Couch Tomato

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Something that everyone should check out.

I was reading my state's web site one day looking for consumer help on my cable company, when I noticed the tax thing and by clicking onthis page, I found that there is a property tax freeze for everyone over 65 or disabled. I talked to a lot of people and no one knew about it! It was a stealth tax break.

So I went looking around different states. In new Hampshire they have a volunteer program called Green Mountain care for people who are ill.

You never know what you will find. I suggest that when you have some time to take a glance wround you state's web site looking for stealth help programs. While I don't qualify for the programs I found, I know plenty of people who do!

If you are in Connecticutt, you are on your own, no programs there , In NY state, plenty of different programs!

To find your state's sites here is a map

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OK, I started my blog today, nothing much to see yet, I am still figuring out the bells and whistles, there is a music player, I have to learn how to use it.. etc.

anyway, I logged out and thought I would search for it by using my key words, well seems like there are lots of blogs out there already, doing the same thing..... so one of them recommended this site www.sunshinerewards.com.

It seems if you sign up for this and fill out som surveys you can get immediate discounts on some major on-line purchases, like Amazon, et al. i can't join fromthe beach, they are very fussy about only using one ISP for an account, soI have to wait to register at home. But if someone cant wait until I get home nad wants to sign up, put up your ID here, so we cann all say you recommended us and you get special bonuses....

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well I no longer shed tears when I work on my bills. I think by the time I get to Dec 31, 2008 things will be drastically better for us. I've paid off some mighty big debts and really just have two more things I want to get rid off by the end of the year..my mom's tax debt being one -- and there's only 1K left on that and this one credit card with about 3K owing on it. What's been working for me is I've just been attacking one major debt at a time by paying a minimum of 100 - up to 300 a week until it's gone. I'm just tired of seeing certain things. OK make that 3 things..I owe 2K on my student loans. I would love to be free of that ... I think I'll attack that one starting in November. And if I go the creative but home made Christmas gifts route one more time I can get rid of it by the end of the year too.

One of these days I'll have just food and utilities and rent and one credit card to pay. That's my goal damnit and I'm going to get there as god is my witness <tm scarlett O'hara>

And while I'll be a touch sad that I'm not at the gala...smartest thing I ever did was sell my ticket.

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Congratulations, soon you will be carefree and feel weightless. This is an excellent time to get out of debt.

Did you call the credit card company to negotiate down the rates? I understand that some cards will drop the rate to 9%.

As an ant (re ant and grasshopper)I have been laughed at for driving inexpensive cars in the past, I kept the last car for 10 years before trading it in. It ran fine, but things were starting to go. I remember the day I got rid of my last debt, my mortgage. It was a happy day, now I live on a pretty much pay as I go and it is nice not to worry about penalties and interest, just property taxes and repairs and medical bills.

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Congratulations couchie. I'm seriously impressed.

Speaking of cars, you can save so much money never buying a new one. I do a lot of research to make sure I'm getting a safe, reliable used car, and also I pay a mechanic I trust to look it over thoroughly. Right now I drive a 1992 Volvo that I bought in 1999. That was a splurge for me to get a car so "new". My last three cars have been the same make and model, just newer each time. Very few repairs on this one until the last year or two when I'm having to drive it at high speeds regularly, which I never did before. It was still worth it to have the car fixed, but it could be reaching the point where I should sell it and buy another used car in the next year or two. It would be kind of a thrill to have a brand new car someday, but that'll not happen unless I get a lot richer than I've ever been. I should say that I don't do a lot of driving. If you drive a lot, you probably want a nicer car than I have. My mileage would be better in a newer car, probably, but that isn't so much of an issue since I don't drive much. You also have to be pretty oblivious to social status to drive old cars.

Play, I was raised to pay upfront for everything, and I do. It makes a lot of sense. Saving up enough to buy a house, though?? :cryingwlaughter: But my mom's house is paid for, and yet her property taxes and insurance are about the same as my rent. Lately I've had an itch to buy a house, but with no permanent job and without hundreds or thousands in savings, it ain't happening. I used to own trailers, but with land values so high around here these days, lot rent is way too expensive.

