Menu
Jump to content

What's with the ads?

Arctic Mama

Spin off - getting out of debt

Recommended Posts

3 minutes ago, Arctic Mama said:

This thread makes me feel like a huge whiner, I don’t mean to be a contrary brat after asking for advice 😂 We are in that weird spot where we have spent ten years trying to do the easy and basic parts and are finding them not sufficient to get us where we need to be. It’s like blood from a very tired turnip (poor hubby!).

You are not a whiner. You've had major unavoidable expenses as well as a major loss in the last few months. Complaining/venting is absolutely okay and understandable. It's HARD! And none of these expenses are anything you ever would've wished for. IF it had at least been a vacation or too expensive car you would've had SOMETHING fun with that money. As it is, the bills are kinda a slap in the face when you're already beaten down.

Edited by fairfarmhand
  • Like 13
  • Thanks 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, fairfarmhand said:

You are not a whiner. You've had major unavoidable expenses as well as a major loss in the last few months. Whining is absolutely okay and understandable. It's HARD! And none of these expenses are anything you ever would've wished for. IF it had at least been a vacation or too expensive car you would've had SOMETHING fun with that money. As it is, the bills are kinda a slap in the face when you're already beaten down.

ITA

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, Arctic Mama said:

Yeah. Assuming nothing else happens to cut into that.  I’m not sure we can assume we will have smooth sailing on the house or with insurance (who completely hate us because we cost them so much 🤣) for three months, but provided we avert catastrophe and don’t have to spend the cushion I’d say that’s very doable.  
 

That’s why I don’t think I could talk my husband into not paying off debt, I don’t think it makes sense when the current load is almost 20% of our take home pay, and we only maybe have 30% total that isn’t going into fixed expenses.  Last month I think our interest plus minimum balance payments were almost 2k by themselves, and the bonus plus tax return would take that to zero.  Then we usually put all our groceries, gas, entertainment, etc, on our highest reward card and pay that off monthly.

When we aren’t under water it’s not too bad, we just can’t get *ahead* on that.  It’s never comfortable enough that we can really move forward with our bigger expenses at more than a snail’s pace, like buying paint for the house one month and tile for the backsplash another, thus making the kitchen be in pieces for at LEAST two months.  That sort of thing that is a day to day pain, you know?

Given the bolded, unless I'm missing something, I think I would definitely pay it off. If you end up having to put something else on the card again, you're no worse off, and if you don't then put the "extra" two grand in emergency savings each month until built back up.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 minutes ago, Arctic Mama said:

Yeah. Assuming nothing else happens to cut into that.  I’m not sure we can assume we will have smooth sailing on the house or with insurance (who completely hate us because we cost them so much 🤣) for three months, but provided we avert catastrophe and don’t have to spend the cushion I’d say that’s very doable.  
 

That’s why I don’t think I could talk my husband into not paying off debt, I don’t think it makes sense when the current load is almost 20% of our take home pay, and we only maybe have 30% total that isn’t going into fixed expenses.  Last month I think our interest plus minimum balance payments were almost 2k by themselves, and the bonus plus tax return would take that to zero.  Then we usually put all our groceries, gas, entertainment, etc, on our highest reward card and pay that off monthly.

When we aren’t under water it’s not too bad, we just can’t get *ahead* on that.  It’s never comfortable enough that we can really move forward with our bigger expenses at more than a snail’s pace, like buying paint for the house one month and tile for the backsplash another, thus making the kitchen be in pieces for at LEAST two months.  That sort of thing that is a day to day pain, you know?

Does that reward card have cash back? If so, that might be enough to make up a good amount of your needed income, if you can pay everything with it. If the credit limit isn't high enough to pay everything with it and pay it off monthly than maybe you can pay it off weekly, to have room to use it for everything, you know? 

That's my plan. Tax refund just showed up as "pending" in the bank account. Once that clears I want to pay off the rest of our Chase Amazon card.. I plan to pay off as needed but at least monthly. Using YNAB lets me set aside the money immediately when I purchase anything - it moves that money from the budgeted category (groceries or whatever) immediately into the credit card payment category, so shouldn't have a problem with overspending with it. 

Edited by Ktgrok

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, fairfarmhand said:

You are not a whiner. You've had major unavoidable expenses as well as a major loss in the last few months. Complaining/venting is absolutely okay and understandable. It's HARD! And none of these expenses are anything you ever would've wished for. IF it had at least been a vacation or too expensive car you would've had SOMETHING fun with that money. As it is, the bills are kinda a slap in the face when you're already beaten down.

Ugh, thank you for putting this into words.  It’s been the worst month and a half, because it does all suck.  And the suck isn’t going away yet because the money is delayed.  So it’s all cost and nothing to show for it; along with no long term upsides that make it look temporary if we pay off the debt, because it’s kind of a hamster wheel.  We still end up living pretty close to paycheck to paycheck even when everything goes right.  That’s what I’d love to fix, but it feels so impossible right now when we are drowning.  Like, we get ONE big bolus per year to help us fund these extra things like building, but this year it’s already entirely spoken for.  I just want it to be less hard.  I would love ONE YEAR where we didn’t have medical debt eating into things. Do you know we have paid at least 200k out of pocket toward medical in the last ten years?  That doesn’t even count prescriptions or premiums.  That’s just the stuff not covered by insurance.  It’s probably been another 100k in monthly premiums and deductibles.  
 

It’s a first world problem, I know.  But when I don’t have anything to show for it but a half finished house that breaks faster than we can fix it, a wheelchair, a speech device, an ugly scar and a hunk of engraved granite it’s just a bad day.
 

