Another medical dilemma

I don’t have an answer for your dilemma, but I just have to say it is awful that in one of the richest countries in the world, a hardworking, struggling woman like Donna has to make a choice whether to get the medical care and tests she needs, at the risk at getting deeper into debt. It really makes me want change in this country, and it really shows how broken the system is.

My son had three outbreaks of MRSA and needed hospitalization. He was 19 at the time, and I claimed him as a dependent on my taxes because he lived with me and was only working sporadically. Now we owe the hospital and doctors and imaging $12,000. They would have accepted a payment plan, but I live from paycheck to paycheck and can barely pay my bills now (despite working seven days a week) so I couldn’t do that. My son could probably have got Medi-Cal as we live in California – but I can’t as I make too much. I feel morally liable for this money, but I have done nothing about it – just keep stacking up the bills. I feel bad that I let my son have bad credit due to this before he even had credit at all!

I owe a lot, about $12,000 in credit card debt. Last May, I signed up with a company called Effective Financial Solutions, and I gave them power of attorney and gave them all my statements and now pay them $200 a month. The theory is when I get enough in that account they place in in (they send my statements) they will offer a settlement deal. Well, I can’t always make the payment and so no one has been paid and not that much is in there. I changed my phone number so I don’t get the calls, but I did get a judgement served on me, on the Chase card, which was one of six or so.

I have student loans for $28,000, but I put them in forbearance, so I have a year to get that together. It will be about $260 a month.

My budget is to the bone – I live in the Bay Area so my rent is $1400 – very high cost of living. I take home about $3,000 though. Don’t have a car. I get a lot of overdraft fees. I am frequently a week late on the rent, although the landord has been understanding.

And I work two jobs. My son has a lot of bills, court ordered counseling, money he owes to the county for a DUI, etc – even typing this I can see people saying I need to stop supporting him. He is 20 now.

Way too much information, right? Sorry, Hope somebody felt like reading this and has some ideas for me. I feel really trapped and don’t see options.

Moms have a hard time letting their kids make their own mistakes. I’ve got three kids and I have an awful time. They know when I’m going to do laundry but won’t pick up their dirty stuff or even bring it out on washing day. last week my oldest (18 years) didn’t get any clean laundry because she never brought her dirty stuff out and I’d mentioned it several times over two days when i was doing laundry. It’s so hard to not step in and do things because it’s easier than getting the kids to do it like they should have. Yeah, okay, off topic.

I’ve no idea what can be done about medical care when there isn’t enough money.

Re: Debt settlement – got questions

I don’t know if anyone responded back to you or not so Im going to lol. I have only read books on debt settlement, so by no means am I an expert ok. I haven’t gone through it so this is based on everything I’ve read. Debt settlement companies usually help out people who have been extremely late on their payments and who are trying to get a settlement for a percentage of what they owe. For example if somebody had 10K in cc Unsecured debt and a few others which haven’t been paid in over 5 months, then a debt settlement company can help in one huge way. The debt settlement company basically charges the individual for reducing the debt with the company setting up a payoff amount of usually 40-50% less of what you owe, which in this case would be 5K. The reasons why CC companies do this is because at least they can get something instead of nothing because with an unsecured CC there is nothing tied to the debt, like a car loan, house loan or any other installment loan. So something is better than nothing.

Now in your situation you haven’t been late on any of your payments, so I don’t think you have a very good chance of settling any debt when you have no problem paying them. On the other hand you may be considering a Consolidation Loan, where both are combined at a lower interest rate but for longer terms or years…. In this case your monthly payment is much lower, but you actually pay more in interest because the loan is for years longer. Dave RAmsey says a Consolidation Loan is a “Con”, so don’t do it.

I would pay these debts yourself and start knocking out the smallest debt first. Take everything you can and pay that off then work on the big one. If your getting a nice chunk of money here soon just pay off the first smallest bill. It’s easier to do it yourself and you don’t have to pay anyone any money for something you can do yourself. The 11.24% larger CC isn’t that bad of an interest rate. You’d be surprised by cutting stuff out of your budget how much money you can put towards that money. Have you done a budget every month? Do you know what you have coming in and going out each month? If you don’t try and see what it breaks down to, most people have no clue what they have coming in or going out. Do you have high car payments, cut cell phones, turn off more lights saving electricity, food is a huge expense for most families, coupons, eating out most of the time can add up, etcc… anything you can cut out temporarily to put more money towards your debts?

