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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: of 308882  
Subject: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 10/31/2006 2:04 PM
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Recommendations: 50
Hello Again Fools

Man, this turned out to be a long post. Sorry. I cut it back a little but it seems from my last post that there was just not enough info upfront and I kept adding posts. So, grab a cup of coffee and enjoy a good laugh or cry.

I first posted about my personal debt hell here: http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=24687052

Toward the very bottom of the thread is a summary of the options suggested, actions I have taken and goals made.

A very short summary is that I am not making some of the more drastic changes suggested right now. I have decided to take an aggressive approach to cut expenses, focus on the details of a debt plan, get the family prepared for more extreme changes in '07, work with DW to get her 100% on-board and really focus on making sure our habits and attitudes are turned around. SoccerDad is 37, DW is 35, DS is 9, DD is 7. DW is SAHM.

My goal is to review the progress at the end of January '07 to determine if more drastic steps are needed or if continuing to approach it aggressively will work. Another milestone is a big review at the end of April '07 to make decisions along the same lines.

I would like to post a monthly update and have you guys hold me accountable. Just posting and knowing that you guys will torch and encourage me is a huge motivation for me. What would really help me the most in the monthly updates is feedback along the lines of pointing out patterns, pointing out excuses instead of results, pointing out lack of follow-through and continuing to challenge me to trim the budget, be creative, look into things that could help short term and so on. I will post a “January '07 review” and that is when all the more drastic options will be put back on the table and you guys can give some input into next steps based on 4 months of supporting data and information.

These are the numbers as of the end of October with every account and penny accounted for. This is much more accurate than my first post with new accounts discovered and going off a full month of data. I do not change the credit balances until the next statement and you will see several notes where expense cuts are not yet reflected in the bills.

Creditor Min Pay Paid Difference Balance Limit Rate
MBNA $1,588.00 $1,588.00 $0.00 $46,364.58 $49,000.00 29.99%
Chase MC $441.00 $441.00 $0.00 $17,790.27 $18,100.00 29.99%
CitiBank $553.93 $554.00 $0.07 $15,435.19 $15,700.00 32.24%
Discover $304.00 $1,587.00 $1,283.00 $10,510.10 $10,000.00 28.24%
Chase OD $198.00 $198.00 $0.00 $9,980.52 $10,000.00 18.00%
Beneficial $55.65 $100.00 $44.35 $1,753.40 $2,000.00 29.00%
Cap One $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $1,200.00 $1,500.00 17.00%
Texaco $36.18 $37.00 $0.82 $574.60 $1,500.00 21.00%
Sams $17.00 $17.00 $0.00 $458.60 $1,600.00 23.15%
Target $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $157.23 $500.00 28.00%
Kohls $10.00 $123.58 $113.58 $123.58 $500.00 21.90%
$3,203.76 $4,645.58 $1,441.82 $104,348.07
401K $68.00 $68.00 $0.00 $2,100.00 $2,100.00 10.25%
Chase 20 $144.45 $145.00 $0.55 $19,637.00 $21,979.00 16.88%
Chase 80 $1,711.00 $1,711.00 $0.00 $168,638.57 $175,839.00 6.13%
AMX $1,272.26 $1,272.26 $0.00 $0.00
$6,399.47 $7,841.84 $1,442.37 $194,723.64

Expenses Nov Budget Actual Difference
Credit $5,300.00 $7,841.84 $2,541.84
Cash $720.00 $800.00 $80.00
Cash $360.00 $400.00 $40.00
Electric $250.00 $354.00 $104.00
State Farm $135.00 $135.00 $0.00
City $100.00 $0.00 -$100.00
Med $100.00 $63.92 -$36.08
Med Dect $100.00 $135.00 $35.00
Sprint $90.00 $118.18 $28.18
Internet $57.42 $57.42 $0.00
DirecTV $50.00 $24.00 -$26.00
Other $50.00 $2,560.34 $2,510.34
HOA $47.00 $470.00 $423.00
Cr Mon $29.90 $29.90 $0.00
Phone $22.00 $31.53 $9.53
Toll $20.00 $40.00 $20.00
LifeTime $0.00 $108.14 $108.14
Lawn $0.00 $143.19 $143.19
Auto Maint $100.00 $100.00 $0.00
e-Fund $100.00 $100.00 $0.00
Snowball $100.00 $250.93 $150.93
$7,731.32 $13,763.39 $6,032.07

Income Budget Actual Difference
Salary $7,622.00 $7,622.00 $0.00
401K $0.00 $2,065.00 $2,065.00 10.25% for 3 years
Sell $76.00 $76.00 $0.00
State Farm $211.00 $211.00 $0.00
MBNA $2,000.00 $2,000.00 $0.00
Cap One $1,200.00 $1,200.00 $0.00 14% for 12 months
$7,622.00 $13,174.00 $5,552.00

Totals Budget Actual Difference
Income $7,622.00 $13,174.00 $5,552.00
Credit $5,300.00 $7,841.84 $2,541.84
Expenses $2,431.32 $5,921.55 $3,490.23
Left Over -$589.39

Fund Budget Actual Difference Fully Funded at
HOA $470.00 $470.00 $0.00 $550.00
State Farm $145.00 $145.00 $0.00 $870.00
Auto Maint $100.00 $100.00 $0.00 $1,200.00
e-Fund $100.00 $100.00 $0.00 $1,200.00

Asset Value
401K $2,000.00
Honda Pilot 06 $24,000.00
Ford Explorer 97 $1,500.00
House $240,000.00
Home Equity $9,000.00 + Appraised Value

Other Updates:

DW – There is slow but good progress here. We did have the whole “I refuse to live like this and something has to change or else conversation”. We are reviewing progress weekly and talking about things daily right now. We have joined the Grocery Game, we are breaking down her expenses and looking to categorize then and cut them back. They are being cut back to $180 per week in November. She has been proactive in helping at times. However, this is a slippery slope. She is moving at a much slower pace than me. She is really struggling with tracking money and is very emotional in some areas (auto and home mostly). I think it is too high of a risk for me to force the issue on so many topics at once and risk sabotage and/or loosing her cooperation. So, we will continue to make changes with her budget, get her more and more involved and so on. She has also become an id theft victim and her credit is being monitored so she is very unlikely to open any new credit. My strategy here has changed from counting on her to be on-board 100% and moving at the same speed as me to something more along the lines that it will be an on-going process of mostly positive steps with some setbacks and at this point I need to manage the risk of any setbacks so it does not derail the entire effort. This topic might warrant its own post at another time.

'97 Ford SUV repairs – I was doing well collecting quotes and thought I had found a guy to do the work for much cheaper. But, one of my tires did not hold up and after hearing for the second time that I really should not be driving the SUV with the brakes in their current condition… I opted for lowest quote. This is the problem when time and debt is working against you (you loose leverage, loose time to make the best decisions and look into creative options). DW did offer for me to drive Honda but I did not want her and kids in Ford and it would cause too much chaos until we got the scheduled re-arranged. Everything is repaired except for seat belt and transmission service. I plan to get the transmission evaluated by a couple of different places. I hope that the Ford is reliable with only maintenance for '07 and when it makes it past '07 and gets close to 200k then I will just plan on driving it into the ground and I might get lucky and have it last till '08.

'06 Honda – Caught it up on most maintenance. The rest will be done in Dec / Jan. DW was “ok” with down-grading or refinancing her Honda. But, when we started to talk about actual replacements – she had more of a '02 Honda CRV for $12k in mind and was very concerned and upset about the possibility of driving anything “un-safe, un-reliable” with the kids for closer to $5k. Please remember this is an extremely sensitive issue for her and it is not about status but her perception of how new an auto has to be in order to be as safe and reliable as possible. This is not an issue she things logically on – it is almost driven entirely my emotion and memories of her auto wreck. So, this is something we will need to work on and maybe just the $10k net cash for her down-grading to an '01 or '02 Honda will free up enough cash to give us some momentum.

Home sell – short conversation with our realtor and stopping by to see what prices the close-out homes in our division were going for more than confirmed that April to June would be a far, far better time to sell. Talked to DW about where we would have to move to (new city, new school district and so on) and we are both more inclined to take an approach of keeping the exterior up to HOA standards while we live inside like we were in an apartment (close off parts of house, no a/c for most of the year and so on). We will see in April.

DW job – see is applying for part-time work for the holidays. She is not moving very fast on this. But, she is thinking and looking seriously into to. This is good progress for her and even if she does not get a job – it will be a much easier conversation and decision in January if it has to be done.

Cash Flow – I moved some money around and borrowed the max from my 401k to give some more breathing room and some cash flow. At this point there are no over-limit accounts, there should be no problems with late fees, all annually and quarterly paid expenses are on-schedule to be fully funded on-time, I am transferring money to another account for months when the actual is lower than the budget and so on. So, there are no excuses as long as there are no major un-expected expenses. The e-fund and auto maintenance fund is slowly being built up. I realize this could be seen as a red flag in terms of finding some more wiggle room to delay dealing with the source of the problem. But, in this case it was decisions made after a couple weeks of looking into options and every move was agonized over – it is only a lesser of evils to get a little breathing room and to get us to a point where we have a solid enough starting point with the budget that we can not use excuses that budgeted categorizes were already borrowed from, planned expenses already had cash used for something else and generally we have enough breathing room to be out of the month to month and week to week juggling game of who gets paid, when things get paid and where can money be “borrowed” from another budget area that can not be paid back. This will allow us to make a true evaluation about whether we are capable of living within a strict budget.

Lower Rates – I expect the penalty rates to start going down as the ID theft is clearing from my report and I keep calling my creditors. They are slowly starting to budge on due dates and rates. Discover was going to go up, charge an over-limit fee and generally not put me on their favorite customer list. So, I transferred part of the balance to Capital One. I upgraded Chase accounts (no fees) to quadruple platinum or something like that so that I become eligible for better rates and improve that relationship as it is a package deal of accounts. This is the place that has offered to work with us if we pursue a HELOC in Jan.

Better News Coming - There should be more changes that should start to kick in around the November to January time-frame as canceled expenses are no longer billed, expenses that have been cut will start to produce lower bills and medical expenses should go down with the start of '07.

Goals for Nov
1) Stay under budget - no matter what
2) Create a more detailed budget
3) Track money much better
4) Pay-off Target
5) Use extra snowball money to apply towards SAMS
6) Stay on top of id theft and credit monitoring
7) Work with DW & family
8) Post a Nov update - for better or worse

Thanks in advance for your support and tough love.

SoccerDad – living on the edge of debt hell – slowly backing away


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Author: yddeyma Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 240132 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 10/31/2006 2:35 PM
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Could you please elaborate on the $2,560.34 in the Other category of your expenses list? What "other" things did you purchase? Right now that's your biggest non-credit payment expense....

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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: 240137 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 10/31/2006 3:07 PM
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Thanks for all the infor, SoccerDad - I hope the board provides you some useful advice! It's a lot to review, and I may post more later, but here goes...

One thing I noticed is that your monimum payment for CC debt ($6400), and the budget you have set up ($5300) don't jive. I know you are working on getting rates down and doing BT's, so this may be a transitional thing, but you need to understand to the penny what the minimum payments are. If there are any over limit or late payments in that $6400 then watch that like a hawk and get it under control.

I also don't understand the "snowball" line - this should be part already of your CC payments - so are you counting it twice as an expense?

On a high level I do think you will need to take more drastic steps per the previous posting. I don't necessarily advocate selling the house, but if you are going to do so it will NOT necessarly be better in April to June. Housing market is screeching to a halt, so you may not have the option to sell then at the price you could get now. Again, given your lack of equity I am not sure this is the right step for you, but don't be led astray by real estate agents with regard to this issue.



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Author: mastiffmama Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 240140 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 10/31/2006 3:14 PM
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Well you certainly do have a lot of information for us to look at!

Creditor Min Pay Paid Difference Balance Limit Rate
MBNA $1,588.00 $1,588.00 $0.00 $46,364.58 $49,000.00 29.99%
....
Discover $304.00 $1,587.00 $1,283.00 $10,510.10 $10,000.00 28.24%
Beneficial $55.65 $100.00 $44.35 $1,753.40 $2,000.00 29.00%
Kohls $10.00 $123.58 $113.58 $123.58 $500.00 21.90%

Why did you choose to pay so much extra to Discover, Beneficial, and Kohls? If you direct all of your extra money to the highest rate card (Right now Citibank at 32%) you will pay the least amount of interest. If you have other reasons for wanting to get rid of these other debts, that's fine. It looks like you're getting Discover back under the allowable balance, which is great.

mm

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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: 240142 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 10/31/2006 3:23 PM
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I don't understand a couple of things.

From your post:
Creditor     Min Pay       Paid 	Difference	 Balance	    Limit       Rate
MBNA       $1,588.00    $1,588.00	     $0.00    $46,364.58       $49,000.00     29.99%
Chase MC     $441.00	  $441.00	     $0.00    $17,790.27       $18,100.00     29.99%
CitiBank     $553.93	  $554.00	     $0.07    $15,435.19       $15,700.00     32.24%
Discover     $304.00	$1,587.00	 $1,283.00    $10,510.10       $10,000.00     28.24%
Chase OD     $198.00	  $198.00	     $0.00     $9,980.52       $10,000.00     18.00%
Beneficial    $55.65	  $100.00	    $44.35     $1,753.40        $2,000.00     29.00%
Cap One	       $0.00	    $0.00	     $0.00     $1,200.00        $1,500.00     17.00%
Texaco	      $36.18	   $37.00	     $0.82	 $574.60        $1,500.00     21.00%
Sams	      $17.00	   $17.00	     $0.00       $458.60        $1,600.00     23.15%
Target         $0.00	    $0.00	     $0.00	 $157.23          $500.00     28.00%
Kohls	      $10.00	  $123.58	   $113.58	 $123.58          $500.00     21.90%
Why did you pay extra on the Kohls card with a 21.9% interest rate 
when you are already over limit on the Discover card with a 28.24%
interest rate?  It makes more sense to me to be paying down those few 
cards that are over or very close to the limit and already have high
interest rates than to be paying the lower interest rate cards.


I don't understand what that $2500 overrun is in the category you 
call 'Other.'  At this point, you need to know exactly where every 
dollar is being spent, and what category it falls into. You cannot
afford to have any category that is so nebulous, nor can you afford
to be over the budgeted amount by $2500.


'06 Honda – Caught it up on most maintenance. 

It's an '06.  What possible maintenance other than oil changes 
can it possibly need?  And even that is something you should be able
to do yourself to save some money.


