April 7, 2008

“Cleaning Out My Closet” – Eminem – Part III

Posted in Backstory, Finances tagged at 12:15 am by otherdeb

Part III

So, when I finished the last installment I had acquired the tools for starting to climb out of the mess:

  1. A working checking account,

  2. A working savings account,

  3. Agreements with all but one creditor, and

  4. A cheering section of friends (both online and in real life) and my sweetie.

I was ready to start digging. First, I called the student loan company. I had been smart enough to consolidate the loans, and had put them into forbearance for a year, and they were about to come out of forbearance. Since you can put the loans into forbearance for up to 60 months, I decided to do so for another year. Yes, the interest would be accruing, but it would be a major load off my mind since I had other creditors that needed to be paid and fairly limited funds to do so.

I then made it my business to keep my word with all the creditors I had made arrangements with. I gained a good reputation with them – so much so that, when one account got sold to another agency, and they tried to dun me for the entire amount, the first agency not only provided me with the records I needed to fight them, but also told me what steps to take to do so!

Since I had opened the accounts with the credit union during the summer, it was easy to save a bit of money. I had had some surgery at the beginning of the summer, so I was not going much of anywhere. Staying home enabled me to put a bit extra toward my bill payments, and to save up enough money so that when the fall term began I only had to borrow about half of what I normally would have (the city holds back our first paycheck of the new term).

Further, once the new term started, I was able to switch to Direct Deposit for my paychecks. This means fewer trips to the credit union, which is good since I have to go about an hour out of my way to get there.

In fact, I managed to save enough to take advantage of a wonderful offer! A friend had turned me on to Suze Orman’s book, Women and Money, and using the code in that book I opened a money market account at TD Ameritrade. The deal they were offering was that, if you commit to putting $50 a month into this account, after you make the first twelve payments TD Ameritrade will add $100 as a reward. It’s not a lot, but it is a start toward a retirement fund.

Once I paid back the money I had borrowed for the period between the beginning of the term and the receipt of my first paycheck, I also opened a CD at ING Direct, with the goal that when it matures I can use the proceeds to cover the shortfall between the first day of this year’s new term and my paycheck’s arrival.

So, here I am, with my major problems cleared up, a little credit card debt to pay off (about $600), one creditor which is waiting for me to be able to pay it (which I will), a ton of personal debts to be paid off once the credit card debt is gone, my student loans to attack after that, a future to build, and a school aide’s salary on which to accomplish all of this.

I don’t know about you but, having come this far, I am looking forward to the challenge!


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