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Discussion Starter #1
Not enough of it.

I don't really understand where it all goes... I have a pretty conservative budget, including an extra $400/mo for unexpected expenses, problem is each month there is like $800 of unexpected expenses. And I have nothing budgeted for savings because it is all servicing debt so those unexpected expenses really keep hitting hard. I suppose I am just living beyond my means, but believe me not luxuriously, it is amazing how little $62k/yr is, I have a nice house but it's not particularly large, I've run the numbers and even a small condo wouldn't really save me much, we bought the house because it was the price/nice sweetspot. It would be a shame for me to have to "downsize" but I just can't seem to make ends meet here. I feel like I am sacrificing too many little luxuries, like nice clothes, the occasional vacation etc - right now I am chock full of vacation time at work but no money or plans to use it, as usual, I haven't been out of the country since 1998 and every year I tell myself maybe Mexico next year.

And in August the fan in my furnace (HVAC) went and it cost a $1000 to fix, so I've been juggling bills trying to catch up, then last week just as I was about to send my ex $ for child support the gas company drops a notice on the door saying gas will be turned off if I don't pay up, so I pay them which leaves me short for my ex, and now she is b1tching and complaining, even threatening to go after spousal support now (hahaha, sorry b1tch when you left you wanted no part of alimony, and you even waived it off in the agreement)

ugh too much fcking stress. I am tired of all this BS, why the fck do I even go to work every day (for the past 20 years) if I got absolutely nothing to show for it. A house the bank owns, a car that is worth less than what I owe and a broken family. Yes I know these are all choices I've made (well, for the most part) but how can they be so wrong?
 

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What kind of debt are you paying? Credit card? Unfortunately, I recently had to file bankruptcy. Even though most of my debt was commercial debt (business related), I was still required to take a financial counseling class. You may find it helpful to take the on-line class, since it covers many of the problems you are having.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yes credit card debt and line of credit... I understand exactly the numbers, I am not completely insolvent I could sell the house and have enough equity to pay everything off, including my car loan, and then rent. Basically carrying $5k on my visa and $6k on my line of credit so servicing my debt is costing me $130/mo just in interest.

I could take a class, but I'm not really sure what I'd actually learn that can get me out of my situation, basically I think I know what to do - either sell the house, or else increase my income, but that is another tough choice because right now I have a stable government job that can lead to a really good pension, the hours of work fit well with my parenting schedule - I have the skillset and contacts to be able to earn six figures in private sector, but that is not a lifestyle I am interested in pursuing until my son is older and more independent.

It's just annoying to feel so blessed and yet have such poor cash flow. Two years ago I refinanced the house in order to pay off the debt issues brought from my ex (in fact half the debt I am carrying right now was from the settlement, I took on a bunch of "our" debt and I also payed the lawyers with my credit card and just haven't been able to get it under control). I knew I'd be trapping myself but saw no other options at the time. Refinancing again isn't an option right now because there won't be enough equity left for me to be approved for a mortgage.

As for selling the house, I sure wish I had some free time and money to stage it and sell it, because right now there are all kinds of little things in disrepair (nothing major, just paint, holes in walls and organizing) that would affect the marketability. Maybe I can borrow from a relative and use my vacation time to do this. But then it will have to be a major downgrade, like to a crumby basement suite somewhere, but maybe if I can get my cash flow working it will be some piece of mind.
 

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Yes credit card debt and line of credit... I understand exactly the numbers, I am not completely insolvent I could sell the house and have enough equity to pay everything off, including my car loan, and then rent. Basically carrying $5k on my visa and $6k on my line of credit so servicing my debt is costing me $130/mo just in interest.

I could take a class, but I'm not really sure what I'd actually learn that can get me out of my situation, basically I think I know what to do - either sell the house, or else increase my income, but that is another tough choice because right now I have a stable government job that can lead to a really good pension, the hours of work fit well with my parenting schedule - I have the skillset and contacts to be able to earn six figures in private sector, but that is not a lifestyle I am interested in pursuing until my son is older and more independent.

It's just annoying to feel so blessed and yet have such poor cash flow. Two years ago I refinanced the house in order to pay off the debt issues brought from my ex (in fact half the debt I am carrying right now was from the settlement, I took on a bunch of "our" debt and I also payed the lawyers with my credit card and just haven't been able to get it under control). I knew I'd be trapping myself but saw no other options at the time. Refinancing again isn't an option right now because there won't be enough equity left for me to be approved for a mortgage.

As for selling the house, I sure wish I had some free time and money to stage it and sell it, because right now there are all kinds of little things in disrepair (nothing major, just paint, holes in walls and organizing) that would affect the marketability. Maybe I can borrow from a relative and use my vacation time to do this. But then it will have to be a major downgrade, like to a crumby basement suite somewhere, but maybe if I can get my cash flow working it will be some piece of mind.

Ever consider short-term rental? Billeting a hockey player? My friend takes in students for $600 for 6 weeks. They are apprentice students. Or week in/week out mine workers? Just to get a few large chunks on your debt to get you going.
Just a few thoughts to get you over the hump without time and commitment.
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Find something you value that doesn't cost any money, or very little of it, and focus on doing more of that. This will give you a sense of control of not being dependent on money to have a sense of well-being.

I think if you can sell your vacation time or part of it back to work, that would be awesome. You could use some of your vacation time to do the work on the house, and put it on the market.

I really enjoy renting a small place, it gives me time and flexibility. You could put your stuff in storage or sell it and live a simple life that would focus on the things you most value (even the nice clothes, why not? In moderation that's good for you...) and traveling and get rid of all the overhead that was related to marriage. Your son won't be necessarily negatively affected by living in a small space...I know a guy who has his 16 year old daughter and he just rents a room in a house with kitchen and laundry privileges and they figure it out, mostly they're active and go out and do things together.

My kids share a room and they have a bunkbed...the other spare room that's a bit too small for a bed, we turned into an art studio...

Make decisions about what works for you, not what you think is expected of you or what is advised to do...if you're not feeling that maintaining a house is worth it, and feel overly burdened, perhaps it is time to leverage your skills in fixing-upping...

With the time you save from not maintaining a house, you can possibly take on some contract work...you could also use some of your vacation time spread it out and take on contract work...

Personally I think if you're close to a pension you shouldn't blow that. Finish it up, give yourself that gift of a pension, and then move on to higher risk enterprise...you are correct about having a young kid and needing to manage a business, it's difficult unless you have already reduced your expenses and have 6 months of what you need $-wise in the bank.

Lawyers certainly add to debt. This January I will finally pay my credit card debt off and only owe a moderate amount on my car...it sounds like your interest rate might be high. Look around and see if you can do better on that. Then take the savings and put it towards your car so you're not underwater on that. have a real estate agent look at your house and make recommendations about what would be needed for curb-appeal, before doing anything in that way.

You are doing a lot better than most. You have property, you can pay your debt, and you have a stable job and good health. Your child doesn't have a disability...and you have options.
 

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You may want to look around on-line for spending guides. That's what a large portion of the class I took focused on. It was really interesting to see what percentage of income should be spent on each category--and then compare. It was funny that I was well under on each category but in bankruptcy. Perhaps by comparing, you could see where you really are.

Ironically I owed nothing on my credit card, but it was cancelled as soon as the bankruptcy stay hit. It has actually worked out well. I'm now forced to budget even better. Everything is either cash or Pay Pal--no impulse spending for me.
 

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Hey Lon!
Same boat. CC debt accumulated throughout the marriage and some personal. You are absolutely right that the emergencies hit, and they hit hard especially now. I keep telling myself that its at least, just me, and not two people racking up the debt. Im doing the snowball thing. Paying minimum to all but one card. To focus on paying it off first, then applying the money that was going to that card (once it's paid off) to the payment that was going to the next card in line, to pay it off faster. Then those two payments added to the payment to the third card down the line and so on... at least thats the idea anyway.

Im hoping theres a bonus this year end, it will go entirely to a cc debt. The rates here in the states are usuarious and range between 23.99 to 26.99 for me. Some of the minimum payments barely cover the interest fees. I have however also invested some of my retirement in these companies that are exacting their fees, so in a way, it gets back to me.

Press on brother. Ive a mountain ahead of me as well but I think of the day that WILL come that I will be paid off, and able to do what I want to. It wont take forever.
 

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Divorce and Debt seem to hand and hand becasue I too have issues. I'm currently trying to settle with Chase CC and my credit score has taken a nose dive.

Lon and Shoo it might not hurt to go to a credit counseling agency. They can reduce your interest and sometimes you min payment to keep you afloat. They really work for the credit card companies but it benefits you in the long run with reduced payments and interest. The cc companies do that so you don't file BK. I went to see one but decided a different route.

There is a lot of free advice out there about how to handle debt. I started with programs that my company was a member of. Maybe you have some benefits you can take advantage of.

good luck.

Shoeguy
 

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Feel your pain friend: but even with 6 figures in the private sector as I have, you will still find yourself in cash-flow issues, main reason is you live out here in Lotus Land with me!!!

Vancouver, Canada is soooo expensive. And the housing market right now, is a "buyers" market. I can't sell my beautiful house in the valley (quaint village close to the mighty Fraser...) even though I have discounted 300K below replacement value.

You are lucky you got the EX to agree to no Spousal, that one is going to kill me for 7 years!!

I have gotten used to the idea that I am the wealthiest poor-person I know. Cash flow mandates my social life, vacation plans and pretty much everything!

But, in my new relationship, I have found a woman that comes form a 3rd world, who truly knows the meaning of poor! ( and no she's not American!!! - LOL sorry, couldn't help myself...no offense USA...my Grandpa was from Montana....)

PS: Oh and hey, my EX has saddled me with ALL the Credit Card, Mortgage, Credit Line, Kids expenses debts AND she gets $1000/month from me...go figure.....

So new clothes, dinners out, booze, anything in life as an extra just pretty much have to wait.

In the end, with patience, my wealth will support all my needs but cash flow will always be the biggest issue, learning how to deal with it is a real chore but necessary to maintain stress.

Hang in there.
 

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There is no reason anyone should have to pay so high interest rates! Mine is 6%. Find a credit union that can help you out. Credit unions can offer better rates than banks.

Even though I have very low income, I don't have a lot of debt, not under water in a house or underwater in a car, and I have the tax refund under my belt since it's near the end of the year and nothing substantial's going to change with my income, deductions or credits.

I think the easiest way to reduce debt and to feel better about life in general is to reduce one's living expenses as much as possible. This might mean letting a house go. It might mean moving as close to work as possible so you can just use a rental car or Zip car when you need a car. It might mean taking on a second job like 10 hours a week to keep yourself busy...while earning money. It might mean focusing more on your solid physical and emotional health than on the trappings of a life that exists only in your imagination.

Honestly, I think the key to financial success in this day and age is to master the art of being alone...so much of consumer life is based on fears of being socially ostracized...and yet...if you live in a one-room studio...after a while you learn that nobody gives a sh*t, those who are aware of the freedom it allows are envious...and wish they could do the same...

A lot of people tie having a home with being stable. That is very old school. Now it is about health and education and ability to turn a profit on your salary at work. Also flexibility. If you don't own a home and don't have a lot of possessions, you are able to be flexible and to live well below your means. The less you can be dependent on oil and second/third hand food products (meaning manufactured or prepared and served in a restaurant or grocery, etc.) the better off you will be in your future.

Personally, I'm looking into getting some land and living in an eco-friendly yurt. My living expenses are already pretty low, but I'd like a more sustainable lifestyle. Moving 'up' isn't necessarily the path to marble countertops in the kitchen. I was shocked when I found out my former boyfriend (low income artisan) wanted a bigger fancier house with such amenities. I thought I'd made it clear that I was in for simple things...no wonder he was so interested in my advanced degree and what I did for a living. lol. I told him he was barking up the wrong tree, I have no interest in putting my life energy towards a marble countertop, which I would then have to clean and insure...and worry about.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Servicing my debt isn't the main problem, it is just the tremendous cost of living, even what I consider a pretty modest living. I will agree that I am not really forced to eat KD, however, actually I am. My pantry is bare, fridge is empty and I'm stretching to last until next payday - it's ridiculous.

Everything just costs so fcking much - mortgage, car payment, property tax, electricity, gas, water, daycare, child support, car insurance, life insurance, phone & cable (I only have cable because I rent a room to my brother and he demanded it)... the credit card bills are way down on the list, but they are still on there along with everything else. what I just listed above is $2800/mo and the rest of my income seems to all go to gas and groceries, or the occasional lunch out. I could probably save a couple bucks a day packing my own lunch more often - one tiny dent, and maybe I could save $20/mo seeing arranging a reduced interest rate on my credit cards, other than that there is nowhere else for me to cut. Apart from my 46" TV I bought myself last year, and a $100 drum set I bought this summer I really am not a frivolous consumer... I've spent about $100 on booze in the past year that I probably didn't need to consume and maybe a couple hundred on new clothes that didn't have holes in them.

