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  1. #16
    Registered User mommy4ever's Avatar
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    Good for you! That is the first step. Admitting you need to do some changes.

    I don't think refinancing is going to do you any good. You need to change habits. First of all, YOU didn't do this all by yourself. Your hubby is spending too. He obviously has a credit card or two or more of his own, you both got into it, you'll both need to get out of it(I'm going to put on Dave's hat for a moment, so don't hold it against me, I'm going to be blunt, I had to do it for me. Now I'll share what I've learned).

    Savings. It is recommend an $1000 emergency fund be built. But ONLY if you are CURRENT on ALL bills. Do what you have to to get current. Sell that stroller, surplus toys(don't tell me the kids don't have lots of toys). They'll protest at first, but once they are down to a reasonable amount of toys to play with, they'll be more agreeable to picking up, are more relaxed as it isn't as overwhelming over all. Look around the house, what things can you sell. Extra TV, VCR , DVD? Outgrown clothes? Extra vehicle? Once you get current on all the bills, put $1000 away for when Mr. Murphy decides to show his ugly mug. But remember each time you use it, the snowball has to stop for a bit to build it back up.

    Dave would say first of all, get rid of the car payment. Sell the new car, pay it off, and buy an older car with cash. Never buy a can new unless you have cash in hand, better to stay with with a 1 or 2 yo car and saave THOUSANDS on it. By doing that alone you'd make all your payments.

    fixed debts, minimum balance 8/07
    mtg $1,497.10 $180,000.00

    cc $10.00 $400.00
    cc $11.00 $421.00
    cc $30.00 $600.00
    cc $80.00 $1,500.00
    cc $45.00 $2,213.00
    cc $88.00 $3,250.00
    cc $192.00 $5,588.00
    cc $145.00 $6,490.00
    cc $202.00 $10,782.00
    loc $145.00 $7,500.00
    his car $382.00 $18,000.00 sell it and pay it off

    total mo & bal.$2,827.10 $236,744.00

    cell $60.00 (contract) When it is done cancel it!
    cable/net/phone $190.00 (we -must- keep high speed for DH work, school) Cut down to just internet and basic phone.
    power , approx $220.00 Use only what is necessary.DH commuting costs $400.00 ***
    food $700.00 ? Includes diapers/wipes, etc This can be cut drastically, we're a family of 6 plus 3 and my budget this month is $340, next month $250
    gas $300.00 ? cut this to WAY down. Carpool, don't drive. Get a buspass instead. Limit your driving
    entertainment $250.00 ? Dining out, movies, booksyou have more month than money, this needs to be dropped. Ideas to follow
    medical $100.00 ? Rx and co-pays, etc
    misc fund $0.00 ? 100/mo Memberships, Bdays, Tag renewals, etc Cancel memberships.

    Mo. net $4,891.42
    -$2,827.10 Debts
    -$2,380.00 Variables
    Total
    -$315.68 deficit


    Desparate times require drastic measures. To do so, sacrifice is necessary.

    Consider taking in kids. I do, it earns me $1800/mo This will help out, but it's not an answer to everything. You need to change some ways. "Wealth is 80% behavioiur/attitude and 20% knowledge".

    You're short on money at the end of the month. You're robbing Peter to pay Paul. It's a horrible feeling. BUt, let's have some fun with numbers.
    Cut entertainment to $50 for one dinner a month out. Use the library for movies for the kids and yourselves.
    Reduce to just internet and phone, savings about $110. No TV for a few months may be a blessing with homeschooling.
    Do some menu planning etc, coupons, double coupons, etc. good planning means less driving. Try a $400/budget.
    Personal travel. Walk when possible, have dh run errands. Dont' drive if possible. I'm wondering why it's so hi, we go 200km every weekend with a gaz guzzler and I do my errands and I think I"m at 1/2 of that(gas prices are over $/gal here). You're home schooling now, so no driving to and from school, are you using old numbers yet? Remember if you're cutting entertainment then you don't need to drive everywhere to have entertainment. Cut it in half, save $150(if you same more, woohoo!).

    These things would give get rid of the deficit and you'd have $445 at the end of your month to start your emergency fund and then your snowball.

    If your dh would sell the new car, and get a slightly older car, there would be $18000 gone from your debt, and another $382.

