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Author: Aranknitter Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 308449  
Subject: CC debt again... Date: 2/2/2003 8:23 PM
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I've lurked on these boards for a wee while now, and posted occasionally but not often.

Thought I'd ask for feedback on my situation now.

Kinda ashamed to admit that for the money I earn, I have nothing to show for it! The CC debt crept up over the years, and I never really sat and thought about where it was going till Jan 2002. Started repaying debt at that point.

In Jan 2002 I had nearly $70,000 of debt. I've paid some of it off now though, but I seem to have hit a "slough of despond" - I think it's gonna take another year or two to get debtfree except for the mortgage.

So,.. Here's the ugly stuff

MBNA card at 2,696 (15.99%)
Citi card at 7,563 (7.99%)
Credit union credit card at 9,997 (5.9%)
Store card #1 at 1,600 (0%)
Store card #2 at 2,365 (0%)
Car loan at 8,480 (8.75%)

Now, the only card with a really horrible interest rate is MBNA. Shall I try and do a BT to Citi (who have always been unfailingly nice to me and always given me a great rate) or shall I not bother given that I hope to have it paid in 4 months anyway?

Then after MBNA is dealt with... I'm kinda thinking about putting the snowball money to my car loan because that is the next highest interest rate and besides, it is the largest minimum monthly payment. Would be great to free up that monthly money. But there again I've always heard that one should pay CC debt *first* before loans, as one is good debt and one is bad?

I shall have to switch to paying Store card # 2 by Aug this year at the very latest too, as the 0% interest rate runs out on 24 Dec 2003 and it will go up to 13.99% at that point - plus, I'll get hit with accrued interest for this whole year if it is not completely paid off by that date. It will take 3 months to clear that one.

I have $1,500 a month to put to the debts.

I guess I have focused on the high-interest debt till now, all the way down to MBNA and then once MBNA is paid, (at that point I have eliminated 2/3rds debt) which way should I go???

I have about $2,000 in the bank for an e-fund. 401(k) stands at 147,000 and right now I'm only putting in 3% so as to get the 3% match from my company. That's another thing I'm mulling over. I got slammed for tax this year :( as normally a lot of my income goes to the 401(k) so I can get down into a lower tax bracket. I'm at the bottom of the tax bracket I'm in now. Am I right to be thinking "Increase 401(k)" again for next years taxes, or are taxes the least of my worries at this point???
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Author: Aranknitter Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 151024 of 308449
Subject: Re: CC debt again... Date: 2/2/2003 8:33 PM
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I forgot to mention this, last "wrinkle" in my situation...

My daughter will be heading off to college in Fall 2004. I have this uneasy feeling that I have only one clear year to dig out from under before I have to pay her fees - will be nice to pay her fees without having to pay all the debt too. Any suggestions for speeding it up so it is all gone by Fall 2004?

Also, remember my dilemma about increasing contributions to 401(k) - I was also thinking about the FAFSA. We'll be filling this out in her senior year in around Feb 2004... and the tax return from 2003 will be factored in for FAFSA. If I max out 401(k) again, it will lower my income for that purposes. Having said that, I am not sure if it would do much good anyway, as I am told that incomes over 102,000 p.a. means NO aid whatsoever. No way will I get down to 102,000. :(

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Author: fredinseoul Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 151030 of 308449
Subject: Re: CC debt again... Date: 2/2/2003 8:55 PM
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My daughter will be heading off to college in Fall 2004. I have this uneasy feeling that I have only one clear year to dig out from under before I have to pay her fees - will be

Aranknitter,

You are under no obligation to pay the fees for your daughter's college. It is a nice thing to be able to pay. But it is not a requirement.

I would worry more about your own debt and your own retirement before you pay for her college.

She could get a job. She could get scholarships. Many people have paid for college on their own and are no worse for wear for doing it. You plan from the previous post is pretty good. I only skimmed it and I'm sure some of the number crunchers around here can show you a faster way. IMHO, your daughter will appreciate college much more if she has an active stake in it.

fredinseoul
paid for BS and MS with no help from parents

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Author: dtschet Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 151031 of 308449
Subject: Re: CC debt again... Date: 2/2/2003 9:02 PM
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Deductions and Credits for your college interest expense and tuition payments will help you with your 2004 income tax payments.

If you finance your daughter's tuition and fees through your credit card, interest on the payments can be used as a credit on your taxes.

Not sure what projected limits are going to be in 2004, but it will help in your situation.

As to suggestions to speeding it up before it is all gone ... depends.

Where is your money going?

Pare down as many expenses as you can and throw all the extra cash on hand at the end of the month onto the highest-rate credit cards. Do as much cost-cutting as you can now.

For example, if you are dining out a lot, cut that out for a bit.

Do not use *shopping* as weekend entertainment - plan an amount to spend monthly on shopping for clothing and household, etc. - then stick to it.

My son is in his 3rd year of college and guess what I am driving?
A '73 VW Beetle (eBay price $1425) and a '90 Honda Civic (Pennysaver price $700)

Yeah - the *NO CAR PAYMENT* thing helps my budget a lot!

For more ideas: Go to the Living Below Your Means board and jot down some ideas.

