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No two situations are identical, so any advice we give you may or may not work for you

That being said, been there done that and had mixed results. Let’s start with dd. She did much as your daughter did and eventually dropped out of college. While she was in college we told her we would assist her in her education as long as she attended classes and maintained a B average—she definitely has the intelligence for that. As long as she was in classes, and I could verify she was maintaining per our agreement our support would be that only of what it would have cost us if she was still in the dorm. All other requests for income would be denied.
She dropped out at the semester because her grades dropped hugely, and she was more interested in her living companion than going to school. She took off traveling for awhile, then settled in CA. At one point she boomeranged home amazingly enough alone, it seemed this wasn’t her one and only love after all. We ran into conflicts, basically she wanted to sleep all day and party all night. We paid the deposits on a rental house and moved her out on her own. The parting was not good, but my children are NOT allowed to speak to me the way she was doing. She was told it was up to her to get a job, or be kicked out of the rental house. Strange thing she got a job the very next day. She will now tell you that tough love saved her.
She ended up back in CA, back in college with a straight A average and she’s phi beta kappa. She has paid for every penny of that return to college, she had burned her bridges with us. She has an excellent career, a new love in her life—that we adore—and is the strong independent person I raised her to be. She and I are still not on the best of terms but that has nothing to do with the finances, but an emotional disagreement on entirely something else.
DS nearly made the same mistake as his sister, but decided that finishing to get his degree so he could support said love was a wiser alternative. It turned out to be far wiser since the two of them went their separate ways. It took him seven years to finish college because of the slowness due to the “love of his life” and he paid the consequences financially heavily. Let’s just say he spent a LOT of money on the girl before they split, plus we quit paying part of his college when his grades dipped.
As you know ds lives here. He basically rents the upstairs from us. He pays our utilities, buys his own detergent, hba, and part of the groceries. He also does MUCH (read most) of the farm labor. He cooks dinner at least once a week, and about twice a month takes dh and I out to eat at a “sit down” restaurant. We have a very good relationship, but his love life is not up to his standards right now. I am sorry about that, he wants a family and I’d like him to have one, but that has to be done on his own terms.
So what I’m telling you is we took the tough love approach with both our kids. One had to completely bottom out but came out so much the better off for it. The other got smart before he totally crashed, but just barely. We feel that with both kids we did what was best for them. We helped them as long as they met reasonable expectations. Ie: attend classes, good grades. We drew the line at how much we would help them though. We limited it to ONLY what we would have previously been paying and we made it VERY clear that while we didn’t approve of what they were doing we did love them deeply and they would always be our children. The only exception we made to this was when ds had been unemployed for six months (unknown to us) was out of cash for meds and ended up nearly dying due to an asthma attack. We purchased his meds to save his life. But that was also when we moved him home. We needed farm help and he needed a job. He moved home, got a job in Tulsa the next day and life has evolved from there.

My kiddo – is in college

And a few weeks ago decided that she was going to move out of the dorm and in with her boyfriend. I might have had more words to say if she would have discussed this change with me prior to making it but she didn’t. OK. She sat out a whole week of classes in the process of moving and getting around to telling me and her daddy what she had done and more importantly to me, where she was. Not knowing where she was and finding her I guess softened the blow as to what she had actually done. She’s 19, I can accept the fact that she’s growing up or (grown) Her boyfriend is 21, has no job and the part time weekend only job my daughter has doesn’t exactly make it easy to pay rent, gas, etc. All of the things she didn’t need when she was living in the dorm, she now needs to live. So for the past two weeks I’ve been pondering just how much support to give my child as she’s moved on to the next phase in her life. I want her to be successful, she did go back to class last week. The choices she’s made, I can see the errors in, but then I’m 42 and she’s 19. I haven’t forgotten that I moved from Illinois to Georgia at 19 with NO family support basically. I don’t want to turn my back on her or wish her failure, I want her to be happy. How would you handle the dilemma of your child barely affording rent – I can pay it, but that ain’t my job. How would you handle the dilemma of her boyfriend not working? Very little groceries, no gas money, no furniture, not living in the best area of town and I could go on and on. From my point, I could fix her problems with a few swipes of my debit card and a few checks but I told her last week when we talked that she wants to be treated as an adult that is what I will do. We will have discussions where I’ll give my opinion and nothing more. Opinions are like Assholes, we all have them and do with them as you please. My only two caveats to that statement is that, as her mother, I want her to finish school and not bring any babies in this situation. She did ask me for gas money yesterday when I took her and her boyfriend out for lunch (Figured they needed a decent meal) and I filled up her tank. So the short of this long post, is from a parent point of view, how do you move on to the next step of being a listening ear and how much support (financial and advice) do you give to your grown children? I feel like I’m sitting on my hands and watching her struggle.

