Re: What is a “normal” amount to save in a year?

Thanks for the positive message about not putting yourself down. It is easy to beat up on oneself for debt problems.

I have a problem with getting overdrawn, and the fees the bank charges. I have already trashed my credit, and am doing debt settlement, but have one judgement against me – so the only way I have to be in debt is overdraft fees. I know, I know, I could have the bank stop doing it (the bank allows you to get $200 overdrawn)- but I tell myself I can’t buy food, or cat food if I don’t have it there for me.

But I think the underlying reasons for continuing to get overdrawn are what needs to be addressed – just like some folks on here are facing their issues with spending.

like why don’t I have enough money to pay my bills? what do I need to do differently? I live with my kids, who are 23 and 20, and both of them are working. Yet I feel reluctant to ask them to help pay – probably because of the guilt I fee l about being divorces (they never had their dad in their lives and he stopped paying child support) – and my son has health and drug issues, and I never saved for their college – etc, etc, when I write this I see how ludicrous it is.

So, anyhow, it is good for me to see other people also facing in themselves how they got into their situation – but without blaming themselves unduly, and recognizing their need to change and move on – so thanks for letting me have this blog.

Don’t feel bad for them, you did the best you could for them. At this point in their lives though, it’s time to ‘cut the apron strings’ and allow them to start being productive members of society. You won’t be a bad mom if you charged them rent or for food.

I grew up in a single parent home, parents never divorced and my mom did not save for my college education. But I went to school somehow got a degree and I am about to go for my MSW.

Some how we feel pressure from all sides, and this world puts those who can’t deal with pressure in a financial trap-some how we have got to face the fact that either we may be addicted to retail or running from our financial responsibilities.

They are never going to go away…..Do what you can to uplift you and leave the rest to GOD.

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I’m not out of debt yet but am current on bills at this time.

I’m not out of debt yet but am current on bills at this time. I have old debt to deal with and that’s my next project. However, I have to agree with Rich here – budget! We use a monthly cash flow sheet by Dave Ramsey and know where every penny is going to go before we get our hands on it. DH owns a 6 month old business and I work retail. Our incomes fluctuate and trying to pay bills on time has been a nightmare. Forget saving money!

But we started using the envelope system for our business and personal expenses and wow, what a difference that’s made! Today is the 7th day of March and the business rent, electric and phone bills are paid already. We paid the phone bill the day after we got it, our first time ever to do that. Between the cash flow sheet and the envelope system we have a great handle on our money for the first time in our lives.

I can’t strongly recommend enough that you use a zero based budget (call it what you want) and look at every penny you spend to see where they’re going!

I also would like some tips on how to get started. We have quite a bit of credit card debt, car payments, mortgage and medical bills, We tried CCCS but we couldn’t maintain the payments that they set up, so we need to try to negotiate with the creditors. Any tips or info would be appreciated.
Thanks.

Are the debts old or current or what? I’m a firm believer in doing Dave Ramsey’s snowball method of paying them off. Are any of them small enough that you could pay them off in one chunk? If you haven’t yet, list them all from smallest to largest. If any are small enough to pay off now, call that one and negotiate a settlement price, get it in writing and pay it off then start on the next lowest one.

I suggest going to debtsmart.com… Scott Bilko is selling a few of his books on how to negotiate with Cc companies and the art of negotiating. Just a suggestion. I have the books and they will give you any information you need to know. I believe for all 3 it was like $25.00. Good Luck, if you have any questions let me know.

Here are the steps to successfully manage the debt. (as I would do it) Also, stay away from the CCCS and companies like that, you can do all they can do with some effort.

  1. Write it all down, use excel, whatever your comfy with. Write down the balance, monthly minimum ,etc.
  2. Sell the cars and get rid of car payments. :-) This is a tough step, but when the average car payment is over $300, that’s quite a bit of money going out the door for an asset that only goes down.
  3. Do a budget, a written plan for the coming month. Do food, shelter, transportation (car payment until sold) and clothing first. Then do all the other needs except for CC debt. Then, with what’s left at the end you determine how much you can pay the CC companies. At this point you also will call the CC companies and ask for a lower rate and ask them what the new minimum payment would be. Now, based on this information you can see if you can make minimums. If so, breathe a moment and add them to the budget. If you can’t meet the minimums, then here’s what we do. Add the balance of all cards together and then determine the percentage each card contributes. For example:

    Visa Citibank – 2000
    Mastercard – Wamu – 1000
    Discover – 6000
    American Excess – 1000

    So, Visa is 20%, Mastercard is 10%, Discover is 60% and AE is 10%

    So, if your available money for CCs is $200, you would divide it up amongst the creditors. So, Visa would get 20%, or $40, Mastercard would get 10%, or $20. Discover would be $120 and AE would be 420. You make a copy of your budget and send a letter every month with it stating that this is all I can pay.

  4. Sell stuff!!
  5. Get a second job

Hope that helps. It works well and will usually carry you for years though with extra jobs, selling the cars (and replace with beaters until you have the debt gone) you won’t need it to carry years.

One last reminder, always, always always, PAY HOUSING, FOOD, TRANSPORTATION and CLOTHING first!!!!!!!!!

P.S. clothing shouldn’t be top of the line stuff you can’t afford and food = no restaurants and no seafood at home :-) well, shrimp if it’s on sale with triple coupon 😉

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I need help making some decisions

I need help making some decisions, is there anyone here who can take the time to help, someone who is NOT in debt… someone who has recovered from debt.. thanks!

Hi, I am currently debt free except for my home. I have lived through mounds of debt and using most of the principals that Dave Ramsey teaches, I was able to get my life, and the life of my family straightened out. I would be happy to help you with any questions. Besides, it also gives me some practice.

I would love advise on how to stretch my paycheck to start saving money every pay day.

The best advise I can give you is the dreaded B-word! Budget Budget Budget.. or a cash flow plan if that makes it easier to swallow. But really, the best way to make money go further is to have a plan for that money. Back in the day I would use my debit card, my credit cards, or cash on a whim, with no idea where it went. Sit down for dinner at a dinner, stop for taco bell the next day for lunch, buy a new game here.. next thing you know, I’m like huh, where did my money go???

You have to sit down before each month begins and decide where the money is going the following month. I had tried to sell the idea to a young guy I used to work with and I’ll try to make the same point here. A budget doesn’t mean you can’t do what you want. On the contrary, it means you can do whatever you want as long as plan it out. If you wanted to put $200 a month towards comic books, you could do that, as long as you can afford it which leads me the next point, you have to be honest with yourself. You have to realize what is do able and what is not do able.

I don’t want to see a budget with $200 in restaurants when you’re only savings $50 a month and you have no emergency fund built yet. The next part is about discipline. If you have no disposable income, (income after you meet all needed expenses) then you have to look for ways to cut corners. Do you need Starbucks coffee every morning? Can you only eat lunch out once per week? I don’t know your situation, but I think those two examples can get you rolling. I play a game called City of Heroes which cost me $15 month, not much, but when coupled with Netflix, that saved me about $35 per month when I stopped them both while getting out the hole.

Now for the last part, you must making savings a priority in your heart and mind. It should be taken right off the top, almost like it’s not part of your income. If each paycheck is $600, make pretend it’s $550 and have that $50 automatically put into another account. I love those auto transfers, they really help! Well, I hope that helps you and if you have any questions about what I typed or of any other nature please go ahead and ask.

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