Just what I need

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anonymous user
Registered: 12-31-1969
Just what I need
Wed, 09-19-2012 - 10:41am

Hi everyone.  I have been looking for a debt support group for a long time and for some reason, this site never popped up in my google search until yesterday and I am so glad that it did.  Let me introduce myself.

My name is Michele and I'm a working, married mother to an 8 year old girl.  I also have a SS and a SD from my husband's previous marriage.  My SS is almost 19 and just left for the marines on the 10th.  My SD is 17 and a junior in high school.  My husband and I have been together 14 years and been financially in trouble from the start with poor planning on his part when he got out of the military and didn't have a good, decent job until almost 8 years after we had been together and on my part, I am terrible with not delaying gratification.  

I have tried for years to pay off debt and it never works.  Something is always coming up and it is hard having step-kids because things pop up with them that you don't plan for or even know about it is always last minute. 

We have about $40,000 in debt - a number which hasn't gone down in about the 3 years that I have been trying to actively pay it off. This year was just financially the worst year of all - my daughter had her communion, my SS graduated high school and left for the marines and he lives in MA and we live in NJ which means gifts, trips, hotel stays and eating out, my brother got married in an out of state wedding and my husband's cousin is getting married in November, my best friend and my stepsister both got pregnant and had babies, our desktop computer and our laptop computers both went out within a month of each other and neither are fixed yet, my cell stopped working and we both upgraded, we had a major car report to the tune of $1,000 and last, but not least, my hubby needs dental work that is going to be a minimum of $2,500 and I need some stuff done that is going to be about $1,500.  The number of things that went wrong this year and the amount of money we have had to shell out has been overwhelming to say the least.  We are at the bottom fo the barrel for everything - cheapest medical insurance plan my job offers, cheapest dental, highest deductible on the car, lowest cable package they offer, basic phoneline at home, basic cell phone plans. 

I have two major area problems in life - my weight and my finances - and I think they go a bit hand in hand and I think I tackle them in similar ways.  Since I have never been fit financially or physically, they almost seem like pipe dreams.  I want them but don't really know how to go about getting there (weight-wise I'm working out more but the eating is still terrible) and since it seems like such a distant dream, its easy to keep putting them off.  That has to stop though.  I have no choice. 

My husband and I make decent money.  If we had no bills, we would have no worries whatsoever but because of our issues, we struggle paycheck to paycheck.  It's really exhausting now. 

Well thats a bit of an introduction so I'll end it here but I'm sure I'll give you more of a backstory as time goes on.  I really look forward to getting motivation to stay on track because I need it desperately and I hope at some point I can be of assistance to everyone here.

Have a great day!


iVillage Member
Registered: 02-11-2006
In reply to:
Wed, 09-19-2012 - 11:06am
Welcome to the board. I can relate to a lot of what your wrote. My husband makes good money but we have so many darn bills it's hard to get ahead and we're pretty much paycheck to paycheck, too. Over the past year I finally lost weight (now am I a "normal" weight for my height--yay!!) and now I want to lose the debt. We can cheer each other on. Good luck to you on both endeavors!!
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-08-2006
In reply to:
Wed, 09-19-2012 - 12:04pm
I think you made a very insightful comment, about weight and debt, when you said ''I am terrible with not delaying gratification'. I think that in addition to whatever changes you make, exploring in your own mind why this is true and how you can change this will be a big help because if you feel deprived when losing weight or paying down debt, you will quickly give up. Sometimes thinking through what you really value can help you make better decisions. For example, I would like to weigh 135 pounds. I do not. I have been working on my weight for a long time, and made progress, but not there yet. I have a freind who would like to buy a house, but she spends a lot of money on things even she admits she doesn't need. I see our struggles as similar. When I am standing in the checkout line with a bag of chips in my hand, I try to ask 'do I wan these chips more than I want to weigh 135 pounds'. Sometimes, at that moment, yes. Sometimes I put the chips back. I suggest to her that when she is buying a black turtleneck, she ask herself 'do I want this more than I want a house?'. If not, put it back. A way to free up money and a way to cut calories is to look at what you are eating. Highly processed food is expensive, both in actual cost and in the nutritional value versus cost in dollars and calories. You could try keeping a food log, either just for you or for your family, and look at whst you are eating out that you could not eat, or eat at home, and wht you eat at home that has a cheaper, equally delicious, higher quality, lower calorie substitute. I started bringing my lunch to work to control calories, and found that I saved $50 a week. Hope this helps. SJ
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-2001
In reply to:
Wed, 09-19-2012 - 12:53pm


I think you are going to like it here.

I really understand what you are saying about weight and debt going hand in hand.  I couldn't agree with you more.

I've been sucessfully tackling the debt since I joined the board 11.5 months ago.  

I'm soossosos ready to start tackling my weight issue now.

