$23k credit card emergency

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TIAX
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Re: $23k credit card emergency

Post by TIAX » Sat Nov 11, 2017 12:20 pm

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Fri Nov 10, 2017 7:27 am
Get a 2nd part time job.
Getting part time jobs (unless they're high paying and/or relevant to your field) is generally not an efficient way to increase your income. It might be helpful if you tell us what you do, your level of education, your job and salary history, and what your career goals are. Are you getting paid market? Is there room to advance in your company? Are there things you can do to advance faster (for example, obtaining a degree or certification)? Have you considered another field and what would it take to switch to that field?

cherijoh
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Re: $23k credit card emergency

Post by cherijoh » Sat Nov 11, 2017 1:57 pm

CaliJim wrote:
Fri Nov 10, 2017 12:06 am
Welcome to the forum.

Good job on taking responsibility for where you are at, and going out, getting a second job, and starting to get things under control.

If you can borrow from your 401k, then do so. Many 401k's will allow you to borrow, and pay back with interest TO YOURSELF!

If you can't borrow from your 401k, then it becomes a bit of a math problem, as, I *think*, you may need to pay a 10% penalty for a premature withdraw from the 401k (as apposed to borrowing from the 401k.) 10% Penalty = $2.3 vs. how much interest you pay over the next 2 years as you pay off your CC debt.

In either case (borrow or premature withdrawal) - I would not completely drain the 401K - as it is good to have a little there as part of your dire emergency fund.
401k plans that do allow loans cap the amount you can borrow at the smaller of 50% of your balance or $50K and limit the pay back period to 5 years except for a home purchase. If you leave the company the loan must be paid back (generally within 60 or 90 days) or it gets converted to a premature distribution subject to taxes and the 10% early-withdrawal penalty.

IMO a 401k loan is not a good option for someone actively looking for a new job.
BL wrote:
Fri Nov 10, 2017 12:27 am
You sound like a good candidate for getting advice from Dave Ramsey book or radio program.
Work on getting one low amount CC paid off, then the next smaller, DR's "snowball effect".

Drinking costs money, and even worse, lowers your resistance to controlling your spending. Perhaps getting some other activity buddies would not be a bad idea.

Being aware of the problem is the first step to solving it. You need to work on getting rid of those high-interest CC debts. Just paying the minimum won't get you very far, but put the extra on one at a time to get rid of one, then put the extra missing payment onto the next one, etc.

Cut every cost possible, even for a few months. You desperately need to go on a budget diet to get back to zero net worth, so you can go on from there.

Many of us have gone through periods of very low income, but managed to spend little and live on beans and ramen noodles, rather than thinking we deserved something and borrowed by CC to get it immediately. You probably need to drop your CC into a bag of water and put it away in your freezer. Anything you charge now gets the same high interest rate as the debt you owe. Absolutely don't use a card you carry a balance on!
+1 Good advice! OP - have you been splitting the extra payments around on all of your debt or doing it in a more targeted way? BL is right about using the Dave Ramsey snowball effect. And definitely about not charging a dime to credit cards going forward.

cherijoh
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Re: $23k credit card emergency

Post by cherijoh » Sat Nov 11, 2017 2:34 pm

ray.james wrote:
Fri Nov 10, 2017 4:23 pm
1)Reduce expenses: You can cut netflix etc all you want, but sharing with a roomate is the cheapest way to save a LOT. Plus internet/electric and utilities get cut in half. The best deals are on 3 bed room sharing with 3 people. That alone saved me $600-700 between utilities and rent. I used that to pay off high interest debt; one card at a time.
FrugalProfessor wrote:
Fri Nov 10, 2017 3:56 pm
You have a spending problem, not an income problem.

1.) Slash living expenses.
Find a roommate if possible, saving $500/month.
OP stated in her original post that she already has TWO roommates.

