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My Debt Comes From My Shopping Choices. I Want to Pay Family and Everyone Off. – Lisa

“Dear Steve,

Have a lot of debt that I need advice on!

I have a lot of debt, including owing Family members money, other little loans with very high interest. I have a great job, but I want to consolidate all my bills and the money, I owe Family and pay everyone off, having only 1 payment.

I cannot sleep at night, I worry just thinking about how I will pay these relatives and bills back. It is driving me crazy. I made some wrong shopping choices, and I seem to be digging a deeper hole. Please give me advice and help me in any way. I know there are investors who want to help people out. Please let me know! Thank You soo much!


Dear Lisa,

Please forgive me if my assumption is wrong or presumptuous but would I be safe is assuming your credit score is not spectacular or above 700? If you don’t know for certain you can visit Credit Karma and check your credit score for free. Please check it and let me know in the comments.

The reason I ask is that the lower your credit score is then the less chance you have of getting a real unsecured debt consolidation loan at a reasonable interest rate. If your credit score is 730 or higher then looking at Lending Club might be a great place to start to get the loan. Lending Club is a peer-to-peer lending network where people like myself help to invest and fund loan requests for people that need unsecured debt consolidation loans.

All of that being said, I would suspect though that a loan is not a great way to tackle this situation unless you have addressed the underlying issues that led to your spending.

Let’s say you are like many and used shopping as a way to improve self-esteem or reduce stress. I’ve seen it far too often that unless treated, the underlying issues will cause this circle of debt to repeat.

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In this case the debt isn’t the problem, but the symptom that becomes most apparent.

Can you please give me some more details about the type and amount of your debt? I’d like to getting a better understanding about how much you owe and what type of creditor.

Unfortunately your family and friends have thought they were helping you but by lending you money and bailing you out they’ve only unwittingly allowed you to continue further this dark hole.

I’d also be interested to learn more about what your shopping vice is and what you feel triggers the shopping trips.

It’s time we get a solution in place that allows you to move forward in a positive way.

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.

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.


  • I think Steve, You are right in Your study, about my situation.  I think I spend money  the wrong way, due to low self-esteem, and when I may be stressed or depressed, to fill a void.  I need Your advice on how to get it paid off, and do I need a financial course on how to spend money without getting in debt?  Thank You, Lisa

    • Excellent start.

      Yours is an example that is 10% about the debt and 90% about the underlying issues. Once we can stop the self-esteem spending then we can tackle the symptomatic debt. And in fact if we don’t face the self-esteem issues and secretly tackle the debt it will only potentially further the self-esteem issues.

      There are a couple of ways to do this. One way would be for you to race my free books, “The Path to Happiness and Wealth” and “The Beach Misses You” for some insight.

      For direct interaction with the underlying issues I would suggest you seek help from a local therapist who can help you talk through these issues and gain insight and help you move through them. Again, then we can tackle those debt issues with confidence.

      You’ve made some good progress already in moving through the seven stages of debt.

      You should pat yourself on the back for that.

      Can you please answer my question in my original answer please.

      “Can you please give me some more details about the type and amount of your debt? I’d like to getting a better understanding about how much you owe and what type of creditor.”

      • Dear Steve, I owe a few credit cards, totaling around $5000.00, and then I owe Family around $30,000.00.  It is really working on my nerves about where to begin to start making a budget and paying these folks back.  I need some help and advice on what to do quickly.  Are there investors that help situations like this?   I know I have learned my lesson over and over again.  I know I have been punished for letting myself get in this situation, and believe me it has not helped my marriage at all.  I am currently seeing a Pyschiarist/Therapist for my emotions which I feel have caused my overspending. Please give me advice for a fairly quick payoff to my relatives.  They need their money, and I will not let down.  Thanks Steve for trying to help me! Hope to hear from You soon.

        • For advice on unsecured dot consolidation loans see

          But while I always remain hopeful and wish nothing but the best for all my readers, I hope you recognize that your chances of successfully emerging from this without first tackling the underlying issues are slim.

          By your own words you have learned your lesson over and over again. But there we are again.

          Please consider being open and honest with yourself, your husband, and your family about your situation and underlying issues.

          You would be better off if they understood what you were dealing with, let you address and overcome those issues, and then work to pay them off.

          You just might be the one on a hundred that can break the cycle without first overcoming the emotional issues that drive your spending but the odds are not in your favor.

          The most concerning for me on top of all of this is the panic in your words. You sound desperate and not resolute.

          Please, take a deep breath, be open and honest with your family, tackle your underlying emotional issues that drive your spending and then let’s deal with the debt.

          And if you have not done so already, tell your therapist about this post and advice given. They need to understand the manifestations your self-esteem issues are creating and how that further fuels the negative emotions.

          Big hug.


          • Thank You Steve!  Once I get control over the situation, how can I pay these creditors back and Family back.  Where do I start?  Are there any investors or companies that help people with unsecured debt with a credit score of about 630?  Need Your Help! Thanks in advance.  Lisa

          • You can try but your score is most likely too low to get approved. Go back and read my words to you. I stand by all the advice I’ve given you. Now the choice is for you to follow it and stop begging for a loan.

