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I’m in an Awful Mess WIth My Finances. – Kelly

“Dear Steve,

I’m in an awful mess. A big part is my stupidity! But here it is.

I graduated from college in 2005. I went to school to be a teacher. I now have my Masters in Education. That is wonderful! But I do have a huge student loan to pay off. In addition, my parents both passed away in 2005 and left me their home. It took three years to actually get a teaching job for a district. During the time that I was looking for a job, I racked up a lot of bills. I have ONE credit card that carries a 250-300 line of credit. That is not my problem. My problem is the home equity line of credit on my parents home (still in their name because I cant get my own mortgage).

The back taxes of almost 20,000 that I could not pay because I was trying to keep my house out of foreclosure when I was only making 9.50 per hr. I did have some credit cards that I have paid off, and I have some small medical expenses 500-700.

I also have every day expenses of being a single mom, as well as my regular bills that I just struggle paying every month (utilities, car and such). I am still paying off my moms funeral expenses every month…that is a terrrrrrrible bill to even look at! I honestly try to pay my bills, but my way of dealing with not having money is to keep spending! I go over my limit in December, but then I tighten it up in January.

I’m forever paying fines and fees! I was unable to work over the summer because my daughter broke her leg and needed constant care. It did not make any sense to make 2.00 per hour after taxes and daycare were taken out.

So I am catching up on bills. In September I made a car payment over the phone for the money to be taken out on a certain day. Well, there was an issue of my first paycheck of the school year being deposited. I called the bank and told them not to take the money out…they did anyway and it cost me 117 in fines. They told me that they would deduct that amount from the next car payment. When I went to make that car payment, another representative was supposed to call me back with the correct payment, but took the full amount of money out of the account without confirming it with me first. That bounced 230 worth of fines. As a courtesy, the finance company told me that they would defer two months of payments because it was their fault. I went threw all of the paperwork to get it done. So according to them, my next payment was due on Jan 15th. Well, I was on my way to work yesterday when I found that my car had been reposed by the finance company. I called the supervisor, and got a huge apology and they had the towing company bring my car back that day…But again..I’m loosing money because I now have to pay two more months of interest, as well as the income from not being able to get to work! These set backs have been happening to me all the time.

Steve, I’m at the end of my rope! I must be doing everything wrong. My credit is terrible! My credit is 513 as of December. I am a single mom. My daughter looks to me for guidance and as a role model. I’m such a terrible mom in this area! We, I, am constantly fearful that I will loose this house because of the back tax issue. But I can’t pull that money out of anywhere. We live day to day, week to week, month to month. At any time my gas and electric will be shut off. I know that if I cut too many corners that I will be resentful and overspend on “fun” items.

I have never EVER been afraid of hard work. Many, many, many times I have taken a second job to get myself out of this type of situation. Unfortunately, if I did that now I would have to either pay about 5/hr for daycare or leave my 10 year old alone for 20 hours a week. Both choices cost to much for different reasons!! What can I do? Where do I start? Finding a part time job is not an option for me right now. Where can I go for financial advice that is basically free or as close as possible. I am at the end of my rope.. my stress levels are so high! Please help.


Dear Kelly,

Thanks for all the information, it helps.

Here is what we both know for certain, the current path isn’t working for you.

The back tax issue is a huge problem, and so is the mortgage not in your name. If the bank discovered that both parents are dead they could call that mortgage at any time.

After sitting and pondering over this it seems to me the best solution might be for you to sell the house. That will hopefully clear the tax issue and satisfy the mortgage. Then, hopefully you can find a local place to rent instead.

The options here are very limited. Increasing income isn’t a possibility you said, and reducing the debt through something like a bankruptcy would not be helpful since you’d still have to make the regular mortgage payment, car payment and still pay the back taxes.

My advice is if you really want to be the Mom here and lead by example you will need to be proactive and take charge of the situation. Sometimes that means doing things we might not like, like selling the house. But unless you take action the situation is not going to change at all, in fact it will get worse.

If your child’s father is still alive you need to go after him for child support. That money is not for you, it is to help to care for the child. You need it and she needs it.

By your own admission you are a stress shopper. It’s very common. But unless we eliminate the major financial stressor your spending will be a repeat pattern of spend and regret in an attempt to medicate yourself over the rough patches. I’ve seen the same situation time and time again.


You are not alone. I'm here to help. There is no need to suffer in silence. We can get through this. Tomorrow can be better than today. Don't give up.

About the author

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.

1 Comment

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