Question from a reader:”Help, Kim! I am in survival mode and need to know what bills to pay. I am working with some people who are helping me get out of debt but I am going nuts and I don’t like some of the answers I am getting from them or using search engines.”
My answer is sometimes you get questions that you can’t like the answers to like “Do you still beat your kids?” If you answer, “yes”, you are endangering your kids and you are scum. If you answer “no”, you were endangering your youngsters and were scum. The correct answer is sometimes to answer “I never touched my children in a harmful way” but sometimes life throws things at us that only offer yes/no or binary choices (that means two).
If you don’t like the answers that you are getting you need to first see if the advice you are getting is something that will get you out of the situation you are in or at least help you survive. If the person or agency you are working with is asking for money up front or money to get you out of the situation you are in, that sounds like it is fraudulent and you need to report them to the authorities and find somebody who can help you that is on the level.
If the questions that are being asked require sacrifice and major lifestyle changes, that is another situation entirely. When you are in survival mode you are interested in the basics. Each paycheck or payment needs to be able to tackle the following items first:
2. Required or Mandatory Medical Bills/Payments or anything that keeps you or your loved ones alive.
3. Utility bills were gas or electricity needs to be provided so you can have light, possibly heat or air conditioning wherever you are living. You can also think clearer about what steps to take when your blood isn’t freezing or boiling. If you aren’t taking care of your environment, you risk getting sick and adding incidents that will require item number two above.
4. Child support if you are taking care of your children. They aren’t responsible for what is happening around you and they need their parent to help them out so they can have the basics they need to have a healthy life growing up.
If you have money leftover from those items you want to keep paying down the financial chain as follows:
5. Car payments (if any) should be made so you have wheels so you can work or get to a job interview so you can keep climbing out of the survival situation that you are in.
6. Gasoline money – with gas prices higher now you need to be able to fill the tank or if you don’t have a car, make sure that you have an active bus, subway or train pass so you can get to work.
7. Car insurance payments are a must. If you get pulled over without insurance you can lose your vehicle or license in some states and you will need to fall back on public transportation. Even worse would be if you were in a car accident and you didn’t have your payments current.
8. Communication utility payments such as phone bills, cell phone (if not land line), cable or dsl to connect to the Internet. You will need to be able to communicate with the world somehow or make arrangements to go to the library to check your e-mail and send out your resumes.
9. Credit card debt would go next. Start paying down the money that you owe and try to make more than the minimum payment that is required to lower your debt.
10. Any other unsecured debt should be paid off next like loans, promissary notes or anything else that would be getting the wolves away from your door.
It won’t be an easy process but you are not alone in trying to get out of the situation. Keep your faith and if you have a family, remember that you are doing it for them. If you don’t have a family, remember that you are doing it for yourself and you can and will eventually move financially to a sturdier place in your life. It will just take some time.
Good luck and be safe. Try to be happy and healthy too while you are at it.
That way if anybody asks you if you still beat your kids you can either say “I never beat my children but I beat back debt and am doing great, thanks for asking” or something along the lines of “Are you kidding? My kids beat me to the dinner table every night. That is why I am so broke.”
June 23 2009
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Part of all the proceeds from the sales of that book go to Rett Syndrome research. One girl is born with Rett Syndrome worldwide every fifteen minutes. My daughter Arianna has Rett Syndrome and we are working to do all we can to make her life easier and find a cure in her lifetime. Boys born with the Rett gene generally die at birth.
Kim Isaac Greenblatt
Do You Still Beat Your Kids, Buddy?