Thursday, March 25, 2010


Today is my Blogoversary. Four Years ago today, I started this blog. When I started I had $19,591.80 (plus a $3,460.23 IRS debt). I was only making about about $15,000, struggling just to pay the household bills.

Today I make significantly more (can't say exactly because of co-workers and employees who might read this). Most of which comes from the 10-13 hours of overtime that I get each week. A remaining balance of $1,593.97 out of that 19k of debt and a remaining balance of $2,791.80 still owing to the IRS. In addition, I paid off several additional debts that I have incurred since beginning this blog including a debt to a physical therapist. That means I have a total debt balance of $4385.77.

Additionally, in the past few months, I have launched a sister site, which contains various budget and money management forms (most designed by me). With new forms being added as time permits.

Over all, I expect to be debt-free this year and calling up Dave Ramsey to shout it to all the listeners on his Network.

go ahead share your thoughts with me now, my ears are open. I'm always eager to hear what you think.

Donations are always welcomed (via paypal).

follow me on Twitter

Bank of America to Reduce Mortgage Balances

Last night on the evening news, as I was hurriedly getting ready for a credit union annual meeting, I heard this. Now, I seen it in my morning addition of the New York Times.

Bank of America said on Wednesday that it would begin forgiving some mortgage debt in an effort to keep distressed borrowers from losing their homes.
- New York Times
Really? Bank of America forgiving debt? I find that hard to believe? Maybe some other national banks, but BOA seems to be the last bank that I would expect this from. So what are the details?
The program, while limited in scope and available by invitation only, signals a significant shift in efforts to deal with the millions of homeowners who are facing foreclosure. It comes as banks are being urged by the White House, members of Congress and community groups to do more to stem the tide.

The Obama administration is also studying whether to provide more help to people who owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth.
- New York Times
So, they are trying to self regulate and convince the Government that they don't need big brother hanging over them, telling them what to do? I can't fault that. Still I am leary of BOA.

The program is aimed at borrowers who received subprime or other high-risk loans from Countrywide Financial, the biggest and one of the most aggressive lenders during the housing boom. Bank of America bought Countrywide in 2008.

Bank of America officials said the maximum reduction would be 30 percent of the value of the loan. They said the program would work this way: A borrower might owe, say, $250,000 on a house whose value has fallen to $200,000. Fifty thousand dollars of that balance would be moved into a special interest-free account.

As long as the owner continued to make payments on the $200,000, $10,000 in the special account would be forgiven each year until either the balance was zero or the housing market had recovered and the borrower once again had positive equity.

“Modifications are better than foreclosure,” Jack Schakett, a Bank of America executive, said in a media briefing. “The time has come to test this kind of program.”

That was the original notion behind the government’s own modification program, which was intended to help millions of borrowers. It has actually resulted in permanently modified loans for fewer than 200,000 homeowners.

The government program, which emphasizes reductions in interest rates but not in principal owed, was strongly criticized on Wednesday by the inspector general of the Troubled Asset Relief Program for overpromising and underdelivering.

“The program will not be a long-term success if large amounts of borrowers simply redefault and end up facing foreclosure anyway,” the inspector general, Neil M. Barofsky, wrote in his report. One possible reason is that even if they get mortgage help, many borrowers are still loaded down by other kinds of debt like credit cards.

Bank of America said its new program would initially help about 45,000 Countrywide borrowers — a fraction of the 1.2 million Bank of America homeowners who are in default. The total amount of principal reduced, it estimated, would be $3 billion.
- New York Times

There is a catch though.
The Bank of America plan is limited in scope. Borrowers must have missed at least two mortgage payments and be severely underwater to qualify, owing 20 percent more than their homes are worth. It is also limited to borrowers with certain types of risky loans, including subprime mortgages or other loans with a two-year adjustable rate.
- Seattle Times

go ahead share your thoughts with me now, my ears are open. I'm always eager to hear what you think.