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BL
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Re: $23k credit card emergency

Post by BL » Sat Nov 11, 2017 3:42 pm

Please don't rule out getting a job in a lower cost of living area. You might find that you have more money available to pay off debts; then you would be able to choose where to live after you have finances in much better shape.

quantAndHold
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Re: $23k credit card emergency

Post by quantAndHold » Sat Nov 11, 2017 3:57 pm

I don’t have much to add that hasn’t already been said, but...

Withdrawing from Roth IRA or 401k, or giving up the company match on the 401k contributions is insane. The Roth, the 401k, and especially the 401k match are scarce resources, and if you give them up, you don’t get them back.

Look at balance transfers or debt consolidation for the high interest cards, but you must not charge anything new to the cards. Most people who get debt consolidation loans run their credit cards back up to their original level within a short period of time. Then they have twice the problem. Don’t do that. Cut up all the cards but one that you save for emergencies, and freeze that one in a block of ice, so you literally have to wait for the ice to melt to use it.

Learn to cook. It will save you piles of money, and you’ll eat healthier. In a restaurant, food is only about 20-30% of your bill. The rest goes to employee wages, rent, utilities, profit, etc. Cook for yourself. If you’re dating, your date will love a good home cooked meal.

If all your friends want to do is eat out and go to bars, get new friends. Seriously. Join a club. Go to meetups for things you’re interested in. When I was young, single, and broke, I sang in a chorus, and belonged to a singles group that had board game nights every week or two. Both activities were a lot of fun, didn’t require drinking, and generally cost little or nothing. My roommate at the time was in a running club. It cost her nothing, and she met some great friends.

A friend of mine found Debtors Anonymous to be really helpful. I don’t have personal experience with that, though.

harrychan
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Re: $23k credit card emergency

Post by harrychan » Sat Nov 11, 2017 4:17 pm

Another vote for Dave Ramsey. If you aren't too sure, go and try a few podcasts. You will find a lot of people calling in that will be similar to your situation. His pathway to getting out of debt is proven and extremely simple to follow. I've helped many people get out of debt by recommending his plan. Once you get out of debt, a lot of advice on other threads here will help you grow your investments.
This is not legal or certified financial advice but you know that already.

cherijoh
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Re: $23k credit card emergency

Post by cherijoh » Sat Nov 11, 2017 7:03 pm

rb6p wrote:
Fri Nov 10, 2017 9:58 pm
Quick calculation of your fees per month on the $23k credit card debt is $324 per month. That's a lot of drag.

As other posters have pointed out, I'd look into 0% balance transfer as a first step. Obviously, be mindful of length of intro rate, whether or not there is transaction fee, and the default APR after the intro rate. Make sure you have a plan for when the 0% ends. Depending on your credit, you can usually jump from one 0% intro offer to another.
I thought most of the 0% transfers came with a transaction fee of several percent of the balance transferred. Also be aware of how any payments get allocated if you are also charging new stuff to the card. I think after paying the minimum balance due any extra payment goes to the 0% balance so you would be racking up NEW interest charges on the remaining new balance.

kjvmartin
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Re: $23k credit card emergency

Post by kjvmartin » Sat Nov 11, 2017 7:18 pm

I am curious. Do you have the MBA you aspired to? I see you mentioned it as one of your goals.

If you have the MBA, is $60k a reasonable salary for your area? I ask because I live in a much lower cost of living area doing a bit less prestigious work and am paid a similar rate. What are your career goals going forward?

kjvm

Rick Rock
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Re: $23k credit card emergency

Post by Rick Rock » Sat Nov 11, 2017 10:46 pm

You've gotten a ton of good advice so far in this thread. Just chipping in to say that this was me,down to the level of debt and the SoCal location, a few years ago. Took about a year to get out of the hole.

Having been in literally this exact situation, the best thing I did was work on my income. Your expenses aren't really out of line for a young professional on the West Side and for better or worse, the austerity measures proposed by helpful posters aren't easy to execute in LA (though I ate more than my share of frickin Lean Pockets when I was digging out of CC debt).

