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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Debt Support Community's LiveJournal:

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Sunday, February 17th, 2013
11:55 pm
Is my father abusive when it comes to money?
I have this "strange" relationship with my parents as I was independent for fourteen years living in various big cities. I tried to make a break in the graphic design industry but I went broke. I ran up my credit cards and I had to ask my parents money to pay off my credit cards because of the interest rate. I had a tremendous amount of guilt because I took some of my father's retirement money and they did not offer it as a gift, I was told to pay them back.

My mother suggested that I move out of the city to stay with my brother until I was settled. The move was a big burden on my brother and his family. I was not able to adjust to the slower job economy and I had to take on 2 minimum wage jobs to save up for my own place. Unfortunately, they were not able to help me make a transition and I was forced to change my career from graphic design to sales for two years. This was after I lost three jobs in the city due to adjustment problems and poor attention to detail. Therefore, I was not able to perform and meet the manager's expectation at my sales and hostess job and I was fired.

My new career in sales left me confused and anxious and I had no family support. My brother kicked me out of their house when they realized it will take time for me to adjust. I experienced emotional distress for having to start over so quickly with not a lot of money. I lost my second job quickly after I moved out of my brother's home into my own apartment. I had to borrow money from my parents again. I stayed in my apartment for another six months until the lease was up. I decided to move in with my parents until I was able to live on my own.

When I moved in with my father he insisted that I pay him rent and the debt I owe them. It has been two years of me giving him everything I have from my pay check. I have neglected my own needs as a woman to be able to give him the money he asks me for. He doesn't allow me to save up for my own place one day: furniture, clothes, rent, investments into a savings. Rather, he wants me to pay him all the money first. I try to lie to him about the amount as I want to save something into my ING account. When I moved out of my own apartment he did not allow me to move with the furniture and clothes that I bought that year. I had to throw everything away and move down with four boxes!

Most recently, he refused to transfer money into my account and I had to pay additional thirty five dollards for over draft funds. He continues to take my money from each week's unemployment claim.
I don't have any money in savings and I doubt I will have any money in social security when I retire.

I tried to establish some boundaries and rules with them. However, I find that he is extremeling controlling and he will use any opportunity to abuse me living under his roof on his terms.

How do I take control of this situation? I am doing the best to find new work. I have been unemployed for more than five months and I even tried to talk to them about additional schooling. My brother has a PhD and they were very supportive with his education. They do not want me to even invest into a certification program so I can get work as a web designer. I have no idea how to defend myself as the rules that applied to my brother doesn't apply to me. Or they are so poor they cannot see any logic in investing in anything.

Help please!!!
Friday, January 11th, 2013
5:55 pm
One of the reasons I'm keeping this journal
is because I believe I need the public exposure. It is extremely extremely difficult to do something like this on your own without visible public support from your friends and family.

Except that I haven't told my friends and family yet.

I know why I'm this way and I won't delve into the details because it involves others outside of myself.

But two of my reasons I'm so much in debt are:

First, I justify everything. I always say, well I'll cut down or it's only $1,000 or it's an investment or I don't have the time or it's on sale.

Second, I buy a lot and lot of crap. My main culprit is Target. I spent $2,000 last year at Target? On what? Some of it was groceries and items that were needed like soap and paper towels. But I'm willing to bet the vast majority was crap. Home furnishings I did not need. An item marked on clearance I did not need. I first need to understand why I accumulate so much stuff I might need for the future. Don't get me wrong. I'm not a hoarder. In fact, every time I watch the show on A&E it prompts me to go on an extended cleaning binge to make sure I can learn to say good-bye to things. What I need is to learn to say, no, I'm not going to read that book. I don't have time and I don't need it in my space.

Right now I caught myself trying to buy fruitcake mix since it's on sale. I'm not making any fruitcakes. I don't need that ish.

Current Mood: tired
Sunday, September 12th, 2010
6:27 pm
Need a credit card?


