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Finally, $12,000 won’t rescue you. It will only delay the inevitable. The key for you going forward is to learn how to manage your finances. Do that and you won’t need the 12-large. So, let’s begin. You mention an ATV in your letter. I believe at this point it would be best to sell the ATV. It’s really not an essential and you may either eliminate a payment or free up some cash to apply to other bills. Next, I want you to contact the lenders who are about to sue you and work out a repayment plan you can afford to keep up. Also, be sure to research the possibility of consolidating your student loans and see if it would lower your monthly obligation. Otherwise, you must make room in your budget to pay them. You may have to make some significant lifestyle changes, at least for a little while, to get back in control of your student loans, credit cards and other obligations. Free up some cash Consider a move to less expensive housing. If you are renting, downsize to fewer bedrooms or an efficiency size. Cut back on food expenses. Don’t dine out. Clip coupons, buy store brands and never shop when you are hungry. Ask for overtime at work and search for a higher-paying or part-time job. This may be the most important of all – you must stop using credit cards. If you are using them to extend your income, you are digging a deeper hole every day and you need to throw away the shovel now. Finally, I think you need to listen to your bride a bit more. I’ll bet she didn’t force you to buy the ATV, and since she got you to write to me, I know she must have a lot of good sense. If you are overwhelmed and can’t make the first move to correct your situation, consider visiting with a qualified credit counselor. A counselor can help you understand past mistakes and create a plan toward a healthy financial future. You can find a good one at www.aiccca.org. Steve Bucci is president of Money Management International Financial Education Foundation. Visit www.moneymanagement.org for additional debt advice. If you have a question for Steve, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. The Debt Adviser is a weekly feature of bankrate.com.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! By Steve Bucci BANKRATE.COM Question: My wife and I have been married for one year. We both were still attending college when we got married, but now student loans, credit cards, an ATV and a few other small bills have become way overdue. It would take $12,000 to rescue us. Two of our creditors are going to sue soon. I hate to ruin our credit over such a small debt, but we have nothing to put up for collateral, no parents with good credit and no other options. Is it true as long as we are paying something that they can’t sue us? Any advice would be a blessing. – RODNEY Answer: I’ll bet you didn’t think married life was going to be like this. The dreams and hopes that lead a couple to marry are fragile things. Everyone I know roots for the newlyweds in hopes they will get it right faster than those who came before them. Your finances, and maybe your marriage, have a ding or two, but I think I can help. Take a deep breath. Let’s begin by using some simple common sense and the research skills you acquired in college to debunk myths. Do some research and you will find that you most certainly can be sued if you don’t pay exactly what you promised and on the date due. The old maxim that says, “if it sounds too good to be true,” really is true! Next, I want you to research what makes up good credit. You will find yours is tarnished already. So, your worries about ruining your credit when you believe you are about to be sued is like closing the barn door after the horse has left the stable. If you are “way overdue” on payments, the damage to your credit has already begun. It could, of course, get worse, but real damage has already been done.