Citifinancial Cheerfully Lends Me Money But Now I’m So Far in Debt I Can’t Get Out. – Melanie


“Dear Steve,

Hello, I am a married woman with three children. We have been married for 20 years. For the last 19 years, I was responsible for bill paying and budgeting with our income and I never did a good job.

For the last year, my husband and I have divided the bills (he pays some and I pay some). The problem is that I never have enough money to pay all the bills I am supposed to pay plus money for everyday living for myself and the family.

I don’t tell my husband about this because he gets upset when I don’t have enough money to pay everything. So to be able to pay everything plus buy groceries and clothing for the kids, I have been getting payday loans.

My husband bailed me out a few months ago but I am right back where I was then and it seems to be getting worse. I know that I have a problem and that I should tell him of my situation again but I can’t handle the emotional outburst that will occur.

I am currently seing a counselor for many things including this area. Right now, I just need to know how I can get out of this payday loan hell, get on a budget and stop being so emotionally tied to money and the lack of it.

I have about $5000 in payday loans. I have been getting more payday loans to pay the interest on the other payday loans and it is getting worse everyday. I only get paid once a month as does my husband. It is now the 10th of the month and I have no money left for the month and neither does he.

I don’t know how to feed my family and pay the rest of the bills without getting more loans but I know it is a mistake to do so. I have been trying to find part-time employment but have not been successful. I have also tried to find work on the internet but most everything I have found is a scam.

I feel like if I could just find someone that would give me a loan to cover all the payday loans and enough to cover my expenses for the month, I could get back on track and make one monthly payment instead of several hundred dollars worth of interest payments. It seems when I have been able to get a loan (such as Citifinancial) they don’t allow me to have quite enough to cover everything so I still have to figure out a way to get money to cover what the loan didn’t cover.

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What can I do to get out of this mess quickly?


Dear Melanie,

I can only imagine how stressful and upsetting the situation has become for you. I can certainly see where the stress would occur.

There are two main issues here. One is the technical issue of the money situation. The second is the underlying issues that have lead you into this financial black hole.

I suspect that some of your spending is related to spending to mend or fill an emotional void in your life. This might be shopping to reduce stress or improve self-esteem. I would not be surprised if you did not frequently spend money on things for other people as well.

If you have not already done so you should speak to your counselor about your money issues, why you spend and how it makes you feel. Until that wound is treated, everything else we do will be a temporary fix.

There are no magic ways to climb out of this hole. Nobody is going to give you a loan to repair this situation.

The problem is that you are indebted to Citifinancial and others in payday loans for more than you can ever repay on your own. While the lenders enabled you to get so deep in debt, it is no different that what any lender does, even for people with good credit.

So let’s look at what you might possible do to get out of this hole. You could always reduce your expenses and pay more money towards the debts, but then you you are already out of money. You could increase your income and go look for a second or third job, but that will probably add to the triggers of the underlying emotional issues that lead you to spend.

Honestly, I think the path out of this recurring hole for you is going to potentially be difficult, but not impossible. First, you need to come clean with your husband about the situation. It will create some chilly days but they will blow over. Next, you need to evaluate your total household personal financial situation and see what bills are in your name alone. Finally, I don’t see any logical way out of this but through bankruptcy. You can go bankrupt in your name alone. You will need to find a local bankruptcy attorney and go talk to them about what bankruptcy means for you.

See also - A Great Alternative to Payday Loans

Melanie, this is not a situation of you being a bad money manager. This is a bigger problem where the money is the symptom of underlying fear or a need to spend more than you can afford to mask inner pain. The debt is the symptom, not the problem. The perfect scenario is that you two manage your money together as a team so you both can see exactly what your monthly situation is in real-time and not constantly discovering the bad news historically.

I would suggest that when you confide in your husband what the situation is that you ask him to take over all the bills and ask him to physically pay them. During the time when you are working with your counselor and in recovery you are best served by being accountable to someone else to keep you on track.

I’m honored that you had the courage to write to me and the trust to let me help you. I’m giving you advice as if you were my best friend. I know this is all painful to hear and to face but this is the right path.

If you are not willing to deal with this situation head on for yourself, do it for your kids. Each day that you procrastinate facing this situation is another day deeper in debt that will not get any better.

Please, please keep me posted on what path you elect and your progress towards a better future

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.

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