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Tough Decisions Looming


Last week, I was able pay one month’s mortgage payment, leaving me one month behind still and another payment due in just over 10 days. I do not have enough ongoing work to feel “safe.” And frankly, the holidays being here makes finding work that much harder. I’ve been through this before.

I waver between hope and worry. But am working daily to cast all my cares to God and trust his care and protection:

“Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!” Luke 12:24

I begin to wander do I keep trying to scrape things together and make it work and hope for the best? Or do I get proactive and begin working toward putting the house on the market and figuring out what’s next then?

Of course, the holidays looming does not help with the stress level.

Hope thumbs up

I keep choosing gratitude and joy. I keep clinging to knowing that God has a plan and purpose in all this.

When I was speaking to my dad this week he said, “God sometimes lets things get bad, and then he lets them get worse.” That was not comforting at all. But at the same time, I get several messages weekly from people telling me how much my posts (doing a month of gratitude on Instagram) are inspiring them and helping them walk through a dark time in their own lives.

My plan at this point is to table the concerns through the holidays. Keep doing what I’m doing. Since I should be able to catch up with bills by January, I can revisit the tough calls then and step into 2024 with options.

Is this what you would do? Other advice?



  • Reply Laura |

    Tabling the concerns is the last thing you should do, unless you want to be homeless in the new year. The holidays are a perfect time to find retail work. You are just kicking the can down the road and making things worse for yourself.

    • Reply Hope |

      I am not tabling the job hunt at all. That is a daily task, often several times a day.
      I am tabling making a decision on putting the house on the market versus trying to push through and stay. That is the decision I am tabling. I apologize if I wasn’t clear.

  • Reply Walnut |

    It really, really surprises me that not even the local gas station store is looking for help. If your town is large enough to have a Home Depot, then there has to be retail offerings. I assume you’re checking all the neighboring towns as well? It’s not uncommon in my area of the world to drive an hour to work each day.

    How about overnights stocking shelves? Nothing?

    Regardless, not sure what your dogs and Beauty are going to do if you sell the house and move into your car. And isn’t your only source of stable income tied to your job in your small town? That goes out the window too.

    Surely at this point you’ve ditched Verizon, are forgoing the lawn care service and are getting groceries/dog food from food pantries? If you haven’t done that, then you haven’t cut expenses far enough yet.

  • Reply Alice |

    Yes, God provides. But He also expects us to do work ourselves and not sit and wait for blessings. I fear that you’re going to depend too much on the hope that something will happen to fix everything and not do the work to get it fixed yourself. “It’ll all work out,” is a lovely sentiment, but it usually works out better after a lot of hard work.

    I also fear the possibility that you put the house on the market without a solid plan in place. I see no good end from that. You sell the house and then spend all the money and you’re without a house and without money.

    Read the books recommended a while back. Print out resumes, walk into places that are hiring and ask for a job.

  • Reply Emilie Martin |

    No one can tell you what to do about the house. From a practical objective standpoint the choice is clear. Sell the house, help the parents, find work down there and be closer to your kid as well. Use proceeds to payoff debt and give yourself a significant step toward a do-over in your debt journey.

    However, you are the one that has to live with the decision. This is a personal decision as well as a financial one. The financial side of selling is pure upside since you have somewhere you can move to with low to no expenses.

    My suggestion is to balance the two. Find a realtor, list the house and see what offers you get. Crunch the numbers and look at what problems it would solve and then make a decision with your head. Consider the personal attachment but don’t let it be the only decision making factor. You have a very small window of time to turn your financial life around before you become a burden on your kids which from what I can tell would be your worst case scenario. Selling the house makes it a lot easier to avoid that from happening.

    My gut says sell sell sell while the market is hot or you will regret it. But it’s not my house.

  • Reply Heather |

    Hope, I am one of your biggest cheerleaders, but sticking your head in the sand is not smart. I would at least reach out to a realtor and see what they think your house would sell for. How much equity do you have? Even if you wait until after the holiday’s, you could have a plan in your head for starting fresh.

    Best of luck to you.

  • Reply Jen |

    God helps those who help themselves. Stop using God as an excuse to avoid taking responsibility for your self-created circumstances ((yes, at this point these are the circumstances you have chosen through years and years of bad decisions).

    You need to list your house and get any equity you have on it. Otherwise the bank will get your equity. This time of year is terrible for selling, and the longer you wait, the more behind you will get in your mortgage.

    You need to move to an area with a better job market, as the job market in your area is so dismal you can’t even get a job waiting tables.

  • Reply Lori |

    Have you contacted your mortgage company? I think it might make a difference to pay at least something even if it is substantially less than the full payment. I would look at your mortgage documents to see!

  • Reply Nel |

    Forgive me if you have gone over this previously, but how does selling your home change your situation? I mean, I get that you would likely relocate to Texas and (hopefully) broader opportunities for gainful employment.. Would you be living in your car or is there place to land temporarily or longer term with family/friends? I know you would be giving up your part-time employment, so how quickly could you replace that if you move?

    Through the years of your journey, I have come to anticipate a certain level of impulsive decisions that make no sense to me .. like baking for your family and not factoring the cost of shipping into the equation. I am not just bashing you for this decision; from personal experience, I know what kind of impact that poor choice would have had on us. My fear is that you will receive the proceeds from selling your only asset and be thinking of ways to spend it that are not directly related to bare minimum expenses to keep you housed and fed, paying off your debt, or getting another job immediately.

    • Reply Debra |

      Oh please. She’ll use her handy list of excuses. Pick one or more!

