My wife and I are in some financial trouble. We are in our early 30s and our credit is terrible. We both have student loans, we have old credit card debt (though we have no current credit cards). We attempted to declare bankruptcy a few years ago, but the process got bogged down and stalled - we went with the cheapest lawyer we could find, and they communicated really badly. In the end, I think they did nothing and took our money.
We have a lot of debt - at this point I don't even know how much - but I have a decent job. My wife doesn't work, but I make enough that we can live fairly comfortably paycheck-to-paycheck and routinely put some money into savings.
Our savings account gets wiped out every few months when an un-budgeted expense comes up (especially car repairs). I'd love to have a newer car or a credit card or something to help in these cases, but we can't afford a newer car and I fear another credit card (if we could even qualify for one) would simply make things worse.
I've looked into professional advisers, but they all seem to be trying to sell something or otherwise not looking out for our best interests.
I'm open to anything - taking a loan to settle my old debt (and paying that loan off, of course), declaring bankruptcy, etc. I just don't know the best ways to find all of our debt or once we do the best way to resolve it.
What options do I have? What are the downsides to each? How long will they take?