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Author: BraveMom One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 308694  
Subject: A Tentative Intro Date: 8/8/2007 9:34 PM
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Hello,

I have just discovered three things:

1.) My well-intentioned husband has been juggling $100,000 of consumer debt that I didn't know we had. He "wanted to protect me from the negative." And now that he cannot keep up and the phone is ringing off the hook, I investigated the paperwork and started opening the mail myself. Voila.

2.) I have deeper reserves of both anger and patience than I ever dreamed possible.

3.) This website.

When I confronted him about it all, he asked me to help him fix it. I don't even know where to begin (other than prayer). We don't have anything close to enough income to make all the minimum payments, much less to ever get them paid. And the creditors are already mad, as this has been going on for a long time.

I have spent a week just trying to get a snapshot of where we are, and it's one slug to the gut after another. So I have "Rocky" music playing in the background. I am not a quitter. I just need some REALLY good information immediately.

TIA for what I know will be a lot of help!
BraveMom
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Author: aj485 Big gold star, 5000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 257379 of 308694
Subject: Re: A Tentative Intro Date: 8/8/2007 10:06 PM
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1.) My well-intentioned husband has been juggling $100,000 of consumer debt that I didn't know we had. He "wanted to protect me from the negative." And now that he cannot keep up and the phone is ringing off the hook, I investigated the paperwork and started opening the mail myself. Voila.

Gee, I'll bet that was an interesting conversation.......

2.) I have deeper reserves of both anger and patience than I ever dreamed possible.

I am glad you are discovering the patience along with the anger.

3.) This website.

Welcome!

When I confronted him about it all, he asked me to help him fix it. I don't even know where to begin (other than prayer). We don't have anything close to enough income to make all the minimum payments, much less to ever get them paid. And the creditors are already mad, as this has been going on for a long time.

I have spent a week just trying to get a snapshot of where we are, and it's one slug to the gut after another. So I have "Rocky" music playing in the background. I am not a quitter. I just need some REALLY good information immediately.


Do you know yet if the debt is in your name, in his name, or in both of your names?

I would recommend, while you are gathering information that you pull credit reports from each of the 3 credit bureaus for each of you. You can get free credit reports from www.annualcreditreport.com

I recommend this because, if he has been hiding the information from you, he may not have all the information that you need. If you don't know about some of the accounts, and they keep popping up here and there, it may ruin a perfectly good plan.

AJ

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Author: Windowseat Big funky green star, 20000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 257380 of 308694
Subject: Re: A Tentative Intro Date: 8/8/2007 10:09 PM
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Hi Bravemom, congratulations on not killing your husband.

If you would be brave enough to post your list of debts, in something similar to this format:

http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=25766099

it would help us know how bad things are. Use the < pre > < / pre > formatting I've mentioned, and in order to separate lines just give the space bar a hit to hold the line.

And then you can be prepared to have us tear your budget apart. If you saw us with dilldaise you know it won't be fun, but it sounds as though you are looking for answers, and not quick fixes.

We'll do everything we can for you.

Nancy
isn't it funny how people who love us try to protect us by concealing the truth?

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Author: WendyBG Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Favorite Fools Top Recommended Fools Feste Award Winner! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 257384 of 308694
Subject: Re: A Tentative Intro Date: 8/8/2007 10:27 PM
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<My well-intentioned husband has been juggling $100,000 of consumer debt that I didn't know we had.>

To BraveMom: do you live in a community property state?

To the knowledgable people on the CCCD board: if one spouse runs up debt, in his own name (not his spouse'), and the non-debt spouse has assets in her own name (not her spouse's), in a non-community property state, can she protect her own assets?

To BraveMom: my heart goes out to you. Your stress must be intense.

Wendy

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Author: BraveMom One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 257393 of 308694
Subject: Re: A Tentative Intro Date: 8/9/2007 1:54 AM
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Thanks for your time, A.J. The debt is in both of our names. It is from a monthly deficit x 8 or 9 years of no budget, etc.

I appreciate the link, thanks.

FWIW, he is a wonderful man. I really meant it when I said he was well-intentioned. We have all made mistakes. This was a doozy...but so are the mistakes I have made here, such as not insisting on a budget, not staying well-informed, and assuming everything was OK.

It's really hard to forgive, if I stay in the self-righteous mode. I am doing my best to focus on his good intentions, while at the same time correcting the issues that led up to it. This has not been easy. Yet it is the way I hope someone would treat me.

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Author: mrparrotfez Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 257394 of 308694
Subject: Re: A Tentative Intro Date: 8/9/2007 1:58 AM
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You are indeed a BraveMom.

I went through something like this on a smaller scale when I moved in with my future wife. Answers like:

"Oh, yeah, I haven't paid the truck lease for six months."

"That's right, I have two student loans, not one. Sorry."

"Dear, I charged the truck license on the credit card. I haven't paid it. I'm sorry, I was afraid to tell you."

It was bad.

I'm sorry to hear that your trust was so betrayed. You trusted your husband to tell you the truth, and instead he shielded you from it, thus making the problem worse. That's not right. But I sense that you're pretty tough, so here's my suggestion: as the sane one in the relationship (assuming it survives...many would not), in my judgment as a former massive debtor turned cash-in-the-bank investor and based only on what you have said, you are better suited to manage the money.