Apparently, those that have no clue what an APR is, will find out to their horror.
Wednesday, September 9th, 2009
12:48 pm
Improving credit with computers?
Another post from me. Sorry been trying to work some things out with my credit lately. I was wondering if anyone had any experience with this-
Computer Financing to help improve credit. I'm looking for something that will let me make small payments monthly so it will show on my credit score, and I don't want to do any sort of rent furniture thing. Of course the problem is you end up overpaying for a computer and then by the time it is paid off it is pretty much obsolete, but on the same token, now I have a stable job I would really like to try to get my credit score back up to the 700s.
Anyway I'd like to hear y'alls feed back on this

Current Mood: curious
Thursday, April 23rd, 2009
12:11 am
Debt Reduction FAQ's

Debt Reduction FAQ's

Q. Will I be totally debt free when I’m done?
Our program is focused on dealing with only unsecured debts (credit cards, medical bills, unsecured personal loans). We cannot help you with debt that is secured by collateral (such as mortgages or auto loans). After completing the program, however, the money that you are no longer paying towards your unsecured creditors can now be used to pay down secured debts, as well as to save for your financial future.

Q. Will I have to take out another loan to cover my current debts?
No. Our debt reduction program is not a new loan. Some of our clients will use a “consolidation” loan in conjunction with FDR’s debt negotiation program, but most fund their settlements with a monthly payment into their settlement savings account over the program period. That being said, we do have a relationship with a lending company, and some clients who demonstrate a consistent pattern of saving their monthly draft amount on time may be eligible for a loan to pay off one or more of their settlements. Of course, this is never something that is required of any FDR client.

Q. How is the service fee paid, are they paid upfront?
Our fees are not charged upfront – instead they are withdrawn from your new settlement account each month. Typically our fees are spread out over a period spanning 18-19 months. The fee is broken into a Retainer fee, that is paid out over the first 3 or 4 months, and then a Service fee that is paid out over the following 15 months. All fees are included in the one monthly savings amount that our account executives will quote to you.

Q. Should I put all of my credit cards in the program?
If you have one card with a low balance that you can quickly pay down to zero, then you may hold onto it for emergencies. However the program will generally not work unless you enroll all of your high balance (greater than $500) credit card accounts. As you can imagine, it makes it difficult for us to negotiate with your creditors if they can see that you are negotiating on some accounts but not others.

Q. Who controls the bank account where I am saving funds for creditors?
You do. The bank account is set up in your name and the money in the account is your money. The reason why we recommend keeping it in a new account that is separate from your existing bank accounts, is that in our experience, this separation dramatically increases (by a factor of 2-3 times!) the probability that you will succeed in FDR’s program. FDR’s fees are deducted from this account each month, according to the Agreement that you sign with us. But the accumulated savings in the account are owned by you.

Q. How does this affect my credit?
If you do not make required minimum payments to your creditor you may be breaking the terms of your agreement with them and your actions will probably be reported to consumer reporting agencies as a late, delinquent, charged-off or past due balance. This is true whether or not you have enrolled in a Debt Settlement Plan. Depending upon the condition of your credit report at the time of enrollment, a Debt Settlement Plan may have an adverse effect on your credit report and credit score. Our goal is to get you out of debt for the lowest cost, in the shortest period of time without declaring bankruptcy. Once you are out of debt, we will be able to refer you to a reputable credit repair organization if you desire. Please note, Freedom Debt Relief is not a credit repair organization.

Q. Will I receive phone calls from collectors?
There are federal and state laws designed to protect you from creditor harassment. However, the fact is that most of our clients experience some collection calls. FDR’s goal is to get your creditors to call us and not you when they want to ask for money, and we will work with you minimize any calls that get through to you. In addition, we will work with you to make sure violators of collection laws, including the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) are appropriately handled.