Remember, this college-expense thing is temporary - :) Eventually you can go back to spending your money like crazy!

Good luck!

Donna

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Author: FuskieFool Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Ticker Guide SC1 Red Winner of the 2010 Rule Breakers Challenge Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 151036 of 308449
Subject: Re: CC debt again... Date: 2/2/2003 9:17 PM
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Now, the only card with a really horrible interest rate is MBNA. Shall I try and do a BT to Citi (who have always been unfailingly nice to me and always given me a great rate) or shall I not bother given that I hope to have it paid in 4 months anyway?

First question is how much would you save for those 4 months. Second question is why not BT to the CU card which is 2 percentage points less.

I guess I have focused on the high-interest debt till now, all the way down to MBNA and then once MBNA is paid, (at that point I have eliminated 2/3rds debt) which way should I go???

There is another way to look at your priorities, although not all Fools agree with me on this. First priority is the car - reposession is not something you want to risk. Then look at the amount of finance charge from each credit card, and pay off the highest first.

The idea here is that you are losing money on the interest payments, so you try to reduce your losses. Sometimes a high balance on a low rate is more costly than a low balance on a high rate. For example, by my math, your MBNA finance charge is $431 but your CU finance charge is $590. Wouldn't it make more sense to reduce the debt costing you $590 a month rather than $431?

Of course, this method of debt management requires monthly review. As the CU debt goes down, the monthly finance charge will god own too, eventually to the point that your MBNA is costing you more and you should reprioritize.

Another variation of this method is to pay the finance charges on each card and then pay down the principle on the card with the highest finance change. This way you prevent any of your debts from growing while you pay them down. It can be frustrating when you keep making payments and yet your debt keeps growing.

right now I'm only putting in 3% so as to get the 3% match from my company.

Sure you can save on your taxes by increasing your 401K contribution, but will the amount you save make a substantial impact on your debt? Will your money work harder in the 401K building your retirement than it can reducing your debt? For some 401K plans, if well managed, the answer is yes. Many people have lost faith in their 401Ks, and you are the only one who can answer that question.

Best of luck, and let us know what you decide and how it is going.

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Author: FuskieFool Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Ticker Guide SC1 Red Winner of the 2010 Rule Breakers Challenge Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 151037 of 308449
Subject: Re: CC debt again... Date: 2/2/2003 9:23 PM
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My daughter will be heading off to college in Fall 2004. I have this uneasy feeling that I have only one clear year to dig out from under before I have to pay her fees - will be nice to pay her fees without having to pay all the debt too. Any suggestions for speeding it up so it is all gone by Fall 2004?

It is hard for a parent to accept, but my best advice is take care of yourself first. She might find it hard to understand how you can be so successful and not be able to afford college, but it is a lesson in reality. Hope is not lost, however. There are non-need based scholarships (my dad was a doctor and yet I won a half-tuition scholarship for 4 years). Also, many a student has worked their way through school so that could help out too.

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Author: Aranknitter Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 151040 of 308449
Subject: Re: CC debt again... Date: 2/2/2003 10:14 PM
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Thanks for the replies so far...

The FAFSA is for the purpose of determining Expected Family Contribution, right? It's not our daughter's fault that our EFC will be so high as to make it almost unrealistic to expect her to pay for the whole university stint herself. We can't have it both ways - if we are not expected to pay for her, then our income and assets shouldn't be factored into the FAFSA at all. Yet, it is.

Another thought just occurred. Maybe I should remortgage to cover every debt? Would that save me anything? We have 60% equity right now (15 yr mortgage, 6 years to go) so there is something there.

By the way, to the person who was calculating my monthly finance charges... the credit union card chares $72 per month finance charge, how did you come up with $500+? Citi is charging $102 per month. And, I was thinking of the BT to Citi because I have room on that card, my credit limit there is $15,000. My credit union card limit is $10,000 and so basically that card is maxed-out

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Author: Aranknitter Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 151041 of 308449
Subject: Re: CC debt again... Date: 2/2/2003 10:19 PM
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you're probably right. We eat out 4 or 5 times a week and get takeout the other nights. With my schedule there is never any time to cook. And my husband has a better schedule but he hates cooking so there's no help there. Besides, he thinks we are not in debt and I am being silly. :<( It's hard...

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Author: blackmare Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 151045 of 308449
Subject: Re: CC debt again... Date: 2/2/2003 11:05 PM
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Hi there.

Couldn't hurt to call MBNA and ask them to lower your interest rate. I once watched my roomie get a rate reduction of at least 8 points, with one phone call. Took about 15 minutes, max. All you have to do is tell them if they won't you'll simply close the account and transfer the balance to another card which offers the rate you desire.

It helps to tell them you'll transfer to a specific other company and what rate that company has offered you. Ask if they will match it. Chances are good that they will, or they'll at least get close.

Eating out will KILL your budget. I had an ex-boyfriend who didn't like to cook and when he finally got his monthly expenses into the computer and tallied them, he (we, really, but he insisted on paying) was spending over $300/month just to eat out, and we ate out two or three times a week, not five plus carryout other nights.

