Way to Far in Debt

Updated on August 03, 2007
J.K. asks from Laurel, MT
18 answers

OK here goes my husband was laid off last Oct. and was off for 4 months needless to say in that time we got behind on some bills ok all bills and had to rely on credit cards, he did get a new job and things were starting to get better and then my work did a huge remodel and changed a bunch of things I work as a server and therefor rely on my tips as income and now with the changes I am making 1/2 or less of what I used to make. So anyways heres my question we are considering bankrupcy or credit counseling or something does anyone have experience on advice on what would be the best way to go. At this point we are not concerned about what it will do to our credit as it is already about as bad as it could get. Thanks in advance

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H.H.

answers from Cedar Rapids on

My name is H.. I own a mortgage company and I can try to help you. You can apply on my website or call me. HallLendingGroup.com or ###-###-####

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L.H.

answers from Boise on

Dear J.,

So proud of you for reaching out for help! This is what I would tell a good friend or family member if they had shared with us what you have:

That would be to check out Dave Ramsey.

Here is his website: www.daveramsey.com

Then from there go to the section near the top, where it says, "Getting Started" and click there or try these links:

http://www.daveramsey.com/redirect/google.cfm?link_id=9

http://www.daveramsey.com/etc/cms/index.cfm?intContentID=...

AND then pick up a copy of Dave Ramsey's Book: "THE COMPLETE MONEY MAKEOVER" It is a good, quick read, and will immediately give you help with your situation.

About Dave Ramsey:
"Real Debt Help - Get out of debt with Dave Ramsey's Total Money ... Real debt help is not quick or easy. Quick, pain-free fixes like debt consolidation, debt management, and bankruptcy actually cause you more harm than good"

I have personally read "Total Money Makeover" and it has been life changing. There are no gimmicks here with this one. Just real help for real people.

Feel free to private message if you have any other questions.
Good luck,
L.

(Married 11 years with 2 children, 4 yrs old boy & 2 yrs old girl)

1 mom found this helpful
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T.M.

answers from Rapid City on

Hi J.!!!

I have been where you are. I have to say that it just doesn't seem that it can get any worse. Normally I wouldn't recommend bankruptcy...oh wow, not even sure the courts will allow it anymore..i forgot the laws changed a few years ago on that.
Well, I know you're already overwhelmed but this is an idea. I work from home and have for a year now. I am a part of the Stayin Home and Lovin It team. It's possible that this might be of interest to you. It has made a world of difference in my life, both physically and financially.
Many of us on this team (most of us are moms) have been where you are. We are a group of moms helping other moms get out of debt, build financial security and build a new life for yourself.
Why not email me and we can chat. I can get you more details and you can see if this is right for you.

God bless you!!!

T.
http://tinamccomb.stayinhomeandlovinit.com

go to "get more info"

1 mom found this helpful
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A.R.

answers from Omaha on

If you do a bank. then you need to pay your lawyer before anything happens, you also should not make large purchases within six months of it. Since being behind has already hurt your credit (which is really a small word for it)...I'd say wipe the slate clean and start over. It will take time to rebuild your credit and expect huge interest rates on things. The good thing is they can't take your car or house. The bad...you are going to have to fight for credit. A long term history with a company is better than jumping around. Make sure you have every collection company, bill etc. gathered up and on the paperwork! VERY IMPORTANT! Plus, afterwards you will need to watch your credit to make sure these companies remove themselves. You have to hold their hands.
When I met my husband he was over $50,000 in debt. He did a bankruptcy and it's been 6 years. The time went fast but we also had my good credit to use when needed. Make sure you also have GOOD or GREAT jobs before starting this...or it will all be for nothing.

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T.Z.

answers from Des Moines on

J.-
Below is my response to another mom a few months back. It may feel like the walls are closing in on you right now, but believe me, with a little help thing do get better. One thing I didn't mention in the response a few months ago...my husband wasn't working a full time job at the time this happened. He was temping with different companies bring in less than he would of had he had a perminate full time job.
********

Before considering bankruptcy I'd like to ask you to go to Consumer Credit...you know Tom Coates company! http://www.consumercredit-dm.com/ A few years ago my husband and I got into major $ troubles. We were considering bankruptcy, but we didn't want that on our records. My hubby went to Consumer Credit of Des Moines and they helped us get things turned around. It took a few years but in the long run it's been the best thing we've ever done! In November of 2005 we sold our first home and moved into a bigger new home. Two days after we moved we found out we were expecting our first child! At least go and talk to them. It doesn't cost you a penny to talk to them and they will point you in the right direction. I'm proud to say we are now debt free and VERY happy we took those steps with Consumer Credit of Des Moines!

