Getting a Grip

What a productive weekend!

The bank that handles our mortgage sent us a letter a week or so ago stating that we may qualify for a loan modification. They were hosting an event as a chance to meet with an advisor face to face and discuss possible options based on your situation.

I was on shift (it’s volunteer, can be at home but can’t leave the township) most of the weekend starting Friday after work. What an awesome opportunity to sit down at the computer and really put some numbers together.

I started Friday night. I woke up early Saturday morning and continued working on it. Gathering pay stubs and tax returns was the easy part. They provided a worksheet to list income/expenses. Easy enough right? Well, since hubby is self employed, the numbers get a little fuzzy. I’ve always had a “budget” worksheet based on historical estimates – that I look at ALL the time. But it was several years old and I decided to go through it line by line. I spent hours going through bank statements, utility bills, receipts, automatic payments.

By mid afternoon, I was ready to look. The results were amazing.

Just as I already knew, we were spending exactly what we brought in each month. On just the basics. I was blown away by the numbers. That I thought I already had a good grip on. There is zero room for error. Or haircuts, or new tires, or Christmas presents… but I digress.

This wealth of information helped me accuratly fill out the bank’s worksheet. But I didn’t stop there. I researched some of the options they offered. The Making Home Affordable program seems to be the best option. After some reading, i discovered that one of the criteria is if your current loan, taxes, and insurance are more than 31% of your income. Hmmmm… Crunch some numbers on the ol’ calculator. Whoa. We are at 39%. Looks like we might have a real chance to be approved!

I gathered up all my paperwork, grabbed my letter, and headed out the door for the 1.5 hour trip. Not gonna lie, I was nervous and prayed the whole way there.

The representative I met with was very nice and we discussed additional paperwork I would have to provide. That kind of annoyed me. Why didn’t they ask for it in their letter? Oy. Anyway, we got all done and I took a leap of faith. I spilled my guts. I figured it could only go one of 2 ways. Either she would politely nod while trying to pretend to listen to yet another pitiful sob story trying not to stab her eyes out with her pen, or she would offer some good advice.

Miracle of all miracles. She listened. And then she shared her story. God was on my team that day. We chatted for probably a half hour swapping stories of unemployment and the dreadful economy. At the end, she offered kind words of encouragement and i left. Feeling a little lighter, feeling hopeful.

When I got home, i filled hubby in of all the details. Then I got back to work. Digging out yet more paperwork, more paystubs, more tax returns.

Then I pulled up my spreadsheet and got to work on a projection for next year. If we stay on course, several credit cards will be paid off by next October. The dump truck will be paid off in November. We were able to reduce the cell phone/internet bill by $60/month, and the cable was downgraded recently saving us $30/month. The commercial vehicle insurance rates are actually lower starting last month.  The forecast looks really promising. It’s just getting from here to there that makes me nervous.

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