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Greetings all,

I've gone from a constantly employed, frugal, saving and investment type of person a few years ago (I even won a TMF award here on the boards!) to a freelancer with a penchant for maintaining a lifestyle I'm unable to afford.

Needless to say, my savings and few investments that I've hung onto have suffered because of it. My debt to income ratio as well as my credit score (the saddest of the hits) are no longer sources of personal pride but rather dark wells of constant frustration and stress. I've reigned in my spending as best I can without slipping into a cranky depression or foregoing progress in my business endeavors. Could I do more to cut spending? Possibly, but not substantially so.

What's bugging me of late is that I feel stuck in APR's above 18%. In the next post in this thread you'll find a table of my current credit card & student loan debt (placed there for formatting reasons).

I'm currently enrolled in an AMEX hardship plan (such a great card company for consumers!). All of the other card companies have been repeatedly contacted for hardship assistance / APR reductions but none have budged or offered any kind of program.

I've read up on the pros and cons of various debt consolidation loans, however, with my current numbers I don't think I'd qualify for much. I belong to no credit unions.

My current plan is paying the minimum due on all cards, plus any extra toward principle on the Apple card. Once a card is paid off (Macy's for example), those monthly payments will be moved to the card with the highest balance/interest ratio (Apple). That trend will continue until all are paid off. It's a good plan and I'm happy with it, however the high percentage rates are killing me.

Part of the frustration is a vague notion that I don't have any recourse. That this is it, what I'm stuck with until I pay them down. I'm hoping to hear from you about whether you think this is the case and if not, what programs, plans, ideas, help you've used in the past or have heard about.

I appreciate all your time and knowledge.


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