I also need to point out that while growing up my parent's lost the family business and our home in bankruptcy. When we were looking at doing it I felt like my life would always be full of that nasty word! I was very young when it happened, but it was so hard on me, my four sisters and harder on our parents. Having to pack up and move out of our home with only three days notice was the worst experience. It's so scary to deal with.
T.

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C.L.

answers from Cedar Rapids on

http://www.budhibbs.com/drowning_in_debt.htm

check out this article & explore his webpage. You would have to divulge WAY too much info to any of us to even attepmt to get sound advice. Bud Hibbs is a consumer advocate, and his website is a wealth of info. The best advice is to know the laws in your state and DO YOUR RESEARCH!! Then weigh your pros and cons to your options.
There will also be info on how to make any collection calls stop in the meantime. Oh and from here on out DOCUMENT EVERYTHING! Communicate with your creditors in writing only b/c if its not in writing it didn't happen. And if you have past statements that would be to your benefit also.
Good luck and make sure that before you embark on this journey you've learned your lesson. Don't make the same mistake twice.

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A.W.

answers from Lincoln on

My best advice is read the book Finacial Peace by Davew Ramsey this is a change of life and he even has a call in show this turned our life around we were 100,000's of dollars in debt and we only make 40,000-46,000 a year and now we only owe on business wearhouse and then we will be debt free in a couple of years yes we did it just the way the book said and listen to his show even go to www.daveramsey.com and listen to archives I know you feel like your in hole and you'll never get out but you will we are even saving for our son's future and putting money towards retirement you will get there just love each other and lots of hugs and tears but the only way to eat and elephant is one bite at a time I wish you the best of luck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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K.H.

answers from Grand Forks on

Hi J.:
I had run into problems with credit cards too and at the age of 22 I was forced to file bankruptcy. At the age of 28 I only have one more year to go before it is off of my records, but in the last year I have racked up more bills. My situation is a bit different because I just have a problem with CC and shopping too much. With you, you had to use them. Anyway that is irrelevant to your question.
I had to go through a lawyer and it cost me, or rather my mom, a couple hundred in court fees and lawyer fees. I think it was somewhere around $500 to $800, it was something like that, it was so long ago that I dont remember exactly. What happens is that you list your debts with your lawyer, he sends out notices to your debtors. Then you have your day in court where you would go in front of a judge, answer some questions, which will be tape recorded, and thats pretty much the jist of it. Afterwards if you get any calls from any of the debtors that you listed in court, you just need to explain that you have filed chapter 7 or 11, theres a bit of a difference, and they will ask for your attorneys name and number. The difference between the chapters of bankruptcy is that one completely erases your debt, another decreases it, and another puts off your payments until you are back on your feet.
I have also tried debt counseling. There you bring in your bills, your case worker will then plug some numbers into a computer to figure out what your one monthly payment would be, and see if that is something you can afford. Recently I was going to give it a try and the payments would have been more then I could afford so I have been pretty much blowing off the cc until I can afford to pay them. They would send out proposals to the company's and usually they will agree. I only had one cc company that did not deal with debt relief agencies so there was no way that I could have worked them into the plan.
I would definitely give the credit counseling a try first to see if you can afford to work with them. Good Luck with everything, I know how stressful it is to be in debt and i really hope it all works out for you.
K.

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J.D.

answers from Des Moines on

Hi, J.!

Try going to a credit counselor. The best way to find one is to go to your bank and ask for a referral to one. These are free services and the bank is legally required to refer you to one if you request. Again, these services are free and they will work on your behalf to reduce your interest rates and get some loan forgiveness for you. This way, you will not have problems with your credit score, which will be important for you down the road, should you need a loan for a car, a home, or anything. Good luck!

