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      Hello all.
      Well, it’s time
    for me to stop lurking and introduce myself.
      I’ve been reading this forum for about two or three weeks.
        My husband and I are still pretty new to the Wallet Doctor.
      A friend of mine at work recommended
    that I read Total Money Makeover.
    I was not especially interested because I knew about DR in rather vague
      I once started to listen to
    Financial Peace on audiobook about 2 years ago and did not like it at all.
      Now I realize that I just wasn’t ready
    to hear what he had to say.
      In the
    meantime, fairly recently, my husband and I had quite a scare when we thought
    he was going to lose his job.
    Thankfully that didn’t happen, but it did cause us to take a very
    serious look at our finances.
    quickly came to the realization that we were just barely making it from
    paycheck to paycheck.
      In fact, we weren’t making it with just the paychecks,
    but there always seemed to be a little extra money to tide us over, like our
    tax refund or a birthday check from our parents.
      We had been in serious denial.
        Well, we got our wake-up call and that’s when I took my friend up on her
    suggestion to read TMM.
      That was
    about one month ago and my husband and I have made some major changes since
      We have our budget in place and it truly is like getting a raise.
      Now there is money to pay all of the
    bills because we know exactly where every dollar is going.
      We used to eat out, or order in,
    several times a week, but now we are eating on $75/week.
      That’s for a family of four.
      Well, that may not sound like a raise
    in pay, because we are spending less money.
      But it feels like a raise because now we aren’t worrying
    about how we are going to pay the bills.
    Before it seemed as if we were always paying our bills late.
      Our priorities were all screwed up.
      We were like so many of Dave’s callers
    who pay their credit cards & loans first and then don’t have money for the
      Those usually got paid
    when we got sent a Disconnect Notice.
      We are still on Baby Step one, but we will have our $1000 on June 9 th .
      Some of the changes that we have made:   We changed
    our tax withholdings so that we are getting almost $200 more each month.
      We’ll never get a large refund in
    February again, but we don’t care because now we understand how stupid
    that is.
    made about $500 from selling stuff around the house.
      I wish we had more to sell, but we
    don’t have much that’s worth anything.
      We’ve been de-cluttering for years now and the only
    things we have left are things we truly want/need.
      When I think about all we’ve given
    away to Goodwill or on Freecycle, I just can’t believe it.
    closing out our Universal Life insurance and getting term life.
      We won’t be saving much on the
    monthly payments because we are buying more insurance to get us up to the
    10 times annual income level.
    But we will be getting around $2000 from the cash value.
      That will go right towards our
    smallest debts.
      It should
    wipe out 2 and make a dent in a third.
    We stopped
    payments to 401k and extra principle to mortgage.
      That’s around another $100-$150
    per month.

        Well, I know there are
    other things that have changed and made a big difference, but I can’t think of
    them right now.
      I guess making out
    the budget is the biggest thing.
      We have used the debt snowball Excel program that someone mentioned on
    this list.
       It looks like it
    would take almost 5 years for us to pay everything off at our current pay.
      That includes the student loan but not
    our mortgage.
      Well, that just
    means that I have to get a second job, because I am not willing to have this
    drag out that long.
      I am gazelle
    intense and ready to knock this out.
      Okay, that’s my intro.
    Sorry it’s so long-winded.
    I just wanted to say hi before I start participating more regularly and
    asking a bunch of questions.
        Thanks, Ann-Marie        



    Hello – I joined the forum yesterday and am making my first post today.
    I have attended FPU two times, graduated twice (2000 and 2007), read numerous other books on money management (Burkette, Dayton, Blue, McCoy, Hunt, Dacyzyn, etc., etc.) and have yet to be able to successfully become debt free.
    I know I have a problem with telling my kids no — but I say yes to little things in a lot of respects – a CD here or a new shirt there.
    We don’t get regular haircuts and rarely go to the movie theater.
    I have spent money on pets over the years and now confess one pet is enough.
    I’ve been married 19 1/2 years and during that time we’ve only been on one real vacation ever.
    It seems like we’ve been fighting fires our entire marriage and have never managed to get our emergency fund in place.
    It’s nearly impossible for my dh and me to sit and talk about money for more than 20 minutes straight.
    We’ve never been able to have the family meetings others seem to have.
    It’s either one, or the other of us, handling the money.
    We can come together and talk about things theoretically – which is what I think the class was — more discussion of theory than focusing on our literal application.
    Our oldest child starts college this month and I’ve peeked at a few of the recent college posts.
    All her tuition is paid for with scholarships and the room & board is all coming from student loans (GSL and Parent Plus).
    I know we said we’d not accrue new debt but I agree that you can’t compete without the education and the scholarships totally hinge on keeping up the GPA; so doing well in school is the only option.
    Either she gets A’s & B’s, or she doesn’t go.
    I have finally found a free software tool online that shows me *when* all our debts will be paid and it could be done (everything except 1 car) within about 18-24 months.
    My dilemma is that we always end up with more medical bills then we can handle, new & big ones seem to accrue every twelve months or so.
    And the other dilemma is that the lack of an emergency fund keeps us gaining new debt.
    My most urgent need and info I need is – How have people living paycheck to paycheck managed to get their emergency fund? Working another job, selling one more household item, or having another garage sale isn’t gonna cut it.
    We’ve been there and done that.
    It’s gonna have to come from money we earn and I think I’m gonna have to open a savings account and put money there.
    What percentage of your take home do you apply to gaining the emergency fund and how much time is reasonable to say we’ll have $1000 by such and such.
    Honestly, I’ve not had $1000 in the bank hardly ever Thanks for any advice about the emergency fund.



