Author Topic: In debt, utilities being shut off......How can I help this family?  (Read 2060 times)

kmall

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In debt, utilities being shut off......How can I help this family?
« on: September 17, 2016, 11:49:27 AM »
As the title hints one of my best friends and his family are in trouble.

Yesterday we took a walk and he opened about how bad his families financial situation is. In the last few months their cell service and internet service had been shut off briefly and the food budget was slim to none at times.

He and I have been working on small ways to save lately and have had some success but other spending quickly increased.

I've tried to give him all the tools and mindsets to change his but I do not know how to help his wife. She is firmly entrenched in the idea that her family are the Joneses and she spends vast sums to that end. He hits the roadblock of denial when he attempts to involve her in running the finances. Even when he shows her the account has $3 left for the week she will go spend on amazon and or in app purchases.

So, I ask for your help to help me help them.

Little Aussie Battler

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Re: In debt, utilities being shut off......How can I help this family?
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2016, 12:02:26 PM »
Whatever you do, don't give them money to continue this self-destructive cycle.

LadyMuMu

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Re: In debt, utilities being shut off......How can I help this family?
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2016, 12:03:48 PM »
Honestly, if the wife is as shopping addicted as he claims, shutting off internet and cell service will at least cut down on the online and app spending. Cut up the credit cards, too. Go to a cash only system. And eliminate cable while you're at it. I find that I mostly crave "stuff" when I'm doing too much surfing online or watching HGTV and the like.

Frankies Girl

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Re: In debt, utilities being shut off......How can I help this family?
« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2016, 12:10:08 PM »
You can't. The guy's wife has a serious disconnect from reality and is using shopping as escapism. Unless you're a therapist or a financial counselor, your help won't be enough and they'll see you as a soft touch and expect you to give them help whenever they go into the red if you give them actual money even one time.

If the situation is dire, then he needs to get counseling - both financial and marital - since his wife is a huge problem.

He can ask for help at his church, see about low or no cost counseling and go to a food bank if necessary. He should look into closing or freezing their credit cards, and shutting off the cell service (or going to a low cost phone only thing - hell even Ting you can lock out things like data usage or text usage so it's just a phone).

If it was me in this situation, I'd likely be getting a divorce. So sorry your friend is dealing with this.

But you can't and should not be inserting yourself into this.

It really, really is way out of your (and most average friends) league to deal with this type of situation since it concerns both their marriage and money and communication between the spouses. Be there if he needs to talk and encourage him to find professional help, but don't get in the middle of that mess - because it may harm your relationship in the end.

kmall

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Re: In debt, utilities being shut off......How can I help this family?
« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2016, 12:31:12 PM »
Thank you for the replies.

Suppose I already knew the answer deep down but had hope I was missing something y'all could point out.

I've stayed to the outside of the situation and will continue to do so but will continue to give support when asked. Just hard seeing this happen to those you care about.

Bicycle_B

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Re: In debt, utilities being shut off......How can I help this family?
« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2016, 03:05:39 PM »
Thank you for the replies.

Suppose I already knew the answer deep down but had hope I was missing something y'all could point out.

I've stayed to the outside of the situation and will continue to do so but will continue to give support when asked. Just hard seeing this happen to those you care about.

No doubt it is hard indeed.  FrankieGirl nailed it, of course.

Fwiw, sometimes a listening ear 90% of the time and a wise example the other 10% (not advice, just example... once a while a thoughtful question....) is the most effective support anyway.  They won't change until they feel they've hit bottom, probably, meaning that both of them see a need for change instead of just experiencing problems.  A friend once told me "It's not what they say right now that counts, it's what are they doing three years from now."  Change is slow.  If they're in water as deep as you say, they probably don't have many calm friends.  Just be that friend (my two cents).