I’ve Been Living Off My Credit Cards for a While. – Tai

“Dear Steve,

I am a married woman 27 years old. I have a two year old daughter and I am on a fixed income. I am considered disabled by the state in which I reside and receive $642 per month from SSA and SSI combined.

My husband is not working and does not contribute to household cost as he did in the past. We have no savings, stocks, bonds, 401K, IRA, nothing! I have an auto loan for an over priced Honda Civic and pay $387.85 monthly on a 72 month loan I just cant afford this any more I need to cut my expenses.

My question is what can I do to lower my loan payment, what are my options?? In August I refinanced my $399 lease to the current finance I have, which after recently doing some research I realize was a mistake, but here I am still needing to do something to lower the payments. I need a car though as it makes getting around for me and my toddler much easier.

How soon can I refinance again or how do I go about negotiating a new payment plan. The only asset I have at this point financially is my excellent credit score 740 although I do have high balances as I have been living off my cards for a while so if I could save money on my loan and use what I am saving to pay off my cards my score would increase. Also I do have one item in dispute with Experian.

Please HELP!!!

Thank you so much in advance!!!



Dear Tai,

I suspect the damage has already been done if you’ve been living off your credit cards for a while in order to try and make ends meet. In your situation, the likelihood you will be able to dig yourself out of this hole with your current income situation is not good. The chances might be better if your husband was bringing in income. Hopefully he’s got a really good reason for not contributing to the household. I’d love to hear it.

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With escalating credit card debt the reality is your credit score is a fallacy. It’s really not that good. You see you are really negative each month and can’t make ends meet. The only reason you are current on your bills is because you’ve been robbing Peter to pay Paul, and Peter is pretty sick of that. If you were not digging yourself in deeper you would have fallen behind some time ago and your credit score would be a more accurate reflection of your current situation.

You are quickly reaching the end of the road here and you’ve run out of options. If you give the car back you’ll wind up with a huge bill and no transportation. If you keep using the cards to balance your budget you are only digging yourself in deeper.

In order to break out of this cycle one of two things is going to have to happen. Either your husband is going to have to step up and start bringing in income or you are going to have to click here to find a local bankruptcy attorney you like. The bankruptcy attorney can explain to you how you can get legal protection from your creditors and either hand the car back or maybe even keep the car through your bankruptcy.

I know this is a difficult reality to face but the day was eventually going to come and my dear, today is that day. Please go meet with a local bankruptcy attorney and report back on what you plan to do.


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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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