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Posts tagged with: credit card debt

Hope’s Debt – October, 2017

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Creditor
Balance

(as of 10/14/17)
Interest
Min. Payment
Car$10,0007.00%$308
Credit Card$5,00017.00%$36
Summer Camp (2018)$3,3750.00%$500
Student Loans$34,3492.88%$307
Computer Equipment$2,73822.90%$84
Taxes (State)$6,0000.00%$100
Self Lender$1,01310.57%$97
Collections 1 (Medical)$618
Collections 2 (Apartment)$499
Collections 3 (Ex-husband)$6,9546.25%$246
Amazon$52726.99%$25
Total$71,073$1,703

Credit

Car – I recently wrote a post on this new debt. You can read it here. My goal is to pay this car off in just at two years, by paying $500 per month.  My first payment of $400 will be paid this week.

Credit Card – For the last several months, I have been paying this card off every month and then charging everything I could to it…monthly bills, groceries, gas and so on. In doing that, I have paid less than $10 in finance charges. The problem is that I can’t get it to a $0 balance. And this bothers me. I am literally paying it and then using it. I don’t think this is wise and I want to get it to a $0 balance. The nice thing is that I do earn points with every dollar spent that I can convert to cash.

Amazon – this is a line of credit with Amazon that I typically pay off every month. I use it frequently for household items, etc. But now I am at the point that I would like pay it down to $0 and keep it there rather than rolling it every month.

Computer Equipment – I know this was a dumb decision, but it’s one I cannot regret. All three of the kids have new laptops. With me being gone some much, a lot of their schooling is online. It makes it easier for me to track their time, help them remotely and they have Skype classes specifically with a Spanish tutor. And, of course, the majority of Sea Cadet’s 11 college hours are online. This is my personal number one priority to pay off.

Chosen Debt

Summer Camp – I mentioned this in my recent budget update, technically I could stop paying this at any time or wait until next summer and pay it in one lump sum.  But paying every month, with a pay off in April makes me more comfortable and assures that my kids have a plan for next summer without me scrambling. The total amount covers 6 weeks of camp next summer.

Self Lender – this is also a “chosen” debt. It’s actually a CD that I will gain access to next September when paid in full. They report to the credit agencies which was my motivation for opening the account. I need massive repairs to my credit and this is essentially forcing me to save (thinking Christmas next year.)  Have you heard of it? Thoughts?

Collections

Collections 1 – I will argue to the day I die that I do not owe this debt. This is medical debt from the twins which the state is supposed to pay in full via the provided medical insurance. A couple of years back, the state inadvertently cancelled the twins insurance, and while they turned it back on the next business day, this fill fell through the loop.  I have called medicaid, the state, the twins caseworker, and so no to no avail.  In order to get it off my credit I may have to pay it, but I definition do not owe it!

Collections 2 – Evidently our apartment charged me for damages to the apartment we moved out of a year ago this past April. I NEVER received any notice of that, it just showed up on my credit report. Two things regarding this…they kept my entire deposit. No problem, we had animals, I respect that. But two, our apartment was as spotless as an apartment can be after people live in it for almost two years. The carpet was clean, the apartment was clean, we hadn’t hung stuff on the walls so there was no wall damage.  But as it has been so long and I have no “proof” I am probably going to have to pay this one too.

Collections 3 – Another unknown debt that appeared on my credit report, again from my marriage. It has to do with a line of credit on our old house, which he bought me out of 8 or so years ago. I am working on fighting this one too, but for now, I have made payment arrangements with them and they have removed it as a derogatory statement on my credit report.

Taxes – This is a placeholder debt. With all our moving around, mail is just starting to catch up with me. This state tax debt is from the year my ex and I divorced. While I have filed every year, he may not have. I have arranged a payment plan of $100 per month while I track down tax filings, etc. to defend my “lack of liability” for this debt. We will see how it goes.

With all this on out on the table now, what do you recommend as my plan of action? What should my priority be?


