S.M. asks from Denton, TX on February 23, 2008
How Can We Get Out of This Circle?
I really need help. My husband and I are in serious financial trouble. A couple of months ago, my husband was out of work for a few weeks. He has a job now, but it pays less than what he was making before. He is still looking for a better job, but with no luck so far. The problem is that now we are so far behind that I feel like we will never catch back up. We don't get paid for another week and we are negative $500 in our bank account. We have already done a payday advance on this paycheck so we can't do that again. This happens almost every month because once it happens once you can never get out of it. It's not like we are buying stuff we don't need or spending money we shouldn't spend. We haven't gone out to eat in I don't know how long. We have not spent money on anything but food, mortgage, electric, gas, child care. The things that if we don't pay they will cut off and then we will be in even worse trouble. What is happening now is we are giving so much money to the bank in fees every month that we don't have enough to live on and I don't know how to get out of that because of this viscous circle again. I don't know what to do. We have tried to get a personal loan, but they pretty much laughed us out of the bank. Our credit is terrible, especially lately because we stopped paying on credit cards and some other things lately because we just don't have it. My parents have already given us as much money as they can or will and his parents are not an option. I don't even know how I am going to buy food for this week. I was wondering about debt consolidation. Has anyone had any experience with this? Does it help? Any suggestions or advise will be appreciated. We just really don't want to have to sell our home. We have only been here a year so we would lose any money we have put into it and we worked so hard to get it. If we sell it, we will not be able to get another one for a very long time, if ever, and I really don't want to go back to renting. Please help.
4 moms found this helpful
So What Happened?™
Wow!!! I am overwhelmed by all of the responses. I never expected to get so many replies. I want to thank all of you for your suggestions. I also want to thank Andrea very much for bringing me her copy of Dave Ramsey's book. I will definitely read it. I know everyone was concerned, thankfully my family did have enough food for this week. I had forgotten about a change jar we had stashed away, I took it to the coinstar machine to add up and it was $20. I was actually able to buy quite a bit with it, and combine that with what we already had in the freezer we have meals for every day. Also, someone at my work left a gift card for $30 to Kroger on my desk so I am sure we will be fine for next week also. I don't know who it was, they didn't leave a name, but I am very grateful for it. I can definitely see now that this is a temporary situation and it will get better. My husband has 2 job interviews this week, so we are crossing our fingers. I see the light at the end of the tunnel and I thank you all for that.
L.V. answers from Dallas on February 24, 2008
J.L. answers from Dallas on April 07, 2008
A.W. answers from Dallas on February 23, 2008
First, I agree with some of the previous posts--cut up those credit cards (and go a step farther--call and cancel them with the company)!!! Credit debt is not necessary in life, and can only truely cause more stress in this situation!
Beware of "credit repair" comapnies. Realize that their "mark" on your credit is usually looked at just as negatively as any bad debts you have. Also, they may help in the short term, but you will end up paying MORE for everything in the end... think about it, they have to make their money somehow.
Next, get yourself the book The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramesy. Spend your next day off reading every page. Then have your husband do the same thing. This book has helped thousands of people get out of debt (everything but the mortgage) in around 18-24 months (give or take depending on situation).
Then, get ready to REALLY buckle down. Have your husband (or you) take a temporary part-time night job. Or on the weekends. Can you or your husband do over-time? Yes, this will be tough, and you will hate it! But you have to remember that you have a GOAL, and you have to be willing to do whatever it takes to get you and your family there.
Pay off that cash advance, and then never use it again, come HE*% or high water! How? Gather EVERYTHING that you haven't used, watched, worn, or thought about in the last year and have a yard sale! Yes, that TV in the bedroom is nice to have, but is it necessary? What about movies/DVDs/CDs you haven't watched or listened to in forever? You have to be willing to sacrifice a little now, so that you can get ahead! Have some nice items that you want top dollar for? Try eBay.
A moment of hope for you: When my husband and I started Dave's Money Makeover, my kids were on Medicaid, we got food stamps every month, and were receiving Section 8 housing. His truck was 2 months behind, mine was 2 1/2, all of our credit cards were past due, and we were not sure how we were going to keep the electric on that month. Not a fun place to be with 3 children. We got the book, hubby got a night job, I started working weekends, and also started working from home. We now have $1000 in savings (only for an emergency) and have nearly paid off all of our 10 credit cards... our next goal is the cars--both of them. We are now 4 months into our makeover.
I know in the situation you are in, even a $30 book is TOO much. So, if you need are interested, I will be thrilled to give you mine (just ignore all the stuff my hubby underlined). I can't tell you how much this book helped us!!! Please shoot me an email (____@____.com) or give me a call ###-###-####) if you would like the book, or even if you just want to talk to someone who's "been there".
Best Wishes to you and your family
1 mom found this helpful
L.V. answers from Dallas on February 24, 2008
D.M. answers from Dallas on February 24, 2008
I have been where you are. We are just seein light a the end of the tunnel. we did debt consolidation with CCS. It wa grear for us because we lowered our payments. You may also want to call your cc companies and see if they will work with
Dave Ramsey is a great place to check.
Hang in there.
1 mom found this helpful
T.T. answers from Dallas on February 24, 2008
My friends and I do "research studies" on the side for instant extra cash (tax free). Most operate in the Dallas area, with a few in the Irving & Grand Prairie area. You can get in their database and they will contact you when they need help and you fit their criteria. I'd recommend you contact them, give your info and ask if they have anything current you might qualify for. Most "studies" PAY $40-175 for an hour or two. It may be "watch a commercial and give your opinion"..."taste this pizza, give your opinion"..."try different lipsticks and give your opionion"...join a round table focus group to discuss your car and thoughts on it...it could be anything. When you get there, you can talk with some of the other consumers and find out other places for the studies. Some are in the day, some in the evening...your husband can register because they need men too. One of the Dallas companies is called "Focus Pointe" but I've drawn a blank on the others. Good luck.
1 mom found this helpful
E.M. answers from Dallas on March 21, 2008
debt consolidation does work, but if you can only pay basic utilities and mortage then this may not be an option for you. How about 2 jobs for one of you? One of the jobs
is off hours so the spouse can provide childcare. I worked
a 40 hour week and then at night on weekends to make ends meet when my children were little and I was a single parent.A service industry job, like waiting tables, in the right enviroment can produce good cash wages. Then you may be able to use all of your incomes to get out of the short wage cycle. After that, use the income to try to pay off the debts you are ignoring. Keep in mind that if the credit card companies cancel your account and then report
your debt as written off you may have issues with debt consolidation. Also, even if you pay the debt off your credit score will be low for seven years. That is just the way things are. I know this is harsh, but at ine point when I was young and struggling to make ends meet I drank water from Wed. to Fri. There was not enough food for all of us. It was unpleasant, but I lived. Keep your heart strong. Good Luck.
1 mom found this helpful
L.J. answers from Dallas on February 24, 2008
Debt consolidation would be a good idea or maybe do a cash out refi if your home is worth more then you paid. I know what your going through this happen to us a few years ago when my husband got hurt and we went from a 6 figure income to half of that while he was having surgery after surgery. I took a second mortgage to consolidate bills and that was a long term mistake but later found out I could have done a cash out refi.
After that experience I decided I was never going to be in that situation again and went to looking for something that wouldn't rely on a paycheck the usual way. What I have been doing is a homebased business on a very part time basis to make extra income and now we get checks every week that are really helping out and keep growing and keep coming in even if I do nothing. At this point we both still work full time but that extra money goes to pay off all debt.
When you get on your feet take a look at what I have found, it has made a hugh difference in our lives and will actually replace my income very soon. Go to www.discoverlimu.com/lorijenkins.
I wish you the best
1 mom found this helpful
J.C. answers from Dallas on February 23, 2008
S., my husband and I were in your exact same position 3 years ago. I was having my second baby the same time my husband was laid off. We had borrowed money from my parents, maxed out credit cards etc. but we never had enough money to cover things.
I stopped paying my credit cards, because we had to buy food. I tried to keep at least one credit card paid on, so that I could use it in the future.
Your mortgage company will work with you and if you have a car payment, they will usually give you at least one grace month without penalty. Stop the hemorrhaging of money and then focus on the money that you do have coming in (not your lack of it), be thankful for it. Stop paying late fees, and don't do payday loans, as tempting as those are.
See where you can earn extra money and save on groceries. I saved $15-20 per week by shopping at Walmart and showing competitive sales from the fliers from other stores, plus coupon cutting.
Things only really started to turn around for us when we changed our attitudes about money and prosperity. Both my husband and I grew up poor and we had a hard time seeing ourselves deserving wealth.
We are still working to pay off our debts but will do it on our terms (not the banks'). Our credit is screwed, and it will take some time to get it back up again, but it's been a blessing to live within our means and not get further in debt. We will pay cash for everything moving forward and not take out a car loan or put trips on credit cards ever again.
I'm taking a 4T's Prosperity course at my church. Tithing of your Time, Talent and Treasure. It's amazing that once you start giving of yourself, blessings and money start pouring in. You don't necessarily need to give to a church, but any charitable organization you believe in and if you don't have money, you can always volunteer your time. Give away as much as you can (instead of holding on to things or selling them). Forgive everyone in your life that you are holding ill will towards (including yourself) and take full responsibility for your situation. It's extremely important not to play victim or place blame outside yourself. Only when you completely take ownership, things can begin to shift and change.
This may sound a bit silly but I try to say "I am prosperous" a hundred times or more a day to myself, to help change my mental loop of lack thinking.
My husband and I have paid my parents back and nearly tripled our income over the last 2 years because we finally decided to believe we're worth more...and so are you.
If you would like additional resources and a list of books to read, please contact me. Things will only get better for you if you CHOOSE a better life.
1 mom found this helpful
S.W. answers from Amarillo on February 23, 2008
You are probably not the only one on this list that is in this boat. So here are some questions for you.
1. Have you contacted Consumer Finance Counseling? They will work with you to get your bills in order and to pay them off in installments.
2. Is there any thing you can live without in the home that you can sell?
3. Is there a daycare that charges less nearby?
4. Can you prepare meals ahead and freeze that will save you money?
5. Have you contacted your mortgage company to ask them to work with you because you have had a cash flow problem? They usually will help you if you come forward before they have to do the foreclosure stuff.
6. Is there something you can do to make extra money on the weekends while hubby watches your daughter?
7. Do your best to get rid of the payday loan and do not use them again as they love to have people like you.
There is a lot at the end of the tunnel but it is a slow one. You didn't get over extended in one day and you won't get out of debt in one day. Just keep working at it and it will be done (it may take 2 to 3 years but it will be done). Good luck to you.
1 mom found this helpful
C.R. answers from Dallas on February 25, 2008
Forget the debt. The most important thing right now is food and shelter for your family. Don't file bankruptcy, don't consolidate your debt. Don't worry about your credit right now. Just feed your family and keep a roof over your head. I absolutely second everyone that recommends Dave Ramsey. He is sensible in his approach and has the priorities right. I would love to give you his book, Total Money Makeover. Please email me.
1 mom found this helpful
S.E. answers from Wichita Falls on February 24, 2008
Start with your local church and non profit debt counseling. Churches often have funds set aside or a list of resources just for this sort of thing, but it will do you no good if you can't learn to live within your means. Start a spending diary where you record every penny that leaves your pocket. Learn where all the money goes, you'd be surprised where there are small leaks in everybody's budget.
