I was unemployed for two years, during that time my fiancee and I were under an extreme financial burden. Two years later, things are worse then before. Why am I still trying? We have less then 3 days to make up rent for this month, and then, suprise, next month is due. Everyone tells us to save money, but, how can you save money when what little you have left from paying overdue bills, credit cards, and rent goes for food and gas? Now, I can’t even buy food. I haven’t eaten more than a hamburger and some soup in 3 days. Why do I go on? In 3 days I loose everything, our apartment, the home we have been trying to make. I have no one to turn to, my family cannot help me, and the same with her family. She is crying every night, and I am so stressed out. I’ve talked to her about bankruptcy, but she refuses to. She has stated that she would rather be dead. I don’t want to lose her, and I don’t see how we can go on. This is so wrong, I work 40 hours a week, she works harder than that sometimes 50-70 hours a week. This would be longer and far more detailed, but I can’t hink straight right now.
Man, I don’t know what to say, other than – are you near a food bank? At least try to get some nourishment … it might help you deal with the rest.
Ditto, Food bank, Salvation Army, do what you can. Social Service wouldn’t be a bad place to go either, there are lots of programs to help people out.
I hope you can convince her to consider bankruptcy. This is why it exists – to keep people hit by unexpected circumstances from being crippled by debt. It hurts to swallow your pride and accept the stigma, but it’s a lot better than being homeless. Similarly, you might call your credit card companies, tell them you’re considering bankruptcy, and see if they’ll set up some sort of low-interest or interest-free repayment plan. They’ll often cut you a lot of slack in order to cut their losses.
Regardless, you’re in a shitty situation, and I wish you luck.
Exactly. There are a number of programs designed to help people like you. There are Food Stamps, Welfare, rental and housing assistance, utility bill assistance, job search resources, and any number of other things. There is no shame in making use of these resources when you truly need need them–that’s why they exist.
I perfectly agree . . . bankruptcy was created to allow someone to make a fresh start. My wife and I were in the same situation: she lost her job, unexpected medical expenses . . . finally our outgo was greater than our income.
Try to fend off your creditors for a couple of weeks by end means necessary, and get yourself to a lawyer for a consultation (most lawyers can handle a simple bankruptcy, from what I can tell). The only downside is coming up with his fee; our’s was $600.
You DO have options. The best of luck.
By the way, the relief I felt when I was able to tell a creditor, “Talk to my lawyer” was indescribable.
Another route to go for help is the United Way. If you call 211, they will line you up with the organizations in your area that can help you with things like rent assistance, food, etc. You’re already working, which is a huge plus for you to show that you are making good-faith efforts to get ahead.
Under the degree of stress you have, this might be unreasonable, but you might also check into a second job – waiting tables, bartending, babysitting, whatever you can do. Most food-service jobs can start you off at less than 20 hours a week, especially if you can find a job with a place that is locally-owned and -run. Giant chains are less flexible and less forgiving, but the little Mexican place down on the corner might be just the type of place that needs an extra body to fill in at odd hours, and tips can be great.
In this proud land we grew up strong
we were wanted all along
I was taught to fight, taught to win
I never thought I could fail
Rest of lyrics deleted - CF
At least until their budgets get cut or they close their doors, thanks to short-sighted politicians and their policies.
Listen to these people, BonoVox. Call county social services first. They may not be able to help but they will be able to refer you to organizations that can. Try the Salvation Army, try food shelves, try United Way.
Some of these services are why you pay taxes. Use them.
When I was in a similar position (except that I didn’t go broke, I was broke to start with), the people who helped me most was the Crisis Assistance Ministry. They paid my rent, gave me clothes and food, and even some pieces of furniture. See if there is one near you.
Please don’t post the entire lyrics to a song. Kindly familarise yourself with our rules regarding copyright violations and fair use, to be found in About This Message Board.
Yeah sure, as the others have said, go ahead and do seek financial aid from the many agencies that exist. However, I am curious about your expenses. You say you work for 40 hours a week and your girl friend works even more. Even at minimum wages, I suppose that should bring in a fair amount of money. Where and how do you manage to spend everything, that you do not even have money to afford two square meals a day?
BonoVox, I’m curious as to how much is unsecured credit card debt. Not that you have to tell me, after all, your finances are your finances, but if it’s a major percentage of you overall debt, it may help to go to a credit counseling service instead of filing for bankruptcy.