Q. Will I owe taxes on my forgiven debt?
The IRS considers a forgiven debt as taxable income, so at the end of the year, they will expect taxes to be paid on the settlement. The IRS, however, has a form (Form 982) available for certain hardship situations that may exempt you from this tax. Please contact a tax advisor to discuss this issue further.

Q. Do interest and late fees accrue on my accounts?
If you let your accounts go delinquent, your creditors will continue to add interest and late fees onto your balances. Typically, your balance will increase until a settlement is reached. Keep in mind that the interest is going to accrue regardless of whether you make minimum payments or not. FDR’s goal is to negotiate substantial reductions to the balances on your accounts, even after the interest and late fees have accrued.

Q. Could I negotiate on my own?
Yes you can. You can also do your own taxes and repair your own car, but most people choose to seek help. Most people prefer to leave these tasks to experienced people who earn their livelihood as specialists in those lines of work. Our team of debt negotiation specialists has only one job - negotiating reductions on our clients’ unsecured debts, each and every day of the week. Our knowledge and experience puts us in the best position to stand up to your creditors and fight for the best settlement possible. Together, FDR’s team of negotiation specialists are resolving approximately $20,000,000 of debt each month (and growing!).

Q. Do you begin negotiating with my creditors right away?
Except when dealing with certain difficult creditors, we generally contact your creditors right away (typically within approximately 1-2 weeks of your joining our program) to let them know that we have Limited Power of Attorney and to request that future collection calls come to us and not you. The actual negotiation activity is typically very limited until you have saved up enough in your settlement account to make reasonable offers to your creditors. Most (but not all) creditors do not want to spend time negotiating an account unless they know there are funds available. The first settlement typically happens in month 6 to 9 of a client’s program (this varies greatly and depends on your monthly savings amount and the number of creditors you have enrolled in the program as well as the balance of each individual account). In some instances it may take more than 9 months before the first settlement is reached.

Q. Will my debts be sent to a law firm? Will this result in a lawsuit?
Creditors do have the right to send debts to third party collection agencies and/or law firms in order to collect a debt. If this happens, we will continue to negotiate on your account and will treat the debt as a priority creditor (meaning we will try to resolve it first, before moving onto your other accounts). Based on our actual experience, it is a small percentage of cases on which lawsuits are actually filed. When this does happen, usually the purpose of the lawsuit is to force a settlement. We will continue to negotiate to settle the debt, although the settlement percentages are often higher than typical “non-legal” settlements. If a lawsuit is filed before you have saved up enough funds to negotiate a settlement, we will seek to resolve the account by putting it on a long term payment plan for 100% of the balance. Please note, we are not a law firm and cannot provide legal advice or legal representation.

Q. Do you guarantee that you settle all of my debts for a certain percentage?
No. Every case is a negotiation, and there is no guarantee how the negotiations will wind up. Furthermore, the success of our negotiations is highly dependent on your ability to save a specified amount each and every month you are in the program.

Q. Will entering your program repair my credit?
No. We are not a credit repair company, and our goal is not to repair your credit. Our goal is to negotiate settlements at less than face value on your unsecured debts.

Monday, April 6th, 2009
7:11 pm
Money Management International?
What does the brain trust think about Money Management International? They say they can negotiate a payment plan with my creditors that I actually believe I can afford. Of course, since my creditors look at me and see a guy who's never been late with a payment, I don't know if they'll go for it... maybe after a month or two of the way things are now that my savings are gone they might play ball.

Anyway, anyone know anything about this outift?

Thursday, April 2nd, 2009
3:33 pm
Hi again, everyone! I hope you guys aren't getting tired of seeing my posts. I just greatly value and appreciate everyone's advice and comments. So.. here I am again, with another question up for advice.

A little while ago, I applied to a school I never really thought I would get in to. But to my surprise, I got my acceptance letter this week. It has a GREAT program for my major, but it would mean moving three hours north. I actually used to live around that area when I was attending a different school, but I've been home for the past year taking classes at Pitt because of some family things.

