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Really Struggling and could use some advice. Please.

Posted by on Sep. 14, 2012 at 1:15 PM
  • 30 Replies

So we have not even started using a budget. We have tried 3 times!! We just live paycheck to paycheck. I plan out what we need to pay bills and then know we have X amount for food & X amount for gas.

I thought OK what can I cancel to help leave more money in our account? But we can't cancel anything, we have contracts with them all. Direct TV, internet, phone, cell phone. We have 6 credit cards, 1 auto loan & we still owe our vet money from 5 months ago and we owe state taxes. I feel out of control. Help me. Where should I begin? I have tried lowering our bills like cell phone & phone, but we are on the lowest plan.

I have tried to set a budget, but our bills keep going up. At&T recently raised prices in our bill and so did our internet. :(


by on Sep. 14, 2012 at 1:15 PM
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Replies (1-10):
AzariahsMother
by on Sep. 14, 2012 at 1:33 PM
1 mom liked this

I think you were on the right path.  My thoughts are and I am sure you have already done some, so just my suggestion, but to...

1. find out what is coming in

2. find out what needs to go out

3. have a set budget for food - shop sales, b1g1, clearance, coupons

4. find out where you can cut such as cable, phone, and etc

5. look into finding if you can bundle anywhere

6. find out if any of the companies offer discounts or special programs to low income families

7. another possible option is speaking with the companies and checking into smaller interest rates if this is an issue  

8. you can also speak to these companies about paying a lower payment for now and advise on when you will be able to go back to making full payments.

I hope some of these help.  There are lots of different things you can try.  I mean maybe part-time job, cutting back on gas and car pool, work at home jobs.  I really hope things work out for you.

 


MDWife12
by on Sep. 14, 2012 at 1:51 PM

I know sometimes you can call up your credit card companies and ask for a lower APR - sometimes they give it to you - sometimes they are butts and don't lol :) that can DEFINITELY help cut down  expenses.

sukainah
by on Sep. 14, 2012 at 3:41 PM

These are good tips

Quoting AzariahsMother:

I think you were on the right path.  My thoughts are and I am sure you have already done some, so just my suggestion, but to...

1. find out what is coming in

2. find out what needs to go out

3. have a set budget for food - shop sales, b1g1, clearance, coupons

4. find out where you can cut such as cable, phone, and etc

5. look into finding if you can bundle anywhere

6. find out if any of the companies offer discounts or special programs to low income families

7. another possible option is speaking with the companies and checking into smaller interest rates if this is an issue  

8. you can also speak to these companies about paying a lower payment for now and advise on when you will be able to go back to making full payments.

I hope some of these help.  There are lots of different things you can try.  I mean maybe part-time job, cutting back on gas and car pool, work at home jobs.  I really hope things work out for you.

 


arkansasmama08
by Member on Sep. 14, 2012 at 4:01 PM
How much do you owe on credit cards and car loan? If its $10,000+ (I think) you could qualify for a debt consolidation. Might be worth your time to look into that or a debt management program. It can lower your interest rates.
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deedee3849
by Deanne on Sep. 14, 2012 at 4:27 PM

When my cable company raises prices I call and ask for a promotional offer. You may be able to do this with your plan. Be prepared to be on the phone a while though...they don't make it easy. The last time it saved me $20 per month and it's good for 6 months I think. not much but it's something.

I have also called and asked for my interest rates to be lowered on my credit cards. I have had some luck with that in the past. Now we have decent rates so I have not done that in a while.

I also read one of Dave Ramseys books (Financial Peace) Very simple and effective ideas on reducing debt. We followed much of his advice to pay off debt and it has helped tremendously.


TprwarewithJess
by on Sep. 14, 2012 at 4:38 PM

Hi there -

I have been there and it is tough! I have called Direct TV before and asked them if there was anyway that they can lower by bill - usually it is only $5 or $10 but they apply for a year.  You may want to try that with Driect TV and also with the other companies that you have contracts with.

ambermario4ever
by Member on Sep. 14, 2012 at 4:41 PM
I would pay to cancel at least one of those contracts most likely the direct tv.
cjsmom1
by on Sep. 14, 2012 at 10:18 PM

I agree with the pp's, call the companies and see what kind of special offer they can give you.

KRIZZ25
by Member on Sep. 14, 2012 at 10:20 PM
can u get a job wen so is home to baby sit?? i know how u feel i have cut lot stuff off ..it sucks big ass.
copperswifey
by on Sep. 14, 2012 at 10:42 PM

I'm sorry you having a hard time now. I know everything just keeps going up. The cost of food is getting crazy too! I agree with some of the others. We have Direct TV and they normally are willing to work with you and give you the best possible deal they can. I would call them and explain your situation and see if there is something they can do for you.  I will post some more tips below. I hope things get better for you soon. :)

 

Many people are caught in a bad cycle of robbing Peter to pay Paul. They borrow money each month from one source in order to pay the minimum payments on other items. Or they use the cash they have to pay the minimum payments, and put all living expenses on the credit cards. At some point, something will usually happen that will cause the plan to come crashing down. So what do you do when you can't pay your bills?

The first thing to do is to stop spending money. You have to break the cycle at some point. Stop spending money and stop using the credit cards. Yes this will be hard; you will have to make some very tough decisions in the beginning. Make do with exactly what you already have for a few days while you sort through the mess.

Second write down every bill that comes into your house each month. Every debt you owe, every utility bill, etc. - write everything down. On one paper write down the basics that need to be covered each month - mortgage/rent, electric, heat, and water. These are absolutely necessary. There might be ways to reduce some of these later, but for now, these have to be paid every month, first. On another piece of paper list all the other bills that are either debt payments or are optional things (cable for instance). Write down the full debt owed, the interest rate and the minimum payment.

Once you have your bills written down, you need to decide on some other amounts. Obviously you need to eat every month. I am not talking steaks or Burger King here; I am talking the basics, the cheap stuff. You are in a desperate situation and you need to make some tough choices. In the beginning try to eat only what you have in the house for awhile while you get caught up on your bills. You do need to plan for food and gasoline purchases though, so decide on a minimum amount that you need for those each month and put them on the first piece of paper.

Now you have to decide the order in which to pay your bills, because if your world has come crashing down, then you probably don't have the money to pay them all. Everything on the first paper gets paid first. Everything on the second paper gets paid last. If you find out that by slashing your budget you can afford to make minimum payments on all of your debt that is great. You then have to decide on the correct order.

There are several ways to do that. You can pick the debt with the largest interest rate and pay it first or the debt with the highest balance and pay it first. I prefer to pay off the smallest debts first though. That might seem odd, but you will gain some traction very quickly this way. By putting extra towards the smallest debt first it will most likely be paid off quickly and you will have money freed up in your budget.

What if you can't make a minimum payment on all of your debts? It is time to talk to the companies. If you have student loans you can see about getting them put into forebearance, which will usually allow you to take some time off from the payments (interest will accrue though). If you have credit card debt I would first call each company and ask for an interest rate reduction. Your best chance at this is before you are actually late on a payment. If you can get your interest rate reduced, then chances are your minimum payment will go down some and you might be able to afford it. If you can't get a lower interest rate and you can't make the payments, then you need to be upfront with them and work out a payment plan. Usually the account will be frozen at this point so that you can't charge anything else.

Some companies will be unwilling to work with you though. If you can't pay all of your bills, credit cards should be the last thing that does get paid because it is unsecured debt. Other types of debt are secured with something like a car and the company can come take it if you don't pay. So if you have to choose, pick an unsecured debt to not pay. I am not advocating that you don't repay your debt though, eventually you will have to pay them back, with interest and fees, but we are talking desperate times and trying to get back on track, so for awhile you might have to stop paying on some debts.

I haven't mentioned cars and car loans yet. These are tricky. Some people really need there car and have to have the loan to pay for it. You have to evaluate your situation. If you make $20,000 a year and have a $500 per month car payment, you need to sell the car ASAP because there is no way you can sustain that payment. If you have three cars, all with payments, sell one. If you have access to good public transportation seriously consider selling a vehicle. Desperate times call for drastic measures and everything needs to come up for reconsideration. You have to make changes and selling a car might be one of them that has to happen.

Once you have a budget in place and a plan for repaying your debt you need to figure out a way to make some extra money so that you can dig yourself out of this hole you find yourself in. Chances are good that you have been overspending. On what? Can you sell any of that now? Is there anything that you haven't even used yet that you could return? I would sell anything extra that you can find. I would try to bring in any extra income you could to get back on your feet.

If you do all of these things, the chances are good that you will be able to get your financial house back in order fairly quickly. Once you are back to being able to pay at least the minimum on all your bills it is time to work through a debt snowball and get everything paid off as quickly as possible. If you can make the hard decisions immediately and make some changes to help you will be able to stop the bad cycle you have found yourself in. You are making some lifestyle changes here and if you can stick with the plan then it won't be long before you will be doing great financially.


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