Marta's Saving Guides

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Category: Credit card debt

Question about credit consolidation

My wife got ahold of a consumer debt relief program.It is not through CCCS, one that you have to pay a hefty fee for. $60.00 a month to use it. We have about $10,850 of debt, which is from credit cards to hospital to dr’s bills, and a high intrest loan. To set everything up they get $475.95. After that we would pay $376 to this company which they would broker the account out to and they would get the $60 from the 376. They said it would take 45 months to pay everything off. During that time our credit cards would be closed and no new loans. If we pay it on our own would would be paying out about $550. Her big thing is that the payment would be on time ( that is part of the problem, credit cards with its late fees and over the limit fees…from the late fees) I don’t like the deal at all… I got a strange feeling about it. We went to the local CCCS and the said the difference between being put on their program and paying it off ourselves would be just a matter of $20 bucks or so. Like I said, she wants to do it, I don’t but I need more “ammo” or information if you will, to comat what she says. Thanks all, and sorry so long.


  • Who is the bread winner? You or your wife?
  • Who has more debt? You or your wife?
  • How much debt do the two of you share?
  • Who manages the money? You or your wife?

If you are the bread winner and have more debt then I would say handle your debt as you see fit.

Another suggestion is take care of your own debt through CCCS and let your wife take care of her debt as she wants to.

Tell your wife the money you save by going through CCCS that you will be able to get rid of your debt quicker. By going through the consumer debt relief program you are gaining unneccesary debt. There is no need to pay a company for debt relief when there are nonprofit organizations that will help.

Our local consumer reporter has a website that can answer your questions.

Best of Luck

I was luckily only out of work for about month

I was luckily only out of work for about month. But that’s a long time when you have major bills. I bounced back, because I didn’t allow my circumstances to put me into depression or self-pitty. I was ready to work two or three jobs to equal my prior income, if I had too. I busted my ass everyday, looking for a new job in my vocation and did many follow ups myself. I kept a veneer of a terrific outlook. A new potential employer doesn’t want hire a person who seems desperate and sad. I finally accepted a new job and even negotiated with the new boss for a higher hourly rate than I had with the last job.

A GOOD attitude has a lot to do with what people can get through in their lives, even large debts.

The healthcare crisis in our country is only a big deal, because as harsh as this sounds, WE HAVE PUT OURSELVES THERE. The obesity rates are becoming astronomical – even for children. There are more cases of mental and physical problems even for very young children. Who is responsible? We are all so self indulgent. More food, the new cars, the newest technology…a house that looks like a mini mansion, etc. Dump the kids into daycare(we pay more for that), so we can have the newest SUV. It’s worse for us, who grew up in the mid 70’s to late 80’s – The “ME” generation. We were really messed up by that.

Who cares if we go into debt and suffer more mental and physical problems, as long as we look like we are Okay on the outside. We can’t blame anything or anyone for the consequences we are suffering as a whole, except for ourselves.

I made a vow to myself, not to live this way anymore, during my days of paying of the debt, and after. Thanks to my husband, who was my boyfriend back then, I don’t know if I would ever seen the light. I wanted the easy way out and found out there was NO SUCH THING.

For anyone in the midst of the stress that debt causes, I know it’s almost impossible to “see the end of the tunnel”. But it is really there, I promise.

Experience, advice and maybe more

Paying off large credit card debts can be a treacherous experience, if you let it be that way. Especially, if you have four or more payments to make every month.

I had eight payments to make every month and rather going through any kind of headaches or added stress of negotiating with any of the creditors, I simply accepted that I had gotten myself into the credit debt mess and I was the only the one who was gonna get myself out. It was close to $14,000.00 in credit card debts alone. Plus I had my regular living expenses to meet also. My total debt was about half of my yearly net income. And yes, most of my debt came from me being very foolish as a young adult. Part of it came from having to cover emergencies that would have been easier to cover, if I hadn’t been foolish in the first place.

First, I cut and canceled all my credit cards accounts, except for one. It was not the one with lowest interest. It was the one with the highest balance available. I kept that card, but I cut it across the magnetic strip, so it was not usable and put it away into a safe place. Not my purse. I started paying off all the lowest balance cards first and had 2 of them completely gone within the first three to five months. During this five month period I only paid the minimums on the larger balances. After that, I started doubling the minimum payment on the 6 payments I had left. It really took major commitment, planning and vigilance.

