I’m new to the blog. I’ve been married for 17 years, and we have 4 children 3,6,13,and 16. We still struggle with debt.
We went through consumer credit counseling before we were married. We were in debt over our heads and it took the pressure off of us as CCCS handled all of the payments for us and negotiated with each of the creditors.
Our only responsibility at the time was to get them a money order or a cashiers check once a month by a specific date and they took care of the rest. It took us several years to get everything paid off but it was well worth it.
As we began to have children we slipped into old habits, especially as they neared the teen years so we have more debt than we feel comfortable with and are working to take care of it.
One thing that has really helped me is our Credit Union. Ours is one of a very few that offer a bill payment service through their savings account (or share account for those of you that know the terminology). It has been such a relief for me to give up a checking account. I never worry that one of us forgot to write a check or withdrawal into a register, or worse one of those sneaky automatic payments!
I set up my payments to pull on whatever day I need them to, and they are withdrawn that business day. It has been wonderful!
Just a note for those of you considering a credit counseling service, be cautious. Not all of them are the same. The non-profit ones usually charge a monthly fee on a sliding scale of around $30 or less. When I worked in a bank I had several people mention they were considering a counseling service, when I question the cost I was told several times that the cost was $1000-$2000 upfront for their service. I immediatly pulled out the phone book and looked for the real non-profit one to refer them to!