I was in a situation after breaking up with my first fiancee where I was working two jobs and still barely scraping by under a mountain of credit card debt (no longer having the fiancee’s money coming in to help pay for things she had help charge in the first place, but that’s another rant). I had to leave my apratment and move in with my parents. Still, I could not get ahead or put any money aside.
I don’t know where you are, but in Missouri, there’s a Consumer Credit Counseling Service, who consolodated all my unsecured credit card debt free of charge. Interest rates on the cards were either waived or dropped to about 1%. The downside is you have to cut up all your credit cards and you cannot use any other credit cards while you are in the program. But I didn’t have to file bankruptcy, I didn’t have to pay a lawyer, and I simply made one lump payment to the Consumer Credit Counseling Service, who dispersed the money to the credit card companies. After two and a half years I was out of debt.
Just be sure you check your options before filing bankruptcy. If credit counseling isn’t for you, then by all means, follow the advice of the other posters here and check out the other available programs out there.
I am really sorry for what you are passing through, What’s the point of keep going? Simply put, look at the alternative.
There is no shame in being unable to pay your debts. It’s not that you don’t want it’s that you can’t. It has nothing to do with dignity nor pride, capitalism is a cold bitch.
I really can’t give you more advice considering that I do not know american laws. So I will give my opinion and hope an american lawyer corrects me.
IMHO you are in the best of barganing positions. You don’t seem to have many assets. You rent your place, it seems you have a car (can you sell it, or you need it to work), you also have your salary (I don’t know how much of it your creditors can get, in Argentina it’s never more than 20%). I suppose you also have some minor assets, tv, oven, etc. Again, I don’t know how much can your creditors get (In Argentina somethings like bed, oven, clothes, etc they can’t).
If you have little they can take little away from you. I am a lawyer and I am an specialist in comercial law. Believe me when I say that when we have a case like you we are ready to bargain because the alternative is to get nothing.
Your first thing to do tomorrow morning is to look for legal assistance. I don’t know how things work in U.S.A. but I am sure you can have free legal asistance (college, lawyers associations), I hope an american lawyer doper is reading this and can direct you to where to get it.
But even before getting a lawyer you an your girlfriend need a change of attitude, all the problems you describe are money related, there are worst tragedies in life. So cheer up, polish your sword and prepare for battle.
You can have money issues and still live a great life, (I and 36 millions argentinians who owe billions guarantee you that) (I hope that make you laugh)
Catholic social services is another agency that might be able to help, at least with food. You say you were unemployed for two years, I’m guessing that means you were employed before that, and you’re employed now, so you’ve paid INTO the system and there’s no shame in getting a hand up.
That’s what they’re there for. Good luck, I was in a similar situation a long while ago, and it was awful.
Now that I am slighty more coherent, I might be able to make more sense.
We were(and are) living paycheck to paycheck on that razors edge, so close that we are more over then on the edge. She has major medical bills from emergency room visits and a hospital stay. She has severe asthma, and did not have medical insurance, totaling a great deal of money. We were both unemployed, her being fresh out of college, and I being released from job after Enron made everyone tighten their belts. I was recieving unemployment, and she was recieving SSD. We barely made ends meet, paying for rent, and essential medication (which is a whole pit thread itself.) In March of this year, she got a job, and SSD decided she made too much money, and cut her off. I got a job in December, things seemed to be getting better. We have been paying the bills as we can, and surviving on what little remained.
That all changed on June 29 when a bill collector for the hospital convinced her that if she didnt pay 600 immediatly, her credit would be ruined for life. She authorized a payment, and then told me the next day. We relied on her check to pay rent. I have been also making payments for her credit cards, and I didn’t have enough to pay rent. She had 300 that she gave to me to put in my account to help cover rent for this month. The credit card company took that money (yes I had authorized them to take payments) leaving me with 299 in my account. I get paid on the 11th which gives us an additional 330 to for the rent. Rent is 840. Rent is not covered. Meanwhile, the power company calls and says they will shut off power if they don’t recieve money, same with the phone. I have to send 100 to each. The car does need gas to take us to and from work, and it is nice to eat once and a while, so there goes 50 or so more. Which leads us to this week, SSD sends her a notice that she has to pay back a lot of money, enough to buy a decent used car, the credit card company dings her accout and puts it in the negative, and we have very little food left. I have collected 750 out of the 840 I need to pay rent for the month of July which is due in full on Monday the 26th, I need to put 100 towards that rent, her next check is basically halved, and rent is due again on the first in the form of a cashiers check.
