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Our 2009 Overall Picture

January 6th, 2010 at 01:21 pm

2009 wasn't a banner year for us but we did get rid of a substantial amount of debt. Unfortunately, we also incurred $52,000 in new debt.

Before the man person's health crisis in November, we had $2000 in debt. After the crisis, we have $54,000 in debt.

Assets equal approximately one third of the debt.

The good news is that we have no mortgage, no car payments, no credit card debt. Almost all of the debt is to the hospital and physician.

So much for 2009. I'm glad it's over and I have high hopes for 2010!

(Insert heavy sigh here)

Quick wrap up of 2009 & today's spending

December 31st, 2009 at 02:19 pm

Okay, so this year was good, bad, and even ugly financially.

The Good:

The man person's business is doing pretty well and pays most of the bills. I'm still working at the job I've had for two years and we manage to save a good portion of what I bring in or we use it for "fun" stuff.

In May of 2009 I opened a 401(k) with my employer and while there isn't much in there, it's something. I also have a very small pension amount with them. I doubt that I'll be with the company for 20 more years but who knows? It could happen.

We're about 1/3 of the way to having a fully funded EF but feel pretty good about what we have in it now. Even the amount we have gives us some security.

We rarely are late to pay a bill now. When it does happen, it's because I simply forget to deal with it, not because we don't have the money.

Our credit reports look a hell of a lot better than they did two years ago.

The Bad:

There isn't much in my 401(k) or pension account. Yeah, they've only existed for a few months but I want them stuffed with goodies..now!

We're only 1/3 of the way to having a fully funded EF. I want it fully funded..now!

Once in a while I'm forgetful and we don't get a bill paid on time. I want to have no bills to pay..now!

Our credit reports, while looking a lot better than they did two years ago, still have a hickey or two on them. I want them cleaned up..now!

Okay, so I'm a little impatient.

And the Ugly:

We have that $45,526.52 hospital bill to tend to. We have a payment plan set up with the surgeon but will throw extra at it and are paying on the pathology bill and will throw extra at it, too, but that hospital bill just looms over us as we try to figure out the best way to deal with it.

All in all, I'd say 2009 was a good year for us financially. Not spectacular but better than 2008 and certainly much better than previous years.

And here's hoping the upward trend continues in 2010.

Oh yeah, here's today's spending:

Laundry - $2.50
Cigarettes - $4.70
Denise Cell Phone - $80 (this is normally around $45 but I got a new phone and part of the monthly charge was pro-rated so this bill was higher than usual)
Americano to have while washing clothes - $2.11

Credit Reports - not great but not as bad as I thought!

December 8th, 2009 at 03:39 pm

For a little back story, see this entry.

Since we don't use credit cards and don't have a mortgage (and hope not to have one i the future) I'm not overly concerned about credit reports but since I hadn't checked mine in a couple years I did so this afternoon. I was only able to get two of them;Experian and TransUnion but neither had the slew of stuff on them that was present when I checked it in 2007.

They each have four things listed under "Accounts in Good Standing" and two things listed as negative. One of those things is the home foreclosure from 2007 and there's nothing I can do about that. But the other is a $340 electric bill in collections from last year that I knew nothing about. Now that I know about it I'm going to deal with that one.

DH checked his reports, too. There's a small medical bill we don't recognize and are going to call about tomorrow and an old cable bill from when he was working in another part of the state.

The total of things that need to be paid on both reports is a little less than $1000. Hey, not bad from $16,000 eighteen months ago, huh? Of course, the one report I couldn't get might have a lot more on it but I don't think so. I'm going to send them the request form tomorrow and should get a printed copy of that before too long.

I don't plan to need credit anytime soon but it's good to know that the report isn't the disaster it was the last time I looked. Yaaay for paying off debts and getting them off credit reports and for old debts rolling off credit reports. Smile

But we mustn't get too terribly excited - DH's heart procedure a month ago is costing us $52,000, all from our pocket. We've worked out a payment plan for the physician's $5,000 but not the remainder. Ahhh well, life's a bitch.....wear a helmet, right?

Staying calm in very disturbed waters

January 30th, 2008 at 05:43 pm

Since posting the entry earlier today about our Cash Flow Plan shock, DH and I have done a lot of talking. Blessedly, we're on the same page in all this. And even more wonderfully, he's a rock right now. He's concerned but is staying calm and keeping me from freaking out. He'll freak out later when I'm calm. That's how we do things around here;only one person freaking at a time. Otherwise it's pure chaos.