  • Borrowing more money is often just throwing gasoline on the fire.  If you are in debt, more debt is not the answer.  Spending less and paying off debt, is.

    Cut your expenses to the bone, pay off the commercial debts first, and then the family debts.  And then stop borrowing money.   You cannot borrow your way to wealth just as you cannot eat your way to slimness.

    I went through this myself, in my 30’s, doing very stupid things.  We lived large on Credit Cards, and when it all went horribly wrong, we paid them off by refinancing our house, thus increasing our overall debt load.   Once the credit cards were paid off, we congratulated ourselves on our financial acumen and went out and racked up more debt!

    How dumb could I be?  Very dumb.

    I finally realized that cutting spending was the only way out.  And this meant getting rid of cable TV, cell phones (I used AT&T Gophone now, $100 a year for 1000 minutes, and I don’t even use the 1000 minutes), shopping for clothes (I go to the thrift store now), eating out at restaurants, etc.  No more starbucks $5 coffees.

    No more bottled water.  No more just spending on credit cards.   If it ain’t in the bank account, we don’t spend it.  And we set up a budget.

    It is a game, and one you can win.  But you have to examine your whole lifestyle and get out a calculator.   I realized, for example, that by switching from coffee (about 22 cents a cup, made at home) to tea (about 4 cents a cup) I save $500 a year.   Sounds stupid?  Yea, but I save $500 a year.   You’d be surprised how things add up.

    I drive a used car and pay $15 a month for insurance through GEICO.  I know a lot of young people who LEASE cars and pay thousands of dollars a year in insurance, and wonder why they are broke. “Everyone drives new cars!” they say. No, not everyone. Look around more carefully.

    I cut up my SIX credit cards and got a low interest (7.15%) card from Simmons First with a very low limit, and told them NOT to raise it automatically.  Even if I run up this card, I can pay it off, at a low rate, and the amount is not that high.  I do not run it up.  (I also set up autopay, so my rate cannot be “jacked” for missing a payment). And yes, I declined any offers to cover over-limit charges (which the CC companies will do, for a $30 fee!).

    I have a no-fee checking account with BoA and NEVER pay ATM or other fees, and certainly never bounce checks or have overdrafts. I check my balance daily and reconcile it with some simple accounting software. Money must be respected for the powerful and potentially dangerous weapon it is – like a loaded handgun. You cannot be careless with it. Check your bank and credit card balances DAILY. This is very easy to do, on the Internet.

    I got rid of hobby cars and a boat, and had numerous garage sales – and sold off a lot of junk that was piling up in my life.

    Yes, I know, this sounds harsh.   But as it turns out, when I forced myself to live on the money I actually MADE, I realized I was a lot poorer than I thought I was, even on $100,000 a year.  No, really.  We are all a lot poorer than we think we are.

    Most folks think, “Well, EVERYONE has cable TV and a smart phone!  I have to have it too!”  But that is $200 a month right there.  $2400 a year – goes a long way to paying off debt.

    And no, not “EVERYONE” has all this junk – just people like yourself (and like I was) who are perpetually in debt and MISERABLE.

    I make a lot less money now, but every month the checkbook balances and I am now debt-free.   And let me tell you, it is an ecstatic feeling – better than 5,000 smart phones, 1,000 trips to the mall, 1,000,000 meals at bad chain restaurants, or all the leased cars in the world.

    I own MYSELF now, and it turns out, that is the most valuable thing you can have.

    But to do this, you first have to decide you want to – that you are more valuable than shopping trips, and not being in debt is a better thing to have than a new Aeropostal t-shirt.

    Surprisingly, many young people prefer the t-shirt.

  • Dear LISA, who wants to pay everyone off and change her spending habits.  GO to the
    nearest nonprofit, church, synagogue, commnuity center, etc. and take DAVE RAMSEY’S short course on FINANCIAL PEACE U. This 9 week course is an eye opener with a step by step process. This course, Steve’s site, and other financial gurus such as Suze, Cramer, Quinn, etc. can save all of us /USA.  It is not the economy stupid, it is EVERYONE’s inability to handle
    money- individuals, corporations, banks, the US GOVERNMENT.  If we all can just listen and learn one by one, step by step, there is hope for this nation.

    •  Dave Ramsey has some good ideas, but he preaches that people should pay 10% of their pre-tax income to a church, which is why churches put on his programs.

      This is a personal choice, of course.  But one other poster on this site once asked why her credit card debt wasn’t going down, even as she was tithing several hundred a month to the church?

      God is not going to pay off your credit card.   And God doesn’t need your money.  Tithing is a modern invention, developed after our Constitution abolished church taxes.

      “Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s” Jesus said.  Remember, he threw the money-lenders out of the temple.   Jesus said nothing about tithing.

      Before you hand over dough to a church, see what kind of Cadillac the preacher is driving….

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