:::: MENU ::::
Browsing posts in: Credit Cards

Discover is singing a different tune…


Here come the 0% balance transfers from Discover card. Remember they would do nothing to help me knock down that 18.4% interest rate just a few weeks ago?  I found out about this offer b/c I got an email saying they were going to debit my account for the “minimum due.”  Well, with the balance at $0 I hopped onto the website to figure out why there was a minimum payment at all.

After sign on, a big opening page with “0% for 12 months on balance transfers” showed up.  The credit available on that card is $8,000 so I did some quick calculations to see what we would save if we moved the two smallest credit cards over.  It worked out to be a $205 fee for the balance transfer and we’d save $230 in interest.  Just not worth the hassle to me AND there is always the risk that we don’t pay it in 12 months and then that criminal interest rate of 18.4% returns.  So that was fun to look into for a minute…but more importantly…to have the power for a change.

I had to call to talk to a rep about the $46.00 interest charge.  I was told that was interest from those days where the balance remained-from the last pay cycle end date to the payoff date.  Thankfully Discover did the right thing this time and waived it when I asked.  And kudos to me for asking…there was a time that I would not have done so!

December 2013


First of all–thank you everyone for the great feedback on last night’s post!  We are still digesting info and will report back with our decision.  We do know that we have much work to do on defining our budget items.  As of now we have no defined budget for a lot of the items mentioned.  It was a huge step to just define a lump sum 5 months ago to stop the bleed.  Now it is time to tighten up the spreadsheet.

I am very excited to share that we have a plan.  Here it is:

December 2013 is our goal date for credit card freedom-that is, all debt except for the car loans.  That is a very aggressive goal but I want to outline it for you.  We are using Mint.com to monitor our progress.  We will be paying off cards in the order of highest interest rate to lowest interest rate.   Below are payments to be made through December 2012.

I hope to be able to report June 1 that the $245 credit card is gone.  The debt to dad will be down to $305.   The rest play out like this:

Credit Card 7 (15.7%)  $1,607 payment in June, balance of $774 in July.

Credit Card 11 (12.9%) $560 payment in June, $1,325 in July, $2167 beginning in August and continuing through December (and beyond).

Credit Card 10 (11.9%) and Credit Card 6 will remain at the minimum payments for the remainder of 2012. That is $268 on #10 and $50 on #6.

We have decided to pay $650 per month on the $11,000 signature loan beginning in June.  This puts that debt on track for December 2013 payoff.

If you are curious, this plan pays $1,917 on top of the $1,233 in minimum payments for a total of $3,150 per month going toward credit card debt.  Now…go ahead and excuse yourself to go vomit as you think about that!

A comment just came up that is perfectly timed.  “Unlike many folks, you guys are very fortunate to actually have the earning power to dig out of this deep hole relatively quickly by throwing not hundreds but thousands of dollars per month at it.”  Thanks Joe!  We are very fortunate and are determined to be better stewards of the good fortune.

New Numbers are Up


I’m excited to report the $1100 in the Emergency Fund but really wanted to show $2,000 total paid so far.  That didn’t quite happen and I have avoided doing my shell game thing to make myself feel better.  What I COULD have done (but it would have been wrong) is to deduct a payment I will be making in a week or so that would have brought that total paid to the $2,000 mark I really wanted to hit.  No, no, no…keeping it precise and honest is the way to go.  And I can look forward to the good numbers on June 1.  Since I was figuring out how I wanted to update and have agreed with readers that once a month is best…June 1 will be the first month that shows a true full month’s payments on debt.  $500 more and we will have hit our $1600 Emergency Fund goal.  At that point–between the small amounts freed up by the small debts being extinguished….and the amounts we’ve been putting in savings…and the amounts we are saving with new lifestyle choices…we should start seeing some momentum building.

You may or may not notice that the lowest balance credit card increased since last month.  That is a card in DH’s name and thanks to this blog and the new habit of keeping an eye on things…we discovered that some random $19.99 charge hit.  I googled the name of the charging entity and sure enough it appears to be a scam!  We are working with the bank to have that charge removed and then stopping it from being charged again.  Stinks that it happened but I’m feeling good about keeping our eye on things b/c in the past it would have taken us much longer to even be aware of it…so that’s a good thing.  When I was googling and finding info on it I noticed that a lot of people said they had looked back and the scam charge had been showing up for months and they had not noticed!

So there you have it–farewell April, hello May.  Here’s to keeping the focus, finding ways to cut even more and having fun while doing it!



We <3 our Credit Union!


