How to Get Out of Debt?

Updated on June 07, 2007
M.W. asks from Grandview, MO
18 answers

This really isn't a question as much as it is me venting. My husband and I both work full time, but don't make a lot of money. We only have one child, who is almost 18 months old. No matter what we do, we cannot get ahead on our money situation. While we are able to pay all of our bills and feed ourselves and our basic needs are met, we are left with nothing. We just got involved with Consumer Credit, who is helping us handle our credit card debt, whis is just under $10,000. At the payments we are making with them on a monthly basis, it will take us 45 months to pay it all off. That's almost four years. We can't wait that long. The job that I am currently in doesn't pay near what it should, but the company has potential of really taking off. However, with the way things have been there lately, I truely don't see that happening any time soon, and I don't know if I can wait much longer. When I discuss this with my husband, he just tells me to wait it out or I'll kick myself for not staying. Which is easy to say, but since I'm the one dealing with the financials at my job, I see everyday that what we're doing there is not working. I know that I could go somewhere else and make probably double what I am making now. It seems like my husband and I get so irritated with eachother, and it all stems back to us not being able to pay for certain things. For instance, we need our air conditioner and furnace replaced ASAP, and we have to ask for help from our parents. More than anything, I want to get our debt paid off so we can start moving on. We live in a bad neighborhood for raising our child, and would like to move at least before he starts Kindergarten, but at this rate, that seems like it'll never happen. I really am just stuck, and depressed and I don't know how to get us out of this situation.

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M.H.

answers from Tulsa on

These questions always get a ton of response...because most of us live paycheck to paycheck.

It sounds like you are on a right track by having a plan to take care of your credit card debt. There really isn't a quick fix.

Here's the upside...if you stick to your 4 year pay off plan. In 4 years your son will be in school (huge financial relief because of the money you are probably spending on daycare) and you will no longer have the payments on the credit cards.

You can put back the money you paid on daycare a month into savings and start building that up and have the credit card payment money as a little extra to do those things you have struggled to do or had to do without.

In the mean while I would do as many have already mentioned and research a possible way to make some residual income if you don't want to wait 4 years for things to get better.

Also, I would cut up all the credit cards or there will for sure be no light at the end of the tunnel.

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H.R.

answers from Oklahoma City on

Ok M., I have a business opportunity for you that you can do on the side of your full time job. I am literally in the same position as you, expect my husband and I have filed for bankruptcy this year!! The opporunity is Arbonne International products. Their website is www.arbonne.com, their products are safe, pure and benefical. Their website will tell you exactly what is in them and what is not in them. I have only been doing this for three months and last month the check I got from them paid my car payment ($500)!! That was an extra $500 that allowed us to go buy groceries, which we have not been able to do for sometime. The way it works is, you sign up under me for $29 and you get 35% off of anything you order. When you renew your "membership" next year, you only pay $15. You make your money by selling it to others and signing others up under you who also want to do the biz. This is not a scam, people all over the world are doing this. It is really very simple, it is hard work but it is worth it in the long run. The potential for financial freedom is huge and there is no limit to the amount of money that you could make with this. The key to this biz is to not quit!! There have been some struggles in the past three months and I am sure there will be more but again, the key is to not quit. I do plan on quiting my full time job and working my arbonne biz full time within the year!!! It can go either very fast or slow, it all depends on you and how you "work" your biz. Arbonne provides lots of trainings, ideas on how to get people's attention and support. We have a "team" of people who you would ultimately be signed up under who will also be a huge amount of your support. I would love to share more with you. My email is [email protected]____.com or my cell is ###-###-####. Please let me know if you are interested and I can give you more info so you can make an educated decision for you. Hope to hear from you and take care.

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K.C.

answers from Kansas City on

Check out www.daveramsey.com . My husband and I are doing the dept snowball and in 27 months we will be dept free (except the house) That includes our 17,000.00 car loan and a few thousand in credit cards AND a 5,000.00 student loan!!! Also to do it you have to give up alot. We don't have cable, we have basic phone. We did get online so we could manage our bills that way. We go out to eat 2 xs a month ( we used to go ever weekend some times twice). It's not fun and it sucks when you want to shopping, but I just say to my self " do i really NEED it? or do I just want it?Also I am a Stay at home mom and hubby makes about 48,000.00 a year.We have just been focused and it's paying off. Good Luck, Also I used to work for a credit card company, just watch out for those consumer credit conselors. I saw so many people get screwed over. Alot of times you can get a better "deal" with your credit cards if you call them yourself. I hopr you find a way out that works for you and your family.

