Thanks for all of the feedback

Thanks for all of the feedback! I truly appreciate it. I just returned to VA after spending a week in PA with my family and we set up a budget for me which, THANKFULLY, includes me being able to get out of a very cramped apartment and into a townhome in the coming months. It won’t happen for a little while so that allows me to save up for the little move which THRILLS me! I know… moving into a larger space doesn’t sound like the smartest move, however it puts me closer to work which saves me on gas and wear and tear on my vehicle. Plus, it has a larger kitchen. I LOVE to cook, but I HATE cooking in my tiny kitchen which has resulted in too many trips to eat out somewhere or other!

The new budget also allows for me to take over my car payment which my parents have been kind enough to help me out with for quite some time. I’ve hated having to rely upon them for paying MY bills. I don’t know about you, but it is one thing to say “Hey, I need a little extra for food” and another to say “Hey, can you pay my car payment?” Hopefully with this new budget I won’t need to ask for either!

My son is going to be in for a rude awakening though, but it will be good for him to see mommy working hard to get out of debt. It is a lesson I wish I had learned from my parents (who are also in the progress of working their way out of debt) a long time ago. At least we are both taking responsibility and digging ourselves out of that hole. Anyway, back to my son…he is so used to being able to eat out and I’ll be the one to say it…he is spoiled by both me and my parents. He was informed of the budget for eating out each month and about fell over! (He’s dramatic and only 9!) But it needs to be done! Fortunately I teach at a school where there is extra money to be made!

It is an extended year school so when I work all three intercessions I am able to make some extra cash…plus I teaching 3rd grade this coming school year which means I have to work a longer school day (the kids in grades 2-5 go to school until 4:40 pm) which also puts extra money in my pocket. They also have Saturday school to help those students who need even more academic assistance so that is another option for some extra cash if I find I will need more money to make ends meet.

I am just glad that I have a budget in place now and can start paying down my debt.

I attempt to rid myself of my debt

Hoping to get some support as I attempt to rid myself of my debt. I figured that the best thing to do is be honest with myself and others as I work this out. I am a 32 year old teacher (will begin my 2nd year of teaching at the end of July). I am also a single mom to one son, age 9. I’m most concerned with my credit card debt. That alone totals almost $44K.

That does not include my student loan payments (I finished grad school last year and have consolidated those loans along with my undergrad loans which total somewhere around $70K) nor does that include my car payment. Both of those I could easily handle without the credit card debt so that is my first battle! I’ve read time and time again that I should pay off the lowest amount first and then apply that payment to the next card so that is ultimately my plan.

I guess I just need the support and listening ear of people who know how hard it is NOT to use those credit cards…not to overspend…not to eat out, etc… It’s going to be a step by step, day by day thing for me and I want to be able to celebrate each day that I go without doing those things! I hope that I’ve found the right place!

There is support here and sometimes some heated discussions, but in the end, we all want what you want. I encourage your to stick with-it, it is hard.

I have taken to putting my cc’s in a drawer at home and not carry them; that way I cannot use them.

Several people here (me included) recommend Dave Ramsey’s “Total Money Makeover.” It is an easy to read book and has some excellent resources. I do not necessarily recommend paying for all of his resources (not cheap) off the internet.

Again, Welcome and keep us informed, we would love to encourage you. And no, I am not out of debt yet myself!

I am 45k in debt besides my car payment and I can’t make my cc payments anymore. I did sit up a budget and even paying 300.00 less than my payments it still HARD. I am taking baby step everyday. I did contact my creditors to set something up with them but they said they could not do anything until I was late in the payments. my first step is to get rid of the cards if I don’t have them then I can’t use them. Started counting the loose change now and shopping at the dollar store.

I didn’t write the credit bureaus

I didn’t write the credit bureaus, but on each website, there is a place where you can dispute anything and everything on your credit.

You tell them why you dispute it, if you have receipts, correspondence, or whatever. They investigate it, and if they would like to see your receipts and such, they will ask you to send it. But in my case, they just removed it.

Dispute everything! I was told to do that by a credit counselor. I did, and the businesses that don’t respond within 30 days, are removed from your credit report whether or not it was valid. Hope that helps.

Remove items from credit report

Has any member of this group written to the three credit bureaus asking that something be removed? If so, did you have to request it more than once? How long did it take for a reply? Were you notified when the action you requested was taken? I have read some horror stories about dealing with the bureaus. Anyone have a positive experience? Thanks for any info.