I always feel better being proactive and trying to fix things instead of wallowing. But every fix means more work for my husband and that’s just mean 🥺

Edited by Arctic Mama
  • Like 2
  • Sad 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, Arctic Mama said:

Ugh, thank you for putting this into words.  It’s been the worst month and a half, because it does all suck.  And the suck isn’t going away yet because the money is delayed.  So it’s all cost and nothing to show for it; along with no long term upsides that make it look temporary is we pay off the debt.  We still end up living pretty close to paycheck to paycheck even when everything goes right.  That’s what I’d love to fix, but it feels so impossible right now when we are drowning.  Like, we get ONE big bolus per year to help us fund these extra things like building, but this year it’s already entirely spoken for.  I just want it to be less hard.  I would love ONE YEAR where we didn’t have medical debt eating into things. Do you know we have paid at least 200k out of pocket toward medical in the last ten years?  That doesn’t even count prescriptions or premiums.  That’s just the stuff not covered by insurance.  It’s probably been another 100k in copays.  
 

It’s a first world problem, I know.  But when I don’t have anything to show for it but a half finished house that breaks faster than we can fix it, a wheelchair, a speech device, an ugly scar and a hunk of engraved granite it’s just a bad day.
 

I always feel better being proactive and trying to fix things instead of wallowing. But every fix means more work for my husband and that’s just mean 🥺

Yeah, it is a sucky time.  (((hugs)))  And it really is ok for it to just be a sucky time.  And it's ok to be upset about still having to deal with even more sucky-ness.  

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Ktgrok yeah, we do have good rewards on it.  We usually get big Costco cash cards each year and our executive membership pays for itself, in addition to gas rewards and savings too.  The interest rate is fairly low as well.  I shouldn’t be such a downer, we will be able to liquidate some or most of the excess by the second week of March, I think.  And build up some savings again.  
 

And honestly I’m not entitled to a finished house, let alone a new one.  I’m grateful we have those to look forward to, I think it’s just easy to focus on the cost when I’m laying it all out in text like this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, matrips said:

Is housing/property taxes the biggest part of your fixed expenses? Just throwing out ideas below- not sure if any are practical or doable.  Just trying to address some of your biggest fixed expenses (if it is housing).

 

Ugh, property taxes are killing us. We have a very moderate house, but our property taxes just keep going up and up. We pay more than an entire month's pay on property taxes. Most of it goes to the schools and I always think how my homeschooled kids could take a trip to Europe on what we pay to the local school district. 

I totally understand what you mean though. Everytime we think we're making progress on debt reduction, something happens to set us back again. Right now we're trying to keep our 16 year old car limping along for a couple more years because we need to pay off the other car. I wish I had learned more about financial management when we were just starting out.

Edited by mom2scouts
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, Arctic Mama said:

 

It’s a first world problem, I know.  But when I don’t have anything to show for it but a half finished house that breaks faster than we can fix it, a wheelchair, a speech device, an ugly scar and a hunk of engraved granite it’s just a bad day.
 

You were on my mind today and have been this week because, well, the obvious, even before I saw this thread. Just hugs, @Arctic Mama. The above says it all. It IS a bad day. You do not have to be happy about all of this. It is rotten and unfair.  I am here anytime if you just need to complain to someone who knows that the scar you look at every day is not as big as the hole in your heart. 

 

As for the debt, it's just so hard to get ahead when you have a large and growing family and one income. It just is. You can only cut groceries so far. You need a bigger/more expensive vehicle. And so on. 

 

Do you have the option of getting another, smaller car? I think your big van is newer than mine and probably gets better gas mileage, plus you may need it for Benjamin, but it is something to consider. I drive minimum of 20 miles anytime I just go to the grocery store, much less anywhere else, and a car payment plus gas for a 35mpg used small car (used but still reliable) was still cheaper than taking the 12mpg van (paid for) anywhere, so we did that, and now I only take the van when I need to take more than four kids. (And thus I'm saving wear on the expensive van too.)

 

I'd consider applying for state benefits too if you haven't already. There is nothing wrong with using the social safety nets for a time if you qualify for them, whether that's healthcare, food, energy assistance, whatever. You've paid in, and a lot of crap happened to you -- you know I tell people this all the time, but it happened TO you, not because of you. Do what you need to do if you can. Also, talk to the CC companies about closing accounts and hardship plans for lower interest. 

 

High school did get more expensive for us. Sadly. Combination of their needs for higher levels but also I still only have the same 24 hours in a day, and I already don't sleep much. Every year, we evaluate what is the best bang for my buck, and so I think you are wise to keep that in mind. 

 

Just huge hugs. 

 

 

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Arctic Mom, I wonder whether you have run the numbers on whether you are putting more than you need to into income tax withholding this year, given your unusually high medical expenses?  That might be worth checking on, and maybe you could get a little relief.  

Re. doing everything right and still getting stuck, if you hadn't done everything right you'd be a lot worse off, probably with no real estate at all.  That's what doing everything right is FOR--to try to get to the point where your finances are kind of resilient.  Debt free is later than resilient, but resilient is awfully good.

Re. what we have done.  

