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Old 11-03-2012, 11:04 PM   #1
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Help Me! I feel money-stupid.

I'm new to this area of the board, but I could really use some advice or suggestions. I'm not even 100% sure if this is the right place for this... I'm not used to putting myself so "out there" with our situation, but I feel so money-stupid right now and I'm really stressed about it.

Backstory (I will try to make this short!): We just moved in July to a new city, a great house, we were really excited about it - however, because of the money pit we had been living in and the less-than-stellar housing market, we actually ended up PAYING to move and it ate up all of our savings. Thankfully, at the time, we had no major debt aside from one car payment. But suddenly, over the past month, we were hit really hard by a snowball of financial things (my son had two painfully large medical bills that showed up on our doorstep and a we had a significant but necessary car repair to deal with, as well as a couple other smaller and ill-timed setbacks). And, hooray, it's now become Christmas season, which is just the cherry on top of my giant stress sundae - thankfully my kids are too young to notice.

Anyway, we had to put the car repair bill on our credit card, which also got the first of the two medical bill payments on it, too. And our interest rate is pretty high (like 17%? I think). OK, now on to my question...

I'm scared to keep living without any money saved up, but is it stupid to attempt to save up money and while just barely paying enough to cover the interest charges on the card? Or is it wiser to try and whittle down the credit card/doctor bills and hope to heck nothing else bad happens? Or is there a way to somehow transfer our credit card balance on to something with a lower rate? Or are there other options I'm not thinking of?

On a completely different but somewhat related note, are there any other places like Swagbucks that you can earn gift cards or the like? I work 45 hrs/wk but I have a couple hours to myself in the evenings after the kids go to bed, maybe I could make myself useful and earn something towards Christmas gifts. I like Swagbucks but it seems like it takes me for-e-ver to earn any significant amount, probably because my referrals have all maxed out. I'd be happy to use your referrals if you've got them, I just want something that is worth my limited amount of time!

Thanks in advance.

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Old 11-03-2012, 11:19 PM   #2
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Dave Ramsey says, and I agree, that you should have a "baby emergency fund" of $500 and then put every extra penny towards the debt. This works for me - and it keeps you from using those cards again if another unexpected expense comes up.

You guys will be able to get out of this soon, I'm sure. It sounds like y'all are on the right track and don't need to make fundamental changes, you just had stuff pile up at the wrong time. I bet by this time next year it's all behind you.

As for earning online, Superpoints is easy. I only earn about $20 a month, but you just click a button every day a few times, it takes less than 5 minutes. My moms referral link is in my siggy - she would be over the moon if you used it. My dad just retired and she is trying to help out with their finances.

I also post on forums for Paypal, but I can't link that here because its against the DS TOS to post about other forums. You can message me if you are interested, though, I will give you some earning tips.
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Old 11-03-2012, 11:20 PM   #3
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Re: Help Me! I feel money-stupid.

I would whittle the cc down. My hubby b4 we met got stuck with rent & he's nice soh not push on it & 5000 on cc. Slowly we paid off & same with other things I know its hard. Hugs.
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Old 11-04-2012, 05:24 AM   #4
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Definitely pay yourself first and set up an emergency fund, not a large one but enough to act as Murphy repellant. We tried and tried to get out of debt without one and it never worked. As soon as something came up it would go right back on the credit card, meaning more interest and bigger hole to dig out of. Also good for the peace of mind, don't underestimate that. DR recommend 1k, but we felt better with a bit more than that, and we've now been debt free for a year.

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Old 11-04-2012, 09:50 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Computermama
Definitely pay yourself first and set up an emergency fund, not a large one but enough to act as Murphy repellant. We tried and tried to get out of debt without one and it never worked. As soon as something came up it would go right back on the credit card, meaning more interest and bigger hole to dig out of. Also good for the peace of mind, don't underestimate that. DR recommend 1k, but we felt better with a bit more than that, and we've now been debt free for a year.

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I agree, we could not seem to get our debt under control until we established a savings. Our emergency fund is slightly higher due to location and family circumstances, but once we had that we seemed to have the confidence and knowledge to really attack our debt. it really does seem to be repellent.

I would also look into finding a new cc with a 0% on balance transfers,or even something really low. Transfer as much as you can or all of it, then when it comes time to start interest, transfer again. I know most don't advocate cc, but it doesn't sound like you used them often and have enough control to not add more debt to it.
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Old 11-04-2012, 10:51 AM   #6
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I agree with most of the advice on this thread. I would seek a 0% interest card (realize that these are usually one-year max and the regular interest is accruing). I would establish the $500 savings first. Buy used or cheap for Christmas. My DS is 1 and we are spending around $100 total, which I consider to be a fairly small amount. He won't remember so there's no reason to stress myself. I don't do Swagbucks b/c, as you mentioned, it takes forever. I just don't feel it's worth my time, personally.

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Old 11-04-2012, 11:07 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by krispy79

I agree, we could not seem to get our debt under control until we established a savings. Our emergency fund is slightly higher due to location and family circumstances, but once we had that we seemed to have the confidence and knowledge to really attack our debt. it really does seem to be repellent.

I would also look into finding a new cc with a 0% on balance transfers,or even something really low. Transfer as much as you can or all of it, then when it comes time to start interest, transfer again. I know most don't advocate cc, but it doesn't sound like you used them often and have enough control to not add more debt to it.
Thank you! Can anyone direct me on how to find a 0% card and how to transfer our balance? We really barely ever used it and suddenly it has thousands of dollars on it...it makes me sick the interest we will be paying if we tried to chip at it.
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Old 11-04-2012, 11:17 AM   #8
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Just go to a major bank's website and look through their credit cards for promo offers (Chase, Bank of America, etc). I would also make sure there are minimal/no fees, although I think many charge a flat fee to transfer a balance. It will be worth it if the fee is minimal. I don't pay annual fees and recommend avoiding them.

You'll get out of this soon!

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Old 11-04-2012, 11:19 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by lynn97
Buy used or cheap for Christmas. My DS is 1 and we are spending around $100 total, which I consider to be a fairly small amount. He won't remember so there's no reason to stress myself. I don't do Swagbucks b/c, as you mentioned, it takes forever. I just don't feel it's worth my time, personally.
I have about $40 in Amazon gift cards from Swagbucks, so that's what I will be using for the kids and DH and I won't be getting each other anything. I wish there were a tactful way to ask DH's family to not get us anything so we don't feel bad not spending money on them...
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Old 11-04-2012, 12:32 PM   #10
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I have about $40 in Amazon gift cards from Swagbucks, so that's what I will be using for the kids and DH and I won't be getting each other anything. I wish there were a tactful way to ask DH's family to not get us anything so we don't feel bad not spending money on them...
Maybe see if they would be interested in doing a gift exchange or drawing names instead. We suggested it with DH's family a few years ago and everyone was on board. It doesn't eliminate gifts but sure cuts down how much is spent.
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