The Year to Build

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Throughout December I indicated that I was really taking some time to really think through a life plan.  And in January I kind of laid out my debt pay off plan.  So today I thought I would lay out my plan for 2015.  I know my decisions will meet with some dissension here, but I have truly weighed everything involved and feel that these are achievable goals for this year and giant steps toward my ultimate goal of being able to take in more foster children.  So for 2015, here are my big goals in order:

  1. I’ve given myself six months to pay all ALL debts other than my student loans.  This gives me an estimated date of July 1st having no debt other than my student loans.
  2. I will find an engineer who understands my vision, who will work with me on creating a home that will suit my needs to take in foster kids.  I have met with several now and believe I’ve found the right one.  There is no money involved with this goal, just meeting and finding someone with a like mind who can truly understand the needs.  From them, I will get a scope of work on doing a home build along with a pretty solid budget.  This is needed in order to accomplish #5 in this list.
  3. I will find and purchase land for the someday home.  There is a contingency on this.  I will ONLY purchase if it’s land that must have a well and septic put in, and if I can get owner financing.  I am working on a barter with a company who could do this work, and my thought is that temporarily we could put some sort of temporary housing on it to cut costs down the road.  This is still really an iffy idea but it is in my thoughts these days so wanted to be up front about the possibility.
  4. I will buy a second used car using money saved via the $300 per month budgeted for the existing car so that we will be a two car, three driver household by the end of the year.  There are two reasons driving this goal.  One, I lose a lot of work time with kid chauffeuring duties and having a second car would cut back on that significantly.  On Wednesdays alone I spend a solid four hours in the car.  And two, if I am able to find the ideal land, I will need a truck as we will begin the improvements needed, etc and I will need at least a little truck to haul stuff.  So it will be a beater, but that is my reasoning at this point.
  5. I will create a very realistic budget for a home build.  I have a number in my head for this home build.  It’s REALLY low for this area, and I mean really low.  For one thing, I think with forethought I can barter for or do a good bit of the work myself (ahem, with my wonderful friends help.) And two, if it’s not REALLY low, then this whole housing debacle has been for naught as I will be right back in the place of paying too much for housing and regretting it and it limiting what I can do for the foster kids who come into my care.  But I need to KNOW what this number is going to be based on #2 and #3 in order to accomplish #6, and then someday actually start the build.
  6. After the 6 month date, I will revisit my priorities to balance between paying off the student loan debt and saving for the 10-20% down payment based on the budget for the home build and the equity I will have built up in the land (at least that’s my goal) I will need to get a construction loan to build the house.

Based on my calculations, if everything else stayed the same, and I started paying all existing debt monies to the student loans beginning in July, they would be paid off in April, 2017.  That would be perfect as that is the year at least one of the twins will graduate and I will then be in a good position to help him with college.

So, in order to accomplish all of this and still hit the April, 2017 DEBT FREE date…I MUST make more money.  So that brings us to the title of this post…2015 is the Year to Build.  I would love to say I’m going to Build my House, but that is not this build.  This is the year I will Build my business.  I have several irons in the fire for increasing immediate income, but nothing long term.  As I told my children, right now, I’m selling myself, my knowledge, my skills.  It’s time to add to that and find a way to take myself out of the equation.  To be honest, I’m not sure what that means yet, but I can only be stretched so far. If I can keep going the way I am, my income is limited.  But if I can change up and/or add to my business model, then the sky is the limit?  Right?!?

So these days my energies are going to researching my business, options, ideas…evaluating my strengths, my children’s strengths, my priorities and seeing where we might can go from here.  I’m working with volunteers at SCORE to make sure my knowledge is sound, my ideas feasible.

 


Going, going, GONE!!!!!!!

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We’re lining up our credit cards and knocking them out one at a time!

First up – Capital One

Next – Wells Fargo

And finally, I present to you….my Bank of America credit card account:

IMG_3422

 

Current balance = ZERO, Baby!!!! Wooo!!!!

We are officially credit card debt-free!!! MWHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!

Cue the Pharrell song, Happy, along with a little “raising the roof” dance! I’m cool that way. Feel free to join in ; )

 

 

 

 

 

 


Fighting Mad

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Arrrrgh, I am SO MAD at Wells Fargo!

As you may recall, I recently paid off my Capital One credit card (which had been my highest APR), and have moved onto focusing on my Wells Fargo credit card (my second highest APR).

A few days ago I received a credit card offer from another bank. It offered 0% APR as an introductory rate for the first 24 months. To be clear, IN NO WAY do I want to open a new credit card account. But I thought maybe I could use this letter as leverage. I called Wells Fargo to see if I could negotiate a lower interest rate.

I’ve read advice on how to approach the subject, and I tried to reason with them.

“Hi! I’ve been with you guys for over a decade and really like you! But I just got this 0% APR offer for 24 months. Can you match this deal on my current credit card or, if not, do anything to lower my current APR?”

What should have been a simple call turned into a total nightmare!

I was transfered multiple times. At first, they tried to send me to the sales department, so they could get me a new credit card with an introductory APR (to which I respond “No, I don’t want a new credit card. If I were to do that, I’d just go with this other bank’s offer.”)

Then eventually I’m just told “No, we do not lower APRs….ever.”

Ummm, excuse me? Never? What are you talking about? You don’t do periodic credit reviews and adjust APR as a result? I know my APR was hiked up in the past (as a result of one of these reviews), you never lower it again when credit improves????

“Can I talk to a manager?”

*Another transfer and loooooong wait*

Finally…I’m talking to the person who can make some decisions!

And, again, I’m told no. There is nothing they can do.

GRRRRRRRR!!!!!! I swear I was on the phone close to an hour by the time everything was said and done!

There is one thing that jumped out as interesting. One of the people I spoke with had said something that indadvertedly implied that maybe something could be done if I went into an actual branch. I could be reading into the conversation because she certainly wasn’t giving me advice or trying to help me out, but during our conversation about “how on Earth do you never lower APRs? I swear this has been done before!?!” One of the girl’s replies was something along the lines of “No, never, not as long as I’ve worked here. Maybe if you’ve gone to a branch they could’ve lowered your APR in the past??” It was more of a question than a statement, but still….

I’m tired of my efforts resulting in wasted time (Exhibit A:  Trying to negotiate credit card APR; Exhibit B:  Trying to negotiate lower medical bills), but this APR is so outrageously high that it could be worthwhile to go into a branch if it actually makes a difference (and has the potential to be extra-frustrating if it results in nothing).

Has anyone else had SUCCESS getting a credit card company to lower your APR? Is there any difference if you go into the branch as opposed to calling the company? Advice? Tips?

 

Edited to add:

So many people are saying I should take the 0% offer that I wanted to say something further….

The offer was one of those mass offers that lots of people get. They would still have to run my credit to see if I qualify (and I may not). Also, I’m trying not to run my credit right now because I want to try to refinance my car loan for a lower APR in the next month or two. Last March when we bought the car our credit was dinged from multiple inquiries (shopping around to get the car – I’ve always heard you have a 72-hour window to shop around, but our credit still took a hit regardless). So I’m trying to avoid having my credit run right now.

I love the advice and suggestions! Given this information, would you still suggest I apply for the 0% card?? Should I wait until after I try to refinance the car? Not sure if those offers expire??


Nicole’s Debt Introduction

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Note: Nicole recently emailed me the following and no longer wants to be considered for the position:

“I had submitted a post to audition for Blogging Away Debt, which was posted a few weeks ago. That post alone and the comments that I received was a blessing! After reading the comments, my fiance and I changed our financial priorities and decided to take a large chunk of the savings we had for a house down payment and apply it to my student loan debt. With that, I should be debt free within a few months. There were so many great submissions it’s unlikely I would have been selected but I wanted to let you know that I should no longer be in the running, just in case 🙂 Thank you for the opportunity to audition and good luck selecting the next contributor(s)!

Hello everyone! My name is Nicole and I am in debt. Not as badly in debt as I once was, but still, a good, healthy – or rather unhealthy – amount in debt.

Currently, my debt stands as the following:

  • US Bank credit card (0% interest until April 2015): $3,108
  • CARE credit card (financed my LASIK eye surgery) (0% interest until October 2015): $1,398
  • Student loan (9.2% interest) (yes, seriously): $21,349

Two years ago, I owed an additional $17,000 in credit card debt and had an auto loan with a $450/month payment. What can I say, I was reckless in my 20s. There is no other excuse for the debt situation I got myself into. The last two years, I have been throwing as much money as possible at my debt and have managed to reduce it dramatically. Blogs like this one helped to keep me motivated and I always thought that writing about my own finances would help to not only keep me motivated and accountable, but inspire me to try new things that would allow me to do better.

In the last year, some amazing, wonderful things have happened. First, my then-boyfriend and I decided we want to buy a house. Second, my then-boyfriend proposed to me and we became engaged. These are such blessings but they are blessings that cost MONEY. I want to own a home (preferably with a reasonable mortgage payment and before home prices climb much further) and I want to have a wedding (nothing fancy, but an occasion to spend with our friends and family). But, the priority remains, I want to be OUT OF DEBT. My fiancé and I are ready to start having kids ANY SECOND NOW and I know I will want to be a stay-at-home mom when that happens. That absolutely is not possible until I get rid of my debt payments. Oh, and also, bringing a truckload of debt into a marriage is not the healthiest thing I could do for my relationship.

My fiancé does have one remaining credit card balance of about $1,200. He will have that paid off in full in a matter of the next few weeks because he is applying his entire tax refund to the balance.

So, here I am, trying to save for a house (I live in California where home prices are NOT cheap), save for a (very DIY, as cheap as possible) wedding and PAY OFF MY DEBT once and for all. I am in a challenging – and sometimes overwhelming-feeling – situation of wanting to do all of these things in the next year to 18 months. A large part of me believes this is possible, but I’m just not quite sure how.

I know usually bloggers come to this blog with a laser focus of paying off debt, but sometimes life brings in other areas to focus on. Previous blogger Beks had a baby during her debt paydown journey and Claire went through a divorce. That is life. I’m looking for you guys to keep me accountable on making progress for all of these things, which means I need accountability on not paying for things that aren’t necessary: clothes, trips, and wine…precious, precious wine…

I look forward to getting to interact with all of you and having you help me develop a plan!


Skip-A-Month from the Credit Union

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Once or twice a year our credit union will pre-approve us to skip the monthly payments on all of our loans.  They offered it for July and after discussion and some math–we took them up on it.  The interest rates on all three loans with the credit union are significantly less than our other debt.  (2.9% on both vehicles, 11.9% on the signature loan).  We were able to send a larger payment to Bank of America (the lender I hate more and more every day) today ($1200 instead of $580), pay extra to the smallest balance card ($100 instead of $50) and free up some cash for the inevitable vacation spending (so that we didn’t incur more debt while on the trip).

This time I write to inform…not seek opinions to act.  However, I always welcome feedback (the good, the bad and the ugly) on this financial decision.  I’m here to read these this time and won’t be replying due to current time constraints.  Did I mention I had work travel this week?  Overnight Wednesday to late last night.  I’m a walking zombie at the moment.  Note to self:  mark myself “unavailable for travel” the week after vacation! Bring on the weekend!


Discover Card offer…tempting.

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As some of you know, we used a signature loan from our credit union to pay off the Discover card.  I called Discover prior to calling our credit union to see if they’d do anything to reduce the obscene 18.2% interest.  They would not budge.  So, of course, it felt great to pay off the $7300 balance and have the power back in our hands.  Since paying it off about 2 months ago the offers have not stopped—not surprising since I know they’d love to have me back to take my money.

We’ve ignored the offers because they include lots of fees and would negate any interest savings we may get…until the offer we just opened.  We want your thoughts on this one.  Here’s the deal:  If for the next 5 months (July 2012 through November 2012) we spend $3,000 each month on the Discover card, we get $500 cash back in December.  We’d use the card like we should use the card–for regular monthly expenses paying off the balance when the bill arrives (if not earlier!) We’ve read and re-read and will do so again and call to ask any questions before we commit, but right now we are wondering if you’ve seen this and what your thoughts are.

I like the timing of this in the sense that it would be a great challenge with a $500 pay off at the end.  On the other hand, I think that’s a lot of record keeping and potential for fees/interest if we slip and pay it off late or just make a misstep of some kind.  It would take discipline though and that is very appealing at this point.  I also love the idea of getting free money from them…but also realize it is like playing against a dealer in Vegas.  Ultimately they know more than I do and hold more cards.  As I type this I am more excited about actually accomplishing this than I am about the $500…..hmmmmmm……

So, what do you think?


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