Financial Advise

Updated on September 23, 2009
S.S. asks from Haslett, MI
30 answers

I know a lot of you out there are probably in the same boat. I need quick advice from someone qualified to give advice please!!! I have been a SAHM for years. Times have changed and I am now looking for work. So far, nothing. I am trying not to get discouraged! Anyway, I have never paid a bill late in my life! Unfortunately, I am looking at just that! We are deeply in debt and my husband is in sales. To say the least, he is not making nearly enough this year. We have already called our credit card co.'s to get lowered rates. When we called our 2nd mortgage co. they basically said they wouldn't even talk to us unless we were behind in payments! To me, that is absurd! Once again, I've never been late making a payment in my life. So, what do I do? Do I skip a monthly 2nd mortgage payment (by the way, we found out that a 2nd mortgage payment is like a credit card payment, who new?)? I am short money to pay bills this month and the kids need new school clothes. Is that the payment to not pay? Or do I skip another payment? i.e. consumers, cable, etc...... Please help! I can't sleep at night and we have done everything else!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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D.C.

answers from Detroit on

Hello Shauna,

I hear the frustration in your message. I applaud you and your husband for attempting to notify your mortgage company ahead of time and for lowering your credit card rates. You are on the right track.

Are you all budgeting? That is key. Email me and I can send you a simple budgeting form. Have you stopped using the credit cards? What are you doing to earn money although you are not working a 'regular' job?

Unfortunately, yes, the mtg. co's are going to tell you they cannot help you until you are late on a payment. I agree this is foolish on thier part because you are at least trying to get help.

Always pay these items first:

Rent/Mtg
Food
Utilities
Transportation
Clothes (within reason)

Pay your credit cards after these 4 have been taken care of. Make arrangements w/them. As for school clothes, no don't skip this, but do scale back if you haven't already.

I hope this advice helps, I would probably need to know a little more to help further.
If you have any additional questions please contact me:

D. Conner, Personal Finance Coach
[email protected]____.com
www.connercoaching.com or
800.962.2491

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B.B.

answers from Lansing on

If you say the second mortgage is like a credit card, does that mean it is a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC)? That is what our second mortgage is. If that is the case, the interest on that could skyrocket if you miss payments(you'll have to look at your loan paperwork so see how high it could go). I would skip cable before a HELOC - it's too bad they won't work with you until you miss a payment. Maybe it's worth another call to see if you can get someone more helpful on the phone.

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N.W.

answers from Detroit on

I would try to pay your mortgage. Take a hard look at your bills and cancel or reduce what you can. I.e. you do not need cable. Cancel it. Try to conserve energy, you can probably cut your electric and gas bills. If it's the last resort...don't pay your mortgage...but remember, even if it's the second mortgage, they can still cause a forclosure sale.

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S.M.

answers from Saginaw on

Hello Shauna, I'm sorry that the state of the country is effecting you also. I'll pray for your family. A second morgage on your house also prevents you from keeping your house in case of bankrupsy. So selling on a lose would be better if it gets that bad. Consumers will work with you if you call them in advance. They can put you on a payment plan. Getting rid of all the extras that are not needed like cable, internet, etc. School shopping at garage sales, trift shops, or asking at your place of worship for donations of cloths for the kids can be a blessing. Find inexpensive recipies to cut down on the food bill. If your children are old enough have them do odd jobs for neighbors to help pay for school cloths and supplies. This is a good lesson for kids to learn responsibilities. I had my 3 kids picking up pinecones for the elderly at pre-school age, so that these folks didn't trip and fall in their own yards. It taught them community service. Good luck.

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E.M.

answers from Grand Rapids on

Hi Shauna... I am by no means an expert, however, there is a company called Primerica that can work financial miracles for a lot of people. And they do it BEFORE you miss payments and jeopardize your credit score. I am in the Muskegon area and our local office number is###-###-####. If you can't find your local office in the white pages call this one and they can direct you. One of their representatives will come right to your house. My friend Les Porter heads my local office and he is absolutely a financial guru.
Until you get everything evened out however, I agree with the other moms to skip the cable bill first. If you have cell phones and a land line figure out which one you can most easily reduce. Most people have cell plans with more minutes than they can use in 3 months. Maybe you can get a smaller plan. Or reduce your land line with a no long distance and no frills option.There are a lot of ways to reduce household expenses. If you can save $25 a month on 4 differnt bills that is an extra $100 a month for payments.
I hope this helps. Please feel free to contact me if you would like to discuss anything further.
Thoughts & Prayers... E.

