In desperate need for a step-by-step rescue plan
March 28, 2015 5:44 PM   Subscribe

My life has been in constant turmoil for a while now, and the end is nigh...

I've been circling the drain for a while now, and have asked similar questions before. I really feel I must not be getting it, and once again turn to the hive mind for a that sticks.

I'll chuck my pride here and just lay it out:
My rent and bills are due in mere days.
Rent - $1300
Cell phone - $80
Internet - $75
Hydro is every two months, so I'm ok there.
bill for maxed credit card - $250

My resources:
I have about 20 bucks, two wieners and a pack of no-name Mr. Noodles.

I have just started another job, I should see $300 on April 4, and then $600 two weeks later.
I also do a small job (garbage, recycling, minor maintenance) for/at the apartment I live (who I owe the rent to, just to be clear)...I get $140 a month for that.

I also have just begun a sales job, but it is straight commission and I have not yet made any sales yet.

So I am in a hell of a situation again...I have absolutely no-one to help me (no family); I hate the idea of borrowing from anyone I know. I don't qualify for social programs (I make over $600 a month) nor renter's bank (I don't make enough).

Another thing: I have been diagnosed ADHD (2 years ago)...Vyvanse helps but I can't afford my script and haven't had it in a while. I know that I have been super unfocused and making bad decisions.

Everyday bombs are going off in my head and I can't concentrate and I always feel sick to my stomach. Everyone I know has their shit together and are educated and making decent livings and travelling clothing themselves and I feel like a total failure. My clothes are old and ratty, I can rarely afford to do laundry, and have to spend what little I have on bus fare just to get to my crap job. I don't see how I am ever going to get anywhere and just live a normal life.

But anyway, in the meantime - Obviously I must let my landlords know that I have no money for rent (I am scared shitless to tell) idea I have is to offer to the job I do for them for a year free if I can skip this months rent. Is that ridiculous? That's all I can up with.
And the bills...I have no idea what to do. Looks like I'm going to default on my credit card, at the least.
And even when I do get paid it will not cover much (I'm always looking for more work, for the record)
I wish I could focus and figure this out...I used to think I was reasonably smart, now at 40 I feel I'm too stupid to cope with adult life. No matter what I do, No matter how hard I try, things keep getting worse.
posted by Soap D. Spencer to Work & Money (19 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I'm so sorry you're facing this.

You might want to re-visit some of the suggestions the MeFites made when you were in "Full-blown panic mode".
posted by magstheaxe at 5:54 PM on March 28, 2015 [1 favorite]

So if you're getting $300 on April 4, you can give that to your landlords, with a promise to make it up through the rest of the month. I don't know what things are like in your area, but where I live, it takes more than being late on one payment to get kicked out of your living situation.

Landlords have heard people being late on rent before. Don't make yourself more upset by spinning this up into a bigger thing than it needs to be.

You say you don't want to borrow money, but if you have a resource available to do so, you may want to do it anyway. Commit to paying back as soon as possible, but at this point, you're in triage mode.

The main thing to do is not panic. The world won't come crashing down immediately, and you may be able to mitigate things if you take things head-on, calling your creditors, working out payment plans, and being up-front about what you can pay and when.

Don't worry about the long-term just yet. Get through April, pay things as you can, gather money as quickly as possible, and breathe.
posted by xingcat at 6:01 PM on March 28, 2015 [3 favorites]

So this isn't ideal, but: pawn.

For 30 days you have some flexibility and most people have stuff. Your computer, your cellphone, watches, jewelry, television(s), major tools, musical instruments, CDs, etc...

It isn't ideal and it can get really expensive if you don't keep on top of it, but it has helped me out in a pinch when I was in your position. But for me, it wasn't worth sitting on the boatload of tech I had if I was being evicted. You just check your email at the library and get a used basic phone to put the SIM card into.

Good luck. The thing that keeps my business afloat is the fear that I will ever see that kind of situation again.
posted by Tchad at 6:07 PM on March 28, 2015 [2 favorites]

If you own anything, sell it.
Go to a food bank.
Assuming your financial security isn't likely to improve substantially, you need to either get a roommate or a cheaper apartment. In the short-term, if it's viable in your location, can you put it on airbnb?
Talk to your landlord sooner rather than later to reduce how much you piss them off, unless you don't expect to ever be able to make up the rent and need to force them to take the maximum amount of time to evict you.
See if you can share internet with one of your neighbors.
posted by metasarah at 6:13 PM on March 28, 2015 [1 favorite]

I would advise - no matter how humiliating - going to your landlords. You clearly have some kind of relationship if you're doing work for them, and I assume they wouldn't give you that work if you were a horrible tenant, and there's a certain uncalculatable cost to evicting a decent (if poor) tenant you know for the next tenant you don't.

