I'm disabled, waiting for a court hearing to hopefully get some disability. My husband works, but his income is just barely enough for us to get by. We have mounting credit card balances due to emergencies and sometimes needing food when we are overdrawn. I'm not really interested in having people tell me how bad this is, I realize that. Before having to leave my job we had no credit card debt at all and two paid-off cars.
My husband's car (2001 Saturn) had its transmission die. Estimates for repair are about $2400, which is way more than the car is worth. We intended to sell the car and buy something else, but then changed our minds and decided to save up to buy a used transmission and then get it installed. For the last six months, my husband has been driving my car (2003 Saturn), but now it's falling apart too. The cooling fan, power steering, and ignition all went out in a three week period. We've had to pay $700 to have the cooling fan and ignition replaced to get a vehicle my husband can drive to work. (The power steering was beyond our mechanic's abilities, since it's a recall on a faulty part. But the recall doesn't apply to us and the GM dealerships don't know what they're talking about.) One week later, the ignition stopped working again and we've taken it back to the same mechanic to get that fixed. While the car is in the shop, we've had to rent a car so my husband can get back and forth to work and put that on a credit card.
Recently we've also had our washing machine and air conditioner break down and are paying those bills off as well. These are the types of things that we don't have room for in our budget.
My mom sent us some money to cover the most recent car repair, because otherwise I didn't know how it would get paid for. I've been intending to be saving up money for car repairs/buying a new to us car, but the $1000 I had saved went towards a new washer and dryer and since then I haven't been able to scrape together any excess due to one thing after another breaking down.
We live 30 miles from my husband's job in a rural area where there is ABSOLUTELY NO form of public transport. We can't move because we live in a trailer and on land that is paid for.
I've reached nearly the end of my rope. Both of us are increasingly stressed and depressed by everything constantly going wrong. I desperately wish I could get a job, but I know I couldn't physically handle it and besides, I have no car to take me anywhere to work. And if I worked, I would lose all chance of getting disability. I have tried to sell things, possessions I've collected and things I have made, but though I occasionally get a hundred dollars extra, it is quickly eaten up by credit card payments and such. If I get disability, the backpay would pay off the debt and we would be able to make a monthly payment. But I'm increasingly worried we won't make it that long.
It's increasingly obvious that we need to get rid of our cars and get something more reliable and cheaper to fix. Because Saturns are hard to find parts for, hard to repair, and the company doesn't exist anymore, they are really bad ideas. Plus several of the problems on my car would have been covered by recalls, if the company still existed and if the car didn't have over 100,000 miles on it. (It's closer to 200,000.)
Assuming I'm able to save a little up and assuming we manage to sell both our cars, how much would it cost to buy something that would run? What cars should I be looking for? Is there any way to get a loan to make payments on something that would be about $100/month? I've considered some leases on really cheap cars that are about $200/month but they have mileage requirements that would mean my husband would have to drive one of our cars about half the time to avoid going over the mileage limits.
What the hell do I do? For the first time in my life, I find myself feeling really poor and helpless to improve my situation. I just really need some practical advice.
My previous AskMe about my husband's car