Yeah, like I said, I'm not 100% super-strict (still do some "frivolous" spending on the weekends with the girlfriend), but I've reeled it in from what it was. I do need to get gazelle-intense, as Ramsey would say, and further curb the spending. i think I could wrangle another $300-400/month. The part-time job was/is intended to further supplement the income and increase available funds to put towards the debt, to get it done faster.
I did recently (first deposit was this month) start an ING Direct saving account, to pay myself first and have something
going towards savings. I have no credit cards, only one debit card, and rely on a cash budget (using the envelope system) for the rest.
The part about just not paying the collection agencies... yeah, um, that's kinda how I got into this trouble to begin with. I was a dopey youngster, tapped out my credit cards, and then considered them "optional payments" in the very back of my mind. Ha, man-o-man, young people are stupid.
I want to get this stuff done and over with, so I'll do as was suggested and communicate with them, via letter only, and send my checks on a regular basis in workable amounts.