K.

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C.P.

answers from Kansas City on

Hi M., I understand your pain. It me 4 yrs. to pay off 34,000 with consumer credit.All the responses have been great. A word of caution with Consumer Credit Counseling...!. You pay $20-25$ a month for them to conselodate, negotiate lower interest, no late payments, etc. & send payments. Sounds great, BUT.. after a few months...payments are late, interest goes up with one late payment & I can go on & on. Soon your spending hours on the phone trying to clear things up!! What was I paying them for!!Your one time payment goes to them, but if they are not on top of EACH of your creditors, your screwed. I had to clear up 3 big mistakes & the last 2 credit cards (2,000) I took away from them and canceled. I worked with each creditor & did it myself. ( and put the $240 service fee on my balance instead of to them!) Oprahs site with the debt diet plan has helped me a great deal to keep on top of stuff. Check it out & good luck! C.

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M.

answers from Oklahoma City on

M.,

My husband is a Heat & Air Journeyman maybe he could help you guys out with your air conditioner as cheap as he can?
Eric @ ###-###-#### or ###-###-####

I can relate,
M.

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S.C.

answers from Tulsa on

Getting out of debt is hard. With a mortgage, and credit cards....daycare, car payments, medical expenses, school expenses....the list just goes. I completely feel your pain. I've had times where pay day is a week away and I have 58 cents in my checking account once the bills are paid. The only thing I can offer is to take the job that pays the bills. If your current company does take off, there is always a chance you could go back. You have to provide for your family. And the part about the bad neighborhood, wanting to move, that is exactly why our finances are so tight. My baby starts school this fall, and I knew I wanted to be in a specific neighborhood with a specific school....that school is costing us $1300 a month in a mortgage payment...

M.A.

answers from Kansas City on

Hi M.,

Have you thought of working from home? There are lots of moms earning extra income from home this days. I do it myself just as a hobbie but many are earning great inocme or even replacing it. if you can find something in where you can make residual income then is a lot better. I love what I am doing but it is important that you find the right one for yourself. Something that you like doing and that it will work for you.
Hope it helps,

Mariana

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W.B.

answers from Kansas City on

Hi M.,
Well for starters I'm gonna say if you are waiting for someone else to make YOUR life better it's not gonna happen. The only person that can make YOUR life better is YOU.

That being said if you can go work somewhere else and make more money than do it and if the current job you are at want and needs you bad enough they will offer a pay increase.

I also understand what you are saying 3 years ago I left my job for a number of reasons, ie hourly wage, child care, how much money was going out but not coming in. So I think you need to decide what you can do, where you can go and if you can make more do it.

Ways you can cut your expenses, I would look at your cars, are you able to only have a car payment on one of them. Get rid of one if you have to and then buy a car that you will have no payments on.
When you go grocery shopping make sure what you are buying will serve as a meal and you are not just throwing things in the cart. This is the same for if you go to walmart only buy what you need as you need it. And for both make a list, When you make you grocery store list think about what things you've got going on this week maybe you're going out to eat on saturday night or maybe you are one night threw the week. Take this into account when making your list. Think about how many nights of dinner you need for the week and then think about what you would like to have for dinner on these nights and if possible things that you could fix for dinner and then you and your husband could have it for lunch the next day. Now this doesn't mean that on monday you are having exactly what you wrote down but instead you know what you bought and basicly what you are gonna make.
Also check your what you are spending money on for us we've spent $45 on eating out and it's only saturday afternoon for some people it's cheaper for them to eat out, for us having 4 kids 1 of which eats adult meals and then my husband and I we spend more. The money you spend on little things adds up like getting a cup of coffee from quik trip or starbucks things like this. Just look at where you can make a few changes and see if it helps. Goodluck, W. mom of 4

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M.E.

answers from Kansas City on

M.-
We were in your same spot, when my husband lost his job with Enron. I started working from home, because daycare for 4 was just impossible. I have been doing it for 6 years now, and have helped many women earn extra income from home. visit my site if you would like to know more... :)
www.MothersOnAMission.com

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M.M.

answers from Enid on

M., I know it's hard to be patient but that is the thing to do. I am in a similar situation and I'm itching to be rid of the debt but I can only take it one month at a time.