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C.M.

answers from Pocatello on

HI J., I don't know how qualified I am to give advice on this matter but I will tell you where we have been and maybe that will help. Everyone has given you great advice!! About four years ago we bought our first home and didn't realize how much work you have to put into it, we were really broke. Then my husband lost his job and we had to live of cc's for a while and racked up quite a bit of debt. We went to a debt reduction service and I don't think it affected out credit a whole lot. One thing we had to learn was to put the cc's away and try and live on a tight budget. My problem is I don't budget period. Slowly with taxes each year we have been able to make progress on our debt. One thing we learned in a finacial class was to line up your cc bills and choose the one that is the lowest balance and pay it off first. Make sure to pay the min. on all your other cards, then put the amount you were paying towards the next lowest card and that one will get paid of quicker and repeat this until they are all paid off. They recommend this with all your debt not just your cc's. Just this last Feb. we moved back over to E. Idaho and bought a house that has been a big project and my husband took a pay cut so one thing I do to suppliment our income is sell Tupperware. I don't know how interested you would be but I have been making around $1500 to $1800 a month the last couple of months and that has been a huge blessing to our family. We kind of got in over our heads with this new house! My website is www.my.tupperware.com/messick325 if you would like to e-mail me.
I hope this helps some! Good Luck
C.

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S.C.

answers from Sioux Falls on

I am not sure if I have any real advice for you but I sure can offer sympathy and support! It really sucks to be in a bind financially and not to know where to turn to get out of it. I am sure there is credit counseling or someplace where you can go to have your debts put into one lump sum with only one payment a month but I think that depends on how much you owe. Bankruptcy is really only feasible if you owe a large amount of money and you can only do it once in so many years. I also have a 1 year old (1st B-Day today!) and I have a daughter in grade school and kids cost a lot of money! I have no idea how we would manage if my husband lost his job as mine doesn't pay very much but works well with the kids. I hope you get through this without too much hassle and best of luck to you and your family, God Bless!
Shane

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A.D.

answers from Great Falls on

J.,
I would suggest calling your local Consumer Credit Counseling Agency. Use a local agency (not a 800) one, and make sure they are non-profit. The counselor at CCCS should be able to advise you if your situation warrants bankruptcy. Also, Bankruptcy requires you to take credit counseling classes, so by first checking in with your local CCCS you may save yourself some time. Also, have you tried calling your creditors and seeing if they can offer you a workout solution? Many times creditors have options available to help you out during times of hardship. You should also go online to us.gov and search for free credit reports. You should get a copy of your credit report and review it for youself. Things may not be as bad as them seem. The counselor at CCCS should be able to help you with this as well. good luck.

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R.J.

answers from Omaha on

We are far in debt also, so don't feel like you're alone :o) We just recently took a financial class that really changed the way we relate to and think about money. I would REALLY REALLY reccomend it. Our church is offering it again soon. It's not a "religious" class our church just happens to be offering it. I reccomend it to all of my friends. It's called financial peace university (http://www.daveramsey.com/fpu/home)

Check it out!

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N.L.

answers from Omaha on

J.,
My husband and I have been living credit card free for almost 2yrs now. We went to Consumer Credit Counseling Services of Nebraska (CCCS). We are on a three year program. I would say the downside to doing this is some creditors see it as a negative thing while others disregard it. When you start the program it may take a month or two until your creditors agree to the contract from CCCS, so it's important to still attempt if you can to make the min. payments. Good luck!

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S.S.

answers from Omaha on

My husband and I had a new home built and then 3 months after moving in found out we were expecting. After our son was born, paying for daycare really started drilling a hole in our pockets so we ended up relying on credit cards for everything. Once those were all maxed out just 6 months later we found that we just couldn't afford the mortgage payments along w/the now skyhigh credit card payments and all of the other bills anymore. We put our house on the market several months ago thinking it would sell quickly so we stopped making our payments. It still hasn't sold. We recently moved into a much more affordable rental house and had no choice but to file bankruptcy which we are working on now. It's costing $1400 for a chapter 7 but you can make payments and then once the full $1400 is paid it is filed w/the courts, and yes as previously mentioned in a prior posting you do have to take 2 credit counceling courses but both are online courses which are only about 45 minutes long. I was worried about what it would do to our credit but depending on how you file, it wipes your slate clean. It does show on your credit for several years after filing but you basically start over fresh to rebuild your credit. As far as the laws changing, that was not w/every type of bankruptcy. Someone in a prior posting said you might not even qualify. For a household of 4 as long as you and your husbands combined income was not over $64,000 the year prior to filing then you would qualify. I was devastated when we first decided to file but then I realized that sometimes you just have to do what you have to do and start over. My sister did credit counseling a couple of years ago and that also shows on your credit for the same amount of time as a bankruptcy and alot of creditors look at it the same way. You've been given alot of good advise from all of the prior postings. Either way you go your credit is going to be impacted and will take time to repair. Have a consultaion w/a bankruptcy lawyer and a credit counselor and then decide which is the best way to go. I wish you the best of luck!
S.

