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Till Debt Do Us Part

May 2nd, 2010 at 09:25 pm

Does anybody (in America) watch the TV show "Till Debt Do Us Part" that comes on right after Suze Orman on Saturday nights?

It's a Canadian (I WISH they would bring it to America!) reality show that features a couple in debt and the shows host comes in and gives them some money saving challenges to complete in a month. If they do well- she rewards them with $5k. If they dont- no money.

I think this is my new favorite reality show. I think the challenges can be a little silly- like walking around a mall in a T Shirt that says "Ask me about my $40k of debt"...but last nights episode had 2 lines that made me pause to think.

The first episode (There are 2 seperate episodes on each Sat night) featured 2 teachers pulling in around $100k a year with a little baby. The wife was in debt control mode and never spent any money even though she felt really deprived. She never allowed herself to buy anything because the husband spent every dollar he earned. He belonged to like- 4 different mens sports teams and regularly went to poker night with friends. And he would often gamble online (and lost $8,000 to online gambling.) His wife was trying to control their rising debt but the husband always had an excuse, like, "Some friends from out of town are visiting- I have to go out" and the wife said she was always wondering what excuse he would offer next to spend money.

Well they got him in a confessional setting and he said "I don't understand why my wife wants to save money. The purpose of money is to spend it. I would rather have a good life than have $30k sitting in some bank account doing nothing." And then! he says "I don't think we need a savings account since we'll always have access to the credit cards and a line of credit."

His whole attitude was ...awful. He was a brick wall. He never understood the point of saving anything. The show host tried everything to get him to understand how precarious their financial situation was. The show host even gave the wife $300 and told the wife to go out every night for a week so the husband could see what it felt like when the wife walked out every night to go spend his money. Because the wife felt like he had gambled away "her" $8000. (I assume it's because she had saved the money and in the course of a few late nights online- he lost it all.) But he never got it. The shows host ended up telling the wife to separate her finances from him.

The 2nd couple featured a man 35 yrs old. He is a student at a University who had accumulated $50k of undergrad loans. Married to a pharmacist who was pregnant with their child. And they lived in his parents basement. Wife made $35,000 a year and husband made $12000 a year. The shows host said to him "What makes you think you can pull this young woman from her home country (the wife was Asian), marry her, get her pregnant- but not be able to put a roof over their head?"

That kind of hit home for the guy and he got a part time job after that. And he decided to give up his plan to go to medical school and instead get a teaching job.

Anyways, I like this show. I hope it comes to America.

September Tracking

September 30th, 2008 at 04:48 pm

Looking over the September spending- we did not do as well as I had hoped.Good news- We had 2 NSD. But we had a few unexpected one time expenses and considering that BB and I were both unemployed with BB also having knee surgery this month, I think we did pretty well.

Here are our gory details:

TOTAL INCOME: $3354.00
Rent: $1750
EBay: $904
Baseball: $350.00
Garage Sale: $200
Rebates: $150.00

Earned: $1112.00
Shipping: -$112.00
Ebay fees: -$96.00
Net: $904.00

EXPENSES: $1551.00
Rent: $500.00
Groceries: $388.00
Gas: $150.00
Electricity: $184.00
Lawn: $100.00
Health Insurance: $89.00
Water: $60.00
Phone & Internet: $45.00
Waste service: $35.00

Wedding expenses$1344.00
New Computer: $830.00
New Dog: $386.00

FUN: $586.00
Takeaway/Dining Out: $244.00
Gifts: $95.00
Clothes & Shoes: $70.00
Vitamins: $61.00
Scrapbooking $50.00
Video Games: $44.00
House Improvement: $17.00
Misc: $3.00
Car Improvement: $2.00

Total -$1343.00 Going on the credit card

It's not as bad as it looks. The negative amount is about equal to the wedding expenses, and that will be paid off in full after the wedding next month. What I thought was interesting is the eBay results. That really adds up! So does shipping though!

I am just so annoyed at life right now

September 24th, 2008 at 06:36 pm

arg. just arg. *cries* stupid computer. crashed. this morning. Kaput.

Went to bestbuy who told me a light is broken in my screen.

$150 to replace, plus $150 in labor. =$300 to fix.

