Tuesday, December 30, 2008

New Year, New Post

Well, its been a long time since my last post. For the most part, this is due to the fact that our lives were pretty much turned upside-down with our move. Then, to really complicate matters, we found out that we are going to have a baby in May. This is very exciting news, but it does help to throw one's financial plan into a tailspin.

Anyway, with all of that being said, here is our current status.

As of our next paychecks, we will have paid off a total of 3 credit cards. We had paid off a fourth, but then we decided to buy a new recliner and mattress and this opened the door up to using the card for other things as well. I know, this is terrible and totally counter-productive. Well, we have stopped using the card...again...and I should have it re-paid off by February.

This will leave us with three credit cards. Two of them are our biggest ones, and the other has about $2,500 on it. A while ago, when things were pretty tough, I put this card on a slow-pay plan through a debt management company. This promised a lower interest rate and so on, so it was a good idea at the time. Well, I think we've reached the point now that I am going to take that card back and it should be paid off before the baby arrives.

I do want to add that paying off the cards with the smallest balances first (i.e. the debt snowball) is the method that is working for us. I realize that it may not be the most cost-effective, but we are making progress.

We have paid off my car, which is nice. Now if it will only keep running for a while so I can enjoy it.

Also, the mortgage on our first house is now covered. One of our former neighbors (a realtor) got us in contact with a company that gets homes for families that can't qualify for loans because of the economy. Their monthly payment covers all of our expenses and they are responsible for any repairs to the property. After a certain period of time, the company gets them a mortgage based on their payment history. Not bad. We won't make any money, but we also won't have the headache of landlord-ship either. Hopefully, it will all go smoothly.

The biggest development since my last post is that my wife's student loans are now in repayment status...most of them anyway. She has loans through Sallie Mae and Wells Fargo as well as some other miscellaneous loans that will start repayment next year. We have already signed up for graduated repayment (meaning we pay pretty much just interest in the beginning and then more at the end), and the Wells Fargo payment alone is exactly as much as our now-covered mortgage payment.

It has been nice (really nice) having two paychecks, especially since one them is for a pharmacist. It was nice to sit down and reevaluate our finances for 2009 and see how much we accomplished in a relatively short amount of time.

Debt Freedom is still a far away dream, but we are getting closer.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

It's Been A While

Change of jobs + change of location + change of just about everything = Very few posts.

I must admit that I started this blog while I was working at a call center which had many slow periods, thus allowing me to post when work was down. I enjoy posting as it helps me put my ideas into words, so I am going to try to keep it up despite the fact that I'll have to do it on my own time.

As I mentioned before, a lot has changed. I still work for the same organization, but I live in Arkansas now and perform a completely different job. It gave me about a $4,000 a year pay increase and I'll get another pay increase in January and then a promotion in August. Not bad at all.

My wife is also an official pharmacist now. This of course has helped us dramatically. She got her first full paycheck a couple of weeks ago and we are looking forward to more. There are some indications that by this time next month, she'll be a pharmacy manager which will also include a nice pay raise and bigger bonuses.

And now an update on our finances...

We bought a new house (obviously) and we are very happy with it. During its construction, the builder had to declare bankruptcy, so the bank took it over. They finished it and owned it since March 2007. So, you may imagine, they were anxious to unload it. The asking price was $189,900, so our initial offer was $169,900. We also asked for a fence for our dogs as well as gutters. They countered with their initial asking price and the fence and the gutters, but they said they would give us a mortgage at 5.25%. I did the math and over 30 years, we would save a pretty decent amount of money than if they accepted our asking price and we got a mortgage even one percentage point higher. The closing went very smoothly, and now we own two houses.

The first house will hopefully be rented soon. We still have to tie up some loose ends on it, and the two hour drive it takes to get there is making it difficult. We can stand to pay the mortgage for a couple of months, but not once my wife's student loans enter repayment.

Also, we've paid off the first of our credit cards. It was the smallest of them, and the rate was not terribly high, but it feels good to get started.

My car loan is finally below $1,000, and should be paid off in 5 months.