    I'm not sure what childcare is worth in your area, but take in 2 or 3 and you can boost your income up to $1800 a month(maybe less, but STILL) Let's say for 3 kids it's only $1000(low end for my area), that's $12000/year to pay off debt(extra payments)! Think of the interest savings!! That would payoff ALL the consumer debt in under 5 years. Mortgage is an acceptable debt. Based on income if you had no other debt, it's within your means. So lets work on it.

    The numbers look bad. But picking them apart shows that with some changes YOU CAN DO THIS!!!! Once you get going it's addictive It is a simple process, hard work, but not complicated.
    Pre-Step 1 - sell what you can, cut back where you can, and get caught up on everything.
    Pre-Step 2. - Build your EF to $1000
    Baby Step 1 - Use your extra income(by example here $445) to pay off the lowest debt which is $400. So you'd be using $390 of the extra to pay off this bill on top of your regular payment, and then the next cc - 421 - would get it's regular payment of $11 + an extra $55. Then next month, the snowball would be $455+the $10 payment of the card you paid off, you'd pay that one off and move on to the $600 one pay it's $30 and the remainder snowball payment , plus the $21 payments of the first 2 cards, etc. It really starts to work fast!

    I'm with you, we have ALOT of debt too. But I took ownership, dh isn't 100% commited yet, but I'm paying things off. We're doing without lots of extras right now. The kids aren't even getting a school wardrobe this year, just repalcing what is necessary. BUT it is paying off I have paid off nearly 20% in 6 months. I hope that in 18 months all we have left it the mortgage. That's the plan. If dh could get on board, then we'd be that much further ahead! Even if your dh isn't completely on board, that's ok, you can't control his spending, you can yours. It might take longer, but as long as you're paying it down, you're doing well.
    Mom to 4 wonderful kiddos. Homeschooling mom
    • FFEF 2/6months
    • Retirement savings to start
    • Mortgage


    DEBT, n. An ingenious substitute for the chain and whip of the slave driver.
    - Ambrose Bierce






  2. #17
    Registered User mommy4ever's Avatar
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    Oh entertainment.

    An evening out, can be as simple as a romantic picnic in the backyard after the kids go to bed. Going out afterdark with dh, laying on a blanket stargazing. It sounds corny, but it's nice to be silent together.

    Family nights. We do pj parties as a family. once a month, a movie(sometimes home movies), some popcorn and a fruit drink makes for a great night. Games are harder with little ones. Family outtings, walks or bike rides, explore your area, watch for parks. If you have a community league, watch the newsletters. We have a kids night once a month wher ethey play games with the kids. $1 for the 3 hour set up. THey do family dances, $5/family. Watch for free admission days to museums, parks, etc.

    I like this quote from Dave Ramsy: "Don't try to keep up with the Joneses- they're broke. " In fact, once I get everything paid off, I'm going to make bumpersticker for my van to say that..lol.
    Mom to 4 wonderful kiddos. Homeschooling mom
    • FFEF 2/6months
    • Retirement savings to start
    • Mortgage


    DEBT, n. An ingenious substitute for the chain and whip of the slave driver.
    - Ambrose Bierce






  3. #18
    Registered User lanford66's Avatar
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    First off

    I have to say that I agree with what mommy4ever has said. Take it one step at a time and it will all work out.

  4. #19
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    You've been given some great advice and suggestions so far. I just wanted to add that you say you cannot find any time to talk to dh about your financial situation by the time that you have a late dinner and get the kids to bed you are exhausted. How about one night feeding the kids early before he gets home from work and have them bathed and ready for bed. If they are not sleepy they can quietly read or play in their rooms. You have a nice dinner made for you and your dh, spend that time discussing your current financial situation. The sooner that the two of you are aware of your situation and come up with a plan the better. We are all here for you.

  5. #20
    Registered User christina33's Avatar
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    Sorry for all your problems but this board is great with helpful advice and the posters are really supportive.
    I don;t think you will be able to go to CCCS because you have to give up credit cards but since it is a corporate card that is backed by the company and I don;t recall mine showing up on my credit card. You may want to go into a non-profit CCCCS for a consult. THey do budgeting workshops etc.

    With regards to your credit cards. Are they maxed out? You posted total owed but not credit limits. You may want to consider seeing if you can do balance transfers. I would not cancel those cards that you pay off right away-keep them open but don't USE .. the credit history will help your score since you are considering moving etc.

