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How to manage all this debt? Stuck in a rut


How to manage all this debt? Stuck in a rut

Hey all. Casual lurker of the forum for awhile but now it's really time to get serious about this issue.


When I began building my credit I made a bunch of short-sighted and for the most part, irresponsible moves. These moves included opening MANY credit cards, quite a few sub-prime, racking up a bunch of debt in the process after having numerous car issues, spending somewhat lavishly and not paying it off then losing my job and needing to max the cards out and even open one or two more to survive until I got back on my feet. Now I am floundering in debt and am barely moving the needle. I have fifteen open accounts - 11 revolving credit, 2 store, 1 secured loan, 1 hidden TL. The interest and especially the monthly fees are crushing me.


I bring home about $1700 per month and $700-900 per month goes to various bills (car ins, phone, gas, elec, rent) before I even get to food, gas, credit card payments, other wants/needs. Of course, I try to build some of these bills into the minimums when I can (ex. if gas bill is $120, minimum payment is $25 and card is $10 over limit, I make a $135 payment then pay gas bill off card when it posts.) But it has gotten to the point where in some instances I have needed to cash advance against one card to make another cards payment in which case I use Paypal and a trusted friend with Paypal acts as a surrogate account to "cash advance" beyond the allocated advance line.


I have thought about paying these off, one at a time, then "cash advancing" the entirety of the credit line back, because I need the money to pay my bills and survive, as a way to reset the interest period for these cards, at the least.


I cannot get a loan without a co-sign and I don't know anybody willing to co-sign and both of my parents have similar/worse credit than I do.

It's slightly under $8k of debt and I have only ever had one late payment, by one day, and it was on PayPal Credit which doesn't seem to be hitting CRs. Otherwise, no lates/missed payments.


I cannot open another revolving account to BT (denials) and due to having ~75% util reporting across the board, cannot CLI any of these.


Data points: (Current Bal/Total TL)

*CareCredit - $800/$800 - Defered Interest for 6 months, I believe it's in the 26% range, JUST opened two weeks ago, first statement has not even generated

First Premier Bank - $800/$800 - 36% APR, $49 annual fee + $10 monthly fee

First Premier Bank - $910/$800 - 36% APR, $79 annual fee + $8 monthly fee, way over limit because annual fee just hit
Build Card - $475/$500 - 31.15% APR, $6 monthly fee

First Access - $300/$300 - 29.99% APR, no fee first year

Fingerhut - $280/$2000 - 28.50% APR, no fee

CapitalOne Secured (Never graduated) - $480/$500 - 26.99% APR, no fee

CapitalOne QuickSilver (PC from Unsecured Platinum) - $490/$500 - 26.99% APR, no fee

Merrick Bank - $1190/$1200 - 26.70% APR, no fee first year

PayPal Credit - $875/$950 - 26.24% APR, no fee

CreditOne - $640/$650 - 26.15% APR, $9 monthly fee

Discover - $400/$500 - 25.24% APR, no fee

Target - $195/$400- 25.15% APR, no fee

Indigo Card - $300/$300 - 23.90% APR, no fee first year

MoneyLion Loan - $368/$500 - 5.99% APR, one year, reports as a secured installment loan (on EX)


Current scores (as of 9/6/19, reports from early-late Aug):
EX: 583
EQ (Credit Karma): 549
TU (Credit Karma): 531


I really do not know how to approach this. I do know that the CareCredit account needs to be paid off before the first week of March, which is $135 per month extra on top of close to $525 in minimums every month. It seems that it will take at least six to eight months of DISCIPLINED spending (ie living off rice and beans for the entire time) before I can even scratch the surface.


I have charted out trying to allocate extra money to a few of these to snowball the payments, but even then, it seems it would be close to two years of disciplined spending/paying to pay all these off in full, open a couple better cards, then close a bunch to consolidate my profile.

Community Leader
Senior Contributor

Re: How to manage all this debt? Stuck in a rut

Well first off alot of us have been there. So you are trying to figure this out which is the first step, I am sure you know once you get to paying a card off just to turn around and charge it back up to pay a bill that is a recipe for disaster .


First off, what are your expenses? Anything you can cut, downgrade, cell or cable?


Can you get a part time job to supplement your income?


Keep track of all your spending and see if there is something you can do/live without? 

