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Living in Western Maryland and Just Getting By. – Edy

“Dear Steve,

credit card debt=$12,675

other unsecured debt (for metal building which is part garge/part home that we are building/financing ourselves as $$ and/or time allow) =$18901.05

land mortgage $67,000/$680 month

motorhome (used as primary residence for past 5 years) 505.00 monthly

truck- owe less than $1500, will be paid off in Oct or Nov, 390.00 monthly

My husband and I are building our home. We contracted out for just the shell of the building (40’x50’) which is a large garage with a modest 800 sq. ft. living quarters. We contracted for concrete foundation work but all other work has and is done by the two of us as time and/or money allow. We have a mortgage on the land, consumer loan on the metal shell and have financed the rest on our own. We do not have a construction loan of any sort. All building materials have and are out-of-pocket or on credit cards. We have lived in the motorhome for the past five years. The resale value would be at a loss because of what we still owe and its worn in condition from full-time use.

Since 2009, my husband has a seasonal layoff during the winter months and varies greatly the rest of the year depending on the weather, so income varies from $1650-2800(avg.)a month. $1650 is unemployment, 2800 can go up or down depending on weather during that pay period. I receive $1147 monthly disability retirement and I work a pt job at a school earning an average $333 bi-weekly only during school months. In the past I worked temporarily for the Census during the spring and/or summer of ’09 and ’10, but this summer I had surgery which kept me from working at all.

Our monthly income is approx 4500. Our monthly expenses are approx 4600 as follows:

Amex-70*

Truck-390

Building Loan-263

Electricity-250

Home Depot-65*

Land pymt-680

Motorhome-505

Phone-80

Sears/MasterCard-100/50*

Sears/Store-100/50*

Insurance (3 vehicles + motorhome)-272

TV-33 (will double in Oct)

Gas-730

Food-560

Medical-150

Recreation (his cigarettes, my wine or other alcoholic beverages and our eating out)-400

The Sears/MasterCard got maxed during the first and unanticipated lay-off in 2009, Sears Store and Home Depot have building expenses, and the AmEx was for unexpected/emergency expenses that have just accumulated over the years. Lowe’s credit card is paid in full.

We live in a somewhat remote area in Western Md. My husband’s commute to work changes, but averages 240 miles round trip. He stays at my mother’s three days a week to save on gas but this is still a large portion of our income. My gas costs about half of what I earn at my pt job. I am actively looking for either a full time position or another pt job close to my present one. My commute is about 44 miles round trip.

During the last lay-off, we fell behind on payments on both Sears cards and now have a minimum due that is out of reach. While I try to make payments each month, the $35 fee is continually added because I can’t pay the min due. In the past, I have tried to communicate with the creditors when my husband was first laid off, but they still wanted a higher minimum payment than we could afford. While I have been late at times on the Home Depot and/or AmEx, I can usually handle the minimums and often pay more than that on them. Before we fell behind on the Sears cards, I always tried to pay at least $20 or more above the minimums on all the cards. Because of our payment history, our current interest rates on all these cards are at 27-29%. Asking for a lower rate has been denied.

I am considering credit counseling but have been overwhelmed with the amount of companies out there and am leary of all of them. I do not have a working computer or internet access at home at present, and I am limited to two hours max at the library. My phone does get internet/email but we are not in the best location and viewing your site via the phone has not worked well. Please advise me on a reputable credit counseling company or other avenue to manage our debt. We are swimming with cement boots on. (I have downloaded your book, but until I start back to work, I am unable to read it due to the time constraints at the library and it costs .20 per page to print.)

I was really hoping to get some feedback before I decided on a plan of action, but now besides the growing minimum due that I cannnot afford, one creditor is stating that they are going to “charge off” the account. Yesterday I started getting a call from a collector, along with a relative at an old address of ours. I do not know who the caller represents. We are barely scraping by on all our payments yet, most months we do make some sort of payment to all our creditors. There are only two that have accumulated ridiculously high minimums due, since last December, when my husband’s seasonal lay-off began and from which we are still trying to recover. All others are current, if only at the minimum due. I am actively seeking addition pt or full time work, but that is not promising. Please help with your advice on a plan of action.

Thanks!

Edy”

Don’t miss our free Get Out of Debt – “How To” Guide Series on a number of topics, for loads of practical advice, tips, and help to beat back debt. – Click Here

The Answer

Dear Edy,

Since your time online is limited, let’s just jump straight into giving you solution investigation homework.

I’d like for you to click here to find a local bankruptcy attorney.

If you click here for credit counseling information and put your phone number in to contact I’m positive both people will call fairly promptly so you don’t need to wait around at the computer at the library.

Please listen to what both debt relief providers have to say, and then come back and post an update comment on this story. I want to know how the process is going.

To find this article, just search for Edy on the site.

Big Hug!

Living in Western Maryland and Just Getting By.   Edy
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If you have a credit or debt question you’d like to ask just use the online form. I’m happy to help you totally for free.

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About Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode
Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.

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