So basically right now, I'm living for free with my parents, which is wonderful but... it's living with your parents again... I love them, but hopefully you know what I'm saying. I know the area that I would be moving to pretty well. I can live off campus (because of my puppy) within a very short distance, maybe 10 minutes or so, for probably around $400-500/month's rent. This would obviously get wrapped into my loan so that I could for sure pay my rent, and I'll more than likely qualify for work-study, so I can have some kind of income until I find another job up there. I really, really want to go to this school. They're pretty selective, and if finishing my undergrad with them means that I'll have a better chance of getting into their graduate program, I'd be stupid not to do it.

Or, my other option is stay at home with my parents, finish out my undergrad at Pitt (which I loathe) and take out more money on my loan to help pay off my credit cards.

Either way, I was planning on taking more money out on my loan (even if I take out more for rent) to help with my cards. Is there a limit they put on how much extra you can take out? Anybody know? I had a friend who took out an extra 4 grand each semester to put towards her rent and some other kind of payment. This school is expensive, but is extremely generous with aid (a lot of which is in the form of grants) and I would be much happier there.

Pitt is a great school, but I'm nothing but a number there. Whereas at this other school, there are like 3,000 undergrads- that's it. Besides, I don't like the city or the commute to the city. I like fresh air. And greenery. Anybody have, not only financial advice, but friendly advice on the issue? What would you guys do?
Monday, March 30th, 2009
12:56 pm
at the beginning of the month I posted community.livejournal.com/debt_support/40880.html and just wanted to let everyone know that I took the best advice and paid off all my debt with my taxes. Since then, I have started a strong savings account (I was able to save $300 in less than a month), and a ton of weight lifted off my shoulders. I have started using my credit card responsibly (I only charge $30 and pay it off right away), and feel great about my future and everything coming up (including moving!). I just wanted to thank you all for your help and advice. It really made my life a lot better.
Sunday, March 29th, 2009
4:25 pm
My problem with Citibank
Like I mentioned in my introduction post, I am having problems with Citibank and the sudden hike in my interest rate. Here's what happened:

In January, I logged on to the website to read some billing information. I noticed that my interest rate went from 14.99 to 19.99 and I was surprised.

I was convinced that this was unwarranted, so I contacted customer service about it. The representative told me that it was a scheduled change in my account information and that a notice was sent out several months ago.

I don't recall ever seeing a notice like that. I mentioned this to the representative and she said that they would send out the notice again.

Nothing like that has come as of now. Isn't it a law that credit card companies must notify you in writing of changes like these? What can I do about this?

Current Mood: annoyed
Saturday, March 28th, 2009
3:24 pm
Possibly a dumb post
I've been reading a lot about the envelope system, but I'm a little confused.

As far as I understand, this is how it works: You make an envelope for each bill you pay. Each payday (if you're paid biweekly,) you place half of what you'd like to put towards that bill in the envelope. Next payday, you do the same.

Isn't it inconvenient? Wouldn't you have to always have A LOT of cash? And then you would go to the bank, deposit the cash that you (presumably) took out of your account when you got paid, and then go home and pay your bills?

I completely understand that spending money- actual cold, hard cash- hurts more than just swiping your card, but I'm just unsure. I like the idea of the envelope system, but it just seems very inconvenient to me.

Am I wrong, or is the inconvenience the point?
Friday, March 27th, 2009
12:41 pm
Hi! I am new here.

Like the rest of you, I have some debt. My biggest debt hassle is a Citibank credit card with a balance of about $1950 and an interest rate of 19.99%. I also have a Visa credit card with my local credit union that has an interest rate of 14.50% and a balance of $191.62. My student loan isn't too bad, roughly $4600.

Here's the problem. I am partially self-employed, so my income is very erratic. As a back-up, I am a tutor and substitute teacher. I don't have much summer income, if any, so that is another reason I have problems with debt.