Seems like just when I think we are about to "get ahead" something else happens and we are spending more money (car breaks down, need more propane, etc).

It can be tempting to make rash decisions in the hope that things will get better but I advise against that unless you REALLY sit down and work the numbers. My husband changed jobs recently and, even though he gets paid more now, there are other expenses. Our medical insurance, life insurance, etc are higher expenses now coming out of his paycheck. Also, when he first changed, he went from getting paid every week to every other week. This really hurt us because we live paycheck to paycheck and were almost in the hole each week as it was...then we had to go two weeks!! One of those weeks we had absolutely nothing!

I always recommend writing down fixed expenses such as cable, phone, mobile phone, electric, etc. then seeing if there is any way to cut back in those areas?

Can you do away with a land line phone and only use cell phones? Can you cut your internet expenses by going with a cheaper service (Example: Netzero is only about $9.95/mo)? Turning up your air conditioning by one or two degrees can save money as well as installing an automatic fan in the attic.

Also, have you ever considered doing a home business? I started doing Noah's Ark Animal Workshop. It's great because it's only $29 to join and I do it on my terms/schedule. I can just send people to my website (http://www.mystuffapet.com) and let the company do the work for me (I get up to 45%) or I can host birthday parties for children (which is fun to do).

I would say the best thing is do something to get your mind off your troubles. Don't look at the checkbook so much. Get out of the house for fun things with your child such as going to the park or for a walk every day. Enjoy your baby and let the finances take a back seat. YOUR ATTITUDE towards the current situation is a big part of why you feel depressed and anxious. It's hard to do sometimes (I catch myself worrying every now and again) but the more you let go the easier abundance will flow to you.

I recommend reading "Ask and It Is Given" by Jerry and Ester Hicks. Such a wonderful book for boosting one's attitude to higher levels.

Good Luck!

M. :)

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M.S.

answers from Oklahoma City on

you know something really simple would be this. if you DO choose to get a different job, where you know you'll be making money, make the following committment first. if you already are getting by now with all your bills taken care of, then decide that whatever you make above your current income will go directly to debt payment. that would be my main caution in getting a new job. the temptation will be that now you're making more money, so you can get all your bills paid and finally can have a little fun money. that will get you into even more trouble. so, if you can choose to continue living at the same means you're living at now and put all the extra income towards debt, you will be in a good spot! good luck. and don't lose hope with your husband. you guys have to remember to stay on the same side. take regular time to have dates with each other and remember that you love each other and are committed to each other. you don't have to spend money. get out of the house together and take a walk; go to the dollar movie and stash your own snacks in your bag; go for a picnic...heck, go park somewhere and make out like you're in highschool again! find another friend that you can do trade babysitting so you don't have to pay a babysitter (watch her kids while she and her hubby go on a date, and she'll watch your little one for you while you have a date!) whether you decide to stay with consumer counseling (or whatever it's called) or not, they are right, you will have to be patient. but if you want to get out of debt you will have to just stay committed and remember what your goal is...FREEDOM! you can do it!!

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L.M.

answers from Honolulu on

I am getting out of dept too and I know it can be frustrating. All I can suggest is that you read the book "The Total Money Makeover" by Dave Ramsey (Your library WILL have it) or listen to his radio program on 710 during the day. He has a web site too just Google his name!

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J.A.

answers from Joplin on

I understand you pain completely, I don't think there is not a person who doesn't go through what you are going through. One thing that I would suggest if you haven't already, cut up all the credit cards. We did that about 9 years ago and I love it. I know in todays world you need a credit card for so many things, there are prepaid cards that are great or your bank card. Second if you think you can find a job that will pay more look while you work. That way there will be no intruption in your check if you find a better paying job. Than take your vacation as your last couple of weeks and start the other one. That will give you double pay for a couple of weeks which will always help out.
Also depending on how determined you are there are certain things that you can do from home around your other job. That is how I started with my business. I made my own hours up and worked around everything else in my life. I am proud to say I am now home full time working my business and taking care of my family. We are far from the richest people in the world, we still budget but, the extra help us get out of a rut. The only debt we have now is a car payment. Of course when I get further a head we will probably add more,lol. Not until we can afford it though. Good luck, and take a deep breath. It is not an overnight even though we want it to be.
J. Abrams
www.workathomeunited.com/abrams