Trade on that goodwill. Tell them the situation and ask them to help you work it out. I think offering too much puts too much on them, so don't try to negotiate out a year of work, just work on this month, maybe next month, until you have your legs better under you. I suspect this will work out okay. Just ask them if they can help you out for a little while with taking payments as you can make them in return for a few weeks leeway.

The credit card you can blow off for now. It'll hurt your credit, and if you can possibly call them and just say, "I'm in trouble right now and I can't pay, but I'll be back as soon as I can." But they can't really hurt you right now so they can wait.

Cell phone, if you don't need it for the sales job or whatever, let it go if you have to. And is the internet going to enable you to work? Of the two, I'd fuck up the cell phone because you can get a prepaid later, but you probably only have one choice of internet.

For now, just worry about the week-to-week. Talk to your landlords, as that's the most pressing item.
posted by Lyn Never at 6:22 PM on March 28, 2015

Best answer: Where are you located? In some places welfare can be expedited if you are in imminent danger of losing shelter. (This is true of Ontario Works, for example). Won't cover everything, but it'll help. Many municipalities also have a rent bank where you can take an interest-free loan to cover rent and bills. Ontario Works also has something called a Housing Stabilization Fund that is a one-time grant which might maybe be able to be applied to this kind of situation.

This may sound odd, but your most important bill right now isn't rent, it's your phone. Evicting someone for non-payment usually takes a bunch of time and bureaucracy, especially here in Canada. Whatever else happens, you have a roof over your head for at least the next week or two. You need your phone for jobs, for maintaining contact with your landlord, for support if you really go into panic and need someone to talk to right now.

As one of the suggestions in the last thread said: find a restaurant that needs a dishwasher. This may take some legwork, and will likely get cash in hand ASAP.

Talk to your landlords and work something out--and be sure to stick to it. Might also be a very, very good idea to find somewhere cheaper to live; $1300/month when you only have a guaranteed $900 coming in this month is a recipe for disaster over and over again. (As a side note, straight-commission jobs may not be legal; as I understand it, employers must use a formula which is: (hours worked)/(money paid out) >= minimum wage).

If ADHD is causing you an inability to work, it may also be worth looking at going on disability. If nothing else, it will cover the cost of your prescriptions. And at least in Ontario, you can work while on disability--some money gets clawed back.

Food = food bank. You're in a big city, call 311 and they will be able to help you connect to food banks, emergency shelter funding, etc etc etc. And check your MeMail.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:31 PM on March 28, 2015 [7 favorites]

Can you find a temp roommate? Even someone who can give you $50 a week to sleep on your couch?

Agreed that you try to find some quick under-the-table work like a dishwasher or graveyard shift stock-person to give you cash in hand now.
posted by greta simone at 6:34 PM on March 28, 2015 [1 favorite]

Oh, and the amount of money you make doesn't disqualify you from disability. Nor should it disqualify you from rent banks. Nor, at least in Ontario, should it disqualify you from welfare; they are largely concerned with what you have access to now.

Beyond the logistical considerations, do you have an in-person support network? Someone who can be there for you?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:35 PM on March 28, 2015 [1 favorite]

And flipping through your past questions, I see you're doing merchandising. I have a contact in that industry who might be able to point at more jobs available. Doesn't help immediately but may help solidify things in the medium term.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:47 PM on March 28, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: You need to talk to your landlords immediately. Like within the next 24 hours. Let them know exactly what's going on, financially + when you can give them money, and see if you can work something out. I wouldn't ask for a year's worth of work for a month of rent outright, because you should move somewhere cheaper ASAP. Like, as soon as you get this resolved. It doesn't seem that a 1300$/month rent will be sustainable for you any time in the near future. Work out whatever to get this month paid, then look for the cheapest room in a house or apartment that you can find and see if you can get a subletter for this apartment. I don't know when your lease is up though. But long term, you really really need to be in a place under 1000$/month, even if that means living with several roommates. I know bigger cities in Canada are super expensive so it'll be hard but it needs to be done.

Can you let go of either the phone or the internet? Some people cannot, but I don't know if you have data on your phone (might make having your own internet unnecessary and you can supplement with free wifi at a cafe or library or something). In the unlikely situation that you can do without incoming calls for awhile, maybe ditching your phone plan, then getting a cheapie prepaid phone as soon as you can then using Google Voice or something might work for you. If you can let go of one at least, pay the other ASAP and forget about the one that's nonessential.