If you have any more questions, feel free to ask, I’d be glad to help you out. Your situation doesn’t look bad at all.

Debt settlement – got questions

Let me start off by introducing myself. I’m from Georgia. Married and mom to 2 kids. I have 2 CC debts totaling just under $18,000.

  • American Express @ 11.24% $10,500
  • BofA LOC @ 19.99% $ 7423

I’m not behind on any of my payments, but I’m exploring the option of debt settlement. How is it done? What are the right questions to negotiate a settlement? etc…

I’m expecting to have $6500 by April 1st or so. Some advice would help. Thank you in advance.

I am confused… you can make your payments without an issue but you still want to get your debt erased.?

First off, If you are not having an issue making your payments then you need to start by creating a budget so you know where all your money is going. Then attack one of your cards at a time to eliminate them all togehter, this will keep your credit in good standings.

If you are making your payments on time then religously every six month call the CC company and ask for a rate reduction. Tell them you are considering several balance transfer deals you have in front of you but want to see what they can do for you. Every reduction you get will help you pay off more faster, reducing your interest load.

I have never had experience with a company that helps with debt settlement, but I would imagine third party involement is going to get your cards cancelled.

Is it worth that? I dont think it is. Not especially when you can put together a simple but powerful stradegy to just eliminate it by yourself.

But those are my 2 thoguhts for the day.

You cannot do a debt settlement unless you are way behind on your payments and understand that it will negatively affect your credit score. You should berate these cc companies about lowering your interest rate. If the person on the phone does not agree, ask for a supervisor and if needed, ask for their supervisor.

If, come April, you have the $6,500, your Bank of UnAmerica bill should be down below 7k. Call them and tell them you want a lower rate or you are closing the account and paying it off. Once they lower it, send them the $6,500 and get it gone quick.

That’s my suggestion. Good Luck to you.

Newbie question: planning to go into debt

I’m new here and looking for advice on my family’s financial situation. Here’s what’s going on…

I’m a SAHM with only my husband’s income.. net $2,520/month. Since I decided to quit my job 8 months ago, we have accumulated about $8,700 in credit card debt. My husband’s earning potential is quite high. In 2 years, he will be earning about 6 times his current net income. For the next 2 years, we plan to continue having me stay at home.

This means that our credit card debt will increase over the next 2 years, probably maxing between $20k – $25k. We only have about $5,500 in savings. We are planning a cross-country move in 1 year for a fellowship program. My major concern is:

how will i manage the minimum payments on the credit cards?

If anyone has gone through a similar situation or can offer advice in anyway, I’d much appreciate it.

Your situation rings really true to me. I quit my job 6 months ago, SAHM now, husband’s income is about the same as yours, and we will be moving in several months (about 700 miles away) for a fellowship. My father is 78 and will possibly be needing long-term care in our home. (nursing home is not an option).

We differ with an accumulated (since quitting job) $8,700 in CC debt (and planned increase to 20 or 25k). That averages to about 1 thousand dollars a month shortage. Can you do anything from home to offset that? Must that continue for 2 more years? How does the 1 year move factor into hubby’s new net being 6 times greater? We are a cash-only family now. We got into debt living in a fantasy (we’ll get a bonus, next job will pay better, tax return will be here soon, reimbursed mileage check will be in soon or our favorite- WE DESERVE IT purchase on credit.) We are currently looking at selling the house and moving to new location with NO DEBT! No cars, no mortgage. We have accepted that we will not be able to buy a house as the cost of living is much higher in the new area. Saving grace, the fellowship provides a stipend to live on. Amounts for ’06-’07 year are not in yet. My husband’s income COULD really go up- IF HE GETS HIRED. He is looking at federal jobs.

