Hi there Mackvader,
One alternative suggestion you might like to consider is "to be in dire straits". The expression "To be in dire straits" (not the band, let me make this clear lol) refers to a very difficult situation, especially a financial one:
Example 1: After the war the country's economy was in dire straits.
Example 2: The firm is now in dire financial straits and will have to cut costs by dismissing most of its employees.
Notice that in all the examples above "dire" carries the meaning of something "extremely serious or terrible".
Examples: The situation lookes dire./ The country is in dire need of food aid./ The dire consequences of breaching the rules.