Huge opportunity to grow income though... especially given the boom in CA right now. You clearly communicate well and are motivated to succeed. Start working your network, applying and interviewing next week !

TIAX
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Re: $23k credit card emergency

Post by TIAX » Sat Nov 11, 2017 11:24 pm

cherijoh wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 7:03 pm
I thought most of the 0% transfers came with a transaction fee of several percent of the balance transferred. Also be aware of how any payments get allocated if you are also charging new stuff to the card. I think after paying the minimum balance due any extra payment goes to the 0% balance so you would be racking up NEW interest charges on the remaining new balance.
There is often fee but the 1-3% fee is lower than most credit card and student loan APRs.

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slayed
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Re: $23k credit card emergency

Post by slayed » Sun Nov 12, 2017 5:04 am

Slacker wrote:
Fri Nov 10, 2017 11:09 pm
0% balance transfers are great, but you can do something else -> call all the creditors one by one and be as polite and courteous as possible while you ask the customer service person if there is anyway possible that they can lower your interest rate.

6yrs ago, I could have made almost the same post you did. Living in a HCOL area with a similar income and similar debt (most of my money went to child support though, not drinking and eating out). I took a job in a different state with a better salary and lower cost of living and took care of my debt. $18k credit card and $7000 car debt wiped out in 12 months.
+1

I know a few people this approach has worked for. Basically call the credit card company, tell them that you are not able to pay any more, see if you can work out a payment plan. If you do this you won't be able to use the cards any more but the payment plan will have a much lower interest rate. You don't need to use a credit counseling service for this you can deal with the cc company directly.

cherijoh
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Re: $23k credit card emergency

Post by cherijoh » Sun Nov 12, 2017 9:55 am

TIAX wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 11:24 pm
cherijoh wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 7:03 pm
I thought most of the 0% transfers came with a transaction fee of several percent of the balance transferred. Also be aware of how any payments get allocated if you are also charging new stuff to the card. I think after paying the minimum balance due any extra payment goes to the 0% balance so you would be racking up NEW interest charges on the remaining new balance.
There is often fee but the 1-3% fee is lower than most credit card and student loan APRs.
The issue is that if you can't pay it down over the course of the initial 0% period, you are either stuck with a high interest rate or another fee to roll it over to a different card. Therefore I don't know that it would make sense for student loans with reasonable interest rates like the OPs - especially if it will need to be rolled over several times. One misstep and your student loan ends up subject to 18% and up interest rates. :shock:

OP has already tried the 0% route, so I suspect that she only qualified for 0% on a portion of her balance.

Slacker
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Re: $23k credit card emergency

Post by Slacker » Sun Nov 12, 2017 1:10 pm

cherijoh wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 7:03 pm

I thought most of the 0% transfers came with a transaction fee of several percent of the balance transferred. Also be aware of how any payments get allocated if you are also charging new stuff to the card. I think after paying the minimum balance due any extra payment goes to the 0% balance so you would be racking up NEW interest charges on the remaining new balance.
OP should definitely check for themselves on how payments are applied, but if I am not mistaken: sometime within the last 10 years or so the credit card companies were forced (by regulation) to apply payments in excess of the minimum due to the highest interest rate balance FIRST.

...and here it is:
bankrate.com wrote:The Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 made significant changes to how issuers can apply credit card payments to the consumer’s advantage.

Any excess amount beyond the minimum payment must be applied to the balance with the highest interest rate. Before, credit card companies would apply any amount past the minimum payment to the balance with the lowest interest rate.

socraticbogler
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Re: $23k credit card emergency

Post by socraticbogler » Sun Nov 12, 2017 6:58 pm

Hey - just wanted to let you know I've been there, too. Main advice: embrace the excuse to simplify your life. It really does get better over time, but the path to that is to keep it simple, work hard, be frugal, and feel good every time you say no to something you don't really need.

