Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Back to reality...too bad it bites!

So we are back from our trip. It really was nice, it was a breather to get away from everything for awhile, to leave all the "reality" back at home. It was great to see everyone, the kids had a ball with their grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousins, the sun and warm weather was really a mood lifter. It was nice to "forget" for awhile.

But now I am back, and reality is a cold, hard slap in the face. The house is worse than ever. The finances are overwhelming. My depression has resurfaced. It is time to deal with all this, but all I want to do it slid under the covers and hide. Not too helpful.

I called Bank of America yesterday to try to negotiate a lower interest rate on my card, it is currently 17.9, it used to be 12.9 and they raised it because of "negative activity on my credit report", I have never been late with a payment, I have never been over the limit, I almost always pay more than the minimum payment, and I have been a customer of theirs since 1999. But apparently that means nothing to them. All that matters in the "negative activity" on my credit report which was a result of a dispute with Citibank which holds one of my student loans.  They also stated that my revolving debt is too high, and they would be happy to reduce my interest rate when approximately 50 percent of it it paid off. Huh?!?  Yet the high interest rate is preventing me from tackling little more than the interest each is a losing battle. Their only suggestion was giving me the number for Consumer Credit Counseling or the like, and stated they would reduce the interest rate if I was working with one of those agencies. It makes no sense to me.

So I starting looking in those types of agencies. Consumer Credit Counseling being the first one I examined. Their website was pretty upfront about how they work and the fees they charge. Yep, that's right they charge fees. $39 to sign up, and $4 per account enrolled per month, or $35 per month flat which ever it lower. They negotiate directly with the credit card banks for lower interest rate, sometimes as low as 1 or 2 %, and lump all you payments in one sum, which you pay to the CCR and they distribute to the credit cards each month. They set you up on a plan usually 5yrs after which you will be credit card debt free.

Doesn't sound too bad, however, the downfalls are,
#1 as soon as you enroll, all the credit card accounts you enroll in the programs are immediately closed, which negatively effects your credit score, sometimes quite a bit.
#2 the fact that your are participating in a debt management program is noted on your credit report, and it can be used as a negative when looking at the credit report.
#3 The only debts that are eligible for the program are credit cards, store cards, and unsecured loans. Student loans are not part, which is the majority of our debts.
So I am unsure if this is good option. We are not in default on any cards, and the 17.9 it the highest interest rate we currently hold. The other cards we have actually have fairly low Aprs. 

I plan on investigating it further, but I am to say I am a bit embarrassed by the whole prospect, I never pictured myself as one of "those" people.  But the actual counseling part of their services are free so it may be worth the time.

Things are just so difficult now that we are home, my mental state is precarious at best. I have cried several times, and just so paralyzed by the overwhelming implications of everything. My failure to be normal, slapping me in the face in every direction I look.  My mother told me upon coming home, that I need serious help. (in reference to the state of my house) but did not offer to help me. Peoples "helpful" suggestions are really bothersome, like telling me to just go get a job and that the kids would be much happier in daycare because they are really bored staying with me!? Yes, because I can just find a job tomorrow, they are handing them on out on the corner, right? And I am sure that daycare it just as easy to find, because who cares who watches your kids? It just makes me want to scream.

I would like to get counseling, but I really cannot afford the co-pays right now...not sure where to go from here.

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