I Used to Be Debt Free But Since We Lost Food Stamps We Just Can’t Make It. – Joshua

“Dear Steve,

Well, I used to be debt free. I paid all my bills on time, even early.

I did have food stamps which helped a lot. I had one daughter. I got married and with my wife’s income and mine we lost food stamps. We now have three children.

It seems like ever since we lost the food stamps things have been going straight downhilll. Now we’re a couple months behind on most of our bills and paying rent days or a week late. We’re paying car payment late. which adds late fee of $30. We keep overdrawing our account which adds overdraft charges. Most of the time we have no choice. The vehicle we’re paying on just broke down and we have three more years to pay on it. The repair costs are $800 and I owe both my dad and uncle $400 each.

Our bank account is at $0. It just seems like every month gets worse even when it looks like things are going to get better. Oh and that vehicle just broke down about a week ago now and I hit a deer this morning and destroyed my windshield.

I had to borrow about $150 from my pay tomorrow to cover the cost of fixing it so it would be driveable. Now the rent is going to be about ten days late because of it. I just applied for a credit card but I do not know if I will get approved or if it will be a good idea to use it if I do get approved. I have never had a credit card. My dad always told me never to get one. I am 24 now. A year ago I had excellent credit, but I assume or think that it is probably trashed now.

My question is simply, What do I do. I am absolutely lost and do not have the money to pay someone to help me obviously.


Dear Joshua,

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Welcome to the crappy part of being an adult. Sometimes it seems like we all go through stages that bad luck is the only kind of luck we have. I’ve been there myself.

It’s actually easy to build credit but I question if this is the right thing for you to do with an unsecured credit card at the moment.

If you charged things to the card, and you are currently just limping from month to month, how would you pay that debt back? I fear you’d just get further in over your head.

If you want to build credit safely without risking a bunch of debt you may not be able to manage then follow this advice.

So how do you break out of this circle? Well you do it by reducing your expenses or increasing your income. It’s not magic, just hard.

You should probably run through the Benefits.gov site and see what other public benefits you may be eligible for. Some are surprised. Take advantage of anything you may be eligible for.

Please post your responses and follow-up messages to me on this in the comments section below.


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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Damon Day - Pro Debt Coach

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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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