Wednesday, Jan. 2
Posted 2 p.m. EST
Your debt resolutions
Welcome to a new year when you will finally reduce your money troubles and
handle that debt.
I hope my blog entries have helped and will continue to help you in this journey,
and keep you clued in on the latest information in bankruptcies.
Let's get started.
Recently, a single mother shared her struggles with debt, saying that she feels
as though she has been in a recession for two years.
"I thought I was a single mom who was making a decent wage, but for the
past two years those wages aren't getting me from month to month. I ended up
having to use credit cards to get me through and now those are maxed out. The
bills are so high I can't make the monthly payment.
"With the rising prices of gas and food, I still can't handle the monthly
expenses of a family of three (myself and two teenage boys) even if I don't
pay the minimum on my two maxed-out credit cards.
"I have many medical conditions so a second job is out of the question
and my health expenses are outrageous even with health insurance. Prescription
costs are outrageous, but don't make a dent compared to the 20 percent of hospital
bills owed after my insurance pays the first 80 percent. Oh and by the way,
co-pays and deductibles are increased in 2008 ... I highly doubt that the chump
change raise I will receive will cover the extra costs of medical benefits.
"Even if I wanted to, I don't have the money to file for bankruptcy. Somehow
I don't think this is the life I imagined having as a child or as a teenager."
In this case, I would suggest the mother visit a credit counseling agency to
help organize her finances. The agency can offer free or affordable assistance.
She should review the Bankrate feature "FAQ
about debt and credit counseling," which addresses frequently asked
questions regarding debt and credit counseling.
She can visit the Association of Independent
Credit Counseling Agencies or the National
Foundation for Credit Counseling Web sites to locate an agency in her area.
Balance your checkbook each time you receive your paycheck.
As you draw up your New Year's goals, include the following debt
tips provided by the Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Greater Atlanta:
Keep your bills in a filing cabinet or a secured box.
Create a monthly spending plan and figure out your monthly income and recurring
Prioritize your expenses by determining your "needs" and your "wants"
I'm working on this one, too).
Don't be limited to saving for retirement; diversify your savings plan and think
about those unexpected expenses such as medical emergencies or car repairs.
signs of debt problems.
Take action. Contact
a debt professional.
Share your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org.