If you were my sister (and given my brother-in-law's terminal financial stupidity, you could well be), I would tell you that your first step must be (along with the other good suggestions you've received) to take away from this man all money management, and appoint yourself financial manager of the relationship. You can't possibly do worse than he's done. Somehow, you must make sure he can't screw things up worse, and you must make that stick.

I had to do that with my future wife. I told her: "Listen. I'm sick of the new-debt-of-the-month club. It ends here. From now on I'm running this show, and neither of us spends more than $100 without we discuss it BEFORE THE FACT. You've been teetering near Chapter 11 all your life. But if you do as I say, stick with me, and trust in me, I will get you to a day you no longer have to beg banks."

My wife heard the tone in my voice and went along. Seven years later, I invited her to join me as we paid off the pathetic remnant of our consumer debt. What a joy when I told her, as we stood in the credit union's line: "Dear, if you ever liked owing people a bunch of money, I recommend you savour the last five minutes of it. The end is six customers away, assuming the line keeps moving."

Other people here have gotten out from under worse. It will take frugality, obstinacy and intelligence, but your post radiated these qualities. It is time to take charge. His ego will have to deal.

Good luck and good strength.

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Author: BraveMom One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 257395 of 308694
Subject: Re: A Tentative Intro Date: 8/9/2007 1:59 AM
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Nancy, thank you for your reply. I pray that I learn something from all of this. I will post the stuff when I can gather it all together.

BraveMom

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Author: BraveMom One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 257396 of 308694
Subject: Re: A Tentative Intro Date: 8/9/2007 2:10 AM
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Thanks, Wendy.

The debt is, as it should be, in both of our names. It is not his debt. It is our debt.

It was from years of things like putting medical co-pays and prescription medicine on a credit card, not noticing increasing interest rates, late payments, etc. It was simply putting many of the things we needed (and really very few luxuries at all) on credit over a long time.

There just wasn't enough to go around, and he didn't have the heart to tell me that he was unable to pay off the accumulating debt. He wanted me to stay home and raise our own kids, etc. He had good motives, although he has a ton of regret now.

BraveMom

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Author: esthesis One star, 50 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 257397 of 308694
Subject: Re: A Tentative Intro Date: 8/9/2007 3:14 AM
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http://www.frugalvillage.com/

is a good site, too.

As others mentioned, if you list your budget we can provide more advice.

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Author: Jennlee222 Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 257403 of 308694
Subject: Re: A Tentative Intro Date: 8/9/2007 7:53 AM
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Hi BraveMom - welcome to the Fool!

Shame on your DH for keeping you in the dark.

Good for you to get in there and find out everything. Knowledge is power. Dig dig dig.

$100,000 is a lot of money in consumer debt. Do you know where it went? DH doesn't have a gambling issue or something like that does he? It seems a bit hard to believe he could buy $100,000 worth of "stuff" and keep you completely in the dark about it. Find the root cause of his spending and that's what you'll need to fix to prevent it from continuing while (and after) you clean up the mess.

Your situation sounds bad from even this very limited information because you say you aren't close to being able to make the minimum payments. This indicates immediately that you will need to take action to either increase your income or decrease your expenses. Can DH get a second job to help clean up his mess? It will help him learn a lesson, increase your income, and help pay down the debt. I'm sure you'll get many suggestions on budgeting and cutting costs if/when you post your numbers.

Good luck - you'll find a lot of help here. Keep an open mind about suggestions, and keep a thick skin because you may hear things you don't like or that are scary.

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Author: Windowseat Big funky green star, 20000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 257404 of 308694
Subject: Re: A Tentative Intro Date: 8/9/2007 7:57 AM
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The debt is, as it should be, in both of our names. It is not his debt. It is our debt.

It was from years of things like putting medical co-pays and prescription medicine on a credit card, not noticing increasing interest rates, late payments, etc. It was simply putting many of the things we needed (and really very few luxuries at all) on credit over a long time.

There just wasn't enough to go around, and he didn't have the heart to tell me that he was unable to pay off the accumulating debt. He wanted me to stay home and raise our own kids, etc. He had good motives, although he has a ton of regret now.


It takes a lot of strength to be able to say that. It's very, very easy to fall into the blame game. Since you refuse to do so, and insist that both of you are responsible, you stand a much better chance of coming out of this than some other people we're seen.

I hope we can find some answers for you.

Nancy

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Author: LGM2007 One star, 50 posts Old School Fool Motley Fool One Everlasting Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 257407 of 308694
Subject: Re: A Tentative Intro Date: 8/9/2007 8:52 AM
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We'll do everything we can for you.

Nancy
isn't it funny how people who love us try to protect us by concealing the truth?


This is purely a guess of course, but based on the OP's statements, it sounds to me like DH was more protecting himself from embarassment - assuming the stereotypical male role of being the primary breadwinner (regardless of whether they both work or not) and didn't want to admit to his DW that they were in bad shape, hoping somehow he could make it work - - - until it became just too obvious that it was impossible under the current situation. Congrats to him for breaking out of that mindset to get help figuring out a way forward.