They are slow to respond. 3-6 month lag time is normal. That is before dealing with background checks. We have gotten ourselves into so much financial trouble in the past spending what we term “if come” (income that IF it comes in has already been spent 6 times over.) We are planning on just my fellowship money as I cannot work as a stipulation of the program I enrolled in. We must budget any money from the sale of the house to offset a potential loss of salary. But even the assumption that the house will sell is a mistake. We still must plan that if it does not sell, we may need to pay two house payments for a time.

Do you have a budget? Do you follow it? Have you sold off anything you could think of? (We had a yard sale and made enough to pay the mortgage for the month) Is your husband guaranteed a job at the new cross-country location (like a lateral transfer from one state gvt to another?) Are your kids in public school (if of age), do you home school, or are they in private school?

The ultimate issue must be: What can I really live without? We justified expenses for years. We NEED TV, newer “stuff” etc. Once we really bottomed out financially, we re-visited the needs and wants. We need food. We want new clothes. We also took fast $500 loan from WhoNeeds500 and it helped a lot.

The only way I can think of justifying “planning to go into debt” would be to buy a house. I am always concerned that my husband may one day be unable to work. I must live within my means. For us, we cannot even plan to buy a house in the new location. Even if we found a reasonable mortgage, could we afford repairs and the like? I do not WANT to live in a small apartment on campus, but since my body has become accustomed to eating on a semi-regular basis, if that is what we are called to do, we will.

Many times through the years people have given us sound financial advise. But we always knew more than they did. Hmmm..who is in deep debt now-us or them?

So, after all that is said and done.the only advice I would give you is to be cautious. Try not to rack up more cc debt that you might not be able to pay. If you do not have a budget, get one. Track spending. Find out how much disposable income you have. Try selling stuff or working from home to make up the difference..

I hope I was not too blunt.

Hey there newbie seeking advice

student loanHi, My name is Alice and I guess there are a lot of people in debt like me hu? Well I’m in a big fix and I was hopeing to find some advice. A little about my situation:

I’m 21 and a single mom, I’m not able to work for health reasons right now and am relying on my Disabled Mom and Dad to help me out.

I lost my apartment and everything I owned when I was 20 and trying to go to college in Illinois because I had several student loans and went through an id theft to boot. My natural mom (I’m adopted) took out about $18,000 worth of credit out on me and that’s made it impossible to get any kind of debt consolidation loan. Anyway, I ended up pregnant and now have an 18 mth old little.

I was fortunate enough to get accepted back into school but can’t get any financial aid until my debt is resolved with the collection agencies. I need about $35,000 to do this but with no income of my own, the worst credit, and no collateral I feel like I’m in a strait jacket waiting for the wolves to pounce. please if you have any suggestions, I’d do anything, I’d sell my soul to get this fixed!!!

If your mom got credit cards in your name without your permission call the credit card companies and tell them this. The credit card companies cannot hold you responsible for charges you did not make. You may have to send them a notarized statement to this effect.

If the other money owed are student loans, call the student loan companies and ask for a hardship deferment. The loan companies will suspend your payments for a few months to a year or so.

FREE money from the government? hmmm

businessI have spent over the last year on this list in a “lurking” capacity but felt the need to respond to this, as I have worked with someone who bought into this program without being fully prepared first.

Be VERY careful if you decide to deal with this company. I’m not saying they misrepresent anything (especially in writing), but they use very high-pressure sales tactics. Their introductory program (which is the ONLY thing that’s FREE) is about a 2-hour presentation for which at the end they sell you their coursework for about $1000.00 (at least that’s what the price was 3 years ago). The $1000.00 buys your time with “customer service” for 6 months.

Be very aware of what you’re getting into BEFORE spending your hard-earned money! I was in the room with 200+ people, some who could barely walk, others in wheelchairs, over 80+ years in age, you could tell how desparate some of these people were, putting out their money for this. It was obvious they were in no position to do the things required of them to secure these grants.

If you buy their program you then attend a 2-day workshop. If (and ONLY if) you are fully prepared to start a business OR become a professional real estate investor, will you get any real benefit from their program. They will teach you how to write a business plan (or charge you $5000.00 to write it for you) and go from there. Of course you have to realize that if you cannot write a business plan yourself with some guidance then your business is already in big trouble.

