What to expect?
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  1. #1
    Registered User warramra's Avatar
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    Default What to expect?

    We've gotten to the point that we cannot make it anymore. When I first joined in 2006 we were making small strides paying down our debt and building some savings. DH's last pay increase was in 2006, in 2007 they cut pay raises, in 2008 they cut hours, in 2009 & 2010 they increased employee contributions towards healthcare. Through all of it I've been grateful that he has been able to keep his job and we have made adjustments and cut back. But, we have also been hurt by several other things such as the credit card companies more than doubling our interest rates in July 2009 (the month before the new credit card rules went into affect) and then DH's work switching to a weekly pay from bi-monthly totally messed up our budget.

    We've gotten to the point that we have burned through our savings and I just.can't.juggle it anymore. I'm stressed out, suffering from chronic headaches and am depressed. I've come to the decision that I am going to have to temporarily stop paying on one of the credit cards just to keep us going. In four months the van will be paid off and we can reduce the car insurance, which means I should be able to resume credit card payments in March. We have not used the credit cards since the spring and they have been locked away. But, I'm having a hard time with it morally and with the in-grained belief that I have to keep our FICO score high (over 800 before all of this started). I HATE, HATE this option but I don't know what else to do.

    We don't have anything to sell, our furniture is all hand-me-downs, our electronics are old (in today's terms), the only jewelry I own are my engagement/wedding rings and a pair of small diamond earrings dh gave me for my 30th birthday. I've looked at employment opportunities for me and there is nothing that works right now, though I keep looking. DH is finishing up his 'summer' extra work that has allowed us to keep afloat so far this year. Unfortunately, it isn't something that can be continued in the winter. He is looking at other options also.

    A quick run down of our finances for those money crunchers and in case anyone has any suggestions.

    Take-home Income ~$710/week or $2840/month

    House Payment (w/escrow) $900
    Home Equity Line $100
    Car Payment $300 (paid off in February or earlier if I get Christmas money)
    Car Insurance $100
    Utilities (elec, water, sewer, trash) ~$220
    Nat. Gas $72
    Internet $41
    Home Phone $27
    Cell Phone (2 phones) $30
    Netflix $9

    Total Bills: $1779

    Credit Cards:
    Discover Card $270
    Visa $380

    Total Credit Card: $650

    Combined: $2429
    Difference: $411

    I've got our grocery bill down to $450/month, including HBA & dog food (using DH's summer pay to buy groceries). We also need $260 per month for gas, as DH drives 70 miles/day to & from work and I need gas to cart the kids around.

    What do I need to do? And, if I stop paying on my credit card (just the Visa) what can I expect to happen?

    Please be gentle as I am in a fragile place and very depressed already about what we have done in the past to put us in this situation.

    TIA
    Last edited by warramra; 10-27-2010 at 01:57 PM. Reason: spelling

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    Registered User druthb00's Avatar
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    $710/week or $2840 per month isn't entirely accurate if you're calculating that number using a current pay stub's check total of $710, and just multiplying it by 4. (There's about 22 weekdays each month, not 20, and it adds up to an "extra" check every few months...this month, December, and again next April)

    $710 X 52 weeks in a year = $36,920/12 months = $3076

    I'm not sure if this makes you feel better or worse, but $236 "extra" per month is SOMETHING.

    So if I have this right, you've got $2,429 in bills/loans, $450 in groceries, and $260 in gas.....$3,139, just $63 more than your monthly take home.

    Get rid of the Netflix, trim your groceries down (cutting meat consumption will help dramatically) as far as you possibly can and you might just be able to hack it until March when your van is paid off. A $300 payment gone and lower insurance premiums and you'd be good to go. Unless of course I missed something important in your post.
    Last edited by druthb00; 10-27-2010 at 02:23 PM.

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    Registered User mamachop's Avatar
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    Amy,

    I don't know what to say except that I'm sorry the way things are going for you. I understand about the financial stress and the depression. Keep your head up! Even when things happen that we don't understand God is with us and he we help you and your family and show you the way when the time is right.

    Try to stay positive for your husband and your three precious little girls and your sweet little boy they need you to stay strong for them.

    Are the credit card companies willing to work with you?

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    Have you looked at the Craigslist ads in your area for PT jobs or even "gigs".

    craigslist: north carolina classifieds for jobs, apartments, personals, for sale, services, community, and events


    Are those CC payments minimums?

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    Registered User warramra's Avatar
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    I know...the $710 per week is an estimate. Our monthly income from DH's full-time work has fluctuated these past few months from $2700 and $3000. I just wanted a fixed, medium number to work with.

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    Registered User warramra's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mamachop View Post
    Amy,

    I don't know what to say except that I'm sorry the way things are going for you. I understand about the financial stress and the depression. Keep your head up! Even when things happen that we don't understand God is with us and he we help you and your family and show you the way when the time is right.

    Try to stay positive for your husband and your three precious little girls and your sweet little boy they need you to stay strong for them.

    Are the credit card companies willing to work with you?
    Thank you.

