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I’m a Teacher. My Husband Took a Pay Cut. We Can’t Make Ends Meet. – Jenifer

“Dear Steve,

I am married with two children under 4 and rent my house. My rent is 750.00/mo., car payment is 550.00/mo., daycare is 1000.00/mo., loan is 450/mo., and then we have the usual utilities and cell phone bills.

Two years ago my husband lost his job, then last year he changed jobs. He currently gets paid $10.00/hr. and I am a teacher getting paid about 40,000/yr.

He is responsible for health and dental insurance and it is taken from his check every two weeks (when he gets paid), therefore, he only brings home about 350.00 every two weeks while my paycheck is about 2400.00 per month.

When he lost his job, we had to rely on credit cards and accrued a large amount of debt, that once he got a job, we had a hard time repaying and still do to this day.

At this point I haven’t paid on any of the debt in quite a few months and just dodge the calls from the collection agency. We are hard working people with a nice family and have no outside income or means of getting any large sum to pay off the debt.

We also have medical bills for an MRI in the amount of about 2000.00 and the credit card debt is in the amount of about 10,000.00. We don’t know what to do at this point and have no where to turn. Please help.

My question is: based on my background information, what are our options? Do we even have any? Thanks so much.


Dear Jenifer,

Well you do have some options here.

You could do nothing and limp along. It’s not a great option but it is an option.

You could attempt to cut back and also add to the household income with additional work, but that’s not a realistic option for the long haul.

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The most logical option is probably going to be to explore bankruptcy. While the numerical value of your debt isn’t huge, the impact is. A chapter 7 bankruptcy would give you a fresh start and legal second chance. The hope being that without your debt you could live within your income and do better moving forward.

But before you consider bankruptcy the biggest issue is if you can cover your basic expenses on your new reduced income. If you can’t then bankruptcy isn’t a big help. If you are going to consider bankruptcy, it must be effective enough to be the catalyst you need to start over financially, not drown less.

I’d suggest you first read How to Get Out of Debt. The Honest and Unvarnished Truth and The Truth About The Success Rates, Failure Rates and Completion Rates of Credit Counseling, Debt Settlement, and Bankruptcy. They will give you a great overview of what we need to deal with to get you moving in the right direction.

Then use the free How to Get Out of Debt Calculator to review your options.

Once you’ve identified a company you want to work with, then follow my step-by-step guide on how to check out a debt relief company.

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.

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