Also look into Government Assistance Programs. There are one time assistance programs (TANIF in Texas)that will grant you a sum of money that should get you out of the paycheck loan cycle. There is no shame in food stamps if you use them as they were ment to be used, as a tempoary help where you are in need. There are Income based child care facilities that will charge based on how much you can afford to pay.
And lastly, promise me NEVER go to a paycheck loan place again. All they are is legal loan sharks.
1 mom found this helpful
E.C. answers from Dallas on February 23, 2008
Check out the guidelines to obtaining some food stamps to feed your family. If he doesn't make enough $$ for a family of 3, you may qualify. Salvation army also helps people with a food pantry and assistance on other things. They paid my electric bill one month about 12 years ago when I was stuggling as a single mother. Ask your electric company to put you on "average billing" so that your electric bill is the same each month so you know what to expect. See if your church (or other local church) has a food pantry or ways of offering help to those in need. You can always return the favor later when you are on your feet. If you have a car payment, ask the lender if you can pay the interest ONLY for a couple of months, then they will tack the other part of the payment to the end of the note. Same on the house payment if you own a house. It may take a little longer to pay off, but if the relief is there for a couple of months it may help you catch up. Move to a smaller place until your finances get in order or take on a roommate/renter. Use only cell phones, get rid of the house phone(or visa versa)...no use in paying double. If you have cable tv, downsize to the basic level for a while. Have a garage sell, or list things you don't need anymore on Craigslist of Ebay. Shop at discount grocers where you bag your own stuff...sometimes there are significant savings there, but always make a list and stick to it. Fill your gas tank when you gas up, it lasts longer than if you put a few dollars in at a time. You didn't say if you work outside the home or not. If not, try keeping other children during the day or after-schoolers until summer....then maybe keep a few during the summer. This could be good for your own kids; they will meet new friends. Run errands for the elderly for a small fee. There may be lots of resources you can use, just try to use the internet to find them. Good luck.
1 mom found this helpful
M.C. answers from Dallas on February 24, 2008
Call 888-995-HOPE This is a free independent third party non profit group paid for by mortgage companies to help people just like you. They will help you talk to your mortgage company, credit card companies, set up a budget, etc. They will help you set up payment plans so you do not have to get advances and will help your credit rating. I used to work for GMAC heading up their foreclosure unit. Do not let this happen to you. There is help out there and people who care.
1 mom found this helpful
C.S. answers from Amarillo on February 25, 2008
Yes, I agree... Dave Ramsey is the plan. But, before you do Financial Peace University, you need to get Total Money Makeover. Go to your library and see if they have the audio book! It will set you straight....then you can move onto Financial Peace University.
On getting out of the vicious circle that you are in.....
SELL SOME STUFF!!!! It helps! It really really does. Go through your closets, children's closets, garage.....sell it on ebay....sell it on Craig's list...Have a huge garage sale! Sell what you can and apply it toward what you owe! Last summer, I sold alot of stuff in a garage sale and some on ebay. We made over $1000. It took some time and some work....and alot of the stuff I hated to sell, but I needed it at the time and it got me through a tough spot. Another thing to try is doing some side jobs....not a job that ties you down time-wise.... But something that is temporary, but brings in cash....Like, I learned how to transfer videos to DVDs...I advertised and charge $15.00 a disc. Some people brought me 20 discs...their whole collections of home videos. I put them on DVDs with a label and made $300.00! In one weekend. You can clean a house, be a runner....advertise to do people's errands...sometimes the elderly need help..you could go to the grocery store for them.... Mow lawns, shovel snow....whatever you can do....to get some extra cash! But make sure you apply it towards what needs to be paid. Sometimes it is easy to buy something you dont need because you feel like you have earned it!
1 mom found this helpful
B.W. answers from Wichita Falls on March 11, 2008
I have been going thru the Dave Ramsey Financial program and I think his ideas might work. In you situation he recommends that you make a budget. LIst your priorities first. Food, housing (mortgage, utilities), transportation (car payments, gas, insurance, ect), and clothing. Then put other items. Each week pay what you can then draw a red line. What is below the red line you cannot pay. He recommends you get a extra job (pizza delivery and paper deliver pay well and are fairly easy to get)and work as hard as possible to pay your current bills, then put $1,000 emergency money in the bank and then pay off your debt (credit cards, loans, and then vehicles). Its tiring working 2 jobs and sometimes embarassing but, sometimes it is necessary.It may take a while to get rid of the debt but once it is gone hopefully you will be able to relax again. During the mean time you need to keep in contact with your creditors but don't let them harass you. Send them a certified letter saying you are starting a pro rata plan. Once a month send them a letter stating you current situation and showing your buget. Pay them what you can for that month. Even if it is only $5 pay it and show them how this is all you can afford this month. If you afford more than the minimum payment pay it. The debt is owed and let themm know you know this and you are taking an extra job and will pay them off as soon as you can. I hope this was of some help.
1 mom found this helpful
D.L. answers from Dallas on February 25, 2008
Dave Ramsey! don't do the chapter 13s or credit card consumer stuff... it will make it worse if you don't understand or realize how to make a change and rely on just quitting and starting over worse off. seriously though, Dave Ramsey on am radio or you can listen at work from the internet... he puts it in perspective. my husband and i were in the same boat back in Oct, he was laid off, and we were over $1500 negative in the bank. for starters, have a garage sale! put that all inthe bank to catch up; second, listen to Dave or read his book, i still listen to him for motivation each day, third, only buy necessities first then the rest later on! dont take anymore pay advances... they will only put you further back. we sold a bunch of stuff, and did budgets to be back on track and even had to cancel some bills like cable, internet, etc for the time being. we are on a way better budget and we aren't stressed and fighting about it anymore! also, there are a few things you can check out, modestneeds.org is a website that may be able to help you for some money, alos, angelfoodministries.com you can buy food each month for a pretty good amount to help on groceries for a bit. another suggestion would be maybe to babysit for some cash for small things like gas, groceries etc. a week. if you aren't at a churhc i suggest finding a great one too. makes all the difference in life. hang in there girl! it will get better!
1 mom found this helpful
J.S. answers from Dallas on February 24, 2008
I don't have an exact answer for you, but I do have some suggestions. Check out Suze Orman's website--she is the financial guru on PBS. Click on something called "how not to let your new house eat up your income." or something like that. She gives tips on changing your tax withholding, getting rid of your land line phone, etc. Debt consolidation is an excellent thing to do, you can pay your credit cards and cars in one payment. Look up Consumer Credit Counseling.
You might have to swallow your pride and ask a local church for some food from their food bank this month. There is also something called Angel Food Ministry. You only pay $25, and you pick up a lot of food on distribution day, usually from a local church. Look up their website to see where you can go in your area. You might also see if there is a Save A Lot grocery store in your area. They are even cheaper than Wal-Mart. Good luck, I hope this helps!
1 mom found this helpful
M. answers from Dallas on February 23, 2008
S., you are not the only one. The same situation happened to us but we survived! Think of it this way.... this too shall pass away. Its not permanent. As long as you have yourself, your husband and your child together anything is possible. Call me if you need someone to talk to.
1 mom found this helpful
C.M. answers from Dallas on February 24, 2008
You are not alone. The situation you are in is happening all over the country right now. Many, many people purchased homes at the top of the market, with loans that they didn't understand, with payments that are now choking them financially to death because of all sorts of reasons. Even though you paid $X for your home, it's likely that the value has declined and you're "upsidown", so even if you were to try to sell, you would owe more than the home is worth. Most realtors won't give you the time of day because you can't pay them to sell your home.
So, you have a choice to make:
1. Do you continue to spend money you don't have to make a payment that is choking you, only to break even (and still not make any money when you sell) on your home in 10 years (when the values come back up)?
2. Or do you and your husband become realistic with what has happened and sell through a Loss Mitigator and walk away from the situation with money in your pocket and rent something just as nice as your home for LESS money per month???
You WILL be able to buy again in the future. For that matter, your situation would be better because of what you can get for your money after this market starts to come back.
My husband and I talk to people and HELP THEM everyday! You don't pay us anything - your mortgage company pays us.
We have clients who have LIVED in their homes for up to 9 to 10 months and NOT made a mortgage payment while we negotiated their deal. Think of the money you'd catch up on with NOT having to make a mortgage payment for several months?
Your credit is already in the tank because of the credit cards. You will retain your dignity by walking away selling rather than letting your home go into foreclosure.
Call me if you are interested in our free help - www.collateralcapital.com
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N.S. answers from Dallas on February 25, 2008
It's good you see the problem, now you have to adjust to what life is right now. My husband and I for over a year now have been living paycheck to paycheck, we are on such a tight budget I thought I was never going to make it. We went from eating out all the time, buying new clothes, spending what ever we wanted at the store, starbucks, you name it....to nothing. We never eat out, we never go to starbucks, we cut our cable, any extra money we pay bills, we have not bought one thing for ourselves in over a year. When we go to the store, we buy the basics, and we buy the lower priced items. Let me tell you, it's not been easy and for a long time, I hated every min. But you know what, after a year of living like this, this last week we became debt free. I realized during this process God was pruning me. All the "things" I thought I needed, he showed me that I did not. Now, I enjoy any and every little thing we are blessed with and I turn my head from all the "things" this world says we need. That is my own story....All I can say is you will get through it, make smart choices, cut back, and pray. God hears you, he will direct your path and be patient. It takes time to ride out a storm, just know you will overcome this and learn from it. It's really easy to get yourself in the same situation, so take this time to get close to God and learn.
1 mom found this helpful
D.R. answers from Dallas on February 24, 2008
I have never done a debt consolidation but after the birth of our twins we got really behind b/c of hospital bills, etc. The 3 credit cards I did have were maxed out and i couldn't pay them. Finally, I made arrangements with them to pay off the card over 5 yrs for a certain amount a month (less than what my minimum payment was supposed to be). They didn't charge me any more late fees and lowered the finance charge % but of course they closed the acct. Also, it is worth a try to call the electric company and let them know of your situation to see if they can give you a 10% discount or something. I know it is a difficult time.
S.B. answers from Dallas on February 24, 2008
I understand where your coming from! I think a lot of us end up there at one time or another. I completely agree with everyone who has mentioned Dave Ramsey. We took his course through our church and are currently retaking it through a home based business I have!!! It is awesome and really works. I would also love to share with you an opportunity that is out there for you where you can work from home and set your own hours that will bring in great monthly residual income for you without having to sell, invest in inventory, or distribute any kind of products. If your interested I'd love to share it with you. I am loving it and have so many friends who are doing the same! You are in my prayers, hang in there, God can do miraculous things!!!
God Bless You,
C.V. answers from Dallas on February 24, 2008
Personally I would steer clear of loans and/or advances. As you explained your hole keeps getting deeper.
I have been married for nearly 16 years and early on my husband and I were not the most responsible with our finances. We ended up in a situation much like yours, the only problem is we did not have a good excuse like loss of a job to blame. We were just irresponsible. At first we tried the so-called debt consolidation loan and it only ultimately made our hole deeper. We ended up contacting a local office of Consumer Credit Counseling Service. This orginazation helped get us back in business credit wise. It took several years, but we have since rebuilt our credit and learned something in the process. We now have two girls ages 5 and 7 who both attend private school, have 3 cars, and live in a half million dollar home. And my husband still works at the same job he did then making about the same salary. The key is we learned to buy what we need and pay cash almost exclusively. We have a couple of credit cards for emergencies and that's it.
