Can’t Pay My Rent

This year I have faced some tough challenges and managed to get through them. This challenge may need all of my smarts yet. Friday I received eviction papers in the mail. I have been behind in my rent since October of this year, and now my landlord wants me gone.

Ouch. That stings.

The worst part is, in this economy trying to find a job to pay for this apartment and all of the utilities is not such an easy thing. I could get a job tomorrow at the mall if I wanted, but those jobs pay ten bucks an hour if they pay that. My rent is $1,155.00. Ah, Bergen County, you are so insanely expensive to live in. I want to stay here since my boy is here. If I move, I could wind up with less parenting time, or in a worst case scenario, none at all.

So, I have been pulling myself up from my bootstraps and trying to see what makes the most sense.

I have been helping a friend with some administrative work, but I don’t work enough to make a big enough dent in my rent and pay my bills. I also work for a small internet marketing company and they don’t pay very much at all. I know one thing, I am not going to sit and cry over this. I got myself into this and I will figure a way out of it.

I never want anyone to ever see me as weak or less than a strong woman. I have been living alone since 2007, and I love it. I would not live with someone again unless I had to. The past few days have got me thinking about money, how we spend it, what it means and of course if our self-worth is tied to how much we have. I have been called “not materialistic” for many years now. I guess having things stolen will make you less tied to things. In some ways I guess that is good. I am human and prone to feeling bad just like anyone else. I always want to be self-sufficient. Feeling like I cannot properly care for myself and my son is more humiliating than having to walk down the street in a bra and slip in broad daylight.

Since Friday, I have felt like I am in a Twilight Zone. The landlord came by Saturday and I gave him the $200 that I could give him. I have never felt like such a failure in my whole life. Then my son’s father wants to fight with me about the fact that I let our son walk to school alone. I had enough. Maybe it was getting those papers, maybe not. Instead of cowering, I stood my ground calmly and stated that our son is now 9 years old, and is a big enough boy to walk to school by himself. No discussion.

Maybe this will still have a happy ending. I never liked this apartment anyway. If I don’t find the silver lining in this, I will sit and cry. Feeling sorry for myself does nothing to fix this problem. If I know nothing else about life I know this – I know that problems can be made better, and that no matter what it can always be worse.

Someone today has it worse than I do. My job is to find them and give them some hope so that I can remind myself that everything really is going to be okay no matter what happens.

38 thoughts on “Can’t Pay My Rent

  1. Hi Nancy,

    Yes someone always has it worst than us but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t sting.
    You reframed the issue beautifully, leaving this apartment means you can find another one, better, cheaper.
    You are a person of action, you’re a fighter Nancy.

    • John,

      I have to fight and find a way to look at this problem differently. If I see it as impossible, then I have lost already.

      Thankfully, I have met inspiring people like you who keep me moving forward

  2. Raul Colon says:


    I really feel terrible that this happening to you! I was evicted from the home I lost las year given the financial hardship I have been battling since 2008. Things got better after movig but I am a bit scared as i am also approaching the situation you are living through right now! Many of us are giving it our best but the tough financial times are keeping us behind. We have to continue fighting and never give up. I hope you find a quick solution and long lasting solution!

    Sending good vibes up to the Northeast and wishing you the best. You are not alone!

  3. Yep, that’s a pretty big yikes. I know you need your independence, but for the short term maybe it’s time to find a roommate. At least it will give you some breathing room until you can figure out your options.

    Sounds like your back is against the wall right now and some decisions have to be made quickly.

    I wish I had a magic wand to make it all better; but unfortunately I don’t.

    All I can offer is best of luck and hopefully you will have some clarity to get this all figured out. Good luck…….

    • This place is too small for a roommate. Plus, with my son around my ex-husband would raise a heck of a stink about that.

      I am looking at a less expensive place to live. That would be the best possible outcome.

  4. Have been through what you’re going through. I know how awful it makes one feel. You know that saying about when a door is closed, a window is opened… It’s always been that way for me, although sometimes it’s been a pretty damn tight window. All I can say is — hang in there. Wish I could help out. All the best.

  5. I’ve partially been in your situation before Nancy – being kicked out of a place as I didn’t have enough money to pay for it. As a parent I can only imagine how much harder it is for you with your son. However I know you will continue to be awesome and understand that nothing is permanent. You will not only survive but thrive.

    As some of the other folks here have said perhaps moving into a smaller/less expensive place will help a lot on all counts. I’ve had to face financial facts in the past and do the same. Ultimately with less pressure more opportunities will seemingly appear.

    • The big problem is staying in the county so I don’t jeopardize parenting time. I have some friends helping me look for a cheaper place. If I have to downsize for a bit, that is alright. It is helping me get clear about a few things. I am really surprised at the support I have got so far.

