Thursday, February 23, 2006

What I Owe

I've spent the last couple of nights getting my finances in order.

Counting credit card debt and student loan debt, I'm about $28,000 in the hole. I'll be 1K less when I cash my writing contract work check on Saturday.

About 3K of that is computer debt. No, more: about $3500 if you count all of the expense related to getting crap off both of my old hard drives. Maybe $500 in healthcare. The other $3000 I owe in credit cards is just fuck-off money. I had too much fun over the holidays, had to buy new clothes that actually fit as I dropped two sizes, and bought a *lot* of books and about $100 in CDs. Also, too many lunches.

I got it all organized using Quicken, and I'm trying to figure out how to have it all subtracted automatically when I pay my bills. I turned in my student loan consolidation paperwork today as well, so that should fix all the loans at a lower interest rate and bundle them into one payment, which I'd appreciate. I'm paying about $300 a month in student loans right now and $200 toward credit cards.

Seeing it all layed out calmed me down a little.

I've been having nightmares about work and bill collectors - the Citibank student loan people keep calling me because, though my parents graciously agreed to pay that loan for a couple of years, the payments were always late, and now that I've rolled all the bills over to my address (because I got sick of having the bill collectors call me), I'm trying to catch up on those payments so they're reasonable able (I owe $250 this month, which should then allow me to pay "only" $115 a month from then on, until the loans are consolidated).

I hated putting all that together, but I think that in the long run I'll have less nightmares and hopefully a better balanced checkbook. I knew things were dire when I bounced a rent check last month.

Oh yea. Time to put my house in order.

10 comments so far. What are your thoughts?

ScottM said...

It doesn't look like much fun, but it sounds like knowing what you're up against is better for you. Hope the bad dreams are chased away.

Simon Owens said...

I always have this high anxiety at the back of my mind when it comes to money. I'm not in any kind of debt for anything, but it's just amazing how quickly I can blow through money even though I almost never go shopping or buy anything online.

It's gotten especially bad ever since I quit my job (because of the whole Ashlie fiasco).

But I guess I could be worse off when it comes to money, it's not like I've run out of it.

Kameron Hurley said...

Yea, just think, you could be 28K in the hole!

Ah, student loans...

And yea, it's not like I don't make decent money. I just have trouble managing it in an adult manner.

Working on that. 

Posted by Kameron Hurley

gwenda said...

Oh, do I feel your pain.  

Posted by gwenda

VJ said...

Congrats on that Kameron. It's instructive to have it all laid out and to know where it's all going. 28K is not an uncommon amount of debt, and I'm going to take a wild guess and imagine that it's not 100% of your yearly income. Because that's where the rest of the US is now. Again: Family income= debts, or debt at a level of 100-110% of family/household income is the mean in the US today. Yeah, that's really scary. That's where the 'negative savings rate' everyone is talking about comes from. Not since the Great Depression have we seen similar numbers, and it's a good scenario to put into the SF books, because no one quite knows how we're going to get out from under all that debt either. But hey, at least the Bill collectors are not shooting at you. Cheers & Good Luck! 'VJ'

VJ said...

Sorry, I just caught the income remark further down on the 'Fall Down' post. I'd say in < 5 years it could easily be paid off with that income, but that's not what you're going to be living on in NYC. But slow but steady does win the race. Most of the time it should be easy to live on 50K debt free, especially w/o kids. Then there's always those accumulated debts from school etc. Cheers & Good Luck! 'VJ'

La Gringa said...

Funny, I've been doing the same thing since I got laid off. I just cashed in my 401k and will be paying off my credit card debt with it. I just can't stand owing anyone anything.

Anonymous said...

Been there too. I owed $17k in my early 30's (loyal reader now in late 40's). Solution was to literally stop
spending money on anything but survival and doubling,tripling on debt payments. No fun what's so ever. Literally. Debt paid of in about a year and a half. Have not been in debt since.

On another nore, you've just got to start a thread on the South Dakota
Abortion Ban.

This is a victory for the pro-life movement, and, most importantly, for unborn babies. It is encouraging that this bill does not include the obligatory ‘rape or incest clause’ because we cannot afford to bargain with the life of any innocent child. A baby should not be punished simply because of the actions of his or her father,” said Stephen G. Peroutka, NPLAC chairman and a Maryland attorney. “South Dakota legislators have shown great courage in pushing this bill through and have offered real promise for a future in which the flawed Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton decisions will be reversed.”

Mike said...

Good for you on getting it laid out. I've found that it helps a bunch in three ways: 1) it allows you to make a reasonable and practical plan to dig out of the hole. 2) it makes it easier to ask the question 'do I really want to buy X now, or do I want to wait?' 3) It keeps you from panicing or going into denial.

I was in more or less the same position as you 10 years ago, and I've managed to pull myself into a reasonably good position (no debt other than a mortgage, money in the 401k, a start on a college fund for my daughter). So hang in there & keep working on it.

kate.d. said...

a humble suggestion, based on a lot of debt-reduction stuff i've seen - i'd make sure you put more of your available debt-payment money per month towards your credit card debt, and pay the minimums on your student loan debt.

from what i understand, student loan debt is considered "good debt", because it probably helped you get a better paying job, and especially because the interest rates are so low. credit card debt, on the other hand, has much higher rates and is considered 'bad debt'. so, stretch your student loan payments over as much time as you're comfortable with, and concentrate on wiping out the cc debt.

and lastly - 28K, not so bad. not great, but not so bad! i shudder to tell you how much higher my boyfriend's debt total is than that. it could always be worse....