Pam and Her Daughter Are Sleeping On The Floor

“Dear Steve,

I am a single mom, my daughter is 17 and trying to get a job, but even for her it’s hard. I have a couple of credits cards that I just can’t pay. My priorities are rent first, then car payment, utilities, then food, gas.

I am still married but I can’t go to my husband for help, all I can say about that is temper. One credit card has already sent my account to a collection attorneys office. I am so afraid they will garnish my wages, which if they do, I will really be in the hole. After I pay my regular bills, I have about 350-400.00 to last the whole month, that has to buy gas, groceries and misc.,

I have nothing I put in savings. I have $1.26 in my savings account and have sold just about everything I can. We moved and had a garage sale, hoping I would make enough to get us moved.

We now have no furniture, both of us have a mattress on the floor, no bed. Believe me, 54 yrs old, it’s hard to get up off the floor. My credit is already ruined, so I wish they would just write of the debt and be over with it. By going further with an attorney and whatever his fees would be, I still wouldn’t be able to pay anything, so I don’t understand why they would pursue something that I can’t pay.


Dear Pam,

My deepest sympathies about the bed on the floor routine. I agree it was a lot easier when we were younger. Just this year I spent two months sleeping on the floor as I waited for my possessions to arrive from overseas. That first night in my own real bed was heavenly.

It certainly sounds like you are just making ends barely meet at this point. I was certainly encouraged to see that you’ve got your payment priorities in the right order. Good job.

Without any income to be able to afford a bankruptcy lawyer, which is what you probably really need, your options are to not pay those credit card accounts and deal with being sued and a latter garnishment if it happens. The garnishment can be neutralized with bankruptcy so that can be addressed.

You can find local legal aid that might be available in your area by doing a net search. If you are not eligible for free legal aid assistance, contact a local bankruptcy attorney and see what payment arrangements could be made that you can manage.

Bankruptcy at this point is not going to improve your financial situation, just close the door on debts you just can’t pay. In order to improve your financial situation you’ll have to find a better job or a second income.

See if your daughter can find anything local through the snagajob.com website. It seems to be able to easily connect people with entry level jobs. I’m sure she would love to help any way she can.

Unless you can increase your household income I’m afraid the next step is homelessness and I don’t want to see that happen to you.


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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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