I am so anxious to pay these sons-of-bitches off. My credit card debt hangs over my head and weighs on my shoulders every day. With my Thailand trip, I actually did fall a little behind on my debt situation. But I made a bold move today. Here’s where I stand, actual numbers and everything…
I have about $6,650 total in credit card debt. Whew. Yikes. Some of it was necessitated by unfortunate circumstances and accidents. Some of it was self inflicted. Regardless, there it is. And I have learned my lesson.
I got an e-mail yesterday from my Chase Mastercard (my first card, from when I turned 18, and would forget to make payments occasionally). My credit limit has soared to $7,000. But the best news was that they lowered my rate. A LOT. Even after calling a couple months ago, my rate was at about 23%. It went down to 11.99%!! I am SO THRILLED! My highest balance, highest interest card, just became much less scary.
Here are my card stats now:
Chase Mastercard: 11.99% on a $2,450 balance
American Express: 16.49% on a $2,000 balance
Citi Mastercard: 8.74% on a $2,200 balance
I am trying very hardnot to get overwhelmed. I can do this, I know. Both my Amex and Citi cards started with 0% balance transfers that I told myself I’d pay off before that rate expired. Didn’t happen, obviously. But now I am making large monthly payments on all of these. Just 3 or 4 months ago, that Chase balance was a few pennies away from $3,000!!
I finally decided to take a leap and apply for another 0% balance transfer offer. Hopefully in a few weeks my Amex balance will be about $400 and I will have a Discover card with a $1,600 balance with 0% APR until April of 2009.
If I get approved and everything goes through (and I don’t anticipate any problems there- I may not have a lot of credit history, but what I do have is pretty good- I’m proud that my score hovers around 700.) then I will make minimum payments on that $1,600 balance until some of my bigger, interest accruing balances are less scary.
My plan right now:
Chase: $200-$250 per month
Amex: $100 per month
Citi: $100 per month
Discover: (I’m guessing around $30 – $50 per month)
I’m not counting on a tax return, but I think chances are high that I will get one. If I do, that will go towards my Amex, just to get it out of the way. Having at least one ZERO balance will help motivate me. Then I can put $50 more to my Chase and Citi cards.
I don’t have a head for math like I used to, but based on the calculators at http://www.bankrate.comI could be paid off in about 12-15 months. If I get a good tax return and stimulus check, I could achieve my goal even faster. I like my Chase and American Express cards, so I won’t be cancelling them. I think my Citi card will eventually be cancelled.
Other than my credit card debt, the only debt I carry is my car loan. It was a 27 month loan, and I’m not paying any extra towards it. My monthly payments are about $175. I have a fairly low rate (5 or 6%) and it should be paid off by summer of 2009.
My other monthly commitments are:
Cell phone bill ($70)
YMCA dues ($30)
Car Insurance (have I mentioned this is now only $110 a month?!)
David pays our rent and utilities.
I have an automatic $80 savings withdrawal.
Whats left is usually used for groceries and gas. It’s a really tight budget to live on, but it’s only temporary. We still do fun things like going out to eat or seeing a play or movies. We could cut even those things out, but that doesn’t seem like a fun existence and I have too much “carpe diem” in me to lose all of that.
Again, I wish I could just fast-forward through all of this. I have barely used my credit cards at all since Christmas. I’ve learned my lesson. And now I have to step up and pay the price. I can’t wait until I can check the box on my online bill payment screen that says “Pay balance in full”!!!