Again… when I came up, I left home at 15 basically and NEVER looked back. My survival and the choices I made were completely mine. I didn’t so much as call home and complain.

I know of at least one local CSA that will offer a free share in exchange for labor

I’d thought it would be an excellent way to not only glean free produce, but to learn how to effectively grown organic produce properly in my locale.

I am on the bartering train

but I hadn’t expanded my horizons to thinking about contacting farmers directly here (there aren’t a lot of them.) We do have an Edible Food Park which serves the food banks, and if you volunteer there, you are able to take home whatever you need (within reason.) I have a bunch of seedlings which are ready to go into the ground as soon as I know whether we’re going to get a downpour or not !!

As you know, I started teaching Spanish classes for $ this past month. One of the families is struggling financially and we had already come to an arrangement where she would just pay me in “food storage” whatever she felt she could spare (they too have a year’s supply of food etc.)

Her kids and my youngest go to the same homeschooling co-op which is 26 miles away from our homes. I emailed her this morning and asked if she would consider swapping out rides to and from school for DS13 in exchange for spanish lessons and we’ll drop the whole food storage thing.


I am so grateful. Taking him to and from that place is a HUGE drain on our car/gas bill. I can make $60-70 stretch close to two weeks when I don’t have to go down there. What a HUGE blessing.

I know Roberta just posted about bartering/trading work for fresh food and she stole my thunder!

LOL! I was going to suggest bartering for those things you need or want but can no longer put in the budget. We started this with our dentist several years ago and have done it with others since then.
Just remember, if you choose to barter, to ask the decision maker. The person at the check out in the store or the professional’s office usually isn’t the one to ask. The the owner/professional.
You may be able to get more of what you need than you realize by bartering. Plus, it may help lead to a job.

So hubby and I are on step 4

and how fitting is that there’s been a huge conversation here about 401K’s and Roth Ira’s here the last week or so.

I am reading Total Money Makeover right now and see that Dave says to put whatever a company will match into a 401K and then fund the rest into a ROTH IRA until you are up to 15%. Right now we have 9% going in my husband’s 401K. His company only matches 6%. So we know we need to take the other 3% and get a Roth started.

I have two questions about that. In the book Dave didn’t mention as to why it’s better to go with a Roth instead of putting 15% into the 401K. Does anyone know why?

And secondly, does anyone have any good recommendations for a company to go with to set up an ROTH or who I should stay away from?

Honestly, home buying is not for everyone

The housing crisis occurred because we thought that we should make it that way. It costs more to own a home than to rent. given how much home prices have dropped in the last several years, I’d be better off if I had chosen to just rent. Even if I were to sell right now, I’d be in the hole by at least 100 thousand dollars.

But, remember that the average person out there is not spending money wisely or budgeting and that is why they cannot get ahead. I look at how my dad came from a poor family and managed to work his way through college and his doctoral degree without any help at all from the government or anyone else. The last few years, he was even supporting a wife and two kids. Then, when he was finally making a good salary, he put much of that money into savings and investing so that when he was laid off in his 60s, they were fine.

He did finance to buy the house, but he paid it off early. He never once financed to buy a car. Although he could have afforded it, he never once bought a car new. Usually, he never even bought a gently used car. Granted, he knew how to fix cars and so he’d just fix them when they broke down, but I vividly remember how excited my mom was when he purchase a car for 1000 dollars. He had never spent that much. In today’s dollars, it would probaby be more like 3 to 5 thousand, but my point is simply that people do well financially because of the choices that they make. The current American mindset does not fit with this old fashioned style of dealing with money.; If it did, all of us never would have been in the condition that we are in.

I’ll admit that I do not follow DR to the letter, but if I could do it again, I certainly would regarding buying a house. Except in cases of disability etc., there is always a way out. A person just needs to get creative and be super frugal. For example, there is absolutely nothing wrong with having multiple generations living together when possible. I am truly hoping that my kids choose to stay at home for college to save in the cost of living. If my parents needed it, we’d find a way to have them live here with us.

Also, there is always a choice for where to live. I am from the San Jose area so I know how expensive housing is there. I currently live in Maryland and it is pretty expensive here as well. We chose a neighborhood that is not high class, but more lower middle class. Our educational level is more upper middle class (two parents with doctoral degrees), but we will probably always stay here. If we chose to live elsewhere, we’d really be in trouble in terms of our house value. If we had chosen to wait a few years before buying, we could have had our 20 percent down payment and financed a 15 year mortgage. Paying cash for the house would have probably taken many more years, but DR does mention that it is okay to do the 15 year mortgage if needed.

DR certainly is a way of life and a different mindset. I know several people who say that they are “doing DR kind of” I am not sure what that means. I am not perfect with it either in the sense that I am paying off my credit cards in a slightly different order, but I am hoping to never have to take out another loan for anything.