It took me about 4 years to pay off the whole entire debt, on my own. I did a lot of very FRUGAL living during that time too. I learned some valuable lessons about the real costs of items.

Comparing what I “NEEDED” to what I “WANTED” There is a big difference, only when it comes to the COST. My consumer spending was cut by about 30%-40% by using all generic items and keeping major limits on that too. I lost weight because my food budget had to stay very fixed and as low as it could be. Instead of spending time “buying” things (we are addicted to that in our USA culture), I started enjoying free or already paid for activities. My expensive gym membership (that I neglected for about two years) became a great release. I started working out at least 5 times per week. I spent more time in the public library, doing more research on SAVING money in every way I could and also reading fun things.

Because I started eating healthier and less, working out and generally just using my time more productively without spending money, some of my recurring health problems, like major migraines, started to become less and less severe. Instead of getting three or four major migraines a month, I only got a really bad one, only once every 2-3 months.

Tragedy did pave my way three times during my payment plan. My car got stolen. I borrowed a car from my brother. With his car I got into a car accident, that was my fault. Then about two months later, I lost my job. I could not collect unemployment, because I was set up to be fired, so the company could afford a high priced piece of equipment, instead of paying me that year. DOO DOO happens!

The time a choice is taken away from us

I think the time a choice is taken away from us is when the interest rates jump up high as a kite and the companies won’t play.

Then, your choice has been taken and you HAVE no choice if you can’t sock it to them by transferring, or paying it off heftily. We can all try to be smart, but the contracts are totally written for the LENDOR and not the ‘Lendee’.

I am in fact paying down nicely, and….AND…. talk about a winning week; a couple of businessmen in TX GAVE ME a new laptop! Such a gift!!! I am amazed at the goodness of some folks in the world. They wrote, saying “we know you’re making herculean efforts to pay down so you can afford better things like this. We had to fire an employee, and his work laptop is sitting here. Where can we send it to you so it’ll have a good home?”

Because of my work, I was able to track its’ (by the serial number) purchase history and who bought it. So thankfully I know it is totally Legit and not ‘HOT’

I don’t see what the big deal is. Granted, probably most of the people who recieved the booklet are too uppity to save money or recycle, but there is nothing wrong with the advice. We do it all the time (not out of actual dumpsters, but from the city dump, or curbside give aways). Many people throw away perfectly good things just because they are too lazy or messed up to take them to a thrift store or charity. No reason to let such things clutter up our landfills.

I get frustrated with people that try to blame their problems on everyone else (whether it is credit card issues or something else). This is one reason why we have so many ridiculous frivolous law suites and everyone wants to blame someone else instead taking responsibility for their own actions. Credit card companies are not innocent, nor do I agree with their policies and practices, but no one forced you to accept their card and use it and as for targeting people with bad credit, you know what… those folks have minds of their own and if they choose to accept the offers knowing their financial situation then they are to blame for their problems not the credit card company. Take responsibility!!!

I have been reading most of the messages and this one particularly caught my eye

I am fairly new at this great blog, but have been reading most of the messages and this one particularly caught my eye. I was close to $14,000.00 in credit card debt about nine years. I paid it all off on my own.

No consolidations, credit counseling….etc…

MOST IMPORTANT – a marriage divided will not last. A debt in a marriage belongs to BOTH of the partners. One person, whoever is most reliable and has more financial sense, needs to take control of it and your money should be combined for your expenses and debts. If you had some of the debt before you were married, guess what…it now belongs to both of you… When we took a payday loan from (this is a great service, btw) we both worked hard to pay it back on time. Marriage unites every aspect of both of your lives. I think the service your wife is all for is a big mistake.

Even though I was single when I was paying off my debt, there was one thing I learned and the truth is that I was responsible for it and I had to do what it took to pay it off. And it took me about 4 years ON MY OWN, so your situation with using this service is almost no different than what it would take for you to set up your own payment plan, plus you would not be paying anything extra to anyone.

