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Author Topic: Into the Black - The Dig Ourselves Out of Debt Support Thread  (Read 395799 times)
tuxedo_cat
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« Reply #765 on: May 01, 2012, 3:28:01 PM »

I am stopping in to report some happy steps forward:

(1) paid off my car loan a couple months ago and now. . . I own my car!  That makes me weirdly happy.  It also means I have another $130 a month to hurl at one of the credit cards.

(2) for the past 4 months I have reduced my overall debt by *more* than my target amount, and by $300 more than my monthly average last year.  This, too, is very satisfying.

(3) every month I have been putting away at least $150 into savings, including a special portion for a bike fund -- which I really hope I can reward myself with by using it to buy a better used bike at the end of the summer, but it's also good to know that that cushion is there.

(4) because of item #3, for the first time maybe ever I paid for my yearly car repair / registration with a check instead of putting it on the evil BofA card.  And actually, because I told Mechanic Chick I simply could *not* pay more than $250 this month for repairs, she ended up making $100 of those repairs "optional" and gave me my inspection sticker anyhow.

(5) next month, the now-inactive Amex card will drop below $2K.

Lots of thanks to octo and others here for their advice and support.  This is a much better way to live on many levels, psychologically not least.  I do have this calendar of future estimated payments worked out for the next 2 years before I finally pay off everything and two years actually doesn't seem so very far away.  I confess, this calendar is color-coded in eight different ways, and I rather obsessively recalculate stuff about twice a month.  And I am just determined not to put anything at all ever again on the BofA card outside of emergencies, so I calculated exactly how much I will need for gas / food until my next paycheck.  This, too, is a new habit which I'm glad to discover that I enjoy. 
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anakin
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« Reply #766 on: May 01, 2012, 3:34:19 PM »

W00-H00, tuxy! Really inspiring reminder that the "little" things really add up when you have a plan! And chime on the thanks to octo (and cgfunmathguy)!
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clean
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« Reply #767 on: May 02, 2012, 12:07:11 PM »

Good for you.  It is a great day!
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cgfunmathguy
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« Reply #768 on: May 02, 2012, 12:09:27 PM »

W00-H00, tuxy! Really inspiring reminder that the "little" things really add up when you have a plan! And chime on the thanks to octo (and cgfunmathguy)!
Thank you. You should know, however, that encouraging others is how I keep myself in line while trying to pay down my debts.

My report: I fell of the wagon last month (I do from time to time) and thought I had blown most/all of the payoff money for LastRemainingDebt. It turns out that I actually had an additional $150 that I didn't know was there (having not paid any attention to the account in a month). That has gone back into the emergency fund, which was depleted due to taxes (something that will not happen next year). Also, my parents have decided to buy me a plane ticket to my class reunion this summer as a birthday present (I was going to drive for various reasons). This will allow me to use my summer pay to pay down debt, meaning that I should be totally debt-free in August (I think, I still have to run the new numbers). Finally, a light at the end of the tunnel that isn't a train.
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anakin
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« Reply #769 on: May 02, 2012, 2:03:11 PM »

W00-H00, tuxy! Really inspiring reminder that the "little" things really add up when you have a plan! And chime on the thanks to octo (and cgfunmathguy)!
Thank you. You should know, however, that encouraging others is how I keep myself in line while trying to pay down my debts.

My report: I fell of the wagon last month (I do from time to time) and thought I had blown most/all of the payoff money for LastRemainingDebt. It turns out that I actually had an additional $150 that I didn't know was there (having not paid any attention to the account in a month). That has gone back into the emergency fund, which was depleted due to taxes (something that will not happen next year). Also, my parents have decided to buy me a plane ticket to my class reunion this summer as a birthday present (I was going to drive for various reasons). This will allow me to use my summer pay to pay down debt, meaning that I should be totally debt-free in August (I think, I still have to run the new numbers). Finally, a light at the end of the tunnel that isn't a train.

Way to GO! And of course I knew that encouraging others is how you keep on track. How do you think I do it??

I am glad to report that my house sold. It's an immense, humongous relief and I didn't lose my shirt. And, I did some re-juggling on the adaptive household budget. I should be able to pay off the IRS in 14-16 months (the variance is because there are still a couple of final figures they have to hash out). I'm not thrilled about decreasing my retirement election or discretionary savings, but I ran the amortization numbers and just could not stomach how much in penalties and interest they're sucking down - I'll never get out from under. So, grit my teeth and throw a small pile of money at them for a while, that's what I'm doing. It's okay. I have a job and an emergency fund now, I keep telling myself, it's not like last year at all.
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cgfunmathguy
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« Reply #770 on: May 02, 2012, 3:27:56 PM »

it's not like last year at all.
Exactly. I tell people that you have to get the starter emergency fund together, and then you have to do a budget. It's amazing the relief that just those two items gave me.
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clean
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« Reply #771 on: May 02, 2012, 5:20:34 PM »

Quote
This will allow me to use my summer pay to pay down debt, meaning that I should be totally debt-free in August

Then begins the fun part!  Can you imagine what it will be like to actually be able to KEEP all of your wages? 