I keep things forever.  Big things.  Little things.  I once went with DH to the dump to drop off the remains of a deck and found a big basket there that someone had discarded, and was embarrassed to see that it was in way better shape than the one I was then using at home to hold recycling.  So I took it.  We drive old cars (this does not work everywhere) into the absolute GROUND.  Currently our newest car is a 2001.  To do this we always have one more than the number of drivers in the family, because often one is in the shop for a while, but that is much cheaper than buying a new one (I run the numbers each time.)  We grow our own fruit.  I keep the furnace turned way down most of the time.  For a long time we bought most of our clothes either new at Costco (DH) or used at Salvation Army (me).  I have moved up to buying them new but on sale at Nordstrom, mostly because I am a 2x/3x and can't find decent used ones in my size anymore, but I wear them forever.  My work wardrobe involves almost no dry cleaning.  We rarely eat out.  When we were seriously On A Mission to retire one big debt so that I could (barely) stay home with DD, I wouldn't spend a dime without thinking through whether it was worth more than another 10 minutes of being able to be home.  I bought 5 gallon buckets and alpha seals so I could buy white flour, sugars, pintos, and white rice at Costco in bulk and cook from scratch.  I made my own bread (this was a very popular bake sale and potluck offering, I might add!) and pizza dough--in fact, I kept pizza dough in the fridge most of the time so that I could get a meal on the table fast from scratch.  We made our own stuff that usually came in jars, including spaghetti sauce, tomato soup (with fresh tomatoes from our yard), various bean soups, and pesto (again with garden ingredients); and kept this all in the freezer.  We never bought furniture.  I regularly called the credit union to put little bits of scrounged money onto that one loan, to save bits of interest.  I would try to figure out cool and thoughtful homemade gift ideas for my extended family Christmas presents well in advance so that I could work making them into my schedule.  (Although we still bought new gifts for weddings and showers and our immediate family--frugal but not cheap.)

As far as money management is concerned, we used an HMO so we could usually more or less predict our medical costs.  Also, I added up all of the recurring but non-monthly bills--property taxes, insurances, an estimate of car repairs, an estimate of gift spending--divided by 12, and put that much into a separate savings account every month directly from dH's paycheck.  That way we had a place to go for those bills--we tried not to use it all the time, but it was there if we needed it, and we usually did.  But this way those bills were not shocking, and also we were not kidding ourselves about how much spendable income we actually had.  The emergency fund was separate from that--for the completely random stuff.  This was probably the most helpful management thing we did.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I second the suggestion to apply for whatever government benefits you can.  There is no tax dollars spending that I'm happier about than helping out folks in your kinds of situations.  That is what taxes are FOR.

Also, you might look at Modest Needs since you have a one time really big set of financial issues.  Check out their website--they basically create a path for folks to help people over financial humps that are unforeseeable and singular.  Sounds perfect to me.

I don't know where you are exactly, but I hope that your church is helping.  It can be hard to get assistance when you've moved into the area recently.  I hope that you're firmly supported.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
39 minutes ago, Arctic Mama said:

Ugh, thank you for putting this into words.  It’s been the worst month and a half, because it does all suck.  And the suck isn’t going away yet because the money is delayed.  So it’s all cost and nothing to show for it; along with no long term upsides that make it look temporary if we pay off the debt, because it’s kind of a hamster wheel.  We still end up living pretty close to paycheck to paycheck even when everything goes right.  That’s what I’d love to fix, but it feels so impossible right now when we are drowning.  Like, we get ONE big bolus per year to help us fund these extra things like building, but this year it’s already entirely spoken for.  I just want it to be less hard.  I would love ONE YEAR where we didn’t have medical debt eating into things. Do you know we have paid at least 200k out of pocket toward medical in the last ten years?  That doesn’t even count prescriptions or premiums.  That’s just the stuff not covered by insurance.  It’s probably been another 100k in monthly premiums and deductibles.  
 

It’s a first world problem, I know.  But when I don’t have anything to show for it but a half finished house that breaks faster than we can fix it, a wheelchair, a speech device, an ugly scar and a hunk of engraved granite it’s just a bad day.
 

I always feel better being proactive and trying to fix things instead of wallowing. But every fix means more work for my husband and that’s just mean 🥺

It is utterly sucky, I totally agree. No ne should have this kind of hard. And that doesn't downplay other people's hard to say that yours is hard. And medical stuff is just killer - BTDT. We didn't get my ex husband's medical paid off until we got divorced and sold the house. (not advising that - lol!)

If it helps, you are reminding me that not only do other people have husbands working hard, with good jobs, who are struggling to finish needed repairs, but that my situation could be a lot harder. 

And I totally get that bit about the fixes put pressure on your husband. I don't even want to bring up some of this because just talking about it stresses him out so much. The last time I brought up his student loans, and how we/he need to look into getting them refinanced he ended up literally in the hospital with a hypertensive crisis later that day 😞

4 minutes ago, Carol in Cal. said:

I second the suggestion to apply for whatever government benefits you can.  There is no tax dollars spending that I'm happier about than helping out folks in your kinds of situations.  That is what taxes are FOR.

Also, you might look at Modest Needs since you have a one time really big set of financial issues.  Check out their website--they basically create a path for folks to help people over financial humps that are unforeseeable and singular.  Sounds perfect to me.

I don't know where you are exactly, but I hope that your church is helping.  It can be hard to get assistance when you've moved into the area recently.  I hope that you're firmly supported.

Absolutely

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We are a few years further along than you in terms of years of having these experiences, but similar trajectory.

I believe in universal healthcare, and these experiences are why. (Stepping off political soapbox.)

1. Look into whatever grants or funding you can find for enteral formula and whatever else you need.

2. Consider changing your dreams. We sold our dream house and moved twice cross country in four years chasing higher salaries because the scale of our expenses were well beyond whatever being thrifty could do for us.

3. There are no luxuries in our budget, at all. Mentally that is hard, long term. There are some important things that don’t get funded either. I hit my deductible Jan 3rd this year, and hit max out this week but still can’t go to PT or OT because the co-pays aren’t feasible. 

4. All of my sacred cows, like homeschooling, got put on the table for re-evaluation.

It’s hard, ugly stuff we had to do but we got out. 

