All I can say is don't be eambarrassed! There are many of us out here with the same problems as you. Our credit card debt (which, like you, I left my husband in charge of -- silly me!) was about $50K as well. We first decided to turn them to a debt elimination company.....BIG mistake. For 4 months all they did was take our money for themselves and change our address to theirs on all our accounts so we were unaware that nothing was happening with them. We realized this when we were served a summons for court by one of the creditors who was suing us!
At that point, I fired the debt elimination company and took things into my own hands...
your debt is really high. I could see that there is many giving you good advice, so maybe just to summarize it: Before you can make further decision what to do, you should start budgetting to see whether you can make it on your own, or you would need further help or file for BK. It will be tough work and you have to become a general like in the battle filed - tough, strict, no compromises, no mercy to yourself and to your family. First you should sit down and analyze all your expenses:
- do you have Cable TV? if so cancel it and borrow DVDs in your local store or at Netflix, instead of paying $36/mo or so you will pay around 5 dollars/mo
- if you have subscriptions, cancel or do not renew them
- if every member of your family has a cell phone, keep only one and cancel others or put them on hold
- do not use car, walk even shopping (I personally have bought a bag with wheels and walk)
- if you lunch and dine out, stop and eat at home, as Trishco says cook large chunk of food and freeze it (I for example buy pasta and bake it with ground beef, sausage or chicken with aggs and a little cheese in a crockpot and have food for a whole week and I cook two or three different dishes so I do not have to eat same food every day, even thoughI do not have problem with it.
- you should start planning your grocery shopping, buy only such food which can be prepared in a large scale (rice, pasta, potatoes, etc), once I made menus for myself for every day and created a list what needs to be bought for those menus. And when you are in a grocery store, buy only what is on the list, no excuses. (hard one!)
- you may look at the option to reduce electric bills not only by not having lights or computer ON all day, but maybe if you find somespare cash, buy the energy-efficient bulbs, my bill dropped by circa $10 when I replaced all conventional bulbs, but this option involves spending, so think and budget it carefully.
These are just examples how you may squeeze your budget and will see if you can save extra money every month. If you find out so, then every paycheck pay this extra money to your most expensive credit card on top of your regular payments. Do not wait until the last moment, pay it right away from your paycheck and live of the rest. Pay your regular payments immediatelly as well right after you pay your other bills (such as electricity, gas, HOA, etc.)
You should talk to all members of your family about the budget and new rules so everybody will follow it and know about it at all.
Then you may start looking for additional income, but use it all to pay the most expensive CC first.
After you sit down and do all the analysis of your situation you will see whether you can make it or you are still short and you will need help from the debt relief companies (be careful when selecting one) or file BK.
OK so you have no reason to be embarrassed but you should start by being honest. I work for a credit card company and by your interest rates I can see exactly where you stand. And so you know an over 30 day late is actually after you have missed two months worth of payments even though you have been 30+ days late its really just considered a 1-5 day late. But you need to first get it out of your head that you are "upper middle class". YOU"RE NOT. As soon as you come to that realization maybe you can curb your spending. #1 all meals should be had at home. If you're even just buying lunch out. You're spending over $4000 A year just for you and the hubby.
If you were upper middle class you would have a serious savings account or retirement set up. Upper middle class is not determined by your house size the clothes you wear or the car you drive. Its plain and simple your bank account. Sounds to me like you have a dropping credit score and if I were you I would look into a HELOC even though I bet your credit score has sunk enough not to qaulify you. If you only pay the minium you will be in debt till you're old and gray. Cut up all your cards, and how much are you guys putting towards your 401K and IRAs right now. Think about putting the money you are saving for retirement towards those credit card bills. Bottom line. The credit card company is not going to help you. Contact CCCS and see if they can help you. And try finding shops that offer consignment and sell some of your higher end clothes and downsize everything, And no more eating out. It will be the death of you. trust me. and remember..YOU're Poor. not upper middle class. maybe then u will realise the importance of paying cash for everything. If you can't buy it out right you can't afford it.
FIRST LET START BY SAYING DON'T BE EMBARRASSED!!!
IF YOU DON'T WANT TO FAIL BK, YOU CAN ALWAYS STOP PAYING THE CREDIT BILLS FOR 90 DAYS THEN THE CREDIT WILL START TO WORK WITH YOU!!! MAYBE YOU CAN SETTLE FOR CARDS FOR A LOWER PAYOFF!! 2 YEARS AGO I OWE $75,000 IN CREDIT BILLS I END UP PAYING AROUND $15,000. THE KEYS WAS I HAD TO WAIT THE 90 DAYS BEFORE ANY OTHER CREDITOR WOULD TALK TO ME!!1
I would have to agree with you on this risingscore! far to many of us "think" we are "upper middle class" and most of us have the credit card debit to show for it. Our present econimic situation is another indicator that more Americans thought they were above their true social and economic status. The first step is to take this advice and realize you are poor and work hard at getting out of debit as soon as possible. I wish you the best of luck along with everyone else in your situation.