I came clean----kinda

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
I came clean----kinda
4
Thu, 03-27-2003 - 8:39am
Well, I guess I've made a little progress. I've talked to my dh about how behind the

bills are and we talked about our income versus what we spend every month. I still

haven't told him about how we're behind on the house and how I plan on borrowing the

money from my mom.

I think we might have to file bankruptcy. The amount we HAVE to pay out every month is

$2803 not including gasoline and groceries. The amount we bring in per month is $3116(10

months out of the year--the other 2 months it's $2416. So for 2 months out of the year

we're charging groceries and gasoline(and now all the cards are maxed out!). The other

10 months we only have $313 a month for gorceries, gasoline, and anything else we need for a family with 4 kids. That doesn't cover money for clothes, shoes, birthdays, school

pictures, etc.

I'm so ashamed I've let things get so bad. I have no one to talk to about these things.

My mom, my in-laws, my friends would croak if they ever bounced a check. My mother-in-law

was so shocked that someone she knows whose husband had just died had no savings.

My mom keeps telling me most people struggle when they are just starting out and with

young children. She has no idea how bad it is for us.

Anyway, I'm glad to find this board and I'm so glad for all the support and advice I

received from ya'll yesterday. ~~~Angie

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Thu, 03-27-2003 - 10:32am
Hang in there! We're pretty much in the same boat as you and you will get thru it...somehow. I truly believe that things always work out. If you can kep a positive attitude, you'll do yourself a world of good.

I too had bills that were soooo out of control, it was pathetic. I was so ashamed, because I was once one of those people who looked down on people who aren't responsible. What happened was, that I learned that responsiblity sometimes has nothing to do with your financial situation...Stuff happens, life happens. Things cost money. Food costs money. Sometimes money just slips thru our fingers thru no fault of our own.

I was soley in charge of our bills too and was so afraid to tell DH about the sorry state of our affairs. But after losing sleep and feeling physically sick from the anxiety, I fessed up. Everything. Did he get mad? No. He actually blamed himself for not participating in our financial affairs. So instead of fighting and feeling sorry for ourselves, we became proactive.

Fortunately for us, we got money back from our taxes and put every stinkin' cent to bills. That helped greatly (normally we'd just go out and buy buy buy on our "found" money). Then we made a plan. I called all my creditors ( even the one's I was trying so desparately to avoid) just to get the lines of communication opened. Many we very nice about things and worked out a plan that we could live with (they're happier getting something than nothing at all). We wrote out a list of our monthly bills and assigned each weekly paycheck to each bill.

I try to go grocery shopping less...I tend to "overshop". So instead of 4 times a month, I go three. I cut out a lot of junk food and stocked up on sale items (Really, the only bill that has any flexibility is our food bill).

What I'm trying to say (in a rather long-winded way) is hang in there. Things will work out, somehow. Maybe you can sell some of your old kid's clothes on ebay. Or consign them to a store.Sell some old books on half.com. Garage sale stuff you know you'll never use. We learned to give up a great many things because we had no choice. ( DH recently got a 10% paycut...ouch). If you both sit down and really look, maybe there's more to cut...or someway to add more money.

Whatever you do, please know that we are here to listen to you vent and support you thru this hard time. Keep the faith..it'll all work out, it always does.



iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 03-27-2003 - 10:17am
((((((((((hugs)))))))))) Thankfully there's no diaper removing going on at my house, but it looks like you've reached the same point that I was at 6 months ago. There was just not enough money coming in and I was running out of places to cut back. It was at that point that I changed my whole outlook. I started paying myself first, which for me, meant buying groceries, budgeting gas for the cars and whatever expenses inevitably came up each month. I then set that money aside.

With the rest I paid essential bills first. Mortgage and utilities. Can't live without electric and heat, right?

With the final amount I divided it up between my creditors based on percentage of total debt. My higher balances got more money of course. Now when it was all said and done, none of the payments I was able to make reached even the minimum. But I sent each and every one of my creditors a letter explaining my hardship and offering the lower payment instead of just not paying at all. I read somewhere that as long as you send them SOMETHING every month, they can't come after you legally but they will threaten and the phone calls probably won't stop. But at least they'll be getting something. Some will even help by lowering your interest and eliminate fees to help you out, but it's not easy getting them to do this on your own. I can tell you Fleet was the easiest to work with on this. Then as time goes by, hopefully you will be able to pull your head above water. Your mortgage is far more important than credit card debt. You DO NOT want to lose your house.

It IS an uphill battle. The lower payments will probably cause your balances to continue to rise unless you can work something out with your creditors. And that's no good. Your only option then is to increase your income to be able to increase your payments.

Finally if all other options are exhausted, bankruptcy is on standby. I can't give you much advice on that though because I've never done it. But don't be afraid of it if there's no other way out.

I can tell you I turned my financial situation around by finding a new, higher paying job. I had no other choice. A second job is not an option for me as I already pay too much daycare. Plus I don't want to have less time with my family than I already do.

Take care.

Sharon

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 03-27-2003 - 9:21am
Sharon, We are on a credit counseling service, but we might have been dropped because we

haven't been able to pay it in 2 months. Our student loan is on forebearance until Novem-

ber. We have no cell phone, no cable TV, my dad pays for my internet connection. We have one van payment which is $350 for 3 1/2 more years. I guess getting something cheaper is an option I hadn't thought of. I don't know if we would be upside down on it or not. Two of our daughters do gymnastics and making them quit is also an option I havn't considered. Maybe I could ask my mom or my in-laws if they could pay for it for a while. I'm a month behind on their gym tuition anyway. My husband holds soccer camps during the summer for extra money. I'm babysitting for extra money. That money is already calculated into our income though.

I don't want to file bankruptcy. But I feel like we're at the end of the rope. No money to pay the bills we owe, no more credit cards to use, not enough money to buy enough groceries. I'm so sad and so ashamed. Can't believe we're this bad off. AND my toddler keeps taking her diaper off and peeing on the floor!!! CALGON, take me away!!~~~Angie

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 03-27-2003 - 8:49am
Hello again Angie. Wow that IS tight. We used to do the same thing with charging groceries every month. It's a vicious cycle. Have you tried credit counseling? Maybe they can lower your payments a little and give you some breathing room. I know with CCCS they will go over everything with you and work up a plan, but you don't have to enroll if it won't help you enough. The consultation is free. I did it twice, but chickened out. I ended up contacting my creditors myself and was able to get on a hardship program with one of them which cut that payment in half. That was just enough to help me stop charging food and gas.

Do you have student loans? They have programs for hardship too. I can't remember what that's called.

Do you have a huge car payment? Maybe it would be worth your time to sell the car and buy something cheaper. It's no fun, but if you shop around, you can get some pretty nice reliable cars for under $5000.

I'm sure you know all the other places to cut costs. Cable TV, cell phones, etc.

I hope you don't have to file bankruptcy. That's always a last resort in my book.

How did your dh take the news? Is he willing to help you? Maybe one of you can get a second part time job for a little while.

Sharon