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Well, when we bought our house, we were young, both employed and I saved, without giving my husband access to the money (he was a bit of a spender). Didn't buy any clothes for 4 years, hardly ate out, went to a lot of free concerts. Had dinners or played cards with friends for entertainment, served a lot of soup and stew. Interest rates were frozen, so we had to pay 50% to buy the house, my mortgage was almost nothing. I had to pay off the mortgage as part of the divorce settlement to get his name off of it. Bought the trailer from inheritence in cash, but land rent is bad, really bad, my little luxury.

I bought new cars for the last few cars, but I also get deals on them and keep the cars for a really long time, so it averages out.

Paying your credit card off each month did not work for my mother. Her BJ's credit card was cancelled because she paid it off each month and never incurred a penalty. She had to use cash after that to shop at BJ's.

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Well I'm not at that point yet Play -- but hope to get there and have the option to pay or not pay. :cryingwlaughter: One of these days...one of these days. I guess I should concentrate on the credit card before the low interest student loan. I don't know where'd I be right now with job #2 though.

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So, I amalgamated all my debts into a much lower interest line of credit, but for the life of me I can't seem to come up with the money to pay more than the interest on it. So what happened to all that money I was supposed to save? :cryingwlaughter: With my youngest turning 18, I am losing my monthly child tax benefit cheque....something I've come to rely on for almost 25 years. So that hurts. And my ex keeps threatening to cut off my child support, but I keep threatening him right back with legal action. Both kids still at home are full time students, regardless of whether or not they find part time employment. They surely aren't paying any of the household bills, so as far as I'm concerned they are still dependent on me for food and shelter.

I really can't afford to be going to the gala this year but I don't care. I need a treat! I'll figure it out somehow.

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When your kids are at home or worse yet college it's never very easy. Even with my kids out of the house, we are helping one with student loans and the other we invested in his business which he now hates.

Hopefully your house will increase in value over time and your loan will stay the same. So the future looks good. You deserve to do things for yourself otherwise what's the sense of living? See you at the Gala.

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I know the feeling luckiest. But I will have to give myself more affordable treats. Decided to do a timeshare exchange and the fam will go to Palm Springs some time in September or October (it's cooler in October so probably then - which means more like 90 degrees than 105). I will leave gala weekend open just in case I find a job.

I also went into debt consolidation. It definitely pulled me back from the edge.

And since we have all these time share weeks to use I want to sell a week. The tiem share association will rent it for us but they take 35% plus we have to pay tax on the rent. LOL. I need to just rent it on the downlow rather than put my trust in them. Reading all the fine print about discounts..I can't figure out if it's worth it or not. I looked on their website and the rooms suites like mine for that week in December go for like $320/night. But with this economy they could offer up to a 20% discount and then take their 35%. And then we wait 45 days after the week is over to get the money. I guess something is beter than nothing. We haven't decided what to do.

I don't know whether to put this here or under family. But I will be so happy when school starts. I don't mind saving all my relatives money by keeping their kids but somewhere along the line it started costing me money. A 12 year old that is with me from 9 am to 8 pm and eats as much as I do is a dependent not a favor. My sister sends lunch with her kids but you think they want to eat what's packed when they are at auntie's house? Nope.

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Yep, kids are expensive for sure! I can't believe you did that for free. What a great auntie you are.

I took my youngest back-to-school clothes shopping yesterday, since Old Navy was having a $25 sale for all jeans in the store, and he has outgrown practically every pair of pants he owns again. He got two jeans and two cargo pants (I am impressed that he is expanding his horizons) plus a belt. I splurged and bought myself a pair of jeans as well, since I am also outgrowing my wardrobe (just in the opposite way). Next weekend (AFTER I get paid LOL) we will do the shoes shopping. Ugh.

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When your kids are at home or worse yet college it's never very easy. Even with my kids out of the house, we are helping one with student loans and the other we invested in his business which he now hates.

Yep, two in college and the third is going back to HS for another semester or two while he decides what he wants to take at college. Craziness. Whose idea was it to have them so close together? :P

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Just want to mention that it took 10 extremely stressful months, but I finally got a really great loan modification from Wells Fargo!!!!

To anyone else trying for one of these - send in everything they ask for, and - I think most important - be polite, be friendly, be polite, do not disagree about anything.

