Fear has set in as I can not pay all my bills for the first time in my life

We received this letter a short while ago and G.B. has given us permission to print it here, in the hope that it will help other people who find themselves in the same position.

Received from G.B. (N. Carolina)

I am a father of 4 and happily married. My luck has taken a turn for the worse. My wife and I are looking for work but can’t find anything yet. This feeling of fear and failure is unrelenting. I’m in the process of downsizing everything in order to lessen the blow but hate that it might not be enough. I don’t know if there is a way to keep my house but am going to try my hardest.

Any advise or knowledge of getting through this financially,mentally and emotionally might help.

And here’s our reply :

I know you are in a hard place and I can empathize with your fear. I have been where you are now. Know that at least one person is praying for you and your family. I also encourage you to cling to each other during this crisis. Try to work together to find ways to cut your budget and to bring in extra money. Make a family activity out of preparing low-cost meals. Spend time together.

You need to prepare for the rough ride ahead. Take a look at your personal finances and trim all the fat. I know your house might be very important but first of all try to save it by talking to the bank, explain your situation and get them to give you a break on the mortgage payments. They are being paid by the government to do so, so don’t take no for an answer. Realize you can stay in your home, sometimes for a long time, without paying the mortgage. It will hurt your credit and then you might have to repay a lot to catch up but it’s better than moving out. In the end if it doesn’t work out try working out a Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure, where you give the bank the keys to the house and walk away voluntarily instead of them foreclosing on you. It’s just a house and there will be others, right now survival is more important.

Get any job you can find. Walmart, Home Depot, Starbucks, cutting grass in the neighborhood, pizza delivery, anything. I don’t know what type of work you are looking for but right now you need income, any income.

Seek help. There are plenty of organizations available from your local
government, churches and civic groups that have sprouted because of so many people in your shoes. Look them up and use them. You will be surprised the amount of help you can find, from looking for work to temporary jobs, to assistance with paying the bills.

You can also call all the utility companies and explain your situation and they might be able to give you a break with the bills.