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M.S.

answers from Lansing on

Sorry I can't really help with the bill situation, but I know consumers are pretty good with payment arangments, we are all pretty tight on everything, so hang in there things will get better just have faith. The reason I am writing is becuz of the school cloths, not sure where you are located or how old your children are but on Sept 19th there is going to be a "Mommy's Sale" in Grand Rapids at the Delta Plex, it only cost $3.00 to get in and runs from 8-3pm (I think, you might want to check on that) and its HUGE, clothes from 0-8yrs at gradge sale prices. If you need more info about it just go to the Delta Plex web site. I hope this helps at lease a little bit.

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L.J.

answers from Detroit on

If you are tight on money did you already cut back your spending habits? Cut out cable, less eating out, quit the kids activiteis. Take a look at your kids clothes, do they really NEED new clothes, or do you just want them to have them for the new school year. I don't know how old your kids are but my daugther is going into first grade and everything still fits from last year. I bought new underware for her and she got 1 new outfit at meijer after i used my coupons it only cost me 3 dollars. They have better deals on clothes after school starts and into October. last year when money was really tight we cut our cable package down to the lowest and cheapest, we got used to it.

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D.H.

answers from Detroit on

Check out daveramsey.com for a great financial plan overall. Its hard work but well worth it to have peace of mind in your finances. I would cut off the cable and be thrift store shopping for new school clothes. I know those are not popular suggestions but we are on solid fincancial footing and do not have cable and do a large majority of shopping at the thrift store or get hand me downs from others. Is it possible to cut lifestyle expenses(ie entertainment, anything but basic food) in order to meet this current shortfall. You do need sound advice on the emergent need you currently have and we've never experienced it so can't really help you there. Good Luck.

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A.K.

answers from Detroit on

Have you guys refi'd? My husband owns a mortgage company and he may be able to help. There are so many new programs out there that could help. I don't know much about them, but I know there is one that you don't need an appraisal. You should contact him. He's the type of person that will do anything he can to help. His name is Justin and his direct line is ###-###-####, toll free 888-665-2550 ext 446. He also helps with credit repair (if things have already been paid late). I hope everything works out for you and your family!

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R.C.

answers from Detroit on

Yes, I live and breath by Dave Ramsey financial advice. Please go out and take a look at that site. Also, I am not sure who told you that missing a second mortgage payment is equivelant to missing a cc payment, but I think I would do a little more research. Whenever you miss any mortgage payment you will take a 100 point deduction from your credit score which can be devastating, making your rates go up on your credit cards, etc. This can also raise your auto and home insurance rates and make it harder to get a job if your credit score is too low. Employers are using credit ratings as part of the hiring decision, completely unfair, but true. Also, you might want to call any loan companies, auto loan companies, utilities, etc., since your credit is good, they usually will let you skip a payment if you ask, usually for a small fee of $10. I did this once when I needed to raise a bunch of cash one month. Just some ideas. While searching for a job, you may want to sell some stuff on Ebay and Craigslist to tide you over. Hang in there, it will get better, just don't trash your credit rating if you have any other options. On another note, not sure where you live, but I always wait to buy school clothes (other than shoes) until later in September because it is still hot and the kids wear their summer clothes until it starts cooling off. Also, the sales get better and my child is good for hitting a growing streak right about then, too!

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C.N.

answers from Detroit on

Hi Shauna, my name is Cathy and I am a Pampered Chef consultant in the Canton, MI area. If you are looking for work that you can do from home, think about becoming a Pampered Chef consultant. You can do cooking shows or catalogs shows. You determine when you want to work and the money is GREAT!! To get started you can choose from two different kits -- $65.00 mini kit (plus tax) or the full blown kit for $155.00 (plus tax). Check out my website at www.pamperedchef.biz/catherinenichol. Something to think about.

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L.N.

answers from Benton Harbor on

I am no finance major, but I do see some places to save money. Cable is one...it's nice, but it's not a must have. What about cell phones and home phone. Our home line is at the bare minimum b/c our cells are free long distance.

