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Credit Card Debt Update: $18,200

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When other things in life are a bit out of my control (like they have been the past few weeks), the control-freak in me is comforted by looking in my Quicken file and deciding to pay off a big chunk of debt!! That is one thing that I can control and it perks me right up.

I paid an additional $607 towards our credit cards to put the balance at $18,200. That means we have paid off $19,414! We are so close to paying off $20,000!

I did some projecting in my Quicken check register, and it looks like we might be able to contribute the extra $600 by the end of the year. I’ll know more once the end of the month gets closer, but for now I have that money “saved” in Quicken to do my best to keep it available.

I sit here…amazed at how far we come. I wonder (for only a little bit – I try not to dwell on it) why we didn’t start reducing our debt sooner. So, if you are reading this and have debt but aren’t sure where to start…just decide that today is the day and start right now. Learn as much as you can on how to live a frugal lifestyle and earn more money. Don’t wait a day longer. Just do it.


24 Comments

  • Reply SHEdwards |

    Tricia, thanks for your wonderful blog. I’ve visited your page a couple of times over the months and I’ve found some very useful information. I’m ready to make my commitment to lower my debt. My credit card is up to $6,500 (do-able, right?), but my student loan debt will take your breathe away. I have no shame is stating it but I’m pissed at myself every time, it’s close to $125,000. Yes, you read the correct zeros. I can purchase my grandmother’s house with my student loan balance. A couple of things going for me, I’m in no rush to pay it off and I probably won’t for 30 years. Once I get rid of the credit card, I won’t have any other debt except a mortgage. I’ve been told by a very good financial planner that my whole portfolio is pretty good (excellent credit rating) considering that student loan is okay debt to have as long as payments are up to date.

    My real problem with making huge payments on my credit card is daycare costs. Right now I pay close to $1,200 monthly for two kids (1 y.o. and a 5 y.o.).

    Thanks again for sharing your ups and downs, I’ve gleened a lot from your determination.

  • Reply Law Student |

    I, too, am deep in debt — getting rid of it is not so easy as it seems! My husband and I are very frugal, but nevertheless I will have at least $130,000 in student loans by the end of law school next year. I just learned last week that it may be way more than that. I learned that I have a health condition for which I will have to take $1500 per month in prescription drugs, and my health care plan through my school only offers me prescription drug benefits of $3700 a year! (Good for most 20-somethings, almost $15,000 short of what I need per year!) I’ll have to take out more loans to cover it, so my debts will be $160,000! It’s so unfair. I work so hard at preserving my health — I have never smoked (It makes me choke just to think of it with my asthma!) I don’t drink, I eat well and I run 5 miles a day.
    Please, take care of your health, especially if you were born with better lungs than I…
    Not to scare you, Tricia, but I would be extremely concerned about potential future health costs due to your smoking.

  • Reply Law Student |

    I just want to add that I didn’t mean that to sound whiny. All I want to express is that if you are blessed with better health than I naturally, take care of it, for your own sake!
    Me, I’m happy to take out another $20,000 a year if it means I’ll get my health back (my recent discovery was due to a diagnosis 6 years overdue, and the medication is already working MAGIC). But I’d be even happier to be someone who didn’t need to spend that kind of money for good health.

  • Reply SingleGuyMoney |

    It’s so nice to start seeing those balances decrease. Once you start paying it off, it feels so good, you can’t stop. Congratulations and keep up the great work.

  • Reply Law Student |

    And I didn’t mean to suggest at ALL that paying off $20,000 of debt isn’t an accomplishment. You’ve got fabulous strength, Tricia, and you inspire me to do the same when I return to working full time.

  • Reply Jeremy |

    Congrats on the achievement. It has been great to watch you come this far. We’re still trying to get rid of our debt too, so these posts continue to provide inspiration.

  • Reply Fiscal Musings |

    It’s a great feeling knowing that you’re making great progress. Everyone should also follow your advice to start now without any excuses.

  • Reply Tricia |

    SHEdwards – Wow. That is a huge chunk of income going towards child care expenses. I have been very fortunate there, since we’ve been able to work our schedules around that so far (except for a brief few months where we worked the same hours – but it didn’t work for us).

    I sort of have the same attitude about our student loans. They are debt, but not as damaging as the credit card debt. That’s why I don’t discuss them much on here. Right now we are on a graduated payment plan, but probably when our credit card debt is paid off I will move them to a regular payment plan. Right now, I’m thinking that we’ll work harder to beef up our savings and then target our student loans and mortgage. But, that could change tomorrow πŸ™‚

    Law Student – So sorry to hear that you are having health problems. The amount for your prescriptions takes my breath away. If that happened to us, I’m not sure what we would do.

    Just a few thoughts…have you asked the doctor for any samples? Have you asked about a reduced/free program for the prescriptions through the manufacturer? What about state help?

    When I had some health problems and was due to lose my health insurance (because I was getting married and could no longer be on my parent’s health plan), my doctor gave me tons of samples.

    Some years later, I was prescribed expensive medication (definitely not as expensive as yours, though). I told the doctor that I couldn’t afford it. He told me about a program to get the drug free through the manufacturer. I filled out the paperwork and I received the drug in the mail for free (6 month supply). They do have income guidelines and such, but the paperwork is a lot easier than state or federal aid.

    Just throwing out some ideas.

    And about my health, I am concerned about that. I have a lot of things against me at the moment, although I have a few good things. But the bad things are pretty bad.

  • Reply Law student |

    Thanks for your concern, Tricia. I don’t qualify for aid, nor would I take it from other people who need the help far more than I. I’m blessed with being at an amazing law school and make $45,000 working at a firm for 15 weeks each summer, so my husband and I have a combined income of $90,000 while I’m in school. Of course, that’s not enough to cover law school and our living expenses — we still take out $40,000 a year in loans (!) — but I always have the option of working at the law firm upon graduation and raising our joint income to $200,000.
    What this experience has made me want to do, however, is to help people in bankruptcy or to work in health care policy. The two are very intertwined, and I never realized to what extent until I was slammed with my own medical need. If my husband and I didn’t have the security of knowing I have a huge earning potential, or that my law school will help pay back my student loans if I take a lower-paying job in the public sector, and I couldn’t find another source to pay for this medicine, I would probably be filing for bankruptcy right now, or living with a chronic illness that could be easily fixed.
    The most amazing thing to me is that the pharmaceutical companies charge you more — sometimes double — for the medicine when you’re not insured and can’t take advantage of collective bargaining. My medications would cost $1100 a month if my law school would cover them, but they’ll cost $1500 a month if I have to!

  • Reply arduous |

    Congrats on almost hitting the $20,000 paid mark, Tricia. What’s your goal date for you to pay off your credit card debt? May 2009?

  • Reply MVP |

    I tell you often, but it deserves repeating: You go girl! I’m proud of you and you’re an inspiration to others.

    @LawStudent: Keep your chin up. You’re very much looking at the glass half empty. You and your husband earn twice the national average and you only work 15 weeks a year! You may have severe health problems, but you sound like you’ve got a great life. Also, remember student loans aren’t bankruptable, so unless you’ve got lots of other debt, I wouldn’t consider bankruptcy an option.

  • Reply used vans girl |

    Great inspiration to others that you have managed to save a huge amount of money to pay off your debt. What was the thing that actually made you start in the first place though? And decide I can actually do this.

  • Reply Dedicated |

    I too, am amazed by your progress towards debt repayment. Most folks, would have struggled and lost momentum through the things that you and your family have gone through – job loss.

    Merry Christmas Tricia!

  • Reply Kim L. |

    Keep up the excellent work! You are going to be so proud of yourself when you are all done.

  • Reply katie |

    Good gracious! How very good for you!!!!!!!!!! Now… if only “we” can get that number to 20,000 BEFORE January 1st! How exciting would that be!!! *doing happy dance for you!!!!*

  • Reply Our Debt Blog |

    CONGRATS!! seems like your making fast progress, we still have 11K πŸ™ DEBT SUCKS!!!!

  • Reply Debtfretter |

    Hi Tricia,
    I too enjoy catching up on your daily progress. You have come so far and are a great inspiration. Yours was the first blog I found 6 months ago, and now we have paid almost $7000 of our credit card debt and eliminated more than $5000 in family debt, as well as making extra payments on our car loan. Our next goal is to save for a home deposit – oh, and for me to finish university next year (FINALLY!).
    Thanks again for your blog.

  • Reply Tricia |

    Thank you everyone πŸ™‚

    Law Student – thanks for more about your story. I can understand why you do not want to seek aid. I have to chuckle – you make more in 15 weeks than I do a year. With our current income, spending $1,500/month would be crippling so I think your idea of what law to practice would be a very helpful one. I have to agree that it doesn’t make sense why it costs so much more for uninsured individuals to get medications. You will be in a position to make a difference and I think that is awesome.

    Arduous – yes, the goal date is still May 2009. I plan on keeping it at that even if we don’t come close to making it. I’m still gonna try my hardest up until the last minute πŸ˜‰

    used vans girl – the big turning point that made me think we could do this was when I got a new job. I was making a few more dollars per hour than my old job so I thought we’d have a fighting chance.

    In hindsight, we could have been reducing our debt all along. We could have done it, although it would have been at a slower pace. I just used our lower income as an excuse to not even try.

    You live…you learn…you blog about it πŸ™‚

  • Reply danielle |

    Tricia-
    I also wanted to add that of all the “in debt” online stories that I read, yours is the only one that is making any kind of progress whatsoever.

  • Reply ed |

    I agree. I may worry through the week if we’re going to make it, count down the days to my next paycheck and try to squeeze blood out of pennies but at the end of the week it’s very comforting to have our “finances and debt” meeting. Good luck!

So, what do you think ?