We Need Help

Updated on October 07, 2008
E.W. asks from Chandler, AZ
18 answers

Okay like many others my husband and I are in over our heads in debt. My husband lost his job at the begining of the year. Even though he was able to find wnother job, he had to take a cut in pay. We have been trying to sell our weekend toys (off road vehilces) for the past year with no luck. We really can't think of much else to do to get on top. I have looked into how to get out of debt, but it's hard to send the credit cards more money or do the snow ball plan when you are struggling for grocery money. We are thinking about bankruptcy. Can anyone recommend a lawyer or have any other suggestions. Thanks so much

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K.Z.

answers from Phoenix on

We have been a military family and my husband is retiring next month. I have tried to plan ahead (a little). I have a home based referral business and can help you earn $500 in November. Even in this rough economy, people need what I have AND I save them money!

If you interested let me know, I'd love to help you.
K. ###-###-####

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D.R.

answers from Phoenix on

Hi E.,

We are in the same boat w/u. My husband lost his job too. It has been a very tough year for us. But I know we will get through it.

Anyways, I know you are going to get a lot of great tips to save money. On August 28 E. W. sent out a message asking for tips of ways to save money. I saved it cuz it has so many great ideas. Try looking it up under the Finance section & look for that date. She receive a lot of responses & there were all great. If you can't find let me know & I can email it to you.

Good Luck. A lot of us are feeling the same pain you are.

3 moms found this helpful
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T.D.

answers from Phoenix on

www.crown.org has a lot of tools to help people in your situation. Before declaring bankruptcy, I highly recommend you looking at this website to see if they have anything on there you haven't already tried. Good luck!!

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T.N.

answers from Phoenix on

I'm so proud of you for deciding to get control of your finances. It will bring you such great peace of mind, which is much more valuable than any material things. Dave Ramsey is a financial guru who offers sound, solid advice (he's been there, done that--he filed bankruptcy years ago and now he doesn't have any debt whatsoever, not even a mortgage). Check out www.daveramsey.com He has a radio talk show on 1310 am in the afternoons here in the Phoenix area that I LOVE. He celebrates becoming debt-free and answers financial questions. He has a cash-only envelope system set up to help people stick to their budgets. I love the entry to his show where they say, "The show where a paid-off mortgage replaces a BMW as the status symbol of choice."

I know this is an extremely uncomfortable position to be in, but I would like quote Suze Orman:
"It's always best to try and work out your financial problems without turning to bankruptcy." Many bill collectors are happy to get anything at all out of you, so many will work with you and forgive part of your debt and take payments (I know because we had many bill collectors calling my house when I was a teen but my parents couldn't file bankruptcy because they already had a few years earlier). I'm sure you can find free financial counseling that would help. Is there any expenses you can cut out? My mother-in-law has many unpaid debts that will most likely never be paid, and it is hard for me to watch her buy new clothes and get cable TV or join the gym or go on vacation when she owes people money. It's a matter of integrity and I think one should pay people they owe before spending frivolous money (I'm not saying you are--but in case you are you may want to take a good hard look at your spending habits. And even if you do file bankruptcy it is a good idea to take a good hard look your finances and spending and prevent this situation from occurring again). Good luck. I wish you the best!

More than anything, it just takes great discipline. The little things do add up. Track your spending and expenses for a couple months and you'll most likely be surprised how much money is wasted (I was!) and you will see where you can cut back to save more. Making a budget and sticking with it is helpful.

Here is a link to a very similar request on Mamasource a couple months ago: http://www.mamasource.com/request/8889903209267593217

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C.D.

answers from Phoenix on

I belong to a frugal board called Mommysavers.com. Many of the members are going through this with you.

The owner of the board started it when she started a family, as a way to help others achieve their dreams of saving money and become stay at home moms. Not all members, of course, are stay at home moms. There are TONS of hints on there and they also have a coupon section. I save so much money, especially at Christmas because these ladies share deals. It's all free. Drop in and look around, and if you see what you like, register and join in on the conversations! This has grown from a small community to Kim writing a book (1000 Best Baby Bargains), to her doing TV spots around the country (I get to meet her when she comes to town). Media is now coming to us looking for members to quote in articles, especially in this economy. I say "us" because I have become a mod over there for a few forums - it's all volunteer based.

Now Oprah has come calling us! It's funny, as we've always kidded Kim about it. I tell her that now her butterfly wings have turned into jet wings. In fact, you'll see the Oprah post from one her producers, looking for members to talk to for a show they are doing on debt and money saving. We checked it out and it is real, and it did come from one of her producers. So, if you choose, you can contact Oprah there to see if they want to talk to you and put you on the show. If you care to join, private message me once you're there to let me know. I go by Desertmom. (We don't get rewarded for memberships, but do like to let the other mods know so we can give an extra special welcome.)

