I'm New and Need Help!!

Avatar for noahs_mommy2007
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-17-2003
I'm New and Need Help!!
Thu, 04-17-2003 - 10:53am
Hi all. I guess I can start by telling you all about myself and my debt. I am 25 years old and already have tremendous debt. I work as a secretary and only bring home around $1100 a month. I have no help from anyone. I have always had problems with debt but it is has gotten extremely bad lately. A few months ago I started getting behing on my bills because basically I have more bills than money. I have to pick and choose what to pay on time. While I was going to school full time a few years back, I ended up getting lots of credit cards and had run them up until I couldn't pay them anymore. I finally called one of those places that consolidates them into one payment so that has helped some. Now I am worried with the other bills like car payment, electricity, rent, phone...etc. I made the huge mistake of going to one of those payday cash advance places. Well when it was time to pay it off, I didn't have enough money and went to another one to get the money to pay off the first one. You can see where I am going with this. So now, I worry on a daily basis that my bank account is overdrawn and I have no money. I am too ashamed to ask anyone for help because I know that I will get huge lectures and be made to feel like an idiot. I already know I am an idiot and know that I have messed up and don't need to hear it from my family. I would love to be able to get a loan so that I could pay all of these other bills off and just have one monthly payment but my credit is so bad that I can't get anything. In fact, I just had a creditor call me here at work. I get so embarressed and hide everything. None of my family or friends know my problems and I feel helpless sometimes. A few weeks ago I got so depressed that I actually considered taking some pills. I am too afraid to check my mail, answer my phone or even check my checking balance at the bank. I need some support badly, not judgement.


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-31-2003
Thu, 04-17-2003 - 11:24am
Hi tahollow,

You did the right thing by logging on here. We've all made mistakes, or bad decisions at the least, that's why most of us are here.

I would suggest that you keep posting, and read the other ladies' posts, and also go to the library to start to educate yourself about your money. There's a great book by Jerrold Mundis called "How to get out of debt, stay out of debt, and live prosperously". It gave me a lot of hope, that it can be done.

Now I need to go and re-read it myself, because I've had a little 'two steps back' lately.

Have a great day,

Lee Ann

Lee Ann


Avatar for cl_beckymk
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2003
Thu, 04-17-2003 - 11:31am
Hugs, you aren't going to get judgements. There are others here that have been in your shoes.

First off, I would suggest going to the library and getting the book "How to Get Out of Debt and Live Prosperously" by Jerrold Mundis (I may have the title a little bit off).

One of my favorite sayings is "it's only money"...(which I know sounds weird but once you read the book it makes more sense).

Hang in there...You have taken a big first step with coming here. I don't know if you have actually added up all your debt and found out what the bottom line is for what you owe, that is a huge scary step for most of us but once you know that number then you can start making a plan of attack.

Please continue posting here for emotional support as you work your way out of debt...


iVillage Member
Registered: 04-17-2003
Thu, 04-17-2003 - 12:37pm
Write down your blessings...health, intelligence, etc. Then write a list of your debt. Then make a budget. I also think you should look for another job. A good secretary should make at least $25,000 and it sounds like you are really underpaid. You could also look for a second job but It takes a lot of work to find a job and it sounds like you should focus on just getting a better job first then once you find one get a second job at a department store or something and you could really be able to catch up quickly.