Also, school clothing doesn't need to break the bank. Summer clothing will do thru October, really, with the addition of some jeans. Love Old Navy online for clearance stuff!

Don't skip the mortgage payment unless you have no other options and are looking at foreclosure. Your interest rates will go sky high and you'll be in worse shape.

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D.D.

answers from Detroit on

pay in this order:

1. credit cards (whatever you do --make THESE)
2. mortgages
3. pay partial payments on everything else, and contact businesses to let them know you are in trouble, ie doctors bills, local vendors, etc and make arrangements to make payments of those bills. check out budget plans on utilities, and some even have financial aid assistance.

Here are 2 resources for food:
1. aldi - we have saved thousands. check on line to find if there is a store near you. I drove 30 min to waterford, but its totally worth it!! way cheaper than cutting coupons.

2. http://www.angelfoodministires.com/
you order once a month, and pick up at a location near you. check out the menu. for about $50, you get a TON of food.

good luck. we have been unemployed for over a year, and its tough. If you are interested in how I make do and want some more tips, email me.

Good luck,
D.

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C.H.

answers from Grand Rapids on

Interesting advice so far... As you can see people have different understandings and approaches to a very common problem. One thing to be very aware of is this: skipping one thing this month will not save you. The larger and potentially long term issue brewing is that skipping payments or juggling who can be late this month is a slippery slope that I fear won't bring you the relief you need. In all actuality, it creates additional stress by adding late fees, damaging your credit and eliminating important money saving options in the future. Be careful! Also - just to clarify - utility companies can and will report on your credit (not just when you go into collections). Municipalities (city bills, library fines, parking or traffic tickets, etc. all of these things could potentially be reflected if ignored or left to sit for too long).

Are you working from a family budget? You must! It doesn't have to be fancy or complicated, but you must be able to look ahead and know when bills are due and what they average, how much is available for gas and groceries, where your overages are and when you can sqeeze in extras (like school clothes or pizza night). It is intimidating and not always fun to talk about, but your family is a business and you must run it as such.
I think you will be able to find ways to save and cut back in order to accomdate the payments that must be made.

Get creative! What talents and opportunties do you have? If you are qualified, get on the sub-list at your local school district. Painting? Photography? A skill you could teach a night or two a week at a community center? Could you clean homes or businesses in your neighborhood? Offer affordable childcare to a friend? Pet-sit? Have a garage sale? e-Bay or craigslist a craft item you make or outgrown children's clothes? Offer afterschool tutoring? Truly, the possibilities are endless! All of these opportunities provide cushion for that family budget or a means for the extras (like travel, Holiday shopping or school shopping) and can still allow you the flexibilty to seek more permanent employment when the opportunity arises.

Spend wisely... I can tell you that personally I hate coupons. However, I hate missing a chance to save a bundle of money even more, so the answer is easy. Pair coupons with weekly sale items and stock up on the staples when they are cheap. Also, plan your meals to include lots of low-cost items. Pasta and rice are very inexpensive and filling. Prepare pasta or rice dishes that contain meat and veggies and use left-overs for a next day casserole. Snack items and individually packaged items are very expensive. Buy larger sizes and pack snacks in small recyclable containers. Offer snacks like trail mix or popcorn instead of poptarts (a lot more bang for the buck). Buy a family size box of crackers instead of individual snack-size bags for school snacks and lunches. Shop carefully, plan ahead and get only what you need and you can save lots of $$$.

As far as your utilities, scale back or re-evaluate your needs. Kick the heat down a degree or two and turn off lights every time you leave the room. Skip the air conditioning an extra day or two each week. If you can't go without cable or internet, call your provider and ask for the latest promo package. They aren't interested in losing your business and can always find a way to save enough money to keep you as a customer. Look at your phone needs and usage. Can you eliminate your landline? Could you step down one package for your cell phone? Don't run water just to run it. Do laundry or run the dw only when you have a full load, shorten shower times, etc. Turn the TV off at night and when you no one is watching. Look around - I'm sure you'll think of even more ways to save.

If you owe medical bills, call your provider today and set up a payment plan. Pay them something every month and they will not send you to collections. In many cases you can pay as little as $10- each month as long as they know you are working on the balance and a payment is received on time every month.

