"Ladies do NOT discuss money or debt, Jolene." I can hear those words reverberating in my ears from my sainted mother. It's unseemly! Well with all due respect for my dear departed ma...I disagree. It MUST be discussed. I'm bringing debt-shame out of the closet baby! I've been on both sides now and have to share.

First a quick back story: I had always been quite proud of my sterling credit. Score near 800 for 20 years...bought my own home, car, great rates, no problem.

I got really sick last year. Hospital stay...slow recovery, yada yada. Slow money coming in, but I HATE not paying my bills on time. So it seemed logical to me, to use that sterling credit for a while to pay the phone, cable, blah blah; "until I'm back on my feet any day now". Right? WRONG!!! All hell's broke loose! Did you know when what you owe gets over half of your credit limit they go F#@KIN' OUT OF THEIR MINDS? Well I sure didn't. If I had a $200 check come in, everyone got $50. I mean "obviously I'm trying, they can see that." Right? WRONG!!! Phonecalls day and night, over and over. My stomach was in knots man. BUT...not anymore. I went to Consumer Credit Counseling Services of Buffalo and a credit goddess named Lisa Frankenberger--with NO judgement calls--fixed it! CCCS is nationwide and a non-profit 501c3.

Here's Lisa with CCCS's CAO Noelle Carter

Here's their link. Seriously! http://www.consumercreditbuffalo.org/

Student debt? Credit Cards? Foreclosure threatening? There was a freakin' note taped to my door for underpaying TWO months in a row! WTF? Sorry, obviously I'm passionate about this, but I'm Italian. I can't help it.  ;-) So the CCCS folks fight the fights FOR you. They get the rates down and make the deals that give you breathing room. (Which by the by...REALLY ticked me off that I couldn't make FOR MYSELF. I tried!)  Seriously, you are not alone. I have seen it firsthand now; both sides. For God's sake, make the stomach churning and mean-ass phonecalls STOP! I did, and I am sooooo much happier. Life is way too short man. <3

-Jolene