of the country you are in or your family situation but $2500/month seems like an expensive mortgage to me. I understand that you want to keep your house, but it is not a blessing; the payments are a curse.

You don’t need to pay someone else to take care of your money, you can do it yourself. I hope that you find peace and if there’s anything we can do to help, just send up the white flag :) With 14 credit cards, your situation isnt unusual, it is quite common these days. As you said, they are current this at this point, but that changes this month. Something to consider is trying to take out the smaller balances first.

There is no good way to pay off credit cards. the interest is killer, and as soon as they go past due, the interest is going to jump, and your creditors will start hammering you with late fees and possible over limit fees. You mentioned debt consolidation and managment, do not waste your time with those. They will eat up your money and 12 months down the road your will posibly owe more money than you do now. If your accounts are current now, you still have time to work on this before permanent damage to your credit report. They wont create permanent damage until the delinquency hits 120-180 days.

A lot depends on where you live, what state, the laws vary. The best suggestion I can make is keep the house current, and look at your cc balances. the small ones, pay them off asap, like in 1 payment, if that means others dont get paid this month, so be it. Your situation is fixable, trust me it is, but there will be some residual damage, there always is. Do not turn to a dept managment program or a consolidation program, trust me you will regret it 12- 18 months from now. With the number of credit cards that you have, continuing to make payments is a futile endeavor, you can not, and will not fix this problem, making payments like that. it isnt mathematically possible. You can fix this, it just takes some determination and a different approach.

You don’t have to go through a “Debt Settlement” company for this either. (They cost money and a lot of them are less than honest). You can do it yourself. It takes good organization (to remember who you wrote which letter to when). This is accomplished with a few minutes time, some file folders, and a good spreadsheet. But you can write the letters (there are lots of websites to tell you how), mail them registered mail return receipt requested (at the self-service kiosk in your post office any time day or night), and keep track.

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I’ve been using a company called Greenpath

debt settlementI’ve been using a company called Greenpath for almost a year now. Their website is www.greenpath.com. They are great. It costs me $50 a month for their service but they were able to make agreements with my creditors, lower my interest rates and payments. I make 1 payment to them a month and they distribute it to my creditors. Since October of last year, I have paid off almost $5000 of my cc debt. You should check them out.

This sounds like a typical scenario of debt out of control. But, the best part is you can get it under control. So, Robert, have you looked at every little line item expense and found everything that you can possibly cut out that you don’t need? Any extra ten dollars saved in one place can be applied to a credit card with the largest balance. That’s what I have done in the past.

Slowly you can whittle down the credit cards one by one. Another thing that comes to mind, have you done a balance transfers to buy you time? I can’t think of anything else at the moment. Do you pack a lunch or eat out all the time? You won’t believe how much you can save by making your own meals to take with you or eat at home. You were able to run up these credit cards without any thought about the purchases I presume but now you have to think hard about how to pay them off. It’s not easy, it just takes time and a lot of willpower. All involved have to be on the same page too in order for this to work. Slaying debt has to be the number one priority now.

There is an alternative for you if you don’t care about your credit rating for the time being. It is called debt settlement and this is how it works.

If you decide to stop paying your Credit Cards, they will sell your debt to a collection agency normally within 60-90 days from the first missed payment.

They sell your debt to a collection agency for 2 reasons:

  1. They get .20 cents on the dollar from the collection agency.
  2. They get an additional .50 cents on the dollar from the government in the form of a tax break.

Once your debt has been sold to a collection agency for .20 cents on the dollar, debt settlement companies go to work on your behalf and send them a “Cease and Desist letter”. By law, the collection agencies are no longer be allowed to contact you, and the phone calls stop.

The debt settlement company informs the collection agency (on your behalf) that you intend to pay them .40 cents on the dollar, giving them a 100% profit, in exchange, they will to report to the credit bureaus that your debt was paid or settled. End result, you get rid of the credit card debt in a much shorter amount of time.

You take a hit on your credit rating for a bit, but you will do that anyway.

I did this exact thing I am doing myself. My only regret – I didn’t know about it sooner.

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What’s best next step?

My family and I have come to a point with our bills where we are not going to be able to make all our monthly bills. Right now our bills exceed our monthly income just slightly and that is not including food, gas and monthly little expenses; school stuff, any clothing, household essentials etc. It has been this way for a few years and we have slowly but surely increased our credit card debt along the way. We currently have fourteen credit cards amounting to $37,343.51 or $1,290.00 a month in payments. Our income is $4870.00 in take home pay a month and our bills (all basic, card and mortgages, 1st and 2nd) come to 4947.96 a month.