I had gotten so many foreclosure and mod denial letters from them that I almost tossed the handful I got today - BUT - lo and behold - refi with no costs, dramatically lower payment, I can breathe again.

Well lots of other problems, but at least this one is resolved.

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Congrats djs! :preachit:

It's about time that the people get some help. The banks should be thankful that anyone is paying their mortgage. Especially since they\ banks directly had something to do with the housing crash. That's a big something.

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Fear, I have seen criticism (not directed at me personally) that getting a modification is just wrong because we signed contracts, banks need profits, should have planned better, and even more snotty crap.

My rationale - not that I hesitated for a minute - people have also posted, in so many words, that they do not care if other people lose their jobs in order for their stocks to rise in value.

That's all I needed.

After all, djs111 smiles, I have had two signed contracts yanked out from under me and sent to India in order to enhance Verizon's stock and earnings.

So I figure I am being quite correct in manipulating the American economic system for my own needs, n'est-ce pas?

The bank did yank me around since last December, very stressful, they have a game where they say make a lower payment then say oh, no, sorry - and by the way, we need the difference in payment plus penalties in two days or there goes your home.

When I finally talked to a real person, things got dramatically better - I intend to call her today and thank her, which may make her look more kindly on the next person - but until I opened that envelope and saw the finalisation and new payment, I was v. resigned to another mountain of stress.

Advice to anyone else - underwriter said make all correspondence short and to the point, no need to get testy, don't complicate things, make multiple copies of everything so you can overnight stuff the minute they say for the third time they cannot find your documents. And use your phone contact's name when talking, in a friendly manner. Become a person, not case number 756.

That's life, really.

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djs, I think the people who are giving a bad name to those modifying their mortgages are those who have good jobs and can afford the mortgage payment but don't make them because the value of their homes have gone down and they proudly proclaim that in the press. And then they even stay in their homes as squatters.

Everyone's home value has gone down in this bad economy. I think every financier should work with those who can no longer afford their payments. One of my friends has a huge credit card debt compared to her income. The sheriff's department called her up and threatened to take away her car if she didn't pay up. She needs her car which is only worth $1000. or less to make any money at all (she pet sits). She was so frightened she hid her car in back of our house for a few days until her lawyer son could handle the situation. She said she was making payments but the credit card company started adding fees and upped her interest rate.

She is 72, has heart problems and there is no way she will ever get a better job. Instead of turning every case over to collection, perhaps they could look into the situation and work with the debtor. I guess that's a when pigs fly situation.

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Once I learned that corporations like JP Morgan Chase consider it just good business to walk away from a property whose mortgage is more than it is worth - then I say what the hell.

And even more - JPM guy Dimon says it is immoral for homeowners to do that, but okay for his company, because then it is a business decision.

Oh hell no - it is a business decision for everybody.

I got a complete (free) refi, not the government thing (which is only good for 5 years I think, so glad I did not get it!) and my interest rate went from 6.25 down to 2 and will rise to 3 and then 4 in the next 6 years - but never any higher. I could never have qualified for that refi on my own, even with paying closing costs.

I am sure Wells Fargo did not want another Florida house on their hands, I don't think they are all that kind-hearted. But it galls me that the banks are doing dishonorable things all the time, yet telling us we must be honorable.

Fear, can your friend declare bankruptcy? It may be easier in Florida, no one can take your home or paid-for vehicle.

Except the IRS, and they don't want any more homes, either. Then the property taxes and upkeep start piling up.

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djs, my friend has not much else to her name other than her car and even that is in joint name with her son in law. I assume he gave it to her. She raised four kids alone and never owned a home. She had low paying jobs and I think her ex died young and never left anything to her or their kids. She is a pretty tough woman but at her age it seems to be getting her pretty discouraged. I did suggest bankruptcy but that will cost her. We have a free legal clinic for the elderly in town and she was going to see if they would do a bankruptcy for her.

Credit card companies should know their clients and at some point cut off credit rather than allowing them to go deeply into debt and then attacking them for their personal possesions.

That's a great deal djs and I would give them kudos for it but since they are paying 0% interest on money's they borrow from the Fed it's not costing them anything anyways and they are making a profit on the interest you pay them. At least they have someone working for them who is polite to a customer.

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