For a long time, Francine knew she was in trouble but did nothing about it.
“I was not sleeping, trying to figure out how I was going to pay my bills,” she says. “One morning, I just said, ‘I can’t do this anymore,’ and called.”
She knew credit counseling could help – and she had learned from her research to be wary of for-profit counseling services but to seek out nonprofits.
She settled on HCCI, a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. NFCC was founded in 1951 and is the nation’s largest and oldest national nonprofit credit counseling association.
“I thought I was going to feel really stupid going in there,” Francine says. “But when I came out of my first meeting, I felt like weight had been lifted.”
It wasn’t easy, though. The hardest part was walking into a meeting with “a big fat folder” of all her bills. “You have to admit there’s a problem,” Francine says.
Then you have to get to work. The counselor urged Francine and Jim to draw up a budget. It took three tries to get it right.
“We had to keep coming back because I wasn’t realizing I needed to give up 100 channels on my cable,” she says, “especially when I was only watching four. I didn’t quite understand the concept.”
Even worse, “I didn’t know how much debt I had – because I didn’t want to know.” She wouldn’t let the counselor tell her, either. Instead, the counselor wrote it on a piece of paper, and Francine looked at it when she got home.
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: Ask Stacy: Where Can I Go for Help with Debt? Dealing with Debt: Credit Counseling Will Credit Counseling Hurt My Credit Score? The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.