      I have no choice but to survive and thrive. I may even make good connections at the reunion Friday!

  6. Hi Nancy,
    I completely hear you on not making ends meet and I love your fighting spirit. The worst thing to do would be to accept the status quo. You know what you need to do and have the attitude to do it! The cards will hopefully fall into place and you’ll feel like a rock star in no time. You are so brave to put yourself out there and talk about the things no one wants to admit to. Kudos to you good woman!

    • It was a huge risk, putting this out there, but I figure if it has a name, someone has already been through it. I know that things will work out, but I have to do the heavy lifting. We never want to admit we have a less than perfect life, but the reality is that more often than not, that is the real deal.

      Thanks for the kind words Barb. I need them now more than ever.

  7. Remember your last sentence. ” I can remind myself that everything is going to be ok, no matter what happens” Hang in there darlin. Focus on Gratitude. I will be praying for you and your son. I am struggling with a lot of stuff now, too. Thanks for helping me get out of myself and think of you.

    Say this out loud. A Lot; It will be ok. Good things will come from this.

    Big Hug !


    • I had no idea when I wrote this post how many people would be able to relate to it. Just knowing I am not alone has helped so much. I appreciate you and your friendship.

      Big hug back!


  8. Denise says:

    Sending you a bunch of {{{{{{hugs}}}}}}, prayers. Your ex isn’t in the same situation as you, so he needs to get a grip on reality! Or he can pay your rent – I know wishful thinking!!! Now maybe the time to do things we don’t want to do, but know we have to whether we like it or not – or others like it! {{{{{{hugs}}}}}}

  9. Nancy, I just found your blog through Marcus Sheridan and I am so glad. You have exactly the right attitude and this chapter will dissolve into the next and by putting one word in front of the other, one foot in front of the other, you are drawing the right energy around you to see your way clear of the things that are besetting you right now. I wish you warmth and light. I think you are brave. And I know I am not alone.

    • Thank you so much Diana. The truth is that this situation will resolve no matter what, but I want to make sure I go about things with the most positive mindset that I can. I am very fortunate to have great people around like Marcus. He is truly a great person and a good friend.

  10. I haven’t paid rent on my business warehouse since April – the lease expires in fourteen months. I negotiated with the owner to pay a lump sum to get out of the deal. It was a real adrenalin buzz but we got there. Not sure if this is any help, but make some time to negotiate – it is always worth seeing if your words can turn a better deal ad save some dollars.
    Other than this – it may be a sign. Attachment is the source of much pain – your lightening of the load of attachment may give you freedom to see other things with greater clarity.
    Good luck, be assertive, and peace…

  11. Janice says:

    Hi Nancy,

    I’m so sorry to hear what’s happening with you. I have come to realize that life isn’t fair sometimes, and that bad things can happen to good people. In my many years of volunteering, I was always able to direct people to agencies to get help. I have been away from that for several years, but I’m sure there are still agencies, organizations, charities and churches who help people who are facing eviction. I just recently heard of this program:

    Rent Assistance From Federal Stimulus Program — The federal government is providing billions of dollars for housing and rent assistance as a result of the federal stimulus program. The program being funded is The Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program, and most of the rent help is being distributed at the local government level, thru charities and other organizations. Find rent programs for your state, city, and county.

    There are also local programs that help. This is not a hand-out — but a hand-up — to help you keep your home while you look for a less expensive place, and help in paying your utilities. You might need to petition the court for additional help from your “ex” until you find a job — but I’m not a lawyer so that wasn’t intended as any type of legal advice – just a thought of how you might be able to get some help. Of course, having his son should motivate him to help without that step.

    I hope you can find some help at this time. And if it works out, remember that it is never necessary to repay it — but to pay it forward — to offer help to others when they need it.

    Remembering you in my thoughts and prayers and hope that you will find help at this time and “recover fully” from the economic crisis that you are living and many of us are experiencing.


  12. Your strength to throw it all out there continues to amaze me. You, my dear, are a bigger and better woman than I. Does that help with your current situation, no. However, together we can move mountains. Give me a jingle if you are up for it and we can figure this out. I have found talking to someone else opens many ideas and thoughts that we ourselves do not see. As a single mom I know the challenges, I know the fears but, I also know that there is strength and nothing is impossible.

    I am here. Literally, I am here.

  13. I love the way you share so honestly. I’m in the midst of big life changes including looking for a new home and beginning a life of “single-ness” after 20 years of marriage. Even though the numbers support me, I am terrified some days of whether I will be able to support myself and my daughter. One little blip or too much time passing without income can take everything off-track. I wish you the best and hope you have found some new positive direction. I look forward to reading more here as well.

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