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Personal Finances / Credit Cards and Consumer Debt


Subject:  Re: Upcoming Financial Ripples... Date:  8/15/2001  11:10 AM
Author:  meyerm Number:  86312 of 312187

One suggestion I haven't seen yet is to cut up your credit cards. Do not let them get you in any deeper.

Do not touch your 401.

Do not worry about your mental stability in staying home with your kids. It will be a rewarding experience watching them grow, educating them, and getting them ready for life. If this is not true, absolutely do not have any more kids.

My wife gave up almost 90k per year to stay at home last year, and while difficult for her to suspend a promising career, my 2 children love it. That is most important.

You can do this. After the amount of money that we save, we live on 60k.

To give you an idea of our monthly expenses and how we do it:

House payment - 800
Car Ins - 150
Disablity/life - 55
Cable - 57
phone - 33
water - 60
garbage coll - 17
electric - 100
real est taxes - 200
Home owners fee- 15
Car payment - 305 (never have more than 1 at a time)
Total of ~ 1800

We budget all other expenses, which include gas, food, sports, and any other entertainment to $1300 per month. We charge everything on a Shell Mastercard to earn free gas, and pay it in full every month. We track it as the month goes along, and if we are going to exceed our budget, we wait until next month. We have not carried a balance on a credit card in 10 years. I'm not sure you are ready for that right now given your credit card debt. When you are, either do not use the things, or pay them off every month. There is no other option if you want to stay out of trouble.

If you do not have this kind of detail on where you spend your money, you cannot control it. I promise you that monitoring it in detail every month will reduce it.

I would like to have suggested to you that you refinance your house at an amount that would have allowed you to pay off your credit cards. I think you said somewhere that it was about 18k you owed. Owing 100K on the house and refinancing at 120k would have added about $140 per month to your payment.That would have been a savings of $650 on your $800 credit card payment, much more significant that the $200 you saved by moving to an apartment. And you would have the house.

Good luck, and pay off the credit cards first. Even if one of you has to take a job at night.
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