  • Like 1
  • Sad 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And some of this is why the "follow your dreams" advice I heard when younger, and the "kids don't cost much" advice I hear now makes me roll my eyes. Yes, you can probably find a way to feed your kids, but man, yes, bills DO add up as you add mouths, and that's great if being an artist is your dream but if  you get evicted or can't afford medication you might realize you had another, bigger dream that involved a roof over your head and not dying. 

On the flip side, so many struggling "did the right thing" and yet are struggling. So who knows. 

  • Like 6
  • Thanks 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 minutes ago, Carol in Cal. said:

Arctic Mom, I wonder whether you have run the numbers on whether you are putting more than you need to into income tax withholding this year, given your unusually high medical expenses?  That might be worth checking on, and maybe you could get a little relief.  

Also, I added up all of the recurring but non-monthly bills--property taxes, insurances, an estimate of car repairs, an estimate of gift spending--divided by 12, and put that much into a separate savings account every month directly from dH's paycheck.  That way we had a place to go for those bills--we tried not to use it all the time, but it was there if we needed it, and we usually did.  But this way those bills were not shocking, and also we were not kidding ourselves about how much spendable income we actually had.  The emergency fund was separate from that--for the completely random stuff.  This was probably the most helpful management thing we did.

I think the point about taxes is a good one given the medical stuff. I would talk to a good tax person about this.

The second paragraph is the model we've had to move to in order to keep on top of things, though it won't help at the moment.

We bought a house that needed some love before we sold our other house. The new house turned out to need more love than we thought (largely time-consuming, but that meant a BIG delay in moving and getting out from under the first house. We felt like we were cutting things to the bone, and we went into it with a lot more savings and margin than you're facing. I also get the whole midwest pressure cooker of HOA rules and being unable to do anything with your property, very poor construction when you look under the hood, and houses made for large families being in astronomically expensive neighborhoods. 

I am sorry you are stuck.

The one and only thing I can think of regarding your day-to-day stress and things like meals out on the run is whether or not your kids can help. I have fewer kids, but mine do a LOT to help. My older son, in particular, helps keep the wheels on with packing lunches and getting stuff ready to go. If your kids can be trusted to do things well, let them. 🙂 It saves a lot of stress, and you might be able to find the personal margin to recover a wee bit with lunches and things. And you'll enjoy seeing your kids be capable. They'll feel like they are useful and helpful. 

I think I'd put most of my money toward clearing the high interest debt, but I'd keep a little for margin. The interest will go down a lot if you can pay almost all of it off, and the little bit in savings might end up being needed.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Arctic Mama said:

This thread makes me feel like a huge whiner, I don’t mean to be a contrary brat after asking for advice 😂 We are in that weird spot where we have spent ten years trying to do the easy and basic parts and are finding them not sufficient to get us where we need to be. It’s like blood from a very tired turnip (poor hubby!).

No you are not a whiner!  Different things work for different people.  Others reading along might get some ideas.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also, regarding having your older kids help -- I don't necessarily disagree with that in general, but, the last couple months have likely been hard on them as well, and they are also grieving right now. If the choice is asking them to pack lunches to save money vs. reducing stress on everyone by spending a little money on food out sometimes, then it's okay to spend the money. It won't be forever, and that little extra won't make a huge dent in the debt anyway, not for a few months. If you're all on an even keel these days where the grief is not overwhelming, honestly, I'd be okay with keeping that status quo for the rest of the school year. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wanted to come back and post again because after re-reading my post, while it is accurately, it is also not sharing the hope that HAS come with time.

We *did* climb out.

There are things about this house that drives me mad (six of us shared one shower October-December while we repaired a bathroom) but fundamentally the only “problem” was my own impatience and perfectionism. Like, looking back, we survived. And I learned to keep my mouth shut, which is a hard skill for me. I apparently hadn’t learned that the first score or so of housing issues we’ve gone through.

Encourage your husband. Celebrate where you can. You are both young and you will find a way through this.

Honestly, for me, being pi$$ed about my dd’s medical and funeral expenses was a safe place to vent my grief. At the time I felt like I was sad but mostly back to normal. Looking back, I was in grief and was coping with it in my own way. Because it was unfair. Is unfair.

  • Like 6
  • Sad 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Arctic Mama said:

Our insurance refusing to cover enteral formula now,


I don't have a lot of suggestions for the rest, although I can definitely relate to unexpected medical expenses destroying a budget, but I wonder if you could bring this down, and increase health outcomes, with a blended diet. 

I have never paid for DS's formula, because we have Medicaid due to the special needs adoption, but I just looked it up and if I did pay, it would be about $50 a day, depending on shipping costs.  It's hard for me to calculate how much I spend on his blended diet, because I don't separate out his food from the rest of ours budget wise, but it's certainly not $50 a day.  

And we aren't on anywhere close to the most expensive formula!  

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Arctic Mama said:

 

When we aren’t under water it’s not too bad, we just can’t get *ahead* on that.  It’s never comfortable enough that we can really move forward with our bigger expenses at more than a snail’s pace, like buying paint for the house one month and tile for the backsplash another, thus making the kitchen be in pieces for at LEAST two months.  That sort of thing that is a day to day pain, you know?

I hear you about the day to day pain. after many years of it you sort of get use to it

 We are debt free, but it was because of many years of living very frugally.

1 whole year without electricity while we saved up cash to pay upfront for the underground cable and connection ( I only had 2 children then)

 having no kitchen for 6 months and having to cook on a campfire ( I hate camping and have to say I had a bit of an attitude problem about that situation)

 just got tiles behind the sink and kitchen benchtop (after 25 years of waiting). 