You say you don't want to borrow from anyone, which is noble and understandable, but honestly is there anyone you can borrow from? Even if you don't have any very close friends, do you have any pseudo-close friends that you could even get <2>
Look for as much extra temp work as you can handle online (tutoring, childcare, dishwashing, whatever) to get some extra cash in hand to negotiate with your landlord.

I would also call your credit card company and talk to someone to see if you have any options wrt payment dates.

These are all short term solutions and long term, it's clear some things will need to change (living situation, mental health care etc.) but it's understandable that you're very focused on the short term now. Like a commenter said above, I would look into disability re: your ADHD, that might help a lot.

Good luck. I hope things work out for you and I'm sure in time they will. Do update us on your situation as you can.
posted by hejrat at 7:38 PM on March 28, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I'm sorry you're going through this. I have similar issues with life sustainability. I would try the disability option FFFM suggested. I mainly want you to know you're not alone and you're not a loser. Perfectly intelligent people can have a myriad of brain issues that make it hard to cope with the way the world is set up. Do everything you can to love yourself right now so you can find the strength to cope with this. Please memail me if you want to vent. I've been in similar situations and it helps to have a friend.
posted by Beethoven's Sith at 7:42 PM on March 28, 2015 [1 favorite]

I think part of my comment got cut off, but to rephrase:

Even if you don't have any very close friends, do you have any pseudo-close friends that you could even get *very small loans from? I think if you know anyone reasonably well that is aware of your situation, they'd likely be amenable to it.
posted by hejrat at 8:06 PM on March 28, 2015

It sounds like you really need a cheaper rent and/or a roommate or two. You're stretched way too thin right now, trying to cover $1300 alone. Get yourself into a more affordable living situation ASAP. If you can work out a situation where you are reliably earning more than you spend every month, that'll do wonders for your stress level and self-esteem.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 8:09 PM on March 28, 2015 [6 favorites]

For the ADHD, have you looked at the manufacturer's coupon plan?
posted by matildatakesovertheworld at 9:33 PM on March 28, 2015 [1 favorite]

Two suggestions:
Check your area for a family resource center or emergency services provider. Sometimes they're associated with food banks or thrift stores, or possibly churches. Nearly always it's a nonprofit agency that offers short-term emergency help for people in exactly your position. Maybe it's half the rent, or your phone payment, or a voucher for thrift store clothing, or two bags of groceries. Hoping your area has something like this.

Agreeing with the above. You have to move. Try renting a room in a house that is owned by the person you rent from (meaning not a house of roommates who all split the bills and have to pony up if someone leaves). Oftentimes single adults will rent an extra room to subsidize their income. You'd likely reduce your rent by more than half. But again, depends on where you live.

Good luck!
posted by AnOrigamiLife at 10:41 PM on March 28, 2015

Seconding the manufacturers coupon. I use the same kind of service for an arthritis med and pay only $10/month.
posted by harrietthespy at 11:19 PM on March 28, 2015

Best answer: So if you're getting $300 on April 4, you can give that to your landlords, with a promise to make it up through the rest of the month.

No he can't. His rent is $1300 and his job earns $1200 a month. Putting all of that money towards rent will still put him in arrears on 1 May for this month's rent when next month's rent is due.

I don't know where you live other than "Canada" and it would help to know what province and city you are in. I do know that you cannot afford to live where you're living. So:

1/ Don't pay your rent. Fall into arrears.
2/ Save your cash for bus fare for work.
3/ Find a room in a shared house that you can afford.
4/ Use your next two paychecks to secure this room.

In terms of just making ends meet:

5/ Immediately visit your local food bank.
6/ If you live in any of the served regions, contact your local SVP. They can help with food vouchers, clothing vouchers and depending on location, hydro bills.
7/ Revisit Benefits Canada and choose your province. In Ontario for example, you could be eligible for an Ontario Works payment.
8/ Visit Benefits Finder, choose your province, and tick only the "In need of dental surgery, prescription drugs or lenses" box. There is likely a drug assistance program for which you are eligible. (For example, here is the one for Ontario.)
posted by DarlingBri at 5:42 AM on March 29, 2015 [6 favorites]

When you have time can you update us please? If you're in Toronto I can provide you with contact information with two social workers who have additional expertise with mental health concerns.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:54 AM on March 29, 2015 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: Update: Waiting to hear from landlord, fingers crossed. Pawned my camera for a hundred bucks, so at least I have bus fare and food.
I am determined to smack this situation down.
Still I feel insane...I am going to book an appointment with my doc.
posted by Soap D. Spencer at 2:55 PM on March 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

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