I also don't understand why you don't want to do more drastic things
given that your posted budget is already negative, and you're still
having problems living within some constraints.  


It also seems to me that you are budgeting the credit card payments
such as the Amex, but since you paid the whole $1200, it looks to me 
like that is a charge card which must be paid in full every month. If
that's the case and you are not using this for reimbursable business
expenses, you should have the expenses you are charging as part of the
budget and not the credit card payment. It is not the credit card
that is in the budget. It is the expenses which you are charging to the
credit card.  So if you use your card to pay for groceries, then you
should have a line in the budget for groceries, and you shouldn't go
over that number.  All that happens when the bill comes in is that you
pay it from the grocery money.


I still think your budget is mixing up expenses with credit cards, 
though I do understand that the outstanding debt needs to be part of the
budget to pay it back. I am still concerned, though, that you will be
tempted to use the cards when you should be looking for ways to make do
or find a way to pay for whatever the expenditure is.


I still think there is more headset change that needs to happen.


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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: 240144 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 10/31/2006 3:25 PM
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yddeyma wrote:
Could you please elaborate on the $2,560.34 in the Other category of your expenses list? What "other" things did you purchase? Right now that's your biggest non-credit payment expense....

Auto Repair and maint

Ford
$420 tires
$650 brakes
$600 catalitic convertors

Honda
$120 wheel alignment
$80 auto sticker

and a bunch of other stuff that I am categorizing, analyzing and will have broken into categories next month.

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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: 240146 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 10/31/2006 3:30 PM
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mastiffmama wrote:
"Why did you choose to pay so much extra to Discover, Beneficial, and Kohls?"

Discover was a BT to Cap One as it was over-limit and about to raise rate and charge late fee.

I know there is some debate on the proper snowball method. I want to knock out the 3 lowest and free up some cash-flow and generaly just get a little pyschologic boost and then it will be back to the order of paying the highest interest. But, even on that note I have thought about skipping over MBNA and taking on Citi or Discover to get more cash-flow quicker. Feed-back appreciated.

thanks
SoccerDad

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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: 240148 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 10/31/2006 3:43 PM
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On the math... maybe this will help...

I could not figure-out the best way to display it in a post that made complete sense for this "abnormal" month. It was hard to show where money went / came from and so on. I kept working on this post and trying to make it make sense and I found it taking a very long time. So, I thought it was better to just get it out there and get the support instead of continuing to revise it. The bottom line numbers are what is most important at this point. These numbers (balances and budget vs actual) are I want to improve on from month to month.

AMX = paid in full and will never have another penny put on it unless it is required by the ER for treatment.

Snow-ball - yes, that got counted twice and it not left over to apply to next month. That was not a good way to post that - I will change it next month.

Man, this takes some time... get it right in MS Money, double-check on-line banking, transfer stuff to a complicated spread-sheet and then extract parts of the spread-sheet to post. I am sure I made a few mistakes along the way. But, on-line banking and MS Money are accurate down to the penny.

thanks
SoccerDad





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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: 240149 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 10/31/2006 3:49 PM
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2gifts wrote:
Why did you pay extra on the Kohls card with a 21.9% interest rate
when you are already over limit on the Discover card with a 28.24%
interest rate?


I can see that this does not make sense. $1,200 was a BT from Discover to Cap One and Discover is actually under $10k.

I like to wait to the next statement before changing the account balances. But, in the case of a BT - I should have deducted it before posting.

sorry for the confusion

SoccerDad

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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: 240150 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 10/31/2006 3:49 PM
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I want to knock out the 3 lowest and free up some cash-flow

I understand the psychological boost of this. Normally I wouldn't disagree, but do make sure first and foremost - even before this - you pay off any cards that are over limit, or even very close to limit. The ones that are close to limit, once they start accruing interest, will tend to bump over limit thus adding penalties and fees that you don't need.

Maybe one finance goal for you can be no penalty fees next month...

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Author: meirasmith Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 240155 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 10/31/2006 4:50 PM
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Heck, those figures must have taken you some serious time to put together! You are so on the right track, but as others have mentioned there is still more room to make more cash go to debt.

Why the heck did your 2006 car need an alignment though?

BTW - I had a much higher debt percentage vs salary than you many years ago and I am going to be debt free in a matter of months....like 3 months to be specific....so it can be done. The first year or two will be painful and there is no other way to get it done. There's simply no way to do it without pain...specifically emotionally.

Hang in there and hopefully next month's update will have your wife more on board!

Meira : D

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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: 240157 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 10/31/2006 4:54 PM
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Gingko100 wrote:
Maybe one finance goal for you can be no penalty fees next month...

Oh yes - 100% agree. People were suggesting I get 2nd job and right there on my Sept statements are $35 late fee (2 days), $45 late fee (3 days), over-limt fee ($65). Man, that sucks.

I am watching that very closely with alerts, reviewing bank transfer date vs credior post date, if an interest rate change would put me over the limit and so on.

thanks
SoccerDad



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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: 240159 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 10/31/2006 5:02 PM
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meirasmith wrote:
Heck, those figures must have taken you some serious time to put together! You are so on the right track, but as others have mentioned there is still more room to make more cash go to debt.

Why the heck did your 2006 car need an alignment though?

BTW - I had a much higher debt percentage vs salary than you many years ago and I am going to be debt free in a matter of months....like 3 months to be specific....so it can be done. The first year or two will be painful and there is no other way to get it done. There's simply no way to do it without pain...specifically emotionally.

Hang in there and hopefully next month's update will have your wife more on board!


For whateve reason DW bought 2006 Honda with 10k miles and paid new auto price (I was not involved - long topic). It did need an alignment as DW seems to hit a bunch of curbs and at 18k miles it will need the transmission serviced in about Jan ($110). We also had the tires balanced and rotated (free).

Thanks for the encouragement and success story.

Nov update will be much much better . We are just getting started. The momentum is building.

thanks
SoccerDad

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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: 240161 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 10/31/2006 5:15 PM
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Not to open the car topic again, but if you paid the new car price, you should get the new car warantee. Heck, most dealers even offer nice warantees on used cars these days. When I bought my new car it was covered for five years for all major items. All I had to pay for was oil changes etc. Certainly not servicing the transmission! I didn't do that until 90K miles.

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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: 240171 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 10/31/2006 7:04 PM
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at 18k miles it will need the transmission serviced in about Jan ($110).

Why, exactly, does it need the transmission serviced at 18k miles? Is this scheduled maintenance, which I cannot imagine? If it is, are you aware that you are not required to take the vehicle to the dealer for the maintenance and that it is perfectly acceptable that you do it yourself? All you need to do is to keep track of the fact that it has been done.

My vehicles, and I've pretty much always had new Hondas, have never gone back to the dealership for anything other than warrantee work. DH does all the maintenance, and we keep a written record of that with the car.

I see no reason for you to keep taking your vehicles for maintenance. This should all be stuff you can do, and it would let you put that $110 to better use.

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Author: Windowseat Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 240175 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 10/31/2006 7:33 PM
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at 18k miles it will need the transmission serviced in about Jan

Are you talking about the transmission fluid? Because that could probably wait until 25k miles, and possibly longer. And it shouldn't cost quite that much.

I'm not an expert at cars or transmissions. But I brought that information up on Google in two minutes.

Give yourself some time on this, and start asking a lot of questions. "Why does this need to be done? What are you doing?"

Most libraries have, or can get, Chilton's manuals. Go down and start doing research on exactly what is required to do this or that. It might be possible to cut back on a lot of the maintenance you think you need.

By the way: I hit a curb just about every day (lousy engineering job on a parking lot) and after three years of hitting this curb I'm beginning to think about an alignment. Do some real testing before you spend the money.

I realize that a lot of this involves starting over with your thinking and your planning. But this is a long term job, and you and your family will need to adjust. I know that your wife is only slowly coming on board, but frankly, I'm happier with her coming on board slowly, but learning, rather than expressing enthusiasm, jumping in with a huge splash, and then causing problems the rest of the way.

I realize that she has trouble with numbers. Can you help her go over her figures? Quietly, calmly, a few minutes every night? All she would have to do is save her receipts. Then you can help her.

And remind her that this won't be forever. Once the balances are down, you can add some of the extras back in. And you should probably plan some sort of extra celebration (whatever is appropriate for your family) at various stages.

You're making good progress. And, as the others have said, until you have those balances safely away from their limit, don't worry too much about the tiny balances. Saving yourself from the extra fees comes first. Then clear out any tiny balances, then start on the snowball.

And believe me, no one gets it all right the first time. Budgets are adjusted as people find little things they forgot until an annual bill arrives.

You've stuck with things. That's the important part. You're beginning to make progress. No, the overall balances haven't disappeared, but you are starting to gain control, and there's a tendency for the balances to go down, rather than up. Eventually you'll start to see some real progress.

You've got a good start. Keep it up.

Nancy

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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: 240179 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 10/31/2006 8:51 PM
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SoccerDad

I can see you are working on this hard. I want to encourage you for that. I also know that DW is not totally on board. I have the sense that you feel that if you push her she will become an obstacle and things will get worse.

The problem is that I just don't see the budget working.

I took the liberty of taking your regular income (salary) and then deducted what I think are your ongoing expenditures. And while there is a slight positive balance you only get there by likely not including a lot of expenses. Here is what I see

Income 7622
Credit cards -3204

401k Loan -68
Chase 20 -144
Chase 80 -1711

Subtotal 2495

Budget:
Cash -720
Cash -360
Electric -250
State Farm -135
City -100
Med -100
Med Dect -100
Sprint -90
Internet -57
Directv -50
Other -50 (What is this, by the way?)
HOA -47
Cr Mon -30 (what is this?)
Phone -22
Toll -20 (Is this automobile tolls or toll calls?)
Auto Maint -100

NET TOTAL 264

Now it is true that the net total is positive. But let's look at the things that that don't seem to be in the budget except in the $1020 a month cash...

Food - Groceries, dining out, lunches for you, school lunches (or packed lunches for kids)

Gasoline

Child related expenses - clothes, school activities, etc. - Kids are expensive

Clothing

Computer/office related expenses - paper, stamps, printer cartridges, software, subscriptions

Books/entertainment (I'm not saying you should be spending money on these things at this point but it is probably unrealistic to think you will spend zero)

Gifts (Again not saying should be spending for these but still...)

Household expenses - maintenance, cleaning supplies, and so on

Personal care - Hair care, makeup, eyeglasses, etc.

Pets? (not sure if you have any)

Real estate taxes (are these in your mortgage payment)

Water

Natural gas

So, I am just not seeing how your budget works. You are spending 2/3 of your income on debt.

I understand the reasoning to wait until late spring or summer to maybe look at selling the house (given the situation with the subdivision still being built out until then).

I still don't understand the reasoning on the 2006 car but realize that this is not totally within your control.

But, regardless, I don't see your budget working. At the very least you need to be looking at just what expenses are in "cash" and figuring out how realistic those are. Be sure and include irregular expenses and not just the monthly expenses.

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Author: ekolaw One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 240180 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 10/31/2006 9:26 PM
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2gifts wrote:
My vehicles, and I've pretty much always had new Hondas, have never gone back to the dealership for anything other than warrantee work. DH does all the maintenance, and we keep a written record of that with the car.

One word of caution on this topic: We had an extended warranty on our last car. We keep meticulous records of EVERYTHING we do to our cars, including receipts, price, dates, mileage, etc. DH did one oil change himself. We decided to sell the car. The warranty company would not transfer the warranty to the new owners because we could not "prove" that DH actually did the oil change (as opposed to just writing it in our log book). Sworn affidavit was not enough for these folks. So, in that particular case, being frugal bit us in the behind, invalidating a $1500 warranty. Quite aggravating. Moral of the story--make sure self maintenance doesn't invalidate your warranty before you undertake such things yourself.

--eko

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Author: Primm69 Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 240185 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 10/31/2006 10:41 PM
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It did need an alignment as DW seems to hit a bunch of curbs and at 18k miles it will need the transmission serviced in about Jan ($110).

Maybe when DW gets a job she can take a driving course with her first paycheque!! :-)

Only partly joking...if it saves you wear and tear on tyres, clutch, transmission etc.

Primm
*keep up the good work*

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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: 240186 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 10/31/2006 11:03 PM
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determinedmom wrote:
The problem is that I just don't see the budget working.

Thanks for taking the time to run the numbers. Let me add some notes and answer some questions.

Income 7622
Credit cards -3204
401k Loan -68 << already taken out of net income
Chase 20 -144
Chase 80 -1711
Subtotal 2495 + 68 = 2563
Budget:
Cash -720 << here is the next place to cut
Cash -360 << here is the next next place to cut
Electric -250
State Farm -135
City -100
Med -100
Med Dect -100
Sprint -90
Internet -57
Directv -50
Other -50 << A small buffer or apply to snowball
HOA -47
Cr Mon -30 << Credit Monitoring for ID theft
Phone -22
Toll -20 << toll tag needed for work
Auto Maint -100
NET TOTAL 264 + 68 = 332

Worst case: $332 with $50 used on "other" and then of course if we backslide in someway or an expense occurs that the e-fund with only $100 in it can not handle then we are in big trouble. In this scenario we would make a huge effort to slash the cash budget to cover the expense and sell things.

Average case: about $350 per month to apply to credit cards.

Best case: $332 with $50 un-used = $382 + at least $18 in the conservative Med and Med duct estimates = $400

Very Very best case: Same as best case + electric is $150 instead of $250 (no a/c or heat for 3 weeks right now), City is $90 instead of $100 (I think it will be), DirecTV will be $24 for 3 months and then $45 and not $50 (90% sure - depends on taxes) and $60 is taken from $360 cash and $120 is taken from $720 cash and at least $5 of stuff is sold. This would be a good month with a total of $700


I have been over and over the budget to see what I might have left out and I am sure I will find a few irregular expenses. But, I am flagging every re-curring expense in MS Money and should have much better categories by next month...

Taxes and insurance included in mortage

Electric = Electric & Gas
City = Water & trash & sewer

Groceries, Pet food, vet, hair cuts and so on are all in the cash budget that needs broken down. But, we are going on the "if there is no cash - then no exception - it can not be purchased".

$0 to $700 with probably an average of $350 is not going to get me out of debt. Something much more drastic has to be done. I also realize what incredible risks I am dealing with in terms of accidents, unemployment and so on. But, short term 3 to 6 months... does this budget not work ?

My thinking is to stablize the situation, get DW 100% on-board, get everything organized and under control and then make some very big decisions to significantly improve the debt with little risk of sabotage from DW and when I am in a little better position of leverage (higer fico, no over-limits, no late fees and so on).

sorry for the rambling - I got to thinking out loud

appreciate the feed-back

SoccerDad












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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: 240188 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 10/31/2006 11:16 PM
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ekolaw wrote:
Moral of the story--make sure self maintenance doesn't invalidate your warranty before you undertake such things yourself.

Same thing happened to me with Ford warrenty. It was not oil but plugs and they said they needed proof of when they were replaced.

Do not get me started on Ford.


SoccerDad


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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: 240189 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 10/31/2006 11:19 PM
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SoccerDad

I realize that if all goes well then things may be OK the next few months.

If...there are no emergencies...

If...you haven't forgotten an expense...

If...you budgeted on the "high" side and actuals are lower...

And, maybe you are better at this than I am. Maybe you have figured everything very conservatively...

But, when I see someone with credit card debt which is higher than their annual income...I kind of thing that person might have some of what I might call "magical" thinking. I know that I am prone to it.

For example, in working with my budget I budgeted my electric bill for the place we are renting based upon my "hopes" for a lower electric bill. Well, it was lower than at my old house...but I still underbudgeted by a month.

And, yes, I budgeted for auto maintenance but then within a period of 6 weeks months we had the following all needed: brake job on one car, water pump repair on another, and new tires. (Now our cars are mostly older high mileage cars...but still.. it blew right through the budget).

Or kids. I always budget their clothes based upon buying inexpensive clothes at some place like Target. Fine...but I still usually am too low.

Or dining out. I always say we will eat out less and we do...but I still under- budget.

Let's face it ... if you were good at budgeting and sticking to a budget you wouldn't have over $100k in credit card debt (and I freely admit I had it too so I really do understand how it can happen).

You have a huge hole in your budget -- the cash accounts. Saying that you won't spend if you don't have it is OK...but isn't enough in your situation.

You *need* to know what they money is going to and what it has to go to. I track my spending on a daily basis now. It is easy to say that if you have $700 cash that you will stop spending when you run out. But what if you have spent the $700 and you need gas to get to work? What if your child's shoes have holes in them? What if you have the spent the $700 and you have no food?

Without a budget for that money, you can't plan in advance and know what you have to reserve for what is coming up later in the month.

And without a budget for things like food, children, gasoline, etc. it is all too easy to kid yourself about what your spending really will be. It is easy to say -- food is $400 a month -- when you are just guessing. But what are you really spending a month? Is it $400 or $300 or $800 or ?????

Truthfully, I think you know that you need to budget for these categories. I think you know that without tracking spending in them that your plan has problems.

I think the real issue is that your wife resists tracking and budgeting this areas and you are petrified that if you press on the issue that she will sabotage your efforts. If that is the real issue, then that is what you have to come to grips with to try to solve.

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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: 240190 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 10/31/2006 11:23 PM
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Windowseat wrote:
Are you talking about the transmission fluid? Because that could probably wait until 25k miles, and possibly longer. And it shouldn't cost quite that much.

Give yourself some time on this, and start asking a lot of questions. "Why does this need to be done? What are you doing?"

thanks. Yes, I will investigate with dealer, look over warrenty and so on. It does appear that most newer cars all have a "this needs to be done every X miles and these services must be done at 15k, 30k, 45k, 60k". In Honda's case the computer spit out transmission flush at 20k and the prices I have seen are $110 to $160 + the super duper transmission service for $250 that involves who knows what.

thanks
SoccerDad



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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: 240191 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 10/31/2006 11:46 PM
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Groceries, Pet food, vet, hair cuts and so on are all in the cash budget that needs broken down. But, we are going on the "if there is no cash - then no exception - it can not be purchased".

Well, it's good you've gone to the 'no cash, no purchase' rule, but until you start tracking exactly where that cash is going, you are doomed to fail. And I mean DOOMED to fail!

One of the first suggestions, made several times when you first posted, was that you start tracking every penny. If you have not done so up until this point, you MUST start doing so now. If you give DW cash, she must give you back an accounting of where she spent it before you give her any more. Anything that she doesn't account for must be deducted from the allowance you are giving her for the next week. And you need to do the same for yourself.

I know this is harsh, and DW doesn't appear to be fully on board, and you are probably afraid that if you do this, you will push her off track. But if she's not willing to do this, you need to know, and you need to know now. If she's not willing to climb on board with you, you will need to find another method, other than giving her cash, because that's obviously not working - even in your "Very, Very Best Case" you don't have enough of a snowball to make a dent in your debt. And it is much more likely that something that you forgot will make your "Worst Case" look like it was your "Best Case".

Over $1000 a month is disappearing and you have no idea where it's going, other than it's being spent in cash. Sure, you have an idea it's going for "Groceries, Pet food, vet, hair cuts and so on," but in your situation, you can't afford to let over 20% of your income walk out the door, and that is what you are doing.

Tomorrow is the first day of a new month. Make a fresh start and track every penny.

If you can't do that, you may as well make an appointment with a BK attorney. Because you won't get out of debt the direction you are going now.

AJ

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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: 240192 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 10/31/2006 11:49 PM
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determinedmom wrote:
Truthfully, I think you know that you need to budget for these categories. I think you know that without tracking spending in them that your plan has problems.

I think the real issue is that your wife resists tracking and budgeting this areas and you are petrified that if you press on the issue that she will sabotage your efforts. If that is the real issue, then that is what you have to come to grips with to try to solve.


Very good points that I will put thought and work to.

DW and cash - that is a whole other thread. Receipts, planning, budgeting, tracking money for her is like getting a cat to take a bath. I am reading some stuff on money for creative minds and I hope that will help.

One way or another - we must get the expenses broken down, categorized and have a realistic budget.

thanks
SoccerDad

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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: 240194 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 11/1/2006 12:01 AM
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How do you give a cat a bath?

Not very often.

Actually I used to bathe my cats quite often (I used to show cats way back last century). And, some cats bathed more enthusiastically (or at least willingly than others). Some could be trained to it and some couldn't. Those cats didn't get shown much and didn't get bathed often....

OK...throwing away the analogy...as usual, AJ said it all much more bluntly than I did. But, I really do have to agree with her.

What I see you saying is that DW resists tracking spending and budgeting. In that case, the obvious solution is for her not to have any money to spend or, at least, very little. Does she recognize that she has a problem in this area? If so, then maybe she will agree that she just won't handle cash except for very, very limited amounts.

BTW, on the cash she receives...is it literally cash or is she writing checks, using a debit card, etc. If it is literally cash can you have her write a check or use a debit card...something where there is a record (or are you worried about her bouncing checks?)

If it is literally cash, can you give it to her on a daily basis based upon what she plans to spend and then ask her that day what was spent?

My DH is terrible about tracking cash...he isn't resistant to the budget but forgets what he spends cash on and won't track. What works best is for me to just ask him each day what he spent money on.

What I seem to see here is that you are doing all the budgeting work.

Is the situation with DW one where she is just bad about tracking spending or is that she wants to be able to spend when she wants to spend?

If the former, then the ideas above might help. If it is the latter, I don't think you have much hope of getting through this without bankruptcy.

BTW, even if you get the budget balanced that still won't be enough unless you can get a reasonable snowball going. About a year ago, we got our budget to balance and weren't incurring new debt. We could meet our minimums..but that was all. We were not making much progress and it was very frustrating. You just can't get very far making only minimums.

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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: 240195 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 11/1/2006 12:14 AM
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I want to knock out the 3 lowest and free up some cash-flow and generaly just get a little pyschologic boost


This is one of my pet peeves. Not to dis *you*, Soccerdad -- we see it here often. I guess some people have the flexibility to do it, but at *these* balances and rates, this "psychological boost" costs a lot of money. Why not go on a little shopping spree if we need a psychological boost? ;-) You wouldn't think of it, right?

I undertand there are issues with cash flow, etc., but still...It's always struck me as odd that many folks here let this by when you're literally counting pennies in other areas.

BklynBorn

P.S. When my 7-year-old Honda was stolen, the adjustor told me I got $1000 more because of the detailed receipts I had - they showed the real value of the car at that moment.

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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: 240196 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 11/1/2006 12:21 AM
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BklynBorn

I do think that paying off a lower interest debt first costs more money...but it doesn't always cost a lot of money.

I have a credit card that is now under $3000. It is not my highest rate card. Let's say I paid it off right now versus hypothetically paying off my highest rate card. And, let's assume I made no payments for a year and I had to pay interest on the amount of the debt (no late fees though). I calculated it out and paying the lower rate card cost me $35 over the course of year. Of course, it is really less since I would be making payments over that year.

And, I could really see situations where the psychology of it says pay the extra $35 in interest even though looked at purely economically you might not do that (for low balance cards I do think you need to figure in how paying off a card helps cash flow).

The reality is that debt pay off is not just purely economics ...if it was, most of us wouldn't have debt in the first place (there are a few exceptions but not for most of us). The psychology of it does matter.

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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: 240197 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 11/1/2006 12:36 AM
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aj485 wrote:
One of the first suggestions, made several times when you first posted, was that you start tracking every penny. If you have not done so up until this point, you MUST start doing so now.

This has been done for every penny other than $800 for DW. It is all in MS Money and I have gone over Oct in MS Money over and over and over. My next step is to track every penny in Nov except for $100 for DW... $80 we will plan and spend together. Dec we will tackle the final $100.

I know this is harsh, and DW doesn't appear to be fully on board, and you are probably afraid that if you do this, you will push her off track. But if she's not willing to do this, you need to know, and you need to know now. If she's not willing to climb on board with you, you will need to find another method, other than giving her cash, because that's obviously not working - even in your "Very, Very Best Case" you don't have enough of a snowball to make a dent in your debt. And it is much more likely that something that you forgot will make your "Worst Case" look like it was your "Best Case".

Very good points.

I have been thinking about another method but nothing has emerged yet. Still thinking.

I do realize the risks and my best case not making a dent. I guess what I am trying to articulate is that I want to put us through at least a 3 month test. How well we do and how well our marriage either stenghtens or strands will determine the path: sell Honda, DW get job, HELOC, sell house, SoccerDad get more jobs, CCCS and so on. I should not have a 2nd job if DW is just going to spend that money. If we can not stick to a budget then we can not risk the home with a HELOC. I need to find out if selling the house is something that DW will fight through with me or if I will be spending the next year in marriage theraphy.

I think there have been good points brough up so far that I ask you guys to nail me with in Jan
1) DW and the cash / budget / where is every penny going
2) Is DW on-board
3) Risks of being so close to the edge and planning based on way too many "best case happens" with no medical, legal, house or transportation emergencies
4) Even if everything progressed well - long term you are screwed so make some big decisions

thanks
SoccerDad


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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: 240198 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 11/1/2006 12:48 AM
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DW Info:

http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=24702457

Please understand this is not a black and white case of DW being spoiled or not wanting to be on-board. She has real mental and phsyical challenges.


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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: 240199 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 11/1/2006 12:59 AM
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SoccerDad

I don't doubt at all that your wife has real challenges and, indeed, these may be to the point of a disability for her.

I have a child with a disability and I've had to keep in mind that while it can be an explanation...it can't be an excuse. My younger son has severe ADHD and has real problems, for example, remembering when assignments are due and getting them turned in. We had a situation recently at school where he was late turning in work for an online class. He justified this because he had been away on a 2 day school trip. The director of his school made that the point that my son saw the 2 day trip as an excuse not to do his work....instead of as a problem to be solved so he could do his work.

I sort of feel the same way about your wife. To what extent does she (and maybe even you) see her challenges as an excuse for why she can't track spending, can't stick to a budget, can't limit spending? To what do these things excuse, for example, her apparently charging a car to the trust she is a beneficiary of just hoping they would pay for it (something that seems like not a good decision since she paid full new price for a used car)?

Or does she (and you) see her challenges as a problem that she has to solve so that she *can* budget, track spending, limit spending, etc?

If she sees these challenges as problems for her to solve then the outlook may be very different than if she sees them as excuses for why she can't handle money appropriately.

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Author: agg97 Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 240200 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 11/1/2006 1:01 AM
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DW and cash - that is a whole other thread. Receipts, planning, budgeting, tracking money for her is like getting a cat to take a bath. I am reading some stuff on money for creative minds and I hope that will help.

There's a few ways to make it easier for her. First, many people simply keep their ATM receipt, and as that cash gets spent, they write it down on the receipt itself.

Second, grab a really cool jar from your kitchen, and use it as the "receipt inbox". Tell her to get receipts for everything. Almost all places will give you a receipt nowadays.

Third, just track dollars. I know most people say "track down to the penny", but that just isn't realistic for creative people. Just track dollars is "close enough". Sure, there will be a few dollars in untracked expenses each month, but most of the time they aren't important. I say most of the time, because it is important if you're spending all of your change at Starbucks.

Also, you might look into Mvelopes. I haven't used it, but hear great things about its ease of use, visual interface, and intuitiveness. www.mvelopes.com

-Agg97

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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: 240201 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 11/1/2006 1:18 AM
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...more money...but it doesn't always cost a lot of money...

...The psychology of it does matter.


I totally get this... and in fact, it's my point. If this lapse for emotion and psychology is okay, then why not a new car? Why not go to the movies 3 times / week? A dollar is a dollar, whether it's the first dollar or the last dollar.

We see SoccerDad struggling with the "psychology" (emotional element) on several fronts, especially with his wife. Everyone is all over *those* examples. Shouldn't we back off and say "the psychology of it does matter"?

As you said, the psychology (emotion) of it is what got many of us here. Isn't that a reason to change rather than go along?

BB

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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: 240202 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 11/1/2006 1:27 AM
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BB

The way I see it is that people are not automatons and if the psychology of something makes getting and staying out of debt easier (or harder) then it needs to be looked at seriously.

I also think that there is a matter of proportion. Buying a new car "to feel good" is orders of magnitude different than, say, choosing to pay $35 over the course of a year in extra interest because of paying a particular debt off first. I don't think that justifying the one (the $35) somehow justifies the other ($35,000).

Or, to put it another way... DH and I could clearly pay off debt faster if we spent nothing that was not an absolute necessity. As it is, DH and I have gone along for several months now with each of us having $200 a month in spending money that we can spend however we want to.

For example, I spend something like $75 a month for the EVDO service for my notebook comptuer. I spend another $20 a month for GoToMyPC. DH, on the other hand, spends his money mostly on his shooting hobby. I'm sure he thinks I'm wasting money and I know that he is...but we are happily coexisting because we each have this dedicated spending money that keeps each of us from feeling grindingly deprived of pleasure. Maybe we shouldn't feel that way. Maybe I should happily say that I never should spend my spending money and should virtuously apply it to debt...

However, I think that the existence of the spending money is what has made it possible for us to stay on our budget overall. Obviously there is no hard and fast rule on how much to set for spending money. For us, the spending money is less than 2% of our monthly income.

But the psychology of it is that it makes the difference for us between our spending plans working and not working.



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Author: Minxie Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 240205 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 11/1/2006 6:35 AM
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Hey, SoccerDad,

You're making progress! :-) Keep it up and keep coming back to the Fool; sometimes it's a bit tough to take but it's worth it to get out of debt.

Have you looked into a second job for you right now? With the Christmas season approaching, now is a great time to find one.

Also have you discussed a lean holiday season with your family? Maybe you all could make plans to visit a homeless shelter and help out during the holidays. You would not have to sit at home focusing on what a "poor" Christmas you're having and your family would see that you are truly wealthy.

Minxie

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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: 240207 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 11/1/2006 7:12 AM
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This has been done for every penny other than $800 for DW. It is all in MS Money and I have gone over Oct in MS Money over and over and over.

So if you tracked your $400 in cash (vs. the $360 you had budgeted), what did you spend it on? All you put was 'Cash' on your report. That's why it looked to me like you didn't track it.

I have been thinking about another method but nothing has emerged yet. Still thinking.

Agg97's suggestions upthread were great. I also want to re-add my suggestion of 'if she didn't track it, it comes out of this week's allowance.' To make this less harsh, you may want to agree to $10 or $20 that she doesn't have to track. So if she only gives you receipts for $100, you only give her $110 or $120 back. Because in theory, she should have the other $80 or $90 still left in her purse. And she still needs to live on that cash. You will need to be strong and not give into a sob story. And you can put what the rest of what you were going to give her toward your snowball.

I know that your wife has some challenges, but it's not hard to get a receipt and put it into a specific place in her purse (or wherever she keeps the cash). All she has to do is give you the receipt, and it's tracked. As determinedmom said, you can't let her use her challenges as an excuse. If you do, you will be giving her permission to sink this whole effort.

I suspect that part of the reason she doesn't want to give you receipts for everything is that she is spending on things that you wouldn't have agreed to. You probably didn't want to hear that, but really - In October, you already gave her $80 more than you guys agreed to spend. This enabled her to spend the extra $80. Think about it - do you really think that there was $800 worth of spending toward things that you both would have agreed to? I'll bet you can only think of $500 - $600, if that.

AJ

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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: 240209 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 11/1/2006 8:08 AM
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One word of caution on this topic: We had an extended warranty on our last car. We keep meticulous records of EVERYTHING we do to our cars, including receipts, price, dates, mileage, etc. DH did one oil change himself. We decided to sell the car. The warranty company would not transfer the warranty to the new owners because we could not "prove" that DH actually did the oil change (as opposed to just writing it in our log book). Sworn affidavit was not enough for these folks. So, in that particular case, being frugal bit us in the behind, invalidating a $1500 warranty. Quite aggravating. Moral of the story--make sure self maintenance doesn't invalidate your warranty before you undertake such things yourself.


That is an excellent point. I haven't bothered with the extended warranty on the Hondas, though I did have one and used it extensively on the Caravan that we had. That warranty was transferable, and it was successfully transferred. I think that just shows that they are all different, and it is most definitely worth checking on this.

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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: 240211 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 11/1/2006 8:14 AM
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You *need* to know what they money is going to and what it has to go to. I track my spending on a daily basis now. It is easy to say that if you have $700 cash that you will stop spending when you run out. But what if you have spent the $700 and you need gas to get to work? What if your child's shoes have holes in them? What if you have the spent the $700 and you have no food?

Without a budget for that money, you can't plan in advance and know what you have to reserve for what is coming up later in the month.


I actually think that SoccerDad is a great candidate for the envelope system. He could take that $700 cash, and split it out into envelopes for each expense such as gas, groceries, and whatever else the cash goes to. If he wants to spend money on something for which there is no cash category, then it's not in the budget and the item cannot be purchased. If he puts $350 per month towards groceries, which I think is a more than reasonable number, then he can visually see how much is being spent and knows that he cannot buy more groceries that month.

I think having all that money in one pot is too confusing and, as you point out, is too easy to want to spend it on Category A when Category B is the place that the money should be allocated.


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Author: Jim2B Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 240214 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 11/1/2006 9:30 AM
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If she sees these challenges as problems for her to solve then the outlook may be very different than if she sees them as excuses for why she can't handle money appropriately.

SoccerDad,

I can't agree with this statement from DM more! So many people look upon various aspects of their lives as reasons why they can't do something instead of obstacles that they should overcome.

It happens in your wife, you, me, everyone. If we allow ourselves or others to use difficulties to hem us in, we'll never achieve the results we desire.

Most people (me included!) are lazy. We tend to like to stay where we are comfortable. Often only discomfort can dislodge us enough for us to strive for something better. I can look at several events in my life that forced me to quit what I was doing and strive for something better because what I had wasn't going to work.

I submit that your debt issues are one of these "uncomfortable" moments for you. You can either try to get back to that comfort place (neither of you paying attention to money) - which won't work in the long run, or you can strive for something better - in my opinion much MUCH better.

The choice is up to you two. Only you two can decide whether her difficulties are going to stop you from achieving your goals or not. Ultimately whether you succeed or not is what matters, not whether your wife has extenuating circumstances.

Jim

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Author: Jim2B Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 240217 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 11/1/2006 10:14 AM
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I'm sure he thinks I'm wasting money and I know that he is...but we are happily coexisting because we each have this dedicated spending money that keeps each of us from feeling grindingly deprived of pleasure. Maybe we shouldn't feel that way. Maybe I should happily say that I never should spend my spending money and should virtuously apply it to debt...

DM,

Honestly when you give up this stuff voluntarily it doesn't feel like you're deprived. In a way it's liberating. We CHOOSE to not spend the money on these things and that's a pleasure in and of itself.

Don't get me wrong, my DW and I both spend some money frivolously too...

Jim

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Author: fenway78 Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 240218 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 11/1/2006 10:15 AM
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However, I think that the existence of the spending money is what has made it possible for us to stay on our budget overall. Obviously there is no hard and fast rule on how much to set for spending money. For us, the spending money is less than 2% of our monthly income.

But the psychology of it is that it makes the difference for us between our spending plans working and not working.


I think this is huge. In fact, I've seen it recommended by financial experts. $200 per person per month might not be the right number for everyone (I think it's too high for us at the moment), but the point is well taken. Our reward is a monthly trip to our local pub to relax and listen to live music, something we both really enjoy.

Unfortunately, though, my husband does continue to resist being frugal in so many little ways that if I'm not constantly reining him in, it would add up to big things. He's definitely made a lot of changes after our little "this-has-got-to-stop" talk but the underlying attitude is still there. For example, I came home from the grocery store with one bag of Halloween candy (155 pieces). He questioned why I didn't buy more since the candy is on sale right now. I asked him to think about why we needed more candy to hand out. Based on the history of our neighborhood, this bag would be enough. And even if it wasn't, why couldn't we just turn out the light when we ran out. Did he really think the kids in this neighborhood were going to be short candy because we only bought one bag? "But it's on sale!" was his response. My reply was "I don't care if it was on sale, why buy more than we need. Let's be happy we paid less than normal for just what we need. This is called 'living within our means', honey!" Since I'm the one who has been working so hard for the past year to get us out of the hole we both created, he dropped the subject.

<sigh>
Fen


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Author: MaestroCindi 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: 240219 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 11/1/2006 10:24 AM
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How are you getting $3,000 worth of "income" from MBNA and Cap One, or do you mean you're living off your CCs, in which case this shouldn't be counted as income since you're not earning it it's putting you deeper into the debt hole?

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Author: Glockenspieler Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 240221 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 11/1/2006 10:47 AM
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Oh, SoccerDad, that's the first time I read about your wife's brain injury. I worked for a number of years with people with different cognitive disorders and am pretty familiar with brain injury. Even if she is now functioning at 98% of normal, it's the other 2% (the executive functioning) that will get her and has become a real problem for you. These are really not people that you can just expect to "buck up" because there is often a loss of judgment, impulse control and motivation. Once you consider the delicate computer that is the brain, it's a miracle that any of us function well. All it takes is a slight dismantling of the high-level cognitive functioning and it can be VERY difficult to make good decisions, follow through on plans, and stop yourself from doing inappropriate things. This isn't a matter of "psychology" or "excuses;" a traumatic brain injury often leads to a true disability of cognitive functioning.

Soccerdad, can she get back into cognitive therapy? When I worked in a hospital, people would go from oupatient cognitive therapy to vocational rehab so that they could learn to perform a specific job. This was also a good way to mediate between the person and the employer, who knows they are hiring someone with some limitations. If she really can't be employed, they might be able to help her get disability S.S. I would call around to find out if there is a vocational rehabilitation office in your area. I do not know about payment or insurance, but they would be able to tell you. If you do reach someone, use the opportunity to pour out your heart to them, because they will understand what is going on and why.

Based solely on my experience with this population, and not knowing your wife at all, I would say that you will probably need a VERY SPECIFIC, controlled, and simple spending plan for her, like the envelope system with cash on a daily basis and a shopping list. She may not remember to write down what she's spent the money on or buy things that aren't on the list, so you may need to limit access to money. If that becomes a problem, or if she resents your control over the money, you will need a third person to help you set up a system that she can live with. That's also where voc. rehab or cognitive rehab could help you out. Cognitive rehab can be very high level (like dealing with math and finances). The problem, of course, is whether your insurance would cover it.

Depending on the extent of injury, she may have a limited insight into her own cognitive "gaps." If this is the case, it's really difficult. From what you've written, I don't know if you are dealing with that or not. However, if she bought a car that the trust told her not to buy, that seems like a lack of impulse control and insight into her disability.

I really feel for you, SoccerDad. You are obviously trying to keep the chaos at bay. If the above does describe your wife, please call a voc. rehab agency or the local hospital's rehab department to get more information. If you live in a city, there are probably some free services that can help her get a job and help her gain some skills, and a rehabilitation office could help you find them. You will probably need to make a number of phone calls to get to the right place, but don't give up, because it sounds like you could use the help.

GS

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Author: AngelMay Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 240224 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 11/1/2006 12:37 PM
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SoccerDad – living on the edge of debt hell – slowly backing away




OMG!
(((((((SoccerDad))))))))

I gotta tell ya.
I would sell the Honda.
Then I would sell the house and move into a double-wide someplace CHEAP.
The proceeds from the sales would go to pay off the debts.
I would wear old clothes till they fell off my back in rags.
I would take an extra job. I would sell everything that wasn't nailed down. I would encourage the kids to take whatever jobs they could in order to help out -- even if just mowing a neighbor's yard. I would eat beans till they came out my ears.

Oy! I wish you nothing but the very best!

AM
....can't STAND to owe anybody anything. I have a house payment -- and am considering paying it off, too.

However .... I've been poor -- poor. I've been in a situation where I had to spend the silver dollars I was saving for my kids just so we could eat. Been there. Never want to go there again.

The very best of luck to you.
The very very best.



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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: 240226 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 11/1/2006 12:52 PM
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To the recent posts about 2nd job for holidays for both SoccerDad & DW - looking into it this week.

On DW... in another post in the previous thread you will find I have my own mental disorders. But, I never use them as an excuse for myself. The only thing I wanted to point out about DW was that this was not a simple matter of her not wanting to, being spoiled and that she just needed me to tell her to do these simple and logical tasks or else... To be blunt - you just can not demand a person without legs to walk.

Oh how I wish and go crazy that it is not as easy as asking / telling her to put all receipts in the giant red can marked "receipts". But, she will put some receipts there. So, it is a constant "can she do it and is lazy" or "does this same behavior and thought process exist in most other parts of her life". The answer is: in most parts of her life.

People have been very helpfull with suggestions on creative ways to help get DW on-board, how to show her visuals and the envelop method. I do like the envelop method and we were heading down a similar path already of putting the money in stacks. So, I think we will try that.

She is going to see a doctor in Jan about her focus, organization and general help with things like tracking money.

Now the slippery slop here again is not making her feel like a child with an allowance, not pressing so fast on every penny that she panics and does something rash.

I also have to communicate without hitting those hot buttons of "you can't, your mind doesn't work that way, you need to compensate by..." Fireworks to say the least followed by sabotage and rash decisions only for everything to be reconciled and apologies made after the money damage is done.

So, I think for us it has to be as much pyschological as mathmatical. For example that $800 to $720 was not going to happen til Dec. But, when I found these few extra accounts whose balances were not "paid off" or were not "almost paid off" then she immediately said ok to the change much sooner as I said the money must be used to pay these accounts.

Man, if I were a single guy - the thought of living out of a car just doesn't seem that weird to quickly get out of this mess. But, I am married with kids. I plan to stay married. She has put up with my problems. I want to work this out together.

Thanks for all the feedback and input. I really do appreciate and need to hear it.

SoccerDad






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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: 240227 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 11/1/2006 12:54 PM
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DM,

Honestly when you give up this stuff voluntarily it doesn't feel like you're deprived. In a way it's liberating. We CHOOSE to not spend the money on these things and that's a pleasure in and of itself.


Jim

I think we actually agree. I have given up tons of spending voluntarily and am *not* feeling at all deprived now. My point was that if I had given up 100% of all non-abolutely necessary spending and had left nothing for unaccountable frivolous stuff that then I would have felt terribly deprived. The fact that I have some freedom to spend money that isn't necessary is what allows me not to feel deprived. I have a plan and that works well for me.

It is not too dissimilar to why I've always done best with Weight Watchers as a weight loss plan. Why? I didn't have to give up all my favorite foods. WW always has allowed any food ... it is just that you have to count it and choosing this food means giving up having that other food. If I suddenly said that I was going to cut off all snacks and desserts then I would feel deprived and I couldn't sustain it long term.

I can't sustain a spending plan long term that doesn't allow *any* room for "wants" as opposed to "needs." I am totally, 100% happy, with not having all my wants satisfied ...so long as I can choose to satisfy some of them through the spending money allocation. If I was told that I had to have a plan with no "wants" at all satisfied then I would be much more likely to give up.

Obviously there has to be a balance which depends upon one's income, debts and direness of the situation. There was a time when my spending money was $50 a month rather than $200. But, it was still something.

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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: 240228 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 11/1/2006 1:00 PM
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To be blunt - you just can not demand a person without legs to walk.


No, you can't. But let's put it in the framework I suggested. Excuse v. problem to the solved.

The problem to be solved in the above situation is *not* "no legs" or even "walking." The problem that has to be solved is locomotion and getting the places that one wants and needs to go.

So, if someone said, I have to stay in this room and I can't get out of this room and everything must be brought to me because I can't walk because I have no legs -- then that is using lack of legs as an excuse.

It is true that the person can't suddenly walk....but walking isn't the only way out of that room.

It is true that getting out of the room and going places is much more difficult for the person without legs. But, many people see that as a problem to be solved and, nonetheless, find a way to get out of the room and get where they want to go.

So, yes, I agree that your wife has a genuine problem. But, that still can't be used as reason not to get control of spending. Your wife has to recognize that her problem exists and find a way to control the spending that will work for her given her genuine issues.

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Author: electrasmom Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 240238 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 11/1/2006 1:41 PM
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<So, yes, I agree that your wife has a genuine problem. But, that still can't be used as reason not to get control of spending. Your wife has to recognize that her problem exists and find a way to control the spending that will work for her given her genuine issues. >

I totally agree with DM.

I also want to add something that no one usually thinks of because 'it won't happen to me".

What if something happened to YOU, SoccerDad? How would your wife cope?
I always think about what I would do if something happened to DH. In my case, I have a job and could get along just fine but I already have thought about how my life would change.

You may consider posing this to her.

Yeah, I know it sounds awful but life does happen. And not always in a good way. You can't keep putting off making the changes until Jan, etc.

electrasmom


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Author: SooozFool Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 240239 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 11/1/2006 1:41 PM
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>>For example that $800 to $720 was not going to happen til Dec. But, when I found these few extra accounts whose balances were not "paid off" or were not "almost paid off" then she immediately said ok to the change much sooner as I said the money must be used to pay these accounts.<<

Hmm, that sounds encouraging. Almost as if your DW threw her own mini-"snowball" at the debt in that moment. Maybe because your suggestion was tied to something small, concrete, and not as overwhelming as some of the cutback ideas that she's found too overwhelming to consider.

If you do decide to go to the envelope-and-receipt tracking method of gently building your DW a budget from the cash allowance, then -- Do you think the process might be aided by including a small "snowball" envelope into which she aims to throw as much extra (unspent) cash from her allowance as possible? Has she ever managed a savings account or had savings goals before? Would she derive any satisfaction from, say, the opening of an online ING account with a subaccount showing exactly what she's contributed to this process every month (this could be your efund)? You could manage it (that seems most sensible since you're the money manager for the family), but she might not mind looking at a number that she contributed to in a positive way on her own.

This'd never work for lots of people (including me, I'd keep hitting that envelope for cash). But for your DW, it might be a way for her to participate in this process.

I know I'm more motivated if I look at money from the savings side of the ledger instead of always contemplating it from the "cutting back" side.

Soooz

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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: 240247 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 11/1/2006 2:58 PM
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determinedmom wrote:
So, yes, I agree that your wife has a genuine problem. But, that still can't be used as reason not to get control of spending. Your wife has to recognize that her problem exists and find a way to control the spending that will work for her given her genuine issues.

Yes I agree and I think I am saying the same thing as you and other posters are saying. She has a problem. It can not be used as an excuse. We must find a way. I was just trying to elaborate that what makes very logical sense and is an obvious solution to many is a very big challenge for us and traditional or common sense solutions many times do not work. So, we must get creative, we both need to understand her condition must better, she needs to except her condition and we must find a way. Excuses will not work when we are facing BK - we must have results one way or another. A good "can do" attutude is needed.

thanks for the push

SoccerDad







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Author: Windowseat Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 240248 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 11/1/2006 3:02 PM
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So, we must get creative, we both need to understand her condition must better, she needs to except her condition and we must find a way. Excuses will not work when we are facing BK - we must have results one way or another. A good "can do" attutude is needed.

What has your wife suggested that she thinks might work for her? She understands the inside of how her mind works, far better than any of us. Has she offered any ideas that might help her?

And you mentioned that she'll save some, but not all, of the receipts. Can you figure out at what point she stops saving them? What might be a trigger for her to save them daily and hand them over to you every night?

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: 240249 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 11/1/2006 3:06 PM
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electrasmom wrote:
What if something happened to YOU, SoccerDad? How would your wife cope?
I always think about what I would do if something happened to DH. In my case, I have a job and could get along just fine but I already have thought about how my life would change.

You may consider posing this to her.


We did talk about this in detail recently and although it freaked her out like I was going to off myself to get out out of debt. I told her about small life insurance policy through my job, where on the computer and filing cabinet to find everything, goto a lawyer and get legal help right away and so on.

But, your point is well taken and I posted in another thread that my biggest turning point todate was the passing of my mom and reflection on what legacy I would leave and what debt I would be leaving behind to a SAHM with no budgeting or money management experience - not to mention challenges.

This really motivates me. This and the kids and hopefully I will make it long enough to leave a much better legacy and money behind to my family.

thanks for the motivation
SoccerDad


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Author: Jim2B Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 240259 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 11/1/2006 4:32 PM
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What if something happened to YOU, SoccerDad? How would your wife cope?
I always think about what I would do if something happened to DH. In my case, I have a job and could get along just fine but I already have thought about how my life would change.


I've discussed this with my DW. She also doesn't really like to think about our long term finances, though she does great with our monthly budgets.

My recommendation to her (and this is a luxury that not everyone has) is to use my mother as a financial advisor on long-term investing, to slowly divest herself of our individual stocks, and move that money into stock index funds.

I've insured myself enough that between the insurance and SS benefits, she should be able to support herself and our kids.

Jim

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Author: eudaimon6 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 240275 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 11/1/2006 7:54 PM
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Teddy Roosevelt said "In football, as in life, the thing is to hit the line hard."

Good luck. The first step is getting both hands around the issue.

Keep hitting.

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Author: lilacinn Two stars, 250 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 240279 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 11/1/2006 8:31 PM
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Credit monitoring $30 - is that monthly?? In a one-stroke google search i found sites selling all three reports for $12.99 or thereabouts. You could do that once a month and save $200 a year.

Agree with the others about the car maintenance. My dad was an automotive engineer (engine division) at one of the Big 3 (or former Big 3, anyway :) -- he was a meticulous person and scoffed at the milestone tune-ups and such suggested by the owner's manual. Just change your oil frequently. And I've driven a couple hundred thousand miles over dilapidated freways and never had an alignment -- nevertheless my mechanic said my tires look 'like new' the other day so I guess despite the jolting I'm OK.

SoccerDad, I know your heart is in the right place but you have to stop the mindset that throwing money at problems -- buying credit monitoring for fear of ID theft, etc. -- is going to solve your debt issues. I had "ID theft" type charges on my cc last month -- so far I just went through the customer service arm of Citibank (they deleted the disputed charges) and have been checking online every few days to make sure new ones don't crop up. Unless you really think there is a chance of someone opening new credit in your wife's name -- and can't a lock be put on that for free via the three major reporting agencies -- I don't understand the need to sign up for yet another monthly bill.

Your TV/Internet/Phone packages still seem rather deluxe. Use the library for videos, DVDs, CDs, etc.

As to your DW, what does she think is going to happen if drastic measures are not taken? Does she secretly expect that trust to bail you out? Why is she moving slow on getting a part-time job when the holiday retailing season is about to burst into full swing?

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Author: lilacinn Two stars, 250 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 240280 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 11/1/2006 8:42 PM
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SoccerDad, you said:
DW and cash - that is a whole other thread. Receipts, planning, budgeting, tracking money for her is like getting a cat to take a bath. I am reading some stuff on money for creative minds and I hope that will help.
============
We all have our hangups. But sooner or later an adult woman who had assumed responsibility for bringing a family into the world has to muster it up and face her fears.
Can you put it to her that her failure to face reality here is jeoparidizing your children's security? Not their ballet lessons, but their housing and nutrition? Or something elseo that would make her realize how dire the circumstances are?

As another poster said, one or both of you is stuck in "magical thinking" that someone is going to swoop in and cure this. I fear it will be a BK attorney and all of this gyration is for naught unless you cut the living standard, find her a weekend job, take in babysitting and start recording and evaluating every penny spent.

Btw have you had a big yard sale to generate cash?

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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: 240281 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 11/1/2006 8:52 PM
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Hi SoccerDad,

I really like Glockenspieler's approach of looking at your wife's disabilities as a clinical challenge. As a licensed counselor, I worked almost exclusively with people who were disabled, many of them in the way you describe.

It would be great if DW could see someone before January. Even if the two of you do decide to wait, a doctor is different from what Glock. is referring to. A doctor will not help her with "activities of daily living". This is the term used by rehab specialists to refer to anything from balancing your checkbook all the way down to brushing your teeth.

There are many options for getting this kind of help. DW may resist at first, perhaps she can be convinced to visit or observe just once - never again! - with a counselor. The point is, once you get her there, they know how to take it from there. Your wife is definitely not the first upper-middle-class (?) person to have a TBI (traumatic brain injury).

For example, every county in New York State has an Independent Livin gCenter. There are also private, not-for-profit programs at major academic hospitals. Some even have TBI-dedicated programs. I have seen (and worked in) some great places.

Most of them offer support for family members as well - at the very least, a support group. Maybe you can find a support group on the Internet, perhaps through one of those programs, International Center for the Disabled, etc.

I recall sitting in my office with a client who was frustrated by his inability to link his feelings and goals with his behavior. (I know it sounds odd to some of us - read Oliver Sacks' _The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat_.) One day, this gentleman and I talked about how destructive his drinking had become, and even practiced walking past the numerous delis he passed on the way home, without buying a beer.

An hour later I got a phone call from his independent-living counselor: "What the heck happened to R.? What are you guys doing over there, anyway?" One of my staff accused R. of lying... but I think he would have passed a lie detector test when he promised not to drink that day. I recall my own efforts to lose weight. My brain can flip-flop within a matter of moments.

It was not a matter of HIS biting the bullet. It was a matter of MY finding the appropriate intervention. I've always found helpful the clinical principle that if a client resists, it's a signal to ME to change strategies, not kick out the client! (BTW, I've found this effective with siblings and teenagers.)

This may be the one place to push DW a bit beyond the comfort level. Imagine if someone could give you a list of science-based strategies rather than having to guess!

Good luck. Please contact me off-board if you have questions or want help tracking down resources.

BklynBorn

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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: 240293 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 11/1/2006 11:28 PM
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lilacinn wrote
Credit monitoring $30 - is that monthly?? In a one-stroke google search i found sites selling all three reports for $12.99 or thereabouts. You could do that once a month and save $200 a year.

Looked into a few and truecredit.com had losts of features + id theft insurance which I am pursuing for postage, time of work and so on. Right now someone was $300 account under by report and someone has written checks for $1,000 and $1,500 under DW. It has not made it to DW report yet. But, it made it to mine and sent my rates through the roof. $30 is temp (3 months) - we are getting the police reports put together in order to put a 7 yr credit alert on. This has been on-going for 1 year now. So, $30 per month is actualy a very small amount for how fast this is destroying my credit. I never saw 32% even when I had 10k more in total debt. The most I saw was 24% and everything was mostly under 20%. So, yes I feel it is very much worth it and it is just a matter of find a better service and/or how long to keep this one. This is actualy a huge problem as other checks failed and a person's name has made it onto my credit report as a name I go by. We are dealing with checks and fake ids and we do not know anything about it until it pops on reports (no statements to monitor).

fyi- for all about id theft... in the case of very small accounts or checks you will probably never know about it until it is a debt collection on your report. Credit Monitoring when you are a victim is the fastest way to act on it and get it off asap. This is a very frustrating scenario where alerts with all 3 + attaching phone # for credit approval does not stop a collection account from being posted.

Agree with the others about the car maintenance.

I will look into this in detail. But, the Honda was pulling to the right very pronounced. I will definetly check into the transmission service being required by warrenty or just reccommended or or something that can be let go for X miles.

As to your DW, what does she think is going to happen if drastic measures are not taken? Does she secretly expect that trust to bail you out? Why is she moving slow on getting a part-time job when the holiday retailing season is about to burst into full swing?

No good answer here. She did look today. Trust will not bail-out. The cash money is getting tighter and tighter and then she making her very uncomfortable - so, she should be motitivated very soon.

thanks for the push. I think we are doing well under the id theft and credit monitoring situation (you really have to look at the fine print for what you get) but your other points are well taken.

thanks
SoccerDad





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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: 240294 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 11/1/2006 11:41 PM
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BklynBorn wrote:
This may be the one place to push DW a bit beyond the comfort level. Imagine if someone could give you a list of science-based strategies rather than having to guess!

I am hopefull she will be open to trying something new. I will contact you if I can get her to move in that direction. This is a very touchy subject about how she claims she had 30 hrs of tests - is perfectly fine and she just is not that good with math and organization. The more I force the issue the more defensive she is and while people can tell "something might not be 100%" - she is close close to 100% that a general md never considers there to be anything to worry about or anything extra that needs to be done... which only reinforces to her that she should not waste anytime with theraphy. Oh, btw she hate any-type of theraphy with a passion after getting 1 yr of it.

There is a way - it is not completely clear right now what. But, I know there is the right help out there for her (and me) and I feel that she is opening up and becoming much more open to changes and trying things... so, better days are around the corner.

SoccerDad




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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: 240295 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 11/1/2006 11:54 PM
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Another principle of counseling: find out what's important - I'm sure you already know! - and link that very specifically to what you're asking her to do. SOmetimes we take for granted that people realize stuff like: save your receipts and you'll have more money. (It wasn't that obvious to me for about 40 years...)

Don't call it therapy! Call it time management, help with math anxiety, or (my favorite) project management. I NEVER called it therapy. I just got them there and let the rehab staff deal with it. As with other counseling, dealing with resistance is part of the job.

I also had success with spouses telling clients, Then you won't mind if I go, right? If she says she would mind, go anyway.

BB

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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: 240296 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 11/2/2006 12:11 AM
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SD:
I hear your love and concern for your wife - and understand there are serious issues here. But she can't have it both ways - either she has a physical/mental problem that you AND she can work together to find an accomodation for, which will involve creating some parallel systems as noted above...
OR
she is normal, and just not good with math.

If the latter - then she has no excuse for acting selfishly.

I realize the latter is not the case - but I am just making a point. She can't have it both ways. She needs to be working hard to get this under control and suggest to you how she CAN track costs. Because tracking costs is essential. You will fail without it.

