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Hi. I am dealing with $21,000 in credit card debt from 6 different accounts. It's joint debt but my husband is having me handle all our finances so it's basically my problem.
I've done a lot of great reading (Dave Ramsey, Debtor's Anonymous, Jerrold Mundis' books, and lots of library books on debt).
My recent job loss put us in a situation where we can't pay the minimum on our accounts. I've written letters to the 5 accounts we have $100 a month we can put toward it making it $20 a month each we can send -- just a token good faith payment really. The first call came today -- an automated one telling how much we needed to send. Of course I knew that and sent what I could afford (they already posted the payment).
Anyway, I have work -- just not enough -- cleaning on the weekends. My husband is completely retired SS and military. There is a large gap of 19 years (me younger) between us. He retired early and spends his week taking care of his super elderly father. I take care of everything for us and our home and cars.
The one true blessing is that we have enough money for the mortgage, car payment, insurance, food and needs -- just not for the unsecured credit card debt.
There is a long back story regarding my work history and my burn out and work I did to take care of his parents until they (last year) moved to a nursing home and daughter's home. I don't want to go into it in detail but it is part of the reason I have so much trouble working a traditional job -- I think. The five years of caregiving that almost killed me that is.
So, now I'm here and I'm just trying not to be scared out of my wits -- and trying to have hope that I'll be able to bring in enough money fast enough to avoid collection agencies and court rooms and bankruptcy. I don't believe bankruptcy would be a wise choice for us even though we pass the means test and could go that route -- we have a long history of re-curring credit card debting so it would be best to handle it any other way - I truly want to pay what we owe anyway.
This forum looks like a great place to recover so I am here and hope to figure things out and learn more and participate here.
I just want to know that I'm not alone and that there is a life after credit card debt.
I know that we overspent -- but I also can see that my underearning is a huge contributor. Regardless of the reasons or excuses it's a lot of why we are where we are. So I feel like crap. And I hope things change for the better quick.
Thanks for listening!
 

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i love jerrold mundis books. hard core debtors anonymous advice.

it sounds like all you need is income. a job. what do you do?
 

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Does sound like you need to start making some money fast, even if its 2 part time jobs. Read the posts everywhere in here to help you spend the MINIMUM amount of money that you need to live. Question EVERY purchase. Buy groceries around sales; no eating out; call insurance companies to see if you can get a lower rate than what you are paying. Get rid of cable and cell phones; you can always get them back when you are out of cc debt. There are alot of little things you can do that add up to spending less. Do the no spend challenge; how many days can you make it in a month w/o spending. I admire the fact that you do want to pay the amount you owe back. Good luck!!!!
 

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good luck!
 

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We have been in the black hole of credit cards. It took 7 yrs but it's all behind us.

Other then getting more work and increasing your income I don't see any way around it. If you can't pay it they will ring your phone regardless of any letter you send.

I wish you lots of luck.
 

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I was in the black hole of credit cards also. Funding my farm business, I racked up over $30K on it. Now I have less than $7-8K and it is being attacked and will be gone SOON....cause most of the current farm income goes directly to that CC.

Do not panic about one thing. A credit card company CAN NOT take your home. They can not "make you pay". They can not push you into bankruptcy at all.

Go chat with a lawyer. Seriously. If you are scared, you must, must know your true options about credit card debt and only a lawyer can advise you correctly. It is cheap compared to "thinking" you have to pay and not make the mortgage and lose your home and all.

My friends wife got very ill. Went on disability and fighting a very bad disease. They racked up credit card debt while they tried to bare down their higher living to make his income only. Well in the process, the CC people harrassed and threatened and all that. It came down to pay the mortgage or CC or other bills.

He went to a lawyer. Lawyer said pay the mortgage and never lose your home. Next is pay the car so you have something to drive to work. BUT the lawyer said a CC company can not touch your personal belongings. Most they can do is take you to court and try to get some of their money back. They can't put a lien or anything on your personal items.