    Your car? 18,000 is a lot. Are you a credit union member? some have buying services ..perhaps selling car and getting a cheaper and smaller one. This works if you are not upside down.

    Since you are home .. Maybe babysitting/daycare two kids in your neighbourhood.
    Or since you have a car advertise to pick-up and drop-off elderly people in your neighbourhood etc -kinda of taxi service. On-line servicing agent. This allows many to work from home.

    Your power is high. Wash with cold water and put heater on timer. Turn off the AC.
    Get rid of the cable.. free DVDS at library
    Hang in there it will get better.

  6. #21
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    I talked to DH a bit tonight. I had already mentioned a couple times before that I would like to try something part-time to being in some addt'l money, but with his hours/on-call, etc., it wasn't feasible. He is currently working on hiring someone else at work to help with some of the day-to-day and let him manage his projects more, get out on time, and give me some breathing room. And I saw a post on a local "mommy board" about someone looking for pt help with event planning/administrative work, which is right up my alley. I think the events job, retail or call center work a couple nights, a weekend day may be just the thing and get me out of the house a little too. Something to do around grown-ups that makes some money instead of spending it!

    I am in FL. We already use the budget billing for power and that's what saves us from the $400 bills in the summer. I am going to post on freecycle for some curtains or fabric to make them for the huge front window in our foyer. Our house faces east and it gets so hot, so fast in the day. I can't imagine if we hadn't upgraded the insulation when we spec'd the house. And I am having hubby check the weather-stripping on the front door this weekend. He & his dad replaced it after the hurricanes and I think it is a bit "off".

    We are upside down on the car, so nothing to do there. We traded his gas guzzling truck for it. He spends much of the commute sitting on the interstate, so that burns alot of the gas. We use our science center passes and zoo membership quite a bit (hmmm, sneak in sandwiches in the diaper bag?) but again-the drive. When we built this house, dh worked from home we wanted the space, so we bought further out. We are limited to the backed up highway or toll roads to get "in town". I worked then, but reduced hours, so I used to schedule around the rush hours.

    I mentioned cutting the cable, he said we can hold on that until we try everything else. His sci-fi channel is his relaxation. We do not have hd or premium packages, just the digital that comes with the bundle (phone is much cheaper now that when we had regular, too many intra-state toll calls for that).

    Thank you all again for the many tips. I am begin to feel like we will survive this. My mother filed BK years ago, and I never want to have to go through that. I would think that would have taught me to be more responsible with money, but I do know I will have serious talks about finances with my kids as they grow.

    I have the Ramsey book (Your money or your life) on hold at the library. It doesn;t say how many people are ahead of me though. Maybe paperbackswap or freecycle?

  7. #22
    Registered User frugalfarmwife's Avatar
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    Another thing, and don't discount it, it worked for my mom and it works for me. Look for overnight work a few nights a week, nap when hubby gets home!

    My mom did this and helped pay my brothers way through college, made all the difference in the world.

    I do it now and actually enjoy it, I"m a night owl that can get by on very little sleep.

    I know you'll make it.

    kj

  8. #23
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    Do any of your cards offer some sort of payment protection?

    Chase c/c offers
    The Payment Protector Plan can help if you:

    Lose your job or take a Leave of Absence
    Become disabled or hospitalized
    Get married, have a baby or adopt a child, retire, divorce, change primary residence and more
    Are called to Military Reserve or Guard Duty
    Experience a Business Hardship

    Once you activate the Plan's benefits, your credit card payments are suspended. That means:

    No monthly Account payments
    No interest charges
    No late fees
    No Plan fees

    You'll have the financial flexibility to get back on your feet.

    Easy to Use.
    You'll receive the Payment Protector Plan for only 89 per $100 of your ending monthly credit card statement balance. This fee will be conveniently included on your monthly credit card statement so you don't have to worry about writing a separate check or missing a Plan payment.
    That's just an example.


    Can you babysit? walk dogs?

  9. #24
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    Oh, and do your c/c's offer an BT's at low APR's?

    Can you BT some of the smaller cards to a card with a low APR?

  10. #25
    McD
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    Okay, first off, big hugs. I know this is scary, but you've taken the first steps and now you just have to keep swimming, to quote Dory.