The Consumer Credit Counseling Service assisted us in making a realistic budget and helped negotiate our expenses with our creditors without creating more debt. The website you need to visit is www.cccs.net. Take a look and see what you think.
I highly recommend this approach to getting back on track.
C.T. answers from Dallas on March 07, 2008
I am a 41 year old single mother who got laid off 3 times in less than 2 years. NO JOKE. I lost my savings, my 401k and totally racked up my credit cards. The last time I got laid off I practically had a stroke... I cried. I got sick to my stomache. I threw a fit. And I vowed to NEVER be in that position again. I knew the only solution was to create my own security! I found a company that I could work from home with (plus benefits). It has been a lot of hard work but I've been with them for 18 months now and still going strong. I work at home part time in the evenings and on weekends. I found a regular full time job too (Thank God!) Now I use my regular job income to cover my regular expenses and I use my work at home income to pay off my credit cards. I have about a year and a half to 2 years to go and I will be debt free. It has been worth every nap I didn't get to take and every TV show I didn't watch. You can check it out at www.workhappy.com
K.C. answers from Dallas on February 24, 2008
We were in the same boat as you however we had three children at the time. We started to listen to Dave Ramsey, you can go to the website to find out when he is on in your area. daveramsey.com However he would suggest you sit down and write out everything you are spending, this way you can figure out where your money is going. Then list your debt you may not be able to make your credit card payments so what. He says to pay for what you need food and housing. You may have to sell your house if your house payment is more then 25% of your take home pay. But again listen to him, you can even go to the library to check out his books. Good Luck.
N.G. answers from Dallas on February 24, 2008
You have only three choices. You can refinance your home loan and get all the equity out of your home and pay off bills. A lot of lenders will do this without any costs involved. Or 2 you can try and get a loan consolidation loan. The only one I know of that is decent is American General Financial Services or 3 File for Chapter 13 where you can payoff your outstanding debt over a 5 year plan. Good Luck. I hope this helps.
L.W. answers from Dallas on February 25, 2008
I'm so sorry about your stress. Debt is hard--especially if you don't know how if you can eat. Debt consolidation is great. I haven't done it, but my sister and other friends have. They negotiate better rates for you, help you with budgeting, and put you on a better track. Call them. Consumer Credit Counseling http://www.cccsatl.org/. Do it before you get in trouble with the credit cards--it will put you in control rather than them.
Also, if you are a member of a church, talk to you minister. He or she will have some resources for you...sadly, you are not alone in this plight. Depending on where you live, a food bank can give you a couple of weeks worth to tied you over until you get your income figured out.
H.T. answers from Dallas on February 23, 2008
S., you need to write your creditors and explain your hardship. They'll work with you. You'll get no cooperation over the telephone. If you ignore them, then they'll create credit problems for the future. If you engage the services of a debt management company, please check with the National Credit Council office in Washington. Only three are approved and they advice you on how to protect your credit and your integrity. In the US, we have over 2700 companies offering these services. Most of them will do you more harm than you can expect. Check them very carefully. My experience has been that after 90 days of struggling, then your creditors will do a workout program, freeze the interest charges and give you credit for the high interest charges and late fees. You can do this on your own. You and your family will benefit far more than a third party respresentatin. Most of all, you'll be better equipped to manage your financials.
A friend in Ft. Worth
M.M. answers from Lubbock on February 24, 2008
The first thing I would say is close the bank account. If you don't have the account then you can only spend what is in your pocket. It is a hard ajustment at first but once you get away from using the account then it gets better.
Also I know it is not a long term solution but you should be able to get food stamps to help threw hard times. For a family of 3 you should get about $400 a month for food.
There is also a program that helps to pay for your child care.
I know that nobody wants to be on goverment help, but this is what they are for. If you could get a little help with the basics then you can get cought up on some of the other bills.
I hope this helps, M
M.R. answers from Dallas on February 24, 2008
I'm not sure of your location, but I volunteer at my church's food pantry in Allen and we understand the need for temporary emergency assistance! So don't beat yourself up or feel like you're all alone!! You can call 2-1-1 and get some information on the nearest food pantry to you. Also, our church has a ministry that helps with rent, utilities, etc. based on funds available and need. There are also community assistance programs that might be able to help you out. If by chance you live in Allen, Lucas, Wylie, or Fairview, my church is the First Baptist Church of Allen and our pantry hours are Sundays 4-5:30 and Wednesdays 6-7:30. Come see us then, bring ID, proof of residency (like a current water bill), and last paycheck stub. Good luck and know I will be praying for you, S. M.
R.G. answers from Dallas on February 24, 2008
First of all, you are not alone in your situation. Many couples struggle in this area. Our church has pastors who are financial counselors who can help you figure out how to get yourself out of debt, for free. It's called Gateway Church in Southlake. The number is ###-###-#### and their web site is www.gatewaypeople.com They have helped several people get thousands of dollar out of debt. Good luck!
J.G. answers from Dallas on February 24, 2008
T.W. answers from Dallas on February 24, 2008
I understand completely what you are going through. I have been there, done that and can hold a week long convention on it. We did go to debt counseling and then in order to save everything and start over we filed chapter 13. It is not as bad as everyone was telling us bankruptcy was. After being out of bankruptcy for 2 yrs we were able to buy an even bigger house (3x's bigger). I suggest so talk with a debt counselor first then weigh your options.
God bless you. I pray that relief comes quickly.
C.G. answers from Dallas on February 25, 2008
I don't want you to think I'm saying this to benefit myself because I'm not. We also struggle since we moved from CA. My husband used to make a lot and we had amazing benefits. Now he doesn't make enough to cover the bills so I sell Pampered Chef. I sold it before we moved, but it was extra income. Now we rely on it. You do home parties and start out making about $100 per show. Some nights I've made $300! It really helps with our bills. You or your husband could sell to catch up. Just a thought.
J.H. answers from Amarillo on February 24, 2008
A lot of places will let you pay partial instead of full if you go into the business and talk to them. The money you pay on bank fees could of paid another bill, so watch that you don't write overdrawn checks, re=evaluate whether you are buying just what it needed not wanted. Is there anything else you could sell, or how about your car, do you have a big payment where you could get a less expensive one, and the payment , ins. tags etc. would be less. YOu said you had child care fees, do you work, & do you make enough or would it be cheaper to stay at home? Don't use the credit card, the percent is too high on unpaid bills. Just really re-check things on wether you buy the bargin or the best, & you may have to sell and get a smaller place or rent if it looks like they could forclose down the road.
J.U. answers from Dallas on February 24, 2008
J.L. answers from Houston on September 25, 2008
B.F. answers from Dallas on February 24, 2008
I am so sorry to hear this! You will be in our prayers!! All I can say is we have tried debt consolidation and it worked for us. However, the company we used lowered our credit card interest rate in exchange for the card being cancelled. So watch what you do, if that card is cancelled it won't be there for emergancy's. However, I feel that this is the least of your worries.
Idea's (that may not be so palitable now, but anything at this point will help); cancel the cable TV, you can read, go to the park, etc. especially now that the weather is getting nicer. Cancel some of those phones, no you don't need them. We don't have a land line in our house, only cell phones and with low minutes - we talk on the weekends anyway. Turn the heat way down, you can put on warm PJ's at night and your not home during the day anyway. Call the city and county, they must have some help for you, the food pantry or something! Also, call your utility company's and mortgage company and talk with them; they want their money, they don't want to cut you off! Perhaps some long term plan can be arranged. Talk with the school about free lunches, perhaps you qualify for a short time. It doesn't hurt to ask and these services are there and paid for by you! Even one month of free lunches will help! Good luck, I'll be praying for you!
E.D. answers from Dallas on February 25, 2008
I know of a credit consolidation company I'm using. It's called Atlantic Credit Foundation and it's based in New York. You don't have to live there to use them. I can give you the number if you like.
Also, have you ever thought of a side job to help bring in some extra cash? Something you can do at home? I'm not trying to sell you on anything but Mary Kay has been and is continually a blessing to me and my husband. I started 2 years ago and more than times can count it has gotten us out of a jam with the bills. Even when I'm not actively working the business I'll get a reorder or a new order and it pays a bill. Like just today I paid bills with my Mary Kay profit.
Here are some details:
There are 3 Forms of Income:
1. Sales from shows, facials and reorders – 50% commission - the highest direct sales commission paid
Our product is consumable, like milk or bread, so reorders are a large part of our income
2. Team Building - Beginning with your 1st team member – 4% commission
Five or more team members – 9% or 13% commission
3. Career Car Program – Drive a Career Car or choose the Cash Compensation
• Pontiac Vibe or $375/mo.
• Saturn Aura or $500/mo.
• Cadillac or $900/mo.
Why own a business?
• The American Dream is to be your own boss and set your own hours
• Tax Deductions – with tax write offs you can lower your income taxes
Tax Benefits and Deductions
• Automobile costs - .485 cents per mile for business related-travel (starting in 2007)
• Telephone – your cell phone can be your main business line
• Entertainment and travel – when primarily for your Mary Kay business
• Show supplies – washcloths, cotton balls, tablecloths, beauty showcase, etc.
• Office supplies - printing, postage, paper, pens, etc.
What are the advantages of having a MK Business?
• No sales quotas or territories – Take your business anywhere in the U.S.
• Full training program - Education, Motivation & Inspiration taught by Top Directors weekly
• Earn Rewards - Diamonds, other jewelry, luggage, trips to exotic places
• Website Business for only $25 for the year – No hidden fee or monthly maintenance fees
• Family Security Program - as a National Sales Director
• Residual Income - on sales (consumable product) & team building
• Live On Your Terms – Freedom & Flexibility, set your own pace based on your schedule
• Opportunity to Share – Great leading brand products that everyone will love.
• Achieve Success – Enjoy opportunities to reach your goals.
• Enrich Lives – Sharing the opportunity with other women to help them reach their goals.
What does it cost to start a MK Business?
• $100 beauty showcase (a $350 retail value) plus local tax and shipping
• Inventory – optional, but highly recommended
• 90% buy back guarantee from the company
Our Company Philosophies
Mary Kay Philosophy
God first, family second, and career third.
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
I can explain more by sending you a free packet of information to look at. No strings attached. Like I said, my husband and I are hurting right now. I am unemployed right now except for Mary Kay, and I haven't been able to work it consistently and it still pays the necesseties. It is a blessing. And even if Mary Kay is not for you, it would give you some ideas as to what you might find to help you in your time of need. If you send me your mailing address I can send you the packet, if you are interested. Or you can go to my website: www.marykay.com/ecrawforddunklin. I hope this helps. And let me know if you want that number to Atlantic Credit.
Blessings and Prayers,
E. Crawford Dunklin
D.W. answers from Dallas on February 25, 2008
Hi S.. Hold strong, and you will get through this. Go to your local bank branch and ask if they will wave any or all the fees. Most banks will do it once if you haven't had it done b/4. If not, close the account and cash your payroll checks at the issuing bank and pay cash for everything, or money orders. Your daughter is 7 y/o...ask one of her friends mom if your daughter can stay there after school so you don't pay afterschool childcare. When things were tought, my sister in law delivered newspapers from 3:00am-6:00am while my brother was home with the 3 kids. I hope a few of these suggestes help. It's tough, but stay away from the payday loans. God Bless you and your family. D.