I agree HNU that there are ways to live a lot less, but I honestly feel just as broke as when I was trying to put myself through college living on $9k/year. I can keep going on, but it's not getting me further ahead, I cannot acomplish any financial goals, and the goals I accomplished in the past I've had to cash out, that is what's frustrating.
 

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Desperate times call for desperate measures. That's why I first recommended finding what you most value in life, aside from material goods and the traditional homestead setup, and doing more of that. Then, get rid of everything that doesn't add value to your life, and live as simply as possible. You will quickly get ahead...you'll sleep better at night, get out more, travel more, have more fun, and eventually be debt-free and have money in the bank against your retirement life. I see myself first as living my life in a community, housing needs are secondary to all that. A clean place to sleep and to take care of the essentials, and a place to kick back and be comfortable when I'm not up to something. I have no ego when it comes to housing. If I were in your shoes I'd be renting a room somewhere close to work and then put my stuff in storage. I've had to make concessions, like I can't play my trumpet in my apartment. So it's one of those things I'll look forward to in the future, if the future comes. Mostly I make sure my day to day is getting me what I want/need. Anything that doesn't contribute to that or bugs the h*ll out of me gets the shaft.

The interest rates I was referring to those posters who are paying above 20%, that's just wrong and mostly unnecessary.
 

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Desperate times call for desperate measures. That's why I first recommended finding what you most value in life, aside from material goods and the traditional homestead setup, and doing more of that. Then, get rid of everything that doesn't add value to your life, and live as simply as possible. You will quickly get ahead...you'll sleep better at night, get out more, travel more, have more fun, and eventually be debt-free and have money in the bank against your retirement life. I see myself first as living my life in a community, housing needs are secondary to all that. A clean place to sleep and to take care of the essentials, and a place to kick back and be comfortable when I'm not up to something. I have no ego when it comes to housing. If I were in your shoes I'd be renting a room somewhere close to work and then put my stuff in storage. I've had to make concessions, like I can't play my trumpet in my apartment. So it's one of those things I'll look forward to in the future, if the future comes. Mostly I make sure my day to day is getting me what I want/need. Anything that doesn't contribute to that or bugs the h*ll out of me gets the shaft.

The interest rates I was referring to those posters who are paying above 20%, that's just wrong and mostly unnecessary.
This is so true. It's amazing what we think are necessities until we have to do without them. I can honestly say I sleep better now. I have no rent or house payments, no car payments, no property taxes, etc. Perhaps the near death experience and bankruptcy were a blessing. Both things help me refocus on life.
 

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This is so true. It's amazing what we think are necessities until we have to do without them. I can honestly say I sleep better now. I have no rent or house payments, no car payments, no property taxes, etc. Perhaps the near death experience and bankruptcy were a blessing. Both things help me refocus on life.
My brain injury was certainly a blessing in disguise. I've recovered and can now turn off my thinking in order to relax, as needed. I was in Argentine Tango class all yesterday afternoon and realized I was happy to have a hobby I enjoyed, not something to fill the time but something that's an appropriate use of my time, regardless of relationship status or anything else going on in my life. My writing is the same way. But if I hadn't had a brain injury and had the near-death life-changing event, I'm sure I wouldn't have made the changes I ended up making. In effect, I made my life easier for myself, because I couldn't think all that well, and couldn't manage all that well. Now that I have a choice, I realized that I like it this way, I like it so much I want it to be more so. Actually, I used to be afraid of houses because of my childhood...but somehow either in this most recent relationship or in my therapy I've become okay with houses...so I wouldn't necessarily feel trapped in one that was paid for or easily afforded. But to have a house and all the trappings of modern life, because of not being able to think outside the box...and feeling entrapped by it...no way. I think the thing is to understand you have a sound mind and a plan to be solvent and healthy, and to get what you want out of life in the short term, not to keep putting it off for 'someday'. I have to be honest and say that I tend to be depressive, but I've found that being free of debt is probably the most effective treatment for the bulk of the depression...there is something about not feeling trapped and having options that has the effect of removing whatever burdens weigh down heavily on the soul and the expression of the spirit. As an artist (writer) I have to practice good self-care or I cannot write. Debt would be a huge impediment to creativity...so I can understand now why so many artists live in poverty...it's just how it looks from the outside. They do have a choice...but they eventually chose to live how they could best express themselves. I never got that til now.

I love this forum. Therapy is helpful, but in having to communicate in a collective space, I get a lot of insight. It's the most difficult posts that I don't want to read, that give me the most helpful information, once I overcome the fear in taking them on.

