Don't know what to do...HELP! Needadvice

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Don't know what to do...HELP! Needadvice
4
Sun, 06-15-2003 - 11:24pm
Hi everyone,

I have never came to a board to seek this type of support but I don't know what to do. I have no one to guide me so I am reaching out to you all. My husband and I of 5 years have one son that is 2 years old. About a year and a half ago we went from living in a row house paying $300 a month mortgage to a single colonial in a upper-middle class neighborhood to be closer to family and are now paying $1800 in mortgage alone! This seemed like the ideal idea at the time but I most certainly regrete it now. We barely scrap bottom and we both suffer from depression (me being much worse). So us not being happy has really taken a toll on us as a family. I am having a hard time admitting to my husband that I was wrong for insisting on buying this house when my husband insisted that we couldn't afford it. Now we are living a nightmare. We want to move out to Vegas but can't do it now because well lets just say I just found out I am pregnant! What timing right! So now I have to wait till February to have the baby then move to Vegas. Plus we have to put our house up for sale. Houses have doubled in price in my area since we bought it so we should have some good equity in the house.

Anyway, I am so depressed. As you can tell it's late at night and I can't sleep at all cause I am so scared! I want to cry and scream but I have no one to lean on. This has to be the stupidest choice I have ever made in life. Really I am scared that I am taking us down a bad road. We also have nearly $30,000 in credit card debt. I've become depressed and suicidal about this and I don't know how to stop it.

Sorry for the long story but I just don't know what to do I'm scared.

Christine

Avatar for cl_beckymk
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2003
Sun, 06-15-2003 - 11:45pm
First off, take a deep breath!!

OK, I'm assuming that the mortgage is high for you but that you still have a source of income, correct?

Have you looked in Vegas to know what the housing cost is there, etc...?

Congratulations on your upcoming baby...why do you have to wait until it's born to move? I know moving while you are pregnant is hard but you have 5 months. Just it is an option to think about, if you are moving to a cheaper place, have quite a bit of equity in your house, it's possible to be done & moved in before the baby gets here.

Have you tracked all your income & spending? I know a very scary step to actually see everything written down but that's the only way you can really start working on it. Now, once you have that done (do it for a month or so), is there anywhere you can cut that you possibly haven't thought of yet? Cable, eating out, groceries, magazines, books, etc... Look at EVERYTHING and decide if you can A. get it cheaper or B. are you willing to go without it.

Also, go to the local library and get some books on personal finance, there is a list of recommended ones on our Snowflaking webpage (you'll see the link on the top right hand side of the board). There is a quote "You are NOT your debt, you just owe some people some money" (that may not be exact but it's close *blush*). And another one I like to say is "It's only money" (which I know you are thinking I'm crazy for saying right now but it's a good thing to remember in crisis times).

Hang in there, keep coming back here for great support.

Becky

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 06-16-2003 - 6:49am
Becky,

Thank you for your reply. Yes I do have a job making $34,000 a year and my husband makes somewhere around $50,000. Now I know that seems a lot but when you have $30,000 in credit cards, a car loan at $300 a month and house expenses it adds up easily. Yes we have been looking at houses in las vegas and they are much cheaper and the cost of living is cheaper. We pay an arm and a leg for fruits and veggis here in PA.

Everything you are saying is true that I have to really budget myself and I have been learning to do that over the past month or so. It's just so difficult thinking that we have so much debt. My steps todays are to lower my car insurances, cancel the cable, sign up for my home equity line of credit (they have a fixed rate of 3.4 for 1 year which is perfect since when we sell the house we can pay off the rest and yes I will tear up all the other credit cards) and find a package for Vegas. We have to go in July to look at houses.

I will look into those books also. I think what is on my mind is that I feel like such an ass making a stupid choice like buying a house that I can't afford. I know my husband must want to smack me to the moon. Why don't I listen to people when they tell me not to do something. I think I have to change that about myself.

Avatar for cl_beckymk
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2003
Mon, 06-16-2003 - 9:13am
I know it's hard when we realize "Oops...that probably wasn't the smartest thing" but you can't change what is already done (and if you look at it at the way that when you sell the house it has doubled what you paid for it that was a good investment). :)

I do know how you feel though. We really *pushed* to get into our house. We had a $900 mortgage payment and went to a $2000 mortgage payment! (Oh, and we had a baby in May and moved into this house in July! LOL!). We only qualified because we had used OT that my DH had gotten for the previous 2 years (not a smart idea!!) and of course when we moved into the house the OT was cut down, then eventually elminated and in the course of 3 years, DH was laid off this January (and I'm expecting #4)! I don't work so our only source of income is unemployment right now, which if we still had our $900 mortgage payment would cover that with some excess but our unemployment per month is LESS than $2000!!! So, there are *many* times I kick myself for getting this house (yes, I was the one that suggested the house and got the ball rolling but I made DH have the final say, so he couldn't come back at me with it as I wasn't working when we were looking). My DH has recently gotten his Real Estate licenses and is in training right now. He has come home a couple of times saying with what he has learned, there is no way we should have been qualified to get this house! And yes, we have $10,000 credit card debt, a car loan, etc... So, I know how overwhelming you are feeling right now but you are going in the right direction and all the small baby steps will add up!! It won't be easy & it won't be fast...there are no fast fixes in getting out of debt (and some of those that have found ways, found themselves right back into debt because they didn't change the lifestyle).

You can't change the past but can work on doing it better now that you know (and don't beat yourself up if you slip up..we all do as long as you catch yourself and start again), so try not to give into those negative feelings too much and realize you are NOT the only one who has done things like this and got in over your head (actually everyone on this board has gotten in over our heads one way or another, which is why we are all here!!) and I know there are tons of other people out there that are also a paycheck away from disaster but they don't talk about it.

Becky

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 06-16-2003 - 9:32am
Hi, Christine:

Many of us here can empathize with your feelings of frustration and fear. We've been there. Please don't be too hard on yourself. The truth is, lenders are all too willing to have us buy houses bigger than we can afford. If you've made a mistake, it's a common one, and you've identified some steps you can take that will make the situation better. You and your DH are young, you have lots of opportunities ahead of you, and you can have a brighter and more secure future.

Don't be afraid to tell your DH that you think you've made a mistake. You two need to be on the same team. You need to work together to make good decisions for your future. I've had to tell my DH: "I messed up. I made a bad decision, but I can learn from this and make better ones in the future." (He may not have believed me at the time, but it made me feel better to say it!)

I'm assuming you want to stay where you are to hold onto health insurance until after the baby comes? That's what occurred to me when you said you wouldn't move to Las Vegas until after the baby arrives. Could you still sell the house now, and move into an apartment? If you are struggling to make house payments, it would be better to sell, rather than risk getting behind on payments. Don't feel this means you'll never have a house again, because you will. It just means this wasn't the right house for you at this particular time.

There's nothing wrong with using equity to pay off credit card debt. Be sure you don't feel so comfortable afterwards that you run up the debt again (which is easy to do when you have a growing family). DH and I have gone to a "cash and carry" method of financing. If we can't pay cash, we don't buy it. Once we made up our minds to do this, we discovered that many things we considered "needs", were actually "wants". When we have a real need, we can find a way to fill it without debt.

Don't be afraid to go to your DH and tell him you need his love and support. Then decide together what steps to take.

Most of all, take care of yourself. Keep your chin up, don't get discouraged, and stay healthy for your baby's sake and your own. Things are going to get better!