T.P. answers from Dallas on February 25, 2008
I think what I heard you say is that you've stopped paying credit cards and are focused only on the necessity things right now, so CCCS wouldn't be your best option right now because you're strapped and don't have the money to pay your credit card debt.
Here's your first move: close your bank account. If NSF and overdrawn fees have you owing the bank, perhaps it's time to close your bank account and manage your finances on a cash-basis only.
My suggestion is that you take care of any outstanding checks and fees at the bank and hide your checkbook. Try to get to a point where you pay cash only and you'll soon discover how much easier it is to sleep at night. If you manage your finances this way, you will watch your money more closely and manage it much better.
I have taught debt classes; not how to consolidate necessarily, but how to be debt-free. I also have an accounting and finance background, so I fully understand how banks operate, in both the banking and credit card areas.
I understand how hard it is to get ahead, especially when the banks are hitting you with fees all over the place. If you're diligent about getting on solid ground, know that you can; it's all about knowing how and changing your mindset about money. If you'd like more information, let me know. I can share my knowledge of being debt-free with you.
P.F. answers from Dallas on February 24, 2008
First let me tell you that you CAN get out from under, I've done it. Second, it is so VERY difficult but worth it in the end. We used a Credit Counseling company which I wouldn't recommend! It was a rip off and we were in worse shape than ever using them. You can get excellent resources from the library, just look up "Get out of Debt", and I would suggest using a Christian based group. You can personally negotiate with the credit card companies you owe to: 1. reduce the interest rate. 2. eliminate late or over limit fees 3. reduce the amount due each month by freezing your accounts. They would rather have you talk to them, tell them your predicament and discuss a repayment plan NOW before you are in over your head, although it sounds like you are there. You need to work up a budget first, be realistic, if you can't survive on $50.00 a week for groceries don't agree to it, come up with a realistic repayment plan with them, they'd rather get something rather than nothing. Also once you get an agreement ask that it be put in writing. I was able to get my mortgage company and car loans to agree to let me skip a payment which helped catch up. Of course that will extend your total length of agreement so you have to be very dedicated to getting out and staying out of late payments. There are so many ways to really save money, coupons, those savings cards many stores use; generics instead of brands, etc. You'd also be surprised at what bargains you can find at resale shops, even Goodwill Stores. Sorry there is no short cut or simple answer but you'll learn alot through this experience, I know I did. Best of luck to you.
L.W. answers from Dallas on February 24, 2008
My name is L.,the greatest advice I can give you is never give up,never stop believing,and never lose your faith in Our Lord Jesus.Ask God to carry your burdens for you,believe me He will make a way for you and your family.The Lord said don't worry about what your gonna eat,drink,shelter or clothes to wear if I take care of the birds of the air,how much more will I care for you.In Philippians 4:6 the Lord says Do not be anxious or worry about anything,but in everything,by prayer and petition,with thanksgiving present your request to God.May the Lord bless you and your family and may the favor of Our Lord shine on you today and always.Trust God and He will direct your path.
J.L. answers from Dallas on February 24, 2008
*** I had not read all of the other responses. But when I went back and started reading I was SOOOO EXCITED to see how many people referenced Dave Ramsey!!! Whoo Hooo!!!
Oh my goodness! What a blessing that I happened upon your request today. My husband and I have been in financial situations similar to yours before. We are currently working our way out of debt. We have used Dave Ramsey's book Total Money Makeover for our support and resource as how to do this. He also has a radio show 570AM every week day from 1-4pm. It is ironic that you are asking about this today because my husband and I just attended his LIVE EVENT in Dallas yesterday. It was FABULOUS!!! Dave is a man who once was a millionaire and at some point he lost it all. He even filed for bankruptcy. He does NOT recommend bankruptcy by the way. I would recommend that you somehow get your hands on this book TODAY!!! You don't have to buy it, you can check it out at your local library, but you need to read it. There is a lot of wisdom in what he has to say. Dave also recommends that you take a second job. Your husband may have to go start delivering pizzas for a little while until he can find a more permanent, better paying job. Wal-mart would even hire him. There are things that can be done to help combat the viscious cycle you are in currently, and it is temporary. I don't know if you are a Christian or not, but I find comfort in seeking wisdom through the scriptures. God tells us in Proverbs 6:1-7 that if we owe anything we should humble ourselves and get rid of our debt with fierce intensity. I would love to talk to you more about this if you would like to. God bless you and your family as you work throught this difficult and trying time.
L.D. answers from Dallas on February 24, 2008
Looks like people are giving you some great advice.....
Something we read that helped us a lot was "Young, Fabulous and Broke" by Suze Orman. We went through a rough time after my husband and I both came close to death within 6 months of each other in 2003. He ended up out of work and I was in grad school with little income after he was sick. We were able to turn it around before it got too bad but it was scary. Suze has techniques that WILL help you. You might try Half Price books or to get it on Amazon used. Another thing to do is the envelope techique. I have to run and feed my nine week old but if you want to know about the envelope technique just message me and I will tell you. I will add you to my prayer list. Keep us all updated on your situation.
V.A. answers from Dallas on February 24, 2008
I feel for you, many of us have been there! I would strongly suggest you check out Dave Ramsey.com, and studying his Financial Peace University. It is incredible!! It puts things in persective! I just attended one of his seminars yesterday, and he is great, and have alot of very good applications for financial peace, plus, he is a Christian based advisor. DO NOT get a consolidation loan! Wrong move! It is only a temporary fix, and will get you deeper into debt. You have to fix the problems you have now not make more. One of the first things you should do is...sell, sell, sell...everything that is not tied down, have a garage sale, make extra money, get a second job, work overtime, do everything in your power to generate extra income. But please check out Dave Ramsey's website, it will give you some great ideas...I do his financial program, and I will be out of debt soon! But let me warn you it takes determination and intensity!! But you can do it!!
T.M. answers from Dallas on February 24, 2008
Since your husband DOES work, there is a program through Salvation Army for people who do have jobs but are just in a bad financial situation. They will help with your rent/mortgage for a month plus help with food and utilities to allow you to get back on your feet. The program is through their social services department and is funded through FEMA. The main requirement is that you do have a job. Good Luck!
S.W. answers from Dallas on February 25, 2008
Do yo have a budget? I know it sounds trite- but having a budget really helps you to know what money is being spent where. FOr a couple of months we kept going over and spent tons in fees too, and realized that my husband was going to Starbucks and spent $80 in one month on coffee. Neither of us realized that he was spending so much because $4 didn't seem like much at a time. Food- do you cut coupons? Make a grocerry list and stick to your list. Angel Food Ministries (look them up online) has a wonderful way to save money on food- it is $25 or $35 for a huge box of food- inlcuding eggs, meat, chicken- it depends on what is on thier menu for the month. You order it through a local church (look it up online, there are churches doing this all over the metroplex) and then pick it up. We would buy 1 box of the main menu and then 1 of each other thier specials- spend about $50 on food and then have enough food for the month for the 2 of us- plus a little bit of extra to fill in. There is no income requirement, it is good food and a great way to save money- I would recommend it to anyone- whether you are having money troubles or not. I would also let your creditors, bank and others that you owe money to know what is going on- they can (when they want to be) be helpful.
Good luck and God bless you.
C.A. answers from Dallas on February 24, 2008
I'm so sorry to hear about your trouble. I used to work in family support for Head Start and referred many families to credit counseling services. I would just make sure it is a not for profit that is really wanting to help. I'd start with your city/county Dept. of Human Services or the like to see what they have or can refer you to.
S.H. answers from Dallas on February 24, 2008
Hi S.! I'm so sorry to hear about your financial dilemma. Been there, done that! It's not fun! I would suggest making an appt to talk w/ Consumer Credit Counselors, then I'd go through every drawer, closet, garage, storage shed, whatever & have a big garage sale asap, or put stuff on ebay or craigslist! That's about all you can do, it sounds like!? Cut back on your cable channels, make iced tea instead of sodas, use generic everything, start babysitting w/any extra time! Call & talk to your mortgage company. Maybe have a few less deductions taken out of your checks to give you more cash flow, if it's practical, & pay off or catch up on some bills!?
M.M. answers from Dallas on February 23, 2008
We were in this same situation about two years ago. We got on Dave Ramsey's plan and decided to finally start living on less than we made. We do not use credit cards and do not borrow money now.
As far as the bank goes, go in and talk to the manager. I've had the manager of our bank cut the fees in half which had given us a chance to get caught up. Literally, do not buy anything but neccessities. My husband and I bought groceries for around $40 a week for a family of 4 when we were in trouble and we ate every day. There are sacrifices that can be made. Look for anything to sell on craigslist and go to the library and rent Dave Ramsey's book The Total Money Makeover ASAP! Also, my husband and I make a good living and are currently renting. We rent because according to Dave Ramsey we cannot afford a house again yet. We are stashing cash to be able to put 20% cash down on a house. Your house seems to be a curse rather than a blessing at the moment and it seems that selling your house and downsizing would help your financial situation. Also, can you go get a part-time job in the evenings or weekends? Why not try to clean a house once a week? Good luck.
J.B. answers from Dallas on February 24, 2008
It is so difficult in that situation. I am a single mother of three kids. Don't get me wrong, their father pays what he is supposed to it just is not enough. Five years ago we got divorced and I got the house. We split the debt-that I am still paying on through Consumer Credit Counceling-a non profit organization. They do have fees but it is one way out. I had credit card debt from the marriage and relied on the credit cards for about 3 years to make ends meet. I have about $15,000 in credit cards, a consolidation loan for 7,000
not to mention that I owe my Father $17,000 for my car and and a $3,000 loan he just gave me so I could catch up on the mortgage. My gas was turned off last week-(I had the $ just forgot to pay) Thank God I had the money though. Anyway-You see that I am in a similar situation.
CCCS has helped me pay those credit card bills off but you still have to pay them monthly. I am paying them $500 a month for four years. The trick is being able to afford that and still make the other payments you have to make. Having them manage it does decrease your payments. The talk to the credit card companies for you and negotiate for a MUCH lower % rate than what you are paying and usually stops any fees being charged. It's a good deal but you do have to pay. In the state of TX it is more difficult to file for bankruptcy so this was the way to go for me. I had too much pride to file for that anyway-that brings up my other point.
I know it is difficult to admit you need help but take it any where you can get it. I know that local churches sometimes will help with utilities for a month if that "little bit" would help, sometimes you have to reach out with your heart in your hands for someone to save you from drowning. Don't let pride get in your way!! Talk to the companies as much as you can. Usually if you let them know what's going on in can but you time.
I am currently holding down 2 jobs and am working 7 days a week. Luckily the kids father is helping on the weekends with the kids. It's hard but the sooner you do it, the better it will be for the two of you and especially for your daughter. Be sure that you and your husband are fighting this TOGETHER!! Don't end up like me!!!
Good Luck and MAy God Bless
K.M. answers from Dallas on February 24, 2008
R.L. answers from Dallas on February 24, 2008
First, get to a large church that has a benevolence program for short term help - this for food and short term bills. Also see if they have a subsidized day-care program.