EXP 758 TU 783 EQ 729
Message 2 of 15
Super Contributor

Re: How to manage all this debt? Stuck in a rut

Hi and welcome to MyFICO


When you're at a point where you're borrowing from Peter (cash advance) to pay Paul (CC expenses), it becomes an ever-ending vicious cycle. I actually hurt for you reading your list of maxed out cards.


Because you bring home only $1,700/month and your cards have extremely high interest rates, IMHO, it will take more than a couple of years to get these paid off. It's more like 5-7 years because when one makes only minimum payments, they're paying the interest and not even scratching the surface of the principal. So in essence the balance is growing instread of shrinking. Just take a look at one of your statements. It says, if you make minimum payment, it will take (fill in the blank) years to pay it off. Those few words are like a blinking NEON light.


There are some options: (1) a debt consolidation program or (2) calling each debtor, explaining your situation, and asking for APR reduction or if they have some kind of debt relief program. Also, you may have to ask yourself if BK may be an option. 


I understand how overwhelmed you feel and there are others who will come along to offer some guidance.


I hope you can get this worked out.

DEC 2019: EX 816, TU 820, EQ 810
DEC 2018: EX 777, TU 783, EQ 799

|| AmX Cash Magnet $40.5K || NFCU CashRewards $30K || Discover IT $24.7K || Macy's $20K || NFCU CLOC $15K || CitiCostco $12.7K || NFCU Platinum $12.5K || Apple Card $6.5K ||
Message 3 of 15
Regular Contributor

Re: How to manage all this debt? Stuck in a rut

Get a part-time job. Deliver with Postmates.
Get a cleaning job.
There is no overnight success and only you can make this debt go away and learn to manage it.
I’ve been there and done that.
Sleeping in the car-check
Not having $10 for gas-check
Over the limit cc-check
You and only you can make your life happier. It is not easy.
Message 4 of 15

Re: How to manage all this debt? Stuck in a rut

I have considered both debt consolidation and BK. In my situation, is dragging my credit down more with BK or taking the chance on debt consolidation worth it for ~8k? 

I have also considered asking for APR reductions, but I do not know how willing some of them would be. Capital One and Discover may consider dropping it a couple percent, but I do not think First Premier would nor do I think Bank of Missouri (services Build and I'm pretty sure First Access) would either. As you can see, quite a few are sub-prime. Ironically, one of them (Indigo) has the lowest APR for a credit acct that I have lol.


Essentially I would like to be able to slim my profile down by any means. I figure that I can probably get credit increases on a couple cards to move debt once I bring my overall util% and individual util%s down some. The question is, would it be my QS and Discover like I'd ideally like it to be? Or will it be on one of the higher interest ones? Keeping up with the payments, just making sure they are all paid (I don't have autopay set to avoid mishaps with not having money in the acct etc.), has been tiring. I'd essentially like to keep Fingerhut, Target, both Capital Ones, Discover, Paypal Credit, and Carecredit. And maybe open another Discover/CapOne/PaypalMC or a Citi/Chase/etc once I get all this dealt with.


Those "if you pay only the minimum" things, I have taken into account. Also take into account that if I pay off the Target and Fingerhut accounts in full first, I can then snowball that $ into one or two other payments, as well as try to allot an extra $100 or so a month towards those respective payments. Then work on one or two of the other smaller-limit cards and keep snowballing. That's why I estimate that it may take about two years, hopefully. That does not take into account any other variables (pay increases, I should be bringing home $2000-2200 a month within the next 3-4 months - bonuses - credit line increases or balance transfer offers on new cards once I pull my util% down - supplemental income.) 


Looking at it on paper, though, snowballing still seems like a massive uphill battle.


I have a ~20 year old car with a recent at-fault accident, so I cannot do Uber/Lyft/etc or drive for a company at this time.

Finding a second job going into the winter in my area is difficult, it is a tourist area and businesses considerably slow down during winter excluding immediately preceding/following holidays until late April/early May. My primary job has relatively steady but sometimes erratic hours and days on/off (I work in a restaurant), so finding a part-time that a) is flexible with my primary job schedule-wise, b) is within decent driving distance of either my house OR my primary job, c) still gives me 6-8 hours a day for sleep/travel/food/downtime/errands is difficult.