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S.G.

answers from Kansas City on

Hi M.,

I have read several of the postings and I agree with listening to Dave Ramsey. What he says is all common sense stuff but somehow listening to him made it all click. My husband and I started following his program in March, we very quickly built up our $1,000 emergency fund and then we paid off $1,600 in about a month in a half. My husband has his own tile business and he just picked up other odd and ends jobs here and there and I have been working a PT job (on top of my 40 hour a week job) only about 8 hours a week, because I didn't want to be away from my children anymore than necessary, but in doing this we were able to pay off $1,600 very quickly. I stopped putting the full amount into my 401k and that gave me more on my paychecks, we changed cell phone plans, we changed our internet service, we just buy the necessities at the store and only the necessities at Walmart.

I guess I am just giving the same advice as everyone else,hang in there it is very tough.

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L.S.

answers from Oklahoma City on

I would love to help you and give you a little info about my home based business. Here is a little info and I will attach my website feel free to take a look and email me with questions. I will tell you that financial peace university is the best way to change you debt problems. Blessings L.
Would you like to make your home healthier, and make some extra cash at the same time? Ask me how! For more info visit.
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We are Moms who actually CAN work right from home. For more information see

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D.T.

answers from Tulsa on

I don't think there's a couple out there that doesn't worry over and discuss money. I think you have a good plan to work on your credit card debt. Even with Dave Ramsey's plan in Total Financial Makeover your debt would take that long to clear. Believe me buying the house will be much easier when you are out of those types of debts.

In my own experience, It took 10 years for the IRS to stop taking our money each year and even each month over my husband's debt with his ex wife. Even once we thought we were clear and bought the house some of it came back to haunt us.

And for buying that house, it would be better if you made the job move now instead of later if this company doesn't take off. You handle the financials. You know if money is being mishandled and if you don't run for cover you might be caught up in the back lash. I wouldn't stick around, I would even contact a lawyer about getting out without any of the blame---but only after you have secured another job.

As far as the new heat and air goes, I wouldn't take on any more debt except refinancing your house to upgrade things to make the house more attractive to potietial buyers. I know that relying on family for the money is easy but, it creates tension which you don't need.

I want to focus on your depression right now. It's vital that you do some things that get good chemicals flowing in your brain. I started with getting out with the kids for practice. But when my boys were that small I walked with them a lot. Something else that helped, was checking out books on cd or tape, even children's book. It was also at that age my middle boy figured out how to operate the vcr and we would check out videos from the library. 5 years later, we still make a weekly trip as well as buying a few hundred along the way.

Get out and do some cheap fun things as often as possible. Take care of yourself and the money will eventually come

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F.F.

answers from Oklahoma City on

Hey M.,
Sorry things are going so bad for you. I am kind of in the same position. I am at a job that I really like and I know I will be getting a raise in a couple of months but I feel like I could be making a lot more somewhere else too. What I figured was that since I want to stay loyal to my job I had to figure out a way to start making some money on the side in the meantime to compensate. I work at home as well, just partime right now though. I agree with the one of the earlier posts about finding a business with residual income. That is truly the most important thing if you are looking to start a business from home. Now since I have found a company that offers that I am doing it partime until I can replace my full time job income. Then I am home free. You may want to consider looking into this. Feel free to look up my website anytime www.TheBestDecisionEver.com. Hope this helps. Good luck in everything M.!

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L.L.

answers from Tulsa on

Hi M.. I promise your not the only one who has gotten on here just to vent about being it debt. It is frustrating. I know. My husband works full time as do I and I go to school 15 hours a week. We only have one car and we have a 10 month old. All together including student loans credit cards etc we have about 20,000 in debt. We only make like 32000 a year. So we are constantly stressed out. However, we are fixin to start the total money makeover and I think its gonna work. We are moving back into a one bedroom apt for a year or so and thats an extra140 a month. We are also going to bundle our phone and internet with a different company. Thats about 30 extra a month, and we aren't eating out. It does suck... I know however, I would much rather be complaining about not being able to go out, then complaining about debt collectors calling me at work. Which they do......... So God bless and good luck I truly hope it all works out for you. Ps if u need to do more venting feel free to email me [email protected]____.com

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