I don't know what the answer is for that problem, given that your hubby does not seem to understand it's a problem in the first place. I know that when I was younger, I actually did a lot of the household cooking because Mom and Dad did not have time. Would your daughter be willing to help with this? She might surprise you.

Other than that...help her prepare well for the SATs, and see what kind of merit scholarships she might receive.


Cheers, and keep working on it, things will get better,

Mare

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Author: sassygirl6 Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 151047 of 308449
Subject: Re: CC debt again... Date: 2/2/2003 11:14 PM
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Aranknitter writes Maybe I should remortgage to cover every debt? Would that save me anything? We have 60% equity right now (15 year mortgage, 6 years to go) so there is something there.

Run the numbers if you'd like to see if refinancing with a home equity loan might save you some money, but if I were you, I would not do this. Why?

It's robbing Peter to pay Paul. You are just moving the debt around, and in so doing, risk the chance of getting very comfortable, like the debt problem has been solved. It hasn't. Pardon my French but you will still owe a crapload of money, just to someone else at a different interest rate. And with that feeling of comfort, it is very tempting to "reward" yourself for "solving the problem." Bingo, the debt creeps right back up.

You might be different from me. But when I have had bad debt (I will generalize and call consumer debt "bad"), I am motivated to get rid of it. I leave it where it is and work like hell to get rid of it. But again, you might operate differently.

You have a good income, which helps. A good income can help you do a lot of damage to a large debt load. My opinion, make some behavioral changes to reduce spending, and knock out that consumer debt. Don't jack the length of time back up on your mortgage. Six years left, what a relief that will be when it's gone!

Throwing .02 right, left, and center tonight, I remain

Sassy

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Author: eachna Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 151049 of 308449
Subject: Re: CC debt again... Date: 2/3/2003 12:07 AM
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I believe that student loans are available no matter what your income level is.

I'm also against refinancing the debt into the mortgage. Not only is it just moving the debt around, but, it puts your house at a greater risk until you're *sure* you've developed good financial habits. However, it *may* be worthwhile to borrow against your house when it comes time to send daughter to school (depending on those rates vs. student loan rates).

Now that we have at least two loan options to help daughter get through school, let's go back to your CC debt.

Pay MBNA.
Pay the store card that's poised to balloon.
Pay off Citi
Pay off Credit Union.

Somewhere in there you may have to pay off the other 0% store card before it balloons, also.

At this point you can either throw "all" your debt-payment money at the car, or, start getting into some serious saving while, say, paying half as much again (or even double) on the car.

You're not really going to realize all that much savings by paying the car off before the CC's. Unless you have a *very* kind financial institution, car loans are designed so most of the interest is paid off in the early part of the loan (sort of like a mini-mortgage).

Gwen




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Author: VegasRaab Two stars, 250 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 151061 of 308449
Subject: Re: CC debt again... Date: 2/3/2003 8:08 AM
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I think this problem is more simple than you think..

Unlike the other posters I feel that if you are able refinance at 5.5%-6% you should do this. Try and structure it so that you can pull about 20k equity out and use that to pay down all your CC's and the car loan, except for the Credit Union card that is at 5.9%.

Afterwards you'll just have the 10k on the Credit union card at 5.9%, and the rest of your debt wrapped into your mortgage at 5.5-6%. That's a very reasonable rate to pay interest on.

After you do this, CANCEL ALL YOUR CARDS except the credit union card. Make that your only card. Make it a priority to pay that card off. Also change your spending habits, stop eating out so much, spend very little on automobiles (no new car loans), and put money into an e-fund for 3-6 months of expenses.

After you consolidate that debt, do NOT get back into debt! NO NO NO

-Vegas

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Author: Aranknitter Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 151069 of 308449
Subject: Re: CC debt again... Date: 2/3/2003 9:33 AM
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Thanks everyone :>)

Not planning on sliding back into debt after these are paid, no. When I added it all up last year the numbers were frightening!! We had a 130,000 combined income and 70,000 non-mortgage debt. More than 50% of our income!

It's still not pretty but I think I'm halfway there.

The other 0% store card is not set to balloon until Sept 2004. It was a 2 year 0% rate... so I'm not planning to pay that off till around March 2004. Try and get the others cleared first.

I did make some changes to spending habits. No shopping trips for a while, and no travel. We used to travel somewhere every other weekend - not now. Cancelled cable except basic and standard.

Maybe my daughter would cook, yes... I've never asked her to, but I think I will. She might like to try it anyway. I don't get home till 7pm so if I have to cook we don't eat till 8pm -- too late for the younger kids.

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Author: flynnister One star, 50 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 151091 of 308449
Subject: Re: CC debt again... Date: 2/3/2003 11:45 AM
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Also, check out the Living Below Your Means boards. You might find some interesting ways to cut back on spending there. Or just some nutty folk to cheer you up when need be. Maybe they have an idea or two over there to help reduce your meal spending, and otherwise. Good luck! :)

Oh, and in asking your daughter to help out with the cooking, you can tell her it is a home ec lesson, preparation for "real life" or something! ;)

Laura

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Author: daisy4125 Two stars, 250 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 151120 of 308449
Subject: Re: CC debt again... Date: 2/3/2003 4:42 PM
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you're probably right. We eat out 4 or 5 times a week and get takeout the other nights. With my schedule there is never any time to cook. And my husband has a better schedule but he hates cooking so there's no help there. Besides, he thinks we are not in debt and I am being silly. :<( It's hard...

