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Archive for September, 2011

Balance transfers

September 20th, 2011 at 11:34 am

These BTs are becoming a huge pain in the butt.

I want to move money around in a way that makes the most sense. I moved $4k from the US Bank to the new Citi Simplicity Card, taking the interest from 11.99% to 0.00% for 21 months.

I want to move ~$10k from the old Citi card around so that it gets me the lowest APR. I could move it to either Discover or US Bank at purchase APR which are 9.99% and 11.99% respectively.

I also have three Chase accounts that I could move it to. Two cards have BT offers: either 1.99% until 01/2013 or 0.00% until 07/2012. Unfortunately both of those cards have low available credit: $1,900 and $1,100. The third card has $4531.00 of available credit but no BT offers. So I called and asked about getting something. The person said there was nothing they could do aside from consolidate two cards which would mean closing one and moving the available credit to the other. This would be okay except for that I like the Flex Rewards on the card that would have to be closed. So I'm trying to decide what to do.

I suppose it won't matter much since I'm no longer using CCs. Once I get the debt paid off, I was considering using the Flex card to pay for bills to get the rewards but paying the debt is more important.

So long story short, I'm frustrated trying to figure this all out. I'm happy that I got some of the debt to a lower interest card but I'm hoping I can get most of it moved!

Post publishing edit: I gave the Chase rep the opportunity to "sell me Chase." I told him the options I had weren't reasonable and I wanted to know why I should bring my money over to Chase. He basically said it was my decision! So I'm leaning toward not doing anything with Chase. It doesn't seem like they want my business. Also, I just called US Bank and have 5800 available credit to play with. Even though it only cuts my APR down by a few points, it's better than nothing!

Couponing, etc.

September 20th, 2011 at 09:25 am

The title of my blog is "Using Coupons to get out of Debt" and I've never talked about my plan for accomplishing getting out of debt by using coupons.

I've been couponing for just over a year and shop mainly at drugstores. Rite Aid and CVS are my two main stores. I take advantage of reward programs including rebates to turn drugstore money into cash. Since I never spend any cash (I put all my purchases on a gift card that I got for Christmas last year), it works out that I can take the cash from my rebate checks and deposit it into a separate savings account.

Since April, I've deposited $541.57. I have another $119.75 to deposit and another months worth of Rite Aid checks on the way ($120.95). My original plan for this money was to donate it to charity but I've since changed my mind to get myself closer to my financial goals. I'm content with my charitable contributions since I donate a good amount of what I buy at drugstores. In four months, I made $782.27 from couponing. That's more than half of my Discover card balance!

Another way I plan to use my couponing to get out of debt is to stock up on items that could be given as gifts. Baby products for showers, toiletries for gift baskets, etc. My plan is to take my budgeted gift allowance and put it toward debt. I recently went to a baby shower and gave a gift entirely out of my stockpile, I put $20 from my gift fund into my debt repayment.

I really want to cut our grocery bill down. Right now we spend $60-$80 a week for two people. I just can't figure how to coupon in grocery stores in our area! I'd be happy if we spent more like $40-$60 a week. Everything we buy is fresh produce, dairy and deli meat. My boyfriend is really picky so he won't eat different breads or English muffins or anything. Almost everything that we buy doesn't have coupons or alternate options. But, I'm going to put my nose to the grindstone to figure out how to cut down on groceries in my area.


So far this month, I have spend $63 from my piddly money. I used ~$20 of it to buy kitty litter and treats since I forgot to add those into my budget.

I have $87 left. I take the change from everything I spend and add that to my coin jar. I'm also going to take the money from my bottle and can redemptions and put it in the change jar. I roll my change every once in a while and I'll put that money toward debt.

My mom was able to come through with some student loan money for September. She just lost her job so she thinks this is the last time she'll be able to help. I told her that I'd rather her save it for herself but she insisted, saying that she'd mail the money herself if I didn't take it.

I have about $200 in my bank account that I'm hoping I can put toward the Discover card.

I have a few upcoming things in October that I need to plan for including a car repair and my annual car inspection that I need to get done. Total, I'll probably spend $200 which will come out of my miscellaneous budget.

I'm hoping the cruise doesn't push me over budget. I have enough money for our transportation to the pier. Everything is included in the purchase price of the cruise except the excursions. I'm not sure what we'll end up doing but I'm hoping it won't cost too much. I'm of the opinion to pick one fun activity like snorkeling or a tour and spend the other two days on the beach! We'll see what my family wants to do.

New Citi Simplicity Card

September 8th, 2011 at 05:15 pm

I've been struggling with how I want to proceed with balance transfers. I've received a few offers in the mail from credit card companies and searched online. Finally, I decided that I would take my chances and apply for a Citi Simplicity card. I got approved for $3000. There's a 0% APR for purchases and balance transfers for 21 months (3% fee on balance transfers). No late fees or annual fees. No rewards that I can see but I'm more than happy to transfer from my higher balance accounts, knowing that they'll be paid off in 21 months.

When I called, the representative offered to move some of my available credit from my current Citicard at no charge so I could transfer more to the Simplicity card. I now have $4000 available. I think my plan is going to be to transfer half of my current Citi card to Discover once it's paid off (with a 9.99% APR). I know that Chase will not allow a balance transfer from one Chase card to another. Similar rules might apply with Citi. If so, I'll transfer the US Bank to the Simplicity. Otherwise, I'll transfer current Citi to Simplicity (this is what I'm hoping for). All APRs will be under 12% that way.

In other news, I royally screwed up my budget this month. I just moved out of my mom's house and brought with me the cable and cell phone bills that I had been paying. Since my name is on the contract, and we got a really good deal, I agreed to still hold the accounts, pay the bills, and have my mom reimburse me. I'm totally fine with this arrangement since I'm on her car insurance for now and I reimburse her. Anyway, I forgot that even though, I'm only paying $50 a month for my cell phone, I forgot to calculate how much I actually put out before being reimbursed (the total is $225 for 3 family phones and cable/internet). Right now, I have $163 in my checking account to last until Sept 30! I don't know what I was thinking. I called up my mom and she's going to write me a check this weekend but ugh! I thought I was doing so good, too!

I still have only spent $10 from my piddly money. I'm feeling so frugal that I don't want to spend one single cent from it!

Breathe. Relax. Slow down.

September 6th, 2011 at 01:51 pm

I need to keep repeating these things to myself since I'm so anxious to continue paying down this debt! I paid all my bills at the beginning of the month and want it to be October already so I can keep making whopping payments and seeing that number come down!!

Breathe. Relax. Slow down.

I've made really good progress since I got serious about this. But, I know I need to keep myself practical so I don't start burning myself out.

I recently started on my budget and am hoping to stick to it. I read on here that someone uses $5 a day as piddly money. I think that's a great idea so I took out $150 at the beginning of the month in cash. It's already the 6th and I still have $140 which is technically $20 more than I should have.

It's fun for me to try to see how long I can go without spending it or how little I can spend. I already decided I want to save some of it to treat myself to something fun for the cruise I'm going on at the end of the month: maybe a pedicure before I go. I will also treat myself to lunch out one day a week and a coffee or two from Starbucks. I don't really spend much on the weekends, honestly.