    [Mod’s note: There is also a spreadsheet in the Files section that allows you to see when you’ll be debt free.
    Look for ‘Debt Snowball’] Can you please share the link for the software tool? Thanks! Wendy



    I don’t agree that everyone can ‘realistically cut’ $1000 from their budget in 1 or 2 months.
    From personal experience, I know it’s often difficult to cut even $200 per month..
    But I agree that a combination of selling stuff, cutting expenses, and more income is the best way to do it.
    Eldred — Sometimes I wonder, “Why is that Frisbee getting bigger?”…and then it hits me.



    The little things will kill you.
    How much is a new CD and a new shirt, with tax? $40, $50? That’s $50 that could be in the emergency fund.
    the Wallet Doctor was talking on the radio show last month about the envelope system, and how it really hits home the first time you have to stand there in the grocery store and put things BACK onto the shelves because you don’t have enough in the envelope.
    That’s what you have to do.
    Decide how much you’re going to put into the emergency fund and do it FIRST.
    $25 a week will get you there in a year.
    Take what’s left and divide it up and don’t spend more than what you’ve got.
    (For me, it’s groceries that are the budget-buster if I’m not careful.
    A rotisserie chicken here, some salad in a bag there, and before I know it I’m $100 over for the month)



    Similar to what Eldred said, you have to want it.
    You have to want to change.
    You also have to have the discipline to it.
    It’s not all head knowledge–which is good to have, but you have to be able to follow through and that means changing behavior.
    If what you’ve been doing hasn’t been working (which you already know it hasn’t been), then you know something needs to change.
    It’s just that YOU need to make the change and YOU need to stick with it.
    It sounds like you’re close to being there.
    This isn’t going to be a quick and easy path.
    Change isn’t easy.
    Sounds like what you need is a plan.
    So let’s start with basic things.
    Do you have a budget? Is it written down? Do you stick to your budget? Let’s assume it’s a yes.
    Go through each and every line very, very carefully.
    Is the dollar amount assigned to that category necessary or nice? Can you shave off just $10 in various categories? How much are impulse buys? Be completely honest.
    Be brutally honest.
    Be so honest that you’ll make yourself cry.
    If it’s a matter of discipline, try this.
    Figure out what you have left in a month after necessary expenditures.
    Then before you do anything else, take that amount and put it straight into a separate savings account that is labeled Emergency Fund (which you said somewhere in your post that you know you need to do).
    Then you will be forced to keep to your budget because you will have absolutely zero wiggle room.
    You may only be able to put $50 in the bank a month towards the emergency fund.
    Baby steps are still steps.
    Every dollar needs a name.
    Every dollar needs to keep its name and not have identity crisis’ by “needing” things like a new CD or a shirt.
    As for your kids, do you give them opportunities to earn commission? They can pay for their own shirts and CDs and toys–the unnecessary but nice stuff.
    And hey, if they can’t pay for it, they can’t afford it.
    Something magical happens when you are firm with yourself and with those around you.
    You have the smarts.
    Now just do it! Suki p.s.
    If you need someone to bounce ideas off of or to just vent or celebrate or just need encourage, you can always email me. :-D



    I’m Angela Coffman.
    I am a stay at home, homeschooling mom, expecting our 5th baby in October.
    We are debt free except for our house and are on baby step 4, trying to get our retirement contributions up to 15%.
    I’m working on new creative ways to save money to free up cash for this as our family grows and our income lags behind a bit.
    Two years ago we entered the Total Money Makeover Contest, and won as a finalist.
    the Wallet Doctor took us to the Bahamas with 9 other couples for a week.
    We were able to get to know him and his family and to watch him produce his show live from “Paradise.” It was awesome and I will never forget it.
    While there, Dave told me to start a home business teaching others how to live frugally since we did some pretty radical things.
    I am just starting on this with an e-book and am working towards teaching small forum classes in homes after the baby comes.
    I am looking for support as we climb the baby step ladder and would love to support others just starting the journey.
    Warm regards, Angela Coffman [MOD EDIT: URL removed]



    Welcome Angela! I’ll bet that was an unforgettable time, getting to know Dave and his family and watching him do the show.
    Congratulations on getting through those first baby steps, and I hope the teaching goes well.
    Best wishes also on the birth of your baby.
    I hope you enjoy this forum as much as I do.
    Original Message



    Hi Angela!  Welcome from another Angela   Very Cool that you got to go to the Bahamas and meet Dave, that must have been so much fun.
        See what’s free at AOL.com .



    Hello,   I’m Roxanne from northern California and am new to the forum, and have just purchased The TMM book that is on its way.
    I have 3 credit cards with just a bit less than $8,000 on them combined, and a credit line through my bank that is just over $9,000.
    The plan is to eliminate the cc’s first by cutting them up, and then the debt on them starting with the smallest and working up.
    Not sure how long it will take but I’m going to do it! Then re-evaluate and go from there to eliminate the rest, including my mortgage!   Thank you for having this forum.



    Welcome Roxanne x

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