I wrote a guest blog for The Penny Hoarder a few weeks ago – and one of the questions I got, both via email and on Facebook was regarding the part where I talk about using a Credit Consolidation company to help me pay it all off.

Specifically, the questions revolved around whether doing it that way hurt my credit score. It did not.

Having read more about the topic – I now understand why people were asking. Because a true debt consolidation would involve taking out a new loan, in a larger amount so that you could just pay off all the individual accounts and make one payment. Any time you take out a new card or loan, your credit score takes a dip. And of course, if you miss any payments, it will affect your credit score.

But what I did was not that at all.

I used American Consumer Credit Counseling (now Consumer Credit), and here’s what happened when I called them.

I explained my situation. I listed my cards, how much I owed and what my payments were. They spoke to me about how I got into debt (no judgement) and we worked out a rough budget.

Then they called all of my card companies and negotiated a lower interest rate + a fixed payment amount.

When that was all done, they let me know what my monthly payment would be. Unfortunately it was fairly close to $1000/month – but I didn’t have any choice. It had to be that amount to pay it off on the timeline they established. The goal was to pay it off in 64 months. I did it in right around 24.

And in the end, my credit score was off the charts. Even with all my credit card accounts being closed – I had no ill effects from using this company to help me manage my debt. I cannot recommend them more highly.

Here’s another great resource for info on paying off debt. They cover ALL your bases.