Shop insurance rates. Could you get a discount for home and auto? Are you getting a multi-car discount? Could you adjust your deductibles and save some moeny? How about loalty discounts for being a long-term customer? If not, check out who can offer comparable coverage and a great intro. discount to make you a loyal customer.

Contact your credit card companies to see if you could reduce your interest rate. Don't bank on it, but it doesn't hurt to try. If you have a card with a much higher rate than the others, transfer the balance to the lowest interest card you have and pay the minimum until you are caught up and budgeted to address the full balance. Close the other account (don't just cut it up - you must close the account). High-interest credit card balances can eat you up quickly, but they are not the first priority in hard-times. Pay your minimums so that you are not accruing additional late fees or over-limit charges, but do not make paying them off your first priority. A place to live, basic food for your family and transportation are more important.

As far as your mortgage. You have to decide what is best for your family. Your 2nd mortgage IS a mortgage and your house is indeed the callateral. Even if you are always current on your first mortgage, you can go into foreclosure by skipping out on the 2nd. Research your options VERY carefully. There is a wealth of bad info. out there and lots of people who are way too willing to try to profit from someone else's down luck. Start your research at government sites or contact the United Way for trusted programs and local resources. Do not jump into any consolidation program without a great deal of research and reading of fine print. It should be your last resort.

Finally and most importantly, remember that you are not alone. Everyone is feeling the economic pinch, but we are all in control of how we react to it. Talk about money, plan for your family, research your options and stay up on current events and opportunities. This too shall pass... Good luck to you and your family. YOU CAN DO IT!

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M.G.

answers from Detroit on

Hi Shauna,
Sorry to hear about your financially difficulties. Seems to be the top issue in Michigan these days. We are in the same boat however I work full time and my husband lost his job this past December. He gets unemployment but it's no where near what he got when he had a steady paycheck. We tried to keep up with paying the mortgage and credit card and would be late on the cable & utilities. Guess maybe it depends on your mortgage company but I requested a modification for mine and wasn't behind, granted my payment hasn't been made on time for months but it was always before the grace period date to avoid that late fee. They do make you go through hoops and it's taken almost 3 months but I just got word that my interest rate is getting lowered by almost 2 percent which will decrease my mortgage almost $200.00 a month so it can be done. Keep trying or ask to speak to someone else. Mortgage companies are supposed to be working with you to avoid homes going into foreclosure per Obama's requirements.
Good Luck! I hope it gets better, its rough for everyone right now.

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C.J.

answers from Lansing on

Shauna,

I agree completely with Christa and would add just a few ideas.

Look at your weekly or monthly grocery shopping. Are you throwing away fresh fruits and veggies because you haven't used them? Do you shop with a list and is that list made from a weekly meal plan? If not, spending a little time each week to plan your menus will save you a ton of money. Kraft has a great website with digital menus, recipes, and coupons that can help any family plan menus around inexpensive ingredients. Here's the link:
http://www.kraftfoods.com/KF/DINNER/DinnerLandingPage.aspx

Remember, you can make any leftovers into tomorrow's lunch by using tortillas and a bit of sauce (mustard, salad dressing, vinegar, etc.). Add a cut up apple, orange, or banana, granola (or something else crunchy), and a water bottle and you have a healthy lunch for a little under $1.

Look at the snacks you are buying. Most processed foods, such as tortilla chips, potato chips, Cheetos, etc. are filled with un-nutritious foods that actually make you hungry sooner than eating an apple or celery with peanut butter. Putting your grocery money into fresh fruits and veggies will save you money if you prepare them ahead of time and make them easy snacks for your family to grab.

Second,take a look at the recipes you are making for dinner and lunch and look to see if you can replace the expensive meat with something a bit cheaper....such as dried beans. As long as none of your family members have food allergies or intolerances, beans can really make a meal without adding much expense. Just remember when cooking dried beans to avoid cooking them with tomato or acid based foods before they have become soft. For some reason tomatoes and other acidic ingredients harden the shell and inhibit water from entering the bean, making for an unappetizing meal. Check out these websites for more information about cooking dried beans and how to add them to your weekly diet.
http://whatscookingamerica.net/driedbeantip.htm
http://www.centralbean.com/cooking.html#Bean%20Cooking

I usually replace 1 cup of cooked beans for 1/2 lb. of meat. This provides lots of protein and good carbohydrates to the meal and you still have the flavor of the meat.