 

I am fortunate that I live in a country with universal healthcare and have never had to run up huge debts for medical. that would make the situation extremely challenging. However I am terrified of loosing 27 years of work by bushfire as I think we are under-insured but Dh disagrees. 

  • Like 1
  • Sad 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
41 minutes ago, CuriousMomof3 said:


I don't have a lot of suggestions for the rest, although I can definitely relate to unexpected medical expenses destroying a budget, but I wonder if you could bring this down, and increase health outcomes, with a blended diet. 

I have never paid for DS's formula, because we have Medicaid due to the special needs adoption, but I just looked it up and if I did pay, it would be about $50 a day, depending on shipping costs.  It's hard for me to calculate how much I spend on his blended diet, because I don't separate out his food from the rest of ours budget wise, but it's certainly not $50 a day.  

And we aren't on anywhere close to the most expensive formula!  


I just looked up a formula my son used to be on, and it was $137/day.  

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 minutes ago, CuriousMomof3 said:


I just looked up a formula my son used to be on, and it was $137/day.  

 

Sounds about right.

Be sure to appeal. It took us two appeals, IIRC.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
34 minutes ago, Melissa in Australia said:

I hear you about the day to day pain. after many years of it you sort of get use to it

 We are debt free, but it was because of many years of living very frugally.

1 whole year without electricity while we saved up cash to pay upfront for the underground cable and connection ( I only had 2 children then)

 having no kitchen for 6 months and having to cook on a campfire ( I hate camping and have to say I had a bit of an attitude problem about that situation)

 just got tiles behind the sink and kitchen benchtop (after 25 years of waiting). 

 

I am fortunate that I live in a country with universal healthcare and have never had to run up huge debts for medical. that would make the situation extremely challenging. However I am terrified of loosing 27 years of work by bushfire as I think we are under-insured but Dh disagrees. 

Ok, after hearing of no electricity I now feel much less grumpy about the bathroom that has been torn down to studs for 2 years. 

  • Like 1
  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not much, but a few little ideas.

You mentioned holes in kids' pajamas. In our local area, one solution to that is putting a request out on our free economy FB page. The idea is to reduce the need to buy new (more from an environmental/anti-consumerist viewpoint), so people offer up or request items they have/need for others. Kids' clothes in particular are often posted. When one person needs something, there is quite often someone else trying to clear clutter who is happy to share. Some parents organized a childrens' clothing swap 4 times a year too.

My other thought is wondering if you already get all the support possible for Benny. When my dd was 15 we finally got into a state program that provides assistance to families who have intensive medical needs. She got a medicaid card then (otherwise would have happened at 18) and one of the biggest benefits was just getting diapers paid for. All her medical copays are now covered by medicaid (our health insurance is the primary). The program paid for the conversion costs of our conversion van. And a biggie was respite care. If you have a case manager (ours is through our county health department's developmental disabilities program), you might see if there are any more helps available that you aren't getting now. They might be able to brainstorm on the formula costs. I've heard that in some situations/states, a parent can be paid for caring for their disabled child. Worth asking about.

Do you have good high schools? You might consider putting your older kids in public school if it's good. Easy for me to say--that was always our schooling plan all along. It's worked well for our dds.

I'm sorry that you have all of this dumped on you. It's a lot to go through, and I'll echo the vote for universal health care in our country.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 hours ago, Arctic Mama said:

We couldn’t rent out our driveway, I’m not even sure that’s legal here in this township - maybe along the side of the yard? They post a sign for grass that is too long within three days 🙄

I’ll ask him about the RV storage or borrowing from the 401k, but he’s good enough at compounding interest math to be very, VERY resistant to touching retirement.  And my own mom, who has gone through bankruptcy several times for various reasons, drilled into me that her very worst financial mistake was touching anything from retirement.  That’s something they haven’t recovered from in two decades of trying, now.

Can’t hurt to ask, though.

Oh, to ease the situation?  We need a good $1000 per month.  It’s doable with a good sized raise, or second job.  But it’s the time - the more he spends working the less he can spend getting us out of this house and out from under these expenses.  I’d also rather he not have a heart attack, since he is already sleeping six hours or less pretty much every night 😑

 

What % interest are you paying on your debt? 

Do you have any efund right now? 

 

I would use all of the refund and bonus to pay off debt and then start building the efund.   Or maybe the 1k efund and then all debt.  Then take one month to pay off the debt, back to building efund.  

You need a 6 month efund. 

Call and see if the health money could be written off by the hospital.

Do not borrow from your 401k.  NO!

Can you bring in any money?   Can your dh do the second job for a semester?  Beef up the efund and be done?

How long until you can get down to one house?  Will you profit anything at that point?  Selling or renting? 

Go over your bills and see what you can cut.  Can you lower insurance, phone, cable, food? 

 

You have a lot of things that have happened.  Your ongoing medical expenses are huge.   Do you deduct them on taxes?  Can you get assistance from the hospital or doctor?   The same would be thought about the emergency medical bills you had.  Can you deduct them or apply for assistance? 

The housing situation is another huge issue.   I would say sell the one you are building and stay in the one you are fixing.  Or try to speed the process up.  Will you be able to sell the current house and walk away with some money?   

The ongoing expenses of having a lot of kids is hard.  I feel like I am always buying things.  Shoes, clothes, socks, and on and on.    Can you look for better deals?  You say that you shop at OUAC.  I have been in there and think their prices are not good.  If you hit sales at Walmart you can often get things for $1 each.   Do you have friends with older kids who could pass things on?  Or freecylcle?  Lots of people just want the clothes gone they give them away.  Or do you have a community closet in town?  We have one that everyone is welcome at in our city.

