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Old 06-14-2015, 11:37 AM
jadah jadah is offline
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Default Keeping up with your own Debt management

I must say, learning this program on the fly so far, hasn't been enormously stressful. Just typing the word Excel make me think I have to be math smart and I am not.

I found a program that would help me keep track of it.
http://www.vertex42.com/Calculators/...alculator.html

I really do want to go back to school or get work related certifications of further education, but since I have very little financial confidence- handling money makes me extremely nervous, ..and I never have it available for what I want to do. So if anybody is interested, here is a spreadsheet to help you keep track. All you do is cut and paste and there is a video to show you how.
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There is no question that in virtually all circumstances in which people are doing things in order to get rewards, extrinsic tangible rewards undermine intrinsic motivation." the New Scientist (12th April 2011, pp 40-43)

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Old 02-21-2016, 05:57 PM
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Another help tool with a live person is LearnVest. I got myself that present for Christmas and so far, the financial planner has weathered the storm of my rages and insecurities when it comes to managing my finances. She created for me a spreadsheet that all I have to do is plug in my bill payments and the way she did it, keeps me from over drafting and I can see what I've got week to week.

Some of you are probably good at finances but I never have been and wow has it been a problem for me. That is why hubby was such an important part of our team because he was so good at it. I depended on him. Yeah I earned a better living than he did but he managed what he had way better than me.

The beginning cost is 99$ to sign up and then $19.00/month. So far in spite of all my own confusion about money, --so good and so worth it.
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"One of the casualties of [prison life] is the numbness of the heart"- Man on Fire

"
There is no question that in virtually all circumstances in which people are doing things in order to get rewards, extrinsic tangible rewards undermine intrinsic motivation." the New Scientist (12th April 2011, pp 40-43)

" Every life you touch, every fear or pain you ease, every loved ones' heart that you ease the burden from is the reason you are here."
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Old 02-21-2016, 06:33 PM
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Money and finances can be so anxiety inducing. It's funny you post this today because an hour ago I was having a conversation with my mother about how she inadvertently raised me to be obsessive with bill paying. Every month growing up I watched my mom cry, yell at people on the phone, get yelled at by people and write checks with dates two weeks out so we could at least get by. "Bill pay day" was worse than going to the dentist. And then I would have to run the checks into the offices we owed at and as a kid, I just assumed they saw me as an extension of her poor money management. It was awful.

So now? I'm broke as a joke and overextended in ways I can't even wrap my head around. But-- my bills are paid on time, if not early, and when I can I put extra on my credit card payments. Consequently my credit score is actually pretty dang amazing. Her example scared me into doing it differently. But...I'm not getting ahead. And that's where I need help. I'll check these out. Thanks!
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Old 02-21-2016, 06:38 PM
CenTexLyn CenTexLyn is offline
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I hate seeing people paying for financial planning software...a simple excel spreadsheet that can be created with columns for things like creditor, minimum due, balance in full, due date and date paid can serve the purpose just as well...

I'm not worried about the payments themselves (as in whether a check is going to stretch far enough) but setting everything up gives me an idea month over month whether spending on one card or another spiraled or whether utilities spiked more than the same period a year ago. Also helps to make sure I don't forget about a payment if I go on vacation...

The other thing it is useful for is keeping up with closing dates on statements...there are months I try to milk the credit score for a few extra points and so deliberately try to ensure I don't have a balance when the statement closes. One can normally be paying in full but still have balances...score algorithms look not only at total utilization but also number of cards with a balance out of all cards held by the consumer.
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Old 02-21-2016, 06:57 PM
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Looks like the first link is a free Excel template (with upgrade options for a fee). I'm decent with Excel but I know a lot of people aren't familiar with utilizing formulas. This could be helpful for them or time saving for someone else.

Thanks for the tip about paying off before the statement date. Mom is finally (hooray!) in an excellent place with her credit score but still really confused about how it works. For example, today she was telling me that even though she has the cash to pay for something, she'll use her credit card and make payments for a month or two to boost her credit score. This made no sense to me at all. I have passed your advice on.
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Old 02-21-2016, 07:26 PM
CenTexLyn CenTexLyn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by miamac View Post
Looks like the first link is a free Excel template (with upgrade options for a fee). I'm decent with Excel but I know a lot of people aren't familiar with utilizing formulas. This could be helpful for them or time saving for someone else.

Thanks for the tip about paying off before the statement date. Mom is finally (hooray!) in an excellent place with her credit score but still really confused about how it works. For example, today she was telling me that even though she has the cash to pay for something, she'll use her credit card and make payments for a month or two to boost her credit score. This made no sense to me at all. I have passed your advice on.
Actually it makes perfect sense...a prolonged lack of use can cause the card to fall out of scoring models since there has been no recent activity. It can also lead to some lenders cutting the line since, obviously, it isn't being used. Years ago, when I was active on some credit boards, there was also some credence given to a theory that feeding a little juice to a lender via the interest for a few months led to line increases (which in turn, potentially serve to increase score by decreasing overall utilization).

Yeah, we were geeks about scoring models...