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C.R.

answers from Phoenix on

This economy stinks doesn't it! Well, there are somethings you can do....you can settle with your credit cards company (ie my friend settled a 56k debt for 10k). If you have a mortgage you can communicate with the lender and request a moratorium from your payment for up to 3 months. And if you are upside down in your home loan and your mortgage is more than 31% of your income you should check out the www.hud.gov a new program started on Oct 1, 2008 where the government works with the lender to refinance your loan at 90% of the appraised value. It's just nice to know you have options other than bankruptcy. But above all take care of you and your family. Good Luck!

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H.C.

answers from Phoenix on

Hi E.,

I think many people can relate to you right now. Many of us (including myself) are in over our heads. We sold our house, not short-saled, not foreclosed on but SOLD our house 6 months ago and we had to pay a boot-load of money to get out of it and that has hurt us financially very, very bad. However, if everyone filed bankruptcy then our economy would become extinct. We all accrued our debt, so we all need to take responsibility and pay it.

There are many other options and many mamasource.com moms have given you great ideas. I would check into every single one and see what can be done. I know for a fact that you can negotiate your balance and interests rates with credit card companies. The sad part is, the only time they are willing to drop your interest rate is when it comes to situations like this, wouldn't it be nice if they just gave us decent interests rates from the beginning? Most credit card payments are nothing but interest payments.

Cut back anything you can. Even if it means no cable, no call waiting, no more extracurricular activities for anyone in the family, no gym memberships, buy the very minimal groceries, no more eating out, stay home as much as possible (save on gas and almost every time you leave the house you are going to spend money), cut coupons, stop getting your hair colored, stop getting any salon services (paint your own toes, no more fake nails), do your own yard work, continue to try and sell anything you can that you don't need (have a yard sale, even try selling your weekend toys while doing it), cut back to the minimal on everything. Even things you didn't think you could cut back (i.e. locked into contract at gym or the little gym, etc) call them, explain your situation and ask to cancel or at the least suspend your account. I know you may not have or do all of those things but I was trying to point out everything you could cut back on. Some people still think doing things like hair, nails, having TIVO, etc are necessary and they are not. I too had to cut back alot of stuff recently.

We are getting to a very strenuous point as well, bankruptcy is not an option for us however I really do understand what you're saying. So many of us are the same position. Hang in there. You will get through this.

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R.A.

answers from Phoenix on

to cut down one bills, we changed auto insurance companies. I also talked to my cell phone provider and found out that because I work for a major company I got 12%-15% off my bill, so check with your provider and see if your husbands new employer qualifies him for a discount.

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A.T.

answers from Phoenix on

Hi E.-
Money (or lack of) is one of the biggest stressers in life. I'm sorry you are having to go this tough time. I know many others are feeling the same crunch, so take heart that you are not alone.
As many others, I would highly advise Crown Financial and Dave Ramsey... you may not agree with all of their ideas, but they can certainly help a great deal.
One of the biggest things that has helped us is this:
only put on the credit card what you can pay off that month. I know it sounds unrealistic but it helps. Also, we've found that budgeting helps immensely. I set aside cash for certain things and then don't spend over it. For instance, I have "fun" money in my wallet that is allotted for the month, and when it's gone, I have to wait until the next paycheck for a refill. I use cash because it helps me visualize. If I don't, I want to use the credit card, and then it hits me later.
You've probably tried many things already, but just remember the small changes really DO make a difference. If you can cut out all the "extras" and keep track... you'll be really proud of yourself.
So... decrease your spending and then.. if you can... increase your income somehow.
Things were tight for us this fall, so I added some work hours. It is not easy, but boy the budget thanks me for it.
Another thing.... pay consistently more than you owe- even if it's just $10 extra to the creditors each month. Stay after the debt and don't add to it.
I'm certainly not the expert, but I'd be happy to email back and forth with some ideas if you need someone to bounce off of. Sometimes it helps just to talk about it... I admire you for doing that!
Hang in there.
toni

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M.S.

answers from Phoenix on

I'm so glad so many people recommended Dave Ramsey. I am a Financial Peace University graduate. I took his course at my church and it is really helpful. there is one downfall. You must have a husband that is on board to do it with you and you must have someone else that holds you accountible. This is my next step.

Dave recommends running to your creditors. See if you can consolidate your loans lower the interest rates--make sure no transfer fees--to get one payment. Another is go to your city, local schools and church's, food banks to get food free or reduced. St Mary's food bank has food boxes valued at 30 dollars for 15. Do not do consumer credit. This is when you consume it before you pay for it. Do not go bankrupt. Get your free annual credit report and really look it over. close accounts you are not using. Another great resource is Crown Financial. they have a great strategy too. Hope this helps. Crown has volunteers that can meet with you too.

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E.T.

answers from Salt Lake City on

E.-

I know it feels like a big black hole you are in right now (we are just climbing out) but you have so many options! My husband and I are working an awesome program we found at www.daveramsey.com (he also has a radio show on 1310 am 1-4pm mon-fri for those days you want to just quit). It has been such a blessing. It is definitly no nonsense way to get out from under this mess and work your tail off, but it has been totally worth it.

If you still have to consider bankruptcy or something equally devastating check out his website and on the right hand side under "trusted services" is a listing for financial counselors who can help you through this process. These people have been interviewed and screened so you know you won't get screwed.