I did it online, telling them a debt that was sold of as bad had actually been paid. I also wrote letters to all three and included a copy of the paid-off letter. It took only one time and is not on my report any longer.

I also have written in the past. In my case, I sent a copy of the documentation proving that I had paid the debt in question, and exactly when, showing that it in fact was never late, as reported. I made copies of everything and sent it to all three. It was corrected IN MY FAVOR immediately and I received a written response from them all.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) provides some standards for credit agencies when the accuracy of information contained in a credit report is challenged.

When you report an error, make sure to enclose supporting documents and what is incorrect (balance, open status, etc.) and keep a copy of your submission. Afte the information is received, the credit bureau has 30 days to investigate and get back with you.

If you don’t hear from them by the 30 day mark (45 if you sent followup information) send them another letter, follow up with them. Then send a copy to the FTC, the Federal Trade Commission, Consumer Response Center, CRC-240, 600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20580, 877-392-4357, ( I found this contact information in NOLO’s “Solve your money troubles” book. It has lots of great information)

Also if it isn’t resolved according to your satisfaction, you have the right to put a breif statement on your report. THe FCRA is the one that allows you to get your free credit report every year at You can get one every four months from a different agency or all three at once.

Okay… enough babble. Hope it helps.

Credit report

Don’t be surprised that the information isn’t the same or even correct. I got my report from Experian ( sp??) and they had my address that I have lived at for 19 years, along with two other addresses in different states that I have not even been to, let alone lived in. Two additional address for me, along with the correct one.

When I called them to ask how to correct the information, the woman that answered was so rude and nasty after 15 minutes on the phone with her I finally hung up.

Good luck in trying to get the correct information. Not all that weird. When you apply for payday loans from companies like UtahCashHelp – their lenders do perform credit check. The 3 are different companies and different creditors report to different agencies. Now, allegedly, they share information amongst them, but I have found that is not always true. Mostly, I find that one of them will not that a paid-off, closed account when the others did.

It is important to check all three, just to make sure that there are no erroneous reports on them. It is not imperative that they all have all of your accounts, but it is imperative that whatever information they have is correct.

One more thing, the Credit Bureaus are not notified when you move unless you tell them. They find out when you start applying for credit from the new address or an existing account puts in a negative report reflecting your new address. One of them just discovered that back in the 70s, when I was still a minor I lived on a certain street in Pensacola. Don’t ask me why that showed up, but it did.

We had great disability and life insurance

insuranceActually, we have had great disability and life insurance every since medical school. It won’t pay off all of the debt, but it will come very close. Our credit cards (all 2 of them) have a protection plan as well. Our house will be sold next year when we move – we have a small townhouse, so we’ll make a little out of the sell, which will help us keep our debt at a minimum.

I am receptive to other’s advice, and will take the advice if I can apply it to my situation. This is not the perfect newsgroup for me, but I can’t find any others out there that can help me. Luckily, I’ve gotten some great advice from a few people here. This is not to say that you all don’t have great advice for those in your situation. I greatly appreciate all of your concern.

I’m sorry to hear about your husband’s accident. It sounds like you’ve been through quite a bit and have been affected in positive and negative ways. I hope that you continue to head in a path that leads you to happiness.

Tips on negotiating with creditors?

Hi, I am a 21 year old mother of a 2 1/2 year old, Landen and 1 month old twins, Mason & Chase. I’m new to this but I was just wondering if any had some succesful tips on negotiating with creditors.

I don’t have any credit card debt..Ive never applied for one which I think is a good thing. I have stupid debt like old utilitie bills, bank charge offs..things like that. They always send me negotiations but never when I have the money to pay it by the time they want it!

Please help
if u can!

All my hard work on paying down our cards ended

Well since hubby returned home… all my hard work on paying down our cards ended:( Hubby put stuff on the cards again and our credit card balances are back up.

I am trying to pay more than the min. due and i think it’ll be easier when he’s gone to korea (he leaves next month for a year). he won’t have access to the cards and i’ve told him no more on the cards. my hours at work got cut so i could only pay the min. for right now but the hours are back up now so next paycheck should be alot better for me.

