Friday, October 5, 2012

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

This certainly has been a productive last seven days.  As was reported in the last post, I had trimmed my debt from $70,000 on 11 cards to $30,000 + on three.  It gets better:

With interest, the largest one had grown to over $34,000 and I was given the opportunity to settle the debt for half of the balance.  Excitement grew until I attempted to get a loan from the three banks with which I have accounts.  I was sadly disappointed that the credit union I belonged to since 1980 would not give me a signature loan.  There has never been a loan with a late payment with them.  I was sadly disappointed.  Sure, the realization is that the credit union is a business and has to answer to the shareholders, but I, too, am a shareholder.  That account will be closed soon.

Back to the settlement: I was able to secure $8,000 to offer as a settlement and called them up with the offer.  I believe it was all in the presentation.  At first they balked as my offer saying that it was less than 25 cents on the dollar.  I presented the fact that they haven't been able to collect even one cent on the dollar lately and that I was sadly considering bankruptcy as an option.  If bankruptcy was pursued, they would get nothing, as this is an unsecured debt.  They then offered to take my $8,000 as a down payment and to pay $900 a month for nine months. 


I stood firm on the $8,000 as it was a "take it or leave it" offer.  They took it.  Of course I have to pay $100 a week until the $8,000 is paid off.  If there is overtime available at work, it will be paid off much sooner. 

My other card balance of $1,720.08 was paid off with an offer of $1,032.05.  It is done. Finished.  I have paid over $9,000 in the last week, but I was able to erase over $26,000. 

What a relief!

If I can, so can others...keep the faith!

Have a great day!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Back to it!

After a while away, I am returning to what I love to do:  I love to write about things and want to share my struggles and successes in getting my financial life back to where it belongs.  I started out over three years ago with 11 credit cards, over $60,000 in debt and seemingly no way out of the bad situation in which I had gotten myself.  Fast forward to now and the situation is not great, but it is definitely better than what it was.

I am down to roughly $37,000 in debt (I am rounding off the numbers) and only three cards.  The smallest is less than $2,100 and will be paid off in full by the end of 2013.  This was negotiated for a monthly payment and no interest so as to not further myself in debt in the process.  The second one was dismissed with prejudice by the circuit court as the company dropped the case (although they could retry suing me for the $6,000).  The other big one (for over $28,000) stands unpaid and uncollected and is currently awaiting my summons being served. Once it is, I will get my attorney to fight it for me as I have yet to receive valid proof that this debt is mine. 

My lifestyle has changed dramatically as I have largely forgone eating out (cooking at home save a ton of money), going to movies, wasting money on trivial things, and I drive an 18-year old car that is owned outright. 

I want everybody to know that nothing is impossible and can be done with determination and a plan.  Stick with me and the plan that I am using will be brought to life.

Have a great day!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Got Pets?

Sometimes, when browsing the Internet, I run across stories of people wanting financial assistance because they cannot afford their pets. There are some who would treat their animals better than they would care to treat themselves. I believe that the best thing that one can do is to take care of themselves before worrying about a pet. With that being said, I have to admit that there are now three dogs living in our home. My wife picked up our first dog in January 2003. I was working 60 hours a week and had just begun my MBA studies, so I understood that she wanted something there to keep her company. It wasn't until Zena began to get cataracts and develop total blindness that a search was underway for a companion for Zena (or, a replacement, if you will). Since Zena is blind, my wife looked to adopt a blind puppy and we lucked out when she found, after much searching, Avari. Zena began to get a little more life (although she is permanently blind) and Avari needed a playmate. Carmen is one day older than Avari and is of the same Australian shepherd breed, but Carmen is fully sighted (which gives her a distinct advantage at treat time) over the other two dogs in the house. In order to keep our costs low and the dogs happy, we make our own dog treats. We make both pumpkin treats and dehydrate meat (usually chicken). We probably spend $30 a month making our treats instead of paying $200+ purchasing them already made. If you are wanting to have a pet but not spend a fortune, look into making your own treats and giving them baths instead of always paying somebody else to do it for you. Have a great day!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Light

I am excited to say that I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and I know darn well that it is not a train! I started out with $71,779.01 in credit card debt. While the debt hasn't gone away, I have chipped away at some of the problem ones and now have it down from 11 accounts to 4. Two of the accounts are at no interest (hey, "some money is better than no money I told the creditors", and after not being able to collect anything for several years, they concurred).