Oh yeah....I am having issues with Citibank and the sudden hike in my interest rate. That is for another post...I want to keep this post focused.

Current Mood: relieved
Thursday, March 26th, 2009
5:38 pm
Advice & experience needed
Hi everyone,

I recently contacted two creditors about a hardship program and got a pretty good deal out of it. Granted, two of my accounts are now closed, but the payments have been cut in half and so has the interest. I've been scouring sites like simplyhired, snagajob, monster and career builder for a second job, but so far I still only have one interview set up. Still just praying I get that if no one else will call me.

In the meantime, I'm trying to stay afloat by selling some things on E-bay and not spending any money at all. I have some questions though.

Even with another job, especially when summer comes around, I'm not going to be able to pay too much more than the minimum on my cards. Is this okay? I'm going to try, but I would also like to have some kind of an emergency fund. I have nothing right now, and as luck would have it, I actually had an emergency last night with my three month old puppy.

However, I think I'm taking night classes this summer. My parents take out the Parent Plus Loan which, in case you aren't familiar, is taken out in their name. They pay what little they can for now, and when I graduate they'll transfer it to me. Anyway, I know plenty of kids who take out extra money on their loans- usually just for spending money. I don't plan on taking out a whole lot, but would this be okay to do? I feel like if I have this advantage now I might as well use it.

My school loans also aren't too heavy right now either. My first two years I was an RA, so I got free housing and meal plans, and now I live at home. The only bill I pay besides my credit card bills is my cell phone. I know this is extremely easy compared to what some people are facing, but I'm only making about $230 every 2 weeks... and I have about $500 going in CC bills every month, not counting gas and my cell phone bill.

So, if I take out an extra grand or so over the summer, should I use that as my emergency fund, or put it right onto one of my cards? I plan to try and put as much of my own earned money away as I can too, but I'm just not exactly sure what kind of job I'll have, so it's all up in the air.

I'm sorry for this novel of a post, but I could use some suggestions if it's at all possible :]
Wednesday, March 25th, 2009
1:44 pm
Greetings all...

So, my situation has deteriorated steadily in the past six months. I never did go with any of those debt reduction places like I had asked about back in October or anything. I've been able to scrape by, barely making ends meet each month, by tapping into my savings and working small amounts of overtime here and there when I could find it.

So now, my savings are almost completely gone. I've been completely unsuccessful in finding a part-time job... even when I dumb down my resume, I think just the fact of who I work for somehow disqualifies me, as obviously my main loyalty will be with my full-time employer.

I've finally talked to a lawyer, and apparently I make too much for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and if I go 13, basically I will have absolutely nothing left over each month, IF I am able to actually get it to happen. Apparently because I have a deferred comp retirement plan at work, it makes thing very complicated somehow. I've calculated my expenses pretty much as accurately as I can, and I have a negative three hundred dollar a month budget after paying everything. It never took much overtime to cover that, back when it was unlimited, but these days, I'm screwed...

Obviously this is no one's fault but my own, and trust me, I remind myself constantly of that fact.

Anyway, can anyone offer any suggestions here? I guess once I can't pay off the bills each month, companies will start hitting me with garnishments and whatnot, and eventually I will be poor enough for bankruptcy... or if I can pull off the chapter 13, I guess having no money each month is better than going deeper in the hole, but if it's not guaranteed to work, I hesitate to try, since I'll have to pay the lawyer regardless.
Friday, March 20th, 2009
10:02 pm
I need to cancel Credit Solutions
Hi everybody,

I'm totally new here and also completely scared and stressed. I just signed up with Credit Solutions today, then a few hours later discovered Creditboards.com and now I want to get rid of Credit Solutions. It hasn't even been 24 hours. Anybody have any advice for when I call them? I just can't imagine them making it easy for me to cancel...
Monday, March 16th, 2009
9:48 pm
I have a question that someone in here has to know the answer to....

