I just got an e-mail from a company

I had a phone interview last week.They want me to come in for a face-to-face interview. Problem is,the IT Manager is in South Haven, about 3 hours away. Since my car’s transmission is acting up, I’m leery of trying to make such a trip.Plus it would cost me about $80 in gas. The Admin Assistant says that if I can’t make the trip for some reason, she could see if the ITManager could come to their Bloomfield Hills office – that’s only about 20-30 minutes from me. So, do I admit that I’m worried about mycar, or do I roll the dice and spend the whole day driving there and back(as well as the gas money)? Opinions?

Ok, so I am about to embarq on a new concept, doing research

and buying a used car from a person with CASH. That will entail bargaining (which I suck at!) and restraint of impulse (new stuff there too) and really really paying attention to details. I have narrowed the search to toyota camry, or celica, or possibly honda accord. Coupes not sedan, I have carted kids around for 22 years, this is gonna be a car for ME! I am excited and scared. I am just looking for tips from y’all. I am going to pull the carfax, and really kick the tires. And try to negotiate. Any other suggestions?

For me, I was separated for five years

and shared custody and expenses with my ex. I went off the financial rails when he became disturbed
and I had to take full custody. He stopped paying anything, I had my daughter full time, and I had to get a lawyer who worked on strictly
cash. I blew through what had been a decent emergency fund, borrowed a little, started using a credit card to fill the gaps, and dug myself
into a hole. I was doing a “budget” in Excel and telling myself everything was OK. The shocker came when I had to fill out the state’s
financial forms, and could NOT make them balance. They showed me spending a lot more than I was making. And as I dug in, my spreadsheet
stopped looking so cheery. The forms were right. I was bleeding money. The first step for me was – not even doing a budget – just tracking my spending in Quicken, and labeling it according to the categories on those state forms. For the first few months “CASH-UNKNOWN” was a big category. I had to track my spending for several months before I had a real picture of where it was all going.

Don’t worry about the car for right now, you need to get your big picture in focus. You’re an accountant, you know *what* you need to
do. DR talks about the “four walls”. Budget for food, water, mortgage, transportation and utilities. Then you make the plan for tackling
everything else, and start tweaking.
And don’t forget to breathe! You have your family, your health, your job, you’ll get through this.

First, I want you to know that most

(if not all) of us started off in much the same condition as you’re in now. If you’ve been lurking for awhile, you’ll know that we come from a variety of circumstances but “dead broke and scared stiff” is a very common starting point. That’s certainly where we were when we first got started. Slightly different bills, slightly different work/home/personal situations, but we ended up deep in the hole all the same.
Second, I would encourage you to consider that you’ve already taken a HUGE first step, by posting the circumstances of your situation. It was only about this time last year that I started opening statements again, and you may or may not have seen that we only recently (November!) came clean with the IRS for two years’ worth of back taxes. We all have various weights around our proverbial necks, so you’re in good company. The question isn’t what size weight that is dragging us down. The question is what option(s) do we have to get rid of it? That’s where a lot of folks on the list will have a lot of different suggestions. Some of which maybe you won’t want to hear, but some of which may be easier than you expect. And a lot in between.
So, I would hazard a guss (taking a cue from other help-me intro emails I’ve seen in the past) that the next step would be to see some more specifics on your financial situation, on a monthly basis:
costs for your Four Walls of basic life (Housing (including utilities), Transportation, Food, Clothing)
additional gotta-pay expenses
and yes, your “not-dealing-with-them-but-know-they’re-out-there” debts.
Be as exact as you can be, but estimate if you have to, and let’s start with looking through the budget to see what can be done and how. You’ve taken a big step, and that took courage. When you’re ready, I encourage you to take another big step and post the above info, so we can help you start to sort things out. Hang in there. You’re not alone in this.

Yea. don’t really know exactly the amount as I stopped opening up statements..

