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Old 05-31-2007, 07:16 PM
 
Location: Las Vegas
13,905 posts, read 25,364,805 times
Reputation: 26428

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Here's where you get to decide if you will manage your debt or if your debt will manage you.

If I was in your position, I would move into Mom and Dads basement. Pay them for childcare and get back to work. You got to stay at home for 9 months. That's better than the 6 weeks a lot of us had. Pay off all your debts and start saving. Don't spend on things you don't need. Buy clothes at thrift stores. Live way below your means. Work hard and do without. After you have saved up enough for 6 months living expenses, are debt free, and have a 20% down payment, you are ready to shop for a house.

What you do now will decide who you work for. For the rest of your life. You will either work for your own benefit or for the benefit of others. I am 50 and can retire now with cash in hand to buy a home. Where do you want to be at 50? You are deciding that right now!
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Old 05-31-2007, 09:19 PM
 
Location: Illinois
250 posts, read 868,668 times
Reputation: 163
I don't know what to tell you! Really! I just want to offer my support!!! I too am knee-deep in bills with no way out! We have 3 kids and earn about $23,000/ year! Hey let's play the lottery together; if either of us win, we'll split the earnings!
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Old 06-01-2007, 05:57 AM
 
365 posts, read 1,131,572 times
Reputation: 252
I completely understand: At $70K in Chicago supporting three people, you have to borrow and use credit cards just to buy groceries and put gas in the car. Have you considered moving away from Chicago and into the more rural areas of Illinois. The Joliet area, Quad Cities, Peoria area, etc., have much cheaper housing stock but the towns are large enough to offer jobs, and you'd be only a 2 1/2-hour drive from family in Chicago.
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Old 06-01-2007, 07:14 AM
 
Location: Chicago
108 posts, read 463,741 times
Reputation: 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by rgb123 View Post
actually, I think you are doing better than you think. I'm single, but I have the student debt ( a whole lot of it) but I also make less than you.

I believe you can do well on that, but you might just have to look around, and maybe farther out for the house you want. You went get a mansion but you can get a nice yard, a modest house, etc.....life could be good. You only have one child.....this doesn't sound so bad to me. So many are doing so much worse....in fact, I'd be happy to make what your making and I would feel just great. you can do it.
RGB, I made 35k/year two years ago, lived with two roomates, and did absolutely fine for myself. Renting in the city and paying some minor debts isn't really a big deal, but when you have children it all changes. Everytime you go to the grocery store by yourself, you can fill up for a week for about $40. Triple that with two under your wing.

And that is all of course, before you even get started on safe neighborhoods and good school districts. No offense, but you won't understand until you have children of your own.
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Old 06-01-2007, 07:17 AM
 
Location: Chicago
108 posts, read 463,741 times
Reputation: 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by JenM View Post
I don't know what to tell you! Really! I just want to offer my support!!! I too am knee-deep in bills with no way out! We have 3 kids and earn about $23,000/ year! Hey let's play the lottery together; if either of us win, we'll split the earnings!
Tonights Mega Millions, I'm good for $6 worth! Match and we'll compare Monday morning
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Old 06-01-2007, 07:26 AM
 
Location: Chicago
108 posts, read 463,741 times
Reputation: 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by CarolL View Post
Have you considered moving away from Chicago and into the more rural areas of Illinois. The Joliet area, Quad Cities, Peoria area, etc., have much cheaper housing stock but the towns are large enough to offer jobs, and you'd be only a 2 1/2-hour drive from family in Chicago.
Trouble is with moving is I work in Melrose Park. We currently live in Lombard, which is about 30 minutes commute via North Ave. We really couldn't move out to any of those cities and have such an intolerable commute. And I work in construction, so pretty much all the work is close to the city.

I was a bit overdramatic in the first post, it's not THAT bad. But I have struggled to get the CC's down because the recurring bills just don't stop coming. It probably would have been a good idea to move into a cheaper rental, but oh well. I like the idea of cutting the cell phones, dropping some cable channels, and consolidaing student loans. I will look into each. I suppose every $20 you can save a month, can we put towards lowering the debt and make a difference over the course of a year.

I think it's just difficult when you want to make a nice home in a safe neighborhood for your family, and you just have to have patience. I just want the best for them, and it doesn't seem like I'm breaking any ground sometimes.

Thanks for all your suggestions...
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Old 06-01-2007, 08:32 AM
 
Location: Grafton, Ohio
286 posts, read 1,479,938 times
Reputation: 164
Default You have to set your priorties to achieve what you want

Just as everyone else has stated... Figure out what you can cut out. My husband and I have made it on approx $60K / year. We maintained a $550 apt, $700 mortgage (vacant land w/ intentions to build), full coverage auto ins on 3 vehicles ($250/mth), 2 cell phones, upkeep for 6 horses (board $300/mth, care $200/mth) and 2 dogs, and normal utility bills up until we both got laid off (in Michigan economy...) and were still able to have money for 'extras' / savings. How'd we do it? We both got rid of credit cards - myself long before we met and his was gone soon after we met.. money throw away once you add up the interest. Neither has a car payment, we both drove vehicles we paid cash for (may not be the prettiest, but safe and reliable). We only had utilities that were essential (no landline, no cable, maintained low heat, used AC sparingly). We made food at home and bargain shopped for what the house needed (never pay full sticker price on anything we need, only buy what is onsale..also, ever hear of Aldi's??). We lived in the cheapest apt we could get (no need for all the amenties that you never really use). And, overall, we were mindful of our spending... If there was something one of us needed (he is a computer geek, I'm a horse lover) it was disgussed, price shopped, and then sat on to determine if we really needed it. Now that we've been living week by week because of layoffs... (thank goodness for a little bit of savings we had) ... We opted to move into a family's extra room (us and 2 dogs) to save on rent, we've condensed our driving to one vehicle that we share (and since we outright own our vehicles, we can suspend our ins coverage for what we're not driving / and have sold what we were not using), but have otherwise been able to get by and started our own company in the process.

You didn't go into too much detail about your home expenses, so going off assumption here...

Cable / Satillite is a luxery. Do you need it?

Internet.. What do you pay? Is that the best deal for the buck? (for instance, cable net is $70/mth + have to have cable tv w/ it here for a total of $90... Sprint broadband card is $60)

Car Insurance.. have you shopped around lately?

Vehicles... Are you making car payments? On how many vehicles? Can you condense travels down to 1 car and/or work out a way to pay cash for your set of wheels?

Can you turn down the thermostat in the winter and wear sweatshirts? (yes, I know you have a baby, but they make baby sweaters too)

Can you use your AC sparingly this summer?

Dogs... how much are you spending on meds (heartworm, etc)? Can you save money each monthly / bimonthly by purchasing those items online?

Can you bargain shop for your food?

Can you give up purchased meals (brown bag it baby!) or purchased coffee?

Can you come up with a lump sum cash amount to settle the cc accounts? If you have the $ up front, cc companies will settle for 40-80% of the balance due depending on your credit score (the higher your score the harder it is). This probably will not put a negative impact on your overall credit because it would be reducing your credit vs income liability and you'll still be maintaining a good payment history with those and the student loans.


The secret is to look at the entire picture and then determine what you truly do not need and you have to be honest with yourself. Also, the SAHM mom... what about a part time job in the evenings or maybe a pt-ft position at a daycare (where baby can accompany her)? I understand it may not be worth your SAHM to get a full time job if it means paying for daycare unless the starting pay is very good. To get ahead in your situation will require huge sacrifices. If moving out of the area is a definite because you just can't get ahead, consider IN or OH - the areas close to KY border seem to be doing well with jobs, and we're personally headed to NE OH for a better economy. These are great, inexpensive areas and would put you relatively close to Chicago.
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Old 06-01-2007, 09:29 AM
 
Location: Midwest
1,903 posts, read 7,286,835 times
Reputation: 464
Living in America is a luxury. You can't afford it. This country is for John Kerry et al. and their Mexican indentured servants!

Quote:
Originally Posted by bubbagirl View Post
headed to NE OH for a better economy.
Is that a joke?
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Old 06-01-2007, 09:43 AM
 
Location: Grafton, Ohio
286 posts, read 1,479,938 times
Reputation: 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by M TYPE X View Post
Living in America is a luxury. You can't afford it. This country is for John Kerry et al. and their Mexican indentured servants!



Is that a joke?

Have you been to Michigan lately?!?
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Old 06-01-2007, 09:57 AM
 
Location: The Bay State
331 posts, read 1,484,386 times
Reputation: 196
Quote:
Originally Posted by dsv1496 View Post
Every month I pay credit cards, student loans, the usual bills, and I have nothing in savings. I can't seem to lower my bills, just sustain them. The concept of owning a home is shrinking as quickly as auto jobs.
Well, certainly you're not alone. Although I do sympathize (being in somewhat the same economic demographic, but fortunately in a place with a lower cost of housing), I will throw in my 2 cents from my own experience:

It's not enough to say "I pay credit cards" without taking a really hard look at what's on those credit cards. Lots of eating at restaurants? Nice, convenient, but expensive -- cut way back. Travelling a lot? Gas/motels/airfare/vacations are huge budget killers. Unnecessary gadgets like the latest i-pod, cell phone, plasma TV, zillion-gigabyte computer? Don't buy stuff like that-- you really can live without it. If you're putting routine purchases like groceries and gas on credit cards, stop doing that and pay with cash instead. Nothing reinforces budget consciousness like watching bills disappear out of your wallet on an ongoing basis . . .
As for student loans, well, at least they don't last forever, although I don't know how much you have to pay off.

I dont know, maybe you are already doing stuff like that to limit your spending, and I know 70K doesn't get you much around places like Chicago. But the only real options are spend less or make more . . . Moving isn't always the answer because not all careers are easily transferable, and often times "cheaper" places are cheaper because nobody there makes any money. I guess if you do move you could try areas like Texas that have a decent, growing economy and still reasonable real estate. As for your comment about crime or drugs in Tennesee, I will just reiterate my mantra that people who try to run away from such things are fooling themselves -- there are similar problems everywhere and noplace is crime/drug/sex-offender free.

Best of luck; sorry I don't have any easy answers . . .
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