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Subject:  Re: Advice Needed Date:  3/4/2003  11:44 AM
Author:  ExplorerDora Number:  154101 of 312187

The weekly allowance is $20 each for my husband and myself. Any clothing, shoes, lunches, or other "wants" must come from this amount.

The AOL is shared by 3 families. One family pays for it for a year and then rotates it. So, in that case, it is really only $7.97 per month.

Cell phone is a one year contract that expires in May. I'll be going to pre-paid at that point.

The car was a bad decision financially. I had the opportunity to purchase a $26,000 for $17,000, so I jumped at it rather than trying to figure out what it would cost me in the long run. Right now, I think I owe more than it's worth, but I'm not sure how I could downgrade to a cheaper car right now (since I may have trouble getting a loan for it).

The gasoline is unfortunately correct. DH and I both have long commutes to work (his is much longer than mine), but he must use his truck for his job. Neither auto is too bad on gas, and they are about the same when compared to each other.

We make no long distance phone calls, and I will be looking to cut costs by cutting all the frills on the bill.

Our electric bill is on a budget billing plan. We have a heat pump that is not very efficient at heating our house, but I don't really feel that the amount saved right now on the bill would justify the cost to change it out.

We do use coupons for our grocery shopping, but only for things that we would be buying anyway. The $80 per week includes all food, household items (such as toilet paper, trash bags, dish detergent, laundry detergent), health and beauty items (such as razors, shampoo, soap), etc.

For my 401K, I have been putting in 6% so that I can get the maximum match of 3%. The 4% profit sharing is awarded no matter what percentage I invest.

What is the general consensus on these questions:

Should I stop contributions to my 401K in order to build and e-fund/pay off debt?

Should I reduce 401k contributions?

Should I stop contributions to dd's 529 account?

The first debt that I plan to work on is MBNA for 2 reasons: ridiculous interest rate, and I just plain hate those guys.

Thanks to everyone for your advice. Keep it coming.

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