I need some advice about how to clean up my credit

First of all thanks to everyone who is willing to share their advice on here as I have learned so much. Now that I have gotten really frugal and worked on getting our household expenses under control and paying our household bills on time I am ready to take another step but am totally lost.

I need some advice about how to clean up my credit ( with many of my debts being 5+ years old) and how to start building up my credit. We have been struggling to pay $236,000 in medical bills and we also have 3 bankruptcies 7-8 years old ( another story and lawyer naivete on our part) on our credit.

My husband is of the mind since we will never have good credit again at our age (37/45) just to start over from today and live cash only forever so why bother trying to fix it. Pay off our cars in the next few months and then just save money. Me I would like some kind of peace so I don’t have to fear the telephone ringing or opening a strange envelope.

Since our bank accounts are now separate I have a checking and two savings (on line with higher interest rates) even though between them I currently have about $45 that I literally got by quote and quote by nickel and dime. As are most items on our credit report are also separate I would like to try to fix just mine. I already have a wage garnishment out of my check for back state taxes and am afraid of future ones.

So what is the opinion CASH or FIX IT ? Should i get legal help since I am not very strong in dealing with creditors and everybody will have to be worked out on a payment plan basis (even if I have to get a second job) Has any one else made either decision with what results?

My experience with negotiating was to be told I could get on a hardship plan that would lower my interest and waive fees for anywhere from 6 to 9 months. If I wasn’t able to catch up by that time, I was back where I started with loan shark interest. It can be like being on a nightmare merry go round that never stops.