Friday, November 9, 2007

Details on Our Debts

I had a reader ask for the details on our debts, so here it is in all it's glory:
  • $308 - Dish Network, 1 & 1/2 years ago my wife got it for me because I was wanting access to Angel Network. We shouldn't have signed up because at the time we didn't even have enough money to cover all our expenses, so it was disconnected for lack of payment.
  • $368 - Chiropractor bill, several years old, I don't even remember when but it was for my wife.
  • $400 - Foot Dr bill, several years old, my wife needed new orthotics in order to walk, but we haven't paid for them yet.
  • $401 - Ambulance, 2 & 1/2 yrs ago my wife was really sick at work and they called the ambulance to take her to the hospital.
  • $435 - Pacemaker checkups, 2-4 years my wife has a pacemaker and we had her going to one place for checkups but haven't paid them yet.
  • $517 - Hospital Emergency Visit, uncertain details, probably from the ambulance above.
  • $685 - Hospital Emergency Visit, 3 years old, my wife was getting dizzy spells big time, we were concerned it was her pacemaker, problem was dehydration.
  • $2187 - My Stupid Mistake, 1 & 1/2 years ago with money being very short I decided to give plasma for money. I had done it before in college and it hadn't had any bad effects, but the day I went in April '06 I did not eat & drink enough beforehand, so I blacked out at the place and went unconscious. For a couple of hours I lost a week of my life. I had tests done, no permanent damage but I should have pursued the place for negligence to take care of the bills (they didn't take me to the hospital, they just put me on a bed to rest).
  • $804 - Bank Fees for closed account, 1 & 1/2 years ago during a time I lost my job and finances went crazy, we had several items on auto-draft and checks floating, which caused our account to go negative. They kept adding more fees until we could bring it current, which we were not able to due to no job.
  • $1591 - Cingular cancelled account balance, 2 years ago. This was where we went from a bad situation of 3 phone plan to 5 phone plan after my wife had just a few month prior bought a $500 phone with Cingular. She and her friend were having calls dropped with Cingular and they both were trying to work at Primerica, so they were needing to go to a different carrier. Her friend worked at Verizon, so they changed it to that. We'll be taking care of this next week.
  • $3629 - Menards, 2-3 years ago. This is a couple of mistakes all put together, partially kitchen remodeling to our old condo when we couldn't afford it (I made a promise I shouldn't have to my wife before moving into there and felt obligated to keep it). The other part was spending excessively to help my father get out of a bad house he bought and was facing foreclosure. We got it sold in time, but nothing out of it.
  • $5333 - Discover, 2-4 years ago. This is one of those that we just kept putting amounts here and there on it, I don't even know exactly what it all was.
  • $5774 - Home Depot, 2 years ago. We put part of the kitchen remodel mentioned above onto it, but a large chunk was a bay window at our current home that was damaged by neighborhood kids. Instead of taking the homeowner's insurance money and paying a fair chunk of the bill, we lived off the money instead.
  • $6919 - Capital One, 2-4 years ago. This is in the same category as the Discover, I don't have much to show for it besides being here today.
We had a whole bunch more before on this, a Chase & Bank of America CC spent on who knows what, a CarMax loan on a worthless car, various small debts, 2 months behind on the mortgage and utilities. It's hard to get an exact number, but so far for this year alone I'm looking at us tackling ~$19,000 worth of debts ($1860 mortgage past due, $12,000 CC, $3,400 non-CC, $1600 CarMax loan).

The main point of this post is not to point fingers at who did what, but it is to learn from our mistakes and not make them in the future. I have no ill-feelings regarding the choices my wife made, for I was making bad choices at the same time and not leading the way a husband should.


MyDebtBlog said...

I'm impressed that you can remember so much detail on what each debt was for. Medical debt is not a fun thing to go through. Same with the other services that you owe that have fallen by the wayside. My tendency is that services need to be paid for while credit card companies are more of a loan. The priority before services is the house because you can't lose that.

I think these credit cards are the least of your problems right now. You are giving into the collections people by throwing a payment at them, which probably doesn't even make it current. If they're going to keep charging late fees and past due fees, why throw any money at them since it's going to fees and not debt? Worst case is they can try to sue you and you don't have any money, so what's the point of them trying.

I would put more focus on getting the mortgage current. Then turn your eye to the services you owe and see if they will do a settlement for less than what is owed. Sometimes they can remove the fees and such so you're only paying for the service itself. There's a lot of medical debt to deal with before those credit card companies. Good luck getting stuff handled.

Dedicated said...

I think your moving in the right direction. If I am reading this right you are all caught up on past due mortgage and utilities and your home is secure - right?

If so, great! That is awesome.

My calculations say you owe $29351. Yes, alot, but I think you can get through this.

Unlike your first commenter I would Ignore medical bills for now. These are explainable and negotiable. I would get all the credit cards current - one at a time and pay minimums. Then, I would take any extra $$ and hide it until I create a baby emergency fund.

After which, I would try to accumulate 1/2-3/4 of my smallest debt in cash. In this instance - Dish Network I would look to amass $231 and then I would wake this evil debt. I would tell them I will pay them in cash 1/2 if they issue me a letter which states this debt has been satisfied in full. Once I receive this letter, I will pay them IMMEDIATELY.

Then, I would continue to the next one, dropping my debts one at a time. Just don't make contact with any "sleeping" debts until you are ready to pay a negotiated price.

Good luck - this isn't impossible. Keep your home safe, then satisfy minimums of all active debts, then kill the dead beasts. Each one will get you closer to freedom.

If a debt is extremely old - they may have written you off. That said, file a dispute on your credit reports requesting proof of debt. You may find a really, old debt is too much trouble for them to look up and they will delete it.

Sick of Debt said...

Yes, our home and utilities have been current for 6 months now and that has been priority #1 every month. I remember the debts so well so I don't make the same mistakes.

The point of throwing money at some of the CC folks is if they do try to sue me, they pretty much won't settle for anything less than 100%, since the judgment they would get from the court would be valid.

My main focus is the CC folks right now, Menards will be dealt with on 12/3, Home Depot on 2/20 (they call daily even when you paid them, nag factor), Discover on 5/20, Capital One on 8/20. The only exception is the Cingular one due to them sending in writing that they would accept 33%, which I don't want to lose.