That's about all I can think of for now. Hopefully, the next post won't take as long as this one did. If you read this, please post a comment. I'd like to think that this is reaching someone.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Dave Ramsey Marathon and My Credit Card Woes

I know I haven’t really posted in a while. I guess its because I don’t have very much to report.

On the 4th of July, my wife and I stayed over at her parents’ house. The plan was to go boating and watch fireworks in the evening. Well, the morning was pretty laid back, and I am always an early riser so I watched some TV while everyone else was sleeping. My in-laws get the Fox Business Channel (which I don’t think is available through my provider) and they were playing a Dave Ramsey marathon. I know Dave is a great financial counselor, but I have yet to really watch or listen to him live, so I was pretty excited about it. There isn’t much to his show, at least not the reruns they were playing. About half of the callers are in debt and are asking for help. The other half call in to report that they are “DEBT-FREE!” Dave asks them some questions about how much they paid off, what they did to pay it off, and so on. Then, he has them yell over the phone “I’M DEBT FREE!” It’s a little cheesy, but that is coming from someone who is not debt free. I think when I get everything paid off, I might just want to yell a bit too. It was funny though…a couple of times people said how they paid off $17,000 of debt and I just thought how much I wish I only owed $17,000. I have two credit cards that total more than that. Oh well. Someday, I’ll be the idiot yelling on the phone, until then, I criticize what I envy.

In other news, I spent the early part of my morning going over some of my credit cards. Here’s the back-story…in January, my main bank erroneously reported that I had been late paying my bill a year and a half earlier. As a result, they raised my rate and so did my Discover card(which also has the most debt). I called them both right away to get it fixed, but they told me to wait it out and call back in six months.

Well, it’s been about six months and I decided to try again. My credit report has been fixed so I was ready to go. I called my main bank first. It seemed a little silly because my rate is currently 10.9% (Prime + 5.9%), but if they hadn’t raised it in the first place, it would be 7.9%. Anyway, I asked and they looked into it, but said they couldn’t do it right now, but to call back in October. The dance continues…

This morning I call the Discover and asked the same question. My rate was 14.99% with them and they lowered it to 12.99% without very much effort. I have done this in the past with them, and I learned not to accept their first offer.

When I first signed up for Discover, I was a naive college freshman in 1996. For years, I lived with a 21% interest rate, not realizing that you could ask them to lower it. It almost ruined me several times. In 2004, I found out about the possibility of getting a lower rate by asking, so I did. At first, they offered me 15%, but I said I wanted it lower than that. She did a little more “figuring” and offered me 12%. I said that I had a card that was offering me a lower rate (a complete lie) and if they couldn’t go lower, I would just switch. She finally gave me 0% for six months and 10% thereafter. It saved me a boatload of money.

Even with that knowledge, I didn’t really push too hard for a lower rate. I figured that the 12.99% is okay for now and I can try again later when I have a little more leverage.

I also found that we were paying for Credit Protection on one of our smaller cards. It wasn’t much (about $6 a month), but we never asked for it and it wasn’t necessary. So, my wife cancelled it. I really hate it when credit cards do that.

Anyway, that’s my news.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


I haven't posted in a while and its not really because I haven't had anything to say. Admittedly, what I do have to say is probably a little boring, but the main reason is that I am debt-depressed. I knew when I started this blog that our situation would get worse before it gets better, but I am really getting tired of debt (even if it is currently necessary). Over the last month and a half, we not only didn't pay off any debt, we wound up over $3,000 more in debt. Much of this is because of my decision to pay off debts that we can't "re-use", but it just feels like no matter how hard I try, it doesn't get any better.

For instance, I got a new 0% intro APR credit card to help pay off one of my big credit cards. I transferred $2,900 to the new card and planned to attack the old one. However, shortly after the payment, they raised my credit limit by almost $2,000. With our home needing renovations before we can rent it, we decided to use the old card to pay for it, and now we have just over $600 left on a $10,000 card. It is pretty depressing.

On the bright side, I paid off my personal loan this morning which is a big thing. I do wonder if I should have kept putting the extra money towards credit debt. Times are tight right now though, and I have little doubt we would have found a way to use it.

