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A friend suggested I come here to seek advice. Here is my scenario:

After losing my job two years ago and moving to L.A., I fell behind on two major credit cards. I signed up for payment programs to help lower payments and defer interest charges for a year. Everything worked out fine once I found a job. I kept up with the payments, even though my rent went up $500. I was (and still am) living paycheck to paycheck. I even got a second job that basically pays for groceries.

Now, I have been working at my main job for a year, it's secure and stable (as much as can be presumed in this day and age), those payment programs have ended, the interest rates are going back up and I am finding myself unable to keep up with regular minimum monthly payments. Neither credit card company is willing to work with me any further. They say I don't qualify for any other payment programs and if I don't keep up with payments, my account will be turned over to some third party collector and my credit will be ruined. I'm assuming my credit is not the greatest anyway due to just being on these payment programs, but I certainly don't want it "ruined."

In addition to those two credit cards (which are closed,) I have a car payment, a third credit card, which is open, and a student loan. I have kept up with payments with each of those. My total debt totals approximately $52,000. I have already cut out cable, unnecessary expenses, and cut down grocery bill. I don't have any items worth selling. I have no savings and no money tucked away anywhere. And, thousands of dollars in dental work soon to be a necessity because I keep putting it off (that why I haven't cut up the third credit card yet.)

So, that's the back story. Basically, I'm looking to get everything down to the lowest monthly payment with the lowest interest rate I can get.

Contemplating these following solutions:

1) Take out personal loan at fixed rate through a credit union or loan company (From what I've heard, maximum on a personal loan is $20,000, so I still would only be paying half my debt and not sure that their monthly payment would fit into monthly budget.)

2) Go to a debt consolidation place (Very skeptical about these types of companies and not sure that monthly payments and service fees to them would fit into my monthly budget.)

3) Finding another credit card with lower APR so I can transfer the balance (Again, I still would only be paying off a portion of debt and not sure that the monthly payment would fit into my monthly budget.)

4) Continue just to pay what I've been paying on these plans, ignoring rising interest rates, dodging phone calls and hope one day, I'll win the lottery and/or one or both of these companies will cut me a break!

Please let me know if there are other solutions to consider that I am overlooking.

Thank you in advance for any assistance or advice.

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