If we could eliminate our credit card debt we would be able to get by with the monthly bills. I know from watching tv shows and articles online that the most common advice for us would be to sell the house and pay down our cc debt. I have looked at bankruptcy and debt consolidation and debt management and I am confused as to which is the best way to handle our cc debt and stay in our current house. Our mortgage payments are $2178.87 and $419.19 a month. We want to stay in our current house, we do not care about our credit rating at this time as we do not want to pursue any further credit (ever if possible) but need to know the best way to handle our cc debt.

There seems to be a lot of websites out there that promise help but only help in taking more of your money. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. As of now everything is current in payments and not behind. That changes this month. We have no more credit to stick a band-aid on (temp fix). How? and Where?

I am in a situation similar to yours only further along and my debt is higher. My advice is to stop paying on the unsecured debt(e.g. credit cards) but continue paying on your secured debt. The only thing the credit card people can do is ruin your credit rating and sue you. You can keep your home if your equity in the home is below your state’s homestead exemption which I would look up on the internet. If you are sued you can file BK to stop the lawsuits. If your income is below the median for your state I would definitely consider Chapter 7.If you have too much equity in your home you might consider Chapter 13. Nolo press has some very good books on this subject that you could either buy or get at your local library and also review at www.nolo.com.

If you were to ask yourself what would Dave Ramsey say? The answer is, “You simply cannot afford the house; it is consuming over 53% of your income and that does not include the utilities and maintenance on the thing.” Even if you filed bk, you still cannot afford it. Not unless you can significantly increase your income.

Dave, along with many others prioritize all bills as follows:

  • First pay for shelter
  • Second pay for food
  • Third pay for basic utilities (gas, light, water)
  • Fourth pay for transportation (sell any autos with a loan and buy ones without a loan)
  • Fifth pay for necessary clothes for work and school
  • THEN prioritize everything else.

Pay the cc that will work with you before the ones which will not. Before you ask, I am trying to sell my SUV and have been since February. However, I cannot sell it and leave a debt that prevents me from buying a car outright and no one seems interested in a 17MPG 4runner these days.

We are also fixing up the house to sell, not because we cannot afford it, for it is less than 20% of our income, but because we do not wish to stay in it any longer. When we sell, we will rent until we have all debt paid off, 6 months expenses in the bank and at least a 20% down.

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Advice on inheritance etc

You wrote about getting an inheritance. As a financial coach (different than a financial planner), I concur with some of my colleagues. Look at the percentages on your debts and pay off the highest percentage rates first, at the very least. Since you will have some money left over, I can see where you would want to invest it. It would make sense, though, to park it somewhere, like a money market account or a 3-9 month CD while you look at your choices. Both of where you want to invest, and who you might like to invest with.

My colleague is right, it’s not a whole lot of money (in the big picture). But it is a substantial sum, and in this economy, people will want their hands on it to “help” you figure it out. There are so many kinds of investments that the regular person doesn’t think about. There’s way more than stocks and bonds. Right now the volatility of the market is at an historic high. While prices to buy stocks are low (and thus a bargain), don’t necessarily think that you would want to run out and buy. We are likely to be in for quite a ride in the short term and getting some guaranteed income back rather than losing your shirt makes more sense, particularly for someone not used to investing.

There’s nothing worse than putting your money into an account and then watch it slip away like folks have been doing for the past several weeks. So, park it, interview at least 5 financial advisors, and also find a realtor or mortgage broker than works with investors to find out about real estate investing. Though that market is depressed as well, there are some interesting things happening.

There are a number of places to find real estate investing information (if you are interested – if you’re not, skip this part), but beware – these people want your money too! Before you invest in anything, talk to folks in the know, who also know you and care about YOU. Find the folks in the family who have money (I assume the person who left some to you is not the only person in there with money) and ask their advice. Hope this helps.

Dont do anything. One, is because you really dont know what you want to do. Two, because 75k is not a whole lot of money. Three, it is bad when money change you or your life 180 degree. Just deposit it somewhere until you know how the money can make your current life better or lighter.

You may also want to consult a financial planner. I found these links for financial planning networks in an article by Liz Pulliam Weston, who is one of my favorite writers on finance topics:

http://www.napfa.org/

http://www.garrettplanningnetwork.com/

It’s possible that a small investment in getting some help with planning how to use that money will really pay off.

Paying off debt is a great idea.  I would wait and take time before doing much with the remainder.  You could park it in a Roth IRA perhaps. Or even in bank account, they are insured up to $ 100,000 until you decide how long you want to tie it up. If you tie it up long term (retirement plans), it is less accessible than using it for living expenses. The poster who said it is not much is right.  $75,000 is not near enough to live on “forever”.

As a banker, and putting myself in your shoes, I would personally pay off all my debt. Put the rest in a few different CD’s at different terms, so a few times a year you have penalty-free access to some funds should you need them. (Like maybe half in a 6 month CD and half in a 12 month, so every six months you can get at cash if needed.) Then once you feel comfortable about locking it up, decide what else to do with the money.

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