Hi everyone. I am a married mother of one, I work full time and I also receive some disabilty from the military. I am in tons of debt (credit cards, auto loans, personal loans, car loans, tax debt, medical bills, store credit, etc, ect). Almost everything is in collections and I’m so afraid to answer my phone, it’s making me physically ill. I am seriously considering bankruptcy because I don’t see how I can ever pay off the debt I have AND pay my bills and household expenses. Any advise? I have the only income in the house (about $51000.00 before taxes). I hope I’m not giving too much info and I hope I’ve given enough. I am SO in need of guidance that it is rediculous. I just don’t know what to do anymore. Any help or advise is appreciated and wanted. Thank you in advance.

Can you do me a favor and give me a break down of your budget, just to see where you are at every month? You have great income for the month, so just curious where it is all going for each bill?

Maybe we can give you some advice and head you in the right direction… Let us know ASAP!!! That’s what we’re here for. Just list the balance and minimum payment for each bill, including your fixed bills like mortgage/rent, utilities, car ins…etc… Would love to help you and see what best options you have ok???

I cant remember if I responded to you before or not…One thing Ive realized is that it probably took years to get in the predicament that you are in, and it will take you years to get out of it. You said you are married? Sit down with one another and lay all your bills out and see where you are at with money coming in and money going out! Begin to plan a budget….Look at paying the most important things first..house, electricity, gas, necessities first…

Getting out of debt

I joined the blog after the initial part of this discussion. We have a ARM that matures in May. Can ya explain what my options are for reducing debt? I.e.: refinance with fixed rate (will do if I have to, hate the appraisal process- ill and house needs cleaning and fixing up, would have to hire someone- will do it if necess- but wondered what my other options are). What steps would I need to Take? Thanks for any help.

mortgage loanFYI, when you refinance, the cleanliness of a house is not an issue in the appraisal.. They are taking the location value, structural value into account. They are assuming that you will clean if you sell. So don’t worry about the appraisal.

If you are planning to stay in your home, I would Re-fi to a fixed rate mortgage. I would contact your current lender about your intentions and see if they have a reasonable low fee re-fi option. You may want to check how often your loan will adjust. With the lowering of interest rates by the Fed, it may not be a huge hardship when it does adjust. Is there a reason you went with an adjustable rate to begin with? Are you in a home you can’t afford? If that is the case, you may need to do those repairs needed and get out of the house.

As for the appraisal process, unless you have a huge hole in your roof, sagging gutters or a green swimming pool, I would not be too concerned about the appraisal. If your home is generally in the same condition it was when you purchased, it should appraise out fine. Appraisals are based on comparable home sales in your area, size of your home and upgrades lastly into the equation. I would clean up and fix up for your own satisfaction and piece of mind, not because you are having your house appraised. A lot of times on re-fis, lenders may only do a “drive by” appraisal and may not even come inside your home.

Your house should be suitably clean. Otherwise the appraiser might think you’ve ignored the needed repairs of your house that aren’t visible. As long as it doesn’t look like you’re the proud owner of a garbage dump, you should do just fine. Because housing prices are going way down, there is a possibility of your house appraising for less than you owe. I’m not sure of your situation, but if this is the case, you won’t be able to refinance, without putting up the difference. You can always call your bank and tell them your situation and maybe they will work with you. I have heard of some bank programs helping get people into more traditional loans in cases like these. So I would suggest just calling or meeting someone at your bank.

Also, I am a licensed Realtor and even though I don’t do appraisals, I am familiar with the process. They do not give your house a value based on any repairs that you need to make. Now if your house is falling apart and it’s very noticable, it may have an ill effect on the way they appraise it. But it is usually based on location, square footage, year built and size of lot.

I missed the original question here, but I am a RE Appraiser. And will offer any information I can. Right now the way most mortgage companies I am working with require appraisers to list any necessary repairs at the time of the inspection. Most maintenance items, minor items do not count. If there is damage (rotten wood, peeling paint, missing flooring, etc) these items are supposed to be listed with a cost to cure. From what I have seen, if the cost to cure is under 5% of the total value of the home, no adjustments are made and the mortgage company does not ‘require’ these things to be done – I’m sure each bank/lender has their own method.

The market I am working in is good, still increasing for the most part, but I work with some national companies and know the market is not the same else where. Yes appraisals are based on location/lot, price per square foot, age, amenities, etc. Also most mortgage companies require the comparables to be closed sales with the past 6 months (12 max) and under one mile in proximity (and that changes based on how populated the area is).