I have been really good about paying off my debts. As in I have NEVER been late on ANY account and I always pay the minimum or well over. Recently I checked my credit my credit score (at myfico) and it was a 691experian. Not the worst but not the best either. I decided to pay off one of my credit cards with my tax return that was carrying a 200 dollar balance (the limit on that card is 750.) I also paid one of my credit cards down from 1200 to 720. (the limit on that card is 2200 is was 1300 last month but they uped it for whatever reason).

Today I checked my score on creditkarma.com it I am a 758 transunion. Now, my question is can credit score range THAT MUCH between two different ones? I have paid off that much for my score to really change at all. So I am a little confussed any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Friday, March 13th, 2009
4:30 pm
Hi everyone. I want to give some basics about myself and my debt before I go ahead and ask for help. I'm 24 years old and I work a job where I get about $1500 a month from my job.

Rent: $525
Bus: $108
Phone bill: $67
Car Payment: $100
Credit card: $100
Medical bills: $200

The above totals $1100 which leaves me $400 for the month before I even calculate my electricity bill, money for food, money for medication, and money for my dog.

I know NOTHING about finances. When I say this, I don't understand financial terms, APRs, percentages, taxes. I don't even understand W-4s. People try to explain it to me and my brain just cannot retain any of the info.

I had a boyfriend who destroyed my almost perfect credit because I was young and foolish and let him pretty much max out my credit card and destroy my cell phone contracts and stuff. My $5500 credit card limit was maxed out and with a high APR and late fees, it started going up and up. Bank of America would not help me work out a payment plan and after paying them $300 a month and not being able to eat I just called it quits. The worse my credit got the more I ran away from the phone calls and solutions people tried to make. I got behind on medical bills and my phone bills. Now I have probably 4 or 5 different credit agencies after me and I'm probably near $8,000 worth of debt if not more. I don't even know anymore, because I am running away from the problem. I throw out the letters and I ignore the phone calls.

Recently I've contacted 2 of these credit agencies. They haven't cut me much of a break. One company said that the State of WA was processing paperwork to sue me over an outstanding medical bill of $400 that I had yet to pay. I got scared and was forced to give them all the money I had for food the rest of this month as well as all my buss money for my bus pass to work. Now I have to pay them $100 every 2 weeks til it's paid and I just don't have that. I am literally drowning from all the various high payments I'm forced to pay. My life is unraveling and I am afraid I can't pay rent soon.

On top of this I did my income taxes and when I thought I would get money back, but instead found out I OWE $650.

Like I said I know NOTHING about finances or anything to do with money. I was considering debt consolidation so at least I can roll up everything into one payment and not have to be threatened by collectors anymore. However I hear so many conflicting stories about this, with people saying that debt consolidation with tack a huge fee on top and that my payments are still going to be hundreds of dollars a month anyway and I still won't be able to afford it. I don't know what companies are best to look into this. I know nothing. Does anyone have any advice?
Friday, March 6th, 2009
4:40 pm
new data search community
Hi, folks!

Welcome to the new data mining community:


Direct original data's links, questions, discusses, queries for exotic data search, etc.
Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009
11:57 am
FICO score article
By Andrew Jeffery
Mar 03, 2009 12:45 pm

An impeccable credit score was once a source of pride for bill-paying, fiscally responsible Americans. Now, as card issuers slash lines, up minimum payment requirements and raise interest rates seemingly at random, a stellar credit rating is rare indeed.

Besieged by mounting losses on all types of consumer debt, banks and credit-card companies are scaling back: According to Bloomberg, 45% of all US banks reduced credit card limits for new or existing customers in 2008's fourth quarter.