Second, debt consolidation is a good option. Be wary, however, of those who ask for a large upfront fee. Call Better Business Bureau for a recommendation, or ask the pastor of the church mentioned above.
Third, take a lesson from Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas' mother. She worked three jobs to put him through school. Your husband may have to take another job (even if only part time). Working your way out is the only viable option. Payday loans (at interest rates of 81% and up) are NEVER an option.
You may also have to work (I did not see any mention of your job), or take on a second job. Look for a family that has a reliable teenager looking for a parttime job in the evening for child care for the short term. The more you both make in the short term, the less time it will take to dig yourselves out.
As to the bank fees, locate a bank that charges less fees (or a credit union) or go strictly cash, using money orders to pay your bills. The post office only charges $0.80 per money order.
Finally, once you are out of the whole, locate a financial professional who has the skill and desire to help you both develop a cash reserve and can put other systems in place so that another "life event" will not put you both back in this situation.
Without knowing a little more on the exact numbers, I hope this helps.
G.A. answers from Dallas on March 03, 2008
Something else you can do. I am trying to do this now but I have to get my foundation fixed first. You can refinance your home with no fees. Get a lower interest rate if it is too high and even take out some money but the experts are Lenox financial. Robbie deals with Texas as our laws are different. Main number is 866-458-6075 Get a Good Faith Estimate. I am on an adjusted interest and have to get out of it. This is where a million people lost homes doing this and I have until Feb. See if you can get your payments down or take out money to pay off your debits. God Bless. I had a hard time returning and something blocks my responding. So Good Luck G. W Also check out insurances on the home to see if you can get a better deal and auto.
T.C. answers from Dallas on February 23, 2008
First - if you have not already - cut up every single credit card you have. Do away with and do not ever go back. Ever. non-negotiable. I have been credit card debt free for a year. I am 40. Best year of my life.
Beware of some credit repair places. Consumer Credit Counseling Servises is one of if not the best agencies to contact. Not only will they negotiate your cc payments they will COUNSEL you on how to get out and stay out. And I have no stake or gain in saying that.
I agree with a lot of the advice you have received. Smart Mamas out there. =)
Sell everything but the kids. (Daveramsey.com) We did on ebay, craig's list and garage sales.
Second job. (nights or weekends) There is no shame in working two jobs to better your situation. It does not have to be permanent.
And just b/c your hubby has found a new job does not mean he should stop looking. If he has a higher earning potential - he should KEEP LOOKING while working at his new job!
cheaper groceries - go to http://www.couponmom.com/. They have grocery lists for Kroger and Tom Thumb in Texas. If you read the instructions and shop like they tell you - you can consistently save 50% off grocery store prices and about 20-30% off Walmart/Target prices. Again - no gain for me to recommend this - I have just been there and done that and this site and advice worked for our family.
Again - I agree - contact your morgtage company. THOUSANDS of families are in financial straights in the US. Most morgtage companies are MORE THAN WILLING to work with you to keep you from defaulting. (You don't have to tell them you are thinking about selling - which you don't want to do now anyway b/c of the mkt)
Absolutely no more payday loans. Ask your church or friends or family or neighbors before doing that again. And don't ask for money - ask for groceries. Or ask if they can pay a utility bill. People are loving and generous and are willing to help people that are trying to help themselves. Do NOT be afraid to ask for help. There will come a day when you are back on your feet and you will pay it forward.
Blessings to you and your family. I know it seems futile right now. Keep on keeping - for yourself and for your daughter - now is the PERFECT opportunity to show her what her mom is made of!
A.S. answers from Dallas on February 24, 2008
Debt consolidation may help in the short term, but your "cycle" is a long term issue. We had similar (although not as severe) issues a few years ago. What REALLY helped was a class we attended- Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University. This is a program available based on his book, Financial Peace. It is a completely different way of looking at your finances, but guaranteed to get you on the right track. It made us face up to some realities, and make tough choices, but we a re in great shape now and working on paying off our home (without any consumer debt). Give this a try for yourself and your family.
N.A. answers from Dallas on February 25, 2008
I know your question is about debt consolidation, but I am addressing the food issue first, as that is what you should do.
It may seem like this is just giving up but I would suggest going to your local financial aid office and applying for food stamps. There has to be something available. Just be sure to bring in statements on your childcare and living expenses and they should be able to help you. You can also call your nearest church (any denomination) and ask them about the nearest food bank. They allow you to get food for free without having to fill out any paperwork.
As far as the debt consolidation, don't bother. They will just be charging you a fee for something you can easily do yourself.
Just call all of the creditors (and utility companies) and let them know what is going on. The worst thing you can do is not talk to them. Rework your budget in dream world. Figure out the income and then the fixed expenses (the bills you have no choice on) and living expenses such as food and gas, and then work with the debts. Make up a list of all of your debts and tally it up along with all of the interest rates. You can ask for a lower payment, just have a number ready, don't let them pick it for you and stick to that number. Just having a plan of action can sometimes set your status as up to date. Just don't get down on yourselves, and PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE STAY AWAY FROM THE PAYDAY ADVANCES!!!!!!!! They help no one but the business.
H. answers from Dallas on March 08, 2008
Do you have a job? Don't want to be rude but I'm not sure if FTWM means full time wife and mother or not but if your daughter is 7 and goes to school, it sounds like you could get a part-time job and help contribute to the income. Just bringing in a little bit extra can really help.
A.M. answers from Dallas on February 24, 2008
I see several people have already mentioned Dave Ramsey. I am sure you can get his books from the library. Listen to his radio show on KLIF, 570am weekdays, 1-4pm if at all possible. You can go to his website at www.daveramsey.com to get a phone number to call for financial counseling. You can also send him an email or try calling in to his radio show to get some advice. I have been listening to his show for the last year and attended a live event with him in Dallas yesterday. For right now- I have a feeling he would tell you not to do ANY more payday loans. I know it seems like the answer when you are feeling so desperate, but it just makes things worse. Second, try to sell, sell, sell anything you can. Have a garage sale, do ebay, etc. ONly pay for housing, food, basic utilities (ie, no cable, internet,etc-those are luxuries right now), and transportation. If you are involved in a church, go to them for immediate help. And don't do a credit consolidation until you check out Dave and get some advice from him, his people or his book. He is a Christian and his financial principles are based on Chritianity. I will keep you in my thought and prayers. YOu will make it through. Hold on to your husband, marriage and family. Never underestimate the power of prayer!
J.D. answers from Dallas on February 24, 2008
I am sorry for your dilemna. Have been there and still trying to stay above water at this time myself.
There are some organizations out there you could get help from including your local church. Catholic Charities does help with mortage payments and such. There are also local food banks you could go to in order to help with the food for a bit.
Please also go to your church. Most of them have programs to help individuals as well. I belong to Fielder Road Baptist in Arlington and there are always people there to help out.
I'm not sure that a debt consolidation would help with daily expenses which is what you are focusing on at the moment.
I certainly will pray that some of this information will help you and your family. If I can think of any others, I will certainly email you again.
Good luck and may God bless you.
J.E. answers from Dallas on February 24, 2008
I will be praying for youand your family. My husband and I were in lots of Debt when we moved here from California. One of my new friends to me about Brenda Haley. She has started a budget ministry for thoes in need. it is free, she goes to Denton Bible Church, and one heck of a lady. She has a true gift. She helped out my husband and I and so many others, i am 100% positive she can help you out as well.
She does have a lot of clients, so her calendar gets full fast. I reccommend calling her and explaining your situation, maybe she can get you in a little sooner.
Brenda Haley ###-###-####.**** warning*** she is busy, so if she doesn't call back in a day or so, call again. it is worth it!!!
Would love to keep in touch.
T.E. answers from Dallas on February 25, 2008
Is is possible for you to take 2 weeks off of vacation and plead with your daycare to allow you to not pay for the 2 weeks? I know most day care's only provide 1 or 2 wks of vacation a year. Do you have any family members who get keep your child for a short time to cut your daycare cost? What about church? Or a cicle of friends who could donate food so that your food money could be used to catch up? Do you have anything of value that could be sold? 401K? I had to do that one time. I know it's hard. My father-in-law died and things went down hill. My husband missed days here and there while his father was sick and didn't get paid on those days and when you live on a tight budget, it's easy to get behind fast. I had to use credit cards and get loans to stay caught up. I even had to trade my car in to lower my monthly payment and gas. Try to keep your head up, God will make a way. My dad worked part-time jobs for most of my life to make ends meet. It sounds to me like one of you will have to get part-time job for a short time, just to bring in enough paychecks to make up that $500. We are still struggleing to make monthly payments on the loans and credit cards, but we are making it. Nothing is more important than your family though, because with out your husband, you will have nothing. You'll make it. I worked a partime job for 6 months until I could get on my feet. Reply back to me so I at least have some contact with you. If I think of something else, I will let you know. Sorry if I haven't been any help.
S.B. answers from Dallas on February 24, 2008
S....I have not read all of the well-wisher's advice, and those that I have read mean well, but don't file for bankruptcy, don't consolidate your debt, don't do ANYTHING until you have researched www.daveramsey.com. Dave changed my LIFE! He says that finances are 80% behavior and 20% knowledge. So true! We, as Americans, get what we want when we want it and don't think of the long term effects. I took his Financial Peace University program through my church a year ago when three weeks into it, my husband left. What a Godsend because now I have a plan with over $1,000 in an emergency fund (the first baby step), am working on paying off my debt (the 2nd baby step), and will work through saving larger sums for emergencies such as the loss of a job, etc. and building wealth. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. You will make it! Please research Dave's site and in the meantime, have a garage sale, you or your hubby deliver pizzas in the evenings or find another part-time job. Stay positive and work together. You are 26 years old with a lifetime of wealth ahead of you once you learn how to manage your money wisely. It works! God bless and good luck!!
J.C. answers from Dallas on February 24, 2008
Well, my first question is---you got in this shape because your husband was out of work for a couple of weeks? Sounds like there must have been financial issues before the job problem. Have you tried getting a job? Even if only temporary, it would help out. You could try to work at your daughters school so you would be available when school is out.
Talk to your credit card companies--more than likely they will work with you. They DO NOT want you to file bankruptcy. Keep up your house payments, at least you can have a place to live.
If you are smart, things will get better, but you and you husband have to work together. My husband and I were in a bad finaancial situation a number of years ago due to the economy, but we survived. Talk to your lenders, they are usually pretty good about working with you.
Good luck, I will pray for you.
P.L. answers from Dallas on April 13, 2008
My husband has been out of a job on several occassion. It is hard but you will make it thru this point in your life. Just keep focus. If the interviews do not pan out, have him to call these people. They are looking for security guard, Applied Operations, ###-###-####. I hope this will help.
L.H. answers from Dallas on February 24, 2008
would suggest that you start listening to Dave Ramsey, or maybe even call his show on KLIF - am radio I think that it is 520. He is an expert at getting people out of debt and not only that but getting you debt free. He also has great information on his website.
My husband and I were over 40,000 in debt a year ago, we have now paid off over 20,000 on his plan and can see the end of the tunnel!
I have been listening him for over 2 years now and it has been a great help.
