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ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

Have you had any success with a debt consolidation company?

Asked by ItalianPrincess1217 (11973points) January 23rd, 2011 from iPhone

I have a lot of debt and it’s to the point where I need to get a handle on it before my baby is born. I’m wondering if anyone here has had any success with a debt consolidation company. Are they usually legitimate? Is it worth it? Any advice or information is appreciated.

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3 Answers

BarnacleBill's avatar

I worked with someone who used one. Basically, they cancelled her credit cards so she couldn’t run up more debt, and she made one payment. It took her 4 years, but everything got paid off.

You might want to look into taking Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace classes. Another coworker is working his way though that program and swears by it. He has all of his credit cards paid off in 18 month, and is down to one car payment and a mortgage. He swears by the Total Money Makeover book. It’s not enough to just pay off your debt, you have to change how you spend or you will be back in the same boat.

JLeslie's avatar

I say Dave Ramsay also if you are going to take a class. You can listen to him on the radio and TV for free. Basically he is all about being debt free. I think it is gat you want to get a handle on this at such a young age, many people don’t.

You have to stop spendng money you don’t have, and start paying off your bills. There is no magic to it. It will suck right now, but once your debt is gone it will get much easier.

Make a budget, and see where you can cut. I see people spend incredible amounts of money on restaurants, hair, nails, alcohol, and cigarettes. I don’t think you and your husband smoke? But if he drinks—stop. It is a ridiculous amount of money. Especially at a bar or restaurant. Hair and nails, just skip getting your nails done altogether; and hair, if you dye it, do it with a drugstore box of dye, or do nothing. Some women don’t like to dye their hair when they are pregnant anyway. If you must get it cut by your regular stylist, stretch out appointments. Sometimes my husband clips the legnth of my hair inbetween cuts. He does a good job actually. You just need to buy hair scissors, don’t try it with regular scissors.

If you have several credit cards, take the ones with the smallest balances and pay those off first completely, so you stop using those cards altogether, and you have fewer bills.

If the ones with big debt have very high interest, call and see if you can get the interest lowered. Or, see if you can get the balances transferred to a lower interest card. Don’t buy anything you don’t need for 6 months. I know you will start needng new clothes for maternity, but nothing else.

Not paying cards off in full every month is like throwing money on the street. This calculator lets you put in your total debt, the interest you pay, and the payment you can make, and tells you how long it will take you to pay off the debt you entered.

I charge everything, but I never buy anything I cannot pay for in full, and I do at the end of the month. If you can’t do that, then switch to cash, and only use credit cards in an emergency, like your car broke down 200 miles away from home. Anything short of that is cash.

Having no debt is very freeing, and a great thing to work towards. I have not had any in over two years now (when I was 40). I never had credit card debt, and now I own all of my cars and my house outright. Sacrificing a little early in life, makes things much easier in the long run. Now what was my mortgage payment goes to savings every month, and it adds up fast.

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