    Let's start here:

    fixed debts, minimum balance 8/07
    mtg $1,497.10 $180,000.00
    cc $145.00 $6,490.00
    cc $192.00 $5,588.00
    cc $45.00 $2,213.00
    cc $202.00 $10,782.00
    cc $88.00 $3,250.00
    cc $10.00 $400.00
    cc $30.00 $600.00
    cc $80.00 $1,500.00
    cc $11.00 $421.00
    loc $145.00 $7,500.00
    his car $382.00 $18,000.00
    total mo & bal.$2,827.10 $236,744.00


    Okay, first I would try and call each and every credit card company and see if you can work with them to lower the interest rate. If they will, it can cut your minimum payments a bit. Also, I know it's been said, but CUT THEM UP! Quit using them. You'll never get ahead if you have to use credit cards to support your living. I know it's easier said than done.
    then,
    auto ins. $140.00 Have you shopped around to see if you can find cheaper insurance? I made one phone call and it saved us over 600$ between car and home insurance per year.
    water $20.00
    cell $60.00 (contract) Since you are on a contract, I would keep this. No sense in breaking the contract and paying an early termination fee. And since you guys live a considerable distance from your work and are on the road a lot, I would always keep a cell for safety purposes.
    cable/net/phone $190.00 (we -must- keep high speed for DH work, school)
    power , approx $220.00 Keep the internet, call and cancel the phone since you have the cell and tell them you want just the basic cable channels, to include sci-fi, but no digitial cable. Digital is more expensive than just cable.
    DH commuting costs $400.00 Is there a rideshare system where you are at? Here in Des Moines there are commuters that meet up and each pay like 40$ a month to split costs of carpooling? Is this an option for you?
    food $700.00 ? Includes diapers/wipes, etc This can be cut. I know it doesn't seem like a lot for 5, but my dad was able to feed a family of 6 for roughly 60$ a week. I'd look online and start finding cheap recipes. Make food in bulk and freeze, make as much homemade food as you can. Figure out how to make leftovers a meal. Have spaghetti one night and a night or two later turn the leftovers into baked cavatini! Some people have been able to purchase diapers and wipes cheaper at 1800diapers.com Use coupons for these! Try the store brands or if you aren't comfortable with those, switch to Luvs. Try and use coupons for EVERYTHING!
    gas $300.00 ? Personal use, not commuting Try to reduce as much as possible. Instead of running books to lib. one day and going to doc. the next, combine trips etc.
    entertainment $250.00 ? Dining out, movies, books I would definitly try to reduce this. For movies and books, use a library, instead of purchasing. If a lib. is too far away, try sites like bookmooch.com etc. Always look for freebies on freecycle. I would reduce eating out to mabye once twice a month as a reward.
    medical $100.00 ? Rx and co-pays, etc Are you using generic prescriptions--may be cheaper? My parents do mail-order pharamcies and save a ton per month!
    misc fund $0.00 ? 100/mo Memberships, Bdays, Tag renewals, etc
    emergency fund $0.00 ? 100+/mo Medical, Auto repairs, Home repairs
    long term savings $0.00 ? 100+/mo Long-term
    monthly variable outlay $2,380.00 without misc or savings?!

    I would start by trying to save a baby emergency fund for tag renewals, emergencies, etc. We call it our oh crap fund. I would cut out on all bdays except your own kids for now. You just can't afford it.
    Mo. net $4,891.42
    -$2,827.10 Debts
    -$2,380.00 Variables
    -$315.68 ????

    I am now faced with the first of not making the min. pymts by juggling the bills, paying mtg and car right before late fee vs. due date. I just listed the double stroller, extra crib bedding set, misc. diaper bags, etc on craigslist to try to meet the payments this time, but that is only a short fix. I was hopeful that once we caught-up it would be ok, but that is not the case. Again, I'm sorry you are in this position.

    I am an at-home mother, just pulled oldest out of school to homeschool/online program due to his adhd and behavior problems. My other two are not of school age yet. I quit work when the second was a baby since I had to miss so much time for child illness, daycare closures, etc and my job was less crucial to the family. My husband is in IT, a manager, always on-call and has a long commute. We have no family in the immediate area for childwatch, etc. I'm not sure how to make more $, so I have to decide what to do with the $ we have. Since you are an at home mom, have you thought about maybe keeping a child or two inside the home during the day? May be a way to pick up extra money.

    CCCS? Will this allow us to keep his corporate American Express? It is crucial for his traveling. I'm just not sure. I have no experience with cccs.