I have had this laptop almost 4 yrs and apparently my laptop is a ticking time bomb for other problems. So the suggestion was to just buy a new laptop.

After lots of convincing by baseball boy and bestbuy, I bought a stupid new laptop.

$830.00. hmmpph.

Guess how I paid for it? I didnt. I refused to realize that I am nearly another thousand dollars poorer.

So I opened a bestbuy credit card with 18 months of 0% financing. I have until January 2010 to pay it off. I think I can do that.

I know it dinged my credit a bit and we are sort of in the market to buy a house...but I just couldnt add to our debt right now with this wedding next month. I could not deal.

So am I enjoying the new computer? NO! Its still at bestbuy getting programmed.

I am on an old laptop that would have been our replacement laptop if baseball boy had no been too lazty to pack it properly and cracked the screen over the summer. I have a spiderweb of blackness covering the screen right now.

So we have 2 laptops with working motherboards, but both have problem screens. I actually cant even see what I am typing right now....60% of the screen is black. arggg...

Why is it that we computer users are accepting of spending nearly a thousand dollars on a computer that is supposed to last a "year or two?" I think thats crap. What happened to quality? I remember my parents buying things and expecting them to last a lifetime. I feel good if I get a year or so of use out of most things I buy.

eBay day

September 13th, 2008 at 05:31 pm

Starting up the eBay today. I have not had time since I have been in FL due to BB's knee surgery (healing well) and you know how men are. Giving a hundred orders at once and constantly bored.

Anyways- we finally got him some medicine that blocks the pain enough for him to sleep- so today is eBay day.

I plan to build back up that house fund I depleted last month to pay off the credit card.

I am a bit frusterated because I am still selling off my moms possessions on ebay-only now I am relisting what has not sold previously and this leaves me doubting about the item selling this time around.

So I just listed two Big ticket items for just over 20% of their original price- and even at that price I am doubtful they will sell. The economy is keeping people from purchasing luxury items or spending alot of money on their purchases.

When I first started to eBay her stuff 3 years ago the economy was booming and her things were ALL selling, for at least 65% of the original price.

Dumb me held back the REALLY big ticket items because I figured that selling other items would give me experience and feedback to get an even better return on the expensive stuff.

Then eBay turned a corner. To many sellers. Economy going downhill. Slowly the listing price increased, slowly I started getting the frusterated feeling from listing an item- paying the listing fee-only to have it not sell.

So I pulled off ebay about 1.5 yrs ago. I decided to wait for the economy to turn around. hahaha -since then I have listed a few items around christmas with some luck.

Now I realize I dont have time to wait for the economy to come back. All these items in the house drive me crazy. And its a nuisence keeping the items clean and being so careful around the breakable items...which is most of them.

So I guess selling for some money plus earning intrest in the bank may end up equaling money made off the item if I wait for the economy to come back.

Ok, break over. Back to eBay.

Gamecock's not-so-quick-check in

August 23rd, 2008 at 01:07 am

Hey guys,
I'm not back-back, but I stopped in for an hour or so to read some blogs and write some sad news. (It's not terribly sad, just some regression for me.)
First, I read some of ya'll latest entries and I feel I have missed so much! I am looking forward to having internet again.
Second...ugh. I dont like saying it. I dont like it. But I have been thinking about it the last 2 days...(I even wrote a hypothetical 'dear Suze' letter-just to step back from the situation and try to see it from amore logical perspective.)...I think I am taking money out of the house savings fund to pay off the danm credit card. It jumps from 0% to 20% in a few days, it's at $2400 right now...and since the summers over I wont be able to make huge payments on it anymore. I starter out in late June with a $5600 balance, and now its at $2400. That's $3200 I was able to chip away at in 2 months...I guess a good consolation victory there.
House fund is at almost $38,000...I will bring it to about $36,000- still a good chunk of change- but it feels like a major blow. I tried to calculate a debt repayment plan to myself, but to get that 2400 back, I need to pay myself $200 amonth FOR A YEAR. $200 a month is doable...for a freakin year??!! Seems like forever just to get back to where I am right now. Sigh. But I made the bad...time to lay in it. And once I have paid off the card IN FULL NEXT's going in the freezer.
You know...I think I'm upset because I feel I am taking the easy route. Just taking $$ from savings to pay the debt. Then its gone and there is little consequence/little lost. It seems a cheap victory. I wanted to pay it down through patience, discipline and taste the satisfaction of making the final payment. But I ran out of time. I bought 2 pairs of jeans that I shouldnt have. I ate out to much. And I know better than to pay 20% intrest.
And just a quick note...still tracking expenses...we spend a hella lot more money than I thought we did...this has been the best financial excercise ever! I'll show the ugly rundown when I have steady internet again. I am worried about being able to track expenses come September because Baseball boy and I will be back in FL and we wont see each other nearly as much as we do now. He's not on board with the tracking expenses- I think he thinks I will yell at him or give him a guilt trip over every purchase- so I have been tracking his expenses because we share a car and therefore when he buys, I am right there with him. Thats it, I'm off now to read more of your blogs. The apartment complex pool has internet connection, so I'm out here enjoying the evening for a few hours.