I'm surpised that no one has commented on this! $70K is a lot of debt not to know about! I think you need to talk to him! I know it's hard, because I've done it myself. But it's not fair for you to be the one laying awake at night trying to figure out how to make the whole thing work. Involving your husband should be your first step. Then I'd talk to the kids - all of them - and let them know that you'll be making some changes in order to realize your goals. Then I'd get a crock pot and start using it at least once a week.

Good luck!

Daisy4125


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Author: morgaine1 Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 151121 of 308449
Subject: Re: CC debt again... Date: 2/3/2003 4:46 PM
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Do you have a chest freezer? You can do "bulk cooking" on the weekends and freeze portions to be heated and served during the week. I'm sure somebody can point you to some links. "Frozen Assets" is the book that coms to mind....also, you can buy a crockpot, toss some stuff in before you leave the house in the morning, and dinner will be done. Since your husband seems to have some issues involving getting his butt in the kitchen, maybe ask your daughter to keep an eye on it (ie stir, add water if needed, etc).


Just out of curiosity-what would your husband consider being "in debt"? Would it be twice as much as your salary? Three times? An inability to meet minimum payments? I think that is a conversation the two of you need to have. I agree with you that $70K of debt on a $100K income would qualify!

cathy.mn
posted and emailed

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Author: impolite Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 151122 of 308449
Subject: Re: CC debt again... Date: 2/3/2003 4:52 PM
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So,.. Here's the ugly stuff

MBNA card at 2,696 (15.99%)
Citi card at 7,563 (7.99%)
Credit union credit card at 9,997 (5.9%)
Store card #1 at 1,600 (0%)
Store card #2 at 2,365 (0%)
Car loan at 8,480 (8.75%)


You say you want to do the car loan next, but since you are in a stall right now, how about paying off the store cards after MBNA is gone? It'll loosen up cash flow (which you can direct towards college savings), and give you two little boosts in motivation.

I'd leave the 401K right where it is, no touchy touchy until the CCs are paid off.

As far as college costs: My parent's paid for college. BUT, most of it was covered by merit-based scholarships...my grades and test scores were high enough to get scholarships with. A few places to try for scholarships: your job (some offer scholarships/loans to parents), your husband's job, any grandparent's that are in an organization, any organization you are in, plus the university she will be attending. I got piecemeal scholarships that covered everything...$250 here and $500 there add up.

And, she should work a part time job, possibly for her entire Senior year (I did), and at least for the summers that remain before she starts college. She should at least pay for books every semester.

And, she can get student loans in her own name that won't start needing payments until 6 months after graduation. If you feel the need to pay for college, she could take out these loans, and when she graduates (when you'll be out of debt), YOU can make the payments on them. She'll get pretty good rates as a student.

impolite


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Author: tconi Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 151127 of 308449
Subject: Re: CC debt again... Date: 2/3/2003 5:12 PM
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We eat out 4 or 5 times a week and get takeout the other nights. With my schedule there is never any time to cook.

Is this just during the week?
There is a book called Once a Month Cooking - which pretty much means you would spend one whole Saturday in the kitchen but then you would have stuff in the freezer to just take out and nuke/heat up.
Your husband CAN handle that - don't even let him tell you he can't!

My schedule has me leaving the house at 630am and getting home between 6 and 730pm.
There is always something in the fridge (often thrownin the fridge to defrost the night before) that can go into the oven/on the stove and be ready in 30 minutes tops. (I try to avoid the microwave- if I were more willing to use it, 10 minutes to dinner).
Anything from soups/pot pies/ enchiladas......
Once you start you'd be surprised at how much easier it is to think "Hmmm, what shall I take out of the freezer" rather than where shall we order from....especially when you know the ingredients because you made it.

I second (or third) the crockpot idea - if you prep ingredients the night before, you can take 5 minutes to throw them into the crock pot in the morning and food is HOT and READY whenever anyone gets home (chili/enchilada/chicken/pot roast.....)

peace & cutting back - step one
t

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Author: dtschet Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 151137 of 308449
Subject: Re: CC debt again... Date: 2/3/2003 7:32 PM
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Good job!

I cancelled cable and Road Runner last winter - Saved $1000! :)

Funny thing, I read a lot of books and rented movies from the library at no charge.

Cable is really not a necessity - just a habit.

Got it back last spring just to catch up on HBO! ... but if truth be told, could cancel again for awhile and not miss it a bit.

Good luck with meal planning. I am betting that your daughter will find she likes to cook and will experiment on you with creative new dishes.

Enjoy the changes - it will be fun for all of you!

Cheers,

Donna

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Author: joelcorley Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 151138 of 308449
Subject: Re: CC debt again... Date: 2/3/2003 7:36 PM
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Aranknitter,

You wrote, Now, the only card with a really horrible interest rate is MBNA. Shall I try and do a BT to Citi (who have always been unfailingly nice to me and always given me a great rate) or shall I not bother given that I hope to have it paid in 4 months anyway?