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Author: Gingko100 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 257416 of 308694
Subject: Re: A Tentative Intro Date: 8/9/2007 10:10 AM
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Hang in there, Brave Mom! You really are brave. That conversation with DH is the first and most important step. Take herat in that many in your situation here have indeed paid off huge debt and found themselves in much a better place down the road. Knowledge is power, and you have taken the first step to find out the whole truth.

I will post more later - but a few thoughts...

- I agree you should be the money manager. My Mom manages the money in my parent's house. She's great at it and my Dad is kind of the can't-be-bothered-head-in-the-sky guy (but he's super-duper-crazy frugal though). So that works well for them.

- If you really were putting necessities on the CCs and not nice-to-haves, then you probably can't afford to be a SAHM and will ned to look into a job. Or two. It sounds as if you financed your (his?) dream of that life on credit. Ouch.

You will no doubt be asked a lot of questions here that will probe and may hurt. Try not to take them personally, and be open to all ideas. Open doesn't mean they can't be later rejected, just that you should mull them over first in light of the big picture.

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Author: FiddleDeeDee Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 257449 of 308694
Subject: Re: A Tentative Intro Date: 8/9/2007 12:27 PM
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My well-intentioned husband has been juggling $100,000 of consumer debt that I didn't know we had. He "wanted to protect me from the negative."

Hi Bravemom! Your situation is EXACTLY like mine, only the amount of debt is different.

Your DH is probably relieved to be able to come clean about how much is owed, and you can both work together. Two heads are always better than one - you will both come up with great ideas.

My DH and I are well on our way to becoming debt free. There will be a few uncomfortable months, but just stick to it.

The main thing I would suggest to do is to sit down at an appointed time and go over all the spending. At first we did that every day, then every few days, then once a week, and now it's monthly.

I just wanted to let you know that there was someone here who understands your situation completely. You are not alone!

Andrea

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Author: dswing Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 257453 of 308694
Subject: Re: A Tentative Intro Date: 8/9/2007 1:00 PM
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The best information I have for you is just to keep on working with your DH (dear husband) to have TOTAL VISIBILITY into your finances. You should both be aware of all assets and liabilities -- to have the finances go out of control is indeed BOTH of your faults.

My own mother (gotta love her) is in the "I don't like getting the mail because there's bills in there" camp of "dealing with finances". Sigh. Abdicate all financial responsibilities to other people... and disaster is the typical result.

OK I lied, here's another piece of advice: If you racked up piles of consumer debt, one recourse is just to start selling all your stuff (hopefully it wasn't all on food and vacations). Divesting yourself of lots of possessions can also help give you that "cleansing" feeling.

Best of luck to you, and stick with the board for advice, it will change your life for the better.

~dswing

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Author: GuildWarsQueen Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 257468 of 308694
Subject: Re: A Tentative Intro Date: 8/9/2007 2:45 PM
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It was from years of things like putting medical co-pays and prescription medicine on a credit card, not noticing increasing interest rates, late payments, etc. It was simply putting many of the things we needed (and really very few luxuries at all) on credit over a long time.

There just wasn't enough to go around, and he didn't have the heart to tell me that he was unable to pay off the accumulating debt. He wanted me to stay home and raise our own kids, etc. He had good motives, although he has a ton of regret now.


If you've read past posts on this board, you've probably seen this line:
When you're in a hole, stop digging. Try to stop spending any money while you figure out how much you owe to whom.

Quick tips on cutting spending that might help:
* Instead of eating out, eat at home.
* Cook what you have at home. Use up the stuff in the pantry and freezer.
* If you do have to buy groceries or personal care items, be cheap. Use coupons, try the store brand of stuff, try shopping at discount places like Aldi.
* Try to lower your utility bills. If you have A/C bump the thermostat up a degree or two. Make sure lights and other things gets turned off when you're not using them.
* Kids do not need an entire new wardrobe or cases of school supplies to go back to school. Only buy what is absolutely necessary, not everything your child wants.

Quick tips to get money:
* Sell books/cds/video games that you aren't using on www.half.com
* look around and see if there's anything you can sell on www.ebay.com
* have a garage sale
* get a job (you mentioned that you're a SAHM, getting a part time job in the evenings/on the weekends when your DH is home to watch the kids will help bring in some money)
* have DH get a second job at times you're available to watch the kids

Good luck dealing with all of this.

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Author: BraveMom One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 257497 of 308694
Subject: Re: A Tentative Intro Date: 8/9/2007 6:45 PM
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OK. I am ready to post some things. A quick question and one comment first:

On this board, would it be easier to have my new post go under this same one ("A Tentative Intro"), or shall I create a new post for data stuff, etc?

In addition, I must say that I think I can take the heat about whatever needs to change, but I do not want anyone to dogpile on my husband. My goal is to reach the other side of this with a healed relationship, not a divorce. I do not need anyone to pour gasoline on my anger when I am trying to forgive, OK?

If that's not possible, I will not be able to do this. My marriage is important to me, whether any of us happen to agree with my DH's actions. And let me say that I am not thrilled....

