Monday, July 31, 2006


after a suggestion from Singla Ma, i surfed over to Credit Boards and proceeded to try to wrap my head around some of the steps i can take to get my finances back on track. there is SO much information over there! browsing the topics and reading some of the suggestions of others i once again felt overwhelmed. there is so much i didn't know. so much i wish i would have known in the beginning. and so much i still have to learn.

but i'm hopeful.

the strangest thing happened. last night i had a dream that i was embattled with a collection agent and i was hitting him with all the info i learned on Credit Boards. my information game was too tight and he was no match for me (ha!). i woke up laughing and hopeful. for the first time in a long time i realized that my future is actually in my hands. just because i made mistakes in the past, doesn't mean i have to roll over and accept bad credit for the next 7 years.

although i'm still trying to wrap my head around the endless amount of information on the site, i will definitely be doing my homework (at home and i am no longer entertaining the thoughts of bankruptcy or just giving up, resigned to a life of bad credit. nah homie....Com Cents is on the come up!

thank you to everyone who has commented, given advice, and pointed me in the right direction. your help is very much appreciated!


Saturday, July 29, 2006

writing it down

so i did it. i went through my bills and wrote down the amounts owed. some things i didn't have the bill for, so i had to call and find out the balance. what's the damage?


that is the amount i owe including my student loans. without my loans i owe
$6831.62, which isn't THAT high, but as i stated in the last post, most of that is owed to collection agencies.

so now what? i tried to do a preliminary sketch of how much i have to pay out per month and check that against my salary. every month i have to purchase/pay for...

Discover Card--$335 (will be paid off in October)
Baby Formula/Supplies--$150
Bally's Fitness--$36
total: $1713.21

my monthly take home is around $2200/month, and once i switch jobs it will increase, although i'm not sure by how much.

so writing it down has taught me a few things (some i already know).

  1. i don't owe THAT much: i owe less than $7k, which is totally doable.
  2. I spend money on random things: I take home nearly $500 more than I need to spend, yet at the end of the pay period i'm always broke.
  3. I have some room to pay off my other debt, but i have to be smart about it: before i call up the collection agencies and play let's make a deal, i should have an idea of what i can pay and not get bullied into paying more than i can handle.
overall i'm happy i wrote it all down. i now know exactly (more or less) of what i'm up against. i told DH and he said he's proud of me. he's happy i'm tryingto get it all together. that made me smile. i do feel 20 times smarter (but also 20 time broker), but at least now i have the power to make some changes.

now....if anyone has advice as to how to deal w/ collections agencies that would be great.

what do you do when....

you don't have credit card debt?

well, sorta

don't get me wrong, i owe money to credit card companies (and phone companies, and cable, and get the picture), but my accounts are all closed and i'm in collections all over the place. most of the "get out of debt" strategies i've seen and read about focus on making deals with your credit card company to lower your interest rate and pay on time....but what do you do when you're in collections??

my finances are so bad i've considered bankruptcy. it's not that i owe an insurmountable amount of money, it's just that i seem to owe everybody everything NOW. all collection companies want their money NOW. sure they may make some payment deals, but when you add up all the bills, it far exceeds the amount i can/want pay at once. i'm sure i haven't done much to help the situation either. my strategy so far has been to ignore the calls and lie: "uhhhh common isn't home right now, call her back later. thanks."

but now that i have a child & have started my life with the man i love, i don't want to be afraid to answer our phone. i don't want to worry about being sued (i've been threatened), i don't want to worry about anybody garnishing my wages, and i don't want my financial problems to stop us from buying a house or a car or anything else we'd like to do.

so today has come. i'm am about give my son some Scooby snacks, throw some toys in his crib and begin the process of opening up all my bills, figuring out what i owe and what i can pay. i am very nervous. i pray a gigantic amount of debt doesn’t haul off and slap me upside the head, but i'm ready to face it.

wish me luck. i'll keep you posted. oh.. .and thank you to everybody who has commented so far. your advice & encouragement has been very helpful!

ps--i've noticed that a lot of you PF bloggers have those fresh looking graphs on your page to track your net worth, debt, and savings...where can i get one? holla at your girl.


Tuesday, July 25, 2006

starting from scratch

so it's time to start to get a handle on my financial situation, but i'm somewhat at a loss as to where to begin. using tidbits of what i've heard and read as a guide, i believe i need to first figure out what i owe and what i spend my money on.

finding out how much i owe is....scary. i have no idea how much i owe or to how many people I owe money to. my financial strategy so far has been to ignore the bills and the calls, because maybe ignore it, it doesn't exist. you know what they say, "ignorance is bliss?" but from my experience it is also very costly. so this week (and into the weekend) i will commit to figuring it all out. this will take quite a bit of work (and time). because i have to take care of my little munchkin, I will commit opening bills, writing down the balances, and figuring out a payment system after i put my little one to sleep. this journey is about making a lasting change, and change is often a tough, painful, yet rewarding process.

and i'm ready to begin.

sometime ago i bought David Bach's book, The Finish Rich Workbook. i remember reading through the first few chapters and just feeling overwhelmed. the book didn't inspire me (as i'd hope), but rather highlighted just how disorganized and out of wack my financial life is. I felt bad reading it so i stopped. with so much going on in my life i couldn't bear to face my money issues head on. but the time has come. i'm moving on to a different career where i'll be making a little more money (but only getting paid once of month! yikes!), i'll be back in school, and i'll have more time to spend with my son. so it's time...i think i will get back into The Finish Rich Workbook and organize my finances, and start trying to figure this thing out.

all you bloggers who are working toward financial success, if you have recommendations...please share. we can all use some good tips.

Monday, July 24, 2006

A Change Is Gonna Come


after browsing several financial blogs, watching people get out of debt via Oprah's debt diet, and just being plain ol' sick and tired of being broke, it has come down to this: getting real and blogging about my (lack of) money and (lack of) financial discipline.

as a twenty-something, non-single, single mommy, i have a great deal of responsibility on my plate. unfortunately, at the moment, my beloved can't be here to raise our infant son or share the household expenses, so all of the responsibility is on my shoulders. and i've never been "good" with money. i haven't had the best track record sticking to any type of budget, my credit is beyond poor, i have TONS of bills, and i live paycheck to paycheck, barely making my salary stretch. and, i'm sick of it.

i can't live like this anymore.

the time has come to make a change. this blog was partly inspired by Single Ma. i have been a silent reader of her blog for a while now and her financial success is inspiring. watching her meet her goals while providing her readers with some info gems is so refreshing. see, no one ever sat down with me and taught me about money (beyond how to open a checking/savings account), so now i am stumbling and trying to figure it out on my own. i know there are SO many others like me, so i count on you guys for wisdom, advice, and support.

getting the bad credit gorilla off my back & finally learning and understanding money will be life changing. won't you join me on my journey?