On Your Side: Get out of debt and clean up your credit at the same time

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News 12 at 6, December 8, 2008

AUGUSTA---With today's sour economy many folks with bad credit may turn to shady credit repair firms to get things sorted out.

Unfortunately, experts say that will only make things worse. The process behind getting your credit repaired isn't a difficult one. It just takes time and discipline.

David Young is a man on a mission. That mission? To get out of debt.

"It's not something that happened in a day," he said.

Nope, it happened over a couple of years. But in those years, David and his wife racked up more than $22,000 worth of credit card debt. A debt that was consuming them.

"I was a slave to my debt. I'm a slave to my creditors. I do not feel free." he said.

And it was creating difficult decisions for the family.

"I've either got to pay the light bill or the credit card bill."

Finally they raised the white flag and asked for help. They called and negotiated lower rates, got on a fixed payment and one more thing...

"It's a 4 year plan and for those 4 years, no credit cards."

By this, they were clearing out debt and cleaning up their credit. Experts say you can do it too. But whatever you do, avoid calling these for help.

"Stay away from those cardboard signs on the side of the road that say they can clean up your credit. You can do it yourself." said Cindy Tesch of Consumer Credit Counseling.

So how do you do it?

First, start paying your bill on time. Get them in by the due date. Second, call your creditors to negotiate a payment plan. Lastly, call a legitimate consumer credit agency to ask for advice if you're overwhelmed.

David did and he'll soon be debt free.

"Wow. That was an adventure I don't want to go on again," he said.

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