    Sell house? Value was $240k, in 2005, but comparable on our street is listed at $219 and not getting any attention. We could rent a much smaller place for approx. the same, a little less maybe, but save almost $400.mo on my husband's gas consumption (we have not even factored wear/tear on vehicle @ 100 miles a day, 2.5-3 hours in traffic). This is an option, but you would have to talk to your husband. We can't tell you to do this one, only you and your dh can decide that.

    ????? Any advice is greatly appreciated. We are not extravagent people, but we have some bad spending habits (way too many dinners out, even fast food adds up for 5 people). It's 2 am now and I am going to try to sleep some.I hope it gets better and I hope it hhelps.
    McD
    -wife to Z
    -mommy to Dubya & Moo Cow

    Blog: http://familystylemayhem.com/


    My Ravelry: http://www.ravelry.com/projects/nicd...view=thumbnail

  11. #26
    Registered User warramra's Avatar
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    (((hugs)))

    A year ago we were in the same place. It has gotten much, much better but first we had to get on top of everything and in the beginning it was kind of up and down. I'll tell you what I did and you can take it or leave it.

    First of all we had to get to the point that we had more coming in than going out. In my case going back to work or taking in other kids just wasn't reasonable. So we had to cut and look for cheaper options. It started off with little things. We switched to cable internet and dropped our bellsouth phone line, choosing instead a VOIP, which only costs us $30/month with all the 'extras' including unlimited long-distance and intra-state calls. We have basic cable, not digital. We get the Sci Fi channel, although in our case I couldn't drop cable because of sports channels.

    I made my children that were in extracurric activities to chose their favorite and we are only doing one each (soccer for dd7 and gymnastics dd5). We take the discounted homeschool gymnastics, saving $25/month. I know other activities also offer discounted hs activities during the day. The girls are a lot happier not constantly being shuttled between one activity and another.

    Our cell phone contracts were up and we decided to switch to a prepaid cellphone for both of us. There was the initial cost up front for the phone, but since then we end up paying $30/month for two cellphones. Since we now have unlimited long-distance on the homeline we don't use our cellphones nearly as much.

    Envelope system for clothing and entertainment. We use cash or we don't get it. I homeschool also, and it is true that my kids just don't need as much clothing as kids who attend school. We stay at home three days a week, and generally they will wear 'grubby' clothes for doing arts & crafts, nature digs in the backyard, etc. I am blessed that we received a lot of free childrens clothes from friends and neighbors. I let it be known that I do not mind reusing clothes and never turn down anything. If we can't use it I pass it on to goodwill or freecycle. My clothing either comes from gifts (gift cards) or goodwill. My closet has a bunch of name brand clothing that I bought for $2-$5 apiece.

    I don't know what the virtual school is costing you, but I do homeschooling as inexpensively as possible. And it is very, very possible to do it even cheaper than I do. Pre-K children don't need a lot; some construction paper, scrap paper to scribble on, crayons, markers. Use their toys for manipulatives. Let them have fun - They are learning anyway. For school-age it is still possible to do it for little $. Use the library to find the books on the booklist, books for science, history, art, etc. Search, search , search for free online activities for learning projects. There are FREE maps, coloring pages, books, audio books, information and interactive websites all over the web - some for homeschoolers and some just general. This year we have started using the Charlotte Mason curriculum that is almost entirely free on Ambleside Online. I have not had to buy anything this year for that. Decide whether or not you really need Teacher's Manuals, they tend to be really expensive and not all that useful. Used bookstores also have pieces of curriculum for pennies on the original dollar.

    Our grocery budget was between 700-800 before, and that was for 3 kids, 2adults and 2 dogs. This year we added a new baby - and all that went with him, and have managed to find our monthly average of $400 - sometimes less and sometimes more. This includes baby supplies also, and pull-ups for the toddler. Menu planning, cooking as much as possible from scratch (it doesn't take as long as you think), re-purposing leftovers have all helped with this. Lots of ideas here on reducing grocery budget.

    Electricity for us has always been fairly reasonable, but have been able to cut it almost in half. I hang at least one load of clothes per wash days, often two. Lights are off unless we absolutely need them, and I have switched as many over to CFLs as possible. I have tv/entertainment systems on strip plugs which easily allow my to just flip them off when we are not using them. AC is set at 82, and I kept our winter insulated curtains up this summer, which has actually helped keep it cooler on our east and west sides of the house. Crockpots, microwaves and outdoor grills don't use the electricity a stove/oven uses to cook meals and don't contribute to the heat inside a house.