If you plan to pay off MBNA in 4 months; but you shift it over to Citibank instead and pay that down, your savings will be just short of $40. Personally, I don't see anything wrong with the idea. Depends on what $40 is worth to you.

One important point: Don't do a BT to Citibank if Citibank wants a fee for the transaction. It will likely exceed your potential savings for such a short term.

Also, Then after MBNA is dealt with... I'm kinda thinking about putting the snowball money to my car loan because that is the next highest interest rate and besides, it is the largest minimum monthly payment. Would be great to free up that monthly money. But there again I've always heard that one should pay CC debt *first* before loans, as one is good debt and one is bad?

Have you tried asking the lender to refinance your car loan? I make the payments on my XSO's car (long story). The car loan was at 6.95%. A few months ago I called and asked them to lower the rate. They knocked 1.00% off the loan and it's now 5.95%. It required a credit check; but there were no fees involved -- it just reduced the interest I was paying reducing the loan by almost a month.

Once your other debts are out of the way, you might consider refinancing the last year or so of the car loan on a credit card. If you can get a 0%BT on a CC for a year and you're down to your last year of the loan, you can save yourself a few hundred in interest payments on the balance of the loan. Also, the loan will be unsecured -- which is better than a secured debt given the same terms ... for reasons we've discussed here many times before.

- Joel

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Author: Fallout2Queen Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 151146 of 308449
Subject: Re: CC debt again... Date: 2/3/2003 8:35 PM
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you're probably right. We eat out 4 or 5 times a week and get takeout the other nights. With my schedule there is never any time to cook. And my husband has a better schedule but he hates cooking so there's no help there. Besides, he thinks we are not in debt and I am being silly. :<( It's hard...

There are convenience foods that are less expensive than take out. Instead of ordering a $12 pizza, buy frozen pizzas at the grocery store or Sams Club. (I like the DiGornio ones. It's around $13 for a 3 pack of supreme pizzas at Sams Club, any picky eaters can just pick off the stuff they don't like.) Instead of waiting 30 minutes for delivery, it'll take about that long to make it in the oven (time for preheating and 20-23 minutes to cook it).

And you say that with your schedule there is never any time to cook, but how long does it take to go to a restrauant and wait for your food? There are lots of things you can make at home in less than 30 minutes.

Here's a link to the Quick and Easy Recipes/Cooking board. It's pretty quiet, but you'll ifnd some good tips there.
http://boards.fool.com/Messages.asp?bid=115473&mid=15583520

Campbell's has lots of recipes that don't take that long to prepare and they're usually pretty easy, too:
http://www.campbellkitchen.com/index.asp

Kraft has a bunch of fast/easy recipes on their site:
http://web.kraftfoods.com/main.aspx

Other people have mentioned once a month cooking, here are some sites about it from the author of Frozen Assets, Deborah Taylor-Hough ( she has a new book, Frugal Living For Dummies that just came out)
ftp://members.aol.com/oamcloop/faq.html
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/frozen-assets/

To help get your husband on board, make a list of how much you owe each credit card/whatever and total it up for him. Also make another list of how much you're paying in interest every month. Maybe if he sees you're paying $150 (just a random number picked for illustration purposes) a month in interest that you could be using for __________ (insert something he likes to do/wants to buy) it'll motivate him to help pay off the debt.



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Author: Aranknitter Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 151152 of 308449
Subject: Re: CC debt again... Date: 2/3/2003 10:54 PM
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Daisy and Cathy... my husband did know we were 70k in debt, just as he knows we are still in debt now. However, he takes the view that since the house is more than half paid off and the 401(k) is very healthy and we can pay our minimums and a bit over, we are okay.

Donna, I actually DID start going to the library! We are voracious readers, but instead of buying I went down to see what the library was like - was surprised it was that good. I haven't bought a book in months now.

Now if only DH would stop buying them too.... sigh. That's a big expenditure - all the books, newspapers and magazines (3 per week) that he buys, we are talking about $500 a week.

However, when I mention cutting back etc, he says he's not going to put all his cash to the debt because he would have nothing for a year!

He just thinks I'm fussing and that the average American has FAR more debt and FAR less assets than we do. Sighhhh.

Joel, I think that the store cards are going to be next actually. I suddenly feel like eliminating just the little debts to get a quick boost from that.

I think I'll do a search for crockpot recipes. If they are that easy, maybe I could do them.

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Author: blackmare Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 151153 of 308449
Subject: Re: CC debt again... Date: 2/3/2003 10:59 PM
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*GULP*

$500 a week in magazines, books, and newspapers?????

Are you sure you typed that right???

Geez, Aran, you could put that daughter thru college on her Dad's reading material budget alone!

I really feel for you, it becomes obvious that you will have a struggle on your hands because of his attitude. Good for you for starting with your own expenses, where you can make difference.

Wishing I had an extra $500/week,

Mare

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Author: blackmare Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 151155 of 308449
Subject: Re: CC debt again... Date: 2/3/2003 11:02 PM
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...are you sure you didn't mean $50/week?