The court will decide at that point on how much you can pay and all that. But it never got to court with John. What he did was make token payments, put up with the harrassing calls for over 1 1/2 years and continued on paying the mortgage and car as required.

For him the end came when he got a big disability settlement 1 1/2 years later for his wife giving him a big sum of money. His first payments were all the CC cards. Paid off each one.

His only problem was "paying a token amt." and missing some payments incurring late charges etc....his credit went bad. BUT that didn't bother him one bit. He has his home and car already and knew even with bad credit, that he could eventually regain new good credit which he has done to this point now.


So just a fast story to say as much as it is horrible, we gotta pay those stupid CC cards at some point, but don't ever get too scared that they can take your home and such. They can not.

So maybe a $100 to a lawyer to see your true real options and how they can and can't "get to you" might be needed.

Hang in there, it can be paid off, I did it.....WOOF!
 

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You can do this. I worked hard and paid off my credit card debt and made my final payment in april. We've been credit card free since april and its been great.


But your timing is good. We've been thinking about financing 4k of needed home renovations and just today I thought I would put the supplies on a credit card. But I don't want to be in that debt place again. See, you've already motivated and inspired me!
 

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As others have said, it looks like the one thing that needs to happen is somehow bringing in more money. It's good that y'all have enough to cover the necessary expenses. Most importantly, do not put anything else on CC, live strictly on cash. Hang in there and good luck.
 
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You have come to the right forum for great financial advice. Everyone here is very supportive and most of us have been where you are at now. Just take everything one day at a time. I would definately agree with Dave Ramsey and say you MUST have Shelter, Food, Utilities, and transportation for work. I think you did the right thing by informing the CC companies that you are unable to make minimum payments right now. Hopefully they will all be able to work with you. Hang in there! Things will get better.
 

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Take a deep breath it is going to be alright. Read David Ramsey books and take the baby steps. Don't worry about tomorrow live for today. Bills are always going to be there. Enjoy everyday with you family and that is your riches.
 

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Could your husband get a part time job? I know you said he takes care of his father but maybe he could work nights and weekends? If you could get another job besides the cleaning you could use that extra money and snowball that debt. In the meantime I would only use cash, reduce utility bills ( unplug things, don't run dishwasher, etc) start making things ( laundry soap, body wash, etc) and maybe go through your things and see what you could sell online or at a garage sale. Good luck but I'm sure you can do this!
 

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You need to ask to speak to the person in the hardship department at the credit card company. Years ago when I had a large cc debt I did that and it worked out so much better.

One other piece of advice is CUT UP the cc cards now and never use them again for anything, cut back on things you don't have to have, internet, cable, satellite...etc. You would be surprised how much that saves by doing those alone.

Good luck.
 

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Karen1 said:
Do not panic about one thing. A credit card company CAN NOT take your home. They can not "make you pay". They can not push you into bankruptcy at all.
I do have a question about this..lets say you are just paying a small amount in good faith like the OP and the cc companies turns you into collections, can the late fee's and intrest still keep accumulating month by month or would that just be the amount you owed at the time it was turned over?

So lets say the late fee's and intrest keeps accumulating every month and the OP doesn't have the funds to pay the minimun(of course the debt wouldn't go into collections if one could pay that every month)Wouldn't that force one into bankruptcy because it would be so hard to catch up then? I mean say it's a years time before someone can start paying the debt back.

I hope that made sense. lol. It's just been something I have been curious about with credit card companies.
 

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Cut back....cut back....cut back.....and cut up the cards.

Also, get your hubby on board......he needs to be doing what he can to save too.

Good luck. I am sure you will get there.......just takes time...and some serious discipline!
 