Third, unplug anything that you do not use on a daily basis. We have a power strip that powers our TV, satellite, and DVD player. When we are done watching for the night I turn everything off and it doesn't get turned back on again until we are ready. Doing this has saved us a bit of money...enough that I have noticed a difference in our utility bill. Now I also turn off the computer, monitor, printer, and speakers when we go to bed. Unplug your cell phone chargers when your phone is done charging. The chargers suck energy - even when not plugged into the phone - changing this habit, along with the others I suggested can make a bit of a dent into your electrical bill.

Fourth, if you are religious and attend a church, ask your pastor if he knows of any other families who have children a bit older than yours. They may have outgrown clothes hanging around taking up valuable closet space and might be willing to just give them to your kids. If you don't attend church, then take a stop at Goodwill.

My parents were both public school teachers and just before school they would take my sister and I to Mother Goose in Ann Arbor, it was a consignment shop that had great prices and clothes in good repair. The only times we received new clothes was for our birthday and Christmas. We really valued those new clothes because we didn't have the back-to-school shopping experience until we were in high school and my parents were in a better financial position.

You can make this work, just make sure you and your husband plan out your money strategy together. This will help to avoid some of the arguments and stress. It won't take all of it away, but it will help the two of you to understand each others point of view and help to get you both on the same page.

FlyLady has a great financial control journal, called FACE, that breaks the budget making process into easy steps. If you don't have a budget you might want to check out her website. Here's the link:
http://www.flylady.net/pages/control_journals.asp

Good luck and let us know how everything works out.

-C..

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D.D.

answers from Detroit on

Shauna - The loan modification is a very frustrating and potentially damaging carrot that is being dangled and that you will probably never actually get - been there, tried that. The banks and lending institutions are NOT working with people, they send you on a merry-go-round and very few people in the USA have actually managed to get a modification (possibly only 1% of those who have applied). Do not get behind on your mortgage payments.

Dump or suspend your cable, get onto a payment plan with your utilities. Then try to make extra money... as someone who receives resumes let me tell you that the way to get noticed is to follow the instructions. If the advertised job asks for a cover letter - write one, use it to tell them about yourself and check and double check your spelling. There are jobs out there (not many I know) and they are going to the people who show some initiative and put some effort into the application process.

Good luck and hang in there.

ps - if your property taxes are paid out of escrow and your taxes were reduced this year, you should be seeing a refund check soon from your mortgage company and your mortgage should be adjusting downward (summer taxes have recently been paid)

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K.S.

answers from Grand Rapids on

My husband is also in sales and of all things car sales and I am laid off. You are definitly not alone out there. You mentioned back to school clothes and I have small ones too, we went to Goodwill and Salvation Army stores for the clothes and that really helped. It is amazing the good stuff you can get and in some cases almost brand new. I have had to make the tough cut back decisions also.
Good Luck and God Bless you in these hard times.

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M.W.

answers from Kalamazoo on

You're right that is absurd, but I guess that's how they function!

I'd focus on canceling things like cable and trying to save cash by cooking meals with simpler/cheaper ingredients. In this world of foreclosures I'd hate to have you jepordize your home by skipping payments.

Best wishes, I hope you can find some ways to cut costs, we've certainly been there before.

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M.F.

answers from Kalamazoo on

Hey Shauna I know it seems scary but relax really. I am. A single mom and all of my bills are always about a mont behind. My gas bill my electric,phone. Here ois the hing to do they cannot shut u off untill u r atlaest 2 months behind. If it makes u feel better alternate 1 month the gas the next month the electric. I can ussually catch up 2 times throughout the year but the gas Co will make payment plan with u if it gets that bad and u can always go to FIA with utility shut offs. They seem to pay those more readily than rent or house. Also try Layaway not sure. Where u live but KMart has it and that's what I did this year its been a god send. Make sure u keep up to date with anything involving ur house but you can call ur mortgage co. And see if they will defer 1 payment althought I would hold off on that till Christmas time just for emergency u have to do it early not wait till the payment is due. I hope I have helped.

M.

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A.C.

answers from Detroit on

Shauna,

I am so sorry you are having financial trouble. That must be very stressful.