    What I have had to keep reminding myself is that we didn't get into this hole in one day and we are not going to get out of it in one day either. Don't overwhelm yourself by trying to do too many things all at once. Pick those with the biggest or easiest return first and then move on to a new one once you are comfortable.

    Good Luck

    Amy
    Amy

    Wife to one hardworking man
    Homeschooling mom
    Three girls 14,11 & 9
    one boy 7

  12. #27
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    Good luck!
    My only advice is to try to make it as fun as possible. Celebrate every time you pay one card off, maybe by making a fancy dessert or something at home.
    When we were on a tight budget last year paying for grad school and saving for a house downpayment we called it Operation Don't Spend. Everytime we saved another 1000 we celebrated in some small way. I aslo learned that by being open about it people were more willing to give without me asking for anything. My co-workers would leave coupons on my desk or tell me when they knew something I liked was on sale.

    You can do this! and before you know it your debt will be under control!

  13. #28
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    Bookmom - welcome - I am new here too. First - breath, now again. The ladies here are great - I have also been lurking for a while & feel like I am starting to get things back under control. My situation is not much different than yours - but I can see the way out of it & it is empowering.

    One thing that struck me, your husbands salary - & please do not take this the wrong way, it seems a little on the low side for an IT manager. I am an IT Manager in upstate NY, with 13 years exp, & I am paid on the low end (my priorities are different though, I am a mom first, & an IT manager second, so flexibility is more valuable to me than money right now). My point is, he should make sure his experience & skill set are valued properly. Have you checked the salary wizard on monster.com, to make sure he is being paid a competitive wage? Monster wages tend to be on the higher end - they want people to look for jobs - but it is something to consider
    If that is the competitve wage for the area where you live, are you tied to that area?
    Would it be feasible to relocate to an area where the salaries are better & the housing is more reasonable? Maybe a place where he could also cut his commute time? Check SC, GA, even some parts of Alabama, TX, etc.

    Will his employer be willing to pay part of his high speed internet expense?

    Also - your auto insurance seems a bit high. I just switched from Allstate, at $130 per month to Progressive at $85 per month.

    What are you driving? Is it something you could sell & buy a cheaper more gas efficient vehicle, like a Civic, or something?

    I changed your numbers around a little to get them straight in my own head - You are definately tight - but you should be able to do this.

    First - when you find yourself in a hole, the best advice I have read here - is stop digging. Stop using the cards. This was a tough realization for me, & am only 1 month into my no card rule - but it is critical.

    cc 1 6490 145
    cc 2 5588 192
    cc 3 2213 45
    cc 4 10782 202
    cc 5 3250 88
    cc 6 400 10
    cc 7 600 30
    cc 8 1500 80
    cc 9 421 11
    cc 10 7500 145

    38744 948

    car 18000 382
    mortgage 180000 1492
    auto ins 140 ** might be able to lower this - shop around
    water 20
    cell 60
    c/i/p 190 ** see if you can get the basic TV w/i&p scifi may be on that plan
    power 220
    gas 700 ** are you sure? This seems high, we pay $500 with 2 commuters & gas hogs
    food 700

    clothes ?
    snacks ?
    copays ?

    Total non cc pmt 3904

    Total expenses 4852
    NET pay 4891.42
    net-exp 39.42

    Also - are there any other expenses not included? Life insurance? Property taxes? HOA?

    Best wishes - I am on this journey too, Prayers offered that you will find your way & find some peace.

  14. #29
    Registered User christina33's Avatar
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    I hope everything works out but you have taken the most critical step which is acknowledging your debts.
    There were many thoughtful tips. With regards to the AC or power, last year "Mom of two" gave me a link to a company that makes a pump that is used in the south when it gets hot . It is not as cool as AC but better than a fan and does not burn through the electric bill
    Dump the cable you really cannot afford it at this point
    Good luck with the job applications .. and keep us posted

  15. #30
    Registered User christina33's Avatar
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    have you tried Geico for your insurance? That insurance bill is very high. Are there any extras that can be eliminated? Remember if you go for a higher deductible you may be able to lower your monthly payment.
    Since you are upside down. does your car note include Gap insurance?

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