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Author: morgaine1 Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 151180 of 308449
Subject: Re: CC debt again... Date: 2/4/2003 10:55 AM
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...are you sure you didn't mean $50/week?

ditto...that does seem like a lot-coming from someone who can't take the checkbook or credit card into a bookstore. :)

I don't know what to tell you about your husband's attitude. Unfortunately, that is the same attitude as most of the people in the US-as long as you can make the minimums you are fine. What if someone gets laid-off? Wouldn't he rather retire early, or travel more, or have you work less?? You're only putting 3% into your 401K-how much is he putting into his?

There's a great book, called "Your Money or Your Life", that you may want to get and leave lying around in plain sight. It talks about how much spending ***really*** costs. Their "real hourly salary" calculation is truly an eye-opener. There's also a "reading list" (in the FAQs, I think) that you may find helpful.

I suppose he would never dream of doing the "write down everything you spend for a month" tactic. Could it be he really doesn't realize how much he spends? Could you point out how much less clutter would be in the house if he read some of the magazines and newspapers at the library instead of buying them?

Sorry, I can't be of more help. I did reread your post-you say you can probably clear the debt in a year or two. That's actually a pretty good timeframe, conpared to some of the people on this board. But getting your expenses down will make a huge difference.

Good luck!

cathy.mn
posted and emailed





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Author: Catleen Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 151181 of 308449
Subject: Re: CC debt again... Date: 2/4/2003 10:58 AM
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Well, I cook at big pot of something, sometimes veggie chilli - nice and spicy, sometimes vegetable soup, and many soups of varying identies. Simple enough, I cut the stuff up, have the veggie broth on hand and cook it on very low heat while I clean the house. Two hours later and I have plenty of things to eat. I freeze some and container the rest for lunches, dinner and have salad stuff.

This cuts down on the carb problem and gaining weight. I also do exercises during the week and visit the gym.

In summertime, I cut up fresh fruit, salads and cook stir fry.

Works for me.

On weekends, I go over the sale items on all the local stores, make a list and try not to hit the store for any reason. Limits my spending, less time looking at junky food (which makes me feel bad) and more time for me.

Catleen

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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: 151192 of 308449
Subject: Re: CC debt again... Date: 2/4/2003 12:53 PM
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He just thinks I'm fussing and that the average American has FAR more debt and FAR less assets than we do. Sighhhh.


This just jumped out at me. I don't know if you have children or not, but my first reaction to this is along the lines of 'I don't care what Johnny's mom is letting him do. I'm not Johnny's mom, and this is what I'm doing.'

It really doesn't matter what anyone else is doing. It only matters what you're doing. It sounds to me that he likes the instant gratification and doesn't want to do without, and this is his excuse for justifying it.

Is there a particular goal that you folks have like retiring early or taking a vacation or something that you need to be saving for? Maybe if you could show him how much faster you could reach that goal if you weren't paying $x of interest per month or if he would go to the library instead of buying the books.

He needs to understand that if you weren't spending so much on servicing the debt, he could easily have all those things he wants. The problem, though, seems to be that he wants everything now. He needs to understand that he probably can have everything he wants, but he will need to wait til you've saved for it to be able to get it.

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Author: Aranknitter Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 151218 of 308449
Subject: Re: CC debt again... Date: 2/4/2003 4:26 PM
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Sorry, sorry, that WAS a mistype!! I meant, $500 a month. Not $500 a week. I don't know where my fingers go when I'm not watching them!

He buys about 8-10 books a week, two newspapers per day, 3 magazines a week...!

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Author: Aranknitter Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 151223 of 308449
Subject: Re: CC debt again... Date: 2/4/2003 4:39 PM
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DH doesn't have to contribute to a 401(k), he has some kind of deferred benefit pension that his employer funds. Or do I mean defined benefit?

He certainly does want to retire early. Most of the men in his family suffer cardiovascular problems past about age 60 or so, so he's convinced that if he has to go to 65 then he won't have much of a retirement. I do tell him that nobody has a right to retire or even to go on vacation, but I don't think that sinks in.

I don't think he knows how lucky we are to be living as part of the first generation (baby boomers) to actually be able to choose their employment as opposed to work for the factory or the mines, and working till we dropped, for a pittance, like those before us. So he takes it for granted that vacation, travel, THINGS, should come to us. I tell him we are only 2 generations removed from the folks who worked 6 days a week for 10 hours a day, and never went anywhere. He hears me but it doesn't seem to sink in.

His whole family have more education than sense. I was brought up to be practical, by parents who were never in debt - he was brought up to run up student loans that hung around his neck from the very beginning and the rest of the debt was a progression!!

There's no way I could even TELL my father that we are in debt actually.... he'd be horrified. I never had any debt till after marriage, myself. That's how I was brought up. Just have to hope I can go back to those roots, I guess.... I really should keep better track of what we spend.

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Author: Catleen Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 151228 of 308449
Subject: Re: CC debt again... Date: 2/4/2003 4:55 PM
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Even $500 a month seems kinds high to me.

Catleen

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Author: Catleen Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 151230 of 308449
Subject: Re: CC debt again... Date: 2/4/2003 4:59 PM
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Both of you should keep better track of spending. If someone is not on board with LBYM, then it sort of doesn't work. With just one watching and one spending away, well, just ask Patzer.

