This episode of Maxed Out made me feel for the in-debt participant more than any other. It's about a 27-year old single mom named Marybell who left her abusive ex-husband five years ago with her three children. Her ex doesn't provide any child support and Marybell used debt as a stepping stone to gain independence — the only trouble is that it's gotten out of control.
A collections company calls her at work every day, her electricity was turned off and she had to use rent money to pay the bill, they've been without gas for two months and cold weather is approaching, and the family is in danger of being evicted from their apartment. Find out more about Marybell's situation and what happens when financial guru Allison Griffiths steps in to help, just read more.
Marybell has over $66,000 in debt and $27,000 of that is in collections. Her monthly shortfall of $1,770 has forced her to borrow an average $960 from her younger brother every month. Allison instructs Marybell to cut and track her spending in order to live within her means, start saving $50 a month for a psychological boost, and tells her to go see a credit counselor to explore her options.
At the end of the episode, Marybell has cut her spending by $2,000 a month and she decides to declare bankruptcy. She was resistant to bankruptcy because she eventually wants to buy a house for her family, but Allison reminds her that the first priority should be keeping a roof over her children's heads. Bankruptcy seemed to be the only option for Marybell, who says she can now look toward the future and feels that a huge weight has been lifted.