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My debt ... and budget (or something like that)

March 7th, 2012 at 09:01 pm

So yesterday I gave a little background about the giant mess of debt that I am in ..... here's the list of it all ::

Accounts in Collections::
Chase Visa - $2410
Target - $576
Capital One - $1133
First Financial Bank - $7329
Verizon - $791
APS - $420
Old Navy - $128
Cox - $296
Chase Mastercard - $8235
Best Buy - $3200 (approx)
Sprint - $400 (approx)
Old bank accounts - $600 (approx)
I couldnt find any statements for the last 3, but that's about what I remember them to be at....

Student Loans::
Sallie Mae - $4622
USDOE - $9500

:::TOTAL DEBT:::
$39,640


Income::
$1700/month

Monthly Expenses (starting April 1st)::
Rent - $217
Utilities - $75
Cable/Internet - $40
Cell Phone - $100
Insurance - $53
and estimating
Food - $100
Gas - $100

::TOTAL MONTHLY EXPENSES::
$685

So with that remaining $1015 a month I need to come up with a plan to save some and pay off some of that debt. As of now the plan is that I am suppose to be moving into my own place around October 1st... so I need to make sure to have money for a deposit by then as well as to buy some things for my place since I have NOTHING of my own.... any ideas/suggestions/advice is greatly appreciated Smile

10 Responses to “My debt ... and budget (or something like that)”

  1. momcents Says:


    Welcome, good job trying to get on the right track. Are you sure you don't have anything to show for all that consumer debt? ;P

    Have you checked into some debt counseling? Backruptcy as an option? A second job to generate more income?

    I also might rethink moving into a place on your own, especially at this point. Your present situation seems manageable given your share of rent is low.

    Anyhow, looking forward to following your journey.

  2. creditcardfree Says:

    Why don't you give us a breakdown of interest rate and minimum monthly payments on your debt? We might be able to help you prioritize them.

    I would agree that waiting to move out on your own would be wise, as would increase your income.

    Are you currently paying on the student loans? Are you eligible for deferrment?

    You cell phone is expensive given your income. Can you get out of your contract or move to a prepaid plan?

    Do you have anything you could sell on ebay, craigslist, or at a garage sale? Old phones, books, cds and dvds can be sold for cash online.

  3. ceejay74 Says:

    Others will be able to better advise you about how to pay debts that are in collections, but you may be able to settle for 50 cents on the dollar in some cases and knock a few thousand bucks off that way. Other than that, what I would do:
    1. Put the first $1000 of budget surplus in a savings account, and try to pretend it's not there. That's your EF (emergency fund).
    2. Do some research and figure out the cheapest rent you can get in your area. (Make sure you would be able to afford it and still pay your other bills; otherwise you'll need to rethink either your income or your moving-out plan.)
    3. Use your budget surplus to save up 3x what a month of rent will be; should cover application fees, first & last month, security deposit. Put it in savings and try to pretend it's not there. Smile 4. Calculate what you would need to furnish your new place as cheaply as possible, and use your budget surplus to save up that amount. Put it in savings and try to pretend it's not there.
    5. When your cellphone contract expires, don't renew. Switch to a prepaid and try to use it as little as possible. Email your friends, get in touch with them via Facebook, Skype, etc. Should cut your phone costs by about $80 per month, which will help when you're on your own and paying much higher rent.
    6. What are you going to do about transportation when you're no longer sharing a car? Hopefully you can swap gas line item for a bus pass and stay on an even keel there. Work and rework your budget to make sure it'll stay sane and balanced even if you move out on your own. (Try as a rule of thumb to stick to a 50/30/20 ratio: 50% toward needs, 30% toward wants, and 20% toward savings and extra debt repayment.)
    7. Now that you're all done saving up and planning your budget for your new living situation, start calling those collections agencies and settling as many debts as you can before you move and your living expenses go way up.

    That's my 2 cents. Hope it helps!

