We just added a copy of our debt

snowball spreadsheet to our cell phones to help keep us motivated. Whenever we are tempted to eat out (our biggest downfall) we will now estimate how much that meal would cost us and then plug that amount into the spreadsheet to see how much further it would get us toward our goal if we put the money there instead. Then our plan is to make that payment that day instead of eating out, so we can actually SEE how giving up that little bit each time we are tempted really brings down the debt. We feel it will be a great motivator to stay on track.
Dh also added the wallpaper someone posted recently to my computer in hot pink. So every day when I am on the computer I am reminded in brilliant color what we are working so hard for. If that wallpaper isn’t for you how about one that shows something you are striving for? How about on your cell phone wallpaper too? A photo of the car you want some day, or a getaway destination, your kids in a cap and gown. Etc.

I am looking for ways to stay motivated and on track.

Anyone try using visuals such as making a graph of the amount of debt that you have and then coloring in each square as you get closer to paying it off?
Any other ideas for staying motivated? I’m doing okay, but sometimes those impulse purchases are tempting and I am trying to find a way to keep my mind motivated and on track before I give in.

It’s just hard because BS2 can seem so big at times.

I’d noticed some minor problems

when we started using it a year or so ago, but not enough to mess with it, but now the difference in interest and such is starting to make HUNDREDS of dollars of difference, and that is not a good thing. Luckily in our instance it is hundreds high on one account, but hundreds low on the two mortgages (a baaad thing) As soon as dh finishes tinkering with my business computer I put him to work on this, because I want accuracy. Nothing like thinking you’ll be paying a debt off and discover that you still owe 4-5 hundred more than the snowball shows. Luckily I am constantly watching my numbers. In this instance I knew there were differences, but hadn’t really calculated them up. Now that I have I want it fixed.

I had some frustrations with it as well

and frankly I just relegated it off to the distant far dusty shelf. I have too many other things right now screaming for attention. My particular problems with it, is that it came with lines for 10 debts but we only have five outstanding debts right now. I wanted to get rid of the lines we don’t use, but that messed up the formulas and I didn’t want to take the time to go fix them. Mine is calculating the correct low-to-high bills, at least for right now, but I haven’t had it going long enough to check all the calculations. But if you ever get the thing working, could you post a “fixed” version? I do want to work with it more than I have so far, but I ran into those issues pretty fast and thought “nope, don’t have time for this right now…….”

Today I started setting up a pay day spreadsheet

and discovered right off the bat this new pay schedule is going to create more problems than I thought it would originally. I thought at first it would work out to be real close to the same amount every pay day UNTIL I remembered dh works four nines and a four each week. Since the pay days now have the cutoff dates of the 28th/30th/31st and the 15th that can vary the paycheck considerably depending on when those dates fall. I checked out the next four months and discovered the checks will vary in size from one check with 98 hours on it and about 3 with just 84 on them in a row. I’m really going to have to watch the budget closely with that much of a variance.
I’ve fixed up a spreadsheet that I’ll be able to glance at for each pay period when doing the budget to see the approximate size of the paycheck and adjust that two week budget accordingly. Next I’ll be marking estimated hours on my daily/weekly/monthly calendar so that I’ll know ahead of time the approximate paycheck size and adjust the budget before as well to accommodate the bills correctly.
I’m thinking that we are all getting cabin fever so bad so we are playing too much with numbers. I KNOW that dh is so tired of working and wants to retire so bad that I have GOT to find more gazelle feed asap.

