I used a credit counseling service six years ago. I managed to pay off my debt in three years; they planned it out at five years. At our first meeting they told us our income exceeded our expenses and they couldn’t help us. They felt that bankruptcy was the only answer. I went out and got a small part-time job and went back to them a month later. They were hesitant; they didn’t think we could do it.
To tell you the truth, I wasn’t sure either. We did. It took planning and time to find ways to reduce our expenses. The credit counseling service charged us $20 per month with no “start-up” fees. They were able to greatly reduce the percentage on the credit cards and worked an agreement with the loans that were outstanding. I will admit that my credit score wasn’t very high while I was using the service, but I didn’t plan to increase my debt anyway. I just wanted to pay off these companies. I would worry about my credit score once I was in a better financial position. It has taken some time, but I am free of credit card debt and while my credit score isn’t perfect yet, it has greatly improved.
One of the first things I did was set up a budget. What was available? Was there anything available? The next thing I did was track our expenses for two weeks. Once we found out where our money was being spent, then we found ways to not spend so much of it. Maybe my story will spark some ideas from others to get out of debt.
Thanks so much for sharing your experience. I’m glad you had a good experience with a counseling agency. And congratulations on your success!