I noticed you asked if you should skip your cable payment. Yes. You should. If you can not pay your bills like your credit cards and mortgage, you should actually cancel your cable service. I, myself, do not have cable/satellite, but my mother cancelled hers recently. If you are worried about them charging you a fee for breaking your contract, I would contact the company and work out a deal. My mother was able to do just that. They agreed to let her suspend her contract for 6 months and not pay a fee. Even if they don't let you out of the contract without paying a fee, remember, a small fee now is better than monthly cable payments.

Also, as hard as it will be to tell your kids they are not getting new clothes, you might want to consider sending them to school with what they have or buying a couple of outfits from a consignment store. I know there is a big kids consignment store at Hall and Schoenner. I think it is called Apollo's Closet or something like that. I had to go to school in hand-me-downs for a few years when my family was struggling, and my classmates never even noticed.

I hope things work out for you,

A.

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C.H.

answers from Detroit on

That is correct, I have heard that from many, many people. If on their end it shows that you have never missed a payment, then it doesn't look like you need the help. I do know that as of July 5 they passed a law that requires lenders to work with people to avoid foreclosure, but that is not until they are behind in payments. At my work there is a flyer with this info posted & two hotline phone numbers people can call for help. Of course being at home I can't remember the numbers right now, but I do remember one was called "Save the dream" and the other was a HOPE hotline. Maybe you can google those to find some phone numbers.

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L.W.

answers from Detroit on

I would call your utilities and ask if you can be put on a payment plan. Call your phone company and see if you can get a better (bare minimum) plan or drop the 'extras'(call waiting, caller id, etc) until you are past this bump in the road. Although it sounds unbearable, cut the cable/internet completely for now...school is starting and it is truly an unneccesary distraction, and remember it is only temporary.

As far as back-to-school clothes, I have never really seen the point. It is always so hot the first month (at least) that my kids wear their summer clothes. I just make sure they have 1-2 pair of jeans/long pants and a sweatshirt jacket. Shoes may have to be bought, but check out marshalls if you are looking for name brand or Target if you just want something cheap/cute. Also, don't be shy to ask if friends (with older kids) have even a couple hand-me-downs.

I also find it crazy that your mortgage company would "advise" you to skip a payment/they won't do anything until 2nd missed payment!!? I would ask to speak to a supervisor and say "Listen, I can't make my payment this month, what do I do?"....and I would ask to get the persons name/employee number so that if they 'come after' you after you take this person's advice, you can defend your actions with the specifics as to who told you what to do.

Eat as "lean" as you can, eat at home, cut back on snacks.

Remember this is temporary. It WILL get better if you just stop spending for now. Even if you have always been conservative in your habits, you need to find a way to stop spending even more and every little bit helps ($70+ savings from no cable, $30-40 savings on new bare-minimum phone plan, $40-50 savings on no internet (you can go to your library when needed),$50+ here/there from no air conditioning/less light/water/tv/computer use, $hundreds on no "school shopping", potentially $80+ per month on leaner meal planning, etc.). It can add up and give you some of the help you need to get back on track.

Lastly, do not use credit cards (if you haven't stopped already). If you don't have the cash, don't buy.

If your kids are old enough to understand even a little bit, explain that things are a little tight for a lot of families and that a lot of kids are making sacrafices right now/trying to help their families through this awful time. You and your family are in very good company right now with so many people feeling the same kind of stress. It is actually more uncommon right now that someone is NOT in a financial pinch!

The most important thing to remember is that if you don't make the adjustments...and just only get permission from companies to wait a month on payments (without penalties)...you don't get a 'pass', you will just owe twice as much the following month!! If you do make the adjustments and are patient and persistent, you WILL get through this.

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K.T.

answers from Detroit on

While someone made a comment about companies not even noticing an account is not paid until 60 to 90 days late, I forgot to mail my mortgage payment until I knew it was going to be late. I added the penalty and sent it the day it was due. A day or two later (before they had gotten payment) we got a call from the mortgage company wondering if we were having trouble making payments. They are definitely on top of things!
I would pay your mortgage and necessary utilities (gas, electric, water) and slide on the cable. If that's not enough, close some credit accounts and make arrangements for a slow payoff.

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C.B.

answers from Detroit on

A credit counsellor sounds like what you need. Some guidance.
Christian Credit Counsellors advertise on tv.
There are also lawyers who help people with financial difficulties.