Caduceus
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Re: $23k credit card emergency

Post by Caduceus » Mon Nov 13, 2017 9:10 am

Borrow from your 401k. You should be able to take out 50% of what's vested, so you can throw $11,000 at your two highest interest-rate cards. Choose the longest amortization period (five years, I think). After you've paid off $11,000 or so from the credit cards, wait a few days or so and then apply for a new 0% APR balance transfer credit card that will allow you to transfer most, if not all, of your remaining credit card debt to a card with 0% interest.

Use the $700 or so disposable income you have to service the credit card debt on the 0% card, while saving up for your periodic 401k loan repayments.

This way, you can pay down the principal without paying onerous interest. Good luck.

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BL
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Re: $23k credit card emergency

Post by BL » Mon Nov 13, 2017 9:24 am

I believe if you quit or lose your job, any 401k loans are due pretty quick, maybe 60 days, or you end up paying tax and penalty on that amount. That could be a big risk and put you into a bigger mess with taxes owed.
Last edited by BL on Mon Nov 13, 2017 9:29 am, edited 1 time in total.

NorCalDad
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Re: $23k credit card emergency

Post by NorCalDad » Mon Nov 13, 2017 9:28 am

Rick Rock wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 10:46 pm
Having been in literally this exact situation, the best thing I did was work on my income. Your expenses aren't really out of line for a young professional on the West Side and for better or worse, the austerity measures proposed by helpful posters aren't easy to execute in LA (though I ate more than my share of frickin Lean Pockets when I was digging out of CC debt).

Huge opportunity to grow income though... especially given the boom in CA right now. You clearly communicate well and are motivated to succeed. Start working your network, applying and interviewing next week !
BL wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 3:42 pm
Please don't rule out getting a job in a lower cost of living area. You might find that you have more money available to pay off debts; then you would be able to choose where to live after you have finances in much better shape.
This was my first thought. Either you're going to have to find a side job, get a job with more income or move to a lower COL area. It's not just the housing cost that's bringing you down, it's the whole lifestyle where you live, particularly at your age. It's like going to an amusement park with two ride tickets and a sandwich you brought from home while everyone around you seems to have an unlimited ride pass and cotton candy. I mean, as a 40-something, I could probably survive in West L.A. on your income, no kids and be able to pay off that debt, but I'd be sitting at home most nights reading my library books, not going out drinking with friends.

ryman554
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Re: $23k credit card emergency

Post by ryman554 » Mon Nov 13, 2017 9:56 am

ursula wrote:
Fri Nov 10, 2017 4:00 pm
I don't drive a lot during the week but on the weekends (like 2x a month) I'll visit my family and friends about 40 miles each way. I usually drive around a lot since I take my mom on errands (she doesn't drive). Especially with LA traffic, it can take a toll on your gas. I guess $150 is a bit on the higher end. Currently, it's about $30-35 to fill up my gas tank so I guess I can bring my gas budget down to $100.
The highlighted in red is your problem. You're guessing.

If you want to get out of debt, quit guessing at where your money goes, you have to know. You have CC statements, you have bank account records. Know where you money goes. I'll even put in a plug for Dave Ramseys "every dollar", which is just a glorified spreadsheet, if you're not good at excel. Just only use the free version.

Assign each and every dollar a purpose and be draconian about it. Run out of gas money? Tough. Time to walk. Run of out of beer money? Tough. Have fun without drinking. (Note, at this point, there should be no beer money! If there is beer money, you don't really want to get out of debt.)

raamakoti
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Re: $23k credit card emergency