yea it’s that bad.. But I think it’s about $10K – $12k somewhere in that vicinity.. just in cc debt.. different dept stores.. yada yada..
Most of the comments I read here seems to be of someone in the midwest.. Hello anyone on the east coast who could relate??
Own a coop. Cause it’s just better to own something than to pay some ridiculous rent to someone and then not own it down the line.
So yea.. I have a Mortgage and a maintenance fee which includes heat but not electricity. Oh and I have to have coop insurance.. i think the bill just came in for that..
Have decent job. Accounting field. $55K annually. No raise in 4 years.
I commute to work.. taking a bus and 2 trains to get into the city. Takes about 50 minutes. Same going back home. I stopped buying breakfast and lunch. Whatever leftovers i have is what i take to work. They day i don’t bring something = no lunch.
Office offers coffee, tea, soda, milk daily.. bagels on Friday’s. I don’t come to the office on Fridays so don’t care about that.
Am able to work 2 days of the week at home.. could probably do more.. but i don’t rock the boat unless i really need to.
Don’t have to pay for afterschool care for the 2 younger ones as the father picks them up. It’s the least he can do. I drop the 2 off at school. The older one is in HS so gets free metrocard from school. He takes 2 buses to get there.
I’m the one who provides health insurance for the boys and myself.
Ex does pay child support but not enough in my eyes.. but isn’t that always the case.. seriously he should be paying more. So company changed health insurance plans this year.. somehow it worked to my benefit cause the monthly rater is now lower by about $50.. but then that got taken away with the new sociail security tax increase and i also reduced my 401 retirement contribution from 6% to 3%. Company used to match the 6% about 5 years ago so that’s why i had it at that rate. but i need more money in pay 2x a month paycheck. So with all the changes i only get about $2.50 more a paycheck. Really??
Yes I have a car payment.
Totalled my paid for Toyota Corolla 2004 about 2 years ago in an accident..God was so with me that day.. it’s a miracle i walked away with bruises. I was by myself driving to Virginia to attend my first marine corp ball with BF. I so did not want to drive back home.. was terrified but i had no choice. So took the money and bought myself a Toyota Highlander 2008, but now i have a car payment that i didn’t before. ugg.. yea yea.. i know you guys give up the “nice car” and trade it in for a hoopty (something that sounds like that) for a cheaper car.. but i can’t bring myself to do that. Depend on the car alot for everything. take the boys to school. attend PTA meetings.
So going back to bills.. yea.. i get statements which i don’t open. What’s the point if i can’t pay them. I used to. Just the minimum but then you get the i just have to have item, after item, after item. Things add up. Bill Collectors are calling. At work, cell, job. I don’t answer calls i do not recognize the number from or if the caller ID at home says Unavailable. Also I think one of the collectors is offering some deal.. you know.. we will work with you.. and pay x instead of z. one might be in the hands of some esq firm .. just took a glance and closed the envelope.. so can’t say for sure..
Can you tell i’m in denial. Ugg..
I don’t have any medical bills or student payment loans to worry about. Blessings i guess. I have my health. Kids are good. They have the basics of what they need and what I can provide. Of course they like fastfood mostly McD’s so.. that is no longer a 2x a week thing anymore. They are lucky if they get it 2x a month now. And only on Tuesday’s cause my local Mc’ds offers Tuesday specials of $1.99 for a happy meal. So i can deal with that.
I don’t buy anything (basics) without a coupon, this includes food, clothing, shoes. I’m attempting for the first time to go food shopping every other week. This is my off week. So if I have to get something it will be milk and bread maybe fruit..but that’s it. I sort of been stockpiling.. so I will only use what I have at home to make meals from.
Not sure what other info I should be giving u guys.
So i’m basically at point zero.
Where do I even begin to get my financial health in order is the ultimate question for you all.
Scared to click send..

we ALL had some growing up to do!

Son is completely independent living across town. I pay for his health ins and his gym membership. Daughter lives at home, but now pays for her own car insurance and her part of our cell phone bill. so I provide food, shelter and medical, and other incidentals. She works full time and goes to school. I cut off the satelite and we both just watch netflix or whatever we want on the internet. Most shows I like can be seen on the networks website. I have my big flat screen tv attached to my desk top computer so its really all I need.
I have tried to put them both on a budget and start a savings acct. They aren’t ready for that yet. BUT neither have credit cards and daughter has taken out no student loans, is going to tech college and is getting by on the grants alone. so that’s a lot better than drowning in debt @ 21 years of age.
Attitude of gratitude!

Good morning!

Its been one year since i joined this group, and i want all the lurkers and the hesitant folks on here to hear what one year on Dave Ramsey can do if you apply it to the best of you ability.
I say “best of my ability” because it hasn’t been a perfect adherence at all times. Like a drug, use of credit was a way of life. And like a drug, it had turned on me.
At this time last year i would be driving down the road, and be so stressed, and so depressed, and had such a feeling of hopelessness, that I would look at power polls as a possible solution. Meaning, if i “accidentally” hit one dodging a deer, my kids would get my life insurance and be ok. REALLY, it was that bad. I had less than 20 every two weeks for gas and food left over after paying the bills. I would have such anxiety attacks when paying the bills that i felt like i was having a heart attack. I went to my Dr. and she upped my dose of antidepressants. I have been on them for longer than i can remember, atleast 20 years. I was a single parent, getting no child support, and i made 6.75 an hour when my kids were little and this started. I did what i had to do to survive. My kids didn’t go without, but it came with a very heavy stress load on me. 2 sometimes 3 jobs, going to school and working full time.
I hit bottom last year, and realized if i didnt’ change my life, i wouldn’t be in it very long. But i had no idea what to do! No family to help, no one i knew to ask for advice, because they were all up to their eyeballs in debt too, but they had husbands or wives to help. I was alone, and scared.
I work in a hospital and they offered Dave Ramsey two years ago as a benefit. I had no idea what it was, but it HAD to be better than what i was doing! I asked HR if they were gonna do it again, and they said yes, in the spring. I didn’t HAVE that much time left, i needed help NOW! So I looked up in yahoo groups and wala there you guys were! I joined and read every post. I did a very honest budget, (including the medical bills that i usually never even bothered to OPEN let alone PAY!) I got on my knees and asked for help and guidance, and i applied the Baby Steps to the best of my ability. it wasn’t a perfect DR path, but it was definantly in the right direction. And now, a year later…
I havent had to be on anti-depressants in over 7 months, when i get paid i still have money in the bank. I have a plan, and its getting better, not worse. I am about to pay cash for a car, and am working on baby step 3! I have peace and serenity in my life, I am not having panic attacks on payday because i am already broke before i leave work. I am able to look at prospective life partners as equals not rescuers. I never even realized i was doing that before .
I dont talk alot on here, i have a feeling that there are alot of lurkers out there, and any that are on the fence, i just wanted to share the ‘miracle’ that DR is. It literally saved my life. I am truly and utterly grateful for each and every one of you.

