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Credit Card Debt Report 2011 – Where Has The Credit Blogger Been?

Hello-

It’s time for another credit card debt report. Like I said in my last post over 2 years ago – time just flies by so fast. I have not written since June 2009. The reason being was I was not doing so well financially. I experienced a financial hardship and was struggling to pay the bills and did not feel like writing about that situation at the time.

Here’s some of what happened:

Unexpected medical bills for daugther
IRS bill for self employment taxes
Student loans coming off deferrment
Drop in self employment income

I was unable to afford the over $1,000 a month in credit card bills along with all my other expenses.

As I mentioned in June 2009, I was looking at debt relief options. I was considering bankruptcy and debt settlement. At the time I was not able to qualify for debt settlement because I could afford all the minimum monthly payments. When this changed, debt settlement was the option I would choose.

Unfortunately going through a financial crisis basically forced my path to debt settlement. I used a do it yourself debt settlement course called Zipdebt to lead me through the debt crisis. From late summer of 2009 until spring 2010 I was getting all the debt collection calls I could handle as I could not make any credit card bill payments.

I was attempting to settle my Bank of America, Chase, Citibank, and Discover Card accounts. I was using my USAA credit card to pay my business expenses.

At first no one wanted to settle. This happened for the first 3 to 4 months I fell behind on my bills. After 5 and close to 6 months the banks had a change of heart and were willing to settle.

The good news is that I was able to settle my Bank of America, Chase and Citibank debts. A total of over $43,000 for $13,000. The money for the debt settlement offers came from family, a whole life insurance policy, and savings.

So here is what my current credit card debt situation looks like:

USAA $11,106.54
Discover Card $4,676.27
Capital One $796.33

I have paid off my auto loan which was $7713 in June 09. I was able to use the debt snowball to knock out this loan early before my financial crisis hit.

My IRS tax debt is around $5000. This is for tax year 2010 and the rest of 2009. The IRS takes a payment of $450 a month.

Student loans are still up over $35,000 and coming down slowly with my $202 a month payment.

So it hasn’t been easy.

Just hanging in there and keeping my head up.

This is just a summary, there is more to share soon.

Have a great day!

-Adam

The Credit Blogger

Credit Card Debt Report June 2009 Plus Income And Expenses

Hello-

Time for another credit card debt report.  Time just flies by so fast.  And the credit card balances go down so slowly.  I can see why the promises of bankruptcy and debt settlement are so appealing.  They promise to have you debt free in months and not years like it takes when you pay it off on your own.

I’ve looked into debt settlement but not bankruptcy.  I would not qualify for debt settlement because I can keep up with my credit card payments for now anyways.

My income went up almost $900 from last month which was a nice welcome surprise.  It’s nice to get a bunch of $200+ checks from so many companies each month.  Now if only I could get them up to $300 and $400 a month from each company, that would double my income and I could pay off my debts faster.

Freelance/web development income for May 2009 was $5700. Up $878 from April.

Expenses were $5195.  April expenses were $5585 so we did better here this month but we are still in the red from the month before when we spent more than we made.  Hard to get out of debt when that happens.

It’s not easy knowing that your income and expenses can fluctuate each month because you work for yourself but I would not have it any other way.  I do not like having a boss at all. I like having the freedom of being able to see all my kids games without missing one due to work.

Now let’s see what my credit card debt looks like this month.

USAA $1,776.12
AT&T Universal Card $8,223.18
Discover Card $8,883.78
Bank Of America $15,275.45
Chase $13,219.96

Chase sent me a nice letter saying I could skip a payment this month if I wanted to.  How nice and thoughtful of them.  Yes, we’ll still charge you about $150 a month in finance charges on your $13k balance but sure go ahead and skip a payment.  We’re here to help you!

Baloney!

So I sent them a nice payment of $300.

So total credit card debt for June 2009 is $47378.49

Total credit card debt as of June 3rd, 2009: $47378.49

Total credit card debt as of May 1st, 2009: $47925.74

Total credit card debt as of April 4th, 2009: $48064.93

Difference of $547.25

Total credit card debt started with: $62124 Feb 2008

Total credit card debt paid off: $14745.51

And now let’s take  a look at my other debts.

$7712 IRS Tax Debt, paid off $1000.  IRS approved my payment plan and it starts June 28th. $250 a month until it’s paid off.

$7713.58 Auto Loan – Original balance $11,000. Made 2 payments so far, 46 to go…I hate car payments.

And then the student loans whatever they are.  Around $38,000.

So may be close to owing under a hundred grand now…better than owing over a hundred grand…

That’s all for today.

Have a great day!

-Adam

The Credit Blogger

Not Paying Off Credit Card Debt May 2009

ello-

Here it is May already and I wanted to talk about not paying off credit card debt for May 2009.  Why do I say not paying off debt? Well because I took a look at my numbers for this month and I barely paid off $130 this past month on my debt but still paid over $500 in interest charges.  So that kind of hurts.  But what can you expect when you buy a new Dell computer! And not just any Dell computer, an Optiplex business PC with a 22 inch monitor.  I bought the PC due to my old one slowing down and being really slow when I am trying to encode videos about products and services I am promoting.  So to be more productive and not wait 20 minutes for one video to encode, I bought a new one and can make twice as many movies in half the time.