Paying back the father in law!

July 24th, 2008 at 11:06 pm

Yup. I am paying off the father in law. I withdrew the money from the bank today. Baseball boy's parents just came into town and we plan to give him the money tomorrow morning.

I'm not sure how much we owe him though. Since the mail forwarding got all mixed up some bills from our FL house have been lost in the mail system and I am probably getting all kinds of late charges added onto them, and other bills arrived in NC (to Baseball boys father) and he paid them for us because the bill was due in a day or two. So there was no time to forward the bill to us to pay. I dont even know the bill situation completely, FIL would just sometimes comment to me, "oh, I paid your electric bill today." and when I was presented a stack of mail from FIL yesterday, there were some bill stubs, but not all of our regular bills. So I sat down and tried to guestimate what FIL has paid over the summer for us.

I paid all of Junes bills personally, because the mail forwarding was working back in June, so I just included an extra $200 for July bills. No one is living in the house, everything has been unplugged and the air conditioning is set at 80 degrees. I think $200 should cover the month of July. Then I have no idea how August will work out, but it's only one more month of suffering through this weird mail situation.

I think FIL never thought he would "see" the money back that he loaned us. He paid some bills for us generously thinking he was helping us, but I hate owing people money and have harbored a torch to pay him back as soon as we could. The money has been sitting in the bank all summer. Finally! It's gone and off of my 2Do list!

Baseball boy and I have not figured out a way to give it to FIL in a way that he will accept it and not "leave it behind" for us. In the past we have tried to give him money for something and he either talks us into keeping it, or leaves the money untouched on our kitchen table.

I understand it comes from a good place, this wanting to let us keep the money, but that drives me crazy, and I try to avoid borrowing money from him at all costs in the future, knowing that it will be hard to pay it back. I want to just give him this money, and be back on a clear slate with him.

So, thats my thoughts for today.

Holy credit card statement!

July 20th, 2008 at 05:39 pm

Wait. I must be missing something. I'm confused. It's my credit card statement.

I paid the full $524.00 balance on my Visa card last month but then got hit $75 in interest fees. I planned to pay it in full this month (July) and close the card down.

Well, since my paycheck has not arrived I have no money to pay the balance in full and was checking my online statement today to see what the minimum balance due is to see if I can scrape up $5 or $10 to keep up to date with the card and not miss a payment.

Heres where I am confused~
The TOTAL BALANCE on the card now is $85.75
The minimum due is $43.00??? Why are they requiring me to pay over 50% of the balance due??? Is it because it's interest?

And wouldn't you know it the minimum due is due TODAY. bah! My internal money clock has been hounding me all morning to check my finances and this is why. I inherently knew I needed to paya bill. I just wish my internal money clock gave me more than 12 hours to figure out what I am gonna do.

Does anybody know of a store I can go to to pay my VISA card? Like the way I go to Sears to pay my Discover card.

UPDATE: I went ahead and transferred the balance to my Discover card. I dont know if it will count as "balance paid" today though, the "fine print" on the transfer said it can take up to 2 weeks to transfer the balance! I REALLY hope my credit score doesnt get dinged for this.
My Visa card stopped offering reward points! I'm not sure when they stopped that but I looked everywhere to collect on them before transferring the balance, and they are not being offered.

boring/ just yesterday's spending total

June 24th, 2008 at 08:07 pm

I am in the midst of wedding planning, but I wanted to list yesterday's spending so I have an accurate total when reviewing it later....