Catleen

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Author: Cromely Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 151231 of 308449
Subject: Re: CC debt again... Date: 2/4/2003 4:59 PM
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Does he actually have time to read them all?

Given the rest of this thread, thismay be unrealistic, but if he has that much time to read, and that voracious an appetite for books, might he consider a part-time job at a book store for the extra cash and discount?

Cromely

Sorry, sorry, that WAS a mistype!! I meant, $500 a month. Not $500 a week. I don't know where my fingers go when I'm not watching them!

He buys about 8-10 books a week, two newspapers per day, 3 magazines a week...!


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Author: blackmare Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 151244 of 308449
Subject: Re: CC debt again... Date: 2/4/2003 5:58 PM
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Well, Aran,

$500/month is still a whole lot of money. It's more than twice my current payment on $20K in student debt. It's twice what the payment was on my truck each month. If it were saved, and applied toward daughter's college, or a savings account which could be for the down payment when you need a new vehicle, or whatever...imagine how much future debt you might avoid.

I doubt your husband has ever really thought about it in those terms.

Perhaps the next book he needs is a little thing called The Millionaire Next Door. Fascinating stuff. :-)


Mare



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Author: Fallout2Queen Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 151248 of 308449
Subject: Re: CC debt again... Date: 2/4/2003 6:10 PM
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Sorry, sorry, that WAS a mistype!! I meant, $500 a month. Not $500 a week. I don't know where my fingers go when I'm not watching them!

He buys about 8-10 books a week, two newspapers per day, 3 magazines a week...!


How on earth does he manage to have time to read all that???

What does he do with the books when he's done with them? Maybe you could sell them on half.com and amazon.com to get something back for them.

Instead of buying magazines and paying the cover price, have him get subscriptions to the ones he likes. If you go thru someplace like www.ebates.com there are magazine subscription places that will refund up to 25% of your subscription price.

Where is DH buying his books? He can usually order them online for less money than he'd pay at a bookstore. And Sams Club has good prices on books, although their selection is rather limited.



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Author: Booa Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 151253 of 308449
Subject: Re: CC debt again... Date: 2/4/2003 7:23 PM
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Yikes! When does he read all of that? He must be an amazing speed-reader...

I know that I spend less on books for recreational reading these days because I read lots of content on the web, like here on the Fool, newspapers, message boards, that kind of thing (oh, all right, some smut, too). Does he like to read stuff online? He sounds like he could maybe even keep up with the LBYM board...;-) And there's so many cool boards on here I'd read if I had the time--do you think you could redirect his reading habits a bit? There's always the library, too. I think they have magazine subscriptions as well, don't they? Or does he read really esoteric magazines?


--Booa

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Author: LuluB Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 151297 of 308449
Subject: Re: CC debt again... Date: 2/5/2003 11:45 AM
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With my schedule there is never any time to cook.

Get a crockpot and cook food overnight when you are home. Then eat what you cooked that day. And it doesn't take long to make a sandwich or salad at home.

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Author: LuluB Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 151299 of 308449
Subject: Re: CC debt again... Date: 2/5/2003 11:59 AM
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Now if only DH would stop buying them too.... sigh. That's a big expenditure - all the books, newspapers and magazines (3 per week) that he buys, we are talking about $500 a week.

Give him an allowance.


However, when I mention cutting back etc, he says he's not going to put all his cash to the debt because he would have nothing for a year!

He really has less than he thinks right now. You are paying OTHER PEOPLE interest that should go to you in the form of savings. Why pay a CC company or bank interest? If you guys can sacrifice for one year, what's a year out of the rest of your lives????

He just thinks I'm fussing and that the average American has FAR more debt and FAR less assets than we do. Sighhhh.

Who cares what the average American has? I never strive to be average, and neither should you. That's like saying the average American can't read, doesn't do well in school, etc. If that's the case, why emulate the average American.

Every penny you owe now is money taken away from your retirement. That's how I think of my debt and it motivates me to pay it down more quickly.

Louise



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Author: LuluB Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 151300 of 308449
Subject: Re: CC debt again... Date: 2/5/2003 12:01 PM
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He buys about 8-10 books a week, two newspapers per day, 3 magazines a week...!

Used Book Stores are a great place for many books. Or buy them on half.com if you must. But buying that many NEW books per week would kill any budget.

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Author: ishtarastarte Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 151549 of 308449
Subject: Re: CC debt again... Date: 2/8/2003 12:07 AM
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The FAFSA is for the purpose of determining Expected Family Contribution, right? It's not our daughter's fault that our EFC will be so high as to make it almost unrealistic to expect her to pay for the whole university stint herself. We can't have it both ways - if we are not expected to pay for her, then our income and assets shouldn't be factored into the FAFSA at all. Yet, it is.


People do it all the time. There are tons of parents out there that make too much money but don't/won't/can't help pay for college. There are options for those people.