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B.M.

answers from Detroit on

Yes, You are not alone. I know it is stressful, and saying this won't change that, but stress is not going to help you. No one is going to come after you, no one is gonig to come take your things. No one will hardly even know that you've missed something except you. Credit card, or mortgage, utility, whatever, these are massive corporations that hardly notice you until your 60 or 90 days late.
The utilities are definitely slower to take action. You can be at least 60 days behind before getting a shutoff notice and then you can make smaller payment arrangements, and do not have to pay in full. As far as the mortgage if you need to get them to try to work with you, via loan modification, then as they said you do need to be late. The mortgage will show up on your credit as 30, 60 or 90 days late. Utilities will not, unless you go into collections with them. If you think you will be out of trouble soon, try to protect your credit and go with the utilities, if you want long term help and expect this situation to last longer, maybe the mortgage is an option so you can seek help in getting a lower payment. However they do modifications based on income, so you must show a need to get a modification....
Hope that helps some...

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J.L.

answers from Detroit on

Hi Shauna, I'm not sure if you would consider me "qualified", but I did work in the Banking industry for 10 yrs and have a degree in Finance. Anyway, just remember that your 2nd mortgage is secured by your home (if it truly is a second mortgage). This means they could foreclose on your home if you do not make your payments (obviously this is a lengthy process). If you are just looking to stretch your bills a little, my advice is to not pay your unsecured debt payments at this time, like credit cards. However, if are seeking a more long term debt reduction solution, you could try to refinance with a "modified mortgage", then you should not pay your 1st & 2nd mortgages, go to www.makinghomeaffordable.gov to see what the requirements are to modify your mortgage. If you do decide to do that, going bad on a mortgage is more detrimental to your credit score and credit worthiness. Those are some options you should think about. Good luck, I'll be rooting for you to make it out of this.

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P.D.

answers from Detroit on

Hi Shauna,
You will probably get lots of advise since there are many people struggling right now. I would suggest contacting Money Management company that can lower your payments and lower your interest rates on your credit cards. It works for unsecure debt like credit cards, and medical bills. A company my daughter and I both used was CareOne.. It might work depending on what kind of debt you have in those areas.
Also contact your Utilitie companies, because they too can put you on a plan for the year, DTE, Consumers.. not sure about Cable..
As for paying late or missing a payment, it is not the end of the world. If your cards are maxed anyway, you are not trying to get credit, or buying a car or house, so one late payment is not going to make a difference with your credit score. If your credit cards are not maxed, and your credit score is good, you might try getting another credit card. Not the best advise but it might be a bandaid until things pick up.
Hope this helps out and good luck!

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D.P.

answers from Detroit on

The only advice that I can add is:

Clothing resale shops (Once Upon a Child, AJ's Attic and such) and Mom-2-Mom sales. Some very good deals can be found at these places.

Clearance shopping - my family asks where I found something on sale now because I usually start by saying where it was on clearance. Call me Minnie Pearl and hand me a hat with a tag hanging down! (Okay, I'm dating myself....but, who cares?)

Beware of scams that claim to take care of your problems. Try to handle this yourself and you'll come with new life skills, too. Each month, I list income and bills. Start with minimum amount due with credit cards.

I started looking for a part-time job last fall and couldn't find one. Then, I started treating the bill paying/money handling of our household like a part-time job.

Good luck!
D.

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L.D.

answers from Grand Rapids on

sometimes you can pass a payment to the back of your loan - try that. It may cost you $50 but that is usually cheaper than the payment.
- For the school clothes I know Res Life church in grandville, MI is having an all about kids sale. I got a ton of great clothes for very little money. It is Sept 18-19. They usually have about 800 people come through. You can volunteer for the event and get to shop the night before and get the best stuff. If you are not in that area you can always check craigs list and they will usually list churches in the area that are doing something similar.

As for the job. Check out AT&T. I talked to the lady at my local store and she said they are always hiring. She said the pay is above minimum and that you get benifits too. I believe Home Depot is also hiring. For both you have to go online to apply.

Lastly, sorry this is so long, I would check out Dave Ramsey. He is a financial counselor. My husband and I took his 13 week course and it changed our lives. He is also on the radio (check local listings) and on Fox business network and 8:00.

I hope something I said helps.

L.

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