Facing That Number

A reader of Debit versus Credit recently left a comment on The Worst Years of My Financial Life. She mentioned that she is glad she is not the only one facing bad financial times and proceeded to talk about a few of the things that were weighing heavy on her financial freedom. She has been without work since August, lives on unemployment and has over $17,000 dollars in credit card debt. She is a single mom with two children and is struggling to get by on her unemployment checks. Every single morning she has to face that number: the amount of credit card debt that she has. She asked in her comment if I could provide any advice for her.

I do want to start out by saying that I am not a licensed financial adviser; in fact I’m still just a kid trying to learn about the world (I’m only 24). Nothing I suggest on this site should be taken with the same level of confidence as if it were coming from a certified financial planner. However I do consider myself knowledgeable about the way the world of finance works, and I do have a background in banking which has really helped me to increase my knowledge on the ins and outs of the financial world.

What Would I Do? 

With that being said I’d like to voice my opinion on what I would do if I were in this womans’ position. I don’t have all of the facts and I have made efforts to contact the reader who left this comment, but have had no luck in so doing. If you are reading this post then if you could supply any additional information about your financial situation (e.g. monthly income, expenses, etc.) then that would be helpful.

If I were in this readers’ position then the first thing I would be doing is looking for ANY job that pays more than my unemployment does. Unemployment pays next to nothing as I’ve recently been made aware of, and even if I had to take a job which was far below my skill set to increase my monthly income I would do it. I would then take the difference between what I was earning on unemployment and what I am earning with this low-level job and apply it directly to my credit card debt. Meanwhile I would continue to look for a higher paying job, one which would further allow me to pay down this debt. If it came down to it and the credit card debt just could not be easily payed down every month I would consider contacting a non-profit debt management company such as Take Charge America. Of course lastly I would find creative ways to decrease my expenses. If I were paying for something that I could survive without then I would immediately drop it (for example a car if work were close enough to walk or bike to, or cable television, etc).

Facing That Number

Facing that number is never an easy thing to do. I know, I’ve been there. However it can be done. It can always be done. There are always ways to increase income and decrease expenses. No matter how desperate the situation is it is important to not lose faith and to continue moving forward. You’ve heard the old adage, “A penny saved is a penny earned.” In the case of credit card debt it is actually “A penny paid is two pennies saved.” Please do everything you can to apply extra payments to your principal. You will save yourself tremendous amounts of money on interest payments and eventually secure yourself a place in a world where you have no credit card debt. Hang in there.

Does anyone out there have any advice for our reader, or maybe any personal experience with this subject?

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0 responses to “Facing That Number”

  1. Although I don’t think your suggestions are bad, you need to earn significantly more than unemployment to make it worthwhile to go to work when it means using childcare for a couple of kids.

    Not that it can’t be done, but a little more thought is required.

  2. Plonkee,

    I understand your concern with childcare, but do believe me when I say that I thought plenty about this topic and I took into consideration childcare when I was writing this.

    We don’t however have all of the variables, so I assumed that her children might be a little bit older and possibly not in need of childcare. Like I mentioned we don’t know a lot. I don’t know how much her unemployment brings her, how much her rent is and I don’t know how old her kids are. If I had knowledge of these things I am sure this post would have turned out differently.

    Any other thoughts?

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