I’m a College Student, Living on My Own, Don’t Have a Job, and Can’t Make Payments. – Amanda

“Dear Steve,

College student living on my own – going into debt, don’t have a job and can’t make minimum payments.

I moved out in August 2008, to go to CMU. I got an apartment, which cost $419/month, plus electric bill. I couldn’t find a job up here, so we had to take out student loans.

My mom started to budget my money, for $50/week, and then she’d put my rent money in when it was due. I stupidly thought that $50/week wasn’t enough, and ended up applying for a bunch of credit cards. I was approved for almost all of them. Never having any credit/bill paying experience, I racked up all my credit cards, and slowly I was unable to make the minimum payments anymore, which then caused me to have late fees, and over the limit fees.

All of my credit cards are over their limit, and the minimum payment is over $100. One of them is at $700. Thankfully, I’m moving back home May 6th, and I’m going to start working May 10th, but my job doesn’t offer many hours, and I wont get a paycheck until after 2 weeks of the 10th.

I don’t know how much longer I can put off not paying my credit cards before they try to take me to court. My parents have no idea I have so many credit cards, and how far in debt I am.

My mom is constantly scolding me about spending money, and paying my one credit card that she thinks I have, on time. I just don’t know what to do anymore. My credit is already ruined, at a score of 50-something.

I’m constantly crying over my money situation, and lose sleep at night. I’m always getting phone calls from my credit card companies. I never thought this would happen to me, and I regret EVER opening a credit card.

I want to tell my parents, but I know they are going to KILL me, and money is already kind of tight for them, my mom just had to get a second job, so she works 12 hour shifts. I don’t want to bring them into debt either because of my stupid decisions, but I also don’t want my future to be ruined.

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Dear Amanda,

What you see as a curse and blight, I see as a blessing in disguise. The lessons that you will learn from this unfortunate collision with credit card debt will serve you well for the rest of your life. As I always say, “There is no sense wasting a perfectly good mistake.” And I think you can turn this tragedy into a positive for you.

You mentioned that you were at CMU. If that’s Central Michigan University, I’ve been there. If you are at Carnegie Mellon University, I’ve not been there but always regretted not going to a party I was invited to there years ago. Everyone had an amazing time and they told me that they did over and over.

So let’s look at the facts here. You took out a bunch of easy credit, you are way in over your head, you don’t have any probable way to pay this back and your credit score sucks. The good news is that you’ve got nowhere to go but up!

My opinion is that you should do your homework first here and then be open and honest with your mother. I would suggest that you go and talk to a local bankruptcy attorney after you move home. You can generally schedule a free bankruptcy consultation and sit down with the attorney and get all your questions answered. Bankruptcy is probably the most logical solution for you.

Once you get the facts about what bankruptcy means for you, go an talk with your mother. She’s going to be disappointed and upset, I get that, but trust me, she’ll get over it.

You need to face this situation yourself and not allow the Bank of Mom and Dad to bail you out. It sounds like she’s doing all she can to keep her own head above water.

Now that you’ve reached adulthood, you are going to have to learn that sometimes you’ve just got to suck it up, face hard decisions, take action, and that it is the responsible thing to do.

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If your mother has a problem with any of this, tell her to contact me. I’ll help her to understand that this is not the end of the world for you and that this is probably a more valuable lesson that will serve you in the long run, more than your college degree. Hey look at it this way, you just got a Masters degree in what not to do.


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.

1 thought on “I’m a College Student, Living on My Own, Don’t Have a Job, and Can’t Make Payments. – Amanda”

  1. Definitely agree with Steve here.

    Start the rest of your life with a clean slate. Going through bankruptcy is not the end of the world. Like you, the pride in not having my parents worry about my financial situation is something I wish to uphold.

    If you can get this all cleared up, it may be one of the most valuable lessons of your life. It is better to @#$% up earlier than later since you’ve got a bunch of time on your side and you’ll know not to do it again.

    Good luck!


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