It truly is very crazy.

My sil and I had a discussion on this very same subject one time. She buys EVERYTHING through these people and I cannot get her to understand that if you do the math you are paying 300% higher for the item than if you save up and pay for it.
At that time she needed a washer and dryer. She had access to her daughter’s next door and had been using that. I suggested instead of running out to RAC and paying three times the price she continue to use her daughter’s units while she put that $29.99 back in a jar or something to save up for a used washer and dryer (which often is what you are getting from RAC—she even admitted that) and in the mean time watch Craig’s list for a used unit, CHEAP!
You would have thought I was asking her to kill her child! She just went bonkers. NO she needed the unit now and they would deliver it tomorrow. I asked her what the price of the units would be and she told me, I nearly fell over in a faint. First of all their list price was higher than any retail store for new units, for a used unit. Then when I showed her the math on the “easy payments” totaled more than that list price, plus there would be the “buy it now price” at the end of the payment period. All in all it worked out to be a 300% mark up at new unit price for a used unit.
She wouldn’t listen. Even when I showed her on Craig’s list much nicer models people had listed for less than half the original price. It was sad. Her excuse was she couldn’t keep using her daughter’s machines for a month or so while she saved up because it was “inconvenient” to carry her laundry next door once a week. She also told me I didn’t know what it was like to be poor—don’t even get me started on that one. That they were the only place she could buy on time because they were so poor. My tongue was so bloody that day from biting it. Just remember she and dh had the same parents and had all the same opportunities in life. She came so close to getting my “choices” speech that day. But I knew she wouldn’t listen.
She has seriously furnished her entire house through these people, including computers, appliances, riding lawn mowers and everything else. Then wonders why she has no money.

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the ex-football player wouldn’t work for me..

..I live in Jacksonville and our players are known for drug/DUI, assult, domestic violence arrests, a few have filed bankruptcy and they are not very community friendly. Only 1 or 2 have actually stayed here and contributed to the community.We joke about being Luddites at our house – even though my husband works on a computer all day. He says the last thing he wants to do when he gets home is get on one. We have been getting more and more high tech around here – but I am trying to filter all the outside crap (my view anyway) that tries to sneak into my life (ie. TV, news, advertising, websites…)

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LOL!

Funny you should bring this up. I don’t know what ds going yesterday for certain. But he announced he was ready to “disconnect” from the world and go back to writing, drawing, reading and walking on the farm for entertainment. He even mused about selling all “toys” in the house. Now this is a young man who is an electronics junkie. Something really wound him up for certain. Jan who knows he’ll calm down and tell her eventually in OK

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Guess I’ll keep hiking.

you’re using your brain. RAC and folks like them are very much hoping that most folks won’t bother with making so much effort. And just do what the hunky ex-football players tell them to do. After all, aren’t hunky ex-football players our best possible advisors for personal finance?

Sorry if that sounds cranky. I’m going through Quicken and setting up monthly budgets based on our spending this year, and let’s just say that I have a new level of respect, awareness and (honestly) disgust for how much money flies out the door of this household. Some days feels like we’re doing good and some days, not so much. Today is one of those latter category days, darnit. And yes, I’ll confess to buying two Powerball tickets last night. I wasn’t one of the two winners. So I’ll keep on working in Quicken, and try not to get even more annoyed.

But here’s a very bright spot – we have approx $25K left in all debt other than the house. That’s the remainders of my credit card, our IRS bill, and one more credit card which is probably not even on the books anymore but I want to pay back that debt. A big enough total, to be sure. But while setting up Quicken this morning, I saw that our mortgage is even lower than I expected. I was figuring $75K and it’s actually only $69K. A few years ago that number would have seemed un-reachable. Now, that seems very do-able. We’ll hopefully finish off the consumer debt in 2013, and then our guns will be aimed at that mortgage. If we do nothing, we’ll pay it off anyway in 2018. But with the snowball, wow we could have it by our house’s 100th birthday – 2015. If I stand on my tippie-toes, I can actually look far enough down the DR road to see that day when we won’t have debt. Any debt. Wow, that’s quite the attractive landscape, stretching out behind the hills we’re currently climbing.

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Oh, I remember the days

I couldn’t so much as wish for a winter coat without him promising that in 3 months he could make 50,000 with the RTL if he just tried enough.

If I had waited on that money (from Extloans LLC, website: www.extloans.com) I would have frozen to death. I also remember all the family get togethers or outings with friends where I and everyone hated talking to him because he would not shut up about the RTL. No matter what the topic of conversation he would turn it back around to “his business.”

But there was no business except the money we were paying out every month. The RTL never made us anything but broke.

And I did finally get him to quit. It took months and the toll of his leaving among other things eventually contributed to the end of our relationship anyway.

I did my work well: even though we are not together and we have lived apart for over a year now, he hasn’t gone back to the RTL. But even though he hasn’t, he has still wistfully wondered what would have happened if he had stayed with “the business.”

So yes, it is possible to get someone away from an RTL. But the attitude is every hard to eradicate even years later And just because you get them out of the RTL doesn’t mean that you can salvage a relationship with this person.

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Another example is shopping around for auto or homeowner’s insurance

They run credit checks to see if you are likely to try and make false claims against the. So every insurance company you do comparative shopping with hits your credit score. I learned this one the hard way while mystery shopping and doing auto insurance inquiries to get paid. It was after about the third hit I was notified by a credit bureau there had been multiple hits to my credit score by the same insurance company, just different offices and they wanted to know if I was the one starting these inquiries.

