Ask The Get Out of Debt Experts Budgeting & Budgets

My Husband and I Have a Huge Amount of Debt. – Karen

“Dear Steve,

My husband and I have incurred a huge amount of debt ($44,000) and desperately need assistance with identifying strategies to help us pay it off. We have enough money coming in to pay the bills each month, but we are getting nowhere near paying the debt down.

How can you help us figure out how to pay this debt off within a reasonable amount of time?


Dear Karen,

OK, we are going to have to take this in stages since I’ll need some additional information from you to best answer this. Just post your answers in the comments on this question and I’ll spot them there and reply.

From what you’ve shared so far I’m not certain what the interest rates or types of debt is.

  1. Can you please provide me with some additional information on the debt?
  2. How old are you and your husband now?
  3. Are your currently able to save money each month to protect yourself in case of a financial emergency.
  4. Do you think your employment situation is stable?

Please update me on your progress by posting updates here in the comments section of your question. I’m very interested in how this works out for you.


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.

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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.


  • Thank you so much – you have given me a starting point as well as some ideas on what may work for us. I truly appreciate the time you have devoted to assist us in trying to find a workable solution!!

    It has been such a pleasure corresponding with you and again –
    Many Thanks!!

  • Karen,

    Don’t try it if you feel you are going to come up short at the end of the year though.

    While the interest rate on the other cards is low I’d rather you save up the case to pay the card off in full. While you are holding on to the cash it gives you more of a safety net.

    Your situation is incredibly problematic because you are not doing well enough to really get ahead nor poor enough that bankruptcy is a logical solution.

    The reason I suggest paying off the card with the $9K is because if your situation was to get really bad and bankruptcy became an option then the cash on hand would be a problem for you in bankruptcy. Might as well use it and try to dig out now.

    If you are not tracking your spending now, start doing it with some online or offline tool. This will help to put some more found money in your pocket. You might want to look at the site of my friend Adam Baker at for some really good money management tips to find missing cash in your budget.

  • My only concern is the adjustment of the withholdings. Because I am a contract employee and receive a 1099 at the end of the year, we allow maximum withholdings from my husband’s check to try to offset the difference. However, I am willing to try this. When you say we should save $6,000, are you thinking that we should apply this amount monthly to another card, or should we just save it in an account?

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