Good luck! You came to the right place. This message board has helped me more than anything else I could imagine.
Avatar for aracasila
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 04-17-2003 - 1:10pm
No judgement here, I promise! We are all in the same boat, or very similar ones! I don't have much in the way of advice because I am very new to trying to get things under control myself, but I just wanted to let you know that I know where you're coming from. My family is also very judgmental and they just don't understand my problems. My sister always laughs at my debt saying something like, "Oh that's nothing! We are over $60,000 in debt!" Well there's a big difference in her debt and mine....first of all, her debt includes a house and 2 new cars - I'm still living with my parents with my baby. She has no problems paying her bills - she and her husband make well over $100,000 a year and they can more than afford to pay their bills and are not in over their heads....I am having problems holding a job due to serious anxiety problems so I don't have any money to pay my laughable (to her) debt! My credit is horrid from years of this crap and I can't even move out on my own even if I had the money - can't get utilities...you know the rest....Then other family members will be like "Oh, you should just go and buy one of those townhouses that my daughter just bought - interest rates are great now!" Gee! Why didn't I think of that? Here I've been living with mom and dad at 24 and I could have just bought my own townhouse and ALL my problems will be solved! LOL! These are just 2 examples of the crap family members can dish out when they aren't in the same situation you are. Sorry, to write this novel about my own life, just wanted you to know that I have family like this too. If you don't feel comfortable telling them what is going on, then just vent all you want here! We'll listen and not judge or give you ridiculous and unrealistic suggestions on how to work it out....Since coming to this board about a week ago I have more hope from these people than any family member ever gave me...I know they mean well, they're just clueless. Please don't give up - this can be worked on and worked out!

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-20-2003
Thu, 04-17-2003 - 1:28pm
Welcome tahollow! You have found a supportive group of people who have "been there and done that." Here at the DSG we offer lots of emotional support to one another as we struggle to get out of debt. Each person has found their own way of doing this and has much to share to help a newcomer. You will hear many stories here and get lots of suggestions. Take what works for you, leave the rest. We understand, we care and we will always listen. We will not judge you because we have been where you are and we understand. Personally I found Jerrold Mundis' book How to Get Out of Debt Stay Out of Debt and Live Prosperously very helpful when I was starting out. It helped me deal with my shame and the depression. Then Carol Keefe's How to Get What You Want With the Money You Have helped tremendously.

We have a weekly check-in on Mondays. Try to be sure that you check-in then as well as posting often and becoming a part of our caring community. Please check out all the other Money boards as well. Many newbies find the Debt Questions and Answers Board to be an important source of information as they are starting out.

I urge you to visit http://www.quicken.com/planning/debt/ and use the Quicken Debt Reduction Planner to calculate how long it will take you to get out of debt with a reasonable payment plan. http://www.debtorsanonymous.org is a valuable website for understanding this affliction of compulsive debting. I have found http://www.flylady.net to be an important source of help for simplifying my life and dealing with the blues and a general sense of depression that I struggled with when deep in debt. And lastly I always ask people to check out http://www.cheapskatemonthly.com, Mary Hunt's website is a source of much helpful information and inspiration.

We are glad you joined our group! We welcome you with open arms and hope that you come back often.


Avatar for mrslove2000
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 04-17-2003 - 3:24pm
Welcome to DSG! We can all relate to one another in some shape, form or fashion. You are not alone! I look forward to seeing you post again.



Avatar for lovmy2kids
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 04-17-2003 - 7:16pm
Boy have you found the right place here, we have all been there in some way or another. First thing I would suggest is telling your creditors when they call to not contact you at work. They have to respect this tell them when is the best time to call you at home. There is nothing more embarrasing than being called at work (been there)Your debt is yours alone, it only needs to be shared with those who you feel comfortable. Although it really does help to talk to someone.

If you owe more than you make you need to figure out how to make more. Either find a better paying job or get a part-time job in the evenings or weekends. If your worried about what other people think of your part-time job just telling them you want to buy a house!

I would sit down open your mail and figure out what you owe everyone. Then set some mini-goals for yourself. Like this week I'm going to figure out everything I owe. This weekend I'm going to make a budget for myself. The next week you can set a couple more, like monday I will call debt #1 and tuesday I will call#2. It is so much easier to manage if you bite of little chunks for yourself.

Take care of yourself your the only you, you have.-Darcy


iVillage Member
Registered: 07-26-1999
Fri, 04-18-2003 - 2:13am
No judgements from me! Been there, still digging myself out. Two huge things popped out of your post at me:

1. You have to stop believing or even thinking that you are an idiot! As long as you think that it will rob you of the power you need to take control of your finances and solve this debt problem. You will keep digging a hole for yourself as long as you continue to think that you are stupid. I know that once I stopped feeling like a complete powerless moron it became a lot easier to face the mountains of debt and the fear that goes along with it. It IS only money after all.

