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Create a wall of fame

August 25th, 2011 at 01:58 am

When paying off your debts I think its helpful to create a wall of fame (or maybe a wall of shame. Shameful for ever having the debts in the first place). What I mean by that is as you pay off each debt write Paid Off and put it up on your wall as a reminder of the progress that you are making. Making something visual can really help your progress. Its like setting goals as you see something paid off you know its working and it keeps you going.

$1000 Snake Killing Machine

December 30th, 2010 at 03:42 am

I am sure the title of this blog is making you wonder. What is he going to talk about? Well for those of you who don't know me I am deathly terrified of snakes.

So now lets go back to the year 2005. My family is living in a house that for some reason in the summer there were snakes all over the yard. You couldn't mow the yard and not see 10 snakes. We even had one downstairs in our laundry room. It was only about 3 inches long but for me it might as well of been 3 feet long. I wanted to avoid those snakes by any means necessary.

So I went out and purchased on a credit card a $1000 snake killing machine (aka riding lawnmower). I wanted to keep my feet away from those snakes anyway possible. The good part was that it was fantastic at killing snakes and it cut grass pretty good too. The bad part was that it was put on a credit card at 18% interest. And the other bad part was (yes there is more than one bad part to my story) I only owned the lawnmower for one summer season. We ended up moving to a new place where I did not have to mow the lawn and I had nowhere to store it. So just a few months after I purchased the mower I sold it for only $800. Not to mention all the interest I paid on the credit card which probably took me 2 years to pay off.

I guess the moral to my story is. Do not use the fear of something to rationalize you to buy something that you deep down know is stupid.

Financial Stupidity (My personal story)

December 20th, 2010 at 03:07 am

I suppose my story of financial stupidity would start back in 1999 when I got out of high school and started at the community college. I took out a $2500 school loan (this loan will stick around way longer than I planned for more about it later). I never had to make any payments on that loan until I was finished with school or until I quit. Which I never finished my degree. So about 2001 I was starting to make payments of $50 a month.

2001 was also the year I was married to my wife Dawn. I came into the marriage with no other debt besides my student loan. My wife on the other hand had a few credit cards and a couple small personal loans and a car payment.

Just like many marriages we barely had any money to pay the bills let alone get debt paid off. Around 2002 or so my mom introduced me to Dave Ramsey. I had never heard of him before and I listened to a few of his tapes(yep cassette tapes). I thought this guy was an idiot. I mean he lost millions of dollars why on earth would I listen to someone like that?

Now being at the ripe old age of 22 of course I knew everything so I wasn't about to listen to anyones advice. I mean my knowledge was solid and I didn't need help from anyone.

We purchased a car in 2002. It was a 2001 Chevy Lumina. Unfortunately in late 2003 the car was wrecked. We did not even get enough money from the insurance company to pay it off. So we kept paying on it for another 6 months. I also bought another car from my mother. I paid to put a transmission into the car. So that put me another $1500 into debt. Im proud to say though that I am still driving that car today. Its a 1994 Chrysler Lebaron.

Sometime around 2003 I thought it might be a good idea to apply for my own credit cards. We couldn't pay for the credit cards we already had, why not add a few more onto the pile right? I ended up being approved for 3 different cards. Two of them had limits of $500 and the other one had a limit of $2000 I believe.

The two smaller cards I used primarily for buying gas, food, and crap. The larger $2000 limit card I used about $1000 of it to buy some stupid course I saw on TV. I honestly do not remember exactly what it was. But obviously it turned out to make me $0. Lesson learned with that dumb idea.

In April of 2004 we ended up purchasing another car for $14,000 to replace the car that was totaled. It was a 2003 Mitsubishi Galant. We didnt have enough money to pay the taxes and plating of the car. So we went and got a personal loan of about $1500 to cover those costs.

At the end of 2004 I thought it would be a good idea to go through a debt consolidation company. We had a total of 6 credit cards at the time that we put into the program. We paid them around $250 a month and that payment was split up between the 6 payments. It did absolutely no good using that company. As with lots of those companies they dont pay your debt to your creditor on time and it just creates more of mess.

In March of 2005 my mom had caught wind of my credit card debt and thought it would be a good idea if we borrowed $16,000 from her and my step dad to pay off our creditors. They meant well and it seemed like a good idea but looking back on it, it was the worst thing we could have ever done. During the time we were paying them they never mentioned anything about the money. But you felt like they were hanging that debt over our heads and it was very stressful.

Also in 2005 I decided that I NEEDED a new computer. So I opted for the Dell credit card and spent about $1000 on a new computer. Luckily today I am still using that computer and typing this very story on it now.

Towards the end of 2005 I was getting really stressed out with the debt and decided to take it one step further. Like I didn't have enough debt already. I thought it would be a good idea to go and apply for a bunch of credit cards. (I know it just keeps getting worse right?)

After all was said and done I had gotten myself a total of 11 more credit cards. I had a Dell, 2 HSBC, 2 Chase, 2 Capital one, 1 Juniper Bank card, 1 Paypal, 1 Citi, and a Music 123 credit card. These cards totaled a combined credit limit of over $11,000.

By the end of 2006 I had probably maxed out all of those credit cards. Put those cards on top of the debt we already had with a car loan, personal family loan and another personal loan.

We had personal loan through Beneficial. (They are not very beneficial if you were wondering). This loan was around $3000. About a year after we got that loan they sent us a check in the mail for $5000. And of course by cashing this check it would create a new loan for us. Good idea right? Well you probably guessed it. Yeah we cashed it. So now we have a loan with Beneficial for $8000.