Monday night I noticed

the numbers on my snowball calculator were not matching up with the actual balances owed. For the most part it is because the interest rates are to the 100th decimal point on the websites and the spreadsheet only does to the tenths. Not a big difference, but I did notice two really big things on it as I poured over it trying to figure out how to cut the number of months off until I can scream I am debt free. One was the spreadsheet is NOT going in the lowest to largest payoff order. Explanation: Once I complete this little BOA later this year it starts calculating on the Best Buy automatically. Only there are two other bills with lower balances than BB at that time. Hmmm wonder why that is? Could it be because at the time I started the calculator a year ago BB was lower than those two, but due to their stupid tax and lower payments they slowly slid to the number three (four) spot in the payoff order?
Next was an even bigger item. I realized that for some reason my little Chase card is showing on the spreadsheet two full payments behind my actual balance. Now this is a very good thing (nearly $450 difference), but how did it happen? Haven’t got a clue on that.
So I spent all day yesterday playing with the snowball calculator figuring the three next debts first in the order the snowball calculator originally showed, then in the order with the error on number of payments, then finally with everything calculated and they all came out to be the exact same payoff month. Not sure how that happened considering BB is over $2,000 more than the other two on their current balances. So for now I left the snowball calculator alone since dh just loaded it on to his phone and telling him to change it at this point while he’s still studying it in the form it’s in might create more problems than it is worth.

I’ve been seeing it for about a week

It’s the company you designed it at and they are running it at a 15% off sale. Maybe it’s because we are friends of facebook? I figured you had just decided to go with it. I mean there are a lot of people out there wanting to become debt free, especially at this time of year. Hey if you make some bucks off of it–go for it! Tom who thought you knew in OK

I feel the purpose of this

ad is to convince people that it’s okay to run up a credit card even if you think you might lose your job because they “have a heart” and will work with you with no hassle at all. A very deceiving ad.
Next on the facebook ads was for women’s financial planning at wife.org it says “a man is not a plan” . What century are they living in? Since when has a man been a plan for the females of the US in modern history? I find that rather insulting. First of all the name wife.org, as if only wives qualify. Next why would female financial planning be any different from male financial planning. You pay cash, plain and simple.
Then of course there are the Capital One commercials with the baby who has more since than the late night talk show host. He simply cannot understand why the baby is saying “NO” to his credit card. The inference being that you are acting like a child if you use a card other than Capital One because they give you so much back.
However, I see the baby commercials entirely differently than they planned. One that the host is not as smart as he thinks he is by using a credit card, that the baby is in fact smarter than he is. Two that he is in fact trying to con and bribe the child into using his card by giving her toys and other treats, but again the baby is too smart for him. Much like their bonus points are a bribe and a con. While I’ve never signed up for a Capital One card I have dealt with them for others and some of my credit cards were sold to them. They are the second worst to deal with (With HSBC—Best Buy being the worst and Capital One just bought my BB card—Lord help me!).

As I listened to the news channel yesterday

an ad for Lifelock came on. Now I’ve heard these ads hundreds of times, but for some reason part of the spiel yesterday caught my ear and made me pay more attention, not because of their product but because of the concept they were peddling.
In the commercial it talks about how someone stole a woman’s identity and ruined her credit and THEREFORE, ruined her chances at EVER having the retirement she had dreamed about. There are two different thoughts on this line. 1) being that she would some how be held responsible for all that debt—which is not true, it may be a hassle, but if you can prove it wasn’t you, you are not responsible for it. and 2) the biggest one that caught my attention was you can’t retire without good credit. That you must have credit cards to be able to retire. What a crock of. Yet this commercial plays hundreds of times a week and it is therefore being tattooed into the brains of the nation. How sad is that?
Another was a print ad I saw on facebook today that says “It has a heart, Discovercard.com” then it goes on to say that if you lose your job they will lower your interest rate or otherwise work with you. While Discover was indeed one of the easiest to work with when we lost our income, the instant lower rates and such did not just appear. We had to miss x amount of payments, and jump through a bunch of hoops and then you are limited to taking one offer or another. Plus Discover was one of the companies that changed the contract in the middle of the deal with us—after we’d been paying for awhile and with no warning.