You could cancel all your credit lines yourself except for one. Then cut that card up, but keep the account open. Now, you don’t have any credit cards to use anymore, but you are in control of all your own payments. When you gain control over it yourself, your life will start to change! It’s not the end of the world to have a debt to pay off. It basically comes down to a change of attitude. Don’t let the debt drive you crazy or break up your marriage. It’s not worth it.

Accept it for what it is. My basic belief is that all people have the capacity to do what it takes to get through just about any problem.

I was an average income earner and there were months, especially in the first year, where I paid anywhere between $500-$700 in credit card payments, just to get rid of some of the smaller balances. I still paid all my regular living expenses too. IT CAN BE DONE.

I’ve been there, done that. But it takes real commitment, responsibility and vigilance every day. Becoming FREE of a debt like that and then finally being FREE of it totally, if you do it youurself will be the best experience – it’s almost spiritual. It’s like quitting smoking and knowing you will never smoke again. (BTW- non smoker for almost 14 years)

Now I live a life where I don’t have any credit card debt. I use CASH, when I have it. I am self employed now, following my dreams of earning an income the way I want. My husband and I have only one debt… our mortgage. This a FREE, SIMPLE and EASY way to live. I only wish that many other people could build up to this way of life. It’s overwhelming in a great way.

As you may have determined I am into telling it like it is. Your personal truth about your debts and your responsibility for them will SET YOU FREE, way before the debts are gone.

I take offense to anyone telling me that

I take offense to anyone telling me, after the circumstances I’ve been through, to “buck up and take responsiblity instead of blaming the cc companies for my mistakes”. How dare anyone use such a broad, uninformed comment based on sheer opinion. I was a completely responsible consumer with perfect credit. I, like millions of other consumers out there, met with personal circumstances which tumbled my life into a frenzy. Credit cards companies, (I didn’t have that many) who I had been a loyal and well-paying customer to, were hard-nosed and unconcerned and not willing to allow me any slack, nor accept any arrangements I tried to make. Then started the fees—-late and over-the limit, once the late fees piled up.

In times past, credit card companies wold work with you and understand that things happen. Not any more. It’s prime-time for them when people have problems and fall into difficult times. They love it. High profit for them. I resent that. And I resent anybody who puts me in a big, undefined category with those who actually might be deadbeats. Again, how dare you.

I WAS a responsible consumer, VERY RESPONSIBLE. I don’t blame the companies for my DEBTS—–true, they are my own. But life happens. Nobody has EVER said that credit card companies are single-handed in causing American debt. Good Lord—-we’re not that stupid. The point being made is that they ARE predatory and are greedily taking advantage of a situation that is already there, in order to make profits. That’s all. I only agree on one thing—-I only have one card now, and am even thinking of getting rid of it, as I just don’t like swimming in the credit waters anymore. It’s too dangerous and there are no life preservers if you sink.

Here! Here! I am in one hundred percent agreement with this post. When I was in major credit card debt, I was the only who had to step up to the plate and work at fixing it. Nobody else was to blame, as much as I tried to blame some of it on my ex-huband, unfortunately none of the credit cards were in his name at all. They all had only my name on them. I can see someone trying to sue a creditor for giving them a credit card and letting them get into debt. It’s like the absurdity of suing a fast food chain for spilling HOT coffee all over yourself in one of their restaurants -????- remember that one!

Student Loan Consolidation


I have two student loans totaling about 15,000, I have been in and out of jobs and nothing I went to school for so I didn’t make much at all. I have numerous bills I am behind on and once you get behind it seems impossible to catch up. Would anyone know of any good place to do student loan consolidation? I am at a job now were the pay is better than the last couple years but I have so much to pay off and collections and I can’t figure out a way to work this in to an already very tight budget.

Please help, any input would be greatly appreciated.

Credit cards are responsible for a huge portion of American debt?

No, credit cards are NOT responsible for a huge portion of American debt the people that are using the cards are responsible. We (the debtors) are our own predators, none of these companies forced any one to get one of their cards or to charge it up and/or max it out and get more credit cards and do the same thing to them. Take responsibility for your own actions and spending habits, no one held a gun to your head and told you that you have to take their credit card. We (the debtors) are our own worst enemies and will continue to be until we learn to break the cycle. It is not any credit lending and/or banks responsibility to teach us good budgeting and spending habits, it is each and every persons own responsibility. Buck up and take responsibility instead of trying to blame your mistakes on any one or any company.

