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Let's recap...

September 28th, 2011 at 04:16 am

Last blog entry was in July 2007... Holy moly, 4 years.

So, where are we at? First, let's take a look at where I left thing at...

Hhmm... Not all that inspiring. Our total credit card debt was a bit above $12,500.

And in September 2011? $10,500. We actually reached an all-time-high of $21,800 in August 2009 (Did I mention I keep record of everything? Wink )

The numbers are not aw inspiring, but there are a few things that have changed since 2007:
1. I changed jobs in early 2010 and am making a bit more money
2. We have a plan to pay off the debt - which started in February 2010
3. We have the motivation!! - laugh all you want, but this is making a huge difference.

So the plan:
I love spreadsheets! So I've come up with a card-by-card and month-by-month pay off schedule.

If we stick to the schedule (and WE WILL!), we're on our way to pay all of our credit cards by April 2012. The monthly payment on credit cards is along the line of $1200-1400 depending on the month. This is a big chunk of our budget, but it's just necessary at this point. I'm simply tired of dragging this debt around. It's ridiculous and preventing us from enjoying ourselves.

So here we go... April 2012! Let's do it Smile

Debt repayment plan is written

June 9th, 2007 at 06:36 pm

I've computed all the debts we have which includes:
- 4 credits cards
- 1 credit card at 0%
- 1 medical bill
- 1 car loan

The plan is to have all of it, except one credit card paid off on February 2008.

The debt totals $11,447.28. Hmm... not great, but we'll get to it.

The plan: snowball the payments until one remains and gets paid off.

The order it will be paid off:
- Chase $25 owed
- Home Depot $35 owed
- Target $311.98 owed
- Citi $1,138.24 owed (all at 0%)
- Medical bill $241.78
- Car $4,603.89
- MBNA $4,918.39
Total $11,249.28

We can allocate $1,180 every months towards that debt, increasing it by $10 every months.

We're actually already 2 months into the plan. The goal is to see all 0.00 in that first column. Smile

------- Edit -------
D's comment about putting the payment from the 0% card into a high yield savings account and only making minimum payments got me thinking: how much would we make in interest if I did that?

The minimum payment on the card is $20. Since we make between $160 and $165 payments, it would leave us $140-145 to put in the savings.

We have an E-Loan account at 5.12%. Let's see...

So we're talking $22 in interest. What should I do? Not as much as I thought it would be.

Is it worth it??

So much for the breakthrough!!

May 17th, 2007 at 11:33 am

I wrote a few days ago that hubby sat me down, asked me about our bills and debts. I was happy. I thought he got it. Yay!

Today, all of this came down. He got a will kit a few days ago from his work. He couldn't pay for it then, so agreed with his boss that he would when he gets paid next week. He calls me today saying that his boss told him he had to pay for it before next Monday. He's broke (what else is new?) and wants to charge it on my credit card (balance is $5,100 right now and I keep telling him that it's WAY TOO HIGH and I want it GONE!!). I say "No!".

Then I thought: he has a credit card. The limit is only $1,000, but why isn't he using that?

Well, guess why he's not using it? Yes, it's maxed out!!

We've had a gazillion talks about credit cards. He's bad with money, he knows it, I know it. I hate the fact that he has a card because I know he can't manage it properly. He was so happy when he got approved for this one. This meant his credit score and report were almost back to normal. He told me it was his responsibility and he was going to prove to me that he could do it. yaddi... yaddi... yadda... I should have known better.

One of his argument was that it wasn't fair that I have a card and he doesn't. He can't picture himself without a card. I can't make him understand that "you don't have to have a credit card" and that "if you can't afford it, don't buy it".

I want him to give me both cards (mine and his). We're going to have a huge fight over this. I am not looking forward to it tonight.

This is so frustrating...

Citi Home Rebate Card?

May 14th, 2007 at 09:57 am

I just found out about the Citi Home Rebate Card.

Here are a few features of the card. The first one is the one that intrigues me the most:
1. Rebates applied to your mortgage principal.
2. Don't have a mortgage yet? Good News! You will get statement credit instead to start saving for your dream house.
3. NO CAP or limits on the amount of rebates you can accumulate in a year.

