August 2013 Status Update

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on August 2, 2013 by rbdpessimist

Here’s my updated debt picture as of August 1st:
Car Loan (principal) – $16,766.05
U Promise – $6,554.16
Discover – $10,130.94
MCU – $8,472.57
Slate -$5,965.80
……………..
Total: $47,909.54

Ouch! During the month of July, I took on quite a bit of extra work and got my bills paid on time. I consolidated as much of my credit card debt into 0% accounts as possible. I’m only paying interest on the UPromise account at this point, but I’ve been continuing to use that for expenses (necessary and otherwise) when I’m out of cash. There are too many payments to make so the amounts of my payment are too small to really make any headway. I have to start knocking off cards. To this point, I paid one small balance off but have been able to only pay a few dollars more than the minimum on everything else.

I tracked expenses for most of the month but ended up dropping it. I’ve given up on grocery shopping and am eating out at least once a day. I’m buying beer and wine more than occasionally. I’m driving more than I need to. I can definitely tighten this up.

On the positive side, I’ve been working more and am more focused on my finances. It’ll get better, but it’s a freakin slog.

Keep Plugging,
RBD

Envy Wrapped in Humor

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on July 24, 2013 by rbdpessimist

You will stumble…

Posted in Uncategorized on July 18, 2013 by rbdpessimist

You will stumble into the Happiness of your Life

I found this message in a very stale fortune cookie after lunch yesterday. Stumbling is my usual means of transport. So who knows? Let’s not rule it out.

Rolling Jubilee

Posted in Uncategorized on July 17, 2013 by rbdpessimist

http://rollingjubilee.org/

Where have I been? Why didn’t I know about this? Ordinary people getting together to abolish the often crippling medical bills of ordinary people.

Sometimes people do things that make it difficult to justify my pessimism.

Brought to us by the Occupy Movement. Well, alright!

Keep Plugging,

RBD

“If you have debt, I’m willing to bet that general clutter is a problem for you too”.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on July 16, 2013 by rbdpessimist

Suze Ormond said this. I hate like hell to agree with her, but in my case, she’s on to something.

Debt, clutter, poor physical fitness, disorganization, not having a plan,  – all of these are manifestations of general neglect in a person’s life. And all of these are in full effect in mine.

I don’t think having this happen is bad. It’s not something to be ashamed of. People get tired. Shit happens. But this is not something you want to become a chronic condition in your life.

In my case, I got tired, maybe even depressed, and I started to let things slide. Then I continued to let things slide, and the problems compounded. Now I’m trying to stabilize a full-blown lifeslide. There’s a lot of work to do, and to be honest, waking up most mornings I don’t feel up to the task.

Forward progress can be measured in miles or millimeters. Either way, it’s forward progress, and I am working on the next millimeter. Thanks for visiting.

Keep Plugging,
RBD

Don Juan Says…

Posted in Uncategorized on July 9, 2013 by rbdpessimist

I ran across a quote the other day that gave me a little perspective on optimism, pessimism and dealing with what comes at you. It’s from Carlos Castaneda’s Tales Of Power:

“The basic difference between an ordinary man and a warrior is that a warrior take everything as a challenge, while an ordinary man takes everything as a blessing or a curse”.

It gives one something to chew on. What do you think?
————————————————————————————————————————-
Here’s where I am with my Debt as of today.

Car – $17,118.89
U.Promise – $10,707.75
Discover – $10.324.46
Chase – $6,020.29
MCU – $2,576.80
REI – $32.78
Total Consumer Debt: $46,780.97
————————————————————————————————————————-
So now that I am focusing on my finances again, I have come to realize that, even though I’m not missing payments, my debt is growing by the month whether or not I use my credit cards. This is a very unhealthy place to be.

I’ve a bit of a negative cash flow problem happening. Effectively, I spend more than I make and am living on borrowed money.

The logical first step would be to stop using my credit cards, but I’m not yet able to do that. I can’t miss child support or mortgage payments. I need to eat and to buy gas to get to my kids and to work. So…

The first step I took was to stop racking up interest.

I transferred and consolidated my credit card balances as much as possible. I had been making too many small payments and wasn’t making any progress against the mounting interest which was in excess of 15% and, due to some unwise cash advances, up to 30%.

So I paid the 3% fee on each balance transfer and got a year’s grace on the interest. In one case, I got a term of 18 months interest free. Transferring and consolidating balances is a step toward getting better by making sure you aren’t getting any worse.

I’m still paying interest on one card, and my plan is to attack that balance first. I’m tracking and roughly categorizing my expenditures and income for the month of July. My goal is to adjust my income and spending enough to get to a $200 positive cash flow. I’m afraid I’m a long way off right now.

I’ve started taking on extra work again and am trying to branch out into other areas to make money. In the line of work I do more is not always better, for all concerned, and I don’t want to burn out. So I’m trying to think differently. Getting out of a rut isn’t easy.

That’s it for now. Thanks for coming by.

Keep Plugging,
RBD

Who you calling a Sisyphus?

Posted in Uncategorized on July 9, 2013 by rbdpessimist

sisyphus

Well, I guess you can call me RBD. I’m a separated, middle-aged, father of three trying to survive a strange and turbulent year. I’m also trying to get myself out from under fifty-thousand dollars in credit card and new car debt.

A few years ago I really buckled down and worked my wife and I out of about forty-thousand dollars in consumer debt. I was always at work never at home, always tired never smiling, but I managed to get us up out of the pit eventually. My wife never really got on board with my crush-the-debt efforts, and she wasn’t very satisfied with the way we were living through those lean and tense times.

I learned my lesson pretty well pushing that big old rock up that steep old mountain – or at least I thought I did. And then life went and happened again.  My income dropped suddenly and my expenses rose.

I got very tired. I got depressed. I stopped caring about my finances. My wife and kids moved out. I started paying child support while trying to hold my mortgage down. I spent when I shouldn’t have and started using credit cards again. I took my eye off the ball, financially, for nearly a year.

Now, I’m using credit cards routinely to pay for food and gas by the end of the week. I have too many bills to pay and not enough money coming in. I’m in pretty deep.

 It’s time to start pushing that big-ass rock up the mountain again.

When I was working my way out of debt the last time, I kept a blog documenting my efforts. It really helped to keep me on track, and it forced me to focus almost every day on turning my finances around. I read, got ideas, and drew strength from several other debt reduction and personal finance blogs.

Some of the blogs I read are written by professional bloggers who seem to always come across as super-positive, energetic,  encouraging, eternally optimistic, etc..

That’s not me. At least not always.

Truth be told, I’m a glass half-empty type of fellow. The negative in any situation is pretty apparent to me most of the time. Either way though – half-full or half-empty – I’m treading water in an ocean of debt and I’m feeling pretty tired.

I’m writing this blog anonymously so I don’t have to censor anything, and I’m hoping it might be of use to you too.

 

Thanks for reading.
Keep Pluggin,
RBD