Financially Stuck in the Middle

Recently, I celebrated my one-year anniversary of being back to work full time.

In some ways, it feels like I’ve been with this organization for a lot longer than that. I have already changed roles after accepting an internal promotion and am currently back-filling for a different department, as well. (Essentially meaning I’ve been trained in 3 different jobs already.)

And yet, I still feel so new at the same time.

When I realized that my work anniversary was approaching, I started to look back on the progress we’ve made financially over the last year.

Surely being back to work full time (and more than doubling my income) meant that we’d be getting back on track, right?


Compared to where we were before I started this job, we’re not any further ahead…


But on the bright side – we aren’t any further behind, either.

We seem to have found ourselves right in the middle.

Being financially stuck in the middle isn’t a terrible place to be in.

We’re no longer behind on our bills – but we’re still living paycheck to paycheck.

We still can’t afford all the things we want – but we can now afford at least some of them.

We’re not getting further into debt – but we’re not getting out of it, either.

But paying $500 a month in interest charges – just to stay in debtis a terrible place to be in.

How can we ever get un-stuck from this situation?

Nearly 25% of my net income is going straight into the hands of the big banks, instead of into mine.

That $500 a month could be put to much better use.

If, for example, that $500 were going towards the principal amount owing on our credit cards instead of the interest amounts, we could eliminate all of our consumer debt in under 5 years. We’d be “debt-free” except for my student loan. And could finally make some real progress towards our future.

At our current rate, we will always be carrying this debt load.


I knew we weren’t making any grand strides financially, but I honestly thought we were at least making baby steps.

Realizing we weren’t weighed heavily on me.

I started having panic attacks again, couldn’t sleep, and I was angry and ready to snap.

The stress of it all was quickly taking over my life.

As hard as it was, I knew I had to take a step back from all things personal finance for awhile. (Which also meant taking a break from blogging.)

I needed to calm down, clear my head, and come up with a plan.

Our financial situation is not unique by any means.

And neither is its solution.

We need more money to pay down our debt.

But of course, that’s much easier said than done.

I’m still exploring every option I can think of in order to find a plan that works for us. So far, I haven’t found one.

But I’m trying.

I’ve talked to two different banks to see if they could help (they couldn’t). I’m chipping away at every item on our budget trying to find an extra few bucks wherever I can.

I recently volunteered to work 12 hour days during the week and over the weekend in order to get almost 30 hours in overtime (which rarely happens in my job). My husband has been accepting more overtime at his job, as well.

I’ve been using my downtime to answer surveys and enter contests online again (I had a lot of luck with these before!).

And for the first time in my life, I’m actually spending time really assessing myself and my career goals, in the hopes of finally finding the right career for me.

YOUR TURN: Have you ever been financially stuck in the middle? How did you get un-stuck?

Amanda Kay, an Employment Specialist and founder of My Life, I Guess, strives to keep the "person" in personal finance by writing about money, mistakes, and making a living. She focuses on what it’s like being in debt, living paycheck to paycheck, and surviving unemployment while also offering advice and support for others in similar situations - including a FREE library of career & job search resources.

9 thoughts on “Financially Stuck in the Middle”

  1. I can’t wait for further updates because I’m sure they’ll be positive, you sound so determined and that can only lead to good things! Keep your head up!

  2. I feel like I’m a similar situation to you and it’s frustrating as ($*)%%)!!! It’s so stupid that banks don’t let us put our money toward paying the principal, but of course, interest is what keeps them in business, right? As you can see, I’m still pretty angry by it.

    But even though it looks like lots of other people are having fun and doing the things I want to do, I know that some of them are just getting more into debt, others aren’t planning for the future at all, and I’m on the right track. Not to say I’m better than them! I (and you) just have a different plan. It’s not fun right now but I think you and me will eventually get out of the middle.

    It does take so much hard work. Overtime, sacrificing family time, etc. It sucks but I do think it will pay off in the future. Keep it up and keep us posted!

  3. I’m sorry you’re feeling that way – it’s no fun at all. But you are clearly committed to and that means you’re on the way. Sadly nothing with $$$ is ever quick (unless you win lotto?) it’s a long journey not a sprint :S

    I can’t remember what the deal with your debt is – is consolidation/refinancing a possibility?

    I’m feeling a bit like you at the moment – wanting to step back from the PF world a bit. No I don’t want to be like the majority of people and live in debt and be okay with it (I know that’s not me and I can’t do that! It stresses me out) but I also can’t think about $$ all the time, it’s unhealthy. I do need to make sure we are making progress and we’ve been stuck lately, and to find more money to that end, but I am not extremely frugal and I’m still wanting to enjoy life on a budget.

  4. I really think you should look into credit counselling. They will eliminate all the interest and all your money *will* go on principle. It’s not the same as bankruptcy and could help you tremendously!

    • I’ve heard success stories from this as well. I was actually pretty shocked at some of the deals others were able to get out of going to a credit counselor. With that being said, it obviously does not work out like that for everyone.

  5. Sorry to hear of your situation, I know this is a problem many people experience. I feel like banks don’t like people actually getting their debt down as the interest is how they earn money . I will stay tuned and hopefully you can find something to change your fortunes.

  6. It’s good to get more updates, even if they aren’t always the best. I like to hear more about people who are in the process of getting through something. I took a step back from my blog over the summer because even though I loved it, I felt distant from it because everyone kept talking about how much money they were making while I was still feeling stuck.

    As another commenter mentioned, have you looked into credit counseling? My dad was considering it when he was going through a tough time with debt several years back.

  7. I agree with others here. There is so much value in posts that aren’t all sunshine and rainbows. Being in debt is stressful and just plain not fun. When I first started paying off my debt years ago, well over $500 of my monthly payments went only to interest. (Now, it’s still a little over $250/mo.) So, I can relate to the utter frustration of it all. I wish I had a solution for you. I can only offer commiseration as a fellow debt hater. Thank you for sharing your experiences.

  8. Well progress is progress right? You aren’t where you wish you were, but you’ve come so far from where you were. It is slow and frustrating, but I think it will just take time. Dang those loans! I think that is really the kicker. Having a lot of debt makes it so hard to get ahead, but you have made progress and you are doing what you can do and that’s all you can do.


Leave a Comment