Have you considered what you will have in ten years of saving your summer money? 
Can you fathom what it would be like to actually take a summer off and not owe?

This IS the beginning of a wonderful financial future!
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octoprof
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« Reply #772 on: May 02, 2012, 10:12:55 PM »

Let me just say here that clean is the man and should get some of the thanks on this thread!

I am stopping in to report some happy steps forward:

Hallelujah! I needed some good news today since those two sets of finals I graded had none...

(1) paid off my car loan a couple months ago and now. . . I own my car!  That makes me weirdly happy.  It also means I have another $130 a month to hurl at one of the credit cards.

Awesome! Keep, er... hurling...

(2) for the past 4 months I have reduced my overall debt by *more* than my target amount, and by $300 more than my monthly average last year.  This, too, is very satisfying.

You are awesome!

(3) every month I have been putting away at least $150 into savings, including a special portion for a bike fund -- which I really hope I can reward myself with by using it to buy a better used bike at the end of the summer, but it's also good to know that that cushion is there.

A bike is a great investment in your health and eco- and pocket-friendly transportation and no CO2 emissions (which are something like 1 pound per mile on average for a car). It's all good!

(4) because of item #3, for the first time maybe ever I paid for my yearly car repair / registration with a check instead of putting it on the evil BofA card.  And actually, because I told Mechanic Chick I simply could *not* pay more than $250 this month for repairs, she ended up making $100 of those repairs "optional" and gave me my inspection sticker anyhow.

Oh, welike Mechanic Chick (and we are jealous you have her!).

(5) next month, the now-inactive Amex card will drop below $2K.

Yea!  It won't be long until it's history!

Lots of thanks to octo and others here for their advice and support.  This is a much better way to live on many levels, psychologically not least.  I do have this calendar of future estimated payments worked out for the next 2 years before I finally pay off everything and two years actually doesn't seem so very far away.  I confess, this calendar is color-coded in eight different ways, and I rather obsessively recalculate stuff about twice a month.  And I am just determined not to put anything at all ever again on the BofA card outside of emergencies, so I calculated exactly how much I will need for gas / food until my next paycheck.  This, too, is a new habit which I'm glad to discover that I enjoy. 

You are brilliant! Color-coding... calculating nine ways to Sunday... whatever works. Now, you know what your money is doing. You are telling it where to go rather than it telling you where it went.

SCORE!


This will allow me to use my summer pay to pay down debt, meaning that I should be totally debt-free in August (I think, I still have to run the new numbers). Finally, a light at the end of the tunnel that isn't a train.

Fantastic!


In other news, we sold that house back in Old State  couple of weeks ago. We now owe exactly $2500. We borrowed $5,000 to make sure we had the $55,000 to give away at closing. We paid half off on the first payment and will pay the other half off on June 1. We could probably pay it now, but then this month would have to be a very careful one and we don't like to live that close to the edge. So, on June 1 we will be completely debt free, and will stay that way until we close on the house here (that we are renting but have a contract to buy), probably in the Fall.

This is the first month in nearly two years we haven't been paying for two homes. Man, it feels good!
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octoprof
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« Reply #773 on: May 02, 2012, 10:18:03 PM »

Tuxedo Cat, I read your post to Mr. Wonderful and he was thrilled at your progress and is cheering for you.

I have a job and an emergency fund now, I keep telling myself, it's not like last year at all.

Amen!
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anakin
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« Reply #774 on: May 03, 2012, 5:24:53 PM »

Let me just say here that clean is the man and should get some of the thanks on this thread!

....

In other news, we sold that house back in Old State  couple of weeks ago. We now owe exactly $2500. We borrowed $5,000 to make sure we had the $55,000 to give away at closing. We paid half off on the first payment and will pay the other half off on June 1. We could probably pay it now, but then this month would have to be a very careful one and we don't like to live that close to the edge. So, on June 1 we will be completely debt free, and will stay that way until we close on the house here (that we are renting but have a contract to buy), probably in the Fall.

This is the first month in nearly two years we haven't been paying for two homes. Man, it feels good!

Clean is indeed one of the men, and I humbly ask him to overlook my omission. It was purely neglect.

And WAY TO GO, OCTO! Boyoboyoboy, it has been a long long road for you, hasn't it? But you did it! I think about you people all the time when I'm scraping by, because it's on purpose now, and if you guys can do it, so can I.

Woo-hoo, octo! You and Mr. W rock out!
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tuxedo_cat
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« Reply #775 on: May 03, 2012, 7:58:00 PM »

Aw, thanks Octo!  To you and the Mr. W : )

Yes, I must offer proper homage to clean, too -- so much of your advice helps to simplify strategies for getting over this hurdle.  And I guess we want to thank ella (is she still posting?) since she got this train rolling -- only a year ago?

Congrats cgfunmathguy!  I am looking forward to enjoying whatever elation you'll feel in August -- even if mine is a ways down the road -- or tracks!  I guess I should keep my metaphors consistent.