Now, I'm not sure what this means. I'm tempted to open it, especially with the 0% APR on balance transfer for 12-month, with no fee.

Does anyone have that card? Ever heard of it?

Re: Update on hubby's CCs

January 30th, 2007 at 11:47 am

Following the previous post on my

Text is husband's credit cards and Link is http://lau.savingadvice.com/2006/12/13/update-on-hubbys-ccs_18822/
husband's credit cards
All 4 small balances credit cards are paid off!!!! Yay... I'm really happy.

Next, I'm going to snowball what I used to send them to my much larger balance credit cards and pay those off by the end of the year.

Let's recap:
That was back then (October 13):
CC#1 22.9%, 66.5% balance to limit
CC#2 21.0%, 84.7% balance to limit
CC#3 24.0%, 71.6% balance to limit
CC#4 27.75%, 57.4% balance to limit

This was then (December 13):
CC#1 22.9%, 53.1% balance to limit
CC#2 21.0%, 39.0% balance to limit
CC#3 24.0%, 0.0% balance to limit
CC#4 27.75%, 0.0% balance to limit

This is now (January 30)
CC#1 22.9%, 0.0% balance to limit
CC#2 21.0%, 0.0% balance to limit
CC#3 24.0%, 0.0% balance to limit
CC#4 27.75%, 0.0% balance to limit

Well... that feels pretty good!

Balance transfer

January 13th, 2007 at 10:22 am

I talked about how we got a new credit card a few weeks ago with a 0% APR on balance transfer for 12 months. We had managed to charge on it already, but the balance transfer wasn't done. We consider it done. I'm waiting for the money to be moved around (ie: Chase cards paid, Citi cards charged), but the request was sent on Thursday.

And on a lighter note, here are two pictures of a new dog, Beaux:

Goals for 2007!

December 28th, 2006 at 09:47 am

I said I would do it yesterday, so I'm doing it.

This is still a draft, and I will have to refine it a bit, but here's the list for our goals for the New Year:

:: Savings ::
1. Save 10% of income into E-Loan account (+ ~$7,000)
2. Get my Scottrade account at $3,000 (+ ~50%)
3. Fund DH's 401(k) by $3,000
4. Pay off DH's 401(k) loan

:: Credit cards ::
5. Amazon, Target card paid off by March (3 payments)
6. Chase transfered to 0% APR by January and paid of by December
7. MBNA: send regular payment + raise every month - Have it paid off by December

:: Mortgage ::
8. Make at least $300 payment on mortgage #2 every month
9. Make at least $1,550 payment on mortgage #1 every month

:: Car ::
10. Payment of at least $450/month

-------- Update --------
Here are a few notes on the items above:
1. 10% is not much compared to what I've seen people in the personal finance community do, but it is realistic for us. Anything over this would be great and will go in savings.

2. I was lucky to be able to have $2,500 to "play" with for the past year trading stocks. Well, let's face it, I'm not too good at it. Although I did go as high as $4,200 in a few months only to lose it and come back down to $2,000. My goal is to get more conservative stocks, mutual funds and REITs and with the help of a few deposits along the year get back up there.

3. The max contribution for a 401(k) is $14,000 but that would be about 50% of DH's income. So not gonna happen. Again, I'm trying to be realistic.

4. Oh yeah! That one is a stupid one, and believe me he understands now why you never take loans out of your 401(k):
- He paid a 15% early withdraw fee plus 10% income tax = 25% lost for a lousy $400 loan, that's $100 gone for no good reason!

7. I will get a raise and in the spirit of living one raise behind, I will send every penny of that raise to pay off that credit card and pretend I never got it!

8 and 9. Regular payment on both mortgages are respectively $1,477.32 and $252.45. A few dollar more every money will save thousands in interest over time!
For argument sake, let's say we keep both loan for the whole 30 years - well actually the smaller one has a balloon payment in 15 years.

Mortgage 1
Loan Amount: $236,800.00
Monthly payment: $1,477.32
Over 30 years that's $295,036.61 in interest.

Payment at $1,550 cuts 54 months (4.5 years) of payments and we'll "only pay" $251,915.36 in interest. $43,121.25 saved.

