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I Have to Use Credit Cards to Pay for Groceries and Gas. – Susan

“Dear Steve,

I was working full time (as was my husband) when we purchased our home 10 years ago (May, 2001). We refinanced to a 20-year 5.5% mortgage 7 years ago (Jan, 2004). I had a child in January 2004 and never returned to full time work b/c of my childs medical situation. I can’t catch up. I use credit cards for groceries and gas and now I’m overwhelmed. I know our monthly mortgage payment is now 3/4 of my husbands monthly take home pay.

Do we refinance? We have no upfront $$ for fees. Can the fees be rolled into the payment? I like the fact that we’re 7+ years into a 20 year mortgage but if we can’t afford it, then we can’t afford it!!

I assume that I pay my highest interest rate cards first and get them down. Looks like 4.6 years for one of them, 4.1 years for another, 2.1 for one and 1.5 for another one.

Should I look into getting a consolidation loan? I don’t think I can afford a lump sum payment once a month of $500-$600 for a loan but that’s what I’m paying monthly in cc payments. I feel like I’m robbing Peter to pay Paul. HELP!!

Thank you kindly,


Dear Susan,

Well one thing is for certain, something is going to have to change here.

With the balances growing on the credit cards and the need to use borrowed money just to get by, we first need to face the issue that your current life does not fit within your current income.

As you said, since you purchased the house you are no longer bringing in your old salary that helped to make ends meet. That’s almost an insurmountable problem that is seemingly hard to fix.

I understand it is necessary for you to stay home and care for your child. But if your husband can’t increase his income you may have to look at reducing your expenses. That would include selling the home and downsizing to live within your income.

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But let’s look at some other issues first. I’d suggest you contact a local mortgage broker and see what 30 year loans are out there that you’d qualify for on your current income and credit score. Let me know how much that reduces your payment and if that is enough breathing room for you to be able to make your credit card payments, not add to the debt, and save money at the same time.

Update me in the comments section below when you find out about your mortgage possibilities.


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.

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