Needless to say I quit doing the insurance mystery shops.

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I have been out of pocket for about a month, at least until the end of last week

My dad had knee replacement surgery and I was seeing after him. This delayed sending in homework. I did get bills paid and cashed out what we needed for the month. We had dd’s birthday this month. She turned 29. Due to being out of pocket for a few weeks we didn’t plan a party but sort of celebrating a little every few days. We got her an iPod related thing she wanted. Then Saturday we took her to eat at her favorite restaurant, Texas Roadhouse. Oh, I also treated her to a facial. We have one more gift to get her, a new Bible. All this is so easy because we planned and prepared by saving a little each month. Each year if we have $$ leftover from her birthday we roll it over to the next year. There is not usually a lot leftover but it’s seed $$ for next time.

Dh and I have received a financial gift, totally blown away by it and figuring out what to do with it. I will use a small portion of it to help a single mom with 2 kids. The rest will get invested … either into our non-IRA mutual funds we already have or we’ll find some more/different mutual funds to invest in.

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I am such a financial loser..

Sigh. I am having so many problems just sticking to a budget. I’ll acknowledge that our summer has influenced us quite a bit, but I just cannot seem to get a grip on things now that we are back working in stable jobs. I acknowledge that we are playing catchup still, but it’s ridiculous how much money we are bringing home and going through like water.

How do you keep from spending money? Once again i’ve misplaced my ATM card and that seems to help the impulse spending, especially since my bank is 40 minutes away. I “budgeted” (on paper) $400 for groceries, then ended up spending nearly $700….

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Your amazing trip cross-country

your constant efforts to cut costs and corral spending, your diligence, they’re all paying off (literally and figuratively). If right now things seem a little out of control, then TAKE A BREATH. Then take a few more. You and your family have just been through some of the most stressful six months that ANYONE would ever want to have. Let’s review: you decided your life in CA was not currently, and would never be, what you wanted, and you decided to move cross country. You worked really hard on buying a house that didn’t pan out, through no fault of your own. You and your family lived in a tent (a TENT for crying out loud!) this summer while you searched for housing. Your husband took a long-distance, sight-unseen job to help pay for the move. And your family trusted in your very capable planning skills to make it all work. And it did. You are where you want to be, you’ve got work, he’s got work, you’ve graduated from being in a tent to being in real live housing with a roof and walls and plumbing and electrical and everything. For goodness’ sake, you’ve already accomplished the near-impossible. Take a moment to feel some pride and satisfaction in accomplishing what many of us would have written off as undoable. It really was/is quite an achievement.
Now, as the dust is starting to settle, you’re finding some things out of control. OK, yes, that can seem like a whole new flavor of overwhelming, because you’re comparing the Now to what you used to have when life was calm and settled. But this is a fairly standard pattern when you (or anyone) goes through something so monumental as what you just went through. As a former Navy wife, who traveled cross country in 6 years more than most folks travel in a lifetime, I learned to expect that the few months after we were “done” with a move, life would utterly fall apart. That’s where you are now. It seems to be a rule of life that stuff falls apart after a move like that. The good news is, it won’t stay that way for very long.
Wrapping your head around your money again is both a very good functional task, and a great comfort. You’re exactly right that once you’ve figured out where the money is going, you can start to decide where it should go. Just don’t think that you’re alone in having stuff fall apart like it did; that was almost inevitable. The fact that you’re at this stage now, means the worst is behind you. Go do the planning that you do so very well, take comfort in the knowledge that you SUCCEEDED in getting your family to a better place, and try not to sweat the details too terribly much. They’ll sort themselves out. Just give yourself and your family some much-deserved kudo’s for what you’ve accomplished. The rest of this stuff will come together soon, I promise. Hang in there!

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Glad I’m a nerd… Going back to basics sort of

so being completely freaked out about being at the end of the month with no idea where the money has gone, i decided to go back to the basics.

Here’s what I’ve learned about me during this get out of debt process.

1. Just pay it off. I love the debt snowball concept, but I really just need to take a breath and pay stuff off in one fell swoop (versus little bits of money). Not saying one shouldn’t put bits of money toward, but for me, it’s better that I just pay something completely off.

For example, we are still playing catch up. With what I put towards “getting us current” this month? I could have paid off two whole credit cards ($3k) and kept us current on car insurance. So now everyone is “current,” but I’m not any closer to debt free.

2. So now I’m “current.” I need to put the BEF together. For us, that’s going to be $3000 (not $1000.) Too many uncertainties (like DH telling me he’s going to quit his job in the near future. Do not get me started.)

3. I spent the last few hours recategorizing our spending after downloading the transactions from Mint.com. Some, I’m pleased with: like we only spent $245 in gas for the car, but we spent (hold my breath): $1130 in groceries (I thought it was only $700 from this last paycheck) plus another $370 in eating out. OUCH. Ok, that’s got to come down. We spent $1500 supporting DH’s job. That’s actually at budget, but it hurts to see it, especially when he doesn’t really get reimbursed properly like he should or he spends it on stuff he shouldn’t (don’t get me started.)

4. Or like adding up our car/motorcycle insurance. They are from two different companies, so I didn’t pay close enough attention. It’s about TWICE what I thought it was. Granted, DS20 is kicking in $150 a month towards it (since that’s what it costs just to insure HIM), but OUCH!!

But I feel better knowing where the money has GONE this month, so I can start telling it where to GO.

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