Mortgage 2
Loan Amount: $34,000.00
Monthly payment: $252.45
Balloon payment due on month 180: $26,218.06

Payment at $300 cuts the final balloon payment to $9,739.28

See how amazing only a few extra dollars can make??

10. Regular monthly car payment are $263.59. I have been making more than regular monthly payment starting at month #2. I already shaved off 6 months off our scheduled 5 years loan. I'm expecting this to be paid somewhere in May/June 2008. It should have been paid in March 2010.

Update on hubby's CCs

December 13th, 2006 at 10:22 am

Follow up on my

Text is previous post and Link is http://lau.savingadvice.com/2006/10/13/dear-hubbys-great-credit-score-got-him-t_15660/
previous post

That was then (October 13):
CC#1 22.9%, 66.5% balance to limit
CC#2 21.0%, 84.7% balance to limit
CC#3 24.0%, 71.6% balance to limit
CC#4 27.75%, 57.4% balance to limit

This is now (December 13):
CC#1 22.9%, 53.1% balance to limit
CC#2 21.0%, 39.0% balance to limit
CC#3 24.0%, 0.0% balance to limit
CC#4 27.75%, 0.0% balance to limit

Woohoo... 2 cards are completely paid off. The other 2 are used for christmas shopping.

CC Change in Terms... update

October 20th, 2006 at 10:11 am

DH called the CC company this morning. The bad news is that they won't change the rate. The good news is that the new APR will only apply for purchases made after Dec. 4th. The existing balance will be paid off by then, and no new purchase will be made with it. So it's not a big problem.

BTW, for those following,

Text is this was CC#3 and Link is http://lau.savingadvice.com/2006/10/13/dear-hubbys-great-credit-score-got-him-t_15660/
this was CC#3

He also called about CC#2, and got the late fee refunded for a $120 payment. I had him call his CC companies and between the late and overlimit fees, I think they refunded somewhere around $80.

CC Change in Terms

October 18th, 2006 at 05:04 pm

DH got a notice of change in terms tonight in the mail. From what I understand, APR on one of his CC will go from 17.15% to 27.99% (WOW!). Only reason stated: "The changes are based on a careful review of your credit history with us and with others."

Is there any way to dispute that and to get what was already a high APR back to that same level?

Dear hubby's great credit score got him those rates...

October 13th, 2006 at 06:02 pm

I have been in charge of my husband's credit cards for a month now. He is bad with money, really bad, and got all four of his cards maxed out, some over the limit (=fees), making late payments (=more fees). Two of them are secured cards, and one come up with little charges like "Account Maintenance Fee" (add me some more fees, will ya??). The end result isa mess.

CC#1 22.9%, 66.5% balance to limit
CC#2 21.0%, 84.7% balance to limit
CC#3 24.0%, 71.6% balance to limit
CC#4 27.75%, 57.4% balance to limit

The limit of each card is either $400 or 500, so not THAT high, but it adds up.

Goal: have them all paid by January.
Plan of attack:
- CC#4, which is also the one with the maintenance fee, will have to go first. Balance is "only" $230. I can probably have it paid this month

- CC#2 had a Late Fee posted to it 2 months ago. I want him to call tomorrow and have it refunded if we make a $120 payment this month. I have had him play this little game this whole month of calling them and remove fee for extra payment. It's worked pretty well so far!

- I will make more than minimum payment on CC1 and 3, and they should be gone by December.

So that's my plan/strategy

No more introductory APR

October 12th, 2006 at 08:44 am

Well, I just looked at one of my CC's online statement. APR went from the introductory 4.9% to it's "normal" rate: 17.24%.

I will have to call these guys asap and get that rate down. $22 finance charge for a $1,600 balance is just way to much.

Boy! that didn't take too much persuasion: "Hi, I noticed that my introductory APR period is over and my current rate is 17.24%, can you get that back down?"
- "Sure, how does 10.74% sound?"
- "Great!"
- "Ok, I'll go ahead and change that for you. Anything else I can do for you?
- "Nope, thanks. Have a good day!"

Phone call took about 3 minutes total.
10.74% is still higher than the 7.9% I have on another card, but that still wasn't bad.