I generally say is “Breathe”. And that is what you need to do, slow down take a deep breath and know that no matter how bad it seems things will improve. You have taken the first major step. You acknowledged the fact that financially your life is out of control. Now you can fix it. No one here will promise you it will be easy, nor will we tell you that there won’t be set backs (aka: Murphy Moments), but we will tell you that there will be wonderful Millie Moments when you least expect it. A Millie Moment is a sudden good fortune, even if it’s only finding a really large coupon for something you truly need and are flat broke, or huge Millie Moments like a big bonus, pay raise or other windfall. When these Millie Moments hit you will be surprised to find how much differently you will look at that money in the future than how you did in the past.
You’ve already received some wonderful advise from some folks. I’ll second all that has been said, but being the chatterbox I am I’ll explain them a bit more.
Sharon mentioned weaning things out of your life. We each have “extras” in our budget that could truthfully go. I know when I first join the list nearly four years ago I was certain I could not cut anything out. The next month my dh and ds both lost their jobs on the same day and were unemployed for 18 months and I found we could REALLY cut the budget. Not only did we cut, but we even paid off some tiny bills while unemployed. Thankfully both men eventually got jobs again, at 25% less than they had previously been making, but they now work together again at a great company.Sara pointed out things like cutting your cable/satellite package, your cell phone plan, ending landlines etc. The best way we could all help both newbies in getting your personal finances under control is for you to list your complete income and outgo on here for us to help you look for places you could cut and soon be debt free. We don’t need exact company names or anything like that if you don’t want to do that, it’s understandable, discussing finances is rough for some people. Me I’m pretty blunt about it all, but then that’s me. List minimum monthly due, balance and if you are in arrears—don’t bother with interest rates because we do not look at those here at all.—except to try and help you get them lowered.If you don’t want to list the names of your bills then put cc (credit card) #1, #2 etc, if it’s in collections then mark that it is — By the way, many of us have seen the ugliest side of collections so you will be in good company. We can help you handle those bottom feeders and give the power back to you. Not them—they have NO POWER, do not let them bluff you. If they call and get nasty, hang up on them, you do not have to take it.
The first thing you need to do is catch up on all of your other household bills, like electricity, gas, water, – utilities. Once you get those bills current then you can begin to work in earnest on the Dave Ramsey Plan.To get caught up with the bills, sell those items which you no longer need or can afford such as cable/satellite TV, extra cell phones, a land line if everyone is dependent upon cell phones etc. Look seriously at the grocery budget, and what you’re buying in the grocery store. Start cooking more from scratch than the more expensive pre-fabricated mixes/kits etc. Learn to shop on the perimeter of the grocery store (fresh items, produce, meat, dairy) fresh frozen etc.We’ll ask you about specific budget items later, your first priority now that you’ve caught up your rent, is to get your household bills current.