Donations are always welcomed (via paypal).

follow me on Twitter

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wedding Plans

I am getting married 0n August 21. We have already bought a used wedding dress and pants to go with an old Tux that I had. We still need to alter that dress (cost=??). Pay for inventions ($75), the cake ($112), wedding bands ($200), bridesmaid dresses (??) and tux rentals for the best man/groomsman (??). All in all, we are hoping these costs will be less then $800 for the wedding itself. The honeymoon, I'm looking at a cost between $1200-$2200, although we have discussed a possibility of working our move and honeymoon into the same trip. However, that would require someone-else taking our belongings and the cats so that we could make the slow journey to Texas, stopping for overnight stays at 2-3 locations along the way. The trip straight through would normally only be about 13 hours.

go ahead share your thoughts with me now, my ears are open. I'm always eager to hear what you think.

Donations are always welcomed (via paypal).

follow me on Twitter

Monday, March 22, 2010

Health Care Bill heads to President Obama's Desk

Health Care Bill Vote Passes 219-216 and No Republicans on Board. The historical health care bill passed the House of Representatives tonight. The bill is the same bill that the Senate passed on Christmas Eve. This is a disgrace. If this was such an important piece of legislation, then it should of had bi-partisan support. If however, everything the Democrats told us (about this bill) was a lie, then it should never have passed. We still really don't know much about this bill.

Here is what we do know:

  • The Senate Bill doesn’t indicate a public option, but is said to cost $940 billion over the next ten years. Yet Democrats say the bill will pay for itself. In fact they even say, the plan, (CBO projections) will cut budget deficits by more than $1 trillion in its second decade.

  • Really? How's that?

  • We Americans will now be required to have health insurance or pay a fine.

  • If they can't afford insurance now, how are they going to be able to afford insurance after this bill passes? If they can't afford insurance premiums, how will they be able to pay a fine, for being to poor to afford insurance?

    "This is what change looks like," Obama said shortly after the votes. The passage of health care reform is "not a victory for any one party. ... It's a victory for the American people and it's a victory for common sense."
    - CNN

  • It will subsidize insurance for a family of four making up to about $88,000 annually, or 400 percent of the federal poverty level.

  • Medicaid will be significantly expanded, ensuring coverage to those earning up to 133 percent of the poverty level, or just over $29,000 for a family of four.

  • The bill hikes Medicare payroll taxes on families making more than $250,000.

  • Starting in 2013, it also imposes a 40 percent tax on insurance companies providing "Cadillac" health plans valued at more than $8,500 for individuals and $23,000 for families.

  • Look, I want America to have more affordable health care, but I just am not sure this bill was the answer. On the surface, this bill appears that it will do more to hurt the poor then to help them. That is not something, I cannot support. The downtrodden need a help up, not a fine from the government for being poor. As, I have said throughout this debate (and publicly over the weekend, in my previous post on this topic) there is just to many unanswered questions about this bill. Please, is there anyone that can make me feel good about this bill, that will soon be law? On the other hand, every critic, I have heard can afford insurance as it is, and sees no need for and kind of health-care reform. Those critics, need to have some compassion, and realize there is a whole other world outside their little tightly closed bubble.

    Like most bills (like this one) passed by Congress the real answer to the problem, is somewhere between the two sides.

    go ahead share your thoughts with me now, my ears are open. I'm always eager to hear what you think.

    Donations are always welcomed (via paypal).

    follow me on Twitter

    Sunday, March 21, 2010

    Time To Plan A Sale

    With wedding plans underway, and the plans to move south to Austin, TX, we must finish getting debt free. As such we will be having a yard sale to liquidate a few items we have around the house and the shed. It is important to pay off the almost $5,000 in debt to Chase and the IRS by the end of April. So doing will allow us to focus all of our attention paying for the August 21st wedding, the honeymoon thereafter and the move that will take place right after that.

    I see getting these two debts paid off, but I'm worried about the other funds, before it's time to sell the house and look for a new home.