I mentioned in an earlier post how we sold our SUV to save some money. Well, we used some of it for new tires, and the rest is going to be used to build a trailer to transport our black labs. Well, I bought one last night at Harbor Freight. It is a 4' x 8' trailer and it cost $250 (which is $50 cheaper than it usually is). The weird thing is that it comes disassembled. So I will try to put it together myself and build a suitable dog box for it. I'll probably post pictures so you all can laugh at me.

So, that's why I haven't really posted all that much. If you read this blog, please send me some encouragement.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Frugal or Cheap?

All I can say is "Wow". I have been trying to be frugal since I have decided to get out of debt. My wife thinks I am a cheapskate and that I am keeping her from some of the "finer things" of life.

I'll admit, I try things to save money that can be a little ridiculous, but I think most of them work, and I am not oppressive about it...more of a nag really. But this blogger is SERIOUS about getting out of debt. So much so that his family had a revolt against him...

We Need To Be Debt Free

I hope my desire never turns into this. My wife wouldn't have lasted as long as his family did.

The Tires Cost How Much ?!?

Sometimes I feel like a Whack-a-Mole. Every time I think I have everything figured out and we are on the right path, a big rubber mallet hits me in the head and knocks me back down. This time the rubber mallet was the tires for our car. Let me explain...

A few months ago, we bought a used Camry. It only had 22,000 miles on it, and it didn't even occur to us to check the tires. I hate to admit it, but we got swept up in the excitement of car-buying. Anyway, the tires were pretty well shot and we knew we were going to need new ones in the near future.

Leaving that part of the story and moving to another simultaneously occurring storyline...

When we bought the Camry, we already had two cars. One SUV that we have had paid off for a while, and another car which will be paid off in the next couple of months. It seemed gluttonous to keep all three, but we use the SUV to transport our dogs who have pretty much destroyed the back of it. So, we kept all three and were paying insurance on them all.

Well, this bothered me. I asked around and found out that it is legal to transport dogs in a trailer (I know how weird that sounds, but desperate times call for desperate measures). So, I decided to sell the SUV and use the money to pay for a small trailer and new tires for the Camry. This way, we save money on insurance every month and get a couple of big expenses paid for as a trade-off.

So, I put the SUV on craigslist and within the first 24 hours it was sold for $1,300. This couldn't have come at a better time because the day before, one of the tires on the Camry had blown out.

With our $1,300 in hand, we went to Sam's Club to get new tires that very night. The tire department was closed for the day so that was a little deflating (pun intended). We started looking for tires anyway, and could only find one match and it was $180 per tire! Apparently, that year of Camry has some very rare tires. After shopping around, we found someone who had off-name tires for about $600 total. Everyone else was around $800 by the time the tires were mounted and so on. It bugs me that we are going to have to go through this a couple more times when the car gets older, but it is the only way.

Meanwhile, trailers are expensive, especially enclosed ones. I did find a little utility trailer from Home Depot for $500, but it doesn't have any kind of a box for the dogs to be in. I may end up buying it and making a box for them, but my wife thinks that will be pretty ghetto...and she is probably right.

Oh well,

"Sometimes you gotta take what life gives you, cause life is like a mop. And sometimes life gets full of dirt and crud and hairballs and things and you gotta clean it out. You gotta stick it in here and rinse it off and start all over again. And sometimes life sticks to the floor so much that a mop, a mop, it's not good enough. You gotta get down there with like a toothbrush, you know, and you gotta really scrub 'cause you gotta get it off! But if that doesn't work, you can't give up! You gotta stand right up! You gotta run to a window and say, "HEY! These floors are dirty as hell, and I'm not gonna take it any more!"

Stanley Spadowski (Michael Richards) - UHF

Monday, June 9, 2008

I Think I'm Pretty Handy-ish

Well, the rush is over. We have had all of the guests that we are going to have and it is time to buckle down and move out of our house. Here's the back story...

When we bought our current house, I considered myself a handyman. The simple projects around the house like drywall, trim, and basic carpentry, were well within my skills. I watched DIY Network and HGTV, so that makes me an expert. Well, I am pretty good at it, but I also have ADD and I don't do very well when it comes to finishing things. So, we have several rooms in our house that are about 75% done.

