The "Get Out Of Your Car!" Fund

Saturday, May 30, 2015

more updates on May car living

Ijust reread my New Yera's Day post. Ipredict3ed that the jounry of living in m y car would end in 3 months, that was 6 months ago!

I aso mentioned the condo  being in short sale status. The tenant is supposed to move out tomorrow. I plan to stay some nights in the condo  when she's gone. The short sale has been approved by the bank and closing is set for the end of this month.

Ihave trouble wit hmy ankles sweling up this month. Ithink it's dehydration. When Istrat3ed drinking more water, the swelling went down .Iwent 5 days not drinking water adn the swelling came back.

Updates on May

I just created my June Everydollar Budget with the Dave Ramsey software. I set aside money for traveling down South and for Father's Day.

 I'm sitting in my car in the shade. It's 72 degress outside - very hot sitting in the sun. But there's a breeze in the shade. I managed to make it through the month of May without paying for housing. Ihave 3 more weeks befroe I head down South so I nee to keep cool and safe till then. I have a back up plan for June. I found an agency that rents rooms (like a bed and breakfast, but without the breakfast) by the day, week, or month. They cater to traveling professionals. If a rather hot week is predicted in June I will call them up ( or call them up again, Ishould say. I aldready got a tour of their properties).  No lease involved. In fact, no security deposit either. It's like staying in a hotel, but cheaper. $800 for a month.

Ihaven't stayed at the hospital in weeks. The last 3 times Iwent, there was a cop sitting in his car. One night he left shortly after Iarrived, but still. Istarted to wonder if soeone had report3ed a lady sleeping in her car there and the cops are trying to scope the place out a little more rigorously. So, I've only stayed in my former apartment neighborhood. One night when it was too hot to sleep under covers in the back seat, I slept in the front seat, windows cracked, in an IHOPparking lot.

Ihave a new debt popping up - past due HOAfees from the past. They are about $11,000. I'm negotiating a payment plan with the HOA. This sets me back on my goal thermometer, since that did not include this debt. However, I'm still running like a gazelle.

Two nights ago, I went to storage after my evening job - 9:45 pm. I had a trunk full of items from my classroom that I've started cleaning out and I wanted to take them out of my car. Once there, I decided it wasn't worth the safety risk to be there at night alone, so I started to crank up and leave. Just then, two different vehicles with a total of 4 other people pulled up. I asked one guy how long was he going to be there. He said "for a while." I toldhim Ididn't want to be there by myself, so I was glad they all showed up. So I decided to stay.

Another guy complimented me several times on how organized my unit looked (has to be when you live out of there!).

I appreciated the compliment.

After a few minutes of reorganizing and getting everything out of my car, I finally decided to just toss the last few things in there and scram before the other people left. As i walked to my car, the guy who told me he would be there for a while made it a point to come find me and say he was leaving. Right on time! I thank God for sending those folks!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Getting my opportunity fund ready

"Good things come to those who wait, but better things come to those who hustle."

This quote is attributed online to Abraham Lincoln, but I learned it from Marcia Griffin, the founder of HomeFreeUSA and one of my early mentors. I admire the fact that after 10 years (when I met her), her business is going stronger and stronger.

I want to hustle and find investment properties, but I insist on being more ready this time. I don't resent investments failures from the past. they were learning experiences. I just won't make the same mistakes this time around.

I need funding: Kristin Wong mentions having an "opportunity fund" for investment opportunities that come your way. My investor friend Alex told me to get approved for a loan before I make offers on properties. He referred me to two people. I'm also going to call in a loan. Fortunately, I've already set up an LLC but I've never used it. I'm ready to use it now. I've gotten some landlording experience with this current tenant (the unpleasant kind of experience). I'm more ready to be a landlord.

In the meantime, I'm still setting aside money for future debts that I know are coming. I want these investment properties to pay for themselves. I don't want to use debt snowball money for investing.