It also goes to show the huge difference that interest makes

We talked yesterday about Jan’s discovery that the interest rate calculations aren’t exact, so I’m not going to swear this is a perfectly correlated difference. But the monthly amount I have set up in the debt snowball is $700/month, throughout our payback schedule. The fees only added up to $3300, but the difference over time + interest was six months * $700 = $4200. That $900 difference was the interest paid. Sigh. For most of my life, compounded interest was my enemy. Refreshing to see it finally showing up as my friend.

Also makes me realize that the sooner I can put big payments down on the total owed, for any of these bills, the “bigger” that extra payment will be thanks again to the interest. Wonder how much $$$ I could get if I sold a few used cats……….

Just got the letter back from the IRS today

our late fees have been waived!!!!!! YAY!!! I didn’t dare hope that they would really be waived, but the accountant suggested we may as well try. The IRS steadily sent us letters since our petition about mid-November, that it was still under review, and they might want additional supporting information. I was getting ready to send all that stuff, crossing fingers, dreading that it wouldn’t be enough. But today, unexpectedly, we got the letter that the late fees have been waived. This cuts our IRS bill down from roughly $8800 to a mere $5500.

I didn’t exactly earn that, and I’ll never be late again on taxes after facing such steep late fees. This gazelle got lucky to have escaped with a lower tax bill. But escape she did, and I’ll be happy with that. Yeah!!!! Just goes to show, it never hurts to ask

I think this is what I need to do

Not only to get current on taxes/lisences, but my cc’s are all past due as well. I’m thinking I still need to get the taxes/lisences taken care of first, then get the cc’s up to date and then start the actual snowball. Am I on track here? What about all those blasted late fees and overlimit fees I’m incurring in the process? Should I change my focus a bit and get the cc’s current so I’m not getting bent over on fees?

If you have not gone to curt yet

you can call they atty office and work out a payment plan with them. these people will not be like the typical collectors are, they will talk to you like they have some since. and if you can work out a doable payment plan with them before you go to court, that will stop the judgment agaimst you.

if you go to court, they WILL win and then you now have the judgement. of course, if you fall behind, then you will be oredered to court for the judgement.

call and explain what you have going on, worst case senario is they will so no, and nothing will change, you wil go to court and get the judgement.

Holy Schnikes…

wife just got a massive bonus and raise. She now makes 5x what I make. Our retirement goals should be met by end of 2017, but we are still going to work until I vest in my pension. If shit goes south at some point, we will both quit once she hits her vesting at 50 years old in two years. I would get a pension starting at 65 of about $38,000. If I don’t vest, it might be $12K a year, so the extra 4 years is worth working 4 more years and we need a loan now! If my wife didn’t have serious travel plans, we could quit now and just bump around with some part time jobs in between vactions, but even being done at 55 and 53 isn’t going to be bad.

We’re acutally renting to own (from my parents – they helped each of us with our first house)

We set the price of what we can pay per month and best of all it’s interest free.

The twins are working full time (no choice, at least 40 hours) this summer and planning to go to a local college and work part time this fall. We already laid out what they need to pay for or else. I really want them to take the next FPU class at our church this fall. I already have the materials, so it would be of no cost to them.

We’re both working as much as we can right now. I’m looking for more children to babysit for the summer, as I homeschool my youngest. Hubby already works 2 jobs. We’re doing a garage sale this weekend. We have health insurance, but haven’t met the deductible yet. I did get a call from the company that is supplying the machine and they’re willing to wait a few weeks, until the hospital and doctors turn in their bills and then we’ll have less out of pocket expense to them, and can set up payments with the hospital (we found with our income we qualify for a 50% discount in amount due).

I just seem to be overstressed right now, so thanks for bearing with me

1 – on our two car payments we had the truck up for sale for about 6 months, but had no bites on it. The economy in our area just seems to have taken a downturn big time. We’re a smaller town and may be losing our two biggest employers in the area, so people aren’t buying anything. Our van has less than a year to pay on it. We need something that will carry more than 3 people. The twins have a car that is sitting idle, cause they’re not working and can’t afford insurance on it.

2 – our house is just a typical 3 bedroom ranch. The $120 includes a past due amount that was divided into payments. I think there are 3 of them left.