  4. crazyliblady Says:

    You have my sympathies, as I have been there and done that. Obviously, you need to learn to live within (or rather below) your means. Since some of your debts are in collections, I would advise immediately going to a nonprofit credit counseling agency to find out what your options are. Can you get a second job temporarily to pay off some of this debt? How about donating blood or plasma? Selling books online, like at http://www.half.com or http://www.alibris.com? Maybe a yard sale? Have you received your tax refund yet? If not, you could use it to pay off some debt.

    Also, I noticed your budget includes internet. Is internet required for your job or something? If not, do you really need it? Your cell phone seems very high. Can you get a cheaper plan, or maybe a prepaid plan? I use Tracfone and it probably costs me around $5 or less a month. The $100 for food seems a little low, though, even for just one person.

    Good luck. Let us know how this all goes.

  5. wowitsawonderfullife Says:

    Welcome. You are at the right place. The first thing I would do is find the other three statements. Make an excel sheet of your debts, the interest rate on each item. Then I would pay of the Old Navy card off in full. There are several reason - it's a high interest rate card for sure, you will fell like you can accomplish anything and after you mail that cheque and it clears, call the collections company and tell them what you did. See if they will take negotiated regular payments. Do not move if you can help it. Then put $100 away per month to set up an emergency fund. Get all of that done within the next 14 days. Then you can set up a time line to clear all of this up. You can do it!

  6. kristinxmarie Says:

    Staying where I am really isnt an option at this point .... my roommate actually wanted me to leave by June 1st.. I was able to push that out until September after pointing out that I have NOTHING and no money for deposits and such. I'm not paying anything on the student loans yet because I'm still in school, I have about a year left so those aren't a huge concern right now. No interest on the rest of the stuff since they are ALL in collections. I don't have anything to sell either ... I donated/sold EVERYTHING I had a year ago when I moved in with my roommate, all I have really is clothes, a bed and my laptop. As far as the $100 for food, there's 3 of us, so we're putting in $100 each for a grocery shopping trip... that may get adjusted later if it ends up not being enough. And internet is needed for my school and roommates job, so getting rid of that isnt really an option =/

  7. Frügal Says:

    You should be able to tackle this pretty well. Your monthly expenses are not even half of your income. Be smart and use the snowball method. Smile

  8. rhassinger Says:

    I'm wondering how you have a cellphone bill of $100. Even the most expensive iphone plan is about $70, isn't it? I got my wife a tracphone which costs about $5/month. Maybe you're spending money on apps and music or something. My employer issues me an iphone at their cost. Personally, I've never paid for a cellphone, ever.

    $100 for gas, but what about maintenance and insurance? I pay about $400/year for my wife's minivan and that's the lowest rate possible. (I don't have a car, I actually bike to work every day. I throw the $5K/year I save on that into an IRA.)

    Do you have anything on the horizon when you finish your degree? Hopefully you're not going to a for-profit school like University of Phoenix or something that will not give you any edge.

    With your income (I assume that's after tax) being only half of what you owe, and especially with the high credit card balances being evidence of your spending ways of the recent past, it doesn't look very hopeful. Unfortunately neither does bankruptcy protection. Recent laws make it damn near impossible to escape credit card debts.

  9. creditcardfree Says:

    If all debts are in collections, then it is very important to save for your upcoming move. You will need roommates or a very low income rent option. That should be the priority.

    Don't make any more arrangement to pay anything until you are stable in your living situation.

    Only 'wake up' the debt collectors on each debt as you have a way to pay. For example you have saved up $X amount and can offer it as payment in full. Always get their agreement to a lower offer in writing before sending in ANY cash. Don't give them your bank account number over the phone. Pay by money order or seperate bank account used for this purpose only.

    You also need to keep some money you save for an emergency fund. AND stop using credit of any kind. Cut up all those cards. Watch every penny you spend. Right it down so you know where it goes.

    Good luck!

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