Message 5 of 15
Regular Contributor

Re: How to manage all this debt? Stuck in a rut

Another thing is calling your creditors and ask them for some options. One of the ways to do it.
Your $8k debt is not much. Try to pick up couple hours in overtime. Talk to your boss, be honest about paying off credit cards.
When I worked at the restaurants, owners were pretty understanding.
As a business owner I am pretty understanding when employees ask for an advance.
Good luck
Message 6 of 15
Valued Contributor

Re: How to manage all this debt? Stuck in a rut

sorry for your troubles.  you seem level headed, organized and you write well...refreshing.  this is only $8K, does not make sense to go sideways for 10+ years for such a small amount.  have you cut out netflix, cable, etc?  mobile phones can add way to save is t-mobile 55+, if you know someone that has the older version of this plan it has 3 lines for $30 each net per month and its unlimited everything - if you could port out to a plan like that its a great little saver.  your interest rates are the killer here, I cringe when I see them.  you are going to have to call each one and beg to get lower rates.  tell them someone is sick in your family or make up something to try and get them to simpathize with you in a different way other than things just got out of hand - they hear that all the time.  you need a really good story.  really a shame, all you need is one non-reporting business card with no % for a year like a amex biz plus or cash and you could knock this right out

Message 7 of 15
Established Contributor

Re: How to manage all this debt? Stuck in a rut

Hello Hello Reality Check here


Your debt is near $8k you have a 560 score & to go into BK for 8K is not right.
Yes you have maxed out cards however, you can work on paying off these cards especially store cards first

CareCredit - $800/$800 -

First Premier Bank - $800/$800 - 36% APR, $49 annual fee + $10 monthly fee

First Premier Bank - $910/$800 - 36% APR, $79 annual fee + $8 monthly fee, way over limit because annual fee just hit
Build Card - $475/$500 - 31.15% APR, $6 monthly fee

First Access - $300/$300 - 29.99% APR, no fee first year

Fingerhut - $280/$2000
CreditOne - $640/$650 - 26.15% APR, $9 monthly fee
Indigo Card - $300/$300 - 23.90% APR, no fee first year
So $800 + $800 + $910+ $475 +$300 + $280  +$640 + $300= $4505


then your sole aim is to find out what exactly can be done to get extra $4505 which if you can find a way to earn/selloff things or work overtime will be very well worth getting rid of big debt off your overall debt profile. All this will have to be paid in full? not weekly/monthly or anything like that?


Next question I have is how is your Bank account/Chex Report? have you applied for a PLOC with a credit Union ? BECU comes to mind?

You shouldn't run worried about your debt? its nothing compared to most people here & i wouldn't lose my sleep over it? Yes its not the very best & i understand it will take long long time to get out of debt?


Everyone's mind works in very different ways. My way is to think of getting $4500 somehow/somewhere doing things that will bring me $4500. Thats all. what do i need to do for it. who's gonna be with me? who can i get it from? whom i know will allow me this $4500. Its BIG MONEY thinking & not making small $$$$$ doing chores or small things that get you fewest/smallest/$$$$$.


Once you have ability to payoff $4500 you will find yourself smiling & in shock & aw of what you did? It will definitely be a huge sigh of relief.

then your remaining cards will have to be paid on minimum payments so be it.

Goodluck to you.


Let's go get it?


Message 8 of 15
Regular Contributor

Re: How to manage all this debt? Stuck in a rut

I agree with all the posters. Let is be your journey to success of paying off the debt and rebuilding of your credit.
You can keep posting of your success and failures here. One head is good but three is better.
Message 9 of 15
Valued Contributor

Re: How to manage all this debt? Stuck in a rut

Don't make this too complicated with thoughts of moving $$ here and there and all over the place. It never helps!


You simply have to bring in more money . . a new better paying job OR a second one, even with the challenges you mention in getting one, there is one available SOMEWHERE. Selling stuff you don't need, reducing expenses, etc. all helps as well.


Then I'd just snowball this debt. You can start by closing your secured card and having the deposit pay the balance. Then you're already down one and on your way. Good luck!

Ch 7 Discharge May 2015
Discover/Target/NFCU CLOC/NFCU More Rewards Amex/NFCU Platinum/PenFed Power Cash Rewards/PenFed Pathfinder Visa/Citi Costco Visa/CapitalOne SavorOne/Apple Card - $139,100 total revolving, 21% utilization
3.25% mortgage July 2020, $20k used Auto Loan October 2020, $20k PenFed Personal Loan Dec 2020
687/683/673 EX/EQ/TU w/ 5/6/6 INQs as of Jan 2021
Spending 2021 in the Garden
Message 10 of 15
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