You’ve probably heard this, but here goes: stop using the credit cards. Get rid all of them. It’s that simple and the vicious cycle will be put to an end. That’s the easy part. The trick is to figure out a set budget based on your income of how you will pay off the exsisting debts while trying to maintain needed cost of living expenses. You don’t want to stop payment on any of them if you can help it. You are right, that you do not want higher interests, late fees, or worse yet debt collections. You can get control over it before any of that happens. It can be done. I tell this to people over and over again.
I don’t know any of your other circumstances to be able to tell you detailed ways of saving money on nearly everything, but there are literally millions of ways to stretch your dollars on a tight budget. Look into some frugal tips all over the internet. You may even have to do without some items or services for temporary amount of time. But I always say it’s better to give up on some luxuries temporarily, get out of debt, and finally know the peace and the freedom of living within your means. That is a happiness that NO material items, or costlier food, or updated gadgets can replace.
Now that I’m out of debt, I enjoy my life so much more than most people who have tons of STUFF, are living paycheck to paycheck and brag about what they have. It’s all smoke screen.
Have a goal that one day you will splurge with CASH you saved up! It’s a worthwhile goal! When you finally pay off all the debts you will feel like a pure champion. Then only keep one credit line open for extreme emergencies. I know it’s very difficult to imagine that ending now, but the best way to get to the end is have that plan to get there and have a vision of it.
Keep reading the posts on this group! It will help you, to start your own budget and stick to a plan to pay it all off. It can become an adventure, at least it’s easier with that kind of attitude. I’ve been there.
I feel for you in your situation. I think you are lucky in a lot of other ways where you get to raise your kids yourself with your values, discipline and the fun you can have together as a family.
Money doesn’t replace that. I assume that some of your kids have to be of school age, if so, once they are back in school for the entire day, maybe you can baby sit other toddlers/babies in your neighborhood to make money. If you got a couple regular customers, that may help. Post up some hand made flyers in grocery stores, libraries… etc…
There may even be some opportunities for you to work from home – couple hours a day… a lot of stay at home moms do it. It may be worth checking into and it’s easier to do with a computer and internet access in your home. You may have to get creative with something that could easily be done from home for a small local business that needs help…ask around, you’d be suprised at some ideas people might come up with.
I’m expecting a baby soon. My husband and I made a decision, even before I got pregnant, that I was going to be a stay at home mom and do my vocation from home, whenever I could. It makes things tight, but we manage.
What are your kids ages? Is there an oldest one who can possibly start working part-time soon (legal age 14-15 in most states)to help the family?
Are there any food banks through local churches in your area, where you could receive some help with some basic food staples? That may be worth looking into.
Don’t let that CC bill scare you. It’s really a low priority, compared to being able to make ends meet physically right now. In Linda’s post (I think) she said something like find a way to pay yourself first! There are a lot of things she wrote that are really great!