DEAR HARRIETTE: I feel like I never catch a break. I have a low-paying job, debt from school loans and bad choices, and a car that is cutting out on me. I could keep going, but it gets depressing just thinking about it. I have cut back my expenses dramatically since I have had this job, but I can’t seem to get out of the hole. Just trying to pay minimums on my credit cards is close to impossible.
I have a girlfriend, and I can hardly take her out on dates. I know I got myself into this situation, but it makes me so sad. I feel like if I don’t get it together, she is going to leave me. I try to put on a good face, but who am I fooling? I am tired of pretending like it’s getting better when it isn’t. I don’t have the skills to get a better-paying job right now. What can I do to turn the corner? -- Drowning in Debt, Denver
DEAR DROWNING IN DEBT: You have taken the first step by admitting your problem. The next step is taking action. You can get support to help figure out a path to financial freedom by engaging a credit counseling service. Often, it will look at your finances and recommend debt consolidation that it negotiates on your behalf to drive down interest rates. The challenge with this is that your credit will be frozen during the period that you are paying down your debt. The good news is that when it’s finished, you will be able to rebuild your credit starting with a clean credit history. To learn more, go to advantageccs.org/services/online-credit-counseling.
One other thing you can consider is to get a second, part-time job to supplement your income. Many people work two jobs to make ends meet. You will have to deal with time management challenges, but you can figure that out, too.