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How Can i Safely Pull Myself Out of the Horrible Credit Hole I'm In?
Ok - I'm trying this again, because my question didn't post last time..

When I was a teenager, no one taught me about credit. I never knew. I got credit cards and used them and didn't pay them. I got sick and spent a week in the hospital with no insurance, and didnt pay. I bought a car, got in an accident and didn't have GAP insurance - twice.Took out student loans that I couldn't pay, cellphones that I couldn't afford... In about 5 years I completely destroyed any little bit of credit I had. Now I'm at 10 years later, with 2 children, and I'm desperately trying to pull myself out of this credit hole that I'm in. According to this website my score is 511, and that's after I've maintained a Car Loan with ON TIME bi-monthly payments for 2 years, had lights in my name for 3 years - NEVER got disconnected (the light company here reports to the credit bureaus), my student loans have been paid off (with my tax returns), and kept an apartment in my own name for 3 years(also reported by my landlord's company)...

I still have some medical bills on my report - it was originally $50,000... The Student loans are still here - even though they've been paid but they were SERIOUSLY past due. I've paid off 1 of the cars that were totaled and the other isn't in collections - they wrote it off, but its still there and its about 4 years old.

My budget is tight every month because I have ZERO wiggle room. I dont even have cable or internet (my neighbor lets me use hers once in a while).

What can I do to build my credit back up? Am I going to be forced to slowly trudge up the mountain because of my budget (credit cards scare me - I need the money so badly that I'm afraid I wouldnt be able to keep the balance low). Everything on my credit report is approaching the 10 year mark, and I've been told that if its over 2 years old, and not "active" on your report you dont want to pay it because it could actually lower your score when the account re-opens - is that true?

I want to re-finance my car, so I dont have to pay $400/month and have most of it go to interest. I want to pay off what's left of my medical bills, and close out the other smaller "open" accounts on my report. The problem is that with my budget being so tight i cannot afford to pay on any of the past due accounts. I pay rent, lights, car, gas and food. That's all I have room for - seriously - I haven't even bought myself a pair of pants in over 4 years. I really think that if I could re-finance my car and lower the interest & payment, that I'd be able to start putting money towards the other accounts, but the interest rates, at my score, are insane - double digits.

I looked into bankruptcy - but I dont have the filing fees($1200!). I dont have the "fees" for credit counseling either - $99 laying around any month, after I bought groceries and filled my gas tank would be a BLESSING.

Can anyone help me? Have any of you been in similar situations? It's been about 4-5 years that I've been working on this and because of the horrific damage I did when I was young, dumb, and reckless I've only gotten this far. I'm beginning to feel really discouraged. I can't even get a checking account with a credit union around here my score is so bad. I use a prepaid debit card for my paychecks and to pay my bills.

Please, please, please help!

**edited from original incase it did post - changed score to 511 from 593 - looked at the wrong tab.

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Been there. Done that.

Mine was inherited debt from a family business when my parents died. It took nearly 20 years for me to dig my way out. I remember the sleepless nights and "robbing Peter to pay Paul " finances all to clearly. 

It sounds like your doing your best and have learned your lessons. You seem to be headed in the right direction.

I know it feels like you'll never get out from under it all. Just try to keep your head on straight and keep your goal in sight. 

I suggest you look up Dave Ramsey on Google. He gives great advise on how to get out from under debt. 

Wish there were more solid advise I could give that would actually do you some good. But just know that you can do it if you keep at it. 

Good luck. 

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Get free copies of your credit report.

anything that is old might age out soon and fall off your report. Pay debts off the newest debts first as quick as you can,

Student loans never go away even in bankruptcy and have high interest rates so you might think of trying to get those taken care of as quick as possible. 

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