If she saves some receipts surely over time she can train herself to save all - or almost all. What about giving her a pretty notebook, change purse, pocketbook that she can carry around with her within her purse, and put all receipts in thaat RIGHT AWAY. That way she doesn't have to worry about stuffing it in her pockets and sending it through the wash, or other annoyances about tracking receipts...

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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: 240298 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 11/2/2006 12:21 AM
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she can't have it both ways
she has no excuse
surely over time she can train herself
get this under control

None of this makes sense to people with TBI (traumatic brain injury). This is exactly the nature of the disability. They may *promise* themselves to do it, yet when the moment comes, it doesn't click.

Maybe we can't imagine such a disability - because we've never been exposed to it. That doesn't mean it's not genuine.

I was very skeptical of SoccerDad at first, and bugged him to get GOING with DW, for goodness sake! He went out on a limb and passed on some very personal information. Unless SoccerDad has certain training, it's not fair to keep hocking him about it. I don't bug my little niece - or my brother - about her asthma.

BB

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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: 240299 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 11/2/2006 2:16 AM
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I also have to communicate without hitting those hot buttons of "you can't, your mind doesn't work that way, you need to compensate by..." ...
So, I think for us it has to be as much pyschological as mathmatical.


SoccerDad,

I think it's awesome that you are sensitive to the self-esteem challenges you'll have to navigate here. I offer this from my own household:
If you're bothing living under the same restrictions, it becomes a "team" restriction, not an adult-to-child restriction.

If you think the envelope system would be helpful for her, there's no reason you cannot also get your spending/gasoline/etc. money in an envelope. If you can approach each bugeting method with this equality of restriction, it may help reduce her feeling of being managed like the less able member of the team.

Kudos for all of your hard work and the thought you've put into it all,
Frydaze1

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Author: giJ1975 Two stars, 250 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 240307 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 11/2/2006 8:47 AM
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she can't have it both ways
she has no excuse
surely over time she can train herself
get this under control

None of this makes sense to people with TBI (traumatic brain injury). This is exactly the nature of the disability. They may *promise* themselves to do it, yet when the moment comes, it doesn't click.


But SD continues to enable her.

I am very sorry that she had that accident. I am. It sounds like it was a horrible ordeal, and I know that I cannot begin to understand what she went through.

But guess what? Being out on the street won't be a bargain either, and the stress of the finances is not fair to do to their kids.

SD, you and your wife are adults. You said she doesn't like feeling like a child with an allowance. She's not. You are BOTH adults on a budget. ADULTS have no choice but to make sacrifices. She can throw all the tantrums she wants (of course, that will show that perhaps she is more childlike then adultlike, but ok) but the fact remains: it's time to grow up. [And the story about buying the CRV? The fit she had with her Trustee? Makes me think that tantrums ARE her style.]

What does that mean? What does that look like? Well, it fiscal responsibility for one. She has to make it habit to take money out of her purse/wallet and replace it with the receipt. They go hand in hand. And if she cannot handle it, then it's time to take away the credit cards and checks. Minimal cash. End of story.

It's great that you love your wife and are so patient with her. But you know what? You are both drowning quickly. And your children will pay the price. What are you going to do to save them -- not to mention, to be good role models to them?

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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: 240308 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 11/2/2006 8:49 AM
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We did talk about this in detail recently and although it freaked her out like I was going to off myself to get out out of debt.

This can be seen as a positive step, as you now know what her fear is. She's worried you will leave her. This is one of those areas where you will have to assure her. And then reassure.

This really motivates me. This and the kids and hopefully I will make it long enough to leave a much better legacy and money behind to my family.


That's great to hear, and motivating to me, as well! :)

Andrea






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Author: Glockenspieler Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 240311 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 11/2/2006 9:35 AM
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Thank you, BB, for emphasizing so succinctly what I was trying to say. Gingko also has a point: either DW is normal and acting selfishly (doesn't seem to be the case) or she needs more help. If she is unable to keep a job, then she needs more help. These high-level deficits probably aren't something that most busy MD's will recognize in a short office visit.

The great thing about voc rehab is that it would be job training, and you could "sell" it as a training program. I can understand your wife's frustration with traditional therapy, because if she is very high level, which she obviously is, there is a limit to the practical outcomes she will have. She probably needs something hands-on and practical to make progress at this point (and a paycheck at the end of it doesn't hurt either!). If she is as functional as she seems from your posts, there is no reason that she can't do a job that is not too cognitively demanding (and a job would be the best long-term therapy program ever). One big issue, which I mentioned in the previous post, is that if the employer doesn't know and understand the employee's history with TBI, interpersonal and "reliability" problems may develop at work and she might end up losing the job.

The problem that I see is that until your wife is able to track her spending and bring in some money by working, you will CONSTANTLY be struggling -- your whole life. I hope that BrooklynBorn can help you find a way to convince her to re-enter a rehab or training program.

Just to harp a little on a system that might work for her: if you use the envelopes to put cash in, write the shopping list ON THE ENVELOPE. Put a pen inside the envelope for checking off the list, and ask her to put the receipts in the envelope. She has to: buy only what's on the list, put the receipts back in the envelope. Very straightforward and not much for her to keep in her short-term memory. You said that you joined the Grocery Game. That's a pretty complicated system that requires making a lot of decisions about what to buy (mostly what NOT to buy) and takes quite a bit of sorting and organizational skill for the coupons -- are you doing it with her? Someone with organizational deficits would have a great deal of trouble doing the GG alone.

I am really pulling for you, SoccerDad. You are starting out well with the resources you have. Please consider tapping into additional resources so that your family can pull in more money and get more organized.

GS

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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: 240312 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 11/2/2006 9:35 AM
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BB: I think you missed my main point - or perhapos I expressed it badly.

My point was not that TBI should be ignored or trivialized, or that she should just suck it up and stop making excuses. It was that, since TBI IS the issue, then SD and DW can't just accept the statement that she is "100% normal just with fear of math". This is what SD himself says she has said. Either TBI is a factor and should be addressed and accomodated, or it isn't.

That's what I mean by not having it both ways.

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Author: ThyPeace Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 240315 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 11/2/2006 9:49 AM
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I'm reading an awful lot about SoccerDad's wife on this thread. Traumatic brain injury and its effects are clearly incredibly important to SoccerDad and his family, and there is some very good information here -- particularly from those who are familiar with TBI and its effects on people.

However, there is also way too much chat about what she "has" to do and what SoccerDad "has" to do to get hre on board. Over several years of helping people try to improve their marriages, I've learned that there is no benefit at all in telling someone that someone else "has" to do something in order for changes to occur.

The only person I have any influence over is the person who has come to me for help and advice. (And even then my influence is pretty tenuous.) So... let's talk about what SoccerDad can do to change his world.

He can certainly take much of the good information that's available here and hopefully use it to his benefit. He can set up systems that he can use -- and hopefully take steps to help his wife set up systems that she can use as well.

But really? This is a situation where SoccerDad has certain boundaries that he's got to work within. The question in my mind is not so much what his wife has to do -- but rather what SoccerDad is going to do to take responsibility for his family, his family's debts, and getting the entire family to a financially (and in various other ways too) healthier place.

SoccerDad, I really like what you're doing so far. You're in a world of hurt, no question. And yet I'm really glad that you made it to The Motley Fool, that you took the risk to post about your situation, and that you're steadily making changes that will help. I don't know whether you'll be able to make enough changes to avoid selling your house or bankruptcy. I do know, though, that you have a long road ahead of you no matter what happens. Every single step toward financially responsible living is a good step. Just keep taking them every single day. Even if it's a tiny little step, go ahead and take it. It's still a step you won't have to take later.

And another question for you. Your kids are young to be working, but not impossibly young. Is there anything they could do in your neighborhood for a little spare cash. Now is an excellent time to teach them to earn -- and spend -- and save -- responsibly. If they could find a way to bring in even $5 a week each, you could teach them to save 20% ($1 into the savings account) and spend the rest as they would like. It's a step of learning that may take three or four years to get in place, but what a good skill they'll have later on!

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Author: AngelMay Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 240332 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 11/2/2006 11:37 AM
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I also have to communicate without hitting those hot buttons of "you can't, your mind doesn't work that way, you need to compensate by..." ...
So, I think for us it has to be as much pyschological as mathmatical.

SoccerDad,

I think it's awesome that you are sensitive to the self-esteem challenges you'll have to navigate here. I offer this from my own household:
If you're bothing living under the same restrictions, it becomes a "team" restriction, not an adult-to-child restriction.

If you think the envelope system would be helpful for her, there's no reason you cannot also get your spending/gasoline/etc. money in an envelope. If you can approach each bugeting method with this equality of restriction, it may help reduce her feeling of being managed like the less able member of the team.

Kudos for all of your hard work and the thought you've put into it all,
Frydaze1






I still think he should sell the Honda and put the house up for sale immediately. He could buy a servicable and inexpensive car that would do for the family temporarily and he could move into a double-wide somewhere -- also temporary. Anything to get out of this horrible, family-eating and hope-eating hole he finds himself in.

People come here from all over the world and they live on practically nothing -- saving every single penny they can lay their hands on. Yet Americans seem paralyzed when it comes to doing this.

Soccerdad should forget about the Joneses (not that he gives them much thought now) and just take whatever drastic measures need to be taken.

I'm not advocating anything that I wouldn't do myself. In fact, even though I am quite well-off these days, I would seriously consider selling my quite ordinary house with the EXPENSIVE gorgeous view (for which I paid dearly) and moving into a double-wide somewhere in order to bank the surplus funds for a more comfortable and worry-free retirement in just a few years.

But if I were in debt (as SoccerDad seems to be) I would never EVER keep an expensive automobile when I could cash it in for something cheaper and just as serviceable. People drive around every town in America in old VWs every single day. People drive around in cars that look like hell but run great -- just ask Click and Clack or Frick and Frack or whoever those hilarious guys are on car talk. One of them admitted one day that he had never spent as much as $1600 on a car in his entire life. And you KNOW those guys can afford nice cars. There has to be something else going on here.

SELL THE HOUSE!
SELL THE CAR!
EAT BEANS!
BUY SHOES AT DISCOUNT STORES (and not the name brands, either)

Sell everything not nailed down in and around your house.
JUST DO IT!

And you will pull yourself out of this mess much sooner than you ever could otherwise.

Argh!!!! It's killing me to think of the debt this family is under.


AM

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Author: Windowseat Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 240333 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 11/2/2006 11:41 AM
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Argh!!!! It's killing me to think of the debt this family is under.

Did you read this thread?

http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=24742604&sort=whole#24771366

A suggestion: don't have any fluid or food in your mouth.

Nancy



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Author: AngelMay Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 240337 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 11/2/2006 12:13 PM
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Argh!!!! It's killing me to think of the debt this family is under.

Did you read this thread?

http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=24742604&sort=whole#24771366

A suggestion: don't have any fluid or food in your mouth.

Nancy






Oy!
That is too scary.
It is amazing to me what people think of as "needs".
We need only three things:

Food
Shelter
clothing

and I will ad a 4th since we live in the United States:

Transportation (in order to get to the job that provides the money for the three items above).

Everything else -- EVERYTHING ELSE -- is a "want" not a need.

You don't need cell phones.
You don't need television.
You don't need computers.
You don't need Nikes.
You don't need steak when beans are as nutritious as they are)

Of course, no one wants to live with just the bare necessities -- but living with just the bare necessities until you can get ahead of the game is not impossible. Many people do it.

Many people in this world live in cardboard boxes -- if they are lucky.
SoccerDad (and the person in the other thread) should not have to do this... but they can live in much more humble quarters until such time as they can truly afford better.

It can be done.
And I believe that they would be extremely glad they did it once it was behind them.

AM

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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: 240348 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 11/2/2006 1:11 PM
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Thanks everyone. Please keep up the support and pressure.

DW - She is working today at a church and will ask about employment. But, this is too far a drive and she said she will apply for a job at Super Target just around the corner this week. Now, when DW says "this week" that usually means "I plan to - but I might forget or something might come up". Anyway, I will remind her and I have e-mailed BklynBorn for more help with her condition and who she might be able to see to help her.


DW agreed that we will go together on Sunday with $80 cash (I know it is too much - but, this is about getting her on-board) for food and we will go again on Wed with $40 cash for home items and go together with $40 cash on Saturday for clothes or whatever she comes up with. While we are doing this together we will be putting an envelop system together, keeping receipts and talking a lot about budget, plan and need vs. want.

On the drastic changes - I think this is more mental 75% than math 25% and the next 3 years are going to be very life, marriage defining. I am sticking with 3 to 6 months needed to give those next 3 years as much better chance of pulling the family together rather than tearing it apart.

cheers
SoccerDad

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Author: Windowseat Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 240350 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 11/2/2006 1:19 PM
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DW agreed that we will go together on Sunday with $80 cash (I know it is too much - but, this is about getting her on-board) for food and we will go again on Wed with $40 cash for home items and go together with $40 cash on Saturday for clothes or whatever she comes up with. While we are doing this together we will be putting an envelop system together, keeping receipts and talking a lot about budget, plan and need vs. want.

Baby steps. Baby steps.

You're getting her started, and she's listening to you. That's a good start.

But do ask her what she thinks will work: what reminders help, things that she can do to help herself with this. I know you frightened her when talking about life insurance, but there are also accidents and illnesses, and there might come a time in the future when she would be forced to pay the bills. So, if she was in that position, what could she do to help herself cope?

I think that in the end, most of answers will come from her. You'll just have to help her some slippery slopes.

Nancy

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Author: electrasmom Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 240353 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 11/2/2006 1:25 PM
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<DW agreed that we will go together on Sunday with $80 cash (I know it is too much - but, this is about getting her on-board) for food and we will go again on Wed with $40 cash for home items and go together with $40 cash on Saturday for clothes or whatever she comes up with.>

Food - necessary
Home items - maybe tp
Clothes - you can't afford this!!

I am going to sound harsh but I am with AngelMay.
I don't think you can afford to take so many babysteps. Didn't you just borrow money from your 401K? Where are you going to borrow from next???

electrasmom (I would be terrified if I were in your debt)

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Author: rah1420 Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 240355 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 11/2/2006 1:35 PM
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I want to knock out the 3 lowest and free up some cash-flow and generaly just get a little pyschologic boost and then it will be back to the order of paying the highest interest. But, even on that note I have thought about skipping over MBNA and taking on Citi or Discover to get more cash-flow quicker. Feed-back appreciated.

The "higher interest" versus "lower balance" argument goes on and on and on. :) Whichever one you feel more comfortable with, I say.

I agree that lower balances will make you feel a whole lot better and help your cash flow. Just try and get the balances below the limit if they're overlimit as fast as you can, and then don't distribute the snowball across cards. I did that and it wasn't nearly as satisfying as watching the balance melt away when the whole snowball was aimed at a single balance.

You have my admiration for the hole you're climbing out of. Keep the faith.


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Author: Diablo2Queen Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 240360 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 11/2/2006 2:00 PM
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DW agreed that we will go together on Sunday with $80 cash (I know it is too much - but, this is about getting her on-board) for food and we will go again on Wed with $40 cash for home items and go together with $40 cash on Saturday for clothes or whatever she comes up with. While we are doing this together we will be putting an envelop system together, keeping receipts and talking a lot about budget, plan and need vs. want.

For food, if eating out is something DW has been spending money on because there's no time to cook, get some convenience foods for her to make for the kids, too. Chicken nuggets at home served with some frozen veggies (that have been cooked, of course :) is something fast and easy to make and it's cheaper and more nutritious than going thru a drive thru and getting nuggets and fries from a fast food place.

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Author: LLRinCO Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 240364 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 11/2/2006 2:38 PM
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But, this is too far a drive and she said she will apply for a job at Super Target just around the corner this week.

Super Target could be good for her. She can work during the day restocking the shelves - no stress or pressure (like cashiering can be). Employees get a 10% discount which adds up if you purchase all your groceries there.

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Author: NewPenny Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 240368 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 11/2/2006 3:35 PM
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"The problem to be solved in the above situation is *not* "no legs" or even "walking." The problem that has to be solved is locomotion and getting the places that one wants and needs to go.

So, if someone said, I have to stay in this room and I can't get out of this room and everything must be brought to me because I can't walk because I have no legs -- then that is using lack of legs as an excuse.

Your wife has to recognize that her problem exists and find a way to control the spending that will work for her given her genuine issues. " (emphasis is mine)

____

For the person with no legs, cognitive skills are used to recognize that the excuse is causing the problem, and that it stems from being stuck in a pity party. Then, it's used extensively in seeking new ways, and working hard to achieve them. That's the part of our minds we call on to succeed over physical limitations.

This is, indeed, similar to the mental process we all use to change our over-spending habits. We use our cognitive skills to think our way into a new mindset.


This is where I have a problem with this perception.


What isn't being recognized, is that the damage to the cognitive and impulse control areas of Mrs. SoccerDad's brain will make this incredibly hard. Just recognizing the fact that she has a deficit requires cognitive abilities she may not have now. We've likely all heard the quote: "The first step to a solution is recognizing the existence of the problem." Those of use with some form of cognitive ability use it without even knowing that it's what's helping us make progress. It is common to take abilities for granted, until we either lose that ability or meet someone who has. This is just as common when hearing people don't understand how to communicate with a person with hearing loss. The basic thought at first tends to be, "If he just paid more attention, he'd have heard me." That thought process will never help the hearing and hard-of-hearing communicate.

I do agree with the suggestion about further therapy, and rehab. There clearly needs to be an outside control placed on her ability to access money, and the rehab professionals likely have plans to suggest that will help Mr & Mrs SoccerDad implement something that will work for them. Also, this therapy could very likely lead to documentation to qualify for SSDI. That's a great way to increase your family's income. It could be the "job" Mrs SoccerDad could take on to help with the cash flow shortages.

The TMF board, "Living on Disability" can help with how to file, and what documentation will be needed. "Living with Disability" board can help with how to cope with this disability. Getting in touch with others who have this disability or who care for someone who does, would yield contacts for support and ideas that may help. Ideas that we without this limitation would never think of.

I have mental health issues not due to physical damage to my brain, and I can tell you that with a defect in my thinking process, changing my habits is a bit more complicated than for a "mentally stable" person. Before I learned how this was effecting my behavior, I was just blaming myself and thinking of myself as stupid. After all, what idiot goes out and buys a 37ft class A motorhome with no prior planning or any way to pay for it? I did. What idiot gets back on her financial feet over the course of 7 years of Foolish living, and then goes out and trades in a stable paid-for car for a brand new fancy car, with no way to pay for it. I did.

In my case, expecting more of myself does help me change from sitting in a chair without legs, to learning other skills to gain another form of mobility. But that doesn't mean that I'm going to stick with the plan when the meds aren't working to control my ability to think rationally. No amount of behavior modification, determination, or self control will step in when that happens. Prevention means keeping my stress level very low. But, who can control the unexpected events that stress us. Deaths in my family, a car crashing just outside my window, damage from severe weather; are all events that I've experienced in the last 10 years. Thingls like this simply can't be prevented, so the stress they add has/will cause a reaction in my mental health. My only recourse is in how I handle the financial fall out. I kept the motorhome. I told no one, sold everything I owned and lived on a below poverty level budget to allow me to survive the episode. The car I returned. I told people, got advice, and took imediate action. I suffered a small ding in my finances, and will be back on debt-paydown schedule in a few more months.

I can't keep myself from doing these irrational things, but I can control how I react when my mental condition settles a few days later. That's my learned, alternative mobility. I developed this new behavior and thought process with professional help.


Brain injury is an entirely different animal, and professional help will be even more important.

My best to the SoccerDad family as they inch through this long process.


Namasté,

Penny

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Author: StBridgit Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 240369 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 11/2/2006 3:45 PM
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SoccerDad, I think you are doing very well thus far. Drastic changes in money management and how you & your family think about money are things that take time to realize, and patience. I think Glockenspieler and BB are right, your wife probably could benefit from some additional vocational therapy. It would enable her to realize her potential and not just her limits. She could be a great asset for your whole family, and I think your patient approach is a good one.

I'm really pulling for you to get out of your debt hell. It can be done, and you can do it. Just keep plugging away at it, get current with your creditors, and keep implementing new solutions. Good luck!

StB.

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Author: Swampy86 Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 240372 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 11/2/2006 4:00 PM
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Along the same auto maintenance line, the place where you take your cars to be serviced seems a little expensive. I can get an alignment for $60 providing they don't have to replace any parts. As for transmission service, most makes don't require it until at least 30K miles and that is usually for extreme duty. As for the Explorer, the $420 for tires seems in line, but the $620 for breaks seems a little steep. I am not advocating you become mechanically inclined and do it yourself, but I would call around and see if the prices they are quoting you are competitive.

I wish you well on your quest and look forward to seeing your progress.

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Author: Jacksonhall Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 240380 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 11/2/2006 5:01 PM
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Maybe I missed it, but I don't recall you saying what you have done with your credit cards. Are they still available for use? That's dangerous. I knew of one family that put their cards in a container full of water and froze them. That way they weren't available for impulse spending. It took planning ahead to get them thawed and have them with you at the store - and this allowed them time to reflect on what they were about to do. Just a bit of creative thinking to help overcome spending without planning.

Personally, for our household, the cash envelope system, though good in theory, doesn't work well especially at stores like WalMart or Target. My purchases contain expenses that should be charged to such a variety of expense accounts. But I never come home without a receipt and it gets laid in a special place just as the groceries etc get put in the pantry. EVERY evening all receipts get gone over to allocate the various expenses and input to whatever financial program you use. (Shouldn't take long if you keep it up to date a few minutes every evening.) In your case, that would be your job. Don't ask her what she spent the money on (she may feel like she's being grilled or she may not really remember all the details). If she can realize that saving the receipts is a way to avoid being asked all these questions, maybe that will help motivate her. (I don't buy a frostie w/o getting a receipt.)

'Cash' is not an expense. It is an asset just like your bank acct. When you spend cash, deducted it from your cash account and charge it to the proper expense acct.

Transfer however much is allocated to food, hs supplies, hair cuts, etc out of the bank once a week and put in a 'petty cash' box of her choosing. Then this discretionary spending should be done with cash. If you put the receipts and the left over cash back in the petty cash box, you can always tell if a receipt is missing - because the receipts plus the cash left should add up to what you put in. If there is a difference because a receipt is missing, deduct that amt out of cash (in your money program) and charge it to misc expense.

This takes a lot of personal discipline but the rewards are worth the price! You'll feel so much better when you finally take control of your money instead of your money (or lack of it) being in control of you.

I encourage you to keep plugging away at it!!



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Author: CSDunford Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 240381 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 11/2/2006 5:08 PM
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I agree that the $40 for clothes would be better spent on bills.
SD, when you guys go out together for the food and home items, can you give her some great, positive reinforcement for when she decides NOT to spend money? Probably will take some prompting on your part--"Wow, this meat is $4.00 per pound. If we wait a week to get this, I could put the $20 this meat would cost toward that 30% credit card. That would save us a lot of money. What do you think?" And if she goes for the debt reduction, tell her you think that's the wisest choice, too, that it'll make a big difference to the whole family down the road, when that steak dinner would be long forgotten, etc. . . .
Now, she may not go for it this time, but keep it up. If she continually gets positive reinforcement for making saving-money decisions, it'll become easier.

CarolD.

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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: 240388 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 11/2/2006 5:52 PM
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"If there is a difference because a receipt is missing, deduct that amt out of cash (in your money program) and charge it to misc expense. "

In our spending plan, DH and I each have a spending money account (in our case $200 each a month). That covers things like lunches at work, "fun" money, personal hobbies, my EVDO service for my laptop, etc.

This enables us to handle the no receipt issue in a very simple way. Any cash that finds its way into our hands and is spent is presumed to be spent on our personal spending money unless we can account for it as to a specific category and expenditure. So if I start the week with $50 and end up with $30 at the end, that $20 goes against my spending money unless I can come with a specific expenditure to a regular category that was made. This motivates me to keep good track of expenditures.


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Author: lilacinn Two stars, 250 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 240391 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 11/2/2006 6:37 PM
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Have to agree with Gingko here; the Grocery Game sounds a little complex for someone who finds it challenging to collect cash register receipts in one place in their purse. and again, it's an example of the SoccerDad family forking out more $$$ for a service that will supposedly help their overpsending problem!!!

Sorry to sound so skeptical. But SoccerDad, while I'm on that tack anyway -- are you POSITIVE the checks written in DW's name were ID theft? I know it may seem like heresy on this board to make such a suggestion but -- could she possibly have used the checks herself and then feigned innocence? I hope not. Good luck to you.

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Author: lilacinn Two stars, 250 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 240392 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 11/2/2006 6:49 PM
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"and go together with $40 cash on Saturday for clothes or whatever she comes up with."

Clothing? Buying clothing despite the dire straits your are in? If so, please tell me the clothes are for kids who have absolutely outgrown everything in their closets, and that you are heading to a thrift store.

Cheaper yet, try swaps with friends, neighbors, family. Heck, a church near me advertises "free clothing" every Saturday. My colleagues and I earn near six figures, great benefits, are debt-free -- and we still pass around wearable items -- jeans I've outgrown were perfect for a co-worker's teen daughter, her husband's ski jacket went to another cubicle mate, etc. etc.

There is such a surplus of wearables in this country it is unfathomable to me that anyone with your debt load would contemplate buying new. Please look into alternatives. What does "whatever else she comes up with" mean?

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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: 240397 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 11/2/2006 8:44 PM
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lilacinn wrote:
"and go together with $40 cash on Saturday for clothes or whatever she comes up with."

Clothing? Buying clothing despite the dire straits your are in? If so, please tell me the clothes are for kids who have absolutely outgrown everything in their closets, and that you are heading to a thrift store.

Cheaper yet, try swaps with friends, neighbors, family. Heck, a church near me advertises "free clothing" every Saturday. My colleagues and I earn near six figures, great benefits, are debt-free -- and we still pass around wearable items -- jeans I've outgrown were perfect for a co-worker's teen daughter, her husband's ski jacket went to another cubicle mate, etc. etc.

There is such a surplus of wearables in this country it is unfathomable to me that anyone with your debt load would contemplate buying new. Please look into alternatives. What does "whatever else she comes up with" mean?


We have found a used kids store to clothing and she did say she needs a few more items for winter for kids. We are getting clothes together to sell to the store. But, yes - only clothes for kids who have out-grown and she does a fair amount of swapping.

I say clothes and whatever she comes up with as this is me investigating, working with her, talking about a list or plan before shopping and need vs. want but at the same time giving her just a little freedom so we / I can find out what is need in her mind, how much is impulse and so on. If I just say - "make a list of what is absolutely necessary to buy this week and we are not spending a penny until you have a list, we look into cheapest place to buy and so on... this is the slippery slop point of sabotage.

Speaking of sabotage... oh, man. I have got to remain claim here. But, she used the Texaco card because she said she thought I said it was ok for emergencies. She had about 4 emergencies that she needed to fill up the suv with gas in early Oct. Well, that card was put in a file cabinet that requires a key. So, she must have got it out and just kept it. Now when we talked about this 2 months ago - I said... if you are out of cash and the gas light comes up then get the card and put $5 of gas in your car. So, very frustrating. Anyway, I cut that card up and I am taking her off as an authorized user. I am going to that the rest of the cards to a safe deposit box (free box). The only card I carry is AMX which is a corporate card.

Did I mention that the only card I knew about was SAMS and the others were a surprise. Her logic was "as long as I can pay them off with my cash then ... and you get 10% off and ..." Anyway, Target was cut-up and Khols was closed.

I got to chill out and try to have a semi reasonable talk with her tonight.

She did say she is applying for Super-Target on Monday because she volunteers to babys-it on friday.

I am searching Craig's List for temp jobs.

cheers
SoccerDad



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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: 240399 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 11/2/2006 8:53 PM
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lilacinn wrote:
Have to agree with Gingko here; the Grocery Game sounds a little complex for someone who finds it challenging to collect cash register receipts in one place in their purse. and again, it's an example of the SoccerDad family forking out more $$$ for a service that will supposedly help their overpsending problem!!!

Sorry to sound so skeptical. But SoccerDad, while I'm on that tack anyway -- are you POSITIVE the checks written in DW's name were ID theft? I know it may seem like heresy on this board to make such a suggestion but -- could she possibly have used the checks herself and then feigned innocence? I hope not. Good luck to you.


The Grocery Game is not working for DW - it works for me. I bought 20 boxes of popcorn for .15 each and I bought 40 cans of soup for .75 each. I do not know what the deal is... but, she can not find the coupons. I can do that too - but, then I might as well do everything. $10 per month - I do not know - we have 2 more weeks to decide.

Yes, sure about the checks. DW has pursue stolen in April 2005 and checks are being written against a closed checking account and they are being written in another state by someone whose signature does not match DW's. Yes, I did think for 1/10th of a second about that but she has never pulled anything close to take. It is allways "I did not think it was that much or I thought you said it was ok to use that card".