    However, we will make a strong push to pay the debts off by selling lots of tools, office desk, computer desk, roll-top desk, dishwasher, refrigerated cooler, coffee-tables and lots of little things.

    go ahead share your thoughts with me now, my ears are open. I'm always eager to hear what you think.

    Donations are always welcomed (via paypal).

    follow me on Twitter

    Saturday, March 20, 2010

    Health-Care Reform?

    For months the debate in Congress has been over so called Health-care reform. Yet after all this time, we still really don't know much about it. Some critics say it will raise taxes and national debt. Supporters claim that it wont and in fact will pay for itself in a matter of a few shot years. I am inclined to believe the critics on that point. One only has to look at the run away costs of medicare and medicaid.

    However, what about the merits of the reform itself. That's where everything is so confusing. With the high costs of medical costs and insurance, we in this country are in need of some kind of reform, to reign in those costs. But, is this legislation the answer. I don't know, because I really don't know what's in the bill. Critics, make such wide criticisms, while supporters in Congress say those criticisms are unfounded. Who do you believe?

    Every critic, I have heard has insurance, and seemingly has no trouble paying for it. Where are the critics, that don't have insurance (or struggles to pay) and is informed enough to criticize the bill. Until, so one the bill is suppose to help, steps forward and intelligently criticizes the bill, I have to remain undecided.

    Finally, how will this government run insurance be paid for? Will it replace our current health insurances? How much will it cost each individual? If they can't afford insurance now, how will they be able to all of a sudden afford this insurance? If it doesn't replace everyone's current insurance, how is it different then medicare (for the elderly) and medicaid (for the poor)? What about dental, will dental coverage be included under this plan?

    There is just to many questions left unanswered to make an informed decision, on whether this is a good bill or not.

    go ahead share your thoughts with me now, my ears are open. I'm always eager to hear what you think.

    Donations are always welcomed (via paypal).

    follow me on Twitter

    Thursday, March 18, 2010

    New website!

    We have created a new website for Chesney Park! On this website, you will find neighborhood information, news about programs in Chesney Park, and a listing of upcoming events and activities. Plus much more. Go take a look:!

    Tuesday, March 16, 2010

    And The Winners Are............

    Recently, we here at DebtFree4ever.NET reviewed the new book by Belsky and Gilovich Why Smart people Make Big Money Mistakes. As part of that review we held a book giveaway. After ten (10) days of accepting entries, we had a total of 6 entries.

    Last night, using, three (3) of those entries were selected as the winners. Each of those winners have been notified and their books will be mailed to them as soon as we receive their mailing addresses in response to our emails.

    And The Winners Are............

  • Becky R
  • Kate
  • Mona
  • Saturday, March 13, 2010

    Good News- Another Debt Almost Gone

    Since my physical therapy debt doesn't send me monthly statements, I have a hard time knowing what the balance is. They automatically, deduct the $29.09 out each month and I have to make sure to deduct from my balance in my checking register.

    well today, I got a letter that, cleared some things up.
    This letter is to inform you that your account through Healthcare Payments Solutions will be inactivated after your final payment on March 23, 2010. Notice was sent by our office to change your payment amount from $29.09 to the remaining account balance of $25.57. Healthcare Payment Solutions charged a 5% service fee for use of their services & with this final payment your balance will be satisfied. Thank you!

    That is great news. Especially, in a pay period, when I missed a day of work (1st time in 4 years) after I got sick (for the 5th time this season) with a 101.9 temperature. A pay-period, that is so tight that there is no money for food or medicine after paying the essential bills. And because of the sick day, the next paycheck (3/23) will be even smaller.

    Friday, March 12, 2010

    The World's New Richest Person

    For the first time, in as long as I can remember the world's richest98 person isn't an American. Yes! You read that right. In the 2010 list of the world's richest people, both Bill Gates and Warren Buffett were knocked from their existence as the two richest people in the world. In their place is a Mexican telecommunications magnate. However, it's not that they lost money, quite contrary, they built wealth over the last year, it's just that Carlos Slim Helu, built even greater wealth this past year.