I am wondering if there are any cards out there that offer 0% interest for balance transfers. i think that would help out. maybe move our high interest ones over there like home depot, etc.

thanks for any tips. i have been a member of this blog for well over a year and you guys are wonderful. I am just lost. my husband is so bad with money and i need to get him to learn that credit cards are not “money thats available to spend”. it frustrates me:(

Thanks for letting me vent also 🙂

Last Saturday In The Money on CNN had a segment on debt. Mostly the focus was on credit cards. A credit counseling expert said everytime you use that credit card you are taking out a loan. Maybe you could remind your husband of that. They also showed a video of a meeting of debtors anonymous. The faces were darkened though since it is anonymous.

some possible tips for you. Close the credit card accounts! yes you can close them to new charges even if you do still owe on them. That should help the “falling off the wagon” issue.

next, see if the base that your hubby will be stationed at has a Financial Peace University class. A lot of them do! It would be a great way to get him involved and enlightened to the situation.

Don’t know if any of that will help. But good luck to you and thank you so much for holding down the fort while your hubby is protecting our freedom!

thank you for your tips. i think he knows that credit isn’t good but he gets bored. he’s done good the past few weeks…. we’re just going to have to buckle down with him .

Last weekend i made alist of our cards, what we owed, what our credit limits was and added it all up. i think it was a news flash. i think it really made him realize what kind of situation we were in ya know???

I’m so thankful to have found you


I’m so thankful to have found you!!!

I’m a stay at home mom (with arthritis and disk problems) with a 16 yr old daughter, a hubby that works 1 1/2 jobs, we have 1 car that is paid for and live in an apt.

I try and put what I read and hear into practice, but it doesn’t seem to help and I don’t know why. Every paycheck we are overdrawn. We have no savings and have to choose between bills or gas and food.

I would appreciate any help !!

The payments are on “stuff”

The payments are on “stuff” and a debt consolidation loan – our last big “fix” for our credit card and medical bills debt. I know some would say we should sell the stuff but it wouldn’t help us much at this point.

Also, about the size of the house, do what you can to make you house ‘seem’ bigger. This works fine for now, but we want more children in the next 5 years and we have a 2 bedroom house now. There simply isn’t sleeping space for more than the 2 children we have now.

Take the lead as wife & mom to present the positive of every month a closer step. Be sure to let your husband know how proud you are of him. Debt can load down a husband…

This is hard. My husband always feels responsible although we made our financial decisions together. I’m trying to do what I can to help, but there’s no one to talk to when I get discouraged. If I talk to him, it will only make him feel worse and that’s not what we need!

As for living tight, remember that the important thing is that you are together and tackling this as a family.

We are, but we have $400 a month or less to live on. Groceries, gas, any entertainment (although we do very little), miscellaneous, all the baby stuff (I have a 7mo), etc. Then there’s birthdays and gifts and medical bills and it just gets overwhelming. That’s why when we make any extra it’s hard to put it on debt when the kids need new clothes and Christmas is always coming.

I made a list of our debts from smallest to largest and when we make extra income, we’ll put it on the smallest debt first, etc. How can I figure the payoff of each debt with the extra added? Is there a special calculator for this?

Thanks for your help!

I was moved by your post this morning

Remember, with every payment you are closer to your goal of being debt-free. Congrats on the bonus! Using that bonus to pay of the cc means you won’t have to ‘waste’ that interest money every month now. It’s as if you just got a monthly raise for the amount of the cc minimum payments that you’ve been making! Just make sure to apply to debt, not new spending. About those fixed payment debts-are those like personal loans that are interest -loaded at the beginning?

If so, then every month means you are paying that much more of the principal. Every month is a ‘bigger step’ than the month before! And 5-10 years will go faster than you think, believe it or not. As you take each month’s step closer, try taking a positive look at how much less debt you have this month than last month. Also, about the size of the house, do what you can to make you house ‘seem’ bigger. Clear out all clutter, sell what you don’t need anymore in a garage sale. Use half of the proceeds to pay off a little more of the debt, put a fourth into your emergency savings, and celebrate as a family with the other fourth (even if it just pays for an ice cream party!)

Every time you save money with grocery coupons or sales, use the $5 or $10 you saved to add to the payment of debt. Make of game of how much you can save, and pay-off.

Take the lead as wife & mom to present the positive of every month a closer step. Be sure to let your husband know how proud you are of him. Debt can load down a husband…

As for living tight, remember that the important thing is that you are together and tackling this as a family. Things don’t matter, the people in your life do. Your commitment to being debt-free will affect your children as well. They will see how you set a goal, took the steps to achieve it, and will soon enjoy the freedom from debt! What a lesson to learn early, huh!