Together, we decided to have dinner out tonight (our last hurrah for quite awhile!) and enjoy it. So we went to a place that serves great hamburgers. He had a hamburger and I had a steak sandwich and we split an order of incredibly fantastic onion rings. The cost was $16.72. And since we'd already decided that we must quit smoking NOW we went to Target and got a week's worth of nicotine patches. We know the patches help since we used them during our quit in 2004. While at Target we got milk and a couple other things we needed and I used my 10% discount and a coupon for $5 off any purchase of $25 or more so we spent $37.96.

The patches cost $24.34 with the tax and discount figured in and although I'd guessed we spend about $45 a week on cigarettes he told me today we spend closer to $70. So, since we won't smoke while using the patch that's an immediate savings each week of $46 and some change. Back in 2004 I used the patches for just a few days and he used them for a couple of weeks. I don't think we'll need them for more than 3 weeks so we will see the $70 a week savings very soon if it goes as it has before.

We talked about me finding a different job and the issue with my medical expenses. He made me see some positives in all this mess like the fact that his business has very low expenses and is growing and we both know how to live on almost nothing and creditors aren't hounding us right now.

I get paid Friday and will use $87 of whatever I get to put in the food envelope. This is a three pay period month so I figure it's okay to divide the monthly food budget amount by three rather than two. It makes me feel a little better, anyway.

I remind myself to take deep breaths and I tell myself, "Four walls first, we'll be fine.." It helps.

FPU's Cash Flow Plan! Hold me, I'm scared!

January 30th, 2008 at 02:50 pm

Earlier today we filled out our quickie budget sheet for FPU. So far, so good. It was fairly painless and things looked pretty good or at least not as bad as I thought they would.

I'd read in the FPU forum several messages where members said they were scared and I wondered why they were scared. Now I know why!

We're working on our Cash Flow Plan and the numbers just aren't working! What a shock, huh? With the expenses broken down as they are in the CFP, it's very clear to me that we have way too little money. Duh, I knew that! But I've just flown by the seat of my pants and buried my head in the sand so long and so well that although I knew we didn't have enough money I didn't know just how much we didn't have. Now I know. And yes, I'm scared! I was shaken enough that as DH and I talked about it, my eyes misted over. Okay, they didn't just mist over. I actually cried a little. Yes, I'm very scared. DH is so calm, though. He's a rock, telling me it will be okay and not to worry about it all right now, that we need to know what the truth is and that this is the best thing. I know he's right but its still scary.

According to the numbers right now, we have $85 less than we need per month. And that's before we figure in things like retirement fund, furniture replacement, water and gas (which we don't pay now but will at some point), any kind of health, disability or life insurance (which we don't have and do need), dental and optometry care, or payments to any of the creditors we owe (which we don't pay now and haven't in years but want to).

And then there's this. For the last year I've gotten my medications free through the pharmaceutical companies but now that I'm working and DH's business is half way good, I more than likely won't qualify for their programs. So I won't get free medications and supplies and we don't have insurance to help with that. It wouldn't be so bad if the cost of my medications and supplies wasn't astronomical but it is astronomical - $1300 to $1500 a month, give or take a couple hundred dollars or so. And there's simply no way I can afford health insurance right now even through the state's high risk pool which quoted me a monthly premium of about $875.

Okay, so what to do? Well, it looks as though one thing I need to do is find a job that either pays me enough to pay for health insurance or medication or provides HMO coverage for a reasonable charge. My employer is keeping me below full time hours and I don't see that changing any time soon so I don't qualify there. Great, just great. And I don't have the job skills to land the kind of job that's going to pay me what I need so I'll have to find a job with decent medical coverage.

So yeah, I'm scared. I'm really scared right now. And I don't like it one bit but it is what it is.

I'm drinking the kool aid and it's pretty damned bitter.

Brutal honesty at work, Part II

January 29th, 2008 at 10:14 pm

On January 2 of 2007, I posted an entry called Brutal honesty at work. That entry was about what was on one of my credit reports. Sadly, that same credit report, pulled about two weeks ago, hasn't changed except that item #2 is now slightly over $1300 and we no longer have the house payments. Unfortunately, we don't have the house payments because we lost the house in foreclosure. It is what it is, though.

