Q: I think I made a big mistake when I bought my car. I’m having a hard time affording the $500 a month payments because I only make minimum wage at my job and work 35 hours a week. My boyfriend, who was supposed to help me pay for it, has moved out and left me. I owe $20,000 on the car, but I know it’s still worth about $19,000. What can I do?
Dave: Sell the car! You went car crazy and bought a vehicle that was way out of your league.
Right now, your entire financial world is wrapped up in paying for this thing. And depending on a boyfriend to help make the payments was a big mistake, too. When he left, so did the financial support.
At this point all you need is enough to cover the hole you dug. Go to your local bank or credit union and try to get a very small loan from them—about $3,000. I hate debt, but you really don’t have a lot of options here. Then, if the car will sell for $19,000, get it sold and use $1,000 to cover the difference.
After that, take the remaining money and buy yourself a little beater. I’m talking about basic, ugly transportation. The next step is to pick up a part-time job on the side, and work like crazy for a few months to get that loan paid back as quickly as possible.