But, if you want to finance a car, that is up to you. I just don’t think that you can expect this list to tell you that it is an okay thing to do. DR would say no.


The house part of Salivan I don’t quite follow. I understand not overbuying more than you can handle or need. For people without big income or businesses it would take a very long time to save the price of a house, especially if you are paying rent or high expenses for living somewhere while you are trying to save the full amount for the house. My granddaughters mom is employed full time, lives in a two bedroom upstairs apt. Rent takes half her paycheck, two teenage daughters, no car. There are lots of things I would like to see her change money-wise but truly can’t see her saving enough to pay full price for a home without a mortgage. Kids will be grown and gone before that would happen.


it is not possible to buy a home in the San Francisco Bay Area and pay cash as it is one of the most expensive regions to live in in the country. I could live somewhere less expensive but I would likely be very unhappy and with the work I’d do, I doubt I would even make a quarter of my income.

But money isn’t the problem..

It’s the manifestation of a spending addiction, or lack of knowledge in budgeting or any other number of root causes we all suffer from. The amount doesn’t matter, it’s about changing a mind set which is the key to debt freedom.

Mark has never given specific investment advice since that is not in his wheelhouse. He keeps it very generic. I don’t agree with him on his stance on ETFs. He think you will trade more with them vs mutual funds and I think he is just plain wrong. I think the reason high income people don’t call in, and there have been a few, is that they might not think they have problems or are too busy or might think lower income people don’t want to hear their problems. Who wants to hear about someone making $600K and being 1.2M in debt?

It’s not about the sale price, it’s about the insurance

Find out what you can insure that new car for, in case of theft. What happens if you borrow $25,000 to buy a new car and that car is stolen tomorrow, or totalled? What will your insurance pay? They will only pay the replacement value for a *used* 2013 car, so you might get $20,000 back and be sitting there with $5,000 remaining on the loan and no car. Here – you can get payday loans and solve all problems.

(in the state that was once #1 in the country for auto theft ,but not any more)

Everyone I ask keeps using this argument of

new cars losing value so quickly but it really isn;t true. What I am thinking of doing is waiting until like January and getting a 2013 leftover. And if I can find it, and I will look until I do, even if I have to go to another city, is get one that only has automatic transmission and air conditioning because I really do not need anything else. When you compare the prices of a basic 2013 model with only those few features, compared to the same car that is 2-3 years old and LOADED with options, which most of them are, the price of that used car is WAY higher. I bought several new cars when I was younger and this was always the case, the brand new leftover model with the few features I needed and wanted was way cheaper than the used model with more options.

So I figure, why not start out with zero miles and a full warranty and get it for less.

I know a girl who within the last few days, got a brand new Nissan Versa with only automatic transmission, for $13,000. This car didn’t even have power locks and windows but she didn’t need all of that and neither do I. I guarantee you if she looked at used ones, they would have had tons of options and would have costed her more.

Praise the Lord! We seemed to have found the problem.

On Friday, my hubby bought air filters for both the van and our truck. He checked the one in the van and it was still clean so he didn’t replace it. Well it turns out when he did that, he didn’t hook a hose back up to the air filter compartment. he hooked it back up today and it seems to be running fine now.

Thanks everyone for your encouragement. So thankful that our emergency fund was able to go untouched….at least for now.

We’ve got a close friend who has no objections whatsoever to

financing anything (he’s not a LS fan and I’ve written about our, ahem, differences of opinion before). He just went through an interesting car-buying experience that you might find helpful. He commutes about an hour to work every day, and he wanted to replace his aging Toyota Corolla. It’s been very reliable but in his eye it was getting a tad old. Even though he has no philosophical objections to financing, he did NOT like the idea of buying a new car because of the issue with loss of value as soon as the car is driven off the showroom floor. So in that, we were/are in complete agreement. So he’s been shopping for some “gently used” vehicles, and was very close to buying a 2012 Ford Fusion. Yet he announced yesterday that he is the new owner of a brand new Hyundai Sonata. The reason? Their new price was actually better than most of the used car prices he’s been seeing.

So without getting into the topic of whether or not you should finance, just be aware that apparently Hyundai Sonatas are being marketed right now for relatively low prices. And apparently their mileage is at least as good as his trusty old Corolla. Not sure if that’s what you had in mind, but that was his shopping experience within the last 24 hrs.

I think these aren’t the only two options

I am against buying a new car even when people can afford it, because a new car drops a huge chunk of value the minute you drive it off the lot . FOr example, if you buy a $20,000 new 2013 car, you can only *insure* it as a *used* 2013 car. So if it’s stolen tomorrow, you are out of luck.

There are a lot of nearly-new cars coming off-lease, and now that dealers offer free maintenance, these cars can be better than new. You can buy a 2- or 3-year old Toyota or Honda and get all the reliability without the added sticker shock of brand-new, and you’ll even have some warranty left.

