The fish is still alive - he/she is in the hospital tank and improving. I'm hopeful.
I don't feel like a long post because I am tired and sick but I wanted to share something that has been life altering for my husband and I. Look up the Da.ve Ram.sey website to see what I'm talking about.
We started his program (without any cost to us, the important info is free) about a year and a half ago, just after we filed bankruptcy. We did not want to end up in the spot we were just getting out of and knew we had to do something different. Before we had always relied on credit cards in emergencies. If the furnace broke down, the car needed tires, I needed new school books, or we had a trip to the ER - we broke out the plastic. That led us to hanging on by our fingernails after I was laid off, paying the minimum payments that equaled $900 a month. Missing one month of work when Aiden died was absolutely disastrous. We had no hope of ever catching up and the banks wouldn't work with us so we were forced to file bankruptcy. We didn't ever want to be in such a desperate situation again, so we started following the guidelines from Dave's site. We concentrated on saving an emergency fund - that was truly for emergencies - and then paying down our remaining debt.
18 months later and my 14 year old car has broken down twice to the tune of $1500. Without the credit cards, two years ago that would have meant only having one car, which would have been insane since we work in different towns. Now after working this program we were able to pay cash with half our emergency fund remaining. We will be able to pay off my husband's car by January and after June the only debt left will be our student loans.
It's such an amazing change. I went from panicking about a $50 medical bill to just shrugging when the mechanic said I owed him $650 on Friday. I highly recommend looking into this if you're like me and were never taught how to manage money by your parents. And let me tell you - we don't make much. This program is designed for people like us. We're above the poverty line but don't make enough to afford new cars or to be able to easily save up for a down payment, but with this program we may even be able to buy a house in another 5 years.