After the lengthy blog post I submitted yesterday, I realized that I had not completed the story and advice about how I have worked my way almost completely out of debt. There are several key facts that I did not include in my last post. I do not want these to go unwritten.
Always make your monthly payments via United States Postal Service Money Orders. This step will prove to the creditors that you mean business. Under no conditions should a creditor ever have access to your bank account. While people will say that an automatic deduction taken by the creditor each month is a convenient way to pay your bill, you have also given the creditor far too much information in the process. If you already have done this, close the account and open another preferably at another back or credit union altogether.
Every month for the last 5+ years, I have withdrawn money from my savings account and then taken that cash to the nearest Post Office that provides Money Orders. I always pay cash for these money order, that usually runs just over a dollar for each money order.
I always send the money order to the creditor via REGISTERED MAIL. This is another protection for you. I make copies of the envelope, the Registered Mail receipts and the paperwork and of course the actual money order. This provides me with an easily accessible record of these payments and the means to initiate tracking of any that the creditor claims have not arrived. This does run approximately $5-6 dollar for each item, but it is money well spent. A USPS Money Order is a different type of animal for making payments. Any tampering with this constitutes a FELONY and the USPS will prosecute those responsible.
I suffered in the past from creditors and collections companies calling to harass me. CHANGE YOUR NUMBER immediately. Only notification IN WRITING is valid from these leeches, yet they never seem to follow through as long as they are receiving payments from you each month. Standing up to these vampires was rewarding and allowed me to vent at the same time.
I learned to NEVER allow creditors access to my bank/credit union or other information. As long as you are paying them in accordance with agreements or minimum payments, they cannot do anything other than threaten you. Don't be afraid to stand up for your rights in this process. And as I said earlier, it is easier to change your number than deal with the hassle.