Saturday, September 20, 2008

Payment Plan and Credit Report

I'm on a 5-YR Balance Liquidation Plan (BLP) with nine of my creditors. Here's what one of them looks like on my credit report showing the three agencies:

UNVL/CITI 08/08 02/91

TU is TransUnion
EFX is Equifax
XPN is Experian

My AMEX reports:
Legally paid in full for less than the full balance

Cut out the second phone line.

I cut out my home office phone. That'll save about $70 a month. I can use my home phone as my business phone. I only need it for conference calls and faxing every now and then. Can't wait to feel the savings between:
- $70/month cancelled home office phone
- $25/month cancelled home security system
- $65/month cancelled some phone company services
- $160/month stopped lottery spending

That's $320/month added back into the budget!

Lottery - stop wasting money

I was hoping for an escape from all this debt. I know it's stupid to spend money on lotteries. I got a little crazy because I've been hearing about layoff's. My brother-in-law might get laid off from his company after working for them for 30 years - at least he'll get a pension.

So I was foolishly wasting money on the state lottery - I figured about $160 a month. So I stopped that. I need that $160 for other things like paying off my debt.

ChaCha Guide - discontinue

I tried ChaCha for a while as a Guide. For four hours work I averaged $1.50 an hour. My time is not worth $1.50 an hour. I can make better use my time that will pay better. So I'm going to discontinue that endeavor.

Slow progress

My debt is now down to $107,000. That's progress but it sure is slow.

I've been monitoring my spending habits. I've got this huge amount of money that I owe to creditors and family. I don't "own" a house anymore. My savings are gone. And my budget doesn't allow anything to be saved.

But I've got good health, kids are going to Community College, my wife is great and we're both working. And I have faith in God again.

I've always believed in God - I just haven't been a good practicing Christian for a lot of my years. I know that if I had been following Christ's principles that I would have avoided a lot of mistakes I made in my marriage and in my spending. Who knows what other challenges I would have faced. Life has many paths to choose from and each have their own obstacles.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Cant sleep at night

We live with a street right behind us. Every night I listen to traffic, motorcycles and sometimes sirens. Every morning I wake up to cars starting around 5:15am. At least that's the time my wife and I wake up. Its so hot here - 97 degrees today - that we always sleep with the windows open at night. Just another thing I want to get rid of.

When we first moved here the street behind us dead-ended 3-4 houses down from us. And the city hadn't built the local high school nearby - 10 minute walk. And there were only acres and acres of land at the end of our street where now there are 200-300 new houses - at least new as of 4 years ago. And the sports park wasn't built across from the high school either.

Oh well, cant wait to move away from all this. And get into a quiet area for a change. Hopefully in 2009 if all our planning works out.

Status - Elance, home security, budgeting

Some of you might wonder why I post this blog. If I didn't I'd go crazy. Sometimes I think I am going crazy. Every night - and I mean every night - I end up staring at my budget spreadsheet.

This week I cancelled the home security monitoring system. Saved $27/mo by doing that. Gotta stop wasting money. Some good news: that Elance project paid me another $90 this week. I'm going to keep working that as a 2nd job. My probation ends October 1st. I'll see what happens then. But it's pretty cool. I get to blog about technology and get paid for it too. It's paying $45 a week for one post a week of a 400-500 word blog post on technology - not related to my work so no conflict.

CashCall loan

Back in June I had to take out a $2500 CashCall loan at 96 percent APR. Sucks.

But it is my number one priority right now. I've got it down to a $1978.00 balance.

I expect to pay back another $400 on 9/15 and then another $600 at end of month.

I think the US govt. should outlaw PayDay loan companies. They do more harm than good to Americans. Some of these PayDay operations are overseas. One I know of is in France. They're just taking American's money at outrageous rates/fee. I'm sure they laugh about ripping off Americans.

Dave Ramsey show

I now watch the Dave Ramsey show whenever I can. I also signed up as a member on the web site. Lot of good forums and good information there.

He talks about the Total Money MakeOver approach to paying off your debts and building emergency funds. I used to have so much saved up a long time ago. It's pathetic how fast your savings can dissappear when you have layoffs and also get stupid with your money.

Dave Ramsey has a seven step plan (Baby Steps - BS) for getting out of debt, staying out of debt and prospering:
BS1 - build $1,000 emergency fund
BS2 - Payoff ALL your debts - start with lowest balance first
BS3 - build 3 to 6 months emergency fund
BS4 - Invest 15% of your income
BS5 - College Funding
BS6 - Payoff your home early
BS7 - Build Wealth, Give

I completed BS1. Now I'm working on BS2 - should take me 4 years. Then on to BS3 to 7.