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I’m a Mother, Wife, and College Student Drowning in Debt. Ericka

“Dear Steve,

I’m a 25 yr old mother and wife. When I was 18, starting college in 2001, I signed up for one of those “Hey get a free t-shirt! Sign up with MBNA!”, yeah big mistake… later on I was offered another credit card by the mail, I took it, I was never taught anything about credit… I paid on time for about 2 yrs, till I was hospitalized, than went back on my regular non-late payments.

Fast forward to 2006, I lost my job, my husband lost his, and hear I am, in debt, both of us. I’m swimming in about $5,000 in credit debt [it used to be $2,000 but you know how interest rates go], and about $2000 from a cell phone company. How Sprint took a $600, and a creditor brang it up to $2000 with their fees, and now their coming after me legally. I feel like I’m sinking right now, as both of us cannot provide financially the way a parent should. I thank God that I was able to get a little part time job, giving me an income of about $600-700 a month. I’m currently back in school, finishing my Bachelors in Education, and the only thing that is prestine at the moment on my credit report is my student loans, as I’ve never defaulted, and they have yet to go into repayment.

I’m ready to look at the horror that is my credit report and fix what my 18/19 yr old self got into, so that I can be able to buy a house one day along with my husband, so that we can improve our quality of life.


Dear Ericka

I had the following questions that I’d like for you to answer before I can answer your question. Please post your answers in the comments section of your question. I’m looking forward to helping you for free.

  1. How much total debt do you have?
  2. How much money do you have from you and your husband that is available for debt repayment each month?
  3. When do you graduate?
  4. Which is more important to you, moving forward or repairing the past?

As soon as you can post the answers to my questions above I’ll be able to help.

If any reader wants to offer advice in the comments section please feel free to participate.


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.


  • Hey,

    Thanks so much! I have a total of about $8,000 in debt, thats mostly credit cards and cell phone bills. The rest of my current debt is student loans, which at the moment total about $30,000. I made a mistake of going to a very high price University, for the same education I could of done in a State school. Yeah, I’ve definitely learned my lesson.

    My husband has no money to spare when it comes to paying credit debt, because he has a debt with child support in NYS, and he pays about $500 a month to his first child’s mother.

    I can probably spare about $200 of my income a month towards my debt, but that’s cutting it real close, and I’m talking not spending a dime towards anything else, and when you have a child, you know how that goes.

    I should graduate in 2013, but it seems I can get done with that earlier, but I do plan on continuing to complete my Masters in Education.

    Whats more important to me is moving forward. Who I was in the past, is not the person I am today. But having to have the stigma of who I was at 18, has cost me a lot. I’m walking around as a no one, due to how important credit is in this nation, but I also have no one to blame but myself.

    Thank you so much, God Bless you! Your like a saint!

    • Ericka,

      I think the the question you most need to ask yourself is if you have a greater responsibility to fix the past or fix the future. If you agree that it is the future that you should be focusing on, rather than trying to atone for the past then bankruptcy is a reasonable option worth considering.

      Bankruptcy won’t eliminate child support obligations or student loans but it will cast off the fringe debt that is doing nothing but weighing you down. With bankruptcy, budgeting, and working to increase your income I think you will be able to make it through and achieve your goal.

      You might also want to check into the IBR, income based repayment program to manage those old student loan debts.

      Go and be a great teacher, future students need you. From this experience you can take the experience of stress, struggle and compassion and use it to help your students to better deal with life.

      You are not a failure or a loser.

      Big Hug.


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