I made time today to call Discover in an effort to get that awful 18.24% interest lowered.  There’s about a $7,000 balance on this stupid card but with a good pay history and a long relationship…I thought I might be able to get some interest knocked off.  After making it past their first layer of defense I was sent to a “specialist.” I explained to her that we have implemented an aggressive financial plan as of 1/1/12 and lowering this interest rate will dramatically help in the debt reduction plan.  She reviewed my account, praised me for my on time payments, advised that this card is best used for regular monthly expenses that are paid during the grace period so the cash back benefit can be best utilized.  After the reminder of what I SHOULD have done was over, I let her know that my credit union had made a good offer on a balance transfer option–at 10% I threw out there–but I wanted to end things well with Discover so our future relationship could be protected (or something like that) and she politely said “no.”  I was bluffing because honestly I didn’t think the credit union would extend any credit to us! Allrighty then.  I reworded my request a couple of different ways but nada!  This created an internal reaction for me that I can’t really describe—I wasn’t offended but I guess both frustrated and irritated!  I likely would have been happy with 5% off taking it to 13.24% but to offer nothing simply motivated me!

The next thing you know I am on our credit union’s website completing a “signature loan” application!  I double checked with the hubs of course. I’ve banked with this credit union since 1985 and my Dad since long before that year–the 1950’s I believe.  My husband and I opened our joint account there even before we married as we saved money for our wedding trip with the kids.  He had banked with traditional banks in the past and liked what he saw with the credit union. We have a very good history with them and they have always been very good to us—this doesn’t mean they’ve always given me the credit I’ve asked for (thank goodness!) but always very fair.  We asked for $11,000 to pay off 4 credit cards.  Within 2 hours we received the email letting us know we were approved!!!  While not the 10% I envisioned, we did get 11.4%!!!  It is a 48 month pay off but that makes the minimum payment $280 and we already pay $340 on those cards each month.  Taking that $340 (and yes, we plan to pay more than that) this credit union signature loan would be paid off in 40 months.  If we pay $500 per month (completely doable barring any unforeseen issues), we are looking at 25 months to payoff.  We did some quick calculations–taking just the minimums on these 4 cards…if we had never started paying attention and just kept paying the minimums, we would have paid $26,230.46 in interest!!!!! Barf.  If we go with the $340 “minimum” that would be $2,356.13 and if we do the $500 per month…that amount goes down to $1,485.15!  That’s an approximate $25,000 savings!!!!  And as I type this my husband is saying that we will do $800.00 a month and that means 15 months and only $893.14 in interest.  UNBELIEVABLE!

We’ll finalize this loan this coming week.  I am feeling very, very thankful for the options I DO have.  Please know none of this is lost on me.  I am so grateful that we have options—and so, so grateful that my path led me to this blog and that I was selected to share my story.  🙂  Thank you to everyone who has nudged me via comments.  While I may not be able to respond to all, I read every single one and truly take the advice to heart.  Is there an emoticon for “beaming!”  ??? Thank you!

Budget Talks.


The talk went well.  There was good news and bad news.  The good news is we are going to put the “found” money in savings…so our emergency fund should increase by $400 by the end of April.  That keeps us on track for the goals I set forth back in early March. We decided on $1600 as our emergency fund goal.  It’s a long story how we got to that number but we are both happy with that goal. 

And now the bad news…as to our debt payoff approach, it’s a “snowball hybrid” of sorts. We have decided that we will pay off the second line of credit of $145 this week.  That’s just to motivate us to scratch one more off the list.  Then we are going to work to knock out the debt with higher payments–not the highest, but not the small $25 minimum payment accounts either.  More specifically, we are going to snowball the minimums from the two we’ve paid off (the $60 something first one and the first line of credit= $45 freed up) to the Dad debt.  That will pay him off in June.  That will then free up $145 in minimums to go to that heinous 24.9% store credit card with the approximate $2000 balance.  That card has a $105 minimum payment.  By increasing the payment to $250 in June we estimate that one will be paid off in 10 months.  Let me take a moment to express just how much that sucks!  I was sure those calculations were wrong but that is the beast called “denial” creeping in again. Hello.  It’s a 25% interest rate!  What would I expect?!  Totally stinks. 

Next, we discussed tackling the Discover card that sits right around $7,000 @ 18% and with a $140 minimum payment.  Using the snowball we’d be paying $390 per month toward that and using a very basic calculation that would result in a 1 year, 10 month payoff timeframe.  That’s looking pretty far down the road but that is good to keep all of this very, very real.

