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Blogshare – Guest Post

Last summer, I participated in an event called Blogshare. You may remember my guest poster, the overqualified teacher who couldn’t find a job at the time. More than thirty bloggers participated, and we all shared our secrets on each other’s blogs. Our hostess, R from And You Know What Else changed things up a bit this time by keeping our identities secret from each other. I have no idea who wrote the post below. However, we do know where to find our own posts so that we can check for comments. So please leave her some love (I’m assuming a guy wouldn’t be buying stilletos in the first place) and tell her everything’s going to be okay.

Credit Card Debt:  $18,248.21
Student Loan Debt:  $1,143.50
Bank Account Balance: $-127.73
2008 Income:  $17,462.56

I feel like that perky Becky-girl from the Shopaholic series.  Only, I have no viable option to get out of this hole.  I realize that my problem lies in the fact that I purchased too many Starbux and stiletto’s while I was not making the money to afford that lifestyle.  At the moment, I make $9.46 an hour and cannot pay my monthly bills with my monthly income, no matter how I spin it.

I haven’t paid my rent for February.  I haven’t paid my car payment.  I am behind on every single one of my bills and my bank account and my overdraft are both overdrawn.  Do you know what it’s like to be in this position?  Because I don’t.  This is the first time I have ever been this much in the hole.  In fact, this is the first time I have had more than $500 on ANY credit card and a negative balance in my bank account.  Economic pinch?  Yes, I feel it.

I sell plasma to pay for gas to go to work in a call center, which I feel is beneath me.  I scrounge for change to do laundry so I am not embarassed to go to work.  I pay for groceries with pennies.  Seriously.  Do you know what kind of looks you get when you pay for a loaf of bread and a pint of milk with pennies?  It’s terrible.  I have lost 17  pounds since January because I can’t afford groceries.  However, I make sure to look cute everyday so no one guesses what is really happening in my bank account.

…I am too proud to ask my parents, my boyfriend, my friends or my siblings for help.  Even though I know they love me and can afford to help me out, I refuse to even ask for twenty dollars.  I have supported myself since I was in high school and have never asked anyone for money.  I simply don’t know how to do that.  The fact that no one suspects my plight doesn’t make that conversation easier.

During the whole Valentine’s Day hooplah a sick and twisted part of me wished my boyfriend would propose so I could just say yes, run to the courthouse, do the “I do” thing & let him take care of me.  Immediately, the rest of me–the sane, logical, stubborn part–felt disgusted at such an “easy out” fantasy.  Even though that Shopaholic Becky girl managed to get herself out of her financial troubles, and she’s just crazy.

At this point I am holding out for my tax return (which will be sizable, but only enough to catch me up, not put me ahead) and hoping that interview I had last week will turn into a job offer.  While there is a really good chance that job offer will come through, I can’t help but feel like the moron who put all her eggs in one basket and then dropped the basket / got robbed / drove off a cliff.

For more blogshare posts, check out the links below:
And You Know What Else
Andrea Unplugged
Blue Soup
Bright Yellow World
Bwildered
Caity of the Keps
Catheroominations
Citystreams
Daily Tannenbaum
Did I Say That Outloud?
Dispatches From The Failed Mommy Club
Face Down
For The Long Run
Full Of Snark
Heidikins
In Java, Literally
Just Below 63
LizLand
Malfeasance
A New Duck
NonSoccer Mom
The North Is My Snowcone
Not The Daddy
Operation Pink Herring
Pants, Pants, Pants
Red Red Whine
Sassy Buster
Sauntering Soul
Shushing Action
Snarke
Snow-Covered Hills
Swimming With Sharks
Thinking Some More
Trueish Story
Way Way Up
Whiskey Marie

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24 Responses

  1. Yikes. Thanks for sharing your story, and good luck with the job hunt.

  2. Take it from one who has been where you are, the best thing you could do is to seek help. You are not alone; there are plenty of loving people willing to help. Seek out someone you don’t know as its very hard for family and friends to be objective; go to your church or an established debt counselor such as Consumer Credit Counseling Service. I worked with over 500 people in similar situations as a Budget Coach with Crown Financial Ministries, http://www.crown.org, for 20 years; they have the resources and materials to help you work out of this and establish habits that will help keep you from going back. Your situation is not hopeless, I have seen far worse; you can get through this but it will take time. BTW, after you’ve sought help, bring your boyfriend up to speed; if you marry him without his knowing, he’ll feel deceived, not a good way to start out. Tell your parents around the same time. Please, dear, seek help; it was the best thing I did in my time of trouble.

  3. I happen to know Marion personally (i.e. he’s not a spammer). When Hubs and I got married, we went to him for financial advice and he found us a fabulous budgeting counselor. I highly recommend that you follow up with Crown or Dave Ramsey.