Is there any kind of assistance you can get on?  I know it is hard having a bill family.  You make a lot of money but when you have 7, 8 , 9 people that still is tight.  Is your health insurance through your dh?  Would the market place be cheaper? 

 

Edited by mommyoffive

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Scarlett said:

Someone mentioned up thread how these holes take time to get out of.  I usually want a quick fix.....but it just doesn’t work that way.  I do feel for you.  

We are at a completely different stage.  No kids to help lower tax liability....only 10years from retirement with no retirement....so we are on a mission to pay off the house in 10 years and to be able to live very inexpensively.  Plus the apartment on our lot can eventually be fixed up for extra income. 

 

Can you bring in more income so you can save for retirement now? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
38 minutes ago, mommyoffive said:

 

Can you bring in more income so you can save for retirement now? 

No. At this point the focus is on getting expenses low. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

AM, do you have your debt on a regular credit card, like a Visa? You can call them and ask for a hardship waiver. They will often lower your interest rate quite low for a year. I had terrible credit and got into a big hole. I settled two debts and got a hardship rate for one card. You can always call and see. Even if you lower by a few percentage points it can save a lot per month. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, Scarlett said:

The gas savings I posted is JUST for work.  But we drive it a lot more than that.  And the truck is such a gas hog.  

That is part of what I am going round and round about.  

Can you find a middle ground? There are used, small cars that you can buy outright that will save a lot more gas than the truck without an expensive Prius loan. Having that Prius payment every month doesn’t make any sense when it’s costing more than gas. Maybe get rid of it, use the truck, and bank the difference to save for a small commuter car?

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 hours ago, Scarlett said:

The gas savings I posted is JUST for work.  But we drive it a lot more than that.  And the truck is such a gas hog.  

That is part of what I am going round and round about.  

Have you actually calculated how much you drive it for non work purposes?  I am a SAHM and I drive around town quite.  I am usually driving somewhere every day.  Sometimes multiple times a day.  Scouts, shopping, rec center, homeschool classes, etc etc.  Plus, my van, which is probably getting about the same gas mileage as your truck, (the little calculator on it is showing me 16.8 mpg) is the vehicle we take on our trips to Indy, which are usually once a month, and are 2.5 hours one way.  And it's a very rare month that I spend $100 on gas in my van. Unless you are driving like twice as much as I am on non-work stuff (which would be hard to work around a regular 40hr a week work schedule) the Prius is still costing you around $160 a month.  It won't start saving you money until 3 years from now.  

(now, if you are spending every weekend driving like 300 to 400 miles, then that's probably where you are seeing actual savings.  And maybe you are.....I have had years where I have been driving that much on a very regular basis.  And if you are doing that, hugs, cause it's a lot.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, Scarlett said:

No. At this point the focus is on getting expenses low. 

 

If you don't want to answer this, just skip it.  Why is it that you can't bring in more income?  Can your spouse?   There are so many flexible options these days.  An extra 100 a week put to savings adds up.  

Will you be able to comfortably live off Social Security or if you have a Pension? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Update - talked with DH about some of the suggestions here.  About the only thing we can cut of significance is the Wall Street journal, which we are seriously considering for the time being.  He’s adamant about rolling all extra to debt. And we have a few other expenses that are ongoing but set to clear up in the next year or two, which will give us much more margin in our budget (remaining van payments, etc).  So long term he isn’t as worried as me.  In the short term we are a bit stuck but apparently not to the point where he is concerned about us keeping up with expenses and payments as I am.

It sucks right now, he agreed, but was more optimistic about the long term (ish).

  • Like 7

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I suck at delayed gratification.  So, I'm beginning to grasp truths about myself.  One is that if I don't auto-deduct, I'm in trouble.  Second, I can plan all day long (and color code) but I need separate accounts for savings and ideally, multiple labeled accounts.  

This year we have a lot we want to set aside for - all house changes for accessibility.  It's motivating to do it for a reason.  I'm not motivated by seeing money pile up.  DH is, but it doesn't excite me.  I think it's that delayed gratification thing.  So I need to know in my head what stuff is earmarked for.  For example, DH wrapped his car around a deer.  We did not have a replacement fund in place.  We're using taxes to pay cash and it's been a long six weeks or so since it happened.  But, he also started putting more than normal away in 401k.  That would be a car payment.  So it is comforting to my mental state to know he is happy "saving" his car payment, thus I do not want a car payment.  I get that it's all a mental game, but it makes me content, lol.  Because, otherwise, I do this: Hm, what could *I* do with an extra $400/month. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, Arctic Mama said:

Ugh, thank you for putting this into words.  It’s been the worst month and a half, because it does all suck.  And the suck isn’t going away yet because the money is delayed.  So it’s all cost and nothing to show for it; along with no long term upsides that make it look temporary if we pay off the debt, because it’s kind of a hamster wheel.  We still end up living pretty close to paycheck to paycheck even when everything goes right.  That’s what I’d love to fix, but it feels so impossible right now when we are drowning.  Like, we get ONE big bolus per year to help us fund these extra things like building, but this year it’s already entirely spoken for.  I just want it to be less hard.  I would love ONE YEAR where we didn’t have medical debt eating into things. Do you know we have paid at least 200k out of pocket toward medical in the last ten years?  That doesn’t even count prescriptions or premiums.  That’s just the stuff not covered by insurance.  It’s probably been another 100k in monthly premiums and deductibles.  
 

It’s a first world problem, I know.  But when I don’t have anything to show for it but a half finished house that breaks faster than we can fix it, a wheelchair, a speech device, an ugly scar and a hunk of engraved granite it’s just a bad day.
 

