Can't seem to get ahead.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-14-2012
Can't seem to get ahead.
Fri, 12-14-2012 - 12:48pm

Hi all,

    I'm new and looking for support with debt management. It is so very frustrating! A little about me: I'm 30 years old, single, no children, lived alone for last six years. My issues with debt began four years ago when I lost my job. I was fortunate to land a job one month later but the salary was almost half  and well below what was needed to make ends meet. My new hours also did not allow time for a 2nd source of income. So after savings were depleted, I turned to credit cards. At some point, I went from having a few thousand in savings: to zero and 6k in credit card debt.

Four years later I am once again unemployed and waiting to start up another job in about four more weeks. I will need to turn to credit cards again until my first paycheck. I'm trying to find work but it seems everyone has already hired staff for the holiday rush or has no need for someone for such short duration. I dream of purchasing a home, having a savings account, and zero cc debt. But it just seems like I am never going to pay this off. To make matters worse, when I received the new job I downsized to an efficiency as well. My thinking was that I would only be here six months to pay off my debt and then move out. Well, in that time my car went, few health issues, and job did not work out. So basically i have not paid anything down. I was wondering how you all do it? It seems something always comes up. The 6k included car repairs, hospital bills (high deductible), and moving expenses. I am just trying to figure out what I am doing wrong? I have no family support and no one to turn to if things go awry. It is just me, myself, and I. Which I am fine with.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-28-2009
Fri, 12-14-2012 - 6:24pm

welcome! You have come to a very supportive place. Lots of helpful people here with great ideas!

Lots of times life gets in the way and is what causes a lot of people to find themselves in debt. You aren't doing anything wrong, life has happened to you. And yes - you can make it better for yourself.

One of the first steps most people take in this journey is to set aside $1000 for emergencies, to deal with most unexpected events, rather than charging on the CC. So, while keeping up with all your bills and the minimum due, set aside an emergency fund.

Does your new job have an increase in pay? Or will time allow for a second job?

Good luck! Post often!


iVillage Member
Registered: 11-14-2008
Sat, 12-15-2012 - 9:40am


I don't think you are doing anything wrong. But I don't know your work situation. Can you take classes to get ahead in your career. Are you doing everything you can to make yourself valuable as an employee? Can you look for a job that allows you to get a 2nd job to pay off the debt?

Saving a $1000 emergency fund seems hard and it is but is necessary so you don't back track on your debt repayment and get discouraged. It is one of the best things financially I have ever done.

Good luck and post often.

Avatar for turtleemom
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-25-2007
Sat, 12-15-2012 - 10:17am

While we were paying down debt, we had to cut out all non essential items.  There was only so much money coming on and lots more going out- some of it was due to cc monthly payments.  Eating out, cable/satellite, cell phone, new clothing, and vacations were things to go.   When in debt or trying to get ahead you can either cut back on current expenses or bring in more money.  Ideally it would be cut back and bring in more money.

An emergency fund gave us piece of mind that we wouldn't have to scramble if appliances broke or the ca needed repairs, etc. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-10-2003
Sat, 12-15-2012 - 11:39am

You and I sound very similar! I'm 31, single, no kids and am in about $40K in debt (20K student loans, 7K car, 12K LOC). The good news is that I save 10% of my income for retirement and have healthy sinking funds.

It sounds like you had some tough circumstances to deal with. Fingers crossed that Murphy is done with you for a while.

Some things that helped me get rid of my CC debt (it was at $12K at one point):

The efund of $1k. It took so long to get to 1K that it really made me stop and think about whether something was a true emergency or an "I want";

Creating sinking funds. I started putting aside $20 a pay check initally to pay for things that were not regular (like car registration, gifts for family etc). I am now up to about $200 a paycheck and that covers house, car, gifts, vacation, pets and fun stuff for me!

Track your spending.  I found my weakness was eating out. I have cut back on that significantly and its helped.

Most importantly, post often. We are here to offer help, support and a shoulder if needed.

Good luck! I'm sure you will get there!


Bex -

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-17-2012
Mon, 12-24-2012 - 2:19am

An effective debt management service will not only help you find ways to get your debt under control, they will also work with you to get your spending under control. A debt management service will negotiate with creditors on your behalf to help lower interest rates, reduce the amount you owe in penalties and help to get you a monthly payment you can afford. A good debt management company will go to the source of your problems, your spending habits, and help to get those and your debt under control.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-24-2012
Mon, 12-24-2012 - 5:54am


I know how tough it can be when you have savings, and use it all plus some just to make ends meet while being in a less than ideal employment situation.  It`s true, life does happen, but in my case, I made some poor decisions.  Still though, it`s never fun.

Right now, I`m trying to cut costs wherever I can.  If I can save 10 bucks a month on my utility bill, I`m happy.  I researched high and low how to do this.  It doesn`t seem like much money, but it adds up.  I`m thankful that I don`t have far to drive to work, so I save money in fuel for the car.  I learn to shop smart with my partner.  We know where the cheapest deals are in the city.  In addition, we never buy our lunches at work, and cook dinners at night.  

I found that if you just start making small changes in your life, you feel a lot better about the whole situation.  It may still feel overwhelming, but at least it feels you are making a tiny bit of progress.