So by now we have around $40,000+ in debt. I know there is other loans we got throughout the years that I honestly can't remember.

We were able to keep up with minimum payments for a while. But we knew it wouldn't last that long. The payments were slowly sucking the life out of us. As a desperate plea I started looking for someone to help us. Like an idiot I thought that a debt settlement company would help us. Yeah Right!! So I signed up with them anyway. The company I signed up with was called Credit Solutions. They are a total scam. We ended up paying them around $1000 and they only settled 2 cards.

At this time we were not paying anything on any of these credit cards and they were getting higher and higher balances each day. Some of these companies were offering me settlements as much as 70% off the balance, but I just did not have the money to settle with them at the time.

Then something happened that really scared the crap out of me. I came home one day and had a orange note stuck on my door from the sheriff. 2 of my credit cards had started the proceedings to sue me. I immediately called the lawyers handling the case and set up a payment plan with them. Why I ever let it get that far is beyond me. And let me tell you one thing. The lawyers that handle the credit card cases are way easier to work with than the credit card companies.

This is now beginning of 2007 and I am finally starting to see that all of my stupid ideas are not working. So I start listening to Dave Ramsey a lot more. I was already listening but I guess I wasn't hearing what he was saying before. In May of 2007 Dave was going to be doing a live event in Kansas City which was about 5 hours from where I live in Nebraska. About a week before the event my wife and I ordered 2 tickets and we were off to see Dave. Let me tell you seeing Dave Ramsey live was very life changing for us.

A month or so after we saw Dave we had a yard sale to raise some money for our emergency fund and I got a new job in the summer of 2007 which was paying me quite a bit more than I was making before. We were really able to start pounding away on the debt.

We really started getting all those smaller debts out of the way and start making some real progress.

Now we are towards the end of 2008. My wife received a sum of money and we were able to pay off our car and loan to my mom. Remember that school loan I talked about in the beginning that started it all? Well it was at this time still sitting in deferment. June of 2009 I was able to pay that off completely. Just 2 months shy of 10 years to pay off a stupid $2500 debt.

At the end of 2009 I quit my job because it was driving me insane. My wife and I agreed that I would stay home for the time being. We are almost debt free. We still have about $4,000 left. But have made a ton of progress. I am currently working on some different ideas for starting my own business.

My goal is to try and help people avoid my situation at all costs. It is not fun to go though and I will try my hardest to keep people out of where I have been.

Hopefully my story doesn't sound too familiar to anyone. If it does remember you can work your way of most problems you get yourself into.

Spending on credit for

July 22nd, 2010 at 03:38 am

We all know how credit cards try to lure you with points or rewards. The kind that you can redeem for merchandise or whatever. Why are people so drawn into quote "free" stuff? I don't think they are seeing how much they are spending to get this "free" stuff.

I have an example of someone I know personally who spent literally tens of thousands of dollars to earn enough points to trade in for a kitchaid mixer. Now I personally own a kitchaid mixer and they are quite pricey. This particular model im talking about is around $500. But to put thousands and thousands of dollars on your credit card to get this "free" item just seems ridiculous to me.

You could of saved yourself all that interest that you paid and just bought the mixer for cash. With credit cards there is no free stuff. It all has a price and unfortunately it can be a very expensive price.

Using Credit For Fireworks!

July 4th, 2010 at 01:03 pm

With today being the 4th of July nothing reminds me more of this holiday than burgers on the grill and fireworks. As a kid I remember how it was. I started thinking about fireworks as soon as the snow melted in March. I have seen that pretty much all of the fireworks stands around my town accept credit cards. Seriously?? How stupid is that? Your putting something onto your credit card at 18% interest that goes up in smoke. LITERALLY.

You need to stop and ask yourself before you go out an buy a bunch of fireworks on credit. Do I really want to pay interest on something that is gone in a few seconds? I don't think so.

The best way to stay safe this 4th of July is to use cash to pay for your fireworks, it will hurt a lot less next month.

Cut up your credit cards

July 1st, 2010 at 02:29 am

Its time to cut up your credit cards. This is one of the most crucial steps to getting yourself out of debt. There is no better time than now to rid yourself of credit cards. What has your credit card ever done for you?

I never felt so good like I did when I finally destroyed those credit cards. Just saying your going to stop using your credit cards is not good enough. You need to cut them up and be done forever.

Can debt settlement companies help me?

June 29th, 2010 at 08:52 pm

You have seen them on tv many times before. "Let us settle your debt for pennies on the dollar" They advertise being able to settle for 60% off of what you owe. Sounds like a great idea doesn't it? I went through this disaster first hand and want to prevent anybody else going through it.

First thing you need to ask yourself is. Are you behind on your credit card bills? If you answered no, then be prepared to get behind. Because the first thing they are going to tell you to do is to stop paying your bills and to not communicate with your creditors.

But of course they are not going to do this for free. What they do usually is they have you make monthly payments to them. I believe we paid somewhere around $200+ a month. The first 3 months of payments go right into the pocket of this company. Then after that they get half of your monthly payment and the other half goes into an account to "save up" money to pay when a credit card will settle with you.

A credit card company will not settle with you unless your usually 3-6 months behind on your bills. When you are so far behind the credit card company will make you an offer to settle your debt. In the meantime while we were "saving up" with this company to settle our debts, I was sued by 2 different credit cards. That is about enough to scare you to death. I immediately quit using this company and worked out the debts myself

Why would you purposely stop paying on debts that were not behind in the first place to wreck your credit and fill your life with harassing phone calls from credit card companies?

Work through your debts yourself. Don't look for a magic pill to solve all your financial problems because it will only lead to grief.