C.M. answers from Dallas on February 24, 2008
Go to your church, or a local church and see if they have a progam to help the community either with food or bills. Most cities have food banks, if you need to, go get a few staples. CCA; Christian Community Action will also help families, if you provide they info, like passed due bills etc. use coupons, or ads @ Walmart for lowest price guarantee. do early spring cleaning, and dontate stuff, for tax write-off, since it's that time of the year.
J.D. answers from Dallas on February 24, 2008
I am so sorry to hear about your situation....Here are my suggestions-
*Have your husband get a second job! He would not have to do it too long, justs enough until you get in the positive with your money..
*Go to your bank and explain the situation...there has got to be others that have had this happen.
*DO NOT go to debt consolidation...We did this once thinking it would be convenient to have all of our bills in one place, well, they did not pay all of the minimum payments and ruined our credit! I was thinking, "we could have done that!"
*The only other thing I can think of is to close your bank account and start over. This would stop the fees and give you a chance to get a hold on your finances...
*Take a financial class, I reccomend Financial Peace by Dave Ramsey. We did this and it changed our lives!
I hope that helps some, we own our own business and have always struggled with finances...Our life REALLY turned around when we started attending church and gave our life to Christ. He blesses us in more ways than we can imagine, we did not get to where we are by ourselves!
K.R. answers from Amarillo on March 26, 2008
You may have already gotten your answer, but one really big thing you can do right now, each and everyday, pray and let the Lord take care of this. He will answer your prayers and lead you or lead someone to you to help in your time of need. I have been there and it's not an easy road, but the Lord has helped me and my family get thru lots of difficulties. I don't see why a debt consolidation couldn't help you, especially with your credit cards. Let the Lord carry your burdens and lean on him during times like these. He will carry you during this time and you will feel so much lighter and happier. If you don't go to church, don't worry, he still loves you. If you do, ask people for their prayers. You don't have to tell them why, just ask them to pray for you and your family. God knows why and he will listen.
Jerm 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
B.W. answers from Dallas on February 25, 2008
T.M. answers from Dallas on February 24, 2008
I feel your pain. We were there 9 years ago. I was writing checks to bring money in and never could make ends meet. One you got to quit writing checks or withdrawing money from your account the NSF fees will continue to eat at your pocket book. Put the check book away act as if you dont have one. Get your checks cash as a Ace check cashing until your account is not over drawn, yes there is a fee for the check cashing but, its not a NSF fee that is being charged to your account. After you do that that alittle bit of your paycheck and put in your account. If you continue to have a neg. balance they will shut down your account. but if they see you are trying to pay back what is neg. and you talk to them they wont shut it down. Another thing, Go to your church as much as we hate to fall back on people and place this is best, dont be afraid to ask for help, thats what they are there for. Try a food bank for a month helping hands is there for you if you need them. The last thing I ever did was to try to get food stamp til you get over this. Try having him watch the children when you work unles you work same hours. If so try seeing if one of you can change shifts til you get out of this slump. The advice on the credit cards is true cut them up except one and have that ONLY for emergency. I found myself living off of them. Maybe if one of you two can work a second job til things get back on track, if you have alittle time, or maybe you can take on a child or two if you have that kind of time. This is what I did when we got in trouble being a new parent and just starting out is hard. Good luck with this, our prayers are with you.
P.H. answers from Dallas on February 24, 2008
I know it must seem hopless at this time....about the only thing I can think of is you need to get a job or find someway to make some income. Maybe you can find someone to babysit for...still allowing you to be at home.... Maybe husband can get a 2nd job. No family life for awhile but you would be able to get off the non stop wheel.
Also I know you don't want to sell your home....but maybe for now you can't afford it. Would you feel better to be able to pay your bills and eat and live in an apartment or stay in your house and have this constant worry? It seems as if you
are going to have to make some hard decisions....do you have a 2nd car you could sell? Have you had garage sales to get extra money?
This is the same advice I would give to my children...good luck.
K.J. answers from Dallas on February 24, 2008
I strongly recommend Dave Ramsey! He has a simple to read and understand book called Total Money Makeover. We are currently taking his class financial peace university. You can find locations all over the area for the classes and a lot are offered in churches. Being in a financial crisis you can probably speak to someone about getting in the class on a scholarship and also work with a local counselor who will help get you through this time. It really is a way to get out and does include a commitment which it sounds like you are willing to make. You didn't get in the situation overnight, so it will take time, but you can have hope! You can also keep from making your situation worse by using the principles in the book and class. Go to the daveramsey.com website and find a local resource and get on your way to financial peace! God Bless You!
M.C. answers from Dallas on February 24, 2008
I am so sorry to hear about your financial difficulties. My husband and I experienced a similar situation about 2 years ago. I did call a debt consolidation service and spoke to a counselor there. She was very nice but kindly pointed out to me that even if we did go through with their program we would continue to be negative $800/month. She asked if we had considered filing for bankruptcy. My husband was very very opposed to the idea however once I showed him in black and white our debt to income ratio he was more willing to consider the idea. We did go ahead a file. It was the most humbling and humiliating experience I've had to go through. But it forced us to look at our finances and really stick to a budget and prioritize our spending. There are many people in our situations because of medical expenses or job loss. I hope that this gives you some ideas. I would start with the debt consolidation plan first and see what they have to say. FYI we are doing better financially and while we don't have a huge excess of money to spend on extras we are able to pay our bills. Hope this helps! Good luck to you.
G.H. answers from Tyler on February 24, 2008
My son & his wife have been in a similar situation & personally in 1990 my husband & I went under financially.
You can go & apply for food stamps. You can call people like the salvation army. They helped my son by paying their light bill. I would ask about welfare, the WIC program. I dont know about these but as I said my son & his wife got help from all of these people. its just to get you back on your feet.
When we went under, we had moved & I quit my job while my husband commuted, thank God. I couldnt find another job and then when we were delinquent on our bills we tried to pay like a few dollars to mastercard, few dollars somebody else.
Uh Uh. We went to a free debt counseling service. they said buy food, keep the roof over your head, make car payment for transportation. and what ever happens DO NOT FILE BANKRUPTCY.
we didnt and it took 7 yrs to recover. But in the meantime no one told us that if our credit was ruined no one would hire me. My husband had kept his job but we needed my income as well. I went on interview after interview. Finally found out my bad credit kept me from getting a job to pay the bills!
I finally went on interview at a small company. They wanted someone to work for 2 secretaries and they let them advertise and hire me. If I had gone thru personell I wouldve been rejected again.
so 1st of all try for the food stamps. my daughterinlaw was working, my son was not. they have 2 kids. they got food stamps. I know for a fact Salvation army paid 1 light bill.
This was in Dallas so I dont know about out here.
Remember keep the roof over your head. and writing bad checks is another thing that will ruin you and your credit report.
What about church? do you go? ask the pastor.
Hope some of this helps.
J.L. answers from Dallas on April 07, 2008
B.S. answers from Dallas on February 24, 2008
Angel food network has lots of local locations - you get lots of food for $25. Don't be proud, focus on priorities - food, shelter. What bills can you eliminate? Cancel cable, cancel cell phones, cancel newspaper subscription. Take a hard look at where you money is going.
Get Dave Ramsey's book from the library - don't buy it right now!
I second the advice to 1. sell whatever you can, 2. call your creditors, 3. bring in more money (Dave Ramsey says deliver pizzas, whatever it takes.
Good luck, lots of people have been there before. When you get out of it (and you will if you buckle down and make it happen), immediately start saving six months of expenses in an emergency fund.
B.K. answers from Dallas on February 24, 2008
Get in touch with you mortage co. right away and explain your situation. Then get in touch with the credit card companies and they can work something out. The debt consolidation companies will charge you a fee also.
Do you belong to a church? Ask the pastor if they have or know of a food program, short term.
I know it's hard to ask for help but most people are willing to help.
S.Y. answers from Dallas on February 25, 2008
My husband and I were also in the same kind of viscous circle not too many years ago. Because we constantly had overdraft fees, we had to begin cashing our checks and living off cash. It helped us to minimize our spending (because we could actually see the cash) and we were able to slowly give the bank a few dollars here and there to pay off the overdraft fees. We eventually did a consolidation loan, but were VERY frugal for the next few years.
Also, we sought out help from our church (if that is an option for you). Many people were willing to help teach us how to lower our costs and they provided many resources for simple living. We are now mostly debt-free and don't live paycheck to paycheck any longer.
I wish you guys the best of luck and will keep you in my prayers.
F.S. answers from Phoenix on February 27, 2008
I understand what you are going through. My husband has been out of work for awhile too and has just started working.
I called our bank where our auto loan is and they deferred the payment for three months so we could catch up. Also, if you need help with food and/or electricity you can contact your church. They will generally pay one the bill for one month, provide food and also will help you create a budget so this doesn't continue. It sounds like you need to stop any autopays you currently have, and stop using your checking account for awhile and instead pay cash and cashiers checks. Then, the fees can not be assessed and accumulate into a circle.
I enjoyed every one else's ideas too. Good luck to you and your family and God Bless you.
E.P. answers from Dallas on March 05, 2008
I am currently enrolled in a very good class called FINANCIAL PEACE UNIVERSITY. Go to daveramsey.com and type in your zip code. It will give you dates and times of upcoming classes. I am currently in Class #6 OF 13 Classes of Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University. My class is being facilitated by St. Peter's Lutheran Church in Roanoke. I believe other classes are being offered in other churches in our area with many of them starting up soon. It costs about $93 to take the course, but I highly recommend it. Especially the lesson on HOW TO GET OUT OF DEBT. You can call credit card companies (maybe even banks) and tell them to FREEZE the account, that you are NOT USING the card anymore, and then ask them for a lower interest as you pay it off. Dave Ramsey explains it so much better than I do. You and your husband should definitely take the course as a couple. One partner can't do it alone. You both need to hear.
S.B. answers from Dallas on February 24, 2008
I don't know if you have heard of Dave Ramsey, but he is a financial guy on 570 KLIF. You can get to him by the KLIF website or go directly to his at daveramsey.com. They have people that can help you. PLease tell me that the payday cash advance was from your work and not one of the stores. Those places take major advantage of people and will suck you dry. Also be very careful about the debt consolidators. They can be the same way. I would get professional help which you can find on the site. Dave is a christian man that all he is wanting to do is help people get out of debt and have financial peace. He has been there himself and will understand your stress and concerns. You can also listen to him on KLIF from either 1-4pm every afternoon Monday thru Friday. I listen to him everyday and have gotten some good tips from listening.
J.C. answers from Dallas on February 24, 2008
Hi. Our family lives off an incredibly tight budget. We have no cable, no phone, no eating out. Is there cheaper childcare? Or does your husbands job pay more than the childcare costs? If not, he could stay home with her. Maybe your husband could work a night shift and you a day. You could share 1 car that way. He could sleep while your child is in school and then be there when she gets home to prevent childcare costs. I hope it all works out!
B.W. answers from Dallas on February 25, 2008
Girl, i am right there with you. First my hubby lost his job and was out for 6 months then he got a job and broke his arm and was out three months.. What i did was i closed my checking account and paid cash for everything, bills, food gas..etc... Cause that way i knew exactly how much money i had to spend.. It really helps cause your not paying bank fees.. And i also made arrangements with my mortgage and they gave me two months off and refinanced us so it was like we were starting over agian with a clean sheet.. JUST WHEN YOU FEEL LIKE YOU WILL NEVER GET OUT, IT WILL HAPPEN.. KEEP FAITH!!
P.S. answers from Dallas on February 23, 2008
I feel badly about your situation and I am just starting to recoupe from the same situation. I was finishing my last year of college, I graduated in Dec 07', and I became under employeed due to the increased school work load. My husband and I were definitely spending more money than was coming in. Between daycare, mortgage, cc payments, car payments, utilities and lets not forget that outrageous gas price, we didn't have enough money and fell behind on my cc, and mortgages. I always paid the daycare because as you know they immediately cut you off if you don't. Well, for a short term solution, we refinanced our car, wasn't the best decision, but we needed the money and it made more sense than the payday loans which charge an outrageous interest rate! Stay away from those! Well, thankfully I graduated with my BS in Computer Science and was converted to full time at my place of work (I had been working as an intern). I can now see the light at the end of the tunnel. I have caught up on my mortgage payments and most of my cc ( I just need one more and it is doable.) Bottom line is there is no "quick fix", you will need to get a higher income and/or lower living expenses. This may include moving to a more cost efficient home and getting second jobs (both of you). Good luck to you! As the previous poster said, this too shall pass as long as you do your due diligence.
C.G. answers from Dallas on March 13, 2008
I would seriously consider checking out Dave Ramsey's book. Remember what is important--your marriage and your child. NOTHING else matters. Concentrate on those and come up with a budget, sell lots of stuff at garage sales or on ebay, and pray. Don't do the payday advance again, and if you have debts on cars, or other loans, get organized. Sometimes the thing that scares us the most is the uncertainty. Dave Ramsey sets out a plan that if you follow will help. It is so nice to have a plan! I have a friend who sold their house, sold their car and in 12 months paid off $61,000 and is now debt free. It was pretty radical for her, but really freeing.
D.H. answers from Dallas on February 24, 2008
I didn't get a chance to read all of your other responses but here is my advice:
Dave Ramsey - Dave Ramsey - Dave Ramsey!!
His book: The Total Money Makeover (You can buy it or get it from the library)
He also has a radio show every weekday on 570 AM from 1-4pm - it is wonderful! If you listen to him, read his book, and follow his Baby Steps it will change your life!
As for food ~ I've heard of this ministry called Angel Food Ministry (http://www.angelfoodministry.com/). You can get food for $50 ~ you need to get on their website and find a location near you.
Good luck and God bless!
C.W. answers from Dallas on February 24, 2008
I highly recommend you listening to Dave Ramsey on KLIF 570 AM. He has a radio call in show in the afternoons, around 1-4pm. He is wonderful! If you could call in and talk to him, he could give you very good advice, and specific advice on what you should do first, who you should pay, what to say to your creditors. You should have all your income, mortgage and debit information handy before you call, because he will ask for amounts. He has a web site that might help also daveramsey.com, but if I were you I would talk to him. I will be praying for you and your family.
H.P. answers from Dallas on February 24, 2008
Some help could be on the way with this "tax rebate" that we are hearing about. What about a tax refund? Maybe if you could just get ahead one month, then you could sit down and plan a budget that works after that. I don't know much about debt consolidation, but it sounds like a good option for you.
S.P. answers from Wichita Falls on February 24, 2008
B.S. answers from Dallas on February 24, 2008
Call the credit card companies and tell them your plight. Ask them to reduce the finance charge rate to assist you in paying them back. Go to churches in your neighborhood with your utility bills in hand. Most churches have discretionary funds that they will use to pay utilities. If you are in Carrollton-Farmers Branch area, go to the Metrocrest center in old downtown Carrollton to assist you with food staples and also clothing if that is an issue for your daughter.
Call everyone you where you owe money. Tell them you do not want to default on any payments, but that you need their help. Trust me, all will help if you are firm in your committment.
God bless your family, Bev
N.B. answers from Dallas on February 24, 2008
It's so hard to make ends meet! All the pressures and cost of daily living can really do a number on your health and happiness.
Bill consolidation companies do help and will also offer advise on how to meet and keep a budget as well as reducing your monthly payments.
You can also contact local social service organizations to help you with food as well as advising you on public assistance. It's not fun asking for help but everyone needs it sometimes. Here's a link to metrocrest social services. They helped me a number of months ago and I managed to get a new start.
Give them a call as well as a debt consolidation company.
Stay calm and don't forget to breathe.
In love and light,
G.W. answers from Dallas on February 24, 2008
I am so glad several people mentioned Dave Ramsey. I've heard so many stories like yours on his daily radio show and he really helps people work through these tough times. He's on 570 am m-f from 1-4 pm in the dfw area.
here's his website:
I wish you the best.
D.B. answers from Dallas on March 08, 2008
My personal opinion....don't use credit consolidation companies. They don't do anything for you that you can't do for yourself...and they charge fees. Call your credit card companies and see if they will work with you to lower your balance (settlement) and make lower payments.
We did this about a year ago and it helped tremendously.
I wish you the best of luck!!
T.B. answers from Dallas on February 24, 2008
First of all, breathe. Don't panic. You're not alone. If you have a lot of "stuff", have a garage sale. Sell whatever you can to help out for right now. You can replace "things" after you get back on your feet. Do not borrow any more money. Don't use any credit cards. You need to focus on four things: food, shelter, basic clothing, transportation. Credit cards come after this. Visit Dave Ramsey's website for more into. Give him a call. He's a great guy and I'm sure would be glad to offer you advice. Hope that helps! Again, just know you're not alone.
L.L. answers from Dallas on February 24, 2008
I can relate to your troubles. I lsot my job and just had paid off all our debt and it started again. Me using the credit card money for bills. That was three years ago and We just now about have everyhting about paid off. I used this credit consolidation program there website is ffcc.info.org. It helps you get the creditors to quit calling. They can get you a lower interest rate. You pay them once a month and they distribute the payments to all your creditors. I hope this helps. Dont worry things will get better. This is a test from God to see how strong you and your husband are.
A.M. answers from Dallas on February 23, 2008
Let's get honest and real. Sounds like you can't afford your home now that the income is less. Honestly, if you are in the red every month -- you can't afford the home. Simple as that. I know you said you worked hard to get there, but sometimes life throws us a curveball and we have to rearrange our life all over again - start from scratch.
You need to get out of the high mortgage pymt. and rent a smaller place. My guess is that it's the largest expense on your budget. And this is only TEMPORARY. So no worries. You need to do this for your family now.... the hole is just going to get deeper and deeper the longer you put it off.
Do you have an extra car to sell -- to sacrifice, you might need to trim down to one car for the family. And get extra cash now to pay things down/off. I know 2 families that are one-car families --- it's doable. One of those families - both parents work and the kids are in daycare.... they all carpool to work/daycare together every day.
In order to keep the home, you must be realistic to see if the following can be done within a month or 2 months (at most) time frame:
Cut expenses and bring in more income. Hubby should continue to search constantly for a better paying job. Send out resumes... work with a headhunter. By the way, you work outside the home.... could you try to find a better paying job. Sometimes just an offer from another company can give you more $$ from your current employer because they don't want to lose you......
Or ask for a raise if you deserve one. Be brave and bold and ask for a reasonable figure, but more than standard cost of living raise (3% is standard of living increase raise). Trust me, a good manager will be impressed with your self-confidence if you do this.
I agree w/other posters. Never get payday advances! Those are the worst to get!!! And Suze Orman (and Dave Ramsay, i think) always says that you should never borrow from friends or family because that immediately makes the relationship rocky. One person becomes the boss and the other person becomes servant to them. They constantly examine and judge everytime you spend a penny on anything and feel hurt that you spent that $ on stuff rather than paying them back. If they want to GIVE you $, that's fine and good and then when you're on your feet you should return the favor to someone who's in need.
Bottom line is map out your expenses (at the highest example; highest electric bill you've had; highest water bill you've had) & look at income each month. Keep trimming away and examine every expense. It's not a pretty picture and it requires discipline to do it. But it's worth it.
E.L. answers from Dallas on February 25, 2008
Do not put another dime in the bank. Cash your check and buy money orders to pay bills you normally pay with a check. Put cash in envelopes to buy groceries each week so that you don't spend it and run out. Tell the bank what you are doing and make a plan to pay off the fees. Do that no matter what else you pay because you will need to reopen a bank account as soon as possible. It might help to talk to the bank financial advisor but I doubt it because they seem to focus only on money you have not what you don't have. Anyway this will be a start. Also check online I believe there is a place called Paulramsey.com who gives financial advice.
K.L. answers from Dallas on February 24, 2008
I know what you mean, I am pretty much in the same boat. Unfortunately, we have to sell our home. Its upsetting but at least we can take two years to get our finances in order and get another home. Maybe with the new government coming in the economy will be in a better place. Just try to stay together, the finances and kids and everything else is taking a heavy toll on our marriage. We use debt consolidation and it helps but its just with mostly credit card bills, you cant add your electricity bill to it :)
Good luck and remember, it could always be worse....
C.H. answers from Amarillo on February 24, 2008
I am sorry you find yourself in this bad situation, what you might do it get rid of everything you can internet, phone extras,cable, anything you can cut. Also think about carpooling or if you have two vehicles get rid of one, or if you have car payments trade them in on cars that you won't have a car payment. On the childcare try for a scholorship program, most nonprofit childcares have scholorships, theres also a program called CCMS that helps pay for your childcare, but work on getting that bill down. See if a family member could watch your kids for less. Also, your husband may not have a better paying job so he may have to go out and get a second or third job and you may need to too, till you get things straitened out. Also, talk to your morgage leader they are doing lots with home owners to keep them from loseing thier house, maybe they can lower your payments for a little while or help you with the interest rate. You may even need to get a roommate to help with rent and bills till you get on your feet. The last thing is go on a cash diet stay away from the bank till you can get it under controll where your not accureing the fees. Stay away from the cards too. I would call all your credit cards and see if you can lower the interest rates tell them your story and they can work with you on payments and interest rate. Credit counceling can help you learn how to manage money. HTH
L.A. answers from Dallas on February 25, 2008
T.T. answers from Dallas on February 24, 2008
DAVE RAMSEY ALL THE WAY...Total Money Makeover and Financial Peace to start. You can get out of this. We have all been there, and as hopeless as it may seem now, you can get free!
Sell EVERYTHING you can...garage sells and Craig's List are awesome. Basically come up with as many ideas as you can to make as much extra money that you can as quickly as you can and WITHOUT borrowing. You have to stop that (again, been there...never going back). Once you have sold as much as you can and collected as much money as possible, get caught up on everything. Talk to the bank(s) if you have overdraft fees and see if they will work with you. Then, set a budget, putting all your basic needs first...food, housing, heat/air, water, clothing, you get the idea. If you cannot make the minimum payments on your debts, figure out what available money you have left to put towards paying off debt(after necessities), add all that you owe together and figure out what percentage of your total debt each bill is. Then pay out those percentages accordingly and dependent on what you have available to pay them. Write this out in a plan, send that plan in a letter to each of your lenders, and start paying ...according to your plan. Set your budget and plan every month and stick to it.