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J.B.

answers from Des Moines on

It's hard to give advice without much information, but I just wanted to say it does get better! From what little information you have given it sounds like bankruptcy is definitely NOT the way to go. You actually probably don't even qualify to file. You should be concerned about what it will do to your credit as well, you can't fix it for at least 10 years, where you are right now it's fixable. The first thing I would suggest is call your credit companies. They will lower the interest rates if you talk to enough people (you might have to ask to supervisors, and it can be frustrating, but it's one of the best things you'll do for yourself). If your only concern is the debt, just make SURE you are making all your payments on time. If you haven't missed the minimum payments your credit probably isn't as bad as you think. Do you still get the pre-approved offers in the mail? If so look for the ones that say intro APR 0% for balance transfers. If not, talk to some of your credit companies and see what they will offer you for your business and try to get a low rate and transfer your other balances. Check your credit report if you haven't already. It might not be as bad as you think, and if it is use it as motivation to make it better. the only website to use to check your free reports each year is www.annualcreditreport.com (the freecreditreport.com signs you up for something and charges you, so don't go to that website) Also, try to find places you can cut back for awhile until you get back on your feet. Do you have cable? or eat out a lot? those are just a couple ways to save money, but everyone has something they could cut back on for a few months. Sorry this is so long, financial counseling is my life so feel free to send me a message if you have any more questions. I've been there, and it does get better!!! just hang in there!!!!

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T.

answers from Omaha on

J.,

I'm not completely sure of your situation but maybe telling you what I had to go through would help. My husband (now ex) tried to start his own landscaping business and seemed to think once the homeowner gave him money for the job done it was all profit. He didn't seem to think about paying for the material first and then the rest could be profit...with that it put him $30,000 in debt...well, I should say it put us. He was taking out loans in my name...without me knowing it....trying to hide the fact that his business wasn't doing well. He had jobs lined up...he just didn't have the discipline he needed. He started work at 9, take a break at 11, lunch at 12 then home by 4. Not the kind of hours one would put in when starting a new business. Not to mention the days he just took off because he had things to go to like the College World Series. Anyway, after it all came to a head and we had bill collecters calling us and we were living off just my income which was like $10 a hour..I worked childcare...we had to do something. We went through a credit place where they pay off all your credit cards and they work with the credit card companies so you don't have to pay the interest. We had to make a monthly payment to them and had to cut up these credit cards. If a payment was missed or the card was used they would drop you from the program. I was nice to have all the debt in one payment so we weren't paying here and paying there and to have the huge finance charges the credit card company had. I can get the name of the company if you are interested. My brother also used this same company and now has it completely paid off. I believe my ex has paid off the $30,000. Not sure if this kind of thing would be helpful in your situation or not. Let me know if you would like the company's name.

Take Care,

Tammy

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D.C.

answers from Iowa City on

Wow. I know that must have been difficult for you and is still difficult. Plus, it is frustrating when your employer changes the way things are without seeming to consider the "little people" who make their living at that job.
My first advice is to get the book "The Total Money Makeover" by Dave Ramsey. Also, he has a radio show and a website - daveramsey.com - I think that is the site address. His advice has helped my husband and me get on the right track and really gave us the motivation to get out of debt, fast. He may also be able to suggest a Financial Peace University class where you and your husband can go and learn the simple steps of his plan for getting out of debt and building wealth.
Is there anyway you can change jobs? Can you or your husband get a second job? The main focus to get out of debt is to make more money than you are spending.
If you need childcare or support throughout this time, email me - [email protected]____.com We have two kids, ages 4 and 1, and the most difficult part for us when we were trying to do this was finding someone to watch our kids. We lived where we didn't have any family to rely on and few friends.

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