Post by raamakoti » Mon Nov 13, 2017 10:57 am

You are not a looser in any way. Great job getting your act together. Here is my story.
When I was a grad student many bad decisions lead me to pile up 14k credit card debt and $1k loan from a friend. I stopped paying credit cards all together for close to 2 year no min payments nothing. Yes collection calls were hassle to deal with but I survived. All 5 cards went to collection agencies. I was 27 then - my top priority was to finish my masters and get a job.
When I got the job, I saved to pay off my friend first he told me to clear all credit cards. I lived like a beggar with bare min expenses, old beaten up car no vacation, no eating out, no new cloths. that was year 2005. When I saved up $2k, I would call collection agency and ask them to give me one time price for my debt. For $2000 credit card with interest etc it became $4250+, I paid $2040 and settled everything, got a written letter from them for my proof. did same thing over and over and became debt free in 7 months. For $14k loan I paid interest of less than $100. desperate times desperate measures. in 2005 my Gross pay was $55k and one bed room rent was $515 in NE Ohio.

In the process my credit score went to hell. But at that time, I did not care just wanted to be debt free. After paying to collection agencies I opened a secure credit card for $1000 and paid it off every month. After 2 years capital one gave me unsecured credit card, after another year chase gave me another.
Now I have zero debt, credit score back to 790 and total revolving credit of $35k and most of them are cashback cards.

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Strayshot
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Re: $23k credit card emergency

Post by Strayshot » Mon Nov 13, 2017 11:37 am

What is your credit score? It seems to me you could make immediate progress just lowering the overall rate on your debt via a personal loan (maybe 7% or so) or a couple 0% cards. Lots of good suggestions so far about lifestyle and spending changes, but if you can get the 23K debt consolidated at lower rates you will make immediate progress.

Crazy that anyone would be willing to pay $3 a year in perpetuity to consume a $15 beverage one time, glad you recognized that insanity.

LookingtogetFIRE'd
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Re: $23k credit card emergency

Post by LookingtogetFIRE'd » Mon Nov 13, 2017 12:07 pm

A lot of fantastic advice has already been given but I'll add in my two :dollar :dollar

1. Don't buy anything you don't need until you are out of debt. If you really need something, see if you can get it used and/or free. There are many Buy Nothing or community sharing programs throughout the country. Find the one local to you.

2. Can you replace your bar habit with a library habit? Get a movie from the library and invite your friends over. BYOB.

3. As soon as you pay off your credit cards, close the accounts. You really only need one credit card, if even that.

Good luck!

Miriam2
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Re: $23k credit card emergency

Post by Miriam2 » Tue Nov 14, 2017 5:30 pm

raamakoti wrote: Now I have zero debt, credit score back to 790 and total revolving credit of $35k and most of them are cashback cards.
- - - plus I bet you still have your friendship with your friend - thanks for sharing your story, raamakoti :happy

boglegirl
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Re: $23k credit card emergency

Post by boglegirl » Tue Nov 14, 2017 6:30 pm

ursula wrote:
Fri Nov 10, 2017 3:07 am
White Coat Investor wrote:
Fri Nov 10, 2017 12:16 am
Boost income, cut expenses, throw everything you can peel off at the debt, refinance what you can at lower rate, listen to Dave Ramsey podcasts in your spare time. You have a lot of work ahead of you. Your spending is > 6 months ahead of your earning and you need to catch up.

Stop going to Trader Joe's (food is too expensive). Stop going to Costco (portions are too big for a single person). Stop going out to eat and stop drinking. You can probably clean it up in a year, maybe less if you can figure out a way to boost income. The more extreme you get, the sooner this mess is out of your life. Try to build some momentum.

Thanks for your input! I've heard of Dave Ramsey's method but never listened to his show. I just downloaded his app to listen to his podcasts. As for groceries, I go to Costco for certain items like protein (divide into portions and toss into freezer) and a bag or two of veggies usually does the trick. I don't really eat frozen / processed food and on the rare occasion that I get the cravings for it, I'll buy it from Ralphs or TJs. I don't buy organic either because its more expensive.
I think you are doing OK on the groceries; you might be able to trim the monthly cost a little. Not sure why White Coat Investor says TJs is expensive. That's the opposite of the advice I gave my young adult daughter when she moved out last year! I told her, "Buy everything possible at Trader Joes." They have the best prices in our area on dairy, bread, packaged foods (pasta, etc), and *some* produce - you just have to comparison shop on that.

