Re: my situation and request that anyone with any advice…

I generally don’t post a lot, but wanted to share what has been helping me do better financially. First, let me congratulate you for the efforts you are making to turn things around. Sounds like you have made a start, and that is the hardest part! Keep your support system going–glad to see you have a counselor working with you. That will help keep you accountable until you are back on your feet.

Get yourself set up with a Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University course! I am taking one through a local church. He talks about how to pay creditors and get out of messes, and his program WORKS. He will give you hope and help you rediscover your integrity if you stick with it. You can buy his kit (13 weeks of lessons) but it doesn’t have the videos, just an audio version of the course. I wish it had the videos as they help solidify the information in my mind. It cost $96 but was worth every penny.

You sound like a good candidate for chapter 7 bankruptcy but it will be
on your credit report for 10 years. First off, congrats on taking solid steps to pull out of a terribly  difficult situation. I’m sure you’ll get lots of great advice on debt here, so I wanted to address your furniture needs.

I don’t know where you’re located, but my advice on furnishing your place is to look on Freecycle and Craigslist. Using both, you can probably find everything you need at an affordable price. And don’t worry — the place doesn’t have to be perfect from day one. Start with an essential here, an essential there.

And talk to people at church or in your community if you don’t go to
church. Most people have furniture they don’t really need but would love to lend or give to you so they have the warm fuzzies of helping a person in need.The biggest thing I’ve learned is to let go of my pride. Suze Orman said recently that having debt doesn’t make you a bad person–it just makes you bad with money. And that’s a skill so it’s correctable. Ask people for help; they’ll come through for you.

Don’t forget about thrift stores and pawnshops. Near where I live there’s a pawnshop that opened a second store just to deal with furniture. Also check out auctions. My best couch came from an auction and even though it had a broken leg it worked fine and only cost a dollar. Sometimes furniture sells good and other times you can pick up things dirt cheap. Check out yard sales and moving sales as well. A lot of times if people are moving they decide to get rid of furniture instead of moving it all to the new place. I know someone who bought a kitchen table that was all banged up with paint and other stains on the top. He cleaned it, sanded it down smooth, and refinished it and nobody would ever know it started out looking a whole lot worse.

If you are making 62K then you should be able to structure the paying
off of the debts based on importance such as truck then get going on the cards. Check into getting the cards refinanced into lower rates.

You can absolutely try to work a deal with the collection agent. Knowing that they purchased your debt(s) for pennies on the dollar, it certainly worth hurt trying to negotiate it down. Looking at your debt numbers, they certainly are not hopeless. If you make it known to the debt agent that you are doing your absolute best to pay them what you agree upon, they’ll work with you. DO NOT ALLOW them to intimidate you though. If they try to make you commit to something you cannot do, let them know that – but be firm that you will do all you can. Make it known that you have a payment plan in place (you should, at least) and you have prioritized it amongst all you creditors. Keep at it and do not give up!

Answer to Franca from NY

Hi, I’m Franca from NY. I am a single mom to 4 boys. I am a financial
mess. I’ve been using a credit counseling agency since October for my
credit cards and that has been working out great. But I am behind on my mortgage, utilites, car payment. I feel like I just do not have enough money coming in. I get Social Sec disability for my 2 youngest because their Dad is disabled but thats it, no child support. I do my best to stay on track but there is no room to budge. As soon as I get hit with something, it throws me totally off. I do not have any savings and each month I worry how I am going to get through. Gas and food prices are out of control. I do work full time.

Thanks for letting me vent. Its not a good week so far and its only Monday.

Hi Franca,
I really feel for you. Financial problems are really a big burden. If it’s a such a big problem for you, then maybe it’s time you take some action to become financially healthy. There are so many resources out there to help you. I know it would probably be tough to find the time with a full time job, being a full time mom to 4 boys, but your message sounds like you need to make your financial situation a big priority. I had a huge debt and the main thing that got me through paying it all off and gaining a healthy way of spending my hard earned money was changing my attitude about it. Many of the books or CDs by Suze Orman are really great for this. Do you ever see her on TV? Her ideas and programs may really help you as a woman. Check her out!