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Posts tagged with: credit card debt

Ashley’s Credit Card Debts

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I know I’ve been promising a full debt update for awhile now. It’s been harder for me to put together than I had imagined it would be (in terms of psychological distress), so I’ve come up with a “compromise” offer. I’m presenting here today my current list of Credit Card Debts. No, it’s not my full list of debts. But adding in the student loans and IRS – ugh! It just feels too overwhelming right now. I need some “easy” wins.

Unfortunately, our list of credit card debt has grown ridiculously long.

It started early in the year when I got a credit card to do a balance transfer for a student loan (Citibank). This was back when we had $0 credit card debt. I had successfully used balance transfer offers from credit cards in the past for previous student loans and it worked fine. I didn’t think this transfer would be any different. So I transferred $4460 in January 2017 to Citibank. I got a 0% APR offer for 21 months. Since the transfer initiated January 2017, it will be due by October 2018. I don’t want to miss that date, otherwise the interest rate soars!

Summer 2017 Happened

I’ve talked many times about the perfect storm of issues occurring in summer of 2017. I stopped my part-time job; hubs’ business shut down, I was weathering some tough personal issues, etc. A mixture of a much lower income than that to which we’d become accustomed, lifestyle creep that had become unsustainable, and sloppy or nonexistent budgeting. Basically just a whole falling-off-the-wagon thing going on in terms of personal finances. I turned to my credit cards that had long been tucked away in a filing cabinet. First it was Target, then Wells Fargo, Capital One, a Home Depot up in the mix. Things just snowballed out-of-control and before August hit, we were swimming in credit card debt up to our eyeballs. This is also when I fell off the blogging train HARD (if you go back and read old posts, you’ll notice posts from me were few and far-between at this point).

Time to Get A Grip

Things still aren’t where they need to be. Hubs has finished his personal training course and has been applying for jobs. Luckily, it’s a good time of year (what with all the New-Years resolutions and so-called “January Joiners” at gyms). There look to be a lot of openings. He’s also picked up some random side-gigs to earn a bit of money the past couple months. Plus selling things online, etc. Every little bit helps. We’re not where we need to be in terms of income OR outflow. But we’re taking some baby steps and laying out our credit card disarray is a good place to start.

Credit Card Debts

Here is our current list of credit card debts, listed from smallest balance-size to largest balance-size.

PlaceCurrent BalanceAPRMinimum PaymentDecember Payment
Home Depot CC$12290% (through February 2018)$40$400*scheduled
BoA CC$24108.24% ($26$300
Capital One CC$299218.9% ($59$100*scheduled
Balance Transfer Student Loan (Citibank CC)$37130% (through October 2018)$55$55
Wells Fargo CC$15,17813.40%$360$400
Totals$25,522$540$1255

Adding up all the numbers for this post caused a sickening feeling. I really can’t even focus on it too long without getting a migraine. I know some of the “yucky” feeling is good because it is what will ultimately keep us from going back to this spot again. But for right now, I have to push it aside because I find my resolve to be too fragile to become bogged down with the “yucks.” I’ve talked before about how much of debt-reduction is psychological in nature (or, rather, how much psychological issues can impact debt payoff). If we are to succeed with digging out of this (again), I need to feel hopeful.

Hope is Ahead

Luckily, I do feel hopeful. I didn’t include it in this spreadsheet because it happened at the end of November, but I recently paid off the remaining balance of our Target credit card. At it’s peak, it reached about $3500 in the summer. Not our highest balance by a long-shot, but the card was maxed out and I had just been making little “chips” every month when the bill was due. In the last couple months, I paid a bit more and was thrilled to send in the final payment late November. It’s such a great feeling to make these tiny wins! The next three cards (Home Depot, Bank of America, and Capital One) shouldn’t take too terribly long to knock out. Then attention can turn to the beast. Can you imagine – my limit was previously set at $14,000. We accidentally went over that limit. And what did Wells Fargo do? Oh, what any reasonable lender-of-credit would do…..they extended more credit. Upped my limit to $17,000. And obviously some of that additional credit has been used (since we’ve now got over a $15k balance). So they’ve won on the battle. But I’m determined to win the war. We’ve been down this road before and kicked ass last time; we will just have to pull ourselves up and do it again.

Thank you for your support and encouragement! I know things look bleak, but I hope you’ll stick by my side as we pull through this mess all over again!


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?


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