Living on a Budget, Saving Money/Money issues...


I have quite a bit of debt.  I have student loans of around $35,000.  I also owe the IRS for previous years because I filed for six allowances on my W4.  

Now that I only filed for two allowances on my W4, I'm barely able to get by. I find myself taking out payday loans on a monthly basis.

My gross income is just over $35,000 and is even more "gross" after the taxes are taken out. Ha! And of course, there's no savings to fall back on right now.

What can I do to save up?

What would be the best strategy to pay off the debt while still being able to pay my rent ($960/mo), and buy groceries?

Would it be wise for me to file "exempt" on my W4?


Hi Michelle:

Thank you so much for choosing me to assist you on your financial journey. If I understand you correctly, you want to know how to prioritize your finances with tons of debt, not enough income and no savings. You are right to think your finances have gotten out of control.  The good news is you seem determine at the beginning of the new year to make tough decisions.

My first recommendation is to find ways you can increase your income from your primary job, taking a second job, or creating a job. Below is a link for different ways to create a job. Once you begin to increase your income, here is a plan for the use of the extra money. First, insure your payment plan to the IRS is paid on time. They have the authority to garnish your wages and withhold any tax refunds.
My second recommendation is for you to pay off the payday loan companies and do not use them again. Use money to fill in the gaps that made them a necessity. The best way to avoid them is to ensure you are using a written monthly budget. A budget lets you track your money. This way, you will know on paper if you are going to run out of money. This knowledge will give you the option to cut back on an upcoming “want” item or plan to work extra to make up the difference.

It sounds like you are being pulled in different directions. I can imagine your stress level is high. At this point your options are limited until you can increase your income. I would not make any more changes to your W4. You have an income issue. Having a specific focus will give a sense of direction. Once you have completed step one and two, contact me again and we will continue with the next steps to win with money.
Thank you for being proactive, I hope this helps.

E.B. Joseph  (no and low cost business  ideas

Living on a Budget, Saving Money

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Ericka Joseph


The budget is a guaranteed way to track your money and develop money discipline. I am open to answering any questions which concern customization of a budget and using tools to help you stay discipline. I will also answer about creating and maintaining an emergency fund. Although I can speak about long-term financial planning and investing, I will choose to only focus on the fundamentals I use for my financial success, at this time.


I have achieved every financial goal I have set in the last 14 years to include being debt free in the last eight years. I teach my budget class online on Udemy.


I am a retired U.S. Marine of over 20 years. I am the CEO of Plan2Win Solutions, LLC and currently a Homeschool Mom. I hold a BA in Psychology from Chapman University of Orange, CA and AA in Business Administration from Strayer University of Washington, DC.

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