Well, with my wife's graduation, we were set to have visitors. So, we started making to-do lists and I found myself getting overwhelmed. One day, she started naming all of the things that needed to get done and I kind of blew up at her. I decided to just go ahead and hire a contractor to finish everything. We didn't really have the money, but it seemed the way to go. We went to Lowe's and asked for some names of reputable people, and they recommended one guy very highly. So I called him and explained the situation. I said that I was in over my head and I was looking for help. He said "Well, some of us are meant to work on houses, and some of us aren't."

So, basically he lost the job. I may not be the best handyman, but I think I am pretty respectable.

Anyway, I have found that I always work better with a time constraint and I think that is true for my wife as well. We decided to work really hard every night after work and on the weekends (basically the times we should have been working on the house anyway), and we got it pretty well completed. There are still a few loose ends, but the house is almost done. We actually had a cookout last night and everyone made the obligatory "What a nice house you have!" comments.

Next step is to find a renter and we will be one step closer to moving.

I put this post in my blog because I am sure it saved us a bunch of money doing it ourselves, and it made us feel really good about what we had accomplished.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

My First Comment!

Thanks to the Himz-es for posting!

New Cell Phone Blues

I love my wife... a lot. She is absolutely perfect for me, and I could not imagine my life without her. What I am about to post is not really her fault, but it is an interesting story about her.

For Christmas, her parents bought her a Palm Treo. Being the cheapskate that I am, I scoffed at it because she had a phone and a PDA already and she has a reputation of not being very gentle with her cell phones. In fact, the phone she replaced was a cheapie that had replaced a fairly new and very nice Motorola RAZR which she had dropped in the toilet. Oddly enough, we still have the RAZR in our office. I assume this is because we are hoping for some sort of an immaculate restoration or something.

But I digress...

She got this new phone, and she has been very good to it. I have to admit that I am jealous because my phone was actually cheaper than her cheapie phone.

Side note: My cheapie phone was bought to replace the other cheapie phone I had left on the plane in Mexico on our honeymoon.

Anyway, she wanted the phone because there are some programs that will help her in her new profession, and this does seem to be the case.

So, let's leave that story and move over to a different one...

About that same timeframe, I started my new job with the Federal Government. As a federal employee, we get a discount on our cell phone service which I promptly applied for. However, immediately after this. our monthly bill increased by $60-$80 a month! After examination, the culprit was discovered...my wife was using the internet on her phone. We talked about it and she agreed to only use it for emergencies so I expected the bill to go back down.

When the next month rolled around, it was almost the same amount. Once again, we looked into it and it was a data fee. She suggested that it was overrun from the last month because she had definitely not been using the internet.

This month, the bill not only did not go down, it went up another $20! At this point, we realized something else was going on. My wife did a little searching and found out that one of the professional programs on her Treo automatically updated every Sunday at 1 AM. Each time it did, we were charged about $30 in data fees! Suffice it to say, this has been fixed and should make next month's bills a LOT more manageable.

Friday, May 23, 2008

My New Grill!

We got a new grill yesterday from Lowes. It is awesome!

Now, I know what you're thinking...This guy claims he wants to get out of debt, but he's out buying brand new gas grills! Well let me tell you the story...

Lowe's and Home Depot offer 10% discounts to military and veterans several times a year (Memorial Day, July 4th, Veterans' Day, etc.). Well, I knew that we wanted/needed a grill, so I started thinking about if it was worth it to buy one this weekend. After talking it over with my wife, we decided to go for it. (My wife and I lead a community group at our church and we were hoping to have a cookout at our house on the last week of the semester. So the lack of a grill would have posed a problem there. We are also having two sets of guests this weekend and grilling would have been more fun and cost effective than eating out.) There was a low end grill on the Memorial Day circular for $89 which looked like it would work.

As I was sitting in my fabric covered workspace thinking about the new grill I was going to get that evening, it dawned on me that I had some items in my garage that could be returned for store credit. We have been in a constant state of home renovation since 2005 and I had bought a lot of trim and lumber which I never used.

Well, I had no idea how much I really had! I started digging through the piles of wood and MDF hanging on a rack on the east side of my garage and slowly but surely our 1999 Japanese SUV-ish vehicle was being filled up. I also found a box of unused caulk, a sheet of plywood, some small metal brackets, and on and on. I basically filled up the car.

So, we get to Lowe's and I grabbed one of those blue lumber carts and proceeded to fill it up. As we approached the entrance with our monstrocity of a cart, a guy was walking up behind us with a small bag in his hand. Being the philanthropists that we are, we let him go ahead of us.

Well, the lady at the returns desk was very nice. She didn't snicker or sneer and told us that she had nowhere else to be anyway so she didn't mind. She did have to process the whole thing in two transactions because she was afraid that if there were too many items, the computer would delete the whole thing and we would have to start over.

The total was almost $230 in returns! I had been running my own little satellite Lowe's warehouse. We decided to spring for a better grill, and we got the one listed above along with some plants for our front porch to impress our guests. The grand total after the gift card and military discount was ... $13.69. With the purchase of a new grill also came a free propane exchange (Memorial Day special). So, all told, we saved $42+.

All in a day's work.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

My Wife's Student Loans

I’ve been holding off on writing about my wife’s student loans for a while because she is not completely on board with me blogging about our finances. She thinks people will judge her for having those loans even though I have tried to tell her that it won’t happen.

The short version of it is:
She has about $215,000 in student loans. Some are consolidated and very low interest. Others are over 10% interest. They are going to be more than our mortgage and will take a long time to pay off. Thankfully, the interest is deductible so the situation isn't all bad.

I understand, and I think most anyone reading this will too, that student loans are a pretty common part of life. I feel like I should be more embarrassed about my credit card debt than she should be about her loans.

But that is as in-depth as I am going to go for the sake of her privacy. Maybe once our credit debt is paid off, she’ll let me elaborate on it a bit.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Buying Books

So, here's the deal. I know that blogs can make money. I don't expect mine to, but I know that some of the bigger ones net a profit because of the links you can put on your page to sites like Amazon.com. I understand and you might notice that I even participate (no hits yet though).

What I don't understand is why I can't recall ever reading, in any of the many many blogs on frugality and debt management, about the benefits of using the library. I live in a pretty good sized city with a fairly large library system, and I use it all the time. The majority of my patronage is directed at audio books. I have a 45 minute commute every morning to work, so I can listen to these books while driving and it has made a HUGE impact on my desire to get out from under my debt.

Here are some books that I recommend:
The Automatic Millionaire
The Millionaire Next Door
The Millionaire Mind

These were all available on CD and they are very eye-opening.
I have more books to listen to, but right now, these are the only ones I have finished.

Also, let's not forget that the library has regular books too! Not to mention that some books have special hidden websites that you will have access to simply by borrowing the book from the library.

If you are one of those who needs to write notes in your books...go to the library, borrow the book and if you like it..buy it!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Tuesday Musings

This will be a post filled with various realizations and ideas I have had that may or may not make any sense when put together. Here we go…

1) I realized last weekend that one of the problems with our current debt repayment strategy is that although I do put extra money on one credit card every month, it has always been a card that is still being used. For a long time, this gave us a “safety net” in case we needed that money again. Basically our safety net was a credit trap. We will always find a reason to need that money.

So, from now on, I am going to put the extra money towards debt that we will never have access to, beginning with our loans. Also, most of our credit cards have lower rates with the warning that if we ever use the card again, they will go up on us. So, they will be next. I realize that this plan doesn’t necessarily conform to any of the regular plans for debt paydown, but it is my very own idea and we are going to follow it.

2) I opened a checking account with Bank of America today. I did this in response to a mailer I got that offered me some pretty interesting terms:
- A $125 signing bonus with a RED SOX Check Card and Red Sox checks. (They had me at Red Sox.)
- Access to the “Keep the Change” program. Click on the link to find out more about this one especially the fine print on the bottom. I’m not entirely sure how I feel about this. Has anyone else used it?
- No fees if I set up direct deposit. I’m not planning on using this as my main account, so this deposit will be as small as possible.
Obviously, I am mainly doing this for the $125, but I also love the Red Sox stuff. Maybe this is just my emotion getting the better of me.

