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Hello all,

I have been reading the posts here for a week or so now and am impressed with all the good advice and the encouragment given!

Without boring you with how I got to this point, I want to share my financial mess and ask for opinions and hopefully get some encouragement!

I am 38 years old, divorced for 3 years, have just fallen in love with a woman and her 2 young children from a previous marriage.

I started several months ago trying to get my financial house in order but am even more anxious to get a grip on things because I have this terrible feeling in my stomach that I have nothing to offer her. (She knows my financial situation and is willing to work through it with me.)

I have a great old late 1800's victorian house on 22 acres of land that needs a lot of renovation. I owe nothing on the house but have a $65,000 home equity line the balance of which is $63,875. I also have the following debts:

Car loan: $7,848
Credit card 1: $2,406
Credit card 2: $1,948

I have no savings other than $225 monthly pretax going into state retirement plan.

After taxes and retirement I bring home $2465.

I pay $800 monthly on the home equity line...about $50 over the minimum for the balance I have.

I have paid off a couple of cards over the last few months like this: I pay a big chunk on the card with the lowest balance, and the minimum+interest on the other cards. When the equity line is down enough so that I can transfer the balance to the home equity line and not go over $64,000 I transfer it. The $1,000 cushion on the equity line I consider my "emergency cushion". Silly, I know.

Oh, the car loan payment is $200 a month.

This month, I will pay $400 on credit card 2. $75 on credit card 1.

My plan is to move all the debt (including car loan) to the home equity line then start chipping away at it paying about $1500 a month.

Suggestions? Should I save an emergency fund first? Have a "cushion" on the home equity bigger than $1000 (I just dreamed up that number but am not really comfortable with it!). Should I pay the debt without transfering to the equity line?

Is this hopeless? I have to pay this down and begin saving and putting money into renovating house at some point! Ack! I feel overwhelmed!

Ok, You get the picture. What would you do if you were me?

One more thing, I have budgeted a bit, but sometimes I am still coming up short at the end of the month and have to grab a $100 or so from the equity I know I must work on that.

Thanks for any feels better just to tell this to you all...Thanks...

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