    You can get through this! Don’t give up. I agree that you should definitely talk about it with your boyfriend, especially if y’all are getting serious.

  4. I know EXACTLY where you are at and how you feel. I wish that I had asked for help or sought council before my debt etc overtook my life. I HIGHLY recommend Dave Ramsey. We recently completed his program and it was life changing for us! I wish that I had done it myself before I got married. Good luck with the job interview!

  5. I know the panicky feeling of not having a single dime to your name. I barely made rent my senior year of college, had several thousand dollars worth of credit card debt, and ate kraft mac & cheese every. single. day. for a very. long. time. If you don’t want to ask for help in the form of money (I certainly understand that), at least tell someone about your situation so you don’t have to carry the stress alone. You will get through this, and you will learn from it. You are not alone.

  6. Oh honey I have been there too. I had to break down and ask my (now ex) husband for money the week before we got married because we had guests coming to our house to stay and the power and the gas were going to be turned off because I could not afford to pay the bills. I had credit card debt up to my eyeballs, a tiny income, and I knew even after getting married I would be no better off because he didn’t make any money either. I never told anyone other than him what I was going through. All I can say is that I second what everyone else is saying…..get help from somewhere and don’t struggle for years like I did. I think you will feel like a huge weight is lifted off of you if you simply share with someone what is going on. It doesn’t mean you have to take any money from them, but just to have someone realize what you’re going through would probably make you feel better.

    I worked two jobs for over 10 years just to keep my head above water. Eventually after my divorce, I got myself straightened out and I am now debt free. YOU CAN GET THERE!!!!

  7. Could a second job be a possibility? If you could, perhaps the entire paycheque could go on the credit card?

    If you prove you are getting help financially, some places will chop your bills in half (eg phone rental and the like) so it’s worth it!

    Your parents wouldnt want you going hungry. So what if they give you a little for groceries, one day the time will come when you need to take care of them and it will all even out again. My brother put $20 a week into my bank account every week I was at university and I was super grateful and humbled that someone loved me enough to see I was desperate. Let them know you are in trouble, they might offer help without you having to ask.

  8. I used to pour drinks at a bar when I dropped out of school. There were times when I drove to work on fumes and prayed I’d have enough gas to get to the gas station once I had some tips in my pocket so I could make it home again. It’s a horrible, horrible feeling to have that kind of pressure on you all the time. If there’s someone out there who will help you, don’t make yourself go through this. You can set up a schedule for paying them back. This kind of stress will take you down. Sometimes there isn’t a solution, but if there is, there’s no shame in asking for help.

  9. I have credit card debt for the first time in my life right now too. And we just laid 12 people off at work yesterday. Things are just sucking, I know.

    Hang in there. Pulling for ya on the job.

  10. Same boat, different paddle. High student loan debt, moderate credit card debt, and three days from being laid off. Just keep your head up and hang on. I’ll cross my fingers for you on the job.

  11. I’ve been in that boat before. But you have to take a hard look at the situation and realize HOW you got into this mess so that it NEVER HAPPENS AGAIN.

    I got into a mess of credit card trouble and did one of those debt management programs. I HIGHLY recommend them. It lowers your monthly payment and the interest and it took me 3 years to pay off $20k of debt. It hurts your credit for a few years, but four years later I’m currently buying a condo and my credit rating is very good.

    Ask for help. Stop being so proud. Not asking is going to make things far, far worse for you. Having financial issues will haunt you for the rest of your life.

  12. What a scary situation. I really hope you get the job and your tax return will help you out.

    You are definitely not alone. In this economy, so many people are suffering just like you. I hope it all works out. If you don’t get the job you interviewed for, could you consider getting a second job part-time? I know that’s not fun, but it could help pay the bills and make you feel better.

  13. i’m about to try and negotiate with the mortgage company because nobody is hiring, i’m running out of money and i don’t want to lose my house.

    all the best of luck, i really hope you get that job!

  14. I’m so sorry. I hope you get that job, and I hope things improve.

    While hubby and I are fortunate, and still have our decent jobs, nothing is certain in this economy, and the changes are affecting our credit cards balances, too.

    Good luck!

  15. Also – I’m with the second job people. When my ex took off, I worked 70 hours a week for the better part of a year until I knew I could afford to stay in my house.

  16. I could have written every word of this three years ago. I finally went through a consumer credit couseling service, and now I’m going to be completely out of debt in two more years. It’s taken a LOT of work, and I’ve had to work my butt off, but it can be done. You are not alone in this situation, and if you want, you can absolutely email me directly to chat about it.

  17. I am currently in terrible financial trouble right now, as well. The current economy is absolutely terrible. On top of recently devastating personal trauma, I have no idea how I will be able to pay rent, car insurance, my nearly two month expired car registration (which I just learned can be impounded – JOY), or the cost of a new windshield before I can even pay for the registration, and I have stack of medical bills piling up. This is definitely a terrible economic time. Lately I feel like it will never get better. I don’t know how to solve any of this, but at least we’re not alone? I’m looking for a new job and will be crossing my fingers for you that your job prospect will come through.

