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Last Month was Rough – No water, electricity, phone


I had fully intended to return to writing regularly here last month, but the hits just kept coming. And I could not focus to save my life. (Not to mention, the sense of shame and loss are pretty overwhelming at times.)

Last month (August) is the month that I…

  • Almost had my water and electricity turned off because I couldn’t pay the bills
  • Did have our phones turned off because I couldn’t pay the bill
  • Got a cancellation notice from our auto insurance because I couldn’t pay the bill
  • Got a “if you don’t catch up now we will go to collections” notice from my mortgage company

I will stop there. You can see the trend.

Keeping things afloat on just at $2,000 per month is not going well. Even at our darkest, it has never been this dark. (I am SO GRATEFUL that the kids are grown and mostly gone. That does take a great deal of pressure off.)

I had to break down and ask for help. I didn’t see a way around it at all.

Thankfully, I am hoping, that I will only have to pay back 1/2 of the debt I incurred. The other half may be a prepayment for a new website my brother has been asking me to do for a couple of years. He might be ready and the money I borrowed from him would cover most of that project.

debt, hanging on by a thread, pixabay image

And I am by no means, out of the woods, I have really just bought myself a month of peace. I will be back in the same boat if I don’t get some more income in the next 6-ish weeks.

So I owe you a new debt update. It is gnarly to say the least (I kind of like that word for some reason). And I’ve put it off because I am so ashamed that I am back in this place AGAIN.

That will be forthcoming. I’m just thickening my skin a bit for the onslaught of criticism, even though it is deserved on some fronts.

But the good news is:

  1. I have already let my dad know that I will not be traveling at all for the holidays. (We typically go to Texas every Thanksgiving.)
  2. I have had a recent up-tick in contract work. I’m not going to say it’s promising yet, but it is something.
  3. And I just have to worry about me now. That’s a big difference than the last time things were almost this bad and I had 4 school age children I was single-handedly supporting.


  • Reply eli |

    I’m sad to hear you are in such a poor place. Hopefully you are able to find work and keep up with your bills.
    Along with a new debt update, I would love to see a budget, or even just an outline of your monthly costs. It is hard to give advice without having a clear idea of where your money is currently going. Things like the subscriptions you’ve mentioned having for work, to the basic costs like mortgage, utilities and food.
    Right now my suggestion would be to find cheaper car insurance, or if possible stop driving your car and remove the insurance until you can afford it again. I don’t know if you have a bike or some other mode of transport, but that could possibly be something to cut out.

  • Reply Lucy |

    Thanks for sharing this post, was a short interesting read. I just have to say that getting out of debt feels like a challenge when you are in it but following this dudes principle has not only help me get our of debt but also to be able to efficiently manage my spending so that I can have money left over at the end of the month and more. Highly recommend! forgetalldebts.com

  • Reply Reen |

    Hope-My intention is not to criticize, because you really never know what is going on in someone else’s shoes (and we just get a tiny sliver snapshot into that), but I do have a question about PT employment? I know you live in “tiny town” where there are not many options. I think you may have commented before–but why have you not considered some sort of retail/fast food/food job (which presumably are a plenty) to bridge the gap some? You worked a FT job and a PT freelancer job for years. If you could pick up even 25 hours a week at $15/hr that is $1500 gross (after taxes maybe gets you to half your required monthly bills each month). You can then work on your consulting/etc. when not working this job.

  • Reply Lisa |

    I wondered if this is what was going on. Hope, I don’t know how far you are from the World’s biggest retailer, but they are always hiring. I actually really enjoyed working there. When I was in a position that felt made for me, I loved it! I looked forward to it even. They work around all sorts of hours, offer benefits if you’re full-time, 10% off general merchandise and produce… if the starting wage is the same as here in MI, even 25 hours a week will gross 1400 a month.

    • Reply Kate |

      Totally agree. The kids are out of the house so you should have some free time – it doesn’t have to be forever but it sounds like this is an emergency situation.

  • Reply Angie |

    Hang in there. If you haven’t already… You need to cut any discretionary spend, lawn maintenance, storage unit, all driving at all. Get your kids to pay their share of insurance/phones. I realize you may be above some of the income guidelines for your area. But have you called 211 or similar to see if there are any programs available to you? Literally anything at all would be helpful to you. Even something like free dog food could help you out.

    If you haven’t already, you should look into the SAVE program for your student loans. Hopefully that will at least keep those payments off your plate as they are slated to restart. The less late/collections you can have on your record the better.

    Have you thought about renting a room in your house to someone else that may be in the same time of life? Maybe another mom who has had their kids leave the nest would really appreciate the savings and company.

  • Reply Shanna |

    Hope, I am always wishing you well and I think you have a kind and empathetic soul. However, I think you need to go back and re-read your blog from start to finish slowly and really take it in. So many red flags and “re-dos” and “start overs” and “new plans”. You are at the point that your children will HAVE to support you as you age. So much of your debt is incurred using your children as a reason for the debt because you want to give them a great life. But a great life is knowing that your mom wont need to be financially supported for the rest of her life, that she is secure and won’t lose her housing. You need to take any job you can, anywhere you can get it at this point. Your “survival” expenses should be able to be covered (mortgage, utilities, insurance, etc) with adding on a consistent job, be it babysitting, waitressing, temp work, retail, etc. You need to take the kids off car your insurance-full stop. In fact if you son is not in school I believe he has to be off of it if he is not living at home and over 18 (check your policy, that is the case with our insurance-once graduated and not living at home, they come off). Please look at your patterns carefully and make this your last “emergency”!

  • Reply lucy |

    Great post, really insightful.I have to share this because I myself struggled with debt for a long time until I learnt a couple of things from this guy that was literally the game changer for me, highly recommend! also doesnt matter what kind of debt it is this guy has the solution, with the stuff I learnt I wont be getting into debt anytime soon! http://forgetalldebts.com/

  • Reply Anonymous |

    Gosh, I’m so sorry to hear you’re back in this kind of situation. I have to admit I’m a little confused though because I thought you had a pretty decent emergency savings fund saved up? That coupled with your part time work and the sale of your hot tub seems like it should have floated you along for quite some time with your low mortgage. I’ll just make the same recommendations as other commenters here. It may be humbling but you need to take any job you can at this time. ANY job. McDonalds, Walmart, whatever it is. And living in a small town cannot be an excuse. Commute (within reason), take a lower paying remote customer service job, whatever it is you need to do. Sell anything extra you can (including storage unit if you haven’t already). And you can no longer support the kids with phone or car insurance. Their phone plans will be meaningless if you lose your home because of it.

So, what do you think ?