Otherwise, the billions of dollars in grants from the government to individuals are mostly in the form of housing assistance and food stamps! Otherwise start a business or spend the $1000.00 for their INFORMATION ONLY. Information that if you know where to get it, and/or who to ask, you can get anything they tell you for FREE.

These grants are out there, you just have to know how to get them. Be very rich, be very poor, or start a business. That’s it. Pure and simple.

Be very careful, the decision is all yours.

Best of luck in all your endeavors!

OT / Medical & Dental Insurance

medical insuranceHi – I realize this is off topic but I’m looking for some guidance. Moderator is welcome to no post if they feel it’s unappropriate.

My parents are in their late 40’s and are in need of medical and dental insurance. They are unemployed (working as independant contractors through an organization that does not offer benefits) and are needing some help.

Does anyone know where I can start? We aren’t looking to spend a fortune each month but also realizing it won’t be cheap.

If anyone has any ideas, I would greatly appreciate hearing. Thanks (in advance) for the help!

When I got laid off, I found reasonably priced insurance through

Also, I don’t know much about your situation of course, but I have Blue Cross, I’m in my late 40s and pay about $300 a month for myself. Hope that helps.

Need help

Hello, My name is Bill. I have been married for a little over a year. I working double shifts and my husband 2 jobs to make ends meet. I have no clue really about budgets, but my husband and i know we need to get one in place.

Welcome to the blog. Get your budget together asap it can be your saving grace.. Can also be the scariet thing you have to do .. but what you do with the information can change your life. Hope we can help and good luck.

Just write on a piece of paper in one column the people that you owe everything to each month. Next to each place, write the total amount you owe, then the minimum monthly payment. Then write down what you get paid every month and figure out where you are at.

Positive cash flow or negative cash flow each month.

Each month may be different due to bills that may just pop up quarterly or things happening that you didn’t know would happen. Having a budget and knowing what’s going on is the key to getting your finances under control. Most people don’t have plan and have no idea what is going on each month. Try sitting down with your husband and just go through everything…Once you do that write back and let us know.. Then if you have any questions beyond that we can help. Good luck!!

Also, Bill, The best way to do a budget is to sit down with your spouse and write down everything you spend money on. The monthly expenses as well as the quarterly and yearly expenses like Christmas, property taxes, and auto renewals. Make sure you include spending money for each of you too even if it is only a couple of bucks a month. Then look at your income and see if they balance. If not, try to cut out some things.

Do you have student loans, car loans and credit card debt? Add it all up and make a goal to pay off the smallest one as soon as possible.

I would check out the book, Total Money Makeover, by Dave Ramsey. He is fantastic and really helps you set up goals and get the steps to becoming financially free.

After you do a budget and if you are current on all your bills. Take a little bit of money each week automatically and put it in your savings account. You can call your bank or go online to set this up. Even if it just $25, you will really see a difference in your savings after just one year.

I could write so much more, so let me know if you want more details or suggestions!

Book on the “ways of shopping”

Many years ago, I read some book on the “ways of shopping”. I thinki I still might have it somewhere, but it did have some good tips in there.

One was.. get to know your produce/meat manager. the thought behind this was… so they would tell you of bargains. i knew the prodiuce / meat people of several stores and chains. in several towns around here, where I live. they would come and tell me when they had things on budget/markdown. i had certain days i went shopping and they knew it, and often would hold markdowns for me. i made it a point to know them by name and they knew me

Another thing i do, is go and shop at a bents-n-dents store. i know of at least 3 in different towns, all within a 30 – 45 min one way drive. once i had access to a foodbank that provided all kinds of goodies at cost or for donation [ they stuck a price/ donation suggestion on it, but that was ok ]. at the bent-n-dents store i can buy cereal for 1 $, and everything is way marked down, because the items are not in perfect condition. it is amazoing what i have found there !! i even bought caviar for a friend [ got that at a special price, because no one else would buy it ]. i buy good stuff, organic if i can find it, healthy choices and i aoid sugar stuff if i can find something better. no cheap junk stuff for me.

I would highly recommend, take a look at your phone book and see if you can’t find a discount foods store in your town. that’s what they are called sometimes. i have walked out of that store many time s, having bought 100 $ worth of groceries, for which i would have paid at least 3 x as much in a grocery store. there ae a few hints for shopping there, but you can learn them quick.

Anyhow, a good way to save $$$ when its tight. or to stock up.

I agree this is good. I’ve shopped at the same grocery store for years and have always tried to be friendly with the girl I saw stocking the meats (not a manager, but hey, I actually SAW her). Now, she tries to let me know when something may be going on sale. Last week I said hi to her and she told me to come back in about 10 mins for a steal. I came back and she was stocking hot dogs for 10 cents a pack!! I got a bunch of those for the freezer.

I also know the people who run the local ‘bend and dent’ store. They know there are certain brand name items that I won’t settle for generic on, but also won’t pay full price for. They actually CALL me when they get these items and offer to hold some for me. It pays to be friendly.

Re: Update on CitiBank

Hi everyone. My name’s Caroline, I’m 22, married. I work 40 hours a week making about $9/hour, while my husband, makes 6.40/hour delivering pizza, however he makes tips well enough to pay a $450 a month car payment, plus his gas and he still has some “play” money set over.

The reason I joined this group is I am at my wits end in debt….I don’t know what to do anymore, we make enough money to cover the bills, but by some wrong spending choices made a few months ago and some unexpected bills (ie sickness, and tires/parts for his car), we are barely able to pay some of our bills, let alone all of them. My credit isn’t good, it’s around 500. His credit is even worse.

I am trying to get a loan of about 2 grand, that would get us straigtened out completely as far as our bills/behind on payments on things are concerned. I am supposed to be talking with a Citifinancial rep on Monday. My question is, if I could come up with enough collateral(sp) that would be worth 2 grand, do you think that I would be able to get the loan? I don’t know what I’m going to do if I don’t get it. I’m not too prideful to result to being the loan rep for money….please help! Thanks for your time :)

Citifinancial/Citigroup is no more a predator than any other large bank out there. My husband go a loan through them when his credit score was about what yours is and used a 95 Ford F150 as collateral and he got 10k. They have been VERY easy to work with, the only thing I do not like about them is that you can not pay online (they want to see their customers), but you can set up an automatic bill pay so you don’t have to mail or drop a check off in person.

I pay two Citi cards on line every month and have been doing it for a year. In fact, I pay all my bills on line because it’s the only way to be sure that it posts on the right day and I get a confirmation number.

The mail can’t be trusted and there’s no way to know that someone on the receiving end won’t loose it for a day before posting it. I also keep a spreadsheet of my monthly bills and if something doesn’t come up when expected I look into it. More than once I haven’t gotten a statement when I was supposed to, but I was told that it was my responsibility to pay on time all the same, statement or not. Now it’s internet only.

Citi cards you can pay online, it is the loan through Citifinancial that you can not pay online (they told me it is because they want to see and speak to their customers – I told them that I just want to be able to pay online!). That was the only check I was having to actually write out each month as I too pay everything online. I now have it set up for auto pay from our checking account so now I have no checks to write!! a few years ago I did a spreadsheet in Excel with bills due on the 1st and those due on the 15th (that is when my husband gets paid) I put the amount in each month and check them off as they clear the bank. It has made life so much easier for me and I know that everything gets paid either on time or early and how much we have left over.

Update on CitiBank

Just wanted to give you the update, actually the resolution, of my Citibank (link) experience. I called the attorney for CB and told him that while I appreciated his offer, I couldn’t afford the monthly amount CB requested. I told him I could pay X amount per month for 48 months and that was the best I could do. He called back this morning and told me he had presented the offer to CB and they had accepted it and he would forward the appropriate paperwork to me. He is also going to file the agreement w/ the court so we don’t have to attend the hearing this week and there won’t be a verdict filed against me. All in all, I think it is a good, fair result. Hope it gives you some hope! LMK if you need or want any more details on the situation.

Hi, my name is Alex. I am 32 years old, and I need to make some changes.

I started into credit cards when I was in college. At one point, I paid them all off and cancelled them down to one. I was so proud of myself. Later, I started my own business (animal photography), and I got into credit again. I bought my computer with a store card. I knew at the time that the trick was to pay it off completely or get slammed with huge interest. I was sure I could do it okay, but I didn’t stick to my plan.