On the upside now–digging deep to find an upside–these numbers do not reflect any additional income we can put toward this mess.  We aren’t considering an income increase,we aren’t consider any additional money we free up by cutting monthly expenditures and we haven’t taken into consideration the $400 extra per month that we will be putting into the emergency fund for now.  I have to keep those numbers at bay in the calculations but I can allow myself to keep them in mind so I don’t go running out into traffic!  🙂  Good thing I’m a pretty upbeat person or I could see me spiraling into a very dark place! 

Until next time…


Decision delayed…


And this is why you never ever count your chickens before they are hatched…and I am very glad I didn’t do so in this situation!  Oh it would have been nice to have extra money to dump into debt, but I was not “counting” on it!  The big boss announced today that a decision has been delayed until the summer.  While I certainly have some irritation about that announcement, given the stressful situation it creates b/w co-workers and individually for me, I am also happy to have SOME news.  I always do better when I have information even if that information is “no new information.” 

I am going to set aside time this weekend to call credit cards and start playing hard ball!  My payment history is excellent and I need to use that to my advantage.  My interest rates increased b/c I was running so close to the limits on so many.  While I don’t have any credit cards with Capital One (is that the bank that someone said will not budge?) I do have an account with Bank of America.  I read on one of the posts when Beks was still writing something about that emotional energy that certain cards can create in us…the cards we love to hate.  Yep.  That would be BofA for me.  

I’m looking forward to this weekend.  It is springtime in Texas friends and that means we have about 2.5 weeks of enjoyable weather.  I’m not kidding.  By mid April…the heat is on and then, of course, by July…hell is on.  I am already reminding myself not to make every post something to do about the unbearable heat come May b/c that will get annoying fast.  Last year was horrendous.  I believe it was near 60 days with 100+ degree days.  Air conditioning can’t keep up–residential or commercial.  I dread it.  We are doing a few things now to try to knock the utility bill down but with a very, very mild winter and temps already in the 80’s…we have an uphill battle indeed!




Okay–below are the nitty gritty dirty details!  Please please keep in mind that the minimum payments here exceed what I have paid down amount noted on the right hand column…because I still have 11 days in the month to pay those bills that are not due until the last part of the month.  I have paid extra on cards this month–even if only 5 dollars extra!  I paid off a small bill and am ready to move on to the next.  In short, the total amount paid you see on the right (currently $1,458.45) is not comprised solely of minimum payments.  Does that make sense?  Remember that we get paid weekly so a little bit each week is going to overall debt reduction.

Take a look and tell me what you think.  Now…when I say “tell me what you think” might I suggest that we all practice that tried and true “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”  In other words, just throw me a flippin’ bone and tell me ONE good thing I am doing…I am human after all and even if just ONE thing before a list of 20 I am doing wrong…I promise I can hear the 20 bad things better if I just have that ONE!  Sorry if that sounds sensitive but this continues to be a HUGE deal to put my neck out every single day…and then someone comes along with a HATCHET and…well…you get the rest of that terrible picture.

Side note:  big boss in from Houston tomorrow and Thursday.  If we don’t hear the announcement this week…just anticipate my next post to be from an undisclosed location where they had to send me to manage “things.”  Ha!

  • Credit Union Line of Credit: $163.67    
    Minimum payment: $20.00 
    Interest Rate:  12.25%
  • Credit Union Line of Credit: $163.64
    Minimum payment: $20.00 
    Interest Rate: 12.25%
  • Credit Card: $217.00
    Minimum payment: $15.00
    Interest Rate: 9.9%
  • Personal Loan: $550.00
    Minimum Payment: $100 
    Interest Rate: 0% (LONG story on this one…to  my Dad…)
  • Credit Card: $760.54
    Minimum payment: $25.00
    Interest Rate: 23.99%

  • Credit Card: $1042.72
    Minimum payment: $29.00
    Interest Rate: 18.65%
  • Credit Union Credit Card: $1,834.16
    Minimum payment: $50.00
    Interest Rate: 15.70% (closed at my request)
  • Credit Card: $2062.73
    Minimum payment: $105.00
    Interest Rate: 24.9%
  • Credit Union Credit Card: $2,460.13
    Minimum payment: $50.00
    Interest Rate:  11.70% (closed by Credit Union b/c of divorce)
  • Credit Card $7071.02
    Minimum Payment: $140.00 
    Interest Rate: 18.24%
  • Credit Card: $14661.00
    Minimum Payment: $268.00
    Interest Rate: 11.9% (totally the divorce on this card)
  • Honda Civic: $16340.05
    Minimum Payment: $280.00
    Interest Rate: 2.9%
  • Credit Card: $23868.07
    Minimum payment: $560.00
    Interest Rate: 12.9% (closed at my request)
  • Honda Mini Van  $25447.49
    Minimum Payment: $436.00
    Interest Rate:  2.9%