Seriously, there have been many moments in the past few months when this thought has gone through my head: "Dammit, I want to be able to post on the 'Into the Black' thread that I hit my markers 4 months in a row!"  So all of you are very compassionate company for these efforts. 
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observer3
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« Reply #776 on: May 04, 2012, 7:49:13 AM »

You guys are an inspiration - thanks!

I am trying some new things, which may be small but posting them makes me feel better...

1. I can't afford new clothes, given my circumstances. But you know, those old jeans I put at the bottom of the drawer a few years ago don't have holes in them and aren't so bad. In fact, I think I used to have really unreasonable expectations of the clothes that I was supposed to be wearing.

2. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, finally, on the student loan. There is still more than a year left but I created a countdown that I can X off each month. It is amazingly gratifying. I would like a part at the end of it.

3. I am using the student loan as a deadline to try to pay off the rest of my debts. I am not sure that I can do this, because sometimes they seem scary. But trying to do this gives me more hope than not trying, and maybe I will actually get somewhere.

4. I am trying to do these things even if I don't get a raise or other income. I could really use these and of course am trying for them. But I am finding that I get bitter when these don't come through if I rely to much on such ideas. So trying to budget for a worst case scenario is better.

There are some vices I cannot give up though. If I could live like a miser I could maybe do these things faster. But I have to balance a little or I really fall off of the wagon...

Just posting to post, I suppose. I don't get to talk about money with anyone else. Everyone is always trying to pretend they are doing fine financially. Maybe they are, who knows. But I am grateful for this thread.
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observer3
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« Reply #777 on: May 04, 2012, 7:50:42 AM »

Actually, I would like a party at the end of the student loan! Par-tay.
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cgfunmathguy
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« Reply #778 on: May 04, 2012, 7:54:17 AM »

You guys are an inspiration - thanks!

I am trying some new things, which may be small but posting them makes me feel better...

1. I can't afford new clothes, given my circumstances. But you know, those old jeans I put at the bottom of the drawer a few years ago don't have holes in them and aren't so bad. In fact, I think I used to have really unreasonable expectations of the clothes that I was supposed to be wearing.

2. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, finally, on the student loan. There is still more than a year left but I created a countdown that I can X off each month. It is amazingly gratifying. I would like a part at the end of it.

3. I am using the student loan as a deadline to try to pay off the rest of my debts. I am not sure that I can do this, because sometimes they seem scary. But trying to do this gives me more hope than not trying, and maybe I will actually get somewhere.

4. I am trying to do these things even if I don't get a raise or other income. I could really use these and of course am trying for them. But I am finding that I get bitter when these don't come through if I rely to much on such ideas. So trying to budget for a worst case scenario is better.

There are some vices I cannot give up though. If I could live like a miser I could maybe do these things faster. But I have to balance a little or I really fall off of the wagon...

Just posting to post, I suppose. I don't get to talk about money with anyone else. Everyone is always trying to pretend they are doing fine financially. Maybe they are, who knows. But I am grateful for this thread.
Welcome aboard, Observer.

As for living like a miser, most of us go through that. It's why I celebrate small milestones. For example, when I got the last big debt below $5K, I took myself to dinner. It was part of that paycheck's budget, but it was an extra indulgence I had foregone until then. My next party is when I'm debt-free. Then I get to start building the full emergency fund.
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octoprof
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« Reply #779 on: May 04, 2012, 9:43:59 AM »

You guys are an inspiration - thanks!

I am trying some new things, which may be small but posting them makes me feel better...

1. I can't afford new clothes, given my circumstances. But you know, those old jeans I put at the bottom of the drawer a few years ago don't have holes in them and aren't so bad. In fact, I think I used to have really unreasonable expectations of the clothes that I was supposed to be wearing.

2. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, finally, on the student loan. There is still more than a year left but I created a countdown that I can X off each month. It is amazingly gratifying. I would like a part at the end of it.

3. I am using the student loan as a deadline to try to pay off the rest of my debts. I am not sure that I can do this, because sometimes they seem scary. But trying to do this gives me more hope than not trying, and maybe I will actually get somewhere.

4. I am trying to do these things even if I don't get a raise or other income. I could really use these and of course am trying for them. But I am finding that I get bitter when these don't come through if I rely to much on such ideas. So trying to budget for a worst case scenario is better.

There are some vices I cannot give up though. If I could live like a miser I could maybe do these things faster. But I have to balance a little or I really fall off of the wagon...

Just posting to post, I suppose. I don't get to talk about money with anyone else. Everyone is always trying to pretend they are doing fine financially. Maybe they are, who knows. But I am grateful for this thread.

You are going great!

Re: 3. Create a countdown for your other debt, too. You probably find it motivating since you do for the student loans.

And about those who seem to act financially fine, I'll bet you lunch 90% of them are not, and, furthermore, most of that 90% hasn't got a clue what their true financial position is, and most of them are losing sleep because of that.
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