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First off :hug2: I so know those phone calls, we get them all day long, everyday, including holidays. But, even though we are far from being out of the woods we have gotten the car paid off and 1 credit card and we're closing in on a second one. Still have more to get paid off but we are gaining on it. We will eventually be all paid up and so will you. The first thing you've got to do is take stock. Even if you think you can not cut back any further you can.

-You can make your electric bill smaller by hanging your laundry, unplugging everything not in use, lowering the thermostat on your water heater, not running the AC, handwasing dishes and much more, just search through threads and you'll find all kinds of ways to lower your electric bill.

-Phone bill & internet can often be bundled for less $ a month or change each service package to a lower rate. That saved us a lot of money.

-The cost of heating your home can be drastically reduced by employing a few measures. Cover all windows in plastic and cover in heavy blankets. Amazing how much that helps. weather strip doors, use draft dodgers. Shut off vents to rooms not in use during the day. Keep thermostat at 60' or less and wear sweaters, and slippers socks. Keep a few nice throws in the living room to cuddle under while watching TV. Throw a few extra blankets on your bed and use flannel sheets.

-Check your car insurance policy and go for lower coverage and then start shopping around for a better deal for when insurance is up.

-Lowering your food bill is a great way to save money. If you buy prepackaged food, stop. Now's the time to cook from scratch. No more dinners out. Find a scratch and dent store. No brand loyality for now, got to go for what's on sale or least expensive. Coupons are your friend. Learn to cook and love beans a very inexpensive protein. Grow your own cooking herbs on your window sill.

-Lower your bill on HAB. No more $$$ bottles of shampoo, the dollar store has shampoo for $1. Maybe you've always used brand X for face cream, but brand X is $10 and Brand Y is $5, you got it brand Y is now your new brand. Forget expensive makeup Kmart carries the ELF brand where everythings a $1, it's good stuff with the exception of the mascara and I've never used the foundation. The dollar store has cough medicine, first aid cream, band-aids, epsom salts, shaving cream, razors, cough drops, tampons, tissues, cotton balls, q-tips, just about anything you need in that department. If your not a dollar store shopper now's the time to become one.

-Amazing how much cleaning supplies cost. Stop buying them and start making them. All kinds of recipes here the FV. Paper products like paper towels are $ eaters, start using rags to clean up spills. Paper napkins, use cloth or wash clothes. We use wash clothes.

-No more buying anything that is not a real need. No clothes, no shoes, nada.

-and now comes the hard stuff. If you have two cars getting rid of one of them is a huge money saver...OUCH, I know, it really hurt to give up my car. Do you really need a cell phone? Cable? Figure out what you can live without and get rid of it.

-If something breaks don't call a repair guy, fix it yourself. My husband has been doing this a lot and that alone has saved us a lot of money. Some things he knows nothing about and he looks it up online to figure it out.

-If you have anything worth selling, sell it. Okay, don't sell your Mother's pearl necklace that was given to her by your Dad on their 25th aniversary, but anything else that is worth something.

-and last....No New Debt...that sounds so simple, but it is not. We've had many and major reasons to incur new debt this last year but, we've held our ground and that will serve us in the long run, even though it sure hurts now.

You will get through this rough spot. Just keep hanging on and do your best to cut expenses and you'll find money you did not know you had.

Wishing you the best.
Polly
 

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Hi. I am dealing with $21,000 in credit card debt from 6 different accounts. It's joint debt but my husband is having me handle all our finances so it's basically my problem.
This is not acceptable. You'll get all the help people can offer over here, but the help you really need is to get your husband on board and taking part actively.
Joint debt can never only be the problem of one person in a relationship.

You've got the goal, you've found some good people for help, now it's time to kick the debt where it hurts most. :)

Good luck!
 