    1. Carlos Slim Helu

  • Net Worth: $53.5 billion
  • Fortune: Self Made
  • Source: telecommunication
  • Age: 70
  • Country Of Citizenship: Mexico
  • Residence: Mexico City
  • Education: Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Bachelor of Arts / Science
  • Marital Status: Widowed, 6 children

    Ranking last year was 3rd. Net worth increased $18.5 billion over last year.

    2. Bill Gates

  • Net Worth: $53.0 bil
  • Fortune: Self Made
  • Source: Microsoft
  • Age: 54
  • Country Of Citizenship: United States
  • Residence: Medina, Washington
  • Education: Harvard U, Drop Out
  • Marital Status: Married, 3 children

    Ranking last year 1st. Net worth still up $13 billion over last year.

    3. Warren Buffett

  • Net Worth: $47.0 bil
  • Fortune: Self Made
  • Source: Berkshire Hathaway
  • Age: 79
  • Country Of Citizenship: United States
  • Residence: Omaha, Nebraska
  • Education: Columbia U, Master of Science; U of Nebraska Lincoln, Bachelor of Arts / Science
  • Marital Status: Widowed, 3 children

    Ranking last year 2nd. Net worth still up $10 billion over last year.
  • Monday, March 8, 2010

    Guest Post: Why should you not opt for payday loans?

    Editors note: This is a guest post by Kevin Craig. I hope you enjoy and comment on his post)

    Payday loans are really expensive

    Payday loans are able to satisfy the needs of the people but the borrower has to repay the loan on the basis of the coming payday. These cash advances are in fact very expensive to the people, and so people are obliged to repay the loan on the coming payday. For getting the payday loan the lender needs to have the check of the borrower's account to maintain the security of the loan. These loans are highly expensive than the other types of loans especially the cash loans. These types of loans are also known as costly cash.

    Payday loans become more costly when you are not able to pay in time

    If you extent your repayment plan or unable to pay back within the due date, payday loans become more expensive. IF you extend your loan for another 14 days, you end up paying half of the principal amount as interest.

    A Payday Loan Company can file a Judgment against You

    Depending on how large a debt one has, the payday loan lender could decide to file a law suit against you at any point of time although it is a part of the unsecured debt! If the company is able to get a judgment one could be forced to even pay back the money through bank account levies, wage garnishment, or property liens. One should keep in mind that each state has different laws regarding this and several has laws that even force payday loan companies to set up installment payment plans with their clients. So while it’s true that a payday loan company can file a judgment, it really never comes to that point!

    Can one get rid of Judgment?

    The easiest way to do this is to simply get in contact with the payday loan lender before the first default. By talking to the payday loan company first, one can work out some sort of arrangement with them before they can even send the debt to a collection agency. At some point, the lender will give up trying to make money off you and will just want their money back. Most people are able to work out a payment plan where they pay the loan back in installments, but even if the lender is unwilling to negotiate a plan, they will at least know that every effort has been made to pay the loan back and will be less likely to file a judgment.

    Better Business Bureau’s (BBB) recent warnings against onlinepayday lender scams

    BBB reported that hundreds of people complained to it against few online payday loan providers like United Cash Loans,,,, Ace Cash Services and Ameriloan. People accused of these companies that once they have signed up for one time payday loan and provided their bank account information. All the subsequent payments were counted as finance charges, leaving the principal amount unpaid. BBB also reported that some consumers paid 3-7 times of the original loan amount and interest as high as 547%.

    You can look for BBB reliability reports for free at

    If anyone still goes for payday loan, is payday loan debt settlement the best option?