3 – the dentist has been giving us a break, cause he doesn’t normally let you make payments.

4 – my mom and I are having a garage sale this weekend and hopefully that will net us a good profit. I’ve been gathering everything that is not an absolute necessary.

5 – the twins are getting jobs (they had ones, but were laid off) as soon as they graduate. They were having trouble cause no one wants to work around their school schedule.

We’ve already gotten the court papers for the hospital bill, so no we don’t have any other choice

The medical equipment would be covered by insurance, but we haven’t reached our deductible its $1,000 per person, which we have never had more than an occasional offfice visit to worry about. We’re generally healthy, so in order to save our premium amounts we upped the deductible.

See above for the info about the twins. Because they can’t get anyone to hire them, due to being in school (everyone wants you to be completely flexible, so they don’t have to work too hard on scheduling people) we told them we’d take care of cell phones and car insurance for the time they’re in school. Their grandparents supply them with gas/spending money – which will end for them when school is out.

Unfortunately, the grocery bill will not go down, cause they’re still going to be living at home. I hope to have a garden that will produce and that will cut down on the amount that goes out for groceries. I’m trying to come up with some menu ideas that will fill them up and cut down on our total going out for food and supplies.

Hubby already works 2 jobs (firefighter/paramedic and part time in the emergency room at our local hospital), there’s no time for another part time job. I homeschool my youngest son (long story) and babysit for several diffent families. I posted a flyer at our church to babysit for school aged children for the summer. I hope to get some more income that way. I found out that I can earn extra money by having a table at our local farmers market/flea market selling homebaked goods. I also have several upcoming craft shows in our area and make memory quilts on the side.

Driving lessons are necessary, can’t get a drivers license without them in Ohio until you’re 18. Graduation party is necessary in our eyes, but won’t be a big affair.

Our class ended about a month ago. I do have to say we’re in better shape than we were. We’re only behind on a few things and hopefully we’ll soon get them caught up. I talked to hubby about the ProRata plan, but he wants us to try to use it as a last resort, after we’ve cut everything back as far as we can. So for right now it’s on hold.

I appreciate all the encouragement and ideas on what to do. I’m going to print off your e-mails and talk to hubby and see what else we can do. I’m going to search the internet and see what is suggested to save money on groceries.

Wow, $300 for rent is great!

What are the twins planning on doing now that they’re graduating? College or working? It looks like your non-debt numbers are pretty good — it’s the debt payments that are killing ya! Is $2900 for both you and DH working full-time? Since your kids are older, I assume you work. Can you get extra jobs, such as delivering pizzas, hauling boxes for UPS, or babysitting? Can you have a garage sale or sell things on Craigs List or Ebay?
Do you have health insurance? Won’t that cover the sleep apnea thing? How much are the balances on your debts?

Good luck!!

Medical equipment needed $800 (for hubby sleep apnea)

I agree with everyone that you don’t seem as bad as you think. Four walls should be taken care of first, cutting back a bit on anything that you can, selling on eBay, garage sale. Second job, overtime would cover the $41.00 that you are short..
I wanted to reply about the CPAP machine. It’s usually cheaper in the long run to buy one of these machines. Have you checked eBay, craiglist, asked if there is a used one that you can pick up somewhere?
Are you aware that you can rent these machines? It’s usually under 20 bucks a month to rent or something like that – until you can save the money to buy one.
Also instead of the machine you can get a mouth device that’s molded to your mouth and a lot cheaper than the machine but does a similar job. I personally find that the CPAP machine isn’t very ‘sexy’ when sleeping with your mate and the noise runs me crazy! There is a pretty good book – Good Night (The Sleep Doctor’s 4-week Program to Better Sleep and Better Health) by Dr. Micheal Breus – you can probably find this at the library, has a lot of suggestions to help with sleeping issues.

I think if you focus, find a few ways to cut down here and there – you will soon be on the other side of things.