But he is not here to defend himself, and as such, I would like to leave criticism of him out of it. Deal? Or am I being a jerk, trying to tell you what to say? If so, tell me I am a jerk...just don't tell me DH is a jerk. ;)

BraveMom

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Author: Windowseat Big funky green star, 20000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 257498 of 308694
Subject: Re: A Tentative Intro Date: 8/9/2007 6:52 PM
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Bravemom,

You can do whichever you prefer in terms of a new thread. And you've made your position clear about your husband, and recognized that you should have been working as partners.

We may ask questions, but I think most of us will try to keep it to, "did your husband say when this started?" (So you may have to ask more questions and dig). And we'll ask whether he is willing to try this that or the other thing. And most of us understand about wanting a healed relationship. But I hope you understand that it won't be exactly the same relationship. It might be a better one, but you can't go back to where you were a month ago.

I think your board name is well-chosen.

Nancy

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Author: SoccerDad9998 Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 257499 of 308694
Subject: Re: A Tentative Intro Date: 8/9/2007 6:52 PM
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This thread is short enough to post it here. If it grows to over 60 posts then PLEASE start a new thread and link back to this one: http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=25776378

Post away BraveMom

SD

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Author: BraveMom One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 257500 of 308694
Subject: Re: A Tentative Intro Date: 8/9/2007 6:55 PM
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<DH doesn't have a gambling issue or something like that does he? It seems a bit hard to believe he could buy $100,000 worth of "stuff" and keep you completely in the dark about it. Find the root cause of his spending and that's what you'll need to fix to prevent it from continuing while (and after) you clean up the mess.

Your situation sounds bad from even this very limited information because you say you aren't close to being able to make the minimum payments. This indicates immediately that you will need to take action to either increase your income or decrease your expenses. Can DH get a second job to help clean up his mess?>



Thanks for your thoughts. However, FWIW, it's not his mess...it's our mess. We are both responsible. He didn't go buy, and hide, new "toys." Credit made up for a monthly deficit.

I thought he was paying off the credit cards, as he did the finances for us. I should have checked years ago. I didn't.

Nevertheless, the credit card charges were for things like medicine, not motorcycles, food, not vacations, etc. The problem was lack of living within our means, on a Don't Ask - Don't Tell Policy...not malicious intent. For that little bit of info, I am grateful. It would be much worse if he had deliberately tried to harm me.

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Author: Windowseat Big funky green star, 20000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 257501 of 308694
Subject: Re: A Tentative Intro Date: 8/9/2007 7:08 PM
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One other thing, Bravemom. We'll be asking a lot of questions about electricity costs and similar matters. So if you could tell us what part of the country you live in, that will help. We'll know whether we need to be more concerned with winter heating costs or summer cooling costs.

Ages of children will also help. (We need to consider child care costs in case of second jobs).

Nancy

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Author: Gingko100 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 257504 of 308694
Subject: Re: A Tentative Intro Date: 8/9/2007 7:19 PM
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Brave Mom: Point taken and respected about DH - there have been others here who think exactly the same as you (see SoccerDad's posts for an example).

But that said, this is an open forum. You are always going to get some less-than-tactful people who will make snide comments about DH; people who have been through uuuuuuuuuuuuuggggly divorces that may make comments that point to that as a solution; people who are just plain rude. This will happen. Do NOT let it discourage you. Remember, most of us here want you to succeed in both your finances and your relationship with DH. And I do think that getting through this will make your relationship stronger in the end.

Just saying. If there are comments, don't give up.

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Author: BraveMom One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 257506 of 308694
Subject: Re: A Tentative Intro Date: 8/9/2007 7:33 PM
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DEBT:  	
					
ACCOUNTS:	BALANCE:	MIN. PYMT.   RATE: 
Medical:	$91.37		$75.00	     18%
Medical: 	$197.82		$25.00	     18%
Dental:  	$201.40		$50.00       0%
Merchant:  	$454.30		$20.00       23.15%
Card:    	$793.82		$33.00	     23.28%
Medical:	$950.22		$50.00	     0%
Hospital:	$1,372.66	$50.00	     0%
Card:   	$2,698.58	$198.58	     9.99%
Card:   	$3,603.58	$104.00	     28.15%
Card:   	$4,690.97	$168.00	     18.24%
Card:    	$5,007.78	$176.00	     28.47%
Card:   	$8,308.99	$175.00	     7.90%
Unpaid          $9,600.00       Suspended    0%
  personal 
    loan	
Card:   	$10,866.37	$175.00	     Temp at 8% (until 11/07)
Card:   	$18,408.61	$300.00      16.99%
Card:   	$23,316.76	$251.00      Temp. at 0%, until 12/07.
Card:   	$23,777.93	$707.00      24.99%   

TOTAL CONSUMER AND MEDICAL DEBT: $114,341.15	
TOTAL MINIMUM PAYMENTS REQUIRED: $2,500 (+)
AVAILABLE MONEY TO PUT TOWARDS DEBT: $1,000-$1,200/month

(FWIW, the accounts with the lower interest rates have little or no available credit for BTs.)	

Other info:  I did print all 3 credit reports.  This seems to be all of it.  