The social programs are something, but we don’t qualify, we make too much money
Credit consoling would be nice but she doesnt make enough to qualify
To sum up, we are up shit creek with out a paddle, and the big waterfall called homelessness is right ahead.
I know what you mean about making too much to qualify for social programs and yet not enough to sustain yourselves.
You mentioned being out of work due to Enron. So I am going to presume that you are somewhere here in general vicinity of Houston. Trust me on this, the bankruptcy judge has seen ex-Enron folk before you and given your girl friends medical bills will not give the two of you a hard time.
In 1993 we accrued just under $300,000 of medical expenses in just under twelve weeks that we were still trying to pay off nine years later. Admitedly insurance covered the majority, however as you might guess the amount not covered by insurance was way out of our ability to just write a check. As horrible as 1993 was for us, 2001 was almost as bad. My husband’s job took several painful pay cuts one of them huge due to the events of Sept. 11 and I was unemployed from a large energy company in Houston and due to the large number of people unemployed, I was unable to find work at the level of pay I had been earning. I eventually found work about about half my former salary.
We could have gone the bankruptcy route after the illness of our child just based on the medical bills. However we didn’t want to do that so we spent 9 years trying to pay everyone what they wanted. We were/are still driving the (now 15 years old) paid off cars held together with wire, web strapping, and wd-40 we’d had when illness struck our family. Neither one of us wanted to to default on other payments. We valued our good name and credit rating, but 2001 was the (2001 pound) brick that broke our financial backs.
It was heartbreaking, we were both physically ill at the thought of defaulting and going in bankruptcy. I spent days throwing up and with chest pain and he who never gets a headache started having headaches when we finally started talking about getting an attorney. The day we met with the man I had to concentrate to keep my trembling from showing. It didn’t get better right away, although it is such a relief to be able to say “talk to my attorney, here’s the numbers you need” and never hear from them again. It was hard again later to attend the credit counseling and hear (a few of the) people’s queastions and you can tell they are trying to find a way to take advantage of the system instead of working the program honestly. And hard again the first court date. But when that judge looked at our paperwork a few minutes looked up and said to husband and I, “you work for blank, and you work for blank. Wow y’all got it from both sides didn’t you?” and said without waiting from a response from us to his court assistant while signing stuff, approved to proceed or whatever his words with it all started to get better slowly from there.
We are still not out of the woods. But we are doing what me must and doing our best to go from here. My husband took a part time job in addition to his regular full time job and we do everything we can to make the payments to the trustee and keep our bills current. Our teenager works and pays many of his own expenses including his insurance, phone bill, most of his clothes, many of his school fees and all of his sports and entertainment spending. So far we are doing ok. Some months better than others. Now we no longer need help from church with groceries, and a couple times in the last year or so we even managed to get a little bit together to see a movie or get new shoes when someone blows a sole.
When you can and in the kindest way you can ask her again to consider bankruptcy, that is what it is there for to allow people who are in dire situations a chance at a fresh start.
If you two are in the Houston area and are really going days without food, send me an e-mail. I haven’t any descretionary funds to help you (just ask the court), but I do have some items I could arrange to give you. Nothing fancy, just plain staples like rice, legumes, a hearty soup mix and such, but it’d be better than going without food for days.
All best, hang in there.
BonoVox, I’m going to go with the assumption that you are in Houston (as Abby did).
Do you guys already get the “Lite-Up” discount on your electric bill? Check with the company to see if you qualify.
Medical bills…are the least important bills you have. They do not affect your credit score as much as other bills. Put those to the side, tell them you will pay $20 a month or whatever. They usually do not care if you make some sort of arrangement, and if they do…tough. You can’t pay medical bills if you don’t have a job. It’s hard for homeless people to keep jobs, I would imagine.
If you are here in Houston, contact me through my email please. I might be able to help in a few different ways, but I would like to ask you a few more questions privately.
Either way, good luck. Don’t listen to everything the bill collectors say, it’s their JOB to get the money, they aren’t always truthfully about the consequences of you not sending them everything you owe right away.