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jadd806
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Re: $23k credit card emergency

Post by jadd806 » Wed Nov 15, 2017 9:52 am

boglegirl wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 6:30 pm
ursula wrote:
Fri Nov 10, 2017 3:07 am
White Coat Investor wrote:
Fri Nov 10, 2017 12:16 am
Boost income, cut expenses, throw everything you can peel off at the debt, refinance what you can at lower rate, listen to Dave Ramsey podcasts in your spare time. You have a lot of work ahead of you. Your spending is > 6 months ahead of your earning and you need to catch up.

Stop going to Trader Joe's (food is too expensive). Stop going to Costco (portions are too big for a single person). Stop going out to eat and stop drinking. You can probably clean it up in a year, maybe less if you can figure out a way to boost income. The more extreme you get, the sooner this mess is out of your life. Try to build some momentum.

Thanks for your input! I've heard of Dave Ramsey's method but never listened to his show. I just downloaded his app to listen to his podcasts. As for groceries, I go to Costco for certain items like protein (divide into portions and toss into freezer) and a bag or two of veggies usually does the trick. I don't really eat frozen / processed food and on the rare occasion that I get the cravings for it, I'll buy it from Ralphs or TJs. I don't buy organic either because its more expensive.
I think you are doing OK on the groceries; you might be able to trim the monthly cost a little. Not sure why White Coat Investor says TJs is expensive. That's the opposite of the advice I gave my young adult daughter when she moved out last year! I told her, "Buy everything possible at Trader Joes." They have the best prices in our area on dairy, bread, packaged foods (pasta, etc), and *some* produce - you just have to comparison shop on that.
+1. I'm not sure why some people have such a vendetta against Trader Joe's, but the common thread seems to be that they've never actually shopped at Trader Joe's!

fleetwdl
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Re: $23k credit card emergency

Post by fleetwdl » Wed Nov 15, 2017 1:58 pm

Two words: Dave Ramsey

koozie
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Re: $23k credit card emergency

Post by koozie » Wed Nov 15, 2017 3:15 pm

I think you should reconsider your education goals. Hopefully you will succeed in eliminating all this debt, but it will take time and if you choose to then pursue an MBA you could lose some progress you've made...... Graduate school tuition/fees is not typically cheap, especially if you go to a school with proper accreditations. Also, how would you plan to attend school? Part time while you work? Full time in lieu of work? In addition to tuition, fees, books, etc, there is the opportunity cost other income you could be producing during the time you spend on school.

I would suggest first getting out of debt and accumulating more wealth to achieve a positive net worth. After that, look at how grad school would impact your wealth and decide if you want to remain at or near even net worth to pursue a graduate degree or begin building your savings and investments. Be realistic with how you think an MBA could impact your salary over time, it may only delay your ability to accumulate wealth without improving your ability earn.

Certainly don't pass on opportunities to learn, but graduate degrees are expensive and I think they should only be pursued if financially prudent.

Good luck.

Texanbybirth
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Re: $23k credit card emergency

Post by Texanbybirth » Wed Nov 15, 2017 4:11 pm

FrugalProfessor wrote:
Fri Nov 10, 2017 3:56 pm
You have a spending problem, not an income problem.

Groceries: Slash your budget by 50%. Eat only oatmeal, banannas, rice, beans, eggs.

This is a good read: https://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/04 ... emergency/
Agreed, but I'd throw peanut butter and coffee in there, too. You have an emergency, and you're only trying to apply band-aids by limiting yourself to going out drinking once a month. Cut it out completely, learn to appreciate a Bota Box of wine as your monthly allotment of alcohol. Make new friends who can find enjoyment in a simple home life if you can't convince your current ones about your dire situation.

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