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Archive for August, 2011

Credit Score went up!

August 31st, 2011 at 01:45 pm

I was inspired to see if I could get a look at my credit score for free. I remember a long time ago, I was able to see it through one of my credit cards so I checked each of my accounts and found that my US Bank account allows me to get a free look at my credit score.

It's a 733! That's up from a 680 from two months ago when I tried to get a car loan (decided I would keep my clunker longer so my interest rate wouldn't be insane from my low credit score).

How exciting is that? I know each bureau reports a slightly different score so I might be comparing apples to oranges but I'm very pleased with a 733 right now!

Got a lower interest rate!

August 31st, 2011 at 10:14 am

Decided to call my Citicard and see if I could get a lower interest rate. I got it reduced from 18.99% to 14.24%! Over the time it will take me to pay it off, I will save $958! Just by calling and asking! YAY!

Calculations

August 30th, 2011 at 02:18 pm

I just did some simple math trying to figure out how long it will take me to get out of debt. I think I'm going to be sick. Based on the math, it will take me about 5 months to pay off my Discover card (~$1580.00). I'm paying an extra $100 a month toward the principal (that I was using on minimum payments for the cards I just paid off). I also figured out I can reasonably, without trouble pay another $150 by cutting things out of my budget.

Then I wanted to know how long it would take to pay my Citi card. If I roll that $340 a month and combine it with the $350 a month I'm paying Citi now, I can pay it off in about 16 months. That's it? Seriously? I've been paying $250 a month for the past 4 years and my debt is about the same as it was 4 years ago. I feel like the biggest fool and sucker on the planet. I know this is what credit card companies want people to do and I fell right in the trap. Who knew financial freedom was so close?

I was already committed to paying off my debts but now, I'm obsessed. It's been looming over my head since I was in college about how I would ever be debt free. 21 months seems far away but it feels so doable! In 21 months, I will have paid off $11,000. That doesn't even account for things like my tax return check or work bonuses or other extra money I know I'll come into between now and then. My parents try as best they can to help me out financially with student loans so I know I'll come into money there.

I'm so, so, so excited. I can hardly wait to get paid tomorrow to make a credit card payment!!

Oh, and if anyone has Excel spreadsheet advice, I'd love to hear it. I totally have that personality but have never found a useful budgeting/finance one!

Update and my next move

August 29th, 2011 at 12:44 pm

Obviously, I've made some bad financial decisions to get me to the place I am right now. I've lived way above my means, took out way too many college loans and loaned people money. Which by the way was the worst. decision. ever.

I have completely learned my lesson when it comes to loaning anyone money. I will never do it again. Period. The worst part about loaning someone money is not that they don't pay it back, it's about losing friends, feeling awful and regretting it.

Four years ago, I loaned a friend about $5000 (I paid for her expenses using one of my credit cards). She agreed to pay me back every month to pay down the debt and give me her income tax check(s). Obviously, she hasn't kept her end of the bargain as I still owe about the same thing on the credit card as I did four years ago. She has maybe given me $1k so far - all has gone to interest.

It's been months since she has given me anything, we don't see each other anymore, we don't speak and I hadn't asked for anything in probably a year. It made me feel so horrible knowing that I needed to talk to her and not wanting to. But I can't allow myself to pay her debt any longer. I refuse to.

It doesn't help that I HATE confrontation and I avoid it like the plague. The last thing I want to do was bring up the money. I have no idea why it bothers me so much: it's rightfully mine. We had an agreement in writing. I could take legal action and I feel I would win. She always talks about how badly in the hole she is and how she can't afford anything. Even though she's screwed me over, I still feel badly for her!

UGH. Never again!!!

Anyway, I've beyond committed to paying down my debts (which includes hers) so I finally got up the courage and emailed her. She texted me back immediately, we met up for coffee, caught up for a few hours and she paid me $300 and promised to pay me $100 a month for now. Apparently, I'm not the only one after her: she cleaned out her 401K after being taken to court by 2 credit card companies. Do I have hope of seeing the $100 a month? Eh, a little bit. She's promised this before. I emailed her back saying it was good to meet up and I was happy with our agreement on $100 a month for now: just in case I need the paper trail. I'm hopeful but mostly proud of myself for standing up and confronting her about it.

Now, onto the good news!!! Iím pretty excited that Iíve wisely use my money to pay down my Discover card more! Wow, it seems like money has come out of the woodwork recently! I think itís really that Iím just recommitting myself to paying down these debts!

I paid off another $800 to Discover and have $200 left in my account for July bills. I might keep that for savings or pay another $200. Itís hard to decide since I want to keep my savings cushioned. What I am SUPER happy about is upping my minimum payments. I figured out that with the bills I just paid off, I was making about $100 in minimum payments so Iím going to roll that into the Discover card and pay $190 every month instead of the minimum of $90; thatís more than doubling the payment!!

I need to set myself up with a budget to curb some spending. There are some things in my life Iím unwilling to cut back on. I allow myself Starbucks ($5) and lunch out ($8) once a week. I pack my lunches and make my own coffee every other day. Iíd love to get a pedicure once a month but I donít think itís in my budget just yet. But, I realized when trying to figure out how much I want to pay on bills, Iím not really sure how much I actually spend on things. So Iím going to calculate my monthly expenses and figure out a reasonable amount that I can put towards bills. Anything I get from my friend or parents (they help with my student loans when they can) will go immediately and directly to the card du jour.

What about personal loans and balance transfers? I canít decide how I want to proceed here. I got a personal loan application from Discover up to $25,000 at 7.99%. I also have a bunch of balance transfer offers but nothing that would take a huge chunk of money off my Citicard. Like $1600 here, $2000 there. Iím not sure the balance transfer fee is worth the hassle. Any advice on that?

Off to a good start

August 1st, 2011 at 09:59 am

I just made 3 payments entirely cutting out 3 credit cards!!! This is really exciting!

Capital One: $855.02
Chase 1: $1364.95
Chase 2: $3237.98

Total paid: $5457.95

I still have 4 more cards to pay off:
Discover: $2467.67
US Bank: $4455.60
Bank of America: $3021.02
Citicard: $9671.84

Total owed: $19616.13

It's nice to finally see the total owed under the $20,000 mark!