I HAD debt. I got out when my daughter (now 9 months) was 2 months old.
I called the collection companies one at a time. I made settlements with them...it was a goal of mine and my SO's to get me out of debt (around $20,000) so we were willing/prepared to cut back living expenses for a while.
When I called each company, I told them that this was a long standing debt, that I now had a means to pay it off, and needed their help. Many set me up on a payment plan which included cutting my debt with them almost in half if I paid it within "X" amount of time.
Once one bill was paid, I would call the next company. Whenever I had extra money, I made sure to put it toward that bill, and that takes a LOT of discipline to do.
I started with the smallest bill first, and worked my way up.
Whatever bills I had that weren't in collections yet, I made sure to keep current on the min. payment for it to keep it out of collections.
at 7:23 PM on Feb. 24, 2009