    A pay day loan can be obtained online and with no credit check. Bad credit will not disqualify one from qualifying for a pay day loan. One can use the money for what ever purpose necessary and the money can often be deposited into the checking account the very same day. All one needs is a checking account, and a steady source of income to get up to $1000 dollars or more deposited directly into the checking account. There are no other fees or charges incurred no penalties for early repayment, loan extension guaranteed and also loan is delivered on the very same day.

    Alternatives to Payday Loans

    When there is a need for credit one should look for other options other than payday loans:

    One can consider a small loan from the following sources

    • credit union
    • A small loan company
    • An advance on pay from the employer
    • Family or friends (borrow)

    Friday, March 5, 2010

    Book Giveaway

    Recently, I reviewed Why Smart people Make Big Money Mistakes by Belsky and Gilovich. A very interesting book. If you haven't already, read the review and comment below for a chance to win one of three copies (provided by Simon & Schuster) that I will be giving here in a random drawing.

    To enter leave a comment below. Please include in the comment your email address.

    The 3 winners will be chosen randomly using

    Remember there are three (3) chances to win. So leave a comment and then refer your friends to enter for a chance to. Don't forget to include you email address.

    Winners chosen March 15.

    Why Smart People Make Big Money Mistakes (Belsky and Gilovich)

    Why do we make such huge money mistakes? That is the question asked in, "Why Smart People Make Big Money Mistakes...and How To Correct Them," by Gary Belsky and Thomas Gilovich.

    The biggest part of the problem is behavioral economics. That is how we treat one dollar differently depending on the value we put on it. This was illustrated perfectly in the "Legend of The Man in The Green Bathrobe." Simply put, we divide money into mental accounts based on:

  • Where it comes from

  • Where it is kept

  • How it is spent

    This tendency to value some dollars less then others, and thus waste them. In the case, referred to in the legend, mental accounting, allowed him to think of the 7.5 million dollars he lost, as the house's money, rather then his own. Simple fact is, he turned $5 into $7.5 million at the roulette table and then lost it. However in his mind, he didn't lose the 7.5 million, only the $5. All, because he put less of a value on the winnings, that he kept on the table.

    So why do we put less of a value on some portions of our money then others? That is one thing that this book seeks to address.

    Warning Signs

  • You don't think you're a reckless spender, but you have trouble saving.

  • You have savings in the bank and revolving balances on your credit cards.

  • you're more likely to splurge w/ a tax refund than with savings.

  • You seem to spend more money when you use credit cards than when you use cash.

  • Most of your retirement savings are in fixed-income or other conservative investments.

  • We MUST stop this mental accounting. This includes, cutting up the credit cards and quit gambling.

    This problem (mental accounting) is what is wrong with most American's finances. It is why they don't have savings and are into debt up to their eyeballs. Even if we have savings, we continue to borrow more. Wasting those dollars that we pay in interest.

    Look! It doesn't matter if it's found money (gifts, inheritance, tax refund, etc) or earned. It's still money. Thus we must treat it the same. Saving not squandering it. Likewise, we must stop thinking of credit as income. Yes, as crazy as that sounds, that is what many Americans are doing. We live off credit cards. If we get a new credit card or an extension on those cards, subconsciously, we think we have more money to spend and run out and purchase something, even though we can't afford to pay for it in cash.

    I encourage you to pick up a copy of this book today. Visit your local library or bookstore for a copy of this book today (or use the link above).


    Look for the upcoming book giveaway, in an upcoming post.
  • Wednesday, March 3, 2010

    Free Haircut

    Today I went to get my hair cut. I had a coupon for a FREE haircut for first time customers, so I thought, why not try out this place called Sports Clips. When I was seated in the chair. I was told that since, I was a first time customer that I qualified for the MVP treatment. It includes your standard haircut and a massaging shampoo, steamed towel, conditioner, and a neck and shoulder massage. She said that since, I had the "FREE" Coupon that this was free to.

    I wouldn't be the Prince of Thrift, if I didn't accept the freebies. The thing, I want to know is how much will they charge, when and if I become a paying customer. I can't seem to find this information? Why is it something that they try to hide?