I posted yesterday that both my DH

and I are essentially out of work at the moment… today I interviewed with a company that basically offered me what I am currently making ($2k plus what I currently make) while at the same time I am completing a job application with another big defense contractor where I will get a $15K raise.
I totally get your relief as I realized today I have been metaphorically holding my breath for four months as I worked my way through this process: losing one job, trying to find another, etc.
Most of my coworkers who have also been offered jobs are looking at $8-28K pay cuts. The other company that supports our current client took it in the shorts — they are experiencing offers at %40 their current salaries… so congrats to your DH for securing a job and you will find a way to budget the gas and make it work.
Keep us posted on your progess. It’s always nice to see folks check back in after they’ve checked out for a bit (and yes, I include myself in that lot). 🙂

I’m sorry things have been so rough for your family

for the past couple of years. I know you were really trying to do the program until your husband’s injury. It appears there’s truly a light at the end of the tunnel for the two of you. I’m happy to hear he has a new job on the horizon. I’m sorry it’s for less money, but the fact that he has employment, is wonderful. I’m happy to hear you’re excited about your future. It sounds as if this will be a wonderful turn around for you and your husband. Keep us posted, and warm wishes sent to your husband for a continued recovery.

I come back to the plan, I leave the plan…

its been happening since 2008 when we took FPU.
Recently, I gave up again because my husband has been having multiple surgeries to try and fix an issue that doesn’t want to be fixed. We have a $5,000/person out-of-pocket max per year (which has been piling up) and I’ve had a couple medical tests done with another that needs to be done but we just can’t afford it. The medical bills are over $13,000 and rising and that is *with* insurance.
My husband is an hourly paid electrician and his job has been tanking, but since he needed so much time off for the surgeries (and the insurance!!) he stayed way longer than he should have. We finally started eating into our $1,000.00 BEF for monthly bills. I lost my job when I had to take a week off every 4 weeks to take care of him after surgeries. This week, we had to pay his job because he had zero hours, and we still have to pay child support (its deducted from his check) and insurance costs. It just kept getting worse and worse.
My husband had surgery #10 (in the past 2.5 years) 3 weeks ago and “so far so good!” We ended up meeting the doctor who trained the doctor we *were* using, and this doctor happens to be a specialist in this area! We had one follow up appointment so far and he said everything is progressing like it should. This is the best f/u appointment we have ever had, so we are cautiously optimistic.
My husband also starts a NEW JOB on the 4th of February!!! It is $5.00/hour LESS THAN he is making now and he (obviously) will lose the current company truck, meaning we will have to buy gas again, but it is a guaranteed 40 hour per week job with paid vacation and 11 paid holidays! The gas scares me because we don’t have a budget for gas for the 100 mile/day trip, but its a step in the right direction.
If everything keeps going well, I can go back to working and we may be able to *finally* get a grasp on BS#2!
This is the most happy I’ve been in 2 years and I just wanted to share my good news since I have been sharing all my bad over the past couple of years. Thanks for listening!

When writing cover letters or interviewing

the best answer is almost always “I’m looking for total compensation in the range of..
The logic is:
1. lowest point. the absolute minimum you will take for this position. (IMO Eldred, I would make this about $5k less than what market is in the area–you want that job!)
2. highest point: salary plus if I had to pay health insurance, toll fees, travel to client sites all out of my own pocket, and in general want a raise, what’s the amount I would need to have and would be thrilled to have.
As someone else mentioned, there is always a pay scale range for any non-hourly corporate position. When you phrase it like the above, (a) it doesn’t come across like you are talking straight salary (for example, I once gave a range and the company countered with a lower annual salary but a $10k signing/moving bonus) (b) the interview is thinking “I can (or not) afford that.” By giving them a range, you provide them with some leeway.

Volunteer work can look great on

a resume if it’s in the field she’s interested in. It’s a great way to show she can be reliable and to develop/show a good work ethic. Another thing she could do with her doctor”s okay is exercise (maybe a prenatal class). This will also make her feel better, emotionally and physically.