good things and bad consequences

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-04-2003
good things and bad consequences
Wed, 06-04-2003 - 8:44pm
I'm new to these boards, and thought I'd post here because everyone seems both supportive and knowledgable about debt situations.

Here's the story: I got through college on loans, credit cards and working part time. The job for which my degree qualified me turned out to be something that I don't like, and doesn't pay the bills. Since leaving college my debt has actually risen (I'm not counting student loans - couldn't pay 'em if I wanted to, so they are on forbearance until I get something worked out). I am now in a place where it is almost not possible to not use my credit cards, because after minimum payments, bills, etc., I either never leave the house, and barely eat; or I go ahead a charge one night a week to save my sanity and see friends (and still not eat too well).

Between the job dis-satisfaction, and the fact that not only will I likely never clear $30,000/yr no matter how long I stay (let alone retire!), I've decided to go back to school, get the degree I should have gotten the first time around, and go from there into a field where I'll actually be able to pay my bills, and maybe even get some health insurance. I've decided not to worry about the student loan debt for the time being. That can be put off without damage to my record, and I should be able to start making payments after I graduate anyway. My problem involves getting there.

I have to move from Washington to Pennsylvania next month. When I had a car accident a couple months ago, I managed to find a Blazer to use to help move. Unforeseen repairs (I even had it inspected before buying!) have drained every penny I'd managed to save for the move. The U-haul trailer is going to cost me almost $700. And will have to be charged. If I am to have any hope of showing up there with enough cash to rent an apartment, I need to charge gas and lodging all the way there. I'll be traveling with two cats, so I'm going to need motel stays to get them out of the truck for a while. Of course I have to eat between here and there. Again: charging it. In order to pay bills during July (since I'll be moving, not working) I have to take a loan advance. But wait, I just balanced my checkbook, and I don't even have enough money to pay for this month because I'm not working the entire month, and had unexpected expenses last month!!!

In short: in the long term view, I know I made the right decision to go back to school. In the short term, I don't know what to do! Even after selling everything of any value I own at my yard sale, I still anticipate being $500 short of the cash I think I'll need upon arrival. That doesn't even begin to consider how I'm going to manage credit card payments on a part time job, or how very, very, very ill I'm going to be when I get that first statement!

Arg! And tonight I'm planning to go purchase travel supplies for the cats...I'll have to charge it - don't have it to spare in the bank. But I need to get there with my cats ok. And I already had to spend money on myself today to: the last bra I own that wasn't held together with safty pins now needs safety pins.

In case anyone reading this hasn't guessed already, I really just needed to vent. Thank you. And ANY advice would be GREAT, because I'm feeling really lost.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-31-2003
Thu, 06-05-2003 - 8:44am
HUGE positive thoughts and prayers your way.

There's so many positive things to focus on, 'keep your eyes on the prize' as they say. But short term is going to be really, really tough.

One thing that jumped out at me was the food for your travelling. I would probably pack a picnic basket with peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, tuna salad, and egg salad. Throw in an ice block made from frozen bottles of water from your freezer (let a little water out first so they don't explode) and drink the water with your meals.

Since it's summertime, maybe you could sell more than you think you can, which would also leave you less to move. Have you used those ice skates in the last few years? Sell them. Skiis? Sell them. Sweaters, boots, coats? Keep one or two, sell the rest. By the time winter comes, you'll be comfortably in a routine of going to school and waiting tables or some other part time job, and will be able to get some 'new' second-hand winter clothes.

I'd stop going out if I were you. When you make new friends in PA (and I'm sure you will in no time), go to each other's houses for dinner parties and rent a movie or play cards or board games. You can still be sane and not charge an evening out. All you end up with is more guilt and remorse the next morning. Most of your new friends will probably be students or people you meet at your part time job, and they'll be in the same situation as you (and the rest of us) are - not a lot of money to go out galavanting with. So enjoy the company and wake up with less debt.

Look for the free entertainment in your new town. The library, free movie showings, outdoor concerts, church suppers, things like that.

You'll be fine. Safe trip for you and your kitties.

Lee Ann

Lee Ann

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-04-2003
Thu, 06-05-2003 - 1:45pm
Thanks for the advice, and the well-wishes.

I'm planning on getting rid of more than I ever thought I would, and hope to get money for it all (even if it's only 50 cents!).

Those are some good ideas about food for the trip. I do have a cooler that I thought I'd keep just to have cold water available, and if I'm keeping drinks cool, I can keep food cool too.

I do agree about your suggestion regarding not going out, but here's the thing (at least for now): the next few weeks may be my last chance to see my friends for a very long time. And they are really good friends (this is my first "real" move - been in the Seattle area all my life). So, I want to see them as much as possible before I go. The saving grace there of course, is that they all know how tight things are; so usually if one of them calls to go out, and say I can't, they offer to pay most, if not all, of my tab. It's a little embarassing (ok - a lot embarassing), but they've made it clear they don't mind. They are the ones who prefer to have a beer at a bar, and don't like to stay home, so there is something of an agreement there: if they decide the place and manner that we see each-other, and I can't afford it, either they help or I don't go. They usually help. So I don't always have to come up with the ten bucks I allow myself. I do plan to not be going out once I reach PA. Quite frankly, I suspect I'll be too busy studying, even if I had the money.

I think the most frusterating thing is how little I can do about the situation now. I can't even really plan a way out of it, because I have no idea what waitresses earn in PA! I know I'll be ok when I get there though. I just have to make it through the next couple of months.

Avatar for noahs_mommy2007
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-17-2003
Thu, 06-05-2003 - 5:33pm
I understand that you want to see your friends a good bit before you leave but they should understand that your are not financially able and should suggest staying at home some to just hang out with you. One of my best friends just left to move to Georgia (I'm in Mississippi) and all we cared about was spending time together. We basically stayed at home and watched movies and talked about all of the good times we have had together. Maybe you and your friends could do this more often. Explain to them that you can't afford to go out but would love to just hang out at home and watch a movie or something.

Also, I would suggest having a moving sale. Sell most of your stuff so you will have less to travel with and then just buy new (used) stuff once you get where you are going. Another suggestion is consider getting a job on campus as staff. I currently am a full-time secretary at a University and have half of my tuition paid for. The University pays for all staff members to take up to 8 hours a semester with one class being during work hours. Then I get financial aid to pay the remainder of the tuition. Most of my classes are online or at night. I don't know if they do this where you are going but it is worth looking into.