FIXED EXPENSES:	
			
WHAT:      AMOUNT:        MONTHLY PYMT:                       RATE:

Mortgage:  $227, 637.49   Min = below interest only ($773.00) 7.44% ARM
Electricity      	  $188.00	
Assoc. Fees		  $38.00	
Waste   		  $26.00	
Water/Sewer               $66.00	
Cell (contract to 11/08)  $45.00	
Auto Ins.                 $117.32	
House Ins.                $83.33	
Life Ins.                 $62.30	
Donation (Promised)       $10.00	
Allowances		  $26.00	
Property Taxes               ?  (still looking for all the info)
Cable/Phone/Computer      $145.00 (trying to find more details,   
   (combined pkg.)                 as I am willing to have no cable, 
                                   yet the 3-1 pkg. seems to be the
                                   least expensive anyway.  They 
                                   tell me that just phone / computer
                                   access without the pkg. plan would
                                   be just about the same if sold 
                                   separately.  I don't buy that. 

Total Fixed Expenses:     $1,580.62 (?)	
   (so far)


						
VARIABLE EXPENSES:  
	WHAT:                              COST:

Groceries - (family of 5)		  $400.00	
Clothes and Shoes			   $25.00	
School Expenses   		           $25.00	
Cash (for emergency purposes)		   $50.00	
Personal Care Supplies  		   $25.00	
Household Supplies     			   $25.00	
Pet Care			  	   $25.00	
Office Supplies - Business		   $20.00	
Gifts					   $10.00	
Medical Co-Pays				   $20.00	
Pharmacy				  $100.00	
Haircuts				   $12.00
Gasoline                                   $75.00

TOTAL VARIABLE EXPENSES (APPROX.):  	  $812.00	




I am sure there's stuff I haven't thought of yet.  We have never had a written budget (!!!), so I am trying to put this together in a hurry!


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Author: foolazis Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 257507 of 308694
Subject: Re: A Tentative Intro Date: 8/9/2007 7:35 PM
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It was simply putting many of the things we needed (and really very few luxuries at all) on credit over a long time.

This is one of the warning signs of extreme financial stress. Anytime you have to charge groceries, you are in deep financial doo-doo.

foolazis

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Author: paca24 One star, 50 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 257514 of 308694
Subject: Re: A Tentative Intro Date: 8/9/2007 8:00 PM
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But he is not here to defend himself, and as such, I would like to leave criticism of him out of it. Deal? Or am I being a jerk, trying to tell you what to say? If so, tell me I am a jerk...just don't tell me DH is a jerk. ;)

BraveMom


He's welcome to join us (picture an evil grin). He can start his own thread . . . we'll be nice . . . we promise.


Seriously, though, why isn't he here? He helped create the mess you are trying to fix. Did he help you figure out your debts and expenses? Is he helping to create a budget?

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Author: Windowseat Big funky green star, 20000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 257516 of 308694
Subject: Re: A Tentative Intro Date: 8/9/2007 8:09 PM
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Seriously, though, why isn't he here? He helped create the mess you are trying to fix. Did he help you figure out your debts and expenses? Is he helping to create a budget?

Paca24,

I seriously suggest that you drop this line of attack. It will get you nowhere. Bravemom has already made it clear that she will not accept attacks on her husband. If you want to keep ranting, do it in the privacy of your own home.

The object of this board is to help them when possible, not sneer at them.

Nancy

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Author: Windowseat Big funky green star, 20000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 257518 of 308694
Subject: Re: A Tentative Intro Date: 8/9/2007 8:24 PM
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Bravemom,

You don't list the income available, so it's hard to judge exactly what you should be doing. In fact, judging by my own expenses, some items look low, but I probably spend more for medical expenses than other people. And I'm not seeing dental. Three kids equals lots of teeth.

<Office supplies business.>

Does DH run his own business, or does he have a regular job with a corporation, or both?

You've indicated that DH has been hiding this information from you because you wanted to be a SAHM (that's short for Stay At Home Mom). Can you get a job? Can you bring in some income? That would probably help quite a bit, but we'd have to balance it against what childcare costs might run.

You have an ARM (Adjustable Rate Mortgage). When does it readjust? What are the conditions or terms? How much equity do you have in your home?

Nancy

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Author: Frydaze1 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 257519 of 308694
Subject: Re: A Tentative Intro Date: 8/9/2007 8:28 PM
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BraveMom,

Congratulations on what appears to be a well researched first budget. You've included a lot of categories that many people overlook.

Notes:
It's possible that your property taxes are rolled into your mortgage payment - you may want to look there for them.
Electricity seems like a good place to start cutting down. But I realize that with a family of 5, and the size house you probably have to support a family of that size, this may be difficult. Especially in the summer. But I'm pretty sure that with the whole family working at it you can cut at least 1/3 off of that. Also, this is listed under "fixed" so I'm wondering if you're on a level pay plan. If so, you may be either hit with a "catch up" payment at some point, or a revised level-pay amount at the end of the cycle.
Gasoline: $75. I'm jealous. I spend more than that in a week. Are you sure this is accurate?
Pharmacy and Medical are high enough to lead me to believe there is a medical condition in the house. It's none of my business and I'm not going to ask questions about it except this: are additional medical expenses likely?
I don't see a gas/heating expense. Others here might have ideas on reducing that, but I'm impressed.
Your grocery bill is nicely low for such a large family. Congratulations.

I really don't see more than a few hundred dollars a month that you can cut from the monthly budget, and while every little bit will help I don't think it's going to be enough to pull out of this. I think additional income is your only realistic solution here.

