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We Don’t Have a Lot of Debt But Can’t Make Ends Meet Without Overdraft. – Shannon

“Dear Steve,

My husband and I have 3 small children and he has two children from a previous marriage. We are currently only in about 13,000 in debt but cant catch up any payments making it seem harder to get it together on a budget.

As I indicated, we are approximently 13,000 in debt. This comes from family, finance companies and medical bills. While our debt situation isn’t so unique, the way we have had to survive may be. Every week we have to pay bills with NO money in the bank. Our bank pays the checks, charging us a fee and we are in the negative constantly from month to month. Therefore making a budget is almost impossible because we have no way of starting with a whole paycheck. We are one month behind on the house and two months on the car. Utilities, food, cost of living in general always seems to be done this way. The charges to the bank are killing us, but as behind as we are, we have felt we have had no choice but to pay this way. 13,000 isnt nearly as bad as some of these others have stated they are in debt, but it feels tremendous to us. We cant continue down this road. How can we come to a positive?


Dear Shannon,

Well it is clear that something has to change. My initial concern is that even if a magic wand could be waived to bring you current, it probably would not take long for you to slip under again.

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I suspect that even if you were current the monthly budget is so tight that there is little leftover to save in an emergency fund.

While the credit card debt can be dealt with, you’ll have to pay extra on the home and car to get caught up. And right about now I bet you’re saying to yourself, how are we going to do that?

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The debt is the symptom here and it isn’t the problem. The underlying issue driving you into this position is your life doesn’t easily fit inside your income. Regardless on what we do with the debt you are also going to have to increase your income and/or reduce your expenses to avoid living on the edge. So what’s the game plan for doing that?

Once we do that and can take steps to avoid this situation in the future, then you can clear up the debt to start over.

Now I don’t want to assume too much but does it sound like my overview is close to your reality?

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

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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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