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What to do about collections, rental judgment. Hopeless.

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    What to do about collections, rental judgment. Hopeless.

    I screwed up my life really bad in 2011 when I was 21, 22 years old. I accumulated massive amounts of debt in a very short period of time. Before that my credit score was really high. Ever since I've done what I can to keep it up but I haven't dealt with any of my past debt. Once I came out of the thing that got me in the 2011 hole all of that debt was really overwhelming and I had no clue how to handle it on an income where I was living paycheck to paycheck. I had spoken with several of my creditors and made payment plans only to fail to keep them all up (I had about 7 credit cards alone plus debt to directv, verizon, and this judment for the rental company). I decided to wait until I would be able to actually commit to paying each month so I don't continue digging the hole. Well now its 2017. I'm a single mom (got pregnant at the end of 2011) and still struggling to make ends meet. But I can't take this debt anymore. There has to be something more I can do. Especially with the rental judgment. I cannot get approved for any safe areas. I know this is my fault, something I did to myself but I cannot let this affect my daughter any longer.

    What I'm wondering is which debt I'm better off paying, how to negotiate with them to do so, and what I can do about the rental judgment. For that, we moved out in August of 2011. I had cosigned a lease with my mom who told me she had spoken with the company and they said we were fine to break lease. I had needed to move out of state to get myself in order. So I left. About a year later I got the letter in the mail from the company saying I owed them $3000. I called them and the only offer I got was to pay 2500 and they would settle. I had, and still don't, no way of getting that money. So what can I do now? Yes I should have still been saving up this whole time. I'm not smart with money and my income is quite low. I'm worried that attempting to make payments (which wasn't even an option for them before) will restart the clock and then what's the point. I feel like I'm never going to be able to tackle this.

    The things in collections at this point are:
    Directv-$863 2011? They have the date on this one as 2017 but it's definitely one of the earlier ones.
    HSBC-$454 6/20/12
    Gaia $3309 11/7/2011 (rental)
    Capitol one credit card-$908 1/31/12

    First take a breather and give us a little bit more information like income, expenses, and other debt.

    Second, the debt and payments you have to worry about right now is rent/food/car(unless you take public transportation for work). Everything else like Direct TV or credit card bills can be in the back burner. Those are unsecure debt in which a bankruptcy will whip them out or within a few years(depending on state), your statute of limitation will be in effect so collections can't call or harass you anymore.

    That being said, the ball is in your court when it comes to unsecure debt. They know that you can literally pay them 0. Sometimes something is better than nothing. Other times, they wouldn't budge so you can just pay them zero since your credit is trashed anyways.

    Because you have or will have bad credit, renting may be a little difficult which may lead you to pay more for rent(or find someone that will accept your credit score). This is the one downside of bankruptcy that can be very disruptive(unless you have your own house).


      Definitely need a few more details of your whole financial life right now. But no more sticking your head in the sand saying you are not good with this sort of thing. Part of being responsible is taking the initiative to learn what you have to. No one is born knowing how bank accounts and rental leases work. We all learn about them whether through necessity or because we want to know and at this point, you want and need to know.

      Also do you have full custody of your daughter and is her father paying support? I have heard of many mothers who will not pursue getting child support as they don't want the father to have anything to do with the child. Unless the dad is in jail, totally evil, etc. they still have a responsibility to help support their child and have reasonable access to helping them grow up. Having the other parent have the child at times, gives the main parent so much needed time to recuperate from the fatigue of working and childcare around the clock and getting child support also helps relieve some of the financial burden you are under.

      That is only some food for thought till we hear more from you again with details that we can help you with. I feel for you. I know what it is like to be a single mom.


        He has her two days and three nights a week. I have my schedule so that I work almost every hour of that time. I'm trying really hard to find a new job. I work overnights then go straight into waitressing in the morning. He does not pay child support. Our time is almost equal and so is our income and honestly he's a jerk and I figured it would do more harm than good. I don't want his hang ups from me pursuing it affecting my daughter when I probably wouldn't even get much anyway.


          Well it is very good that he is taking that responsibility. I don't know what state you are in, but some like PA garnishes the person's pay so none of that he didn't send the check nonsense. Most people need a lawyer to guide them through that, but it sounds like you are right it wouldn't be probably enough to cover lawyer fees for a year or two.

          It is just very frustrating to see young ladies with children and not getting a dime of help from the father. Our newspaper once ran an articles about a man in town that had 19 children from 4 different women and didn't pay a cent in child support! Granted that many children would be hard to support but it might have helped him think about it after the first couple before he dropped his pants again!

          Whenever you feel the pressure on, take deep breaths- in with a peaceful feeling and out with the nasty stress. It is very stressful to be in such a situation. If you work at it, little by little, you can work your way out.

          You owe around $5500 at this point. It seems insurmountable, but you can do it and no more saying you can't. If you know basic arithmetic you can track your expenses and bills along with your income. If you are shaky with arithmetic, that is why someone invented calculators and installed them in computers.

          Are you using your own computer or one at the library or such place? If you own your own, put it to work when you aren't working. There are ways to make money on line. Might not be fast or easy, but even $25/month would help you out. My son manages to earn all of what he spends on Christmas presents by doing surveys. There is a thread here on different ways to make money on your computer. I mention doing it this way as it sounds like you are doing what you can at away from home jobs, but when your little girl goes to bed you may have an hour or two to work at earning a bit. And yes I know that you will also need to be doing housework and laundry - everything that most women get stuck with when married as well. But work at trying to be efficient and try to dedicate one hour at least a day, looking for opportunities for/or actually making money.

          Keep us posted on how you are doing. If you need encouragement, come and ask.


            What about watching someone else's child after school when you do have your daughter? That can make quite a few dollars.
            LivingAlmostLarge Blog


              I've been a poor single mom, totally overwhelmed, so I know a bit about how you're feeling right now.

              Your daughter probably qualifies for medical assistance. If you haven't already gone to the county/are receiving benefits, go. Find out if you or your daughter are eligible. If you get benefits, they will pursue child support for you. And yes, you should do that. Dad has her 3 nights a week, you have her 4. Even if your income were equal, he would be ordered to pay child support because of parenting time. Now, even if he doesn't pay, or doesn't pay regularly, it doesn't matter. Just get the order rolling and let the chips fall where they may. Your daughter is entitled to the highest standard of living that the two of you can provide. This means child support to help equalize the child's two households. If you're worried about him being a jerk about it, tell him the county required it.

              You may qualify for other benefits like daycare assistance, education, gas vouchers. All kinds of things are out there, depending on your area.

              Address any concerns about mental health issues. A lot of low income people have untreated depression. One of the reasons for this is that they think the way they feel is because of their circumstances, when oftentimes, it's a chemical imbalance that requires medication. So, they suffer with a treatable condition. If you have depression, anxiety, ADD/ADHD, etc., it can make it more difficult to think, plan, work, get motivated and move up.

              Address any vices. I was poor, but I smoked. Quitting was hard because of stress (and untreated depression) and I spent money on cigarettes. I couldn't really afford to, so I became stressed about money. The stress made me "need" to smoke. Round and round I went. If you have a vice that you can't face giving up right now, lower the cost. If you're a smoker, start rolling your own. If you're a drinker, switch to a cheaper drink and consume at home. If you shop compulsively, shop at the dollar/thrift store.

              If your daughter is school aged, find a day job to avoid child care costs. If she's not, enroll her in Head Start.

              Ignore collections until you get other stuff in order. Don't talk to them until you have a plan.

              Lastly, please list your income/expenses. Don't be embarrassed. There are a lot of smart people here who can give great feedback and advice.