I will get to deduct the cost of the PC as a business expense as I work for myself and use it for business purposes.

I don’t buy things like fancy TVs or designer clothes or any electronic devices.  I think of iPods and iPhones as cool luxuries but if they are not free I am not buying them.  The only reason I got a new cell phone was because it was free including shipping and handling.  I didn’t have to pay a thing for it.  It’s not the fanciest model out there but it gets the job done – it makes phone calls.

And this new PC was a necessity not a luxury since that is the determining factor on when you should buy something as I will be using it for business.

Now let’s take a look at my credit card debt for May 2009.

USAA $1813.58
Discover Card $9014.26
Chase Card $13372.85
AT&T Universal Card $8409.63
Bank Of America $15315.42

Total credit card debt as of May 1st, 2009: $47925.74

Total credit card debt as of April 4th, 2009: $48064.93

Difference of $139.19.

Total credit card debt started with: $62124 Feb 2008

Total credit card debt paid off: $14,198.26

And now let’s take  a look at my other debts.

$7712 IRS Tax Debt, paid off $1000.  Waiting to see if the IRS approves of my payment plan arrangements as I don’t have an extra 7 thousand dollars to pay this bill.

$7849.95 Auto Loan – Original balance $11,000.

And if I could ever remember my SallieMae username and password I would know the total amount of my student loans.  It’s around $38,000 give or take a few hundred.  And I’ve been paying on it since 2002 when I graduated and my original balance was $38,000 give or take a few hundred.  That’s what you get when you defer your student loans for 2 years.

Total debts: $100,947.69 give or take a few hundred.

Anyone want to lend me a hundred grand? That would really help my pay off my credit card debts and other debts. :o)

Thanks for reading,

Adam

The Credit Blogger

Credit Card Debt Report April 2009 Plus Income And Expenses

Hello-

It’s time for the credit card debt report for this month.  Last month I mentioned that I had to buy a new used card since my 94 Camry was on its last leg.  I went ahead and found a good deal on an 05 Camry for $11,000 of which I paid $3000 cash from a whole life insurance policy I have and borrowed the rest from my credit union at a rate of 5.4% for 4 years.

So add that debt now to my list.  Oh joy.  And also last month I talked about having to pay almost $7,000 in taxes.  Now that number is almost $9,000.  Yikes! Guess I’ll be making monthly payments to the IRS for years to come too. I have $2,000 in savings I can make for my first payment on April 15th, tax day, and then start making payments.  Lesson learned from all this is that if you are self employed, you have to make quarterly payments to the tax man.

All that said, here is my credit card debt report for the month of April 2009:

Bank Of America: $15,643.42

Discover Card: $9,167.42

USAA: $905.47

AT&T Universal Card: $8,796.74

Chase: $13,551.88

Total credit card debt as of April 4th, 2009: $48064.93

Total credit card debt as of March 2009: $49,186.32

Difference of $1121.39, did better than last month where balances only went down about $700.

Total credit card debt started with: $62124 Feb 2008

Total credit card debt paid off: $14,059.

My monthly income for the month of March was just a hair under $5,000 and my expenses were about $4,200.  That leaves me with a small margin of about $800 to help pay down debt.  I liked Jan better when my income was over $7,000.

I’ll keep working on building out new domains, promoting the ones I already have and just getting more content out there to generate more income so I can pay off my credit card debt and get my own house.

That’s all for now.

Thanks for reading,

Adam

The Credit Blogger

P.S. There’s a new debt book on late night TV called Debt Rescue, it looks eerily similar to Debt Cures because it talks about how you can eliminate debt overnight and how you can get free money from the government.  I’ll try and do a review of it when I get my copy.

Credit Card Debt Report March 2009

Hello-

My how time flies when you are having fun.  It’s already March and many new year’s resolutions are either long gone and forgotten or you’ve already done something about them.  I’m still concentrating on getting my credit card debt paid off.  Had a couple of setbacks this past month though.

I started doing my taxes and found that I have to pay about $7,000 in taxes for 2008.  Ouch.  Since I am self employed, I am supposed to be sending in tax payments in each quarter which are estimates because the government cannot wait for its money so it can start spending it like crazy, hundreds of billions at a time.

And then my 94 Camry is on its last leg so I am in the market for a new used car.  I got pre-approved for an $8k auto loan at 5.4% and I withdrew $4100 from my whole life insurance policy so I have a budget of $12,000 for a car.

However, I don’t want to spend that much for a car if I can help it.  I can use some of the insurance money to go to my tax bill.

So I may have to cut back on my aggressive debt cutting practices so I can get a car and start paying on my tax bill.

In credit card news, my Discover Card now has a balance and they lowered my interest rate to 9.24%.  They offered me a balance transfer offer of 5.9% until Feb 2010 with a fee of 4% with a max of $150. Ouch.  It seems like just a couple months ago the fee was 3% with a max of $100.  They have to make their money somehow right?

I went onto a balance transfer offer calculator to determine if this was a good deal.  You can run your own numbers here: http://www.creditