One caution, beware the impact on your FICO score if you close out the accounts. Depending on what else you already have in your credit report, and how many other cards you have, you might be better off keeping the accounts open (or maybe just one of them) to maintain your credit history, even if you don’t plan on using them. (Provided of course you’re not worried about the temptation to spend and rack up more $$ if you leave them open).
From experience, I would (now) close the account first and then pay them off, unless you are very disciplined. I say that because I paid off a card 2 months ago thinking I would shred it and call and close it but a couple weeks later, due to very good procrastination on my part, I used it again thinking I really ‘needed’ what I charged. So…now here I am with that stupid card bill all over again!
Been there done that!!!! I am working on it myself. I found this site has a budget program that you can download for free that will help you to manage your money. I also listen to Dave Ramsey at daveramsey.com daily he has very helpful advice for those of us who were pulled under by the credit bug. Those 2 creditors are the worse. If you are behind on both, maybe you can call them to work out some payment arrangements over 3-4 months that will allow you to catch up and bring you out of being late. If they work with you, make sure you ask them to stop the late payment and overlimit fees until you are back on track. which after that time you will be current and then can work furiously to pay them off.
Keeping those accounts open to help with repair your credit and establish a good credit history is BOGUS!!! If you are not going to use the cards anymore then close them after they have been paid off. When SunTrust trust you enough see if they will allow you to get a Visa/MC Debit Card. It can be used for the same purpose as a credit card. When used the funds come directly from your account and you are indebted to no creditors.
The best advice I can give you is to find an additional job (temporarily) to get you back on track. Between the 2 jobs you should be able to catch up and then pay off those creditors. Regarding the car if you know of a good car mechanic take him to the auction with you to look over the car you are interested in and that’ll help you to feel safe.