I want to own a house - but not pay for it

I was concerned about how living in my car would work in the month of May. The weather is a lot warmer now, but becasue of the really cold winter, this spring has been very mild. So far, sleeping inthe car is very bearable temperature-wise these first two weeks of May.

I went on Craigslist and found rooms for rent. I found a place I'm willing to rent. It rents rooms by the week or month to people who are traveling on business. That sounds perfect for me. The house wasn't upscale at all. It was old, but decent. I didn't call and reserve a room because the weather has still been cool, but I like knowing that they are there as an option.

Maybe I'll call them later this month.

I went to visit a new apartment complex in a community I really like. Studios are $1500 a month! I battled with not feeling jealous about residents who were walking in and out. I kept reminding myself that probably are debt-strapped. this apartment complex sits in a college community - I'm sure it's full of college students letting Sallie Mae pay their rent. That doesn't make me jealous.

Others may be working but readily using credit cards not being off each month. I have no credit card debt. So, I walked away. I would like to go back one day just to tour the apartments and imagine myself in one just for the fun of it.

In the meantime, I decided that I want to buy a house someday and have someone else pay for it. Buy a 4-unit and let someone else pay. Or, buy a rooming house and let the tenants pay for it.

I will invest in real estate differently this time. This time I will have my own debts paid first and have emergency funds for my personal life. I will also have emergency funds for business. I also have friends (2 in particular) that I will call on to mentor me through the first few purchases.

Therefore, I've been looking at potential properties both down South and locally. I'm going to visit a property today, just out of curiosity. I got in touch with a former investor friend who I thought was ignoring me - it turned out it was a miscommunication. (Getting out of debt has made me a bolder person. I'm glad I reconnected that friendship. this is the second time getting out of debt helped me reconnect with friends).

This friend referred me to two lenders and gave me his opinion (a thumbs-up) on my ideas for purchasing a rooming house.

Can a debt snowball be overwhelming?

I was listening to an old Dave Ramsey talk show call in where a woman with 220,000 in debt said the debt snowball felt overwhelming. That's because she was looking at what she owes. DR told her that with serious lifestyle cuts, she could pay it off in 2 years, 3 years tops.

I don't know how long it will take her to pay it off. I know she's looking at the wrong numbers though. Don't look at how much you owe - look at how much you pay each month and how the balances decrease.

I know for me, I have paid off $8K in small debts and credit card debts, saved $10K for a used car, set aside $20K for house renovations, and paid down at least $5K in other long term debts. I've also managed to stay on top of my bills and pay for car breakdown needs, classroom needs, medical expenses, etc as I went instead of turning those expenses into debts. That's more than $40K towards debts/potential debts/savings in 20 months. I earn a lot less than the caller and her husband do.

Like DR said, you have to make serious sacrifices. Like another person said, you don't ease out of debt - you break out!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

No Fear

I signed up for Dave Ramsey's Every Dollar Budgeting Program. I love the layout and it's quite user friendly. You should try it.

It shows me visually and numerically what percentage of my budget falls into different categories (housing is 6% for me - unreal!).

It allows for sinking funds and shows me which baby step I'm on (not that I didn't know). I want to start reading the blog (but I have to find it first) and get motivation from others.

I'm starting over again with step 2. God and I have done incredible things these past 20 months. We've saved up the money to pay for renovating the parents' house. It's livable and comfortable (nothing fancy, but nice)

We've completed a car sinking fund (which I totally wasn't expecting to do when I started this journey). We've paid off all credit cards and small debts. Now I'm down to 4 very large debts - two of which I didn't know about till I got the courage to face ALL of my creditors, so I couldnt' include these amounts in the initial goals that I set.

No fear. It will all get paid. I'm taking the car payments I was making into the car sinking fund and setting them aside for when I have to start paying on these last two debts.

Those 4 debts are
1. a line of credit
2. student loans
3. past due HOA fees (new debt)
4. taxes after this short sale is done and I will be taxed on whatever amount the bank forgives. (new debt)

These debts will total an estimated - 89K.
Again, no fear.