For me, I don't think it's as much about denying instant gradification . . . it's more just avoiding dealing with things . . . it's overwhelming, so I just avoid thinking about it (and eating a bag of chips instead).  Other people I'm sure overspend and overeat for other reasons (ie: to self medicate away bad feelings).

But it turned out dealing with debt wasn't overwhelming once I broke it down into small steps.  First a budget, then some financial targets, etc . . .

I think I can do this for weight loss too.  First a food log, then an eating plan, etc. . .

I'm looking forward to hearing more from you!

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-09-1999
In reply to:
Wed, 09-19-2012 - 4:06pm

Hi Michele, Welcome to the group.  I have been here for many years & the "faces" on the board right now are awesome!  This is a very caring & supportive & knowledgable bunch!   I have been married for almost 30 years & worked the same job for almost 28 years...we started working on our debt in 1999, we had worked full-time for so long & were so fortunate & yet we had debt up the ying...new boats, campers, vehicles, 4 wheelers etc...we just never told ourselves "no".  So we got busy & sold some stuff, paid off our debt & started saving.  We are debt free except our $49,000 mortgage, we save each month for retirement & are paying extra on our mortgage & currently have $3600 in EF-savings that we are trying to increase to $10,000.  We are so happy in our long marriage, no stress over $, we take a nice vacation each year & the rest we just live simply.  We eat almost 100% at home.  We live in a really small town, no restaurants or fast food or stores of any kind, so we grocery shop once a week & plan our meals.  I do drive 15 miles one way 4 times a week to the college gym to workout, this keeps my weight in check & blood pressure & cholestorol down & stress down...plus I've met some life long friends at the gym!!!    I can take a gym class -weight training/cardio plus pay for my gym membership at the college for only $50 per semester, what a great buy!!

I commented to your post above about our specific system & I do hope you can come up with a plan that will work for you.  Good Luck & WELCOME


iVillage Member
Registered: 05-08-2006
Wed, 09-19-2012 - 6:06pm
This is off topic, but I want to 'invite' anyone struggling with weight loss to check out two boards in the Health section - Exercise and Healthy Living if you are looking for inspiration for working out and eating well, amnd 100 Pounds or More to Go if you need to lose a significant amount of weight. The people posting there are dealing with many of the same issues we all do, and they are very supportive...SJ
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-08-2008
In reply to:
Wed, 09-19-2012 - 9:27pm

Hi MIchele,

Welcome and hopefully the board can be some support for you :smileyhappy:

As to the weight thing, google "low carb". I've seen a LOT of ppl lost and maitain a lot of weight. I lost 26 and have maintained it for more than 2 years while eating normally...I repaired my metabolism and changed my view of food. I eat carbs now but not 300/day every like the standard diet.

Jimmy Bowden has a good book that looks at many different plans and their pros/cons so you might find something that works for you.

As to the money issues, do you have a budget? Are you having trouble following it? Maybe track your expenses - even backtrack over the last year. Use that to add in monthly allotments for those "things that come up" items so you have the money when you need it.


iVillage Member
Registered: 11-14-2008
Thu, 09-20-2012 - 10:50am

Well hello, welcome.

You have found the right place.

I read your post above and here. I see a couple of things and I think you are getting it.

You are spending more than you make every month. The reason I say that is because your debt hasn't moved. In fact you are probably spending a little less than you make but your interest is killing you. Might I ask what form the debt is in? CCs? loans? Line of credit? I know it is hard with children, believe me I know.  BUT, you can still put money away for that because you know it will be spent. Have a children line in your budget and put money in there every month. You know you will use it for something. Activities, clothing, unexpected things etc.

Weight and finances are very similar. You need a plan for both. A very detailed plan. You need to break up your goals into smaller portions and celebrate paying them off/ losing weight.

I might add(I have been doing this for a very long time) a nugget of wisdom. Savings--by definition is money you do not spend -- until you have reached the goal or you really  really need it(like an efund). example retirement, child's education. An efund is for a true emergency. You need to have a line in your budget for your car(or a whole category called car with payment, gas, maintence underneath it). 

You might be spending more than you make because there is simply not enough money. What about a 2nd job? It sounds like you have cut your expenses as low as they will go. It will help having the oldest SS out of the house on your grocery bill alone and you may have to have a talk with hubby about getting real and not visiting (hotel eating out travel expenses) to see him until you get caught up. Have a sit down with him and tell him how important your financial future really is. Set goals together.

Its time to get proactive instead of reactive. Stick around and ask lots of questions.


Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
In reply to:
Thu, 09-20-2012 - 1:38pm
Welcome Michelle!

I just wanted to add the money/weight thing is also for myself, clutter! Oh, and lets not forget about hormones. Two years on and off at the gym and still slowly gained during the off time. Then I was reading about menapause, hormones and weight gain. Maybe I am not crazy after all!

You are in the right place!

And a little p.s. on nutrition, I would suggest starting with something that is balanced from the beginning. I have big fat text book that explains why. :smileyhappy: