Need serious advice...
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  1. #1
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    Default Need serious advice...

    Ok… seriously… how do you do it? How do you reduce debt when you have no extra money at all monthly? Here is the deal. Things have been tough the last few months. My debt (not counting my mortgage) is $16,900. My bills equal my income. I have no “extras” during the month, I don’t spend money on anything weekly except gas and milk. I only spend $120/month on groceries for two of us including my cats, dog and toiletries… oh and we have to drink soy milk so that can get expensive. I pay minimum on my credit cards, and I pay all my bills (I own a home and car so I have mortgage, insurance etc..). I have minimum cable service, I just knocked down my cell phone to the very lowest plan (no more talking to friends) I have no home phone, I have nothing else. My car is a 2000 and my monthly payment is only $145 which is very low considering some car payments I hear. The only things I pay for NOT in my budget are things for my daughter for school when she needs the money and that comes out of my $40 week money (It takes $30-$32 to fill my tank each week and I use the entire tank going to work every week and getting my daughter, the remainder goes to milk or school). I have not one penny left over each month that isn’t put in my bills. I don’t get fast food, rent movies, go to dinner, none of it. I do nothing. I spend nothing. Yet how am I supposed to pay off my debt when I don’t have any extra money to put towards a single card each month to start the snowball method??? Any advice?? If I keep paying minimum payments then I’m never going to get anywhere with my debt.

  2. #2
    Registered User TheRootedNomad's Avatar
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    Just at a glance I'd have to say even the basic cable needs to go for now and maybe the phone too. You could just get a very cheap pay as you go. DH and I have done without both when there was nothing else to cut. After that it may mean that another source of income may be what you need.
    Things like AVON or delivering the paper are great ways to make extra cash. Good Luck!!!! Most of us have been where you're at some point.

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    Unfortunatley I don't have the ability to get a second job. I'm out of the house from 7 until 7 as it is and I have noone to watch my daugther for extended hours. I have tried selling things (tuperware, tastefully simple, etc..) on the side and I just do not have the personality for that type of work. Unfortunately, i'm pretty shy. I tried looking for work from home like typing or admin. assisting but unfortunately can't find anything that's not a scam or that I don't have to put $ out upfront. As for the basic cable going, I could do that but honestly, considering it's my ONLY form of entertainment (don't go out, no radio, etc) I'm trying not to do that, since I can't take my daughter anywhere to do anything, it's our special time to sit down and watch a show together or movie after we've played all her games a million times. And as for the phone, I can't cancel that. It would cost me $350 to cancel my contract which doesn't end for 1.5 years. NOT worth the money to me. Plus I don't have $350 to cancel it and my bill is minimum Thanksfor the tips, Please keep them coming.

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    Registered User Cricket1's Avatar
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    I'm sorry you're going through these tough times. Do you work full time? I see that you have a daughter so a part time job is probably not a possibility. Hmmmm.... a few ideas that would cut down a few bucks/month: can your daughter get reduced lunch at school? When you say "toiletries" does that mean shampoo, etc? Can you get them cheaper at the dollar store? Can you babysit another child when you're not working?

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    Is there any way in the next few years that your financial situation will change? Raises? Job Change? Or are you pretty much set int he job you have?

    I ask this because if things are not going to change then I cannot think of many things to cut but the mortgage or car payment. Could you sell your house and get smaller one? Condo? I know that soudns drastic but if things are not going to change for you job wise and you cannot get 2nd job then I am not sure what else you could do.

    I understand you need phone, want cable, and have basic utilities plus insurance, car and house payment. Anything else you have that you haev not mentioned? Are you a single mother? Could you apply for assistance?

    Just some thoughts I had off the top of my head.

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    Can you baby sit on the weekends? pet sit?

    Can you get a better paying job?

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    Registered User monkeywrangler71's Avatar
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    I read a post somewhere once (don't remember if it was here) by someone who made their own soy milk. Apparently it was really easy and much cheaper. Sorry, I don't really have any details, but maybe it's something you can look into.

    I cancelled our cable for about a year one time when it was just me and my daughter. We adjusted quickly. She was only 5/6 at the time, so was content watching the movies she already owned. We just read a lot more. I actually liked it because my house was a lot quieter, and I was going through a lot of stuff at the time so the relative peace of no tv helped me.

    Have you taken steps to lower your utilities? Called your insurance companies to see if there is any way to lower your premiums? Checked with your bank to see if you can get a consolidation loan at a lower interest rate? Some people move their credit card debt onto those card deals with low or no interest for an introductory period - takes planning and you have to be careful, but could help you knock down the cc debt faster since some of it is high interest.

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    I can't get assistance... I make $50 too much per year. Go figure. To answer some questions... I do work full time, my daughter doesn't get school lunches, she's in 1/2 day Kindergarten and my mother watchers her the other 1/2 of the day. She brings a snack to school which are dollar store items. I do the majority of my food shopping at the dollar store... this includes toilettries, breads, canned goods, boxed goods, etc... Even my cat food (not dog, he gets sick off of it) I get my frozen sausage at the dollar store and make 3-6 meals out of 3 packets (depending on if bf is eatting or not). Out of the $60 I spend every two weeks for groceries only around $20 are spent at the grocery store and that's for things like soy milk, cheese (the dollar store cheese literally makes my daughter gag), dog food, and a bag of lettuce and maybe a fruit or two.

    As for my job... I should be getting a review/raise in 6 months. I can't switch jobs again, I just started working here and benefits are great. I pay $5/pay for my daughter and I to have outstasnding health and dental insurance. Unfortunately I can't babysit a kid since I work 5 days per week leave at 7 return around 7 and no one I know needs a kid watched on the weekends. I have no other bills not mentioned (excpet for normals like gas (and I have yet to turn my heat on and when I do it's set at 64), electric, sewer, car insurance, and my cc and debt bills. I'm even skipping christmas just putting $20 aside for some crafts from the dollar store for my daughter.

    I have a feelign I'm just stuck for atleast another six months. Just sucks at times like this when my car breaks down and I have to get my parents to pay the $800 for repairs. I have been independant of help for years and last year I lost my job (for 11 months) and got behind, hence the CC bills and debt. Now it seems I will forever be behind. 6 months from now, who knows what else will go wrong. I alreayd now owe my parents $800. One more "emergency" and I'm done for. As for selling the house, not possible... it needs atleast $10,000 worth of work before I can sell it (not in bad condition, actually very clean, organized and neat but not in selling condition) plus the market is horrible. My two neighbors have been trying to sell for over a year now. Granted if I did sell I could easily make $100 on the home (bought for $89, houses now selling for over $200) but I'm in no position to sell. and can' treally go smaller, I'm in a townhome as it is and have my daughter to worry about.

    Without emergencies I"m ok week to week... I make my bills and get food but there is NOTHING left to get rid of my debt. That is my concern. I'm not worried about paying my monthly bills I can do that, and pay for food and keep a roof over our heads... but with nothing left to go "extra" towards the debt.

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    Quote Originally Posted by monkeywrangler71 View Post
    I read a post somewhere once (don't remember if it was here) by someone who made their own soy milk. Apparently it was really easy and much cheaper. Sorry, I don't really have any details, but maybe it's something you can look into.

    I cancelled our cable for about a year one time when it was just me and my daughter. We adjusted quickly. She was only 5/6 at the time, so was content watching the movies she already owned. We just read a lot more. I actually liked it because my house was a lot quieter, and I was going through a lot of stuff at the time so the relative peace of no tv helped me.

    Have you taken steps to lower your utilities? Called your insurance companies to see if there is any way to lower your premiums? Checked with your bank to see if you can get a consolidation loan at a lower interest rate? Some people move their credit card debt onto those card deals with low or no interest for an introductory period - takes planning and you have to be careful, but could help you knock down the cc debt faster since some of it is high interest.
    I keep my heat on 64 and my air conditioner unit doesn't even work. Utilities are very low. I've called millions of insurance companies, actually do this every 6 months but I have the lowest premium so far. I have a bancruptcy on my credit from 5 years ago (when I was married) and can not get a loan. I have tried several times.

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    Oh and yes I'm a single mother and get minimum support from her father. I'm actually going to be taking him back to court soon for child support adjustment.

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    Place an ad for craigslist for overnight (3rd shift) babysitting. Or weekend babysitting. Let everyone know at work that you will be willing to do this. (if you are)

    Sometimes dollar store items are not as cheap as grocery store. I found a huge 2 pound bag of pretzels at my grocery store for $2.50. That last about a month for my daycare (6 kids snack) and the bags at dollar store woudl have to get 5 or 6 bags to equal that amount of pretzels. Maybe you can buy in bulk some snacks for her preschool.

    Do you sign up for freebies? That coudl help with shampoo toothpaste..etc. There are even some toy ones out there (now $5 off polly pocket so can get some sets free) if you look on the websites.

    I also do online surveys ( you could do at night) they dont pay regularly but I get maybe $500 a year in cash and giftcards.

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    Yes, I do freebies. I LOVE freebies! I went 6 months not having to buy toothpaste for freebies! The bulk for her snacks is a good idea. I'll have to check it out at my grocery store. As for craiglist, I can post something for weekend babysitting but not overnight. Not only do I not have a place to sleep another child but I have enough problems with my own waking me 5-10 times a night (no joke, I'm actually working with the Ped to try to get her out of this).

    What survey sights do you use? I just signed up for Pinecone research and hoping that gets me something. I can't seem to find a survey sight that gives you cash (even $.50/survey) and not just points. I can do anyting on the internet... I'm on it all day at work and have the freedom but just need to know where to look. I'd be happy just making an extra $50/month to put towards my smaller debt ($300 Card) then I could put that $50 plus my normal $15 payment towards my second debt and so on.

    I'm even looking for things to sell but I don't have much lol No one seems to want a wedding dress of someone divorced. I've tried ebay, craigslist and the paper. It's in perfect condition and still very much in style but oh well. You guys are giving some great advice and ideas and I really appreciate it!

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    Once my debt is paid off, I'd have an extra $380/month.

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    globaltestmarket.com
    cashcrate.com
    mypoints.com
    quizpoints.com
    surveysavvy.com
    opinionoutpost.com
    treasuretrooper.com
    memolink.com
    opinionsquarerewards.com
    inboxdollars.com


    *there are different rules for each site...some pay cash..some pay points that you can turn into cash or gift cards.**

    I hope this helps a little with maybe your credit card debt. Until then there were some good ideas thrown out there for you and keep checking back here for ideas and to stay motivated! Good luck!

  16. #15
    Registered User monkeywrangler71's Avatar
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    Here's the post about the soymilk:
    http://makingbysaving.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=815
    I guess she uses some machine for it though, but maybe you don't need it.

    It's hard to reduce your interest if you can't get credit. Have you checked with the larger credit card to see if they have a lower interest option? Or will one of your lower interest cards accept a balance transfer.

    I don't really think an extra job is the answer, if you can manage with what you have. You need time for yourself and your daughter. As long as you can put a roof over your head and food in your stomach, you don't want to run yourself into the ground. That won't help either of you.

    I've always been a big believer in the importance of small things. I always scan through tips, recipes, etc. and slowly implement small changes that I'd never considered on my own. When you need every dollar to get by, then every little bit makes an impact.

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