SoccerDad

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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: 240401 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 11/2/2006 9:28 PM
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Speaking of sabotage... oh, man. I have got to remain claim here. But, she used the Texaco card because she said she thought I said it was ok for emergencies. She had about 4 emergencies that she needed to fill up the suv with gas in early Oct. Well, that card was put in a file cabinet that requires a key. So, she must have got it out and just kept it. Now when we talked about this 2 months ago - I said... if you are out of cash and the gas light comes up then get the card and put $5 of gas in your car. So, very frustrating.

Stay calm...

View this as part of the process of "unpeeling the onion" and finding out what your real expenses are, AND what the key motivators to DW's spending are. View it as an opportunity to talk with DW about how you define "emergencies". View it as an opportunity to set the appropriate budget for gas, so you can pay for that with cash (gas isn't an emergency, but a regular and ongoing expense).

It doesn't sound like she is being malicious, just ignorant of the consequences. You will get there together, but you must keep communicating about REAL expenses. I hope DW has had a real "aha!" moment in which she realizes credit is not cash, even if you think you can cover it in full. It's always a liability until it is paid off.

Good luck!

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Author: HavaTheFool Two stars, 250 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 240403 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 11/2/2006 9:49 PM
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The Grocery Game is not working for DW - it works for me. I bought 20 boxes of popcorn for .15 each and I bought 40 cans of soup for .75 each. I do not know what the deal is... but, she can not find the coupons. I can do that too - but, then I might as well do everything. $10 per month - I do not know - we have 2 more weeks to decide.

I'll quickly interject this, and then you may go back to your regularly scheduled program:

A) I'm glad you are finding such great deals with the GG. Even if you cancel before the end of the trial period, you have at least made back your dollar plus quite a bit with your savings.

B) The GG is $10 for 8 weeks, so for 2 months, not for one. If it were $10 a month, I would probably think about cancelling too. I would at least debate it, anyhow...

I also wanted to say that I am proud of all of the progress that you and DW are making. Somebody else said it, and it is 10000% true: This is a mental challenge, with a little physical (ie money) thrown in. If we were robots with no feelings and thoughts, who could just change our mindset and views in a heartbeat, we never would have gotten into the debt in the first place. I think you guys are slowly but surely making that mental change required to get out of debt. I look forward to the day that I can do the Happy Dance with ya. :-)

Hava

PS Have you looked at www.Prosper.com at all? There is a Fool.com group on there that might be willing to lend you $1000 (that's the minimum amount a loan can be made for.) This is the group for just Fools: http://www.prosper.com/public/groups/group_home.aspx?group_short_name=Fool If you could get a loan on there for a lower APR than you currently have and use that money to pay down the card(s) that are over the limit, that might really help you out. Something to think about anyway...

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Author: 6Bitsadollar Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 240404 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 11/2/2006 9:58 PM
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Speaking of sabotage... oh, man. I have got to remain claim here. But, she used the Texaco card because she said she thought I said it was ok for emergencies. She had about 4 emergencies that she needed to fill up the suv with gas in early Oct. Well, that card was put in a file cabinet that requires a key. So, she must have got it out and just kept it. Now when we talked about this 2 months ago - I said... if you are out of cash and the gas light comes up then get the card and put $5 of gas in your car

I have a suggestion about the gas. DH and I fill up on Sunday afternoons. If you take her car on a regular basis and fill it up that will keep her from having to do it and it might save a few extra bucks especially if she is stopping to fill up with the kids in the car. It can be really hard with kids asking for gum, drinks, etc at a service station.

Also about shopping for kids clothes, you might help her get a list together and then prioritize what needs to be bought first and see if you can spread it over several months.

Good luck with all this,
Molly who is really worried about you with the Christmas shopping season coming up

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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: 240447 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 11/3/2006 11:23 AM
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HavaTheFool wrote:
B) The GG is $10 for 8 weeks, so for 2 months, not for one. If it were $10 a month, I would probably think about cancelling too. I would at least debate it, anyhow...

I want to stick with it. But, now I just realized I need to put in $5 per month into the budget.

PS Have you looked at www.Prosper.com at all? There is a Fool.com group on there that might be willing to lend you $1000 (that's the minimum amount a loan can be made for.) This is the group for just Fools: http://www.prosper.com/public/groups/group_home.aspx?group_short_name=Fool If you could get a loan on there for a lower APR than you currently have and use that money to pay down the card(s) that are over the limit, that might really help you out. Something to think about anyway...

thanks. I applied to join the group. All my cards are under the limit right now. But, this is a good option to have.

So, it is Fools lending Fools money... there is a punch-line to a joke somewhere in there.

thanks
SoccerDad



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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: 240481 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 11/3/2006 4:13 PM
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Thoughts on prosper.com...

Man, I thought I was a high risk. After spending an 1 hr looking around and reviewing listing and so on... it looks like I would have a good shot there - especially with vetting.

I do really feel for people as bad off or much worse than myself. But, when I read through listings on prosper.com the one thing I kept looking for was "have they really learned their lesson or are they looking to move some money around?" I would like to help people with hardships when I have the means - but, they must demonstrate beyond the numbers that they get it and have turned it around mentally.

SoccerDad - who still has many doubters

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Author: CSDunford Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 240484 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 11/3/2006 5:29 PM
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>>> SoccerDad - who still has many doubters

Hey, SoccerDad, at least you're trying. Remember, the ship has to slow first, then travel parallel before it can turn around and go the other direction. The first month or two are the hardest, because in those slow/parallel times you don't see much progress. But keep the faith and you'll see a turnaround. Have you had any luck selling things on Craigslist (no fee) or e-Bay (fee)?

CarolD., putting a wood-burning cookstove up on Craigslist (Seattle) if anyone's interested.

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Author: dianakalt Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 240489 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 11/3/2006 7:59 PM
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I know there is some debate on the proper snowball method. I want to knock out the 3 lowest and free up some cash-flow and generaly just get a little pyschologic boost and then it will be back to the order of paying the highest interest. But, even on that note I have thought about skipping over MBNA and taking on Citi or Discover to get more cash-flow quicker. Feed-back appreciated.

SoccerDad,

There are a few "highest rate" nazis on this board, but I submit that the best way to snowball debt paydown is whatever way works for you. If you need to free up cashflow, or need a psychological boost in the short term in order to keep momentum for the long term, then it's entirely likely that paying smallest balances off first may work for you.

So don't let anyone give you any crap about it if you choose to do it that way. :o)

d


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Author: Windowseat Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 240491 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 11/3/2006 8:06 PM
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There are a few "highest rate" nazis on this board, but I submit that the best way to snowball debt paydown is whatever way works for you. If you need to free up cashflow, or need a psychological boost in the short term in order to keep momentum for the long term, then it's entirely likely that paying smallest balances off first may work for you.

So don't let anyone give you any crap about it if you choose to do it that way. :o)


I think part of the confusion was the way SoccerDad elected to post the information. He doesn't want to change the balance until the next month's bill arrived, so we were looking at some small balances being paid while we were also looking at one overlimit card and another one that is dangerously close, and thought that those two should have been the first ones paid.

Once he explained about the balance transfer and not changing the numbers until next month, his explanation made more sense.

But yes, some people will always say "High rate first."

Nancy

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Author: 6Bitsadollar Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 240493 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 11/3/2006 9:08 PM
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But yes, some people will always say "High rate first."
***************************************************
That's great advice especially if the balances are about the same.
I know hard, cold numbers argue against paying the smaller balances first, but we aren't living our lives in an economics text book. In addition to the satisfaction of actually paying some smaller ones down to zero, Soccer Dad will have a few less bills to keep up with and,therefore, less chances to miss a payment.

Molly

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Author: HavaTheFool Two stars, 250 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 240501 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 11/3/2006 11:36 PM
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Thoughts on prosper.com...

Man, I thought I was a high risk. After spending an 1 hr looking around and reviewing listing and so on... it looks like I would have a good shot there - especially with vetting.


Yeah, there are some on there that my eyebrows just shoot up to my hairline and I think, "I wouldn't lend you money in this century or the next!" Just do a search with either the highest % rate available (29%) or with HR (high risk) as the rating on the borrower, and you'll see some real wild stories and numbers. It's the worst when people have multiple payday loans taken out. At least be thankful you don't have any of those!!!

As for you personally, I think that if you put a listing up and linked back to this and your original thread, that a lot of Fools would be willing to lend you money. Heck, I'll make you a deal. If you look at your numbers and decide that it would make sense to do a loan via Prosper, I'll take $50 out of my personal spending money and lend it to you. With help and vetting from Commodore64, the group leader for the Fools on Prosper, I'm sure you could borrow at least $1000. Check out the Prosper.com board on here: http://boards.fool.com/Messages.asp?mid=24774674&bid=117775 for more info.

And congrats on not having any cards over the limit! I hadn't realized (my bad!) that you had gotten all of them under the limit. That's great. :-)

Hava
Who has 110% confidence in SoccerDad that he will someday be debt-free and dancing up a storm...

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Author: AngelMay Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 240509 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 11/4/2006 11:16 AM
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As for you personally, I think that if you put a listing up and linked back to this and your original thread, that a lot of Fools would be willing to lend you money. Heck, I'll make you a deal. If you look at your numbers and decide that it would make sense to do a loan via Prosper, I'll take $50 out of my personal spending money and lend it to you. With help and vetting from Commodore64, the group leader for the Fools on Prosper, I'm sure you could borrow at least $1000. Check out the Prosper.com board on here: http://boards.fool.com/Messages.asp?mid=24774674&bid=117775 for more info.

And congrats on not having any cards over the limit! I hadn't realized (my bad!) that you had gotten all of them under the limit. That's great. :-)

Hava
Who has 110% confidence in SoccerDad that he will someday be debt-free and dancing up a storm...




If he would sell that expensive Honda and get into something cheap but serviceable, he'd be a lot better off than borrowing more money.

Same goes for the house.
It's the smart thing to do.
But, so far, no mention of even considering it.
I would think twice before pulling out my wallet to loan money to someone who won't take the really hard steps.

But having said that, I do honestly and sincerely wish nothing but the best for SoccerDad and his family. I've been really really poor in my life -- but I've never EVER amassed the kind of debt that he has done. If I couldn't afford it -- and didn't really need it -- I didn't buy it. But it's hard, I'll grant you that.

Sorry. I don't really mean to sound heartless here. But the really hard steps have to be taken -- especially in a situation like SoccerDad's. He's just in too deep not to.

And life in a double- (or even single-) wide would be heaven if you could be there debt-free. To live under the kind of debt he is carrying is like being in prison. Who wouldn't trade a Honda and a house for freedom? It's a good question.

AM

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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: 240516 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 11/4/2006 12:58 PM
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AngelMay

Many people have suggested to SoccerDad that he sell the house and car (me among them). I think he should do both.


I think he has made a couple of responses to this:

1. He hopes the other changes will make it not necessary for him to do either. I think that they won't and that other changes would be much easier for him if he would make these two changes. But if he isn't at the place where he thinks this then he's not there yet.

2. He thinks it will be better to sell the house after April when new houses are no longer being built in his subdivision (I think I have that basically right...maybe not exactly). I think he probably has a point there. That said, he might consider the costs he will incur carrying the house another 6 months and still try to list it now.

3. His wife.

The thing that is hard on married people who come here is that often suggestions are made and the original poster is often castigated for not making certain changes when really the OP would do so but is not the only person living in the home. There were lots of suggestions made to me that would have been A-OK from my point of view, but they weren't flying with my DH. I could be criticized here until the cows came home but if DH wouldn't do them then they weren't happening unless I wanted to get divorced (which I most certainly did not want to do). With married couples, one person doesn't (shouldn't anyway) get to dictate everything (no matter how sound it might be).

Now there are situations where, frankly, the difference between points of view of spouses are so different that divorce is the solution that is eventually arrived upon. But, short of divorce, we can't expect any half of a married couple to come here and be free to just impose solutions on the other spouse.

So, yes, I think SoccerDad and his wife should sell that house and car...but his wife isn't here and I suspect she is not yet ready to do those things.


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Author: HavaTheFool Two stars, 250 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 240520 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 11/4/2006 2:15 PM
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DM, I could hug you right now. You said exactly what I was thinking, but wasn't sure how to say. I wish I could rec you, but I just spent all of them on that snake-oil salesman's thread about the end of the world.

AngelMay, I know that it is hard to look at all of the debt and not want to scream, "Sell, dang it, sell!!!" which I actually did myself in the original thread. But DM said it best: SoccerDad is married to a gal who has just as much say in the decisions as he does. He cannot arbitarily (sp?) impose edicts on her, and expect her to meekly go along with. If you go back to the original thread, where SoccerDad talked about how he "needed" a lawn care company to come each month and "needed" a gym membership, and then fast-forward to now, you'll see what a huge turnaround he has already made. Do you remember when he talked about buying a (almost new) Honda? Toyota? (one of those anyway) car because his car had some problems, and that was what he had always done--if it was broke, he didn't fix it, he bought a new one. After we all jumped down his throat and told him he was insane for even thinking that, and that he needed to just fix the car he has, he did exactly that: He fixed the car he has and has said he hopes the car lasts for another couple of years. That is a massive mental shift from where he was before. The strides he has made in his mental attitude are astounding, quite frankly. Most people who join and post about their problems don't like the answers and they eventually slink off and are never heard from again. Not SoccerDad. He is still trying, still posting, still doing his best.

If I were in his shoes, would I be making the same decisions? Heavens no. I would sell the house and move into a double-wide in a heartbeat. But that's missing the point: I never would have gotten to this point in the first place. I can't fathom ever having this much debt. Not now, not ever. But now that he is in this pickle, he is at least working on trying to get himself out. At least he isn't rolling over and playing dead (ie, declaring bankruptcy.) He is fighting the best way he knows how, and I'm proud of him for that.

And SD, the offer stands. You put up a listing, and I'll be the first to bid on it. I only have $50, but I'm ready and willing.

Hava

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Author: 6Bitsadollar Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 240522 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 11/4/2006 3:22 PM
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Med $100.00 $63.92 -$36.08
**************************************************
Soccer Dad,
Not quite sure that I remember exactly what this is.
Cold and flu season is upon us,and I know you have kids. If they need meds, ask the DR for samples. They don't always have them, but it never hurts to ask. Also sometime they will give you a coupon for a free or reduced prescription.

DD uses a cream for her acne and her doctor sent her home with a box of samples

Just a thought,
Molly who came home one day with a bag of flonase samples

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Author: Jim2B Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 240523 of 308882
Subject: Re: Debt Hell in Oct Date: 11/4/2006 5:09 PM