Part of the change is in my thinking. I used to see just the mountain of debt that I was diligently working on. I was working 70+ hours a week just to keep my head above water. Now, I am focused on building wealth, even though I haven't fully eliminated my credit card debt...yet! I also used to be extremely miserly with my money, but have come to realize that there are people that have it worse than I ever did, so I am sharing out of my abundance.

I have truly been blessed with health (which is improving), family, and employment. Some don't experience that blessing.

Thank you for all that you have done, and keep fighting to keep more of what you make!

Have a great day!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Saving Money With Dogs

I realize that having a pet is an expense, but since my wife and I rarely go to movies or go out to eat much, having a pet is an expense that we chose. We first had a Australian cattle dog-mix (still going) about 8 years ago. She has developed cataracts and a bit of neuritis in the last few years and we decided to adopt a blind, high-energy Australian Shepherd who is about as opposite as you can get. The older dog tolerates her fairly well, but the puppy seems a bit incomplete (our perception) as she loves to play.

We solved that dilemma last week when we drove 200 miles to adopt another Australian Shepherd who is nearly twice the size of our youngest despite being just one day older.

Dogs can be expensive, but we have discovered a way to be frugal with dogs. This is a challenge because we reward our dogs (through obedience training) with treats. We don't buy the commercially made ones, we make them ourselves.

Our treats are one of two types: chicken or pumpkin. Both are fairly easy to make. You can find the pumpkin recipe here or we use an inexpensive dehydrator, buy chicken breasts in bulk, chop the chicken into tiny (about your pinkie nail size) pieces and make a load of treats for a fraction of the cost of purchasing commercially made ones).

Friday, March 4, 2011

A New Book

I have been at it fairly feverishly for the past 10 days as I have decided to write a second book about debt, but I have included a whole section on using coupons to save massive amounts of money. For this portion, I have enlisted the assistance from a former high-school classmate of mine. She is notorious for buying a cart load of items and walking away with a receipt for often under a dollar. She knows her stuff!

I am excited that I am attending her class in Branson Missouri on the 6th of March! I am going to first attend her class on coupons, and afterward will team up to write that section of the book.

I am still playing with a few ideas for the title, but will know more later. The book will be available for purchase/download by July 1, 2011 and 50% of the profits are going to go for her charity in Branson that helps the less fortunate people who need a hand up (and some complimentary food and supplies will be greatly appreciated! I will be sharing a few tidbits on here as the book progresses!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

And a Year Goes By

A lot has gone on in the last year since I posted in here. I am going to start a sequel to my book (or a part II, if you will) Never Surrender. No, I am not out of debt yet, but am closer with every day. Here is a glimpse of the last year:

1. We now eat out once a month and I take my food leftovers to eat at work. Even though I was spending $2.15 for supper at the drive-though, it was seriously causing more health challenges then buying organic, wholesome foods (nutrients fill you up, calories don't). We are probably spending the same amount of money as if we were eating out twice a week, but being healthier is darn well worth it.

2. I have 4 credit cards left to pay off (although I haven't used one in three years). Two of them are at no interest and one will be paid in December and the other one will be paid off the following December. I am in no particular rush to pay them off as I can use the extra money to further fund the 401K and get closer to financial independence.

3. I have pretty much stuck to a budget. There has been quite a bit of overtime at work (I am down to just one job for now) so there has been extra funds for a trip to Colorado (10th anniversary) and for a timeshare in Colorado (we enjoyed it that much).

4. I have decided to tithe my money. Lots of time has been spent lately reading book after book after book about finance, wealth, and life. I now realize that I have been entirely focused on my needs while ignoring the needs of others. I have been blessed, it is time to share in my blessings.

I am still money conscious, and will resume more regular posts on here now.

Have a GREAT day!