Definitely something I have experience in, moving to another state can often be an extremely expensive process if you make an attempt to hire a professional moving company. Even just renting a truck can be expensive along with the costs of packing materials and materials that are positioned within a moving truck to keep everything stable during the drive. The price to hire a moving company can often range up to several thousand dollars when moving the contents of an entire house to another state. Self-contained PODS can cost between $2000 to $3000 and self-service moving trucks can range from $500 to $1500 depending on the distance traveled.
When it comes to grocery shopping, saving money on food while trying to pay off credit card debt can be troublesome. With the abundance of $1 menus at fast food joints like McDonalds, you really need to focus on cooking at home in order to cut food costs. However, what type of cheap foods can you pick out at the grocery store that won’t break your monthly food budget? Here are a collection of great choices for cheap foods that can act as a solid staple in your diet, but still allowing you to maintain a healthy lifestyle:
Recently, I’ve been ranging from depressed to elated about my credit card debt dropping. Over the past year, I’ve transitioned from about $20K in debt at interest rates between 10% to 18% APR down to $12K at 0% APR. I love the fact that I am moving in the right direction with my debt, but I’m often depressed that all this money has to be pushed into paying off old problems, ala my credit card debt. I want to be saving for a house and have the flexibility to buy something cool every now and again, but I feel guilty when spending my money on anything but old debt. Anyway, I’m hoping to have all my credit card debt paid off by this time next year.
While I’m certainly not the poster child for completely escaping the debt monster just quite yet, I can offer some tips on how to get started with facing off on debt.
Step 1: Admit you have a spending problem and share it with significant other / family / friends
This is easily the toughest hurdle to jump over for anyone. Without a doubt, the thought of potential humiliation that we think is going to be projected at us for failing to keep up with our bills and expenses is far greater than the reality of what does happen when we share with our loved ones. Nearly everyone in America has struggled with money management and debt at least one time in their life to a certain degree. Not to get too spiritual, getting everything out in the open immediately lifts a burden off the soul. It always feels better to release a secret and the repercussion of that action is usually understanding. In addition, your loved ones may want to help you with financial planning or even monetary assistance if you are in desperate times.
Here are some of the steps I’ve taken so far:
- Moved from San Diego to Phoenix during June 2011, cut cost of living expenses down dramatically. Rent / utilities alone dropped from about $1200 a month down to $500 a month. (Roommates)
- Picked up a second part time job during September 2011. Bumps yearly salary from 42K to about 54K (pre-tax).
- Shifted from State Farm Car Insurance to Progressive, dropped from $1200 a year to $700 a year. (Got my full 30% discount with Snapshot.)
Hi all, sorry for the break in updates. In early October, I had to be hospitalized due to an infection. I spent three days in the hospital sucking down antibiotics and ended up with about $3500 in medical bills after insurance payouts. That means I had to spend all extra money on paying off hospital bills instead of killing debt; BOOOO! However, I’m all back to normal now and ready to tackle more debt. Amazingly, I was even able to chip a little away over the last two months.
Woot! I just got approved for a new card, specifically for the purposes of a 0% balance transfer. I’ve been waiting to apply for a bit due to my extremely high credit card utilization rate (over 90%). I’ll be shifting about $4K off my highest interest card and making the minimum payment on the new balance transfer card which gives me 18 months to kill the debt. I’m hoping to pay off all my CC debt within a year, but the extra 6 months can provide a bit of buffer for me. The balance transfer had a 3% transfer rate, but I’ll make that back in two months. The card was previously costing me about $60 in interest a month.
I got a nice surprise this morning. When I logged into my Progressive account to check my car insurance rate, I found that it dropped 30 percent. Since last month, I’ve been enrolled in the Snapshot program. Progressive sent me a small device that tracks my rate of speed, length of trips, the time of day that I drive as well as the number of hard stops (braking hard at stoplights or other problems in the road). Due to my careful driving, my car insurance dropped from a bit over $75 to just under $50 a month.
I’m still making strides in tackling debt, but they are slow ones. Over the last month, I’ve had to foot the bill for $600 worth of airline flights which has severely impeded my progress in tearing down debt. However, I was able to knock another $500 mostly off my student loan and car loan. In addition, my credit card debt hasn’t grown at all. Despite the expenses, I’ve been able to keep the balances steady. By early September, I want to be on target to burn through another $1500 in CC debt and knock out my smallest credit card by late Sept.
While there’s no shortage of stories on the predatory nature of credit card companies, there are certainly ways to reduce the amount of interest you pay every month. The most obvious method is transferring debt through a balance transfer. If you racked up $5,000 in debt on a card with 16% interest, you are likely paying about $65 to $70 a month in interest. By transferring that $5000 to a 0% interest offer for X number of months, you can eat a 3% to 5% fee upfront and save hundreds over the life of the debt. Even at 5%, it would only take about 4 months to start saving.
However, a more direct route to savings is simply calling up the credit card company and asking for a lower interest rate. You may have to speak to a supervisor to get it done, but most lower-level employees have the power and will do it for you if asking nicely. It doesn’t hurt to mention that you have a few 0% balance transfer offers waiting on the side in case they are hesitant. In my experience, the entire process takes about 5 to 10 minutes and you can end up saving thousands of dollars if you are paying off debt over a 12 to 24 month period.