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Would you file bankruptcy if you were me?

Long story short: I have credit card debt that I stopped paying about 2 years ago. The total is probably about $10,000. My phone rings every day, and I never answer. Most/all are in collections, probably even the next place they go, wherever that is. My husband and I have barely enough to pay the other bills, and moving is not an option. The CC bills just cannot be paid. I can't work more that what I already am, so we have learned to deal with the daily phone calls and just ignore them. DH is deploying in the fall, and he wants me to use the extra money to start paying them off, and I guess that is the only light at the end of the tunnel. I hate to use his money for that though.... I already had the debt when we met. I wish I could just file bankruptcy since my credit is already as bad as it could ever be. I don't know what else to do. Anyone ever been in my shoes?

Answer Question

Asked by Anonymous at 11:11 PM on May. 21, 2009 in Money & Work

Answers (12)
  • NEVER FILE FOR BANKRUPCY! They say it will get wiped off of your record after 10 years, BUT it will always come back to haunt you!! Try out a debt consolidation program. You're going to have to cut back somewhere or find out how to make more money. Your bills are never going to go away. Also, moving will be an option when the creditors take your house from you, unless you are renting.

    Also, I'm surprised they haven't started taking your wages-this can happen too!
    Just take your husband's money when he gets it. You're negative balance is going to affect him in the long run anyway. Good luck.

    Answer by Anonymous at 11:22 PM on May. 21, 2009

  • We are renting, I don't have anything in my name. And I bartend, so my money is all tips, they can't take that since it doesn't come in a check. Its hard to budget and try to have extra money to try and start paying this stuff, because they all want a payoff, or a large monthly payment, and I just can't do that :( But thanks for reinforcing the NO bankruptcy idea lol, I figure since my credit is already completely shot to hell, why should I be so concerned about bankruptcy. Its really depressing.

    Answer by Anonymous at 11:29 PM on May. 21, 2009

  • Call the company, and work out a payment program.. most will cut the debt in half, as long as you make the payment faithfully.. but you have to work with them.

    If you file bankruptcy... you still have to pay in most cases now with the new laws... so it's really not worth it. I know, I just looked into it... it'll cost me $800 for the lawyer, up front if I go for it, plus a percentage of some bills, and the entire amount of others...

    Answer by xxhazeldovexx at 11:50 PM on May. 21, 2009

  • Don't ignore the calls. You could find yourself sued and your husband's wages might get garnished.

    Call the companies and see what can be done to work out a repayment plan OR see about a settlement. Be warned: They usually want settlements tp be paid in full in 3-6 months. BUT you'd end up paying half of way you owe.

    Consumer credit counseling is another option. Look for a non-profit CCCS organization, NOT a debt consolidator! There's a difference. The CCCS will work out a payment plan for you over several years. They can get interest rates reduced for you and help you develop our own budget.

    Bankruptcy is a very last resort.

    Be aware that your credit card companies may charge off your debts, and that stays on your record for seven years. It's worse than a bankruptcy because it says you didn't give a damn to try to do something, unlike filing for a bankruptcy.

    Answer by gdiamante at 12:25 AM on May. 22, 2009

  • What I'm doing is taking one bill and putting anywhere from 20-50 dollars a month on it (just depending on how much we get that month). It's a slow process but it will start building your credit. Mines already up about 50 points from last year just by doing this.

    Answer by 2murphyboys at 1:28 AM on May. 22, 2009

  • I don't know the exact numbers of my parents cc debt, but I know they called their cc companies, told them how much money they made per week, and just explained to them that we can afford to pay X amount per month and have you paid off in X amount of time (a couple of yrs), and not to threaten, but if you aren't willing to work with us this way, we'll have no choice but to file for bankruptcy.

    Most of the time, they are more willing to work with you than they will initially let on. They want their money, and if you file bankruptcy, they know they are not likely to get anything. At least if they work out a deal with you, they get something, even if it takes longer or isn't as much. I'd try that first, before filing bankruptcy. Good luck.

    Answer by tropicalmama at 6:24 AM on May. 22, 2009

  • We were in debt years ago and were in the same boat. We had enough to pay the utilities and food. We even lost our house. IF YOU CALL THE CREDIT CARD companies, call ONE @ a time. RENT, UTILITIES, FOOD- these are the important factors. Best thing I ever did to get us out of debt. Do a budget, list ur bills & the minimum pymt. Take ur smallest debt first - pay what u may have extra on it. It will pay off faster & give u that extra 25. or 50 to go towards ur next bill - & so on. Debt consolidation companies - like the other said, find NON-PROFIT, the others can RUIN you even more! BUT, u will feel better if you are on a budget, u will feel better when 1 bill pays off. I wld never file bankruptcy, 7 yrs is better than 10, & u can re-build ur credit faster. We actually just learned to live on cash. We climbed out! I now always have a "stash" put back. It is hard, but U can do it. THANK UR HUSBAND FOR HIS SVC!

    Answer by gr-mom2 at 8:20 AM on May. 22, 2009

  • 2ndary answer to my 1st....... (these are never long enough)....
    I wanted to also say - Be strong. U will get through this. Take one thing at a time. My husband was in the Army 26 yrs ago -- & we were soooooooo broke..... I mean, BROKE!!! with a baby. We ate Rashons at times b-cause we didn't hve any more food & no money. We look back now & even though we were desperate at times - those were the BEST times of our marriage... 31 yrs later, we can laugh about it now.
    I also have a nephew going bck to Iraq in September. And another one maybe later this yr.

    One thing at a time.
    Love UR husband & family up.
    Pay a little extra on one bill @ a time.
    Also, go to www.daveramsey. com Or check out the cafemom group on dave ramsey. It can help & put you at ease.

    Bless you & your husband.

    Answer by gr-mom2 at 8:29 AM on May. 22, 2009

  • If you can't increase your income, it's time to cut the expenses. Cancel your cable, cut the internet, home phone or cell phone, eating out, entertainment, grocery budget, utilities etc.

    Start collecting cash. Make a goal to have x amount of money by this time. Meet that goal by putting the same amount into a jar that you DO NOT touch. Then get a hold of your credit card companies and tell them you'd like to make a settlement. Offer them half the amount that you owe. Tell them you'll send a cashiers check out the moment you get a signed certified letter from them saying that they will accept "x" amount as payment in full. DO NOT send them a personal check, and don't give them your bank account information, or debt card number etc.

    I agree with the above poster- check out or the Dave Ramsey group on CM.

    Answer by Erica_Smerica at 4:48 PM on May. 22, 2009

  • Do not file bankruptcy, you do not have enough to risk ruining your credit. Answer the phone and request a lower interest rate and ask them to cut the amount you have in half. Then look for a part-time work from home job like I did. I have added a considerable amount to my family's income. It is also inheritable to our children and grandchildren. There is a good book you should read by Dave Ramsey, the Total Money Makeover.

    Answer by nanaevelyn at 9:19 PM on May. 22, 2009

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