  18. Oh, I’m so sorry. Please talk to your loved ones. They need to know and help you. You can take out loans that you pay back interest free from family. You can get out of this. The numbers you posted are not a hole that are un-climb-out-able.

    I wish you the best of luck!

  19. IWillTeachYouToBeRich.com. This is the third time I’m recommending this site on blogshare, so I’m starting to feel like I’m their official advocate, but I’m not. The author just gives great advice. It’s not the stupid stop-buying-those-$4-lattes type of advice either, it’s real practical advice for real people.

    One thing they’ve had lately is that there are two ways to save money: (1) cut costs, and (2) make more money. Even selling old things on ebay or amazon is making more money, and desperate times call for desperate measures.

    Sounds like you are in over your head, and I’m sorry about that. But I believe you can pull through.

  20. I hope posting this made you realize you’re not alone. We all make financial choices that don’t always get solved or wrapped up in pretty blue Tiffany & Co. bow like in the movies.

    But I was there, too. Where I stopped answering my phone to avoid creditors. I had to go online to check my balance banking before I buy lunch or have to decide between putting gas in my car or paying that medical bill. I couldn’t hang out with friends because it involved spending money, but then I got sad because all I did was eat alone.

    The best thing you can do is something. Make some move toward change. Have you contacted your loan people about getting a deferment. Most lenders have allocated a certain amount of time they will allow you to defer your loans in case an emergency arises. I had mine deferred and didn’t make payment for a year! It’s a ton of paperwork, but worth it.

    If you end up getting evicted (which looks awful on your credit and may make it harder to find a new place), you’re going to have to explain it to your friends/family/boyfriend. So tell them now, on your terms, while you have options.

    I also second the credit counseling. I ended up having all my credit cards consolidated and APR’s lowered. Or you can speak with your creditors directly. At the end of the day, they just want to get paid and will work with you to make sure that happens.

  21. I just stopped by your blog and thought I would say hello. I like your site design. Looking forward to reading more down the road.

  22. Oh, I know your panicky feeling well! 4 years ago, my husband and I came to the end of our rope. It was looking like the only way to find peace was to file bankruptcy. I remember calling our credit card company in tears because we could just barely make the monthy payment, but with the interest they were charging us, even though we made the minimum payment, our balance was actually increasing. I begged them to please lower our interest rate. The only thing they would do for us (Booo, MBA, booo to you) was to recommend a debt consolidation program called Take Charge America. Now, I normally would’ve looked into this company, done my research and then made a decision, but I was desperate. I called them and the man helped me set up a reasonable budget, and then they made a payment plan for us based on our budget. We will have paid off over $20,000 in credit card debt (blush) in 4 years by this July when we will make our last payment for the program. I highly recommend this company. I don’t have all the answers for you, but I do know that there is hope. I thought there was no way out of the hole we had dug ourselves, and truthfully, we still have quite a load of student loans ($40K + ) to contend with, but I do know that there is hope and if we keep going we will make it. Just having that credit card debt gone is huge for us. We’ve also amazed ourselves with our ability to live without a credit card for the last 4 years (it’s part of the program). Take Charge America is awesome. I highly recommend them. You are welcome to contact me if you need any more information about them. I’m not representing their company, or being paid to endorse them. 🙂 This is our experience, and it worked for us.

  23. I’ve been in your shoes before and I think it’s the most painful thing in the world. I think the commenters are giving you great advice, but if you want some tiny pieces of advise, here you go:

    Starbucks has free milk. If you go in when they’re busy and bring your own coffee thermos, nobody notices if you pour your whole thermos full of milk. It just looks like you’re adding it to coffee. McDonald’s used to have free catsup – not the ideal meal, but if you’re desperate at least it’s calories. Costco (if you have a membership or can find someone to take you) has craploads of free samples. It may be worth the cost of the membership if you can cobble together some good meals from it. CHURCH! And I’m not talking about the communion wafer. Lots of churches have coffee cake and stuff between services.

    If I titled this comment I would call it the dignified person’s guide to surviving starvation.

  24. Ouch. Best of luck w/ the job hunt…in the meantime, I have no idea where you live or if one is available, but find yourself an Asian market stat for cheap groceries. In college I lived off of approximately $15 a week in groceries. I was a vegetarian, so there was a lot of beans, tofu and rice…and the occasional salmon that I would buy whole and have the fishguy chop into “steaks.” Throw in a couple of cheaper leafy greens and you are set nutritionally. (Kale and collard types are your cheaper options.)

    Good luck to you. And while you may not be good at it, there is no shame in asking your family for help. (Or crashing when you know they are having dinner.)

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