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<What steps are you going to take to ensure that you don't start charging on the CC's again? HEL's can be dangerous, because you still have the same amount of debt but a bunch of cleared cards.
Its probably advisable to either cut the cards up, or freeze them in a bowl of water so you can't use them!! You may also want to cancel the cards you don't need, and just keep 1 or two.>

Yes, my credit union is sending the payoffs with a letter to cancel the cards.

I got a Capital One offer for a 14.9% APR, which I have responded to (my current cards are over 25) and we'll see whether I get it. If not, I will get a secured card for $500 at the lowest rate I can find. And that's it, one is plenty. I also think the right credit limit for me, given my history and my income ($28,000), is no higher than $3,000. It will take a while to work up to that again, and I plan to ask for lower interest rates and no annual fee in lieu of limit raises.

In the meantime, I will be stashing at least $200 and hopefully $300 each month. I did manage to accumulate an efund once of about $2000, and the experience of having even that much was incredibly freeing. When the rainy day came, I could cope. But I've had a hard time rebuilding it, and the HEL should help by improving my cash flow.

My poor credit rating has mostly affected the kinds of credit card offers I get. I had a loan with my credit union several years ago, and paid it off, and my history with my mortgage holder (state veteran's) while not perfect, is good. But they don't report to CRAs, if they did, my FICO might well be higher. When I have employment problems, which seems to happen every few years, it's the CCs I put off in favor of mortgage, food, and utilities, and the CCs don't like that.

My main concern with the FICO score is insurance issues in the future, etc. After I've established a current good history with this loan at the credit union, I'll apply for one of their cards.

As I said, there are people on this board with more dire stories than mine, and that helps me to keep all this in perspective. Or as my boss says, "relax, no little children died as a result of this"!
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