My current car is a 2005 Toyota Camry which I inherited from my father with very low miles. He bought it new, and it’s still having ZERO mechanical problems. I’ve replaced the tires and the battery and the windshield wipers. If it had been sold it would have been just as great at 3/4 the new cost.

My previous car was a 1991 Camry which I bought in 2004 for an above-book $8k, with 75k miles on it. I drove that car until 2009! In eight years I had to replace the power window motors and some parts of the suspension and exhaust. In 2009, a whole lot of stuff broke at once, just one week before I was due to pick up my dad’s car. Donated it and it sold at auction for $550.

Unless something drastic happens, my next car will be a used Toyota, no matter what I have in the bank.

Need a car

I live in a major city and currently do not have a car and don’t really need one. However, I am going to be moving out of the city into a more suburban area where I will be buying a house and definitely will need a car to commute to the city. Please don’t suggest that I buy in the city so I don’t have to spend money on a car because it is WAY too expensive to buy here. I have been mostly out of debt for 5 years except for a tiny student loan and a very low interest rate and have an emergency fund.

The last 3 used cars I had were TOTAL lemons and costed me HUNDREDS in repairs and things got so bad that I would have had to have spent even more if I kept any of them. So I feel really jaded about buying a used car and have had an extreme amount of bad luck.

What I really want is to have a super reliable car that will last a really long time. One of my friends has a Honda Accord that she has had since brand new and it is now 25 years old, she has had very little problems and it still runs great. This is what I am thinking I want, a brand new Honda Accord or a Honda Fit that is completely reliable, under warranty, that will last for 20-25 years.

Because I am saving to buy a house, I can’t also save to buy a new car and pay cash for it. Do you think that given my debt free situation, that it would be bad for me to buy a brand new car and finance it? I would have enough monthly income to pay extra and pay it off sooner. I know Dave is against buying new cars, but since I am planning to keep it for 20+ years, and am debt free, it seems like it would be okay. And like I said, I have had sooooo much bad luck with used cars, I just don’t want to go there again. Please let me know what you all think.

I think running a radio show means keeping the plan simple enough for

sound bites, and also the plan is simple to keep people on track and fired up, no arguing no excuses. The argument for paying the smallest debt first is that seeing progress is encouraging, and also it frees up the amount of the first payment to add to the snowball. And , to a certain extent, being mad at a debt can make you go faster. But you know your own life and you know whether you are fired up.

Me, I’d pay off or refinance that big one and I’d be on fire to pay it off FAST. It’s probably not too hard to find a way to roll it over but check the fine print because some rollover “zero interest” cards accumulate the balance, or go to astronomically high interest if you miss a payment.

No one stone me for this

but I’ve heard M suggest when you have such high interest rates to look into getting a lower rate by getting a signature loan or worse case scenario do a balance transfer. Then work like crazy to get rid of that debt before the rate goes up on the transfer.
There is no way I’d pay that type of interest rate, even if I had to sell everything to get rid of that cc.
If you only had 1-2 cards I would stay stick with DR’s plan because in the long run the difference in what you pay would be minimal, but with five other debts that one is going to be the last one in the train. Unless you can really knock those other 5 out quickly I’d seriously look at killing that big one in one way or another.
As soon as you said Capitol One I knew they wouldn’t work with you, and be aware they are selling a lot of their accounts to Citibank, which is worse.
While I’m not a big advocate of balance transfers, I’d really look into doing it if you can’t get a signature loan. One with zero interest rate for a year or longer preferably.
Also, if you can’t get a loan or a bt then pay all you can every time you can. Interest is figured on the average daily balance so even if you only find yourself with $5 extra dollars on any given day, pay that five online right then. We are saving a lot of money on interest doing this. Not only by lowering the average balance, but because the interest is compounded DAILY, thus bringing your average daily balance up higher if you aren’t applying money to it constantly. So the faster you lower your average daily balance the less interest you will pay.

I have a dilemma

We have been paying off smaller debts now we are getting into the larger debts. I have a $13,200 Sony CC that is closed but has an interest rate of 21.24% and they will not work with us so right now every $400 min. payment we pay $240 goes to interest so not getting anywhere fast. We have 6 debts that are smaller that range from $2,500 to $7,500 with interest rates of 4.99% to 9.99% with only Sears $5,500 at a higher interest rate. I know Dave says the snowball should be lower to higher. But where there is such a difference in the interest rate we are then wasting a lot of money on interest. $240 in interest on that 1 card just pains us and if we could get that down and gone there would be so much extra money not going to interest only.

I know this might be opening a flood gate but if you were in our shoes would you do it exactly like Dave says and hand over that $240 in interest to a company that is so hard to work with oh by the way it is Capitol One. They bought the Sony cards used to be Chase.