Very true!! But corporations are not responsible for your spending habits or your accepting credit. You have free will and the ability to make choices. If everyone that owes credit card debt decided to pay off what they owe and never use or accept another credit card again then corporate policies would have to change. Corporate actions and policies are based on consumers actions and reactions, and yes not all corporations are operated in a legal or even moral manner but I believe most are. Ultimately you are the only one responsible for your own choices and actions, not a corporation.

I wish that whoever blindly believes that credit card companies do not hold any blame for American debt problems would wake up and start reading more and being more informed about the growing problem. How many articles have to be printed and how many cases have to be presented to Congress regarding innocent, honest people with excellent credit falling into the traps of the credit card companies, never to be able to recover?

Yes, a person DOES have to be responsible. But, as “pupart” says, there is also a desparate need for corporate responsiblity. Yes, the consumer needs to be responsible. Of course they do. Who ever said they didn’t? BUT——-these predators who purposely target those with poor credit, bombarding them with credit offers—-that is WRONG and needs to be stopped.

Yes, the consumer needs to be responsible. BUT the credit card companies are taking advantage of the economic situation in the country, with people who are in dire straits because of circumstances beyond their control and have no way out but cards.

I get so frustrated at the naitivity that still abounds regarding credit. It’s not a cookie cutter world, where one simple “people should be responsible” solution can just be the only answer. Oh, Please. Get informed. The cc companies are shafting thousands of honest customers every day, and making killer profits doing so.

Taking over the bills in our house

I am working on taking over the bills in our house, and we are in SERIOUS debt. We do not own a home, and I am just trying to find out where to begin. We mostly have credit card debt. We have almost 18,000 in credit card debt from when my husband and I first got married (we are 26 now) and “charged everything”. We were young and thought that we would “pay it off” we did…but kept spending. Now that I am taking over the finances because my husband has gone on deployment I really want to make an impact by paying some bills off but I just do not know where to start.

If your husband is being deployed to a combat zone (i.e., Iraq, Afghanistan), he will receive combat pay (which is an increase over what he normally gets) and since he is out of the country, there is no tax on that income. Therefore, if you are not having trouble right now making ends meet with your regular bills, i.e., rent, utility bills, etc., I would take the whatever is increased salary is and put that toward your credit cards. I did that for my son when he was deployed overseas and while he didn’t have credit card debt, he did have an outstanding car payment which I paid off for him in 6 months’ time.

I even started a savings account for him while he was overseas and that way when he got back home and with all his bills paid, he had a nice little cushion to come home to. It is said that when GIs come home after their deployment, they like to treat themselves, i.e., cars or trucks, whatever their fancy is, and with the cushion that my son had when he got back to the States, he was able to keep adding to the little nest egg, so to say. Just remember to also have all your papers in order, all the POA (power of attorney) papers in order, that gives you the right to make changes or handle all his financial affairs.

For my debts I went with choosing the biggest one with the highest interest rate and the smallest. The smallest is paid off first and the good feeling it gave me helped keep me working on the bigger one. Then when you start feeling like you can’t get ahead you can pull out a file folder showing debts that you’ve gained victory over. (I write the word VICTORY in a colored marker or pen in extra large letters so that I can see it.) Each debt paid is a victory no matter how much was owed. Good Luck.

My hubby are military too… well hubby is … anyways he is currently deployed also… what we are doing is paying off our smallest dept and working our way up. i’m still paying extra on our other debt. In the past 2 months I have paid off 2 cards. we are 10 months into this deployment and i wanted to pay more off than i did but i’m still proud of what i have done. just take it a card at a time and cut out what you don’t need:) You’ll do just fine.

You might want to list out each debt by name, amount due and interest rate. Generally, you would be wise to pay the minimum amount on everything but the debt with the highest interest rate – try to pay as much extra as you can each month on the debt with the highest rate. By doing it this way you will pay the least amount overall. Once the high rate debt is eliminated, then start paying extra toward the next highest rate account and then the next until each one is paid down in turn.

A way to give yourself some warm fuzzies is to pick the account with the smallest total amount due and pay it off first. This can give you a confidence boost and allows you to scratch one off of the list, even though it might not happen to be the account with the higher rates.

Good Luck to you and your husband!