I've heard, through the local community college pipeline (I'm an adult student) that they've made declaring independent student status easier recently. BUT, you have to not provide ANYTHING for the student (no rent, no clothing, etc)

The kid could live at home rent free and attend a community college for a year or two to get started (usually cheaper than a four year school.) If the kid's grades/SAT's are good, some community colleges will offer a free ride (tuition-wise, anyway) to get the student to go there. (At least they did in FL 15 years ago; my moderate SATs got me offers from the biggest community colleges nearby, but I chose another route)

The kid could work and only go to school part time. Or get a full time job somewhere that will pay tuition assistance.

The kid could join the military, and get GI Bill to help out. (GI Bill is currently paying all buy $60 of my rent on a two bedroom apt while I'm going to school.)

There are options, other than you paying for a traditional 4 year ride.

Ishtar
(was recently informed, by a college instructor, "NOBODY does it in 4 years anymore!"


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Author: ishtarastarte Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 151550 of 308449
Subject: Re: CC debt again... Date: 2/8/2003 12:14 AM
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you're probably right. We eat out 4 or 5 times a week and get takeout the other nights. With my schedule there is never any time to cook. And my husband has a better schedule but he hates cooking so there's no help there. Besides, he thinks we are not in debt and I am being silly. :<( It's hard...


Several things:

Crockpot. Throw everything together before you go to bed, stick in fridge. In the morning, while getting breakfast ready, plug in crock-pot and dinner's ready when you get home.

Once-a-month (or even once a week) cooking. Buy enough stuff for a week's worth of dinners, spend Sunday afternoon (or whenever you have time) cooking it up, split into meals, pop in the freezer. If you break it up into individual servings, you have lunches ready, too.

Add in some pre-mix salad stuff, frozen veggies, and you have fresh, balance meals.

There's no reason to be eating out EVERY SINGLE DAY when you have debt. Schedule your family to have someone else make your meal ONCE a week or less. You'll still get to go out, but it will be MUCH cheaper.

Ishtar

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Author: ishtarastarte Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 151551 of 308449
Subject: Re: CC debt again... Date: 2/8/2003 12:26 AM
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Maybe my daughter would cook, yes... I've never asked her to, but I think I will. She might like to try it anyway. I don't get home till 7pm so if I have to cook we don't eat till 8pm -- too late for the younger kids.


*boggle*

um, ok, my kid is still too young for this, but I started cooking family dinners once a week when I was TEN, by the time I was twelve, I was cooking 4-5 nights a week. Both my parents worked and I was the oldest kid.

Isn't that what the oldest kids do? As much of the household chores as possible to keep things going?

Ishtar

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Author: ishtarastarte Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 151555 of 308449
Subject: Re: CC debt again... Date: 2/8/2003 12:56 AM
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Besides, he thinks we are not in debt and I am being silly. :<( It's hard...

I know!! We haven't discussed this one in a while, so now is as good a time as any to bring it up. Some people, often men, (this is also great for explaining it to kids!) have difficulty if they can't SEE the debt, so:

How about hanging a "Debt Chain" in your living room?

Take construction paper (you have kids, there must be construction paper around somewhere!) and glue or staples. Cut two different colors into strips. Remember making "paper chains" as a kid? Do that, interlock the strips, as you close each loop. Use the second color for every tenth "link." I think you said a large amount of debt? In the neighborhood of $70k? So, each link represents $1000 of debt. Every tenth link, the other color, is a $10k mark.

Hang it up somewhere where he can't miss it. When he asks what that silly thing is hanging there, tell him it's the chains of debt holding your family down. Everytime you pay down $1000, you "break" a link; make it a family event! If you ADD to the debt, you must add a link!

Very visual.

If this doesn't help you, maybe it'll help someone that hasn't heard it before!

Ishtar

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Author: dtschet Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 151576 of 308449
Subject: Re: CC debt again... Date: 2/8/2003 1:07 PM
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Your weekend sounds like mine, Catleen.

Sounds like you are lo-carbing too. Did you ever try making lasagna with eggplant slices instead of lasagna noodles? It's great. Makes lots of meals in just an hour's time! :)

Donna

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Author: dtschet Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 151577 of 308449
Subject: Re: CC debt again... Date: 2/8/2003 1:17 PM
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ISH SEZ: How about hanging a "Debt Chain" in your living room?

I love this idea!

Gonna make a chain for myself and one for my daughter and hang it in our BR doorways!

:)

Each link will represent $100 for me and a bit more for daughter.

As we see the links disappear, so hopefully will our motivation to eliminate the damn things completely.

Thanks for a great incentive!

Cheers,

Donna

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Author: ishtarastarte Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 151596 of 308449
Subject: Re: CC debt again... Date: 2/8/2003 6:50 PM
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Gonna make a chain for myself and one for my daughter and hang it in our BR doorways!

:)

Each link will represent $100 for me and a bit more for daughter.

As we see the links disappear, so hopefully will our motivation to eliminate the damn things completely.

Thanks for a great incentive!


Glad I could help someone!

Good luck!

Ishtar

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Author: Catleen Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 151659 of 308449
Subject: Re: CC debt again... Date: 2/10/2003 11:03 AM
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Geez, Donna, at this point I would do anything to get this weight down. And it is going down. Now you mention it, lasagna with eggplant slices instead of noodles sounds darn good. UHM...., now I am thinking about lasagna instead of work.

Catleen

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