    The credit card companies were not willing to work with us in 2009. Maybe once I'm late they will be more willing. I'm trying to decide whether to contact them and give them a heads-up, but it is BOA and I have always gotten the run around when I've tried to deal with them.

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    Registered User druthb00's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by warramra View Post
    I know...the $710 per week is an estimate. Our monthly income from DH's full-time work has fluctuated these past few months from $2700 and $3000. I just wanted a fixed, medium number to work with.
    Ah, I see. I thought his pay was a fixed amount.

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    Registered User HappyMama's Avatar
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    Amy,

    I am so sorry things are so tough right now. I know it is hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel but it is always darkest before the dawn. Sending blessings your way.

    Before the number crunching, with the amount you are making would you qualify for food stamps or other benefits that might help you out? I have been hearing for many states you can apply on line now.

    Hugs,

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    Registered User warramra's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Russ View Post
    Have you looked at the Craigslist ads in your area for PT jobs or even "gigs".

    craigslist: north carolina classifieds for jobs, apartments, personals, for sale, services, community, and events


    Are those CC payments minimums?
    I check craigslist daily, and will keep doing so.

    And, unfortunately, yes those are the minimums on the credit cards. For years we had low interest rates on our credit cards
    The Visa is almost all medical & dental, but last winter I started using it trying to just make it to the end of the month. When DH's company froze pay again I figured it was a losing proposition and locked away the card.

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    Registered User VanVivCam's Avatar
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    Get rid of internet/homephone/nexflix and there is an extra $77. If you can do it, I personally wouldn't miss making a credit card payment....you are looking at crazy late fees and penalties. Also, when you credit score gets worse, they credit card companies have the right to raise your APR..(or at least they use too).

    Good luck and hugs to you! Just keep working...you are almost thru with the van payment which will be hugh to your revised budget!

    Vanessa

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    Registered User mamachop's Avatar
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    I know things are really hard right now, I hope the credit card companies can work something out with you. I know it won't be much help, but if you go to shopathome.com, maybe you could get your grocery bill down a bit more, they have a lot of coupons that can often times be doubled. God bless you all and I'll be praying for you. Please let us know how your doing!

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    Registered User warramra's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HappyMama View Post
    Amy,

    I am so sorry things are so tough right now. I know it is hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel but it is always darkest before the dawn. Sending blessings your way.

    Before the number crunching, with the amount you are making would you qualify for food stamps or other benefits that might help you out? I have been hearing for many states you can apply on line now.

    Hugs,
    We do get food stamps...$42/month. I take it to Aldi's and buy my baking staples/pasta for the month. Even at Aldi's it doesn't far.

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    McD
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    Is it possible to cut the home phone? I would go without the home phone before the cells, especially since your husband travels 70 miles daily.

    Can you cut or suspend the netflix?

    If at all possible, I would try to do those things before not making a payment to the credit card companies.

    I wish you the very best of luck.

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    Registered User imagine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HappyMama View Post
    Before the number crunching, with the amount you are making would you qualify for food stamps or other benefits that might help you out? I have been hearing for many states you can apply on line
    For food assistance your Gross income has to be at or below 130% of current poverty level

    here is a link for poverty level based on family size

    http://www.coverageforall.org/pdf/FH...vertyLevel.pdf

    remember it is based on gross income ( before taxes, before health insurance etc)

    Here is a link to see if you qualify or not in case anyone wants/needs to know
    http://www.foodstamps-step1.usda.gov/fns/

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    Registered User mamamia's Avatar
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    It's been my own experience, when my husband lost his job and our CC payments were late, a couple of CC companies gave us a reduced payment for up to 3 months. I know how hard it is to deal with this situation. And from the sound of it, you and your dh are doing everything possible. But do try to call the banks and explain to them your situation. It's probable that they'll work with you if they think they won't get a payment for a few months. Afterall, you ARE going to keep paying. You just need a short term adjustment. Of course this MIGHT hurt your FICO score, but believe me, after having an 800 something score, we were reduced to nothing. But, it was just a matter of about 18 months before we had a score up in the 700s again.

    And remember, you already have your house, your car, and you're not looking to get anymore CCs. So if your score should drop, there's not much to worry about, because you really don't NEED that high score to get anything right now. I got over worrying about what that score meant. We were in dire straights, and I needed to worry more about the roof over our heads, and food in our bellies! I read things, and it's almost as if people think that FICO determines you as a person.

    So please try not to let that thought bring you down. You seem like the type of person who will manage this, and come out of it all okay! It's not like you're trying to pull anything on them. So please, take a deep breath, and take one step, and one day at a time. Write down a plan of action. You might even call your mtg company, and see if there's a way for them to help you out on a temp basis if the banks for the CCs don't come thru for you.

    I'm so sorry you're feeling so sad sweetie. But there's a solution out there for this problem. It's going to take alot of talking, but you'll make it work. The main thing is, that you'll call them before they call you, kwim? Hang in there, and HUGS to you!

    I hope you'll get more ideas from the other members. This was just from my own experience and opinion.

    Theresa

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