This episode of Maxed Out is about Crystal, a 26-year-old legal assistant and single mom with two kids — she also happens to be $50,000 in debt ($20,000 of that is from student loans). She's been ignoring the state of her finances to the extent of not paying some bills in four months and owing $200 to a gym she's never used. Everything is in crisis mode all of the time and Crystal is completely stressed out. She's still getting handouts from her father even though she's not earning much less than he is, and she's concerned that her neediness is damaging their relationship. Get more details about Crystal's finances and learn how guru Allison Griffiths tries to help when you read more.
Crystal says it all when she admits to consciously choosing to be short on rent to keep up with latest trends, and she avoids heavily trafficked areas while driving because she can't afford to update her expired license. When Allison investigates Crystal's situation by reviewing months of statements, she finds that on average, Crystal has a $430 monthly shortfall. To add fuel to the fire, Allison finds that Crystal is paying $0 toward her debts; at the rate she's going, the $50,000 debt will be $110,000 in five years. Allison finds a red flag number of $4,000: that's how much Crystal has in critical debt, meaning the amount she's behind on rent, daycare, and utilities. Besides giving firm instructions to slash her expenses, Allison tells Crystal to go to her landlord, daycare, and utility company, and say sorry about getting behind and ask how much she can pay every month until she's caught up and back on her feet. After three months, Crystal is saving over $300 a month and is determined to stop leaning on her father for handouts. She's taking control of her finances and able to set deadlines for herself instead of procrastinating and ignoring her bills.