Every bit of extra money you have after getting caught up, needs to go towards savings until you have $1000 set aside for emergencies. Then, put every bit of extra money towards your smallest bill until you get it paid off. Once it's gone, add what you have been paying towards it to your next smallest bill every following month until it is paid off, etc. Until you are debt free. Dave Ramsey calls this plan the Snowball Plan. Do this (sticking to it) and you will be out of your "circle" as you called it before you know it.
For a clearer picture and more detail, I would really, really reccommend the two books I suggested already. You can also go to daveramsey.com if you have internet access.
I could go on and on with Dave's suggestions/plan, but the point is, use his resources, set a plan, stick to it, and I promise you, you and your husband will soon be free. The other thing, and even more important than all this is, and I don't know your faith, but PRAY about it all, pray often, pray together, and pray some more! God will bless you in your time of need and if you go to Him. Good luck and God Bless!
S.S. answers from Wichita Falls on February 24, 2008
1. Call CCCATL - they generally work only with credit cards, but they may be able to help you with the payday loan and the bank fees... I don't know.
2. Talk to a bankruptcy lawyer. I know, it's the "easy way out" etc.. etc.. but if your creditors will not work with you and #1 isn't an option - at least it will let you keep your home while working out a repayment plan you can handle (Ch13) or obliterate all unsecured debts (CH7) , and will keep court judgments, etc at bay... and while it will be on your record for 7-10 years, you can reestablish credit after your br is discharged via a secured credit card.
3. If 1 doesn't work and 2 makes you too nauseous, look into a cashout refi to pay everything off with the equity you have in your house. Depending on your credit, and the amount of equity, you may not qualify - and even if you do please realize that these loans actually INCREASE the risk of you losing your home.
btw, is it possible for you and your husband to stagger your work schedules to eliminate daycare expenses, at least temporarily?
K.C. answers from Dallas on February 24, 2008
Both my husband and I work and we only live on my husband's income. We have been very good stewards with our money. I will give you some useful advice:
We have a spreadsheet with all our bills listed (what we think the bill will be and a place to put what the bill actually was)
We include everything we think we will spend for the month on the spreadsheet (even spending money)
We stick to the spreadhsheet - we list our expected and actual income at the top.
I take out our spending money for the month in cash and use that all month long. We only put on a credit card what we will be able to pay off. Once all bills (including church tithe) are paid the remaining is extra to go into savings and for extra things we want).
* I liked the person's idea that suggested food stamps (even if it is only for a little while) to get you through
* Cut out anything extra you have that you can get along without
* For credit cards, the card companies will let you pay them something, even if it is only $10. That is a payment and is better than nothing. If there is anything you can cut out that you decide you do not need, you can start to pay that on one of the credit cards.
* For the check situation, if you will try and use my spreadsheet idea, I think your checks could be used for bills.
I hope this helps. This is how we manage our money every month and save money each month. We never took a class or anything like that. We just sat down and had a very organized way to manage our money. We both use this plan and discuss our spending with each other. We have been married for 6 years and each year, we have managed our money this way, we have saved more each year.
D.O. answers from Tyler on February 25, 2008
Well unfortunately there isn't a whole lot you are going to be a ble to do. I have been there and done that and I have more kids than you. You may want to check with your bank and see if they have an overdraft protection with their service. With my bank the overdraft protection is only available if you have went at least a month without any overdrafts to your account. It starts out with 300.00 and that entire amount is available to me with the stipulation that I have 60 days to repay this op account. You may want to think about chapter 13 if nothing else. I don't know what that will do with you purchasing your home, but at a rate of $500 a month in the whole you will be in too much trouble to come out of ever. I have tried cccs for my credit counseling and they worked wonders for me and they will get the credit dogs off of your back. All you have to do is give them all the debt you have, they will make you cut up your credit cards, and they will put together a certain amount that they will need to pay off your bills and it will be less than $500 a month. Well thats all I know to tell you. I hope I have helped you in some way because I have definitely been where you are now and I never want to go back..You may want to check out a home based business if you have a computer. You can make money fast and here lately they have been coming rather cheap. Good luck to you.
M.M. answers from Dallas on February 25, 2008
My heart goes out to you. I have been in the same situation through out my life.
The one thing I always tell my kids is: Pay your morgage first.
You have to have a base. The phone, electric, water may get turned off but pay your morgage. It will be cheaper than rent and you will not have the expense of moving. Eat beans if you have too.
I am a grandmother and now for the first time in my life we have some breathing room.
things will work out. Work hard and continue to cut back where you can. Eating out is not an option. New cloths are not an option. (go to garage sales.) If you have credit cards, don't use them. If you have credit card debt, look at this site and see if you might get some relief. Prosper.com. I am interested in possibly using it myself. It offers loans to consolidate debt, or whatever you need it for. I hope this helps.
R. answers from Dallas on February 24, 2008
The advice that Toni gave its not exactly true. Sometimes the Salvation Army can help but thats only if they currently have funds for what's needed. Also, typically they don't help with multiple things at one time like Rent and Utilities-they can only do one or the other.
I personally suggest you checking into Dave Ramsey and his Total Money Makeover. Hang in there...this too shall pass.
S.M. answers from Amarillo on February 25, 2008
Hi! I was so intrigued by your post. Go to www.daveramsey.com and read through his information. Try to get into one of Dave Ramsey's classes. Some are taught through churches and they are called "Financial Peace University". My husband and I had some of the same issues. We went to church one morning and I wasn't sure how we were going to pay our house payment and eat that month. The "Financial Peace" class was listed in our church bulletin, so we decided to give it a try. That was in Oct. 2006. By October 2007, we had paid off over $47,000 in debt (we both work in the schools, so we are not making tons of money by any means!!!). Now we are saving for a 3 to 6 month emergency fund. I never thought we would get to this point!!! I am also going to be able to work part time next year. Don't despair...there is hope!!!
T. answers from Dallas on February 24, 2008
B.H. answers from Dallas on February 24, 2008
S., I have been in that vicious cycle many times. My ex was and still is an alocholic. I found that when I set down and made a list of all my creditors and then called them and told them how much I could pay until I was back on my feet, most of them were understanding. I onced used a local bill manmagement company. I had to pay them but in the long run they saved me from financial ruin. My sister has used an agency that helped pay off all the credit cards but she was not able to have any other cards until the old ones were paid off.
I would not sell the house if you can help it since you have to pay to live somewhere so why not stay there. I know it seems as if the whole world is crashing down on you but it is doable.
I have done this so many times until I finally got smart and divorced my ex. I know your situation is different but I also know you can get back to normal. Try talking to the bank and the creditors. It is scary but many times you will find that it does help. Just remember do not make a promise to pay more than you can afford. I paid two bills at $5 a month until I could give them more.
My prayers are with you and your family. Good luck with your life. I know you can do it.
B.D. answers from Dallas on February 24, 2008
Before you go down the debt consolidation route I would recommend trying some free services, like your local church. Many churches have free debt counseling. I don't know if you attend one of those churches but I would try that first. They can support you in many ways especially helping you with your finances.
No one is really going to be able to give you any sound advice unless they look at your whole financial picture. The only thing I would recommend, other than get free financial counseling, is to cut out ALL unnecessary spending. Cable tv, high speed internet, cell phones, netflix - everything! You can live without them, easily and comfortably.
But most of all, reach out to those around you to help you. If you don't have a church to lean on, look at your friends. I have had many of my friends ask me for personal advice on finances. You probably have someone like that in your life. But get help soon. It will be difficult at first, but the peace you will feel when you have financial freedom will make it worth it.
T.I. answers from Dallas on March 02, 2008
S.S. answers from Dallas on February 25, 2008
K.H. answers from Dallas on February 24, 2008
I've been there with you before - more than once. The first time I did do the debt consolidation. It worked at the time but it too stays on your credit for 7 yrs and looks worse than not paying your bills....it's crazy but true. The 2nd time it happened, I called all my creditors and made arrangements. Not a fun task, but eventually I got things paid off or at least worked out till finances improved. When doing that, make sure you pay your mtg/rent, car payment, utilitites and groceries first....whatever is left over goes to creditors. A great resource for you is a web site called Prudentmoney.com. It has examples of letters you can use to send to creditors and gives insight on ways of dealing with the situation you're in.
Best of luck to you and don't let it stress you too much - the sun always comes up tomorrow and with the economy the way it is, many creditors would rather work with you than have you default altogether.
V.T. answers from Dallas on February 24, 2008
It's been said a ton already, but I gotta say it again-DAVE RAMSEY. His total money makeover book and his talk show is a good start. I won't add anymore about his plan since others already gave a brief outline, but I will add this. I would NOT do debt consolidation at this point, I don't think it would help that much right now. Unfortunately, you may have to sell your house (by the way, Dave has a formula to tell you if your house is really the problem and it's usually not); the more likely question is how much do you spend a month on car payments. That is usually the culprit and the easiest to get out of. I'd be happy to give more details if you're interested, but the general idea is to get rid of the car payment by selling the car privately (and since most people owe more than the car is worth you may have to take out a small loan to make up the difference, but owing a couple of thousand dollars on a small loan is a lot better than 10-20 thousand on a car) and then paying cash for an older car that may not look near as pretty but will at least get you from here to there. That immediately frees up hundreds a month and gets the ball rolling. Would love to talk more if interested, my family's financial life has been forever changed for the better by the simple philosophies in his book. ____@____.com
M.S. answers from Dallas on February 24, 2008
Oh S.. I know what you are feeling all too well. Have you seriously thought about claiming bankruptcy? It sucks and doesn't look good on the credit report either but it will catch you up, pay off what you owe now and you will keep your home. A garage sale might bring in a few hundred or sell stuff on Craigslist...anything and then you can go get another one once you can afford it. Maybe one of you can pick up some night time hours at a Starbucks or QT (pays about $10/hr)or even a 24 hr fitness. Apply for WIC and it will helps with some groceries if you have kids under age 5. God Bless you for trying. My husband lost his job 6 days after moving in to our just built home. It drained our savings to keep the house but we managed. Sold the TV, the loveseat and ottoman, DVD's and lots of little things. Sucked but had too...we actually spent so much more time together though. Have an extra car, sell it! Talk to your hubby about filing for bankruptcy though. Good luck.
K.S. answers from Dallas on February 25, 2008
I also highly recommend Dave Ramsey. I read his book and found that there are ways of getting out of debt, even when you have nothing. Part time jobs are a must right now. Since you have a seven year old, one of you can be gone without worrying about the unfair "who takes care of the baby all the time" bit. It even helps if either of you have a specific trade, like sewing or welding. My husband welds on the weekend which is helping to build our savings. Sell whatever you can live without, down grade your car to a reliable, safer model but much less expensive. Possibly even a used car! Call your creditors, explain the situation and make a temperary agreement with them on what you can pay. Speak with your bank, make a deal with how to pay back your fees in your time. Again sell, sell, sell! Get down and dirty and offer to clean houses in your free time, do whatever it takes. The cycle will not break itself, you have to say enough is enough! I have experienced a small bit of the cycle and nipped it in the bud before it got out of control. But we also have sacrificed, we don't have cable, we have the lowest home phone options, and we do not buy convenience meals. Go back to the basics of what you learned as a child and how you lived. Dig in deep, and all will work out, just be patient, support one another and never be afraid to ask for help from your community.
P.S. Be careful with places like CCCS, they also hit your credit, which can be just as bad as not paying some things. Choose carefully...
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