No. of Recommendations: 13
"You are already in the hole for 63K. Why do you want to dig deeper? You have been posting for a month now asking for help, but there has been no information on how you are handling the situation. You have not mentioned what caused you to enter this hole, what can you dispose of to reduce your debt burden, what is it that you want to hold on to(only thing mentioned is the house). Without these inputs, how can anyone help you? The advice provided will be general and not tailored to your requirements."

Hi guys,

OK, now, hold on a second! After all of the e-mails from before, I didn't want to bore everyone wth all the details but I guess it's the only way to figure this out. So let me answer some questions.

1) Fear not, I am meeting with a CCCS Counselor Monday morning at 8:15 AM. They ARE my first option.
2) I am trying to explore all of my options! was just another option that I stumbled upon in my search for answers.
3) I agree, at this point, that if CCCS can do the trick then that is the way to go.
4) What have I done so far? Well, let's see...

- I've done a complete budget in Quicken and am checking -- almost nightly! -- to see where we're at. We're already way over budget this month for several reasons that I have mentioned and some that I haven't: the dreaded call to the psychic ($232.39), a tax bill for our car that I did not budget for ($437.50) and an American Express bill that was way high from the previous month when I wasn't being budget conscious ($800+).
- One more word on the budget. It sucks. It shows that the only way we can survive right now is off of my bonus, which is an uncertain thing that only gets paid 4 times a year. It shows that until my next bonus we are going to be running behind on our credit card bills and won't be able to recover at least for another 2 months. Basically, it shows that we're screwed unless I can get this debt down and/or cut more from the expense category and/or get another job.
- Yes, I put a block on all 900 calls so the psychic won't be receiving any more calls from us.
- I signed up for PrePaid Long Distance through OneSuite at 2.9 cents a minute.
- I got rid of the monthly fee on Qwest long distance so I only pay if I use it as a back-up since we should be using the PrePaid LD now.
- I dropped my wife's cell phone coverage to $25/month just for emergencies. Verizon said that was as low as they could go?
- I now take my lunch to work am only paying around $1.50 a day.
- I no longer drink anything besides water, so I no longer have soda/lemonade costs. I bought one of those Brita water filters.
- I called Verizon to try and figure out where I could save $$ and the only thing I could find on our local bill was the $3/month maintenance fee.
- I cancelled AOL which my wife had signed up for 2 months ago, but we don't need it because we already have Earthlink.
- I took the Getting Out of Debt Seminar and went through all of the steps.
- I created a Spreadsheet with all of my credit cards listed in order of their interest rate so now I know how screwed I am.
- I researched Home Equity Loan options.
- I researched Debt Counseling options.
- I met with an American Express financial advisor but decided not to go that route because of the $500 upfront cost.
- I begged my wife to stick with the budget, but then I got yelled at for eating cereal for dinner because there was no food left and I didn't want to pay for a pizza. We still need some work there!
- Every night, all I do is try to think of more ways to get this under control.
- I finally figured out that I need to change my payment due dates for my credit cards (that was an ah-ha moment!).
- I'm sure there's more but at least this is a start.

5) These questions around how I got into this mess, and the underlying assumption that I'm some fat cat who has been going to Aruba every month on my credit cards is starting to get on my nerves. While I take full responsibility for getting into this mess I would like to point out some things about me -- and how I live -- that may shock those of you who are so eager to assume that I've run up this debt living like a rock star.

- I don't drive "beamer"; I drive a 98 Honda Civic with two doors which is really a pain when you have 2 little kids.
- Much of this debt piled up paying for things like: unexpected dental bills, unexpected house repairs, trying to improve our income via network marketing and all kinds of family related expenses.
- I live in a house so small that I hit my head when I go up the stairs. It was all I could afford.
- I haven't bought clothes in years. I wear whatever I get for birthdays and Christmas until it has got holes in it.
- I have only been on one vacation in the past 10 years and it was for 3 days at a Catskills resort to save money.
- I don't buy things for myself. I don't buy CDs because I can't afford it. I don't have a home stereo because I can't afford it.
- Even though I wear contact lenses, I do not own a pair of glasses because I can't afford them.

What I'm trying to point is that I don't live an extravagant lifestyle. I am simply trying to support a wife and two kids and even living a very simply, plain live it gets very EXPENSIVE.

6) And finally, I will not send my daughter to a crappy preschool just because I couldn't control my finances. We've looked at almost 20 preschools and this was the best one, not because it is "elite' but because it had a philosophy and approach that we both agreed with and my daughter really gravitated towards the teachers. I will find a way to make this work. She deserves it.

7) One more point. I work 60-80 hours a week, travel quite often, and couldn't possibly get another job. My wife and I both want her to be home with our children, so she can't work. I will not, no matter how much money it saves, send a 2 and 3 year old off to be taken care of by strangers all day. I tried to make additional money by doing network marketing because I figured the hours would be flexible but failed miserably and it only led us more into debt; in fact, I believe it alone added $8-$10K of debt.

8) Anyone have ideas about a reliable source of a second income with flexible hours that I can do from home? Let me know!

OK, that's enough for now. I'm doing the best I can and I don't like being treated like Imelda Marcos.


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