I don't know if it helped anyone, but I was going through my budget this morning for the rest of the month and I noticed there is another thing I often do when money is tight. We had some "extra expenses" come up last week (Okay, Zeke and I were really naughty and went out to dinner on Friday and then, we bought some new snow sleds for the kids and a Christmas gift for Beck that I've been waiting to go on sale!) Anyway, now I need to "find" some more money for our Thanksgiving trip this week. I just felt like I should share this with all of you and hopefully it can help someone.
So, I have learned (by calling and feeling really dumb, but you never know until you ask) that several creditors and companies will let you skip a payment or move it up a few days until you get paid again to help you have the extra you need to make it until the next paycheck, sometimes with no late fees or penalties! Many companies have a GRACE period on your payment -- meaning if your payment is due on the 30th of the month, you might not actually have to pay until the 5th of the next month. They don't always tell you, but you can ask. Our car payment is like this.
Maybe all of these companies are going to get angry with me for publicly sharing their "secret", but I don't think they will. Everyone I have called to ask for help has been very nice. All they can do is say no, right? FYI: Credit card companies are not like this, they are not nice and not willing to help you. (That is just from my experience.) Credit card companies are EVIL.
- America First Credit Union
- Allstate Insurance Company
- Hospitals and Doctor's Offices
- Gas and Utility Companies
- Nelnet (student loans), Yes, it's true!
- Green Tree
For example, this is what I did this morning: I adjusted my budget (I go over my budget EVERY day) and found that I needed another $100 or so to make it to the next paycheck. I don't think I could stretch our groceries that far this month, so I called Allstate to ask them if I could move our payment to next month and then, I would make a double payment. (*Now, you actually have to have enough from your next check to make this payment, so be careful before you promise that you'll pay them -- I don't think they would like you to CONTINUE to skip your payments.)
Anyway, they said SURE! (I knew they would, they've helped us before) That is $80 less I have to pay this check and $80 MORE in my pocket. I know I can squeeze at least $20 or so from the rest of my budget to make up the difference.
Also, we have our car payment through America First Credit Union (AFCU). I LOVE them! We have been with them since 1999. I'm sure other credit unions are just as great, I just haven't had any experience with them. Oh, ENT Federal Credit Union in Colorado was also great. Anyway, AFCU lets us waive one payment a year with no fee or penalty! Waive, as in SKIP completely and not have to pay double the next month! I know this isn't helping pay down our debt, but sometimes you have to deal with the here and now. This has been an absolute lifesaver during Christmas.
I hope all of you can get through the holidays debt-free and stress-free. I am all about SIMPLE everything. Look at what you can cut out. Last year, we didn't even do Christmas cards and I'm not sure if we will this year either. (Oh, the horror!!) I do love to spoil my kids, but I hope it's to a minimum where they are still excited and grateful about it, not just tossing another gift over their shoulder as they look for the next one to open. I truly believe it is possible to live within our means and still have all that we "need" (that is very subjective) and pay our bills so our credit score is still good.
I saw a really cool bumper sticker on a car the other day and I've decided I "need" one. It said: "Debt is normal. Be weird!" This is what we are working towards and hoping to achieve someday. I love it! People try to HAVE so much and DO so much -- I just want to have a BIG savings account and peace of mind AND when the time is right, Zeke and I want to go on a trip somewhere and pay for it with CASH!!
Oh, yeah, I almost forgot, THIS is what I really want for Christmas!! Thanks, Tawnya! Gosh, only $55? What a deal! Where in the WORLD would you wear those?! (Actually, don't answer that -- I don't really want to know.)