I would refinance to a fixed rate if you can. An arm that matures can double or go even higher in most cases. Its either that or have your payment skyrocket up…Can you afford a payment double the amount of what your paying now? Pretty much the only option you have is get a fixed loan or pay off the loan in cash.

which I doubt you can do. My suggestion if you pick a fixed rate and you can afford it is get a 15 year fixed if you can.. Good luck!! MIke

Loans Mortgage

I did a google search on the terms you used in your post, “Debit Card Dirty Tricks”. And found some interesting reading. The first post comes from the UK and give free information to become aware of credit card company tricks. The next post comes from the US and offers to give the same information, in exchange for purchasing a book that gives you information you can get free from the internet. The third post writes about things to watch out for when using cards at the gas pump.

debit cardsIt is amazing that debit cards do these things. It does not surprise me. Banks are constantly AGAINST the consumer, but all the while encourage us to use the DEBIT cards, use CREDIT cards, get paid via DIRECT DEPOSIT, then don’t let you have your money right away. They set up loans so they get paid first, no matter what else is happening in your life. Make it a paperwork hassle to stop a direct deposit if something comes up. And it goes on and on and on.

We are going back to CASH. No DEBIT cards (banks made over $1 Billion “With a B”) in fees from “courtesy” overdraft fees last year alone encouraging people to use these things. We don’t use CREDIT cards either. Doing our best to rid them from our lives.

Thanks for the info. Everyone should be aware.

Another thing – the way that banks do withdrawls before deposits, causing your account to run up additional fees. Or clearing checks in the highest amounts first, then the lowest, so you incur additional fees. Even if you are $0.01 over, it can cost you a fee of $20-40 depending on your bank/credit union. More credit unions operate like banks these days anyhow. Much less “consumer oriented” if you ask me.

My response to this is to fight back! I am in a very tight financial situation right now and expect to have some NSF fees. I am going to ask my banks to WAIVE them! It costs NOTHING to try. And go to the banks executive offices or file complaints with bbb’s too. I find this strategy quite effective.

Нou know, it actually costs me more to extract cash out of my bank than to use debit cards- they charge nothing for debit card use, not sure what these “tricks” are people are talking about, but to get cash you either have to pay an ATM fee or a “teller” fee.

Good luck everyone! Not all banks charge a fee to get your money out. Mine does not as long as I use their atms or their tellers.

This is really a matter of knowing what you are doing and knowing how much you have in your account, and not going over that.

Credit cards


My question is how will paying charge offs that are on my credit report affect my credit score? Some of these charge offs are as old as four years. I would like to know if paying them off or settling worth it at this point, since it has been so long. If paying them off will increase my credit score, how long after making the payment before I will see the increase in my score? Thanks for all response in advance.

Depends on the age of the debt also don’t pay it completely off without an agreement with the company that they will delete the account from your credit reports. If you pay off the accounts without an agreement it will reflect negatively on your credit report for up to 7 years.

my sister made the mistake of doing that through consumer credit counseling. All her accounts have 0 balance but her FICO is still low because the accounts show that #1 – she was in a debt management program which is a RED FLAG, and #2 – they are updated as account settled or something like that. So it’s still a negative account. You need the accounts either REMOVED or shown as “Paid as Agreed”ю

you can also send the creditors on the credit report a letter basically saying, this is X number of years old, would you please remove? And usually if it is 4 years or older, they will remove it, because they don’t have the info on it any longer.

Credit score

I was wondering if any of you ever heard of the “credit repair” people that says they can help repair your credit for x amount of dollars. Is that a scam or is it possible?

It’s possible, but it’s nothing you can’t do yourself. So, it’s a scam!! The only thing that can help repair credit is start paying on time, reduce your debt, debt to income ratio, etc… There is no magic cure for improving debt trust me…

Another thing that may help your credit depending on your situation is filing for bankruptcy. Most people don’t realize it, but filing for bankruptcy can actually help your credit, especially over time. It gives a lot of people a fresh start.

it only works if the bill is paid off, but you can do it your self. Go to google and they will give you work sheets to send to the creditor and the credit bureau disputing the problem. It’s cheaper to do it your self

Therefore, don’t waste your money. if you have money to pay them, put it on your bills. i had a mortgage broker advise me to use one and it is a waste of time and money. you can contest information yourself with the credit bureau or spend that money on your own bills to reduce them. please don’t fall into the trap and waste that i did all for nothing, it did NOT improve my credit scores.

Credit score

I don’t know why but I haven’t been using coupons and decided it was about time I start again! I thought I had heard of a website that keeps track of the deals at different stores and tells you when to use your coupons to get the best deal. Does anyone know what I’m talking about or did I just make this up in my head??

couponIt could be thegrocerygame.com which is a paid site.

There’s also groceryguide (not active now) and couponmom.com.

There are probably others out there but those are three you might look into.

Website you pay to join: www.thegrocerygame.com

Actually I think there are several that do this. Some cost money (