If you’ve been here before, you know our money story. If not, you can read more here. The bottom line is that I left the money to my husband when I left working full time and because both of us buried our heads firmly in the sand, we ended up mired in debt. We were unrealistic about our means and we racked up credit card, medical and utility debt faster than you can say diapers and baby food.
I took back control of our finances when we moved and my husband’s work schedule didn’t allow even time to pay bills. Things got so bad at one point I knew I could no longer handle it on my own. I’ve watched enough of Oprah’s Debt Diet to know the first thing I needed to do was get on the phone.
- I called my creditors to work out pay off plans. Some lowered interest rates. Some knocked out fees. Most of them worked with me to create a payment plan that didn’t overwhelm us but was high enough to pay down in my lifetime.
- The next thing I did after contacting each company, was to call in the big guns. I knew from all the creepy phone calls and letters I was getting in the mail that there were plenty of “Credit Counseling” services who were very happy to scam me and take my money. So…
- I went to a trusted source: Jean Chatzky who recommended NFCC: National Foundation for Credit Counseling
- On the NFCC website I found a local office and then made an appointment with a counselor.
- At my local office I was hooked up with Money Management International. I met a counselor here and we created a budget and a plan for going forward
- MMI then brokered deals with my creditors on my behalf.
- Each month MMI deducts a set amount from my checking account and then pays all my creditors the agreed upon amount all for a small ($25) processing fee.
- My husband and I will be DEBT FREE in 2.5 years.
It isn’t easy. We have no credit cards. Our credit score is slowly being rebuilt, but it’s not great. We live a cash only life and the monthly payment is huge. But there is an end in sight and the best part is we have learned so much along the way that we won’t be down this road again. That makes all the sacrifices and tough times worth it.
You can do it too.
P.S. Looking for more parenting guidance and tips for self-care? Check out From Chaos to Calm a guided training to help you feel better in this tough season.