2. You have to stop being paralyzed by fear. You have to keep a close track of your checking account balance. The more you are afraid of the situation the more powerless you will be to take control of it. Take a big, deep breath, gather all the bills, open and read them. Make a list of what you owe to whom, put it in order by due date/past due/or by amount, whatever works for. Then figure out how much is in your account, or how badly overdrawn it is. Get internet banking so you can check from home without having to face a bank teller. My internet banking is free. Use a check book register. If you don't know how to use one, someone here will gladly explain. Don't be embarrassed or ashamed-you're not stupid, just in debt. Be proud of yourself for what you have accomplished in life, whatever that might be. You will be amazed at how much it helps get your finances under control if you can just stop feeling stupid and ashamed.

I tried for YEARS to pay things off, but I always felt small, ashamed, stupid. I never had a plan, and I also felt entitled to more than I could afford, so I would charge it. THe cycle was vicious and it got worse. I finally couldn't handle the panic attacks anymore, so I decided that I had to deal with the bills. The panic, fear and stress eases when you know how much you owe and to whom. It's not going to be a joyride, but it gets better. I honestly think that the only way that I have ever been able to make any progress with paying off my debt is to stop being ashamed of myself and keep my head OUT of the sand. I now believe that I'm not a moron, and I can live without charging useless "feel better" items that I don't need because I am doing so much better just for believing in myself.

You can get the Jerrold Mundis book from most libraries. I also recommend some of the debt quizzes here on ivillage, and also there are some good finance quizzes and articles by Suze Ormon on Oprah.com. Those have helped a bit. Just believe in yourself. That's the first step. Coming here for support is great too! YOu can do it, and the people here won't judge you. I hope some of this might have helped you in some way.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-18-2003
Fri, 04-18-2003 - 8:38pm
Is there any way you can get a part time job? Even just working one weeknight/weekend day per week will help you get out of the hole eventually.

I don't know if the following suggestions will help, but they've worked for me.

1. Don't buy anything except for food from the grocery store and gas (or bus fare) for one month. No soda pop from the machine at work, no pair of $3 shoes from Payless, make up, haircut, no stuff you "need from WalMart", etc. Break the spending habit. Today.

2. Pretend you are your grandmother during the Great Depression.

3. Use the library for entertainment. The library is your friend. They let you take books and movies home ... for free (unless you live in a county w/o a library). Even my closest friends won't lend me as many books as the library lends me.

4. Learn to say "I want..." instead of "I need...". Everyone _needs_ about 2000 calories a day (give or take a few), 64 oz of clean water, 6 - 8 hours of sleep, and sufficient protection from the elements in the form of clothing and shelter. The hard truth is everything else is just a want because we won't die without it.

5. Develop a sense of gratitude for the things you do have. There are many many people in the world who don't have those things. This puts things into perspective.

6. Stop paying attention to things that make you feel shabby and like a loser. This includes advertising on TV and in magazines, creditors, friends who only talk about what they have or about what other people don't have.

7. Pay attention to the things that make you feel prosperous and positive. This might be your faith and faith community, nature, books and other communications like Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace radio show and this message board.

8. You are not helpless. You are not a victim. You have choices. Tell yourself 10, 15, 30 times a day "I can do this! I will get through this!" Even if you don't believe it. Because you will.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-18-2003
Fri, 04-18-2003 - 8:44pm
I strongly urge you to see a bankruptcy attorney. He or she can help you - you desperately need a fresh start. I would also try going to Debtors Anonymous (look on the Internet) and to seek some counseling so that you can figure out why you got yourself into this and to make sure it doesn't keep happening. Call your state bar association (also found on the web) to get a referral for a lawyer. Good luck.