I always feel better being proactive and trying to fix things instead of wallowing. But every fix means more work for my husband and that’s just mean 🥺


Medical costs is pervasive, has no end, and just keeps washing out more of you.  I hate it. 
So, wait - I think I missed something and I'll go back and read, but you mention minimum payments and accruing interest.  So, are you paying medical with credit cards?  Is that why the interest accrual?  

So it sounds like you have decent income.  It's just the bills are huge.  Have you gone to the hospitals, clinics, etc., and seen if they have a forgiveness plan?  I know it seems like you'd be above their income ratio, but maybe not.  Remember the most poor are going to have medicaid coverage, so they aren't getting bills.  The forgiveness is going to be for the middle income folks with a lot of bills.  A few years ago, we applied at the beginning of my diagnosis - they originally thought it was something else and I had IVIG and Rituximab infusions.  Mayo forgave nothing, but the University did forgive some of the bills. It helped.  Obviously private doctors' offices, labs, etc., there is nothing there for that. 

You have had a long hard road and all uphill.

I can totally believe it.  We have a maximum OOP of $10k per year and we've hit it the last three years (usually by February) and that doesn't touch travel expenses, my uncovered stuff like methylcobalamin injections, cannabis oil through the dispensary, accessibility changes, etc.  

You know, does he love his job?  Because, one consideration isn't earn more.  It might be to look for a job with better medical benefits.  I'm trying to remember his background and for some reason, I was thinking it was similar to my DH's.  Iowa is nice in the spring.... 😉 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/18/2020 at 10:12 AM, mommyoffive said:

 

How long until the prius and the truck are paid off?  Can you get rid of one car?

 

Yeah I would sell one of the three cars and use it to pay down the remaining car debt. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, KungFuPanda said:

Can you find a middle ground? There are used, small cars that you can buy outright that will save a lot more gas than the truck without an expensive Prius loan. Having that Prius payment every month doesn’t make any sense when it’s costing more than gas. Maybe get rid of it, use the truck, and bank the difference to save for a small commuter car?

Ya know, this might have been the best move when they were thinking of buying the Prius, but they have it now.  Liquidating it they might lose a lot of money and then end up with a used car that has a lot of expensive work needed.  They might be better off keeping the Prius but buying used from now on; but I would not assume that getting rid of it at this point really makes sense.  You have to run the numbers to be sure, and compare the alternatives.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
37 minutes ago, BlsdMama said:

I suck at delayed gratification.  So, I'm beginning to grasp truths about myself.  One is that if I don't auto-deduct, I'm in trouble.  Second, I can plan all day long (and color code) but I need separate accounts for savings and ideally, multiple labeled accounts.  

Yep. All my comments after this are long-term, not about now, but it has made a huge difference in our ability to weather changing finances (what we need to plan for gets progressively more $$$ all year long--we have to save the first half of the year to make it the second half).

We have accounts that are designated for specific expenses and then one for long-term savings. It's partially an emergency fund. The actual emergency fund is in a totally different account that our financial adviser recommended, and we have our old HSA (as in, we had enough money in it to keep it open without fees) as part of our planning because it can be used to pay COBRA (we need to invest this fund, honestly). Current HSA is funding for current expenses, but I think we may exceed it this year with out of network fees, dental work, etc. 

All of our "normal" expenses need to come out of the accounts that are not long-term savings, or something is not working (or circumstances are bad, like a reduction in pay or work hours--happened for six months last year). Ideally, we should be putting some money in long-term savings even after the other things are funded, or we need to voluntarily shut down some spending (as in, we'd be okay living paycheck to paycheck if the funds are funded, but it won't help us if we have to spend big $$$ for a roof or a new car, etc. because that money would not be replenished). Right now, we have no debt outside of a house, so the LT savings IS the fund for a new car or any other big expense vs. having budgeted for a car payment.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
54 minutes ago, Arctic Mama said:

Update - talked with DH about some of the suggestions here.  About the only thing we can cut of significance is the Wall Street journal, which we are seriously considering for the time being.  He’s adamant about rolling all extra to debt. And we have a few other expenses that are ongoing but set to clear up in the next year or two, which will give us much more margin in our budget (remaining van payments, etc).  So long term he isn’t as worried as me.  In the short term we are a bit stuck but apparently not to the point where he is concerned about us keeping up with expenses and payments as I am.

It sucks right now, he agreed, but was more optimistic about the long term (ish).

There is a trick in "Your Money Or Your Life" in which people figure out their net worth monthly and plot it on a graph, and then they can see their progress even if it's normally imperceptible.  So, for instance, if the house is going up in value from one year to the next, or the 401K or whatever, it shows, where normally it would be more or less hidden.  This can be fairly encouraging psychologically, and also if no progress is being made at all, then it's clear that something big has to change.  Both are very helpful.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Scarlett, I would 100% sell the truck. Will you still need a truck on occasion? Well, mostly men want a truck for certain things that either aren't necessary or can be done another way, but I'll grant that there are occasions when one might need to do something that requires a truck. That's when you borrow a truck, rent a truck, or pay a delivery fee. You could do one of those every three weeks and still pay far less than a truck note. 

 

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, katilac said:

Scarlett, I would 100% sell the truck. Will you still need a truck on occasion? Well, mostly men want a truck for certain things that either aren't necessary or can be done another way, but I'll grant that there are occasions when one might need to do something that requires a truck. That's when you borrow a truck, rent a truck, or pay a delivery fee. You could do one of those every three weeks and still pay far less than a truck note. 