3) I bought a new (to me anyway) tablesaw at a garage sale last Saturday. Woodworking is a big hobby of mine and I had been looking at some tablesaws last year. The ones I wanted were in the $400 range, but I figured I would pony up that money eventually. Well, this saw is older, but well maintained, and it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles I was looking at, but it was still only $70, so I was pretty happy. It was weird though, spending $70 when I have been trying to get out of debt. I had to convince myself it would be worth it in the long run, and I really think it will be.

That is all I have to say for today. In closing, I want to share an article that is really pretty amazing…Enjoy! http://www.11alive.com/news/article_news.aspx?storyid=115698

Friday, May 16, 2008

My Tax Idea

Last August, I quit my job and went back to school. Long story short, the school didn’t work out and I was unemployed until February of this year. Hence, we have a lot of debt. While I was off, I spent a lot of time researching ways to save and so on, and taxes came up pretty big.

It all started when we got our tax refund last year and it was over $8,000! Now, that was a nice payday, but I would have probably much preferred to have access to that through the previous year when I was struggling to make ends meet.

When I got my current job, I decided to finagle my W-4 to have Uncle Sam take as little as possible. So, on my first paycheck, I had the maximum amount of taxes withheld, and then changed it to the minimum for my 2nd check. This gave me an idea of how much I would need for taxes in the worst case.

So, knowing myself, and knowing that I cannot be trusted to actually keep track of how much I should save, I set up a direct deposit to my ING Orange Savings account. This way, the money goes away the same as if I was giving it to the Feds, but I get the ING interest rate (currently 3%) on it. Plus, God forbid, I need it, I have access to it. Ideally, I will still get a refund next year, but it will be from me and with interest.

If you want an ING direct account and $25 free dollars for signing up, email me and I can send you a link to get it.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Thanks Michael!

I got the idea for this blog by reading the hundreds of other financial blogs out there. Shortly after I started this, I read one post about blogging your way out of debt. It did a good job of putting into words the reasons that I am doing this. The blogger (Michael) also said that he would like to know if anyone is doing what I am doing, so I emailed him and told him about my blog.

He replied with this email (hopefully the pictures are legible):


Using ExcelGeek’s Rapid Payoff Calculator (http://www.mdmproofing.com/iym/products/debt-snowball/ ) spreadsheet on your debts, I come up with a suggested payoff order of:

The spreadsheet sorts by shortest- to longest-payoff. With a $400 extra monthly payment, it would have you paid off in 37 months, having paid $7,061 in interest. If it were me, I’d probably flip-flop the order of the Auto #1 loan and the Personal Loan (that 18% rate just eats at me, you know?). In any case, it could be a lot worse! A little more info:

Not that you asked for any of this, but I love watching the numbers play out. I’m just a dork that way.

It's Your Money!
It's Your Money: Money Musings
Pretty cool, huh? Check out his blogs.
I'm still working on getting more info about my wife's student loans together. As a rough estimate, they are over $240,000, so it will be a challenge.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

How Shall I Delete My Debt?

Okay, so I began looking into different ways to attack the debt that I have. Here is what I came up with...
My budget is set up in three sections: Fixed debt, bills, and monthly spending. For the first two categories, I have a set amount that I will use every month to pay everything that is higher than the total of all of the bills should be. So, if my number is $2.700 a month, and my bills come out to be $2,450, I take the remaining $150 and apply it to the debt I am trying to get rid of first. Hence, I don't really have a set amount of extra money that I can definitely put into debts every month, but there is always extra.

So, this leads me to which debt paydown strategy I should use. There are three main schools of thought on this one and they are pretty widely known.

The first is the one that Dave Ramsey suggests: Lining up all of your debt from the smallest amount to the largest, then paying it off and using the money you would have used on your paid-off debts and applying it to the next debt on the list. This is known as a debt snowball. This is mainly accepted due to the pyschological benefits of closing out accounts as you go, but it usually costs you more in time and interest.

The second is championed by Suze Orman and it goes: Lining up your debts with the highest ineterest rates on top. From here, it works the same way. You pay one off and apply the money to the next. This plan makes the most sense financially as it will save money in interest charges.

The third is based on Mary Hunt's "Rapid Debt Repayment Plan". You can follow the link and figure it out for yourself. It works out about the same as the first plan but it requires more figuring to get it right.
So, I put my debt numbers into a debt paydown calculator along with an added monthly payment of $400 and came up with these two outcomes based on the first two options:

The first option would save me 71 payments and $6,662.55 in interest.
The second option would save me 72 payments and $7,340.13 in interest.
Logic dictates that I go with the second, but I might be one of those who needs the emotional lift of getting cards paid off. Plus, the first two cards I would have to pay off in the second plan equal almost $15,000 and that could take a LONG time.
Any thoughts?

Friday, May 9, 2008

My Debt Summary

Well, the truth can be depressing. I sat down today and jotted down all of the debt that I could find (minus my wife’s student loans which will probably have a post all to themselves). Here is the current state of my debt:

Mortgage - $107,000 – 5.5% - $853
(This house will become a rent house as we are planning to move soon.)

My Student Loans - $9,325 – 3.125% - $30

Auto Loan 1 - $1,750 – 3.59% - $196
Auto Loan 2 – $17,150 – 6.49% - $336

Personal Loan - $1100 – 18% - $96

Credit Card 1 - $6,850 – 11.15% - $120
Credit Card 2 - $8,550 – 14.99% - $150
Credit Card 3 - $1,725 – 5.9% - $25
Credit Card 4 - $425 – 3.99% - $10
Credit Card 5 - $650 – 12.16% - $19
Credit Card 6 - $2850 – 0% (until Sept) - $117
Credit Card 7 - $3800 – 10% - $142
Total Credit Debt - $24,850

Total MINIMUM Monthly Payment: $2,094

Total “Bad Debt” - $44,850

Total debt as of this post: $161,175

So this is where I am starting from. (NOTE: When I say “I”, I mean “we” as in my wife and I. It’s just easier to use “I”.)

As I am writing this, I realize that our situation is about to (or “fixin’ to” as they say in the South) get worse:

1)We will probably have to use our credit cards to finish the house we live in now to make it rent-ready.

2) We are going to be buying a house in the next few months. This means a new mortgage, and any loans that we may have to take out to make the down payment. (NOTE: Interesting story. I am a veteran and so I am eligible for a VA loan which would mean no down payment. However, my bank told me that they wouldn’t approve me because the jobs that I have had are not related to each other. Kind of frustrating.) Add to this the cost of moving, with all of the new things you have to buy for a new house, and it sure does get to be a pricy ordeal.

3) My wife’s student loans will begin repayment around the fall. As it is, we are going to have to pay $150 to Sallie Mae for a 6-month forbearance on her private loans. Like I said, I’ll get into them later.

Coming up in future posts:
My wife's student loans
Strategies for paying this stuff off

Thursday, May 8, 2008

First Post

I’ve been reading a lot of financial blogs recently, and I thought that perhaps I would try it. Just to make it clear, I don’t claim to be any kind of an expert like most of these bloggers. In fact, I am pretty much just an ordinary guy with a whole lot of debt that I want to “delete”. (NOTE: I know that the name is kind of lame, but the good ones were all taken.)

A little about me: I am 30 years old. Although I grew up in New England, my time in the Air Force led me to the great southern-Midwest area. I got married a couple of years ago and my wife has just finished Pharmacy School. As such, we’ll be making a lot more money now, but we are also about to move to a different state, a bigger house, and so on and so on.

Also, with a shiny new degree comes all those student loans she used to pay for college, and it is a LOT. Don’t get me wrong, I have quite a bit of debt as well, and mine is more "bad debt". I'll get into more detail about all of this in a future post as I try to delete my debt.

So, I guess that my goal with this blog is a) I want to blog and my regular life is pretty boring, b) I want to get out of debt and encourage others and I don’t imagine there are many people out there with as much “bad debt” as we have, and c) I can share tips and such that I find on other blogs.

Your feedback is very welcome.