$20 for overpriced Mexican lunch
$20 for Baseball Boy's shoulder massage
$20 for groceries
$5 for a beer at the baseball game


ok ok- I'm in DEBT already!

June 17th, 2008 at 10:49 pm

I'll admit it. I'm in credit card debt. I have been in denial for over a month now.

I never have a balance and for several weeks now I have pretended that my INTENTIONS to pay it back in full as soon as I can means that it WILL be paid back in full before I know it. Therefore, I pushed this concern to the back of my mind.

But one thing has followed another financially and here I am in debt with little hope of being out of it by the end of the summer, unless I dip into savings, which I REALLY dont want to do.

So what has financially killed me? Let me tell me. I have not actually written out a list because my denial was keeping me from aknowledging the problem. So let me see where the problem came from, hold on here...

ahh...the problem came from my poor, poor planning.

February 08 Baseball boy is projected to earn $2200 a month with his team and we determine that is enough $$ for both of us to live off and I can travel with him for the season without working.

March 08
Baseball Boy is released from his team and unemployed for 3 weeks. He has not collected a single paycheck.

April 08
Baseball boy finds a new team to play with that will pay him 1700 a month and provide a free apartment. New team does not begin season for a few weeks.

End of April 08
Baseball boy is given a better oppertunity to play for a big name team and he must take this chance. Big name team will only pay $1700 month/no apartment.

May 08
We move to new team town.
*We stay in a hotel 4 nights @$60 a night trying to secure an apartment.
*We find apartment for $800 month, plus put down $800 for security. (This is the beginning of the bad. We had not planned to pay rent combined with 2 months no pay means we entered the season with just $1000 in EF, and so security had to go on CC)

May 08
Baseball boy is released from new big name team and now unemployed, 2 weeks into our lease. We move back to home base to regroup and forfit that months rent.

Mid May 08
Baseball boy goes back to original new team, but cannot get the same agreed pay. Agrees to $1400 month and free apartment (still not bad so we thought everything would be ok)

Mid May 08
*Our dog has tumors removed and sent in for testing. $800 on the CC.
*bought a plane ticket for early July to future wedding site to meet vendors and plan Nov wedding~ $340 on CC.

End of May 08
*I drive across country in SUV to live with Baseball boy who has flown up there and gotten settled in. $350 in gas spent on the CC. Slept in the car so I was saving 'some' money and this put me farther into denial.

Early June 08
*Grocery shopping buying staples like butter, silverware, dishes, oils, and seasonings that are not 'meals' but will be used for the rest of the season and must be purchased to be able to use the kitchen and avoid eating out every night. $120 on CC for initial grocery visit.
*Mall of America- ouch-$300 on CC
Set up a bank account in new town and must wait for Baseball boys first check to clear. (Do get a $50 gas card for opening up account though!)

Mid June 08
*Laid dog with cancer to rest, $350 on CC.

And we have charged up about $200 in misc costs such as gas, clubhouse dues, dog food, grocery trips, fast food, and we went to a movie.

Credit card balance is over 3k and I am finally admitting it. It sure is easier to spend the money than to pay off the money.
Plus that pesky CC provided by Baseball boy's father was used during the unemployment and we are determined to pay dad back the $800 racked up, plus a $300 vet visit loan I took from him 2 months ago. So dad gets $1000 as soon as we can get it to him.

I *could* dip into my retirement savings to pay it off and be done with it. But I dont think I will.

1. I worry that if I start dipping into retirement, it will become a habit. I must budget, and stress, and pay it off slowly and the pain should keep this from happening again.
2. It's all on a 0% discover card. The 0% lasts until August, so this month I will apply for a new 0% and switch the balance to give myself more time to pay it off the hard way.

It all went wrong by counting on that big paycheck, then by planning to not have to pay for an apartment. My my my...I have become a little overconfident in my frugal ways and now look at the mess I got into.

And I can't get a job for the season because 1. we share a car, and 2. The lack of job security leaves me unable to committ to anything during the season. We moved to 3 towns last season.