I've given up a lot of lines through the scaling back that occurred after the last market crash but still try to keep some of the ratios in tact so that they don't hurt the people I have added as authorized users...they aren't responsible for the card but they can derive the benefit of the history on the cards I added them to.

As to excel sheets...mine are very simple. I run simple sum totals for the number of columns. Took me all of about two minutes to set the columns up and then I probably spend about five to ten minutes a month updating for the current month...

Last edited by CenTexLyn; 02-21-2016 at 07:28 PM..
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Old 02-21-2016, 07:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CenTexLyn View Post
Actually it makes perfect sense...a prolonged lack of use can cause the card to fall out of scoring models since there has been no recent activity. It can also lead to some lenders cutting the line since, obviously, it isn't being used. Years ago, when I was active on some credit boards, there was also some credence given to a theory that feeding a little juice to a lender via the interest for a few months led to line increases (which in turn, potentially serve to increase score by decreasing overall utilization).
So currently she is paying off to a zero balance at the due date save for the few she lets ride for a month or two. Per your earlier advice, if I understood correctly, it can be better to pay off before the end of the statement date. So a healthy combination of all three?

I understand utilizing credit to keep it from being cut, but I was under the impression that if she had monthly transactions (regardless of the payoff method) she was good.
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Old 02-21-2016, 07:53 PM
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So currently she is paying off to a zero balance at the due date save for the few she lets ride for a month or two. Per your earlier advice, if I understood correctly, it can be better to pay off before the end of the statement date. So a healthy combination of all three?

I understand utilizing credit to keep it from being cut, but I was under the impression that if she had monthly transactions (regardless of the payoff method) she was good.
Utilization is a key factor in score and is viewed in two ways: first as a ratio of balances to total credit lines (ie. $385 owed against total lines of $500 is not good while it would look far better against $35K in total lines) and second as a ratio of cards with balances to total cards reporting as active on the credit report (that $385 is better on one card out of ten compared to a bunch of tiny balances on even six or seven, much less all ten cards).

Now, taking that into account, one should not necessarily let their life be driven entirely by trying to micromanage the score unless there is a major purchase on the horizon or you are seeking new credit. In a given month, there generally isn't going to be a lot of difference in day to day functioning if you end the month at, say, 689 versus 723.

There are also some cards that are somewhat touchy about payment history...in other words, even if you get a nice bonus, but routinely only pay a few hundred dollars towards a balance you are paying down, you might not want to pay it off all in one whack. Sudden changes can result in bad things happen because of other algorithms the lenders use...they actually have some designed to address internal calculations of someone going busto.

I learned that the hard way before the last banking fiasco when I was actively involved in the balance transfer arbitrage...hey, it was free money as long as the means existed to pay it back at the expiry of the 0% offer. Unfortunately, some banks had a tendency to chop lines when it was paid back in one fell swoop. And, because one bank chopped drastically, it impacted ratios which would then contribute to other banks chopping lines to just above the balance (which then screws you on the card balance to limit ratio discussed earlier).

It truly did become as much an art as a science. For the most part, I quit playing many of the games and shifted as much as possible to AMEX. I can extract more value out of them than the annual fee costs me and they are generally happy as long as they get their balance in full each month.
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Old 02-21-2016, 09:42 PM
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I hate seeing people paying for financial planning software...a simple excel spreadsheet that can be created with columns for things like creditor, minimum due, balance in full, due date and date paid can serve the purpose just as well..

CenTexLyn-In principle you are absolutely correct. "a simple spreadsheet" is just as good (and yes the first link is a free spreadsheet). HOWEVER, I am starting from a position of the proverbial merry go-round. I get so confused about numbers and money management, without someone to TELL me what to do. I don't even know where to start planning. I don't even understand planning for a financial future past "pay your bills on time". I can make it from pay check to pay check but how do I get to the position of "planning for a financial future"?

I make enough to PLAN for the future but there are so many simple (to some) concepts that I don't understand, i.e. how to set up my finances for a future plan - all I can see are the bills and loans I owe that seem overwhelming. I can't get past that. My own foundation in personal finance management is so weak all I can see is the mound of debt. I don't even have a credit card and have never been able to balance my check book.-So all that discussion you exchanged about the banking fiasco...I don't comprehend it- so yes, I feel I am starting so way far back behind the 8 ball, I don't even know how or where to start.

The reason I am so very grateful for this program is someone to slowly explain it to me in terms I understand, and create the spreadsheet for me so that I can take it all in as baby steps. Of course I still a the one to do the work, but the available answer person is what I have been missing who can break it down for me and encourage me along the way.
Because the answer person is available to talk to and ask questions to and don't think I'm stupid (at least not to my face) all while encouraging me along the way...that person is comforting to me...I thought I would share the comfort tool I found. For those that are well versed and confident in personal finances...I look forward to being in your club one day.
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"
There is no question that in virtually all circumstances in which people are doing things in order to get rewards, extrinsic tangible rewards undermine intrinsic motivation." the New Scientist (12th April 2011, pp 40-43)

" Every life you touch, every fear or pain you ease, every loved ones' heart that you ease the burden from is the reason you are here."

Last edited by jadah; 02-21-2016 at 09:51 PM..
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