I'd be careful with the debt consolidation places as a lot of them (right now anyway with this market) are scam artists. Also, they don't take into account the low interest rate debts you have so alot of the time you end up paying more on the debt then you would have had to if you didn't consolidate.

Anyway, I hope that helps! I hope you can avoid the mistakes we made... feel free to email me anytime if I can help or you have any questions. You can do it. Hang in there!

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R.J.

answers from Phoenix on

We did a debt repayment plan called Credit Solutions. Brought down our payments from around $2k/mo to a manageable $495.

We also sold our second vehicle which saves us $450/mo (payment, insurance, gas, maintanence, etc.)

Why not start an at-home business? Many businesses are very affordable to start with low over head and can easily net your $1-2k/mo parttime.

We connected with a trainer, her name is Dani Johnson. Following her financial plan, she's helped us increase our income 50% and pay off over $26k in debt in just 6 months.

Shoot me an email if you have any questions: [email protected]____.com

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F.H.

answers from Phoenix on

HI E., we are all feeling the pinch right now. Both my boyfriend and I are commission only and we have cut back on EVERYTHING! I'm an independent insurance agent and have been able to save people AT LEAST $100 per month on their home/auto or auto only policy. So check to see if you can move your insurance and you can usually save. Let me know if I can help you with that. Also, I have been buying the 10 for $10 at the store, not eating out anymore or rarely, going to Redbox for the $1 movies, etc. Try everything you can before you go thru bankruptcy!!! Even have some garage sales, get rid of stuff not only helps you de-clutter, but make some money too! Good luck to you! F. www.agentlady.com ###-###-####

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L.F.

answers from Phoenix on

E.,
I totally understand your situation. My husband lost his job almost two years ago and found a new one but not without a pay cut. Then we found out we were pregnant again. After our third was born, I had to go back to work to bring in some more money. We even lost our home (like so many lately). We found a debt management company who negotiated with the credit card companies to take a lower payment and lower the interest rate. We pay that company each month and they pay the credit card companies. It was the only way we could stay afloat...if you can call it that. We are trying to avoid bankruptcy at all costs, but with a foreclosure on our record our credit is already messed up. We get lost of collection calls, but try to ignore them as best as we can. If you are sending them a little money each month, they technically can't send you to collection and you can tell them to stop calling. If you request it, they have to stop. Hang in there, it has to get better sometime!

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R.C.

answers from Phoenix on

We have followed two plans to get us almost completely out of debt (only mortgage left). For encouragement, we turned to www.DaveRamsey.com. He was there and got himself back out of debt and he has some great tips and encouragement in his seminars (available on DVD). He has a budget plan that has helped us to realign our thinking about money.

We also have gotten some advice from Crown Financial Ministries (crown.org). They are a conservative organization, and also give great advice on getting out of debt and staying debt free. They do have an option for asking financial advice and they do respond to your emails.

You can do it, one small step at a time.

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S.H.

answers from Phoenix on

I too have gone with a credit counseling service-- www.careonecredit.com This was the most empowering step I could have taken! They negotiate payments and interest rates (sometimes to 0%)with your creditors so you don't have to worry with the hassle!

My monthly payment to them is $400 less then the individual payments I had been making to the creditors myself. Care One Crredit makes the monthly payments so they are still getting paid each month.

I HIGHLY reccommend debt consolidation, but choose wisely. They first company I went with didn not make mothly payments and I found myself in a world of trouble...it was like I hadn't made a payment to my creditors in 5 months! Care One Credit is a non-profit organization, and I was referred to them by a friend after I got over the embaressment of telling people about my situation ($38k in cc debt!), and have been on this program now for 2 yrs, and only have about another 1 1/2yrs to go! Yeah for a light at the end of the tunnel!

Although it does make a dent in your credit score, you do rebuild your credit while being on the program, and it is much better than some other options!

Good Luck!
S. H

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J.C.

answers from Phoenix on

Hi E., I don't want to sound uncaring or rude, but have you thought of trying to get a part time job in the evening? Maybe a few nights a week or on the weekends? It would be a few extra hundred dollars that could at least buy grocerys for your family.

Best of luck!

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C.B.

answers from Phoenix on

Hi E.,
We went through the same thing this year. I recommend you get into a debt management program. We went through Consumer Credit Counselors and they set us up with Money Management Inc. Their website is moneymanagement.org. We were on that for several months until my husband developed vision problems and lost his job. Because he could not find another and hasn't worked for all of 2008, we had to file bankruptcy. Our attorney's name is Ray Steele and his phone number is ###-###-####. He is extremely nice and considerate. His address is 501 W. Ray Road, #8, in Chandler.
The debt management plan works like this-they look at all of your bills, they decide how much to give each creditor and then they can automatically debit your account for one lump sum each month. We were able to pick the debit date, too. They then send payments to all of your creditors. For us it was very manageable, we were able to pay our rent, car payment, and utilities, food etc.
Good Luck to you E..
C.

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