Have you called the creditors to see if they'll lower your interest rate? The worst they can do is refuse. But if you can get a few hundred knocked off of the minimum payments it will help a lot, plus it will pay down much faster with the interest lowered. I see 2 cards over 28%, 1 at 25%, and 2 over 23%. These would be my top priority both to call and to pay off.

I respect your decision to work with your husband on fixing this instead of just tossing it back into his lap as his problem. With both of your working together, even a problem of this magnitude can be conquered.

Frydaze1

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Author: Frydaze1 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 257521 of 308694
Subject: Re: A Tentative Intro Date: 8/9/2007 8:31 PM
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I don't see a gas/heating expense. Others here might have ideas on reducing that, but I'm impressed.
Your grocery bill is nicely low for such a large family. Congratulations.


Note to self:
If you add sentences in later, you may come off with snarky sounding nonsense.

What I meant was:


I don't see a gas/heating expense.

Your grocery bill is nicely low for such a large family. Congratulations. Others here might have ideas on reducing that, but I'm impressed.


Frydaze1 <--- silly, but seldon snarky

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Author: SoccerDad9998 Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 257523 of 308694
Subject: Re: A Tentative Intro Date: 8/9/2007 8:36 PM
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Income ??????????

Pretty slim budget... so, I imagine your solution is going to be more on the income side. We got to find an extra $1,500 per month ASAP.

SD

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Author: misssteak One star, 50 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 257525 of 308694
Subject: Re: A Tentative Intro Date: 8/9/2007 9:01 PM
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Hi BraveMom! Just wanted to pipe in and say that your willingness, no-fault/no-blame attitude and grace under pressure and really fantastic and impressive. Looking forward to hearing about all the progress you will make!

Miss Steak

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Author: mapletree8 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 257530 of 308694
Subject: Re: A Tentative Intro Date: 8/9/2007 9:41 PM
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Seriously, though, why isn't he here? He helped create the mess you are trying to fix. Did he help you figure out your debts and expenses? Is he helping to create a budget?

Paca24,

I seriously suggest that you drop this line of attack. It will get you nowhere. Bravemom has already made it clear that she will not accept attacks on her husband. If you want to keep ranting, do it in the privacy of your own home.

The object of this board is to help them when possible, not sneer at them.


Those are valid questions.

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Author: Windowseat Big funky green star, 20000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 257531 of 308694
Subject: Re: A Tentative Intro Date: 8/9/2007 9:50 PM
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Those are valid questions.

Did you read Bravemom's statement that she would not accept attacks on her husband? That the responsibility resided with both of them?

Are you deliberately trying to drive her away from this board?

Nancy

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Author: BklynBorn Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 257532 of 308694
Subject: Re: A Tentative Intro Date: 8/9/2007 10:00 PM
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you don't hear from a lot of us on here but... i was in BraveMom's DH's shoes. different motivation, but same behavior.

i look back now and it seems impossibly crazy. how did i think i wouldn't "get caught"? how did i think i was doing our family any good? i knew my HATT (husband at the time) was crazy - how did i think he would react when i finally fessed up about what was going on?

i was twisting "one day at a time" - as long as my ex didn't throw anything, it was a good day.

sure enough, it fell apart in a landslide. ended in divorce and bankruptcy. of course, there were many other factors in both of them.

anyway, just a voice from the other side of the wall. i'm very glad to see that BraveMom is nixing the piling on.

BklynBorn

p.s. also, though, fwiw, i didn't take paca's questions as sneering or accusatory. the questions are valid - and "tone of voice" doesn't always come across the same way to everyone on the internet. it seemed harmless enough to me.

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Author: BraveMom One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 257535 of 308694
Subject: Re: A Tentative Intro Date: 8/9/2007 10:14 PM
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Whoops, I guess income info would help!

We have about $3,575/month net spendable income.

To clarify "business expenses" -- we operate a business out of our home. I have just lumped all the debts/income in one pile. I don't have time right now to create two separate spreadsheets, etc.

To further clarify, I have been willing, since the day we married, to continue working full-time. (While that was not my preference, I have been willing, and my DH knows that.) However, with his guidance, I have let necessary certifications (for my profession) expire, as he wanted me to never return to the work force after having kids. He knew that was a gamble, and he wanted to do it that way. I had no problem with that, as our income would only grow, right?? :) (Obviously I had never fed growing children before....)

We have three kids. They are all in elementary school. (I am cautious about privacy issues, so bear with me.)

TIA!! BraveMom

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Author: SoccerDad9998 Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 257538 of 308694
Subject: Re: A Tentative Intro Date: 8/10/2007 12:00 AM
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Cash-Flow
=======================
Net Income $3,575.00
Min Debt $2,500.00+
Expenses Fix $1,580.62
Expenses Var $812.00
=======================
-$1,317.62


I am sure some other could squeeze another $317.62 out of that budget. But, the best case scenario is that you still need $1,000 more income to break-even and should have $1,500 more income to have a little cushion and just begin to chip away at the debt.

Income:
Everything points to you working or DH getting a 2nd job or some combo of work for both of you. You have childcare to consider. What would it take for you to net $1,500 per month?

House:
Not sure what to say here. You are in an ARM. This is going to keep going up and I suspect you are going to have a large tax bill coming due in Jan. Do you know how much equity is in the house and if houses are selling in your area? When does the ARM adjust again? Can you rent in your area for much cheaper?

Others will be along to offer suggestions and different perspectives.

But,
Decrease Expenses - not much that can be done here
Increase Income - BINGO
Get Lower Rates - not many options
House - need to address the risk of the ARM

best of luck
SD

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Author: determinedmom Big red star, 1000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 257539 of 308694
Subject: Re: A Tentative Intro Date: 8/10/2007 12:03 AM
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I'm glad you are here and agree there is a serious situation here. For those wondering why BraveMom's husband isn't here posting...I would say that different people are helped by different things. Coming somewhere like this and posting (or even reading) is not the type of thing that really appeals to my DH. I've mentioned to him that I come here and he has no interest. That doesn't mean he isn't interested in working on debt.

Anyway....I see you have expenses of around $5000 a month and income a bit under $3600. More to the point...the minimum payments are about 71% of your net income. Worse, minimum payments plus the mortgage are about 93% of the net income.

Cutting expenses is not going to be enough given the albatross of the credit card payments.

A few thoughts --

1. You get a job. I understand you may not be able to do the time of work you could do before due to lack of certification (can those be renewed?) but anything to cover the at least $1500 a month short fall would help.

2. What about your husband and his work? You say there is a business run out of your home? I assume that is your husband's business. Is it possible that he could have a higher income if he got a job working for someone else?

3. I assume that you have no assets that you could sell that would substantially chip away at the debt? The ARM (is that a negative amortization loan?) makes me think that your home may not have much equity? Is that right or is there equity there? (When we were strangled with debt selling our house and using much of the equity to pay down debt really helped a lot).

4. If one or a combination of the above doesn't get your budget to at least balance (let alone give you a debt snowball) I don't really see how you are going to make it short of bankruptcy. Even if you can't file a Chapter 7 (don't know if you could or not), your situation seems impossible without either lower payments or more income.

Sorry to write such a downer message.

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Author: aj485 Big gold star, 5000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 257549 of 308694
Subject: Re: A Tentative Intro Date: 8/10/2007 8:21 AM
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We have about $3,575/month net spendable income.

To further clarify, I have been willing, since the day we married, to continue working full-time. (While that was not my preference, I have been willing, and my DH knows that.) However, with his guidance, I have let necessary certifications (for my profession) expire, as he wanted me to never return to the work force after having kids. He knew that was a gamble, and he wanted to do it that way. I had no problem with that, as our income would only grow, right?? :) (Obviously I had never fed growing children before....)


As SoccerDad & DeterminedMom have pointed out, your income is nowhere near adequate for your expenses, most of which are debt service.

You are in a debt spiral, and spinning pretty fast toward bankruptcy at this point.

How long and how much money will it take to regain the certifications for your profession? In your circumstances, I wouldn't normally advocate spending money, but if you can get a lot more income in your profession than you can in a non-profession job, it might be worth it.

In the meantime, you need to get some kind of additional income into the home immediately, so if DH is not willing or able to take on a second job, you need to get a job, even if it's not in your profession. In the mess that you are in, you cannot afford to be a SAHM anymore.

AJ

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Author: Jennlee222 Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 257550 of 308694
Subject: Re: A Tentative Intro Date: 8/10/2007 8:21 AM
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Hi BraveMom -

I worry about your mortgage - you've got an ARM - when will it adjust again? You may find your house payment suddenly a lot higher. And if you're paying "below interest only" you're losing ground on equity already. Can you afford this house?

Something I didn't see on your budget - cars. Do you owe anything on your cars?

I don't see that much you can cut - nothing that will add up to more than a few hundred bucks, as others have suggested. You've got to increase your means somehow.

Cut where you can, and get more jobs asap. It's tricky with the childcare issues, I know. Maybe you could work nights when hubby's home. Maybe he could get something on weekends and/or an early morning paper delivery route.

Call all the cards and ask for lower rates. If your credit's any good, shop around for some lower-interest offers and do some transfers on the higher rate balances.

If you can get some quick money (sell a bunch of stuff - anything you can, check into plasma even) and clear up one or two of your smaller credit cards or other small balances, you might improve your cash flow some to get you some breathing room on the min payments.

You might try to read Dave Ramsey's "Total Money Makeover" book (and/or find him on the radio - he does a daily show that's in wide syndication). He's very inspiring.

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Author: Windowseat Big funky green star, 20000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 257555 of 308694
Subject: Re: A Tentative Intro Date: 8/10/2007 8:50 AM
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BraveMom,

We're clearly working on a concensus here. You need a job. If your children are in elementary school then you will need to earn enough to cover the shortfall in the family income as well as any necessary expenses for after school programs or baby-sitting of some kind.

That mortgage really scares me. Did you move recently, or did DH do a refi and take out the equity? Because with a negative amortization loan (which is what yours looks like) you're going to have a balloon payment at some point in the future. You need to be ready for it.

You said you had dropped your certifications. Engineer? Teacher? Lawyer? Doctor? Do you know what would be necessary to regain the certifications and start working again? Could you work within the field until such time as you could regain the certification?