Have a terrific day-I will be praying for you!

I can tell that you are not receptive to others

I can tell that you are not receptive to others who are not in your exact situation BUT I will try one more time to give you a lesson I learned… as you state very plainly – take it or leave it!

My hubby had great plans… he works in the coal mines – not doctor material but as equal to your hubby in every sense. He was doing really great with his plans… until a long wall about 2 tons fell on him in an accident. It was a doctor like your hubby that saved his hip and leg and his life and I do thank doctors like him. However….

Hubby made plans and in one moment all changed! At that time he lived life on the financial edge, never having a problem! And if he would have had a better wife I am sure he could have overcome. BUT you see he was left with some permanent injuries and was never to go underground again. His wife decided to bail on him and then he had child support and alimony in addition to a new position that he hated at work.

Needless to say he lost his home, his marriage, and was in debt hell! All because of that accident!!!

You have seemed to plan very well for getting into debt…. can you also handle a crises such as an accident or long term sickness?

I’m not pizzed off. I’ve just been in a bad mood for 40 years.


Just to put this in perspective for everyone, we have oil heat. Prices were WAY high last year, but we were fortunate to have a locked in rate of .99 cents/gallon. This year, it’s up to $1.19… I just got my balance billing offer from them – $181.00 for 10 months, then 2 months off. Argh! Argh! is so right. Wow. Okay I’m trying to work thru my shock here….. Time to start saving money!

First line of defense – plastic covering on the windows.

I use the expensive stuff only on the few windows that I really “have” to see out of clearly/or the looks are really important to me (so the front room for looks and the kitchen for sanity) All other windows, I use the cheap plastic painting drop cloths from Walmart that cost .99 cents and cover several windows. Second line of defense: window and door quilts. I made these for one very cold apartment in PA. I used thrift store sheets and old blankets for the “stuffing” (I wanted them to match and let light thru so I used all off-white sheets and light colored blankets.)

I “tied” the quilts with yarn–I was able to do 5 windows and one door in an afternoon. I tacked a tieback on the back of each quilt so during the day I could tie them in/up. I just nailed the quilts up–they were under the tabtop curtains so it didn’t look too funny. The door was slightly more of a pain–if I do it again, I’ll use a rod so the quilt can be slide off to the side. Of course, you could actually try and make these pretty–paints or different fabrics. I was happy with plain and serviceable…. It made a big difference for us. Single pane windows with cracks let in a lot of cold air…..

Saving on dishwasher detergent

I notice that you moved to the new list shortly after asking your question about dishwasher detergent, so I thought I’d answer this over here on the new budgeting tips website since I see you are here (your test message is the only message I’ve received so far). I only use powdered dishwasher detergent but I have used that you only need about a tablespoon rather than filling up those one or two empty dispenser cups. If your water is very hard, you might need a bit more.

In one of the tightwad books (III), there is a chart on how much soap you should need according to your water’s hardness. Water’s hardness is measured in “grains” (if memory serves) and you can ask your utility company for a reading.

OR, if you don’t want to get that technical, just start with 1 Tablespoon and add more if you think you need it. I believe I’ve heard that vinegar can be successfully used in the rinse dispenser, but don’t quote me on that.

Congrats on the dishwasher! We had a portable for several years – a real lifesaver for us! Like was mentioned, the big thing is to measure your soap. I store my detergent in a large square plastic container with an 1/8 measuring cup. My dishes come clean with that amount. Because my water is fairly “soft”, I don’t notice a big difference between expensive versus cheap detergents. So I use the dollar store brand.

Folks with harder water seem to have more problems. At my parents, we use vinegar in the rinse water (their water is super hard–we set the timer for a reminder.) Final thought – I picked up a bar of all-purpose laundry soap – Octagon by Colgate-Palmolive – to make the homemade laundry soap with and the company says that it can be used for dish-washing too…… hmmmm.

BTW, I have used white vinegar in my dishwasher as a rinse aid in the past.

I tend to alternate it with using jetdry (bought with a coupon, of course! LOL), and using nothing. I have found that in our hard-water area, I tend to get buildup and etching on glasses if I stick with any one of these methods for too long. I definitely agree on using less detergent…..the manufacturer’s little handy measuring device calls for about three times more than my d/w needs to clean a regular load.