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  1. #1

    Default I'm stuck in a small debt trap and can't get out.

    Hi all. I'm sought out this forum on google because I really need advice on what I can do to get myself out of this debt trap I'm in.

    I didn't get any credit until a few years ago because I was afraid of it. I was always worried I'd get into trouble with it. So when my father finally, at age 39, trusted me enough to co-sign on a personal loan from our common credit union in order to buy a car. I was very, very careful to pay the debt off.

    After paying the debt off I decided to get a single starter credit card. Over time with doing the usual good debt practices. I managed to turn a $500 credit limit into an $7300 credit limit. I never borrowed more than I could pay off in a single month, etc.

    Then I lost my job for 6 months and wound up maxing out that single credit card in order to survive. I also had a second personal loan at the time, which I managed to get paid off. I also ended up with a minor medical problem and wound up with about $800 in doctor bills which I couldn't pay at the time and have no gone into collections.

    So, I have right around $8000 in debt and a credit score of 600.

    I make 32,000 a year.

    The problem is that just before I lost my job, I had met a girl and moved out of my tiny breadbox apartment into a house. Which rose my rent from 450 a month to 700. It also doubled my usual utility bills. My girlfriend, unfortunately only makes about 10 bucks an hour and has her own car payments, cell phone and insurance bills which eat up virtually all of her income. So she provides for the food shopping bill.

    The problem is that in the final weeks of my unemployment, I totally ran out of credit and ran 1 month behind in my bills.

    Now that I have been working for just over 3 months and my paychecks after paying rent, past due utilities, past due internet and minimum payment on my credit card debt. I am at the very last end of my rope.

    I bring in $2000 a month, and spend in bills and living expenses alone $2000. I've made what adjustments I can to try to do things like lower the utility bill. But then the money saved has to go towards other living expenses that get held off and paid every other month, car maintenance and other tiny "disasters" that seem to keep occuring.

    The hours that I work at my job (9:30am to 7:00pm) make it impossible to get a second job for awhile unless I am willing to run on 2 hours of sleep a day broken up into two sessions of an hour or so each. That is unhealthy and untenable.

  2. #2
    The sad part is, if I could just get a simple $4000 loan that could pay off half the credit card debt and pay the $800 in medical expenses I would be just fine. But right now, with my credit maxed out I can't get a loan from anyone, even the high interest lenders despite the fact that I have never once missed a credit card or loan payment.

    I just don't know what do. I have always made my payments on time and in full to the minimum and I'm considered in good standing except for the $800 in medical bills currently in collections.

    I've looked into one of those debt consolidation programs but those are basically one step above bankruptcy. They close down my credit card account, take a huge hit to my credit, and then spend 5 years paying back the debt and a large part goes to the debt management company. If I'm going to pay 235 a month, I'd rather it all go toward my CC debt and not toward a credit consolidation company.

    I don't know what to do. A simple debt consolidation loan would fix all my problems but I can't get one due to my limited credit and I have no assets to put up for collateral.

    Once again I note, my credit record shows I have never missed a single loan or credit card payment.

    What can I do?

  3. #3
    The first thing I would do is focus on paying off the medical bills in collection. Ask the creditor what amount are they willing to accept to pay off the debt. Once it is showing paid on your credit report, look for a cheaper place to rent or take on another renter if you really can't break your lease. Then I would look to join a credit union. They give cheaper loans out, and are more liable to give you one with so-so credit. If you can get a loan, try to get one that is going to pay off all of your debt.

    You start work pretty late, so you can earn money delivering newspapers in the mornings, or selling things on Ebay and dropping the boxes off at the post office before work, or picking up a week end job. Yeah, it sucks but you have to do what you have to do. I worked a full time job, went to night school, and worked at a restaurant on the weekends, so I know. I was burnt out and tired all the time, but I paid the bills. Ask your credit card provider to raise your limit, but don't use it. Even a little bit might raise your credit score. Tell them you want a larger amount for debt consolidation, if you have to give a reason. When I was in this position, they never turned me down once they realized that I wanted to owe them more money.

    Debt consolidation companies don't do anything you can't do yourself.

    It basically boils down to not having enough money, so you either have to reduce expenses or earn more. Ideally, you would do both. There really isn't anything else you can do to get out of debt. And just so you know, you will probably be asked to post your budget so people can give you more specific advice.

  4. #4
    Something has to give and I think that it probably has to be getting a weekend job? Great time with holidays now. I think you have an income problem unfortunately. It doesn't seem like you are super spendy but you don't make enough to make ends meet.

  5. #5
    Netflix?
    Hulu?
    Gym Membership?
    Dining out?
    Cable?
    Internet?

    How much is your car worth?

    Either way it is time for you and your gf to get 2nd jobs (yes, on the weekends) and move when the lease is up.


    The minimum payment on the credit cards will get you nowhere.

    You are one unexpected emergency away from falling even further into debt.

    sorry if that is harsh.

 

 

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