Nancy

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Author: 2gifts Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 257560 of 308694
Subject: Re: A Tentative Intro Date: 8/10/2007 9:26 AM
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To clarify "business expenses" -- we operate a business out of our home. I have just lumped all the debts/income in one pile. I don't have time right now to create two separate spreadsheets, etc.


Although you may not need to separate this now, you do need to make sure that your business expenses are covered by your business income, and that the business is a profit. If it's not, then close the business.

To further clarify, I have been willing, since the day we married, to continue working full-time. (While that was not my preference, I have been willing, and my DH knows that.) However, with his guidance, I have let necessary certifications (for my profession) expire, as he wanted me to never return to the work force after having kids. He knew that was a gamble, and he wanted to do it that way. I had no problem with that, as our income would only grow, right?? :) (Obviously I had never fed growing children before....)


I think it was a mistake not to keep up your certifications, and in your shoes, I'd do what it takes to get those current because that will probably bring in the most income for you vs. just getting a job in retail or whatever. The reason I think this was a mistake is not just because you may need to return to work now to dig out of the debt hole. I can think of other reasons that could make it necessary for you to return to work including all the kids are in school and you're bored, your DH gets laid off and you need additional income, your DH is disabled due to accident or illness and you need additional income, or your DH passes away leaving you with no marketable skills or way to earn income to support your family.

Although you may need to do something temporarily in the way of gettiing a job quickly, it would seem to me that your earning potential would be much greater if you had your certfications, so that is something I would look at once you feel like you've got a handle on things and are moving in the right direction.

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Author: paca24 One star, 50 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 257571 of 308694
Subject: Re: A Tentative Intro Date: 8/10/2007 9:59 AM
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Seriously, though, why isn't he here? He helped create the mess you are trying to fix. Did he help you figure out your debts and expenses? Is he helping to create a budget?

Paca24,

I seriously suggest that you drop this line of attack. It will get you nowhere. Bravemom has already made it clear that she will not accept attacks on her husband. If you want to keep ranting, do it in the privacy of your own home.

The object of this board is to help them when possible, not sneer at them.

Nancy


Nancy, I do not appreciate your erroneous assumption. It was not an attack at all. He did help create the financial problems they are facing. If Bravemom is going to fix this, her husband must be on board. They need to work through this together. That means going through their accounts and expenses together and setting a budget together - and then sticking to their plan.

It might be helpful if he read the suggestions from people on this board who have been through the same problems they are facing now.

I believed my questions were legitimate.

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Author: Gingko100 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 257572 of 308694
Subject: Re: A Tentative Intro Date: 8/10/2007 9:59 AM
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To clarify "business expenses" -- we operate a business out of our home
I understand you just threw them there for lack of time in posting...
BUT...

I am also self-employed. And one thing I am completely, 100% rigorous about is that business expenses, income, liabilities are completely separate from personal. I have a separate bank account for the business, separate CC, separate accounting books, etc. I never mix business and household. It's far too confusing, and far too easy to mess things up. I recommend the same - separate books entirely.

Also, one of the things I see many self-employed people stumble on are quarterly taxes. Is it possible that some of your debt may be to cover (consumer) debt because you didn't have the $$$ at hand to pay quarterly estimated tax for business? I would definitely accrue for quarterly tax as you go, so you never have to draw from personal funds to pay it. If you don't have the $$$ in the business to do this, then I would suggest closing up shop on the business. If it's not paying for itself, plus taxes, it's not worth the headaches. I know how hard it is to run a home buisness, and how much time it takes not only to do the business itself but to do all the paperwork and bookeeping. Speaking totally personally, without a decent income from it (after taxes), it would not be worth my while. I'd rather have that time for gardening, traveling, other work, etc...If it is a hobby rather than a business, that's one thing (and totally fine), but for a buisness there needs to be a lot of planning.

Forgive me if I'm stating the obvious that you already know. But I do see many people get hung up on this.

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Author: paca24 One star, 50 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 257573 of 308694
Subject: Re: A Tentative Intro Date: 8/10/2007 10:20 AM
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Bravemom, are their relatives nearby who can help watch your kids when they are not in school (even if only for a little while)? If so, maybe they would be willing to help out for X number of months so you can at least get on your feet. Or, maybe they would be willing to watch them on specific days

I have a friend with small children. She and her neighbor sometimes watch each other's kids. Perhaps you could make an arrangement to trade babysitting duties so that you have specific days free for work.

You might not like this suggestion, but . . . . It was noted in another thread that some stores pay more for overnight work. If your husband is home with the kids, this might allow you to get a job at night. You wouldn't be paying for daycare and you could earn some extra money. I know it would be hard. You wouldn't have as much time to spend with your family, especially your husband.

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Author: retireearlyboi Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 258903 of 308694
Subject: Re: A Tentative Intro Date: 8/23/2007 9:15 PM
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Hi BraveMom:

I realize you have probably been given a wealth of advice from your posts. Here's something you and your husband might benefit from. Enroll in your local community class for Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University. Also, find Dave on your local radio station using his site: daveramsey.com and listen every day.

Financial success is 20% knowledge and 80% behavior. Your problem is not in the numbers.

I hope you find this helpful, and if not, just disregard.

Best of Luck,

-reb

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