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Agreed. I'm sorry, I thought he was your HUSBAND, not your son. That means he's your PARTNER. You two have a mess, you two work on the mess together.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thank You

It helps me ever so much to know I am not alone. I thank everyone for your replies.
Today I got very good news (from the company I was working for thru April) and they have someone who needs help one day a week -- so I now have an every Wednesday 4 hours job to go to. I added it up and even though it's minimum wage it will give us (after taxes) an additional $100 - $125 monthly depending on the months that have 4 or 5 Wednesdays. It's also a good way to not be forgotten -- with one foot (or one toe) still in the door. It's driving the clients car on her errands and activities just the one day per week. I already have the proper uniform, my paperwork is complete with this company except for a new updated W-4 and I couldn't be happier to be doing something which will yield a small paycheck at least.
I certainly don't feel as depressed with this addition to my workweek -- I am working Saturdays cleaning -- I do value the work no matter how relatively little the pay is -- it makes me feel better to be doing anything at any hourly pay than to feel helpless.
The calls (the please pay your bill calls) well they are daily -- but they are not being mean yet -- they are just acting as if we forgot even though I wrote the letters -- but of course I understand they have to do what they have to do.
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It is hard for me that DH is not involved -- and yet I know we come from 2 very different "places". I don't like to argue or have confrontations. I have thought that I could just handle things. It has taken me a long time to work on cutting our grocery bill and unnecessary spending. We've made so many strides. His health is very poor at this point and I don't think he would go back to work -- if he did I would think 2 days might be all he could do. Right now he is going thru a medical problem and possible surgery. Mostly, I just am grateful for the income we have because of his past hard work and I am putting all my effort into making sure we spend less than we earn and that we save for emergencies. Starting almost from scratch here with Dave's baby step #1.
___________________
Again, I thank you all so much for your replies, sorry I didn't get back sooner, I really can tell I found the right place here to get my/our act together. Thank you so very much!
 

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I do have a question about this..lets say you are just paying a small amount in good faith like the OP and the cc companies turns you into collections, can the late fee's and intrest still keep accumulating month by month or would that just be the amount you owed at the time it was turned over?

So lets say the late fee's and intrest keeps accumulating every month and the OP doesn't have the funds to pay the minimun(of course the debt wouldn't go into collections if one could pay that every month)Wouldn't that force one into bankruptcy because it would be so hard to catch up then? I mean say it's a years time before someone can start paying the debt back.

I hope that made sense. lol. It's just been something I have been curious about with credit card companies.

A credit card debt is an unsecured loan. Yes I "believe" they can include all late fees and charges on the final balance if they decide to sue you in court for a settlement ---(I am not 100% sure of this)

but it is not a lien on a home or anything.

CC companies will negiotiate a lesser settlement amt. ONLY if you are paying nothing at all...no payments. Only then do they know they may never see any of their money again. And if you are able to make a settlement amt. then you usually have to pay in full.

If I had $5K on a card, never made payments, went into default of the CC---then I could call them and say, hey I have $2,500 in cash I could scrape up and give you...or you get nothing and have to sue me for the balance in court. Most times they will take the lump sum...but that is just the company and what they decide to do at that time. They play hardball but in the end they want something usually without ever going to court. Court would look at all your finances and see what you could afford to pay...and they would stop the late charges etc. So the court would decide the balance due and your payments based on income.


BUT--always get a lawyer or someone on your side if you are having big trouble. Such a small cost to learn so much. So many of us have preconceived ideas of how to handle CC and such...and most times we are way off. Only a professional can tell you the legal truths.
 

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A credit card debt is an unsecured loan. Yes I "believe" they can include all late fees and charges on the final balance if they decide to sue you in court for a settlement ---(I am not 100% sure of this)
As I understand it, the fees etc accumulate until the loan is charged off. Once charged off, the account is closed, the loan is no longer considered an asset, and no further interest/fees accumulate. It'll go to collections at that point, and then maybe they'll sue in the long run, if it's for enough. But once its charged off, the increase in amount owed *should* freeze, I believe.

but it is not a lien on a home or anything.
It is not, but if they do sue, then they will win, and then they can file for liens, garnishments, etc.
 
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