 

I agree but dh will not. We already tried that and he drove me crazy until we got another one. And he of all men DOES use it a lot. He does so much handy work at our home. And things like hauling off construction trash to the dumpster at his office. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 minutes ago, Carol in Cal. said:

Ya know, this might have been the best move when they were thinking of buying the Prius, but they have it now.  Liquidating it they might lose a lot of money and then end up with a used car that has a lot of expensive work needed.  They might be better off keeping the Prius but buying used from now on; but I would not assume that getting rid of it at this point really makes sense.  You have to run the numbers to be sure, and compare the alternatives.

The only thing that gets dh to drive the Prius to work is because it is more than half the gas use of the truck. So I know he would not be on board for slight gas savings. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Arctic Mama said:

Update - talked with DH about some of the suggestions here.  About the only thing we can cut of significance is the Wall Street journal, which we are seriously considering for the time being.  He’s adamant about rolling all extra to debt. And we have a few other expenses that are ongoing but set to clear up in the next year or two, which will give us much more margin in our budget (remaining van payments, etc).  So long term he isn’t as worried as me.  In the short term we are a bit stuck but apparently not to the point where he is concerned about us keeping up with expenses and payments as I am.

It sucks right now, he agreed, but was more optimistic about the long term (ish).

Well it can help to feel less stressed about the financial situation when he is the “one doing the finances.”   Maybe the answer for you is just to make yourself more involved?   I am not suggesting that you go in and take over guns blazing or anything.  Just, ‘hey, so when X and Y and Z happen, I feel more out of control.  So, I would just like to know more about the decisions going on. ‘

An example of what I mean is where you mentioned that you didn’t know why he paid the hospital with a CC.  I am not suggesting that you go in and tell him you will not put the hospital bill on a cc, rather that you just ask him to involve you more in the thinking and decision making process and get some more input from you before he just makes a decision like that.  

If you know more about the situations and the decisions surrounding those situations, even while he is still doing most of the finances, you might feel more comfortable because you have a better understanding of the plan and you feel like your thoughts on it are really heard.  You said you are a fix it sort of person and we fix it people need to know there’s a good plan for fixing it even if we aren’t creating and working the plan lol

 

 

ETA: and I know there was a lot going on and that sometime, well crap happens.  I am only hoping to help you get to a place where you feel less stressed about the finances, and sometimes that just means more info and input.  

Edited by happysmileylady
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, mommyoffive said:

 

If you don't want to answer this, just skip it.  Why is it that you can't bring in more income?  Can your spouse?   There are so many flexible options these days.  An extra 100 a week put to savings adds up.  

Will you be able to comfortably live off Social Security or if you have a Pension? 

I don’t mind answering but it will be a long answer and  I hate to T/J AMs thread. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Scarlett said:

I don’t mind answering but it will be a long answer and  I hate to T/J AMs thread. 

Go for it!  This totally wasn’t just about me.  Other people’s situations are way more interesting than my own drama or I wouldn’t be here 😉

  • Like 1
  • Haha 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some years back we had to get appliances all at once, AND had had a bunch of weird one of expenses.  When I say HAD TO, it's really HAD TO, as in coincidentally break down events that were not really fixable kinds of things.  So, we had a largeish credit card balance, which we always paid off every month but couldn't, and more to add to it.  I got a Chase Slate card.  At the time the balance transfers were free for the first month or two, and no interest on anything for 15 months.  In that time we paid off the whole thing, and then I put the card away and never used it again.  It was really helpful for that extraordinary circumstance.  And we were not crushed with interest.  But we had to be very disciplined about paying it back fast.  Just saying.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Arctic Mama said:

Update - talked with DH about some of the suggestions here.  About the only thing we can cut of significance is the Wall Street journal, which we are seriously considering for the time being.  He’s adamant about rolling all extra to debt. And we have a few other expenses that are ongoing but set to clear up in the next year or two, which will give us much more margin in our budget (remaining van payments, etc).  So long term he isn’t as worried as me.  In the short term we are a bit stuck but apparently not to the point where he is concerned about us keeping up with expenses and payments as I am.

It sucks right now, he agreed, but was more optimistic about the long term (ish).

 

Do you 2 talk finances often?  That might help to know where things are at.  It is always great when a car (van) is paid off.  It frees up a lot of money, hopefully with that and the housing situation getting cheaper in the near future would be a weight lifted.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 minutes ago, mommyoffive said:

 

Do you 2 talk finances often?  That might help to know where things are at.  It is always great when a car (van) is paid off.  It frees up a lot of money, hopefully with that and the housing situation getting cheaper in the near future would be a weight lifted.

Not usually, but that’s more because of me! He takes care of them entirely - we have never been sent to collections, never had a utility shut off, never been unable to make do even if we occasionally have very tight weeks with some major pantry and freezer meals. Our retirement is fully funded, our cars run and are in good condition, we have the best insurance we can manage. I try not to micromanage him because he does have it under control but talking about it can stress him out, and he handles the finances and insurance billing precisely because he is better at it and tries to keep that load off me.

If I check in he will ask and get me numbers - like when I was guessing at interest on the credit cards and he pulled up each statement, showed me the rate, and told me what amount he was expecting this coming bill.  And he makes frugal financial choices too - my van is the only new vehicle we have ever had in our, out of necessity.  His was the car he bought in high school and is still repairing and driving in his forties.  Our house really was the frugal choice and has just shocked us with the money pit drama that wasn’t predictable and didn’t show up upon inspection.  Etc etc.

I can’t complain, he does an amazing job.  Honestly.  But YES I am eager for these cards to be done, personal loan to be paid, vehicle payment to go away.  The latter two will be done in 24 and 26 months, respectively, and should free up another $1500 a month right there.  It just stinks *now*.

Edited by Arctic Mama
  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...