Issuers are attacking the problem in various ways, but the net effect is the same: Americans are using less plastic. Citibank (C) is lowering credit limits, Capital One (COF) is charging new customers higher rates, JPMorgan Chase (JPM) is upping minimum monthly payments from 2% to 5% on certain accounts, and American Express (AXP) is awarding $300 to select clients if they close their accounts entirely.

The trouble isn’t just that formerly credit-dependent consumers are having a tougher time making ends meet. FICO scores -- the most common measure of a person’s credit-worthiness -- heavily weigh total credit utilized compared to total credit available.

So as lines are cut, outstanding balances as a percentage of total credit lines rise. This in turn dings a consumer’s credit rating, making it harder to get a new card, and in some cases causing existing creditors to jack up interest rates. The vicious cycle continues, and even borrowers with heretofore unblemished credit histories are finding their FICO scores drop for the first time ever.

The solution, as evidenced by dismal earnings reports from the country’s biggest retailers, is simple: Spend less, save more.

Even as lawmakers are making herculean efforts to revitalize the economy by injecting money into the banking system and lowering taxes, reality is moving in the opposite direction.

An anti-spending, anti-consumerist mindset is taking hold across the socioeconomic spectrum. This shift cannot be stopped by flowery talk from Washington - or by vilifying Wall Street in Congress. Spending, the hobby of choice for nearly 3 decades, is becoming the thing not to do. Saving, which had begun to seem positively un-American, is once again in vogue.

This isn't some transitory fad we'll soon forget when the good times roll once again. The current crisis will be felt in the American psyche for decades to come.

Who knows - for our generation, cutting up credit cards may be our answer to the burning of bras.

Andrew Jeffery is an Editor at Minyanville Publishing & Multimedia, LLC.
Monday, March 2nd, 2009
11:35 am
so here's the scoop
my debt totals :

My sister : $ 295
credit card : $200
Medical bill : $ 30
UofM bill : $ 50

TOTAL : $ 575

I should mention that I have $5 in my savings account.

Not bad, but still it's uncomfortable. I go to school full time and work part time. I only get paid about $300 every two weeks and more than half my check goes to my current bills and trying to pay everything else off too. I also drive an older car so the repairs are always lurking and I never have anything saved for it.

To top this off, this October I need to get an apartment to be closer to school, and where I live now won't be an option anymore. I figure I will need to save AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE (but not under $1,000) for this.

I have been watching Suze Orman's show and I even ordered one of her books which has made me really motivated to get out of debt and stay out. I am only 21 years old and I want to develop better money management / savings habits while I am young.

Things I have done to save more money: Moved into my boyfriend's mom's house, which has saved me from paying rent, reduced my phone calling plan, ate out less, etc.

Any advice / tips? I really want to get out of debt ASAP.

I'm getting $1,200 back from taxes and I really want that to go directly into my savings account.
Wednesday, February 25th, 2009
3:51 pm
Good letter on dealing with collection agencies
Dear Dave,

I have old credit card debt that goes back a few years. The account has been sold and re-sold to several collection companies. The limit was $300, but with late charges and fees, I now owe $1,500. Am I liable for the extra $1,200?


Dear Monica,

You agreed to their terms, which included the right to charge fees and penalties. Legally, they can do this. The honorable thing would be to send the company you contracted with a check for the full amount.

However, that company no longer owns the debt, and they won’t get the money. They sold the debt. The present holder is just hoping to get something out of it. They buy debt in volume, dirt cheap, and whatever they can collect from any creditor is profit.

The current collection company would probably be thrilled to settle for a lot less than face value. Make them an offer. Start low. Meet them somewhere in the middle. You can probably settle this for around $500.

Do not give them any money until you have in your hand – on paper, in writing – a statement showing the amount for which they will settle, and do not give them electronic access to your bank account, either.

Once you have this in hand, send them a cashier’s check or money order, and keep a copy of that payment and the letter for the rest of your natural life. If this comes up again, and it very well could, you’ll have proof of the agreed upon amount, and the fact that you’ve already paid!
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