I've never really acknowledged my depression publicly before, not even to myself. But there it is. I think now that I can manage it safely I'm okay with it. But it is somewhat of a surprise. Because I have always managed with one sort of denial or another.
 

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I agree with the previous poster and you....life is to short! Start figuring out what is important. I'd think about buying a good/used car for cash. Who cares what you drive as long as it's reliable. You can always buy another when you are more comfortable. That saves a car payments and the higher insurance rates.

I'd pay the necessities first-shelter; food; utilities; child support

Credit cards-call your creditors and negotiate the interest rates-that will save big time. It's amazing how they will do it when they think you won't pay at all.

Start building an emergency fund.

Dave Ramsey is a good source of info regarding debt. He has a radio program; on Fox; and website as well. He gives seminiars throughout the country. It's really common sense stuff but he helps you to organize your priorities.

Good luck.
 

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I hear your frustration - I make 15K more this year than last yet it still all goes. However, I am also playing a bit of catch up - paying off my zero interest card on the 3K of materials for the porch (done), paying off my legal loan from parents (4 more years) assorted house and car maintenance that I had put off or done minimally necessary stuff so now need to take care of stuff. But the ends meet and I've been able to have more fun and lifestyle upgrades, too.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
My mind has been stewing the idea of selling the house and moving to someplace less expensive ever since the divorce. It has been escalating, and since my son enrolled in kindergarten closer to his mother's place on the other side of town the idea started making its way into reality. With the financial stress I've been under it is becoming clear maintaing my home is beyond my means, and as of a few minutes ago my mind made its decision that I definitely want to sell.

The barriers that have been keeping me uncertain is the cost of selling and moving, the availabity of less expensive place to live, having to declutter and get rid of a heap of junk, and also staging my home so that I get the most money I can for it. And also having to break the news to my brother whom I rent a room to.

After comparing some averages for cost of ownership between a condo and house... the idea that my house is only 6 years old but at the point where major repairs are going to start being a fact, it is causing anxiety. Also some things I wanted to do like building a garage and finishing the basement are just not feasible financially. It is becoming clear that multi-unit housing is going to cost a lot less. And the idea of being able to use my money to live (rather than just hunker) is too appealing.

So now I just have to decide what I want to move to: rent an apartment, buy a condo, or maybe a townhouse - the idea of having neighbors separated only by a wall feels like a big step back in my independance, but worth the trade off, if even only until I feel more financially stable again. My main concern has been if it is actually going to save me money - I think if I go through this and end up just as broke but in a dive I'd want to just die. I also have to decide on a smaller 2 bedrm place for just me and my son or going to a 3 bedrm place and having a tenant whether its my bro or someone else) and that causes me anxiety too. I don't want to have to deal with relying on someone else to make the ends meet.

And mostly I just have to make this happen and put a timeline on it... not sure if I want to do this starting tomorrow, or if I can put it off until spring (I hate moving in winter especially since there is so much stuff to sort through), and also there is landscaping that never really got done and I'm not sure how much it will detract from selling. Also in late spring is when university students are out and the selection of apartments becomes much better (I am leaning to just renting for now - there are actually some livable appt buildings close to my son's school that may be decent).

I guess I just had to write this out, so it doesn't just churn over and over in my mind and never happen. Any comments are always welcome, but I'm not sure why I need to publish this, lol. maybe you guys can kick my @ss if I'm still complaining about being broke but not doing anything about my situation.
 

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Sorry to hear that you are having ot make the huge step of enterign our market at this time.
It's a buyer's market right now, the showings I have had have all come with feedback, picky little wants and expectations for an asset that is currently on the market for a bargin.
My suggestion is to list reasonably within the comparables in your area, don't go in too high.
Also, I recommend renting. I have been looking with my lady in and around Vancouver, Kits, Burnaby and such. There are many reasonable rentals out there if you are looking hard and ready to jump when they come available.
2 bedrooms are easy to find, 3 bedrooms a little harder and the quality of the 3 bedrooms is often not good.
This market isn't going to change quickly with what is going on down south, and elselwhere in the world's market. Renting for a year or two shouldn't affect your ability to get back into the market later.
Your being smart to get rid of the house Lon, I thought just that when I read your first "complaining" post (your words!).
If you can get this all done and set-up, focus on cost-savings across your budget, I think you should find a happy median.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
D&H, actually I'm in SK (i know I told you I was from the coast, I meant I used to live there). still a buyers market, but prices not too shabby... Rental market otoh is a little crazy.
 
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