Well at least there's nothing new on it but I'm shamed that a full year later I'm still trying to figure out what the hell to do with all that debt! The total on my three credit reports is close to $7000. DH has about the same amount in old debt. :::deep breath:::

I do have a tentative plan in mind. I can't deal with it all right now but I'm going to get a firm plan in place and get that stuff dealt with quickly. Some of it is due to roll off before long but I owe the debts and I'm going to pay them. It might take me awhile but I'm going to do it. I'm tired of those things hanging over my head and I want them gone!

I feel better just 'fessing up...again.

What would YOU do?

January 17th, 2008 at 07:00 pm

We don't have any current debt right now - no house payments (lost the house in foreclosure recently) no car payments, and no credit cards. However, DH and I both have some old debt on our credit reports, totaling something near $15,000. Of course, our credit absolutely stinks. I'd like to improve it but honestly, that isn't the biggest concern in my life right now.

This summer I'll have a few thousand dollars that I could put toward those debts but I don't know the best way to handle it. The money won't be enough to pay ALL the old stuff but it's going to be enough to pay some of the debts in full. But we also need to save some of the money. Keep in mind that we only have about $1100 saved right now, DH owns a 6 month old business with a wildly varying income, and I work retail for slightly above minimum wage, with hours being cut. And soon we'll have to find another place to live.

One of the things that stumps me is that I've read that once I pay one or two of the creditors I'll be contacted by the others wanting their money, too. But I simply can't pay them all at one time, not even if they were willing to take payments.

Should I wait until I have the money then contact a few of the creditors and pay them in full? Should I disregard them and save the money? If I pay off some of the creditors, will the others then come after me?

What would YOU do?

Confessions of a person with really suckie credit...

September 27th, 2007 at 06:45 am

It all started back in the 80s when my first husband and I got our first credit cards. In the beginning we treated them with great respect, only using them for emergencies and diligently paying them off each month before any payment was due. Before long we were making payments that were more than the minimum but less than what we'd been paying but we paid them on time, faithfully. Then, sometime later, we made only the minimum payments and those would be a day or two late.

Of course, it went downhill from there to the point where all the accounts had been canceled and we owed more than we could pay, even in monthly installments. When we got divorced, nothing about those debts was in the agreement. I don't know if he got notices about those credit cards but I sure did. I paid what I could on them but ended up with several charge offs.

Fast forward to the late 90s. New relationship, different house, and I responded to a credit card offer. Lo and behold, I got the card! In fact, I got two or three for which I applied. (Were they nuts or what?) Apparently I hadn't learned my lesson yet as the same thing happened with those cards. I treated them with great respect at first but that didn't last long.

Eventually, my mother got me a card on one of her accounts and I would use it when I "needed" something and pay it off each August when I got my yearly payment from a lawsuit my first husband and I had been involved in years before. I could sit here and put some of the responsibility on the other half of the 12 year relationship that ended in late July of this year. But I won't. That card was mine and regardless of what he did or didn't do, I wasn't responsible with the card or my mother's trust. And I paid for it, dearly.

Each August I owed a little more than I had the previous August. In truth, the card was often used to pay the electric bill, buy food, and more times than I care to admit, get cash to prevent foreclosure on our home. It was definitely reassuring to know it was there in case of emergency but it was also a crutch and I abused it.

In 2006 I paid almost $6,000 in August. This year it was more than $9,000. After I paid the balance, Mom canceled the card with my wholehearted blessing. I wanted to celebrate after it was done!

My credit is ruined but that's not such a bad thing for me. If I choose to, I can work on improving and rebuilding it.

I do things on a cash basis now and don't have access to any credit cards. Nor do I want access to any. If I can't pay cash for it, I just don't get it.

So, I get a certain amount of cash each month to pay my bills and live on and when it's gone, it's gone. There's no more until the next month. I have money set aside in case of an emergency but getting to it would be deliberately difficult.

Honestly, it's hard at times living this way. I don't like it when I'm out of money for the month and have to make do like I am right now. But I don't know any other way to handle my finances. I have to be fierce with myself about money, almost ruthless. But it's working.

Oh and when I get credit card offers, they immediately go into the trash..unopened.

It is what it is.

