Financial Woes, Part (I Don’t Know, I’ve Lost Count)

Keeping Our Heads Above Water, Barely

Eight months ago, we were in dire financial trouble, to the point of defaulting on a car loan, personal loan and four credit cards with a total of $65,000 in balances. At that time, it was impossible for me to enjoy life, every waking thought was about the dire financial situation we were in, wondering where the money to make the minimum credit card/loan payments were coming from, to the point of making myself sick.

That issue was solved in the nick of time by a $107,000 inheritance payment from my late father’s estate. I paid off $70,000 in debts, $65,000 in personal/car loans and credit cards plus another $5,000 paying back loans from family members that kept us afloat. We spent $10,000 on better camera gear for my wife’s new photography business, $6,000 deposit, which is half of the cost of a new(er) car for my wife.

This brings us up to $86,000, leaving $21,000 in savings, which has mostly been used to pay off fresh credit card balances, and a whole host of unexpected expenses, like a new lawn mower after ours went up in a cloud of smoke, and we have to spend $1,250 getting treated for bed bugs, for the third time in 3 years, our best guess is the kids are bringing them home from school, the kids don’t go anywhere else.

I let my wife spend $5 – $6,000 on ‘things’, I’m not even sure what, 8 – 10 live music events booked, some still upcoming, which I guess would come to around, maybe $1,500, plus using savings to cover the shortfall on monthly bills, now we are looking at having $1,850 remaining in savings after paying the latest round of credit card balances. We have plans on spending a long weekend in Arkansas next month, which is in jeopardy as the money earmarked for the trip has been wiped out by the bed bugs treatment.

Outside of the normal monthly utilities, I have a $140/mo car payment, $125/mo for a payment for a new washer and dryer we purchased a few months back and $46/mo for insurance for the aforementioned camera equipment. I need to look at all the money we have coming in and come up with a financial plan moving forward, which almost certainly will mean cuts in services we consume every month.

Now, I am here, back with all the financial burden on my shoulders, I can feel the stress and tension building up. I’m getting that sick feeling in my stomach as I know as things stand, our income is not enough to pay all our bills and buy groceries. I do not want to go down the road of using credit cards to make up the shortfall again as that is how we ended up in $65,000 in debt in just 3 years to start with.

Unfortunately, my wife’s businesses including photography and real estate have flopped thus far, we are about minus $13,000 on the photography side and roughly minus $2,500 on the real estate side. My wife works part-time which allows her to concentrate on her business projects, that part-time work brings in about $800/mo on top of my full-time income of about $2,100/mo net salary and $450 of other income.

I don’t want to tell my wife to give up on her business dreams, but it’s not working out, and the financial buffer of the savings is dwindling fast. It’s soon going to be time for her to find full-time work, we cannot continue to keep spending on a loss-making venture, the real estate venture has yielded just $1,000 in 3 years and only $200 in 7 months for the photography business, which is obviously not sustainable.

This all makes me feel depressed and like a failure, I am unable to provide for all my family’s needs.

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