      I couldn’t NOT
      Or rather, I won’t.
      I have a heart for adventure
      My mama’s heart
      Personal finance is personal
      I didn’t know. Lesson learned

  • Reply Ellen |

    Have you tried looking for remote call center positions? They don’t pay a lot but these big companies are ALWAYS hiring. Think of every bill you have. Every major store you go to. Every one of them has a call center. start by going to their websites. I went to my aunt’s house the other day. She, her two kids, and her son’s wife were all sitting around their dining room tables with laptops and headsets. Now, I won’t lie. Working call centers SUCKS. but it’s Money.

    If this were me, I would be looking for every opportunity I could. I wouldn’t care if that meant going live and acting like those bots. Does it look stupid? YES! does it make them $, YUP. You have been on this rollercoaster for years. At this point, you have to start to really look at yourself and wonder what it is that makes you so bad with money. You spend when you don’t have it to spend. You seem like a smart woman. Figure out what the issue is. You don’t want to end up old, broke, and cashiering at Target because you can’t afford to retire.

  • Reply Elspeth Farrow |

    Hope, have you crunched the numbers to see what it would cost you, in the long term, to move? Have you considered whether your cost of living would increase or decrease?

    I am going to be a dissenting voice here and say that I think you need to prioritize keeping the house no matter what. It may not be the perfect house, and it may not be the perfect town, but it’s where you can afford to live. I believe your current mortgage/property tax bill is less than $800/month, plus about $300 for utilities.

    What would you do if you left that behind? What would you do after staying with friends/family for a few months?

    You could live in a converted van and rent a serviced campsite for $850/month
    You could rent a two bedroom apartment in Augusta, GA for about $1000/month.
    You could rent a two bedroom apartment in Walterboro, SC for about $1100/month.
    You could rent a two bedroom apartment in Savannah, GA for about $1700/month.
    You could pay more to rent a townhouse with yard access for the dogs.

    All of these options are more expensive month-to-month than your current mortgage, which you’ve been struggling with already, and result in no equity or long term stability. Between the dogs and the kids, it seems very unlikely that you would be inclined to look at shared accommodation or a smaller unit. It would be hard to spend less as a renter than you currently do as a homeowner.

    It seems unlikely that you would be able to pay off all of your debts with the equity from selling the house, so you’d be intentionally putting yourself in a situation where you’re trying to pay off debt, SAVE FOR RETIREMENT, and simultaneously manage higher living expenses as you enter a time in your career when age discrimination becomes a real concern. Prioritizing saving your house is currently your best option to have a stable place to live long-term.

    I hope that things start to turn around for you, I hope you’re able to find a reliable source of income in your town, and I hope that you keep your house.

    • Reply Sarah |

      Agreed. You’re going to be hard pressed to find cheaper accommodations than you currently have, and crashing on someone’s sofa is not a sustainable long-term solution, especially when you have 5 dogs. IF you can find a rental that will accept them, you will be paying a substantial amount of pet rent. And I would guess moving to TX leaves Beauty out in the cold?
      You have been asked multiple times and always skirt the question, but I’ll try again. Why aren’t you getting a job at Walmart/Dollar General/7-11, etc? I suspect that with you googling “jobs that pay $200K” you feel they are beneath you, but I think you need to shelve your pride. There is just no way that you couldn’t get a job at one of those places.

  • Reply jj |

    I have no advice other than please listen to what folks are telling you. You need to go bare bones on your spending – even if it means you buy off brand soup to feed yourself – or don’t make the soup at all if folks will complain. No one needed you to spend $56 on shipping for cookies – you will have to explore the connectiong between gifts, money and possibly your guilt that you do not provide a gift or something. Some commenters on the last post weresaying they would prefer a parent who makes sound/wise financial decisions – not gifts that were essentially not needed/wanted/ severely impact the parents’s budget. I believe your kids would feel the same way. I do believe that job hunting is hard, but if you can implement any other bare bone strategies, please do so.

  • Reply Joe |

    A lot of great advice on the last couple posts, the house situation certainly would merit a more detailed financial breakdown.
    I want to re-iterate that you need to be thinking much more about medium/long term planning. So as soon as you catch up on bills, mortgage, even getting a new job (hopefully), you STILL need to be laser focused and will need to be for years to come. I know there needs to be a little balance to make it all sustainable, but acknowledging this reality is the first step.

  • Reply Christopher |

    What about Home Depot? Have you put in an application? Don’t worry about training, as the time I was there, the cashier didn’t have computer skills and shared that they had just gotten out of prison.

    I bet you could get a full-time job there as a cashier. You will have great benefits, a regular paycheck, and a community. Even if you are living paycheck-to-paycheck, you will be able to pay all of your bills.

    Another possibility is you could rent out a room in your home for extra income.

    You have options!

  • Reply sbs |

    Recently a friend of my son’s contacted him because they were at risk of losing their home and they needed money to avoid that outcome. He and his family reached out to everyone they knew and asked for help. My nephew also did something similar. Have you tried asking you and your family’s network for help? It might open up some options and get you over the immediate issue.

    Additionally, to save money, have you looked into public assistance options in your area? Using food banks to offset food costs, potentially qualifying for Snap, utility related assistance, or other local options and there may be mortgage assistance programs. Try looking at 211.org to see what might be available in your area. Sometimes there are also local groups who will provide small grants in times of need.

    And please ignore the people who tell you to walk in to places with your resume. I work in HR and people don’t hire like that anymore. In fact, it causes us extra manual work and generally signifies to us that you don’t want to follow instructions/posted policies.

    Also, take a look on TikTok, there are people that try out the different websites and tell you what’s worth it/not worth it for online options and you may be able to find a few things there.

    Good luck!

So, what do you think ?