I also got some credit cards again and maxed them out, then I did the worst part. I accepted a loan offer for $2500. I knew the interest was outrageously high, but the offer came 3 months before my first big vendor booth at a hige show in Reno (I live in Washington). I was very confident, and I expected to have huge sales, if only I had enough product to sell at the show. So, I took the loan and used the money to buy supplies for the products. I was sure that I was going to have at least $5000 in sales, probably much higher than that. I figured it was a good risk, and I could pay off the loan *and* all my credit cards after the show. I thought I was on my way to being dept free. How wrong I was. The show was smaller than I expected with very little promotion. And the vendor booths were closed for teh evening, when the largest group of spectators was there.

I think I came home with $600 after paying fees and travel costs. That was in 2000. I managed to make payments and keep up with all my minimums until the spring of 2003. I had two huge vet bills, one right after the other. At that point, I missed a few payments, and that meant late fees, overlimit fees, and then the new minimum due is 3 or more times the regular payments. And that means additional late and overlimit fees, and suddenly, every bill is way overdue, and I can’t possibly pay them all.

I’m sure many of you have been or are going through the same thing. I am very happy to say that my phone, internet, and union dues are all current now, and I completely paid off my smallest card. I have payment plans on 3 of my bills, regular payments on one credit card, and I have 3 more to get under control. Until this month, I was at risk for going on strike at work (contract expired May 5th and we got the new one a couple weeks ago), so I spent a couple months stocking up on food and supplies just in case. I was also relunctant to start any new payment plans since they all want automatic payments instead of me mailing in checks. Not good if my income stops. Now that the strike risk is over, I have plenty of food to eat, and I can concentrate on paying bills.

I’ve been looking into options, and I am currently trying to see if I can get a loan with my credit union to pay off at least the 3 remaining problem bills, more if possible. I figured out that a loan for $9000 would mean monthly payments of $277, which I would have no problem doing if the 3 bills were removed. If I accept the lower payoff amounts, I could possibly eliminate 5 or 6 of the bills.

I have read that accepting the payoff amounts will hurt credit reports, but seeing that all of my bills have been late for over a year now, I’m not sure that my credit report could go much lower. Also, most of the balance on these bills has been late fees, overlimit fees, and interest.

Has anybody here gotten a loan from their bank without collateral or a co-signer?

I want to do this on my own. My sister is in far worse debt than me. And three years ago, she took out a $4000 loan with my parents as co-signers. A couple months later, she quit her good full-time job at Boeing, and took a lower paying job. A year later, she quit that job as well. She has since worked 12-20 hours at one job and been in and out of work for a regular job. She is currently working again, but my parents have been loaning her money left and right to keep up the bills they know about and keep from defaulting on the loan they co-signed. And she is now trying to get another loan because her bills are so bad again. I do not want to burden them anymore or ask them to risk anything. I would much rather owe some creditor than my parents.

At this time, I am working to improve my bills. If I can’t get the loan, I will keep plugging away at my payments. I am working on some ideas to sell my work during the upcoming holiday season. And I have more hours at work right now (plus plenty of food stockpiled, so I can cut food expenses right now).

So, with or without the loan, I can do this without my parents. If I can get the loan, it would be the best way for me. I get paid weekly, and I can have the payments taken automatically from my account, so I would not be able to screw up my payments. And with online service, I could pay extra on weeks with good hours to get the balance down faster.

I welcome any advice in how to present myself and get the loan approved.

I am also interested in common mistakes to avoid. For example, I have read in many places that people who get consolidation loans often charge up their cards again and get into worse debt. But I have also read that closing un-used accounts can lower your credit rating since they count the total balances and the total credit limits. The closer you are to using it all, the worse your rating.

I am currently planning to close almost all of the accounts. Some have already gone to creditors, so the actual charge cards are closed already. I completely paid off my Target card, and I cut it up. The account is still open, but I don’t have a card to use. The only card I really want to keep is the one I have with the credit union. The interest is much lower, and it is connected to my checking account. That is the only credit card I have managed to keep the payments current on through the whole problem time. So that one is in good standing. Everything else, I am planning to close as soon as I can.