Our debt (gulp)

January 6th, 2007 at 09:26 am

So my other half is finally really on board with getting out of debt. In light of that, he actually got his credit report. He had more debt than he thought. He made a spreadsheet and we entered items from both our CRs into it. The total amount of debt on the CRs, not including our home mortgage, is $14,202. There are probably a few things we've forgotten that aren't on the CRs but that's what we're aware of right now.

Some of it has been charged off, some accounts are closed or in collections and I'm not sure yet how to deal with those. I'm afraid of "waking the sleeping giant" so to speak by paying them so I'm not sure how to go about this. I also don't even know if it's wise to pay something that's been charged off and is due to roll off the CR in a year or so.

But there we have it, the debt according to the CRs. (she says as she heaves a sigh of relief at just knowing the number)

Brutal honesty at work

January 2nd, 2007 at 07:23 am

Okay, this is what's on the Trans Union credit report. I have never been so open with anyone, much less strangers, about my credit and debt, so this is new to me. However, I've read enough here to know yall are knowledgeable and compassionate so here goes some brutal honesty. I have no idea what to do with these debts. Do I pay them? I'm afraid to contact them for fear it will start the process all over but I need to deal with them.

#1
Balance $153
Pay Status: Collection Account
Open Account
Date placed for collection: 9/2003
Estimated date for removal 9/2008

#2
Balance $1251
Pay Status: Charged off
Revolving Account, Credit card
Opened: 01/2001
Closed: 05/2002
Estimated date for removal 02/2008

#3 *Collection Agency Attorney*
Balance $182
Pay Status: Collection Account
Date placed for collection: 12/2004
Estimated date for removal 9/2009

#4
Balance $687
Pay Status: Charged off
Revolving account, credit card
Opened: 09/2001
Closed: 03/2002
Estimated date for removal 9/2008

#5
Balance $0
Pay Status: Charged off
Revolving account, credit card
Opened: 9/2001
Closed: 3/2002
Purchased by another lender
Estimated date of removal 10/2008

#6
Balance $1,158
Pay Status: Collection account
Open account, placed for collection
Loan Type: Factoring Company Account (not sure what this is)
Date placed for collection: 05/2005
Estimated date of removal 08/2008

#7
Balance $509
Pay Status: Collection account
Open account, placed for collection
Loan Type: Factoring Company Account
Date placed for collection: 10/2003
Estimated date of removal: 10/2008

#8
Balance $0
Revolving account, credit card
Pay Status: Charged off
Date opened: 12/1999
Date closed: 4/2002
Date Paid: 9/2001 (does this mean I paid it off or something else? I'm lost!)
Purchased by another lender
Estimated date of removal: 8/2008

Then there's our mortgage - balance is $16,054

Argh, I'm so confused!

January 1st, 2007 at 09:07 pm

Okay, I've been reading about credit stuff and still am confused. I got a copy of the standard DV letter but am not sure just when to use it. I don't know if I should just ignore the ones that will be rolling off before long or pay the bloomin' things!

In August, I will have money to pay off some debts so I wonder if I should just pay them them.

I understand that from a moral standpoint, the debts should be paid and I am good with that but I don't want to cause myself damage in the long run by paying off something that might be best left alone.

Ahhh, the thrills and joys of bad credit!

Speaking of bad credit, as I said I didn't pay the $8 to get my score but I did use the credit score compass at:

http://www.credit.com/landing_pages/compass/

to get an estimate. It's bad, very bad. The estimate is ... 495-535. Gulp!

Please, don't hate me because I'm a credit risk!

I got my credit report from TransUnion

January 1st, 2007 at 07:03 pm



I didn't get the score as I just don't have $8 for that right now but I did get the report. It's not a pretty sight but I thought it would help me figure out some of the old debt issues.

Now what do I do? Write the people and request verification that I owe them or what? I'm not sure what to do.

A friend of mine got divorced and had horrendous credit. She spent two years and very little money working to clean it up and it's much better now. I believe she said the first thing she did was get verification from every single debtor on the reports that she owed the money and they had the right to collect it. Apparently, this somehow enabled her to not pay some of them. Also, she didn't pay the ones that were soon to be off the report. There are a few that show on this report due to be taken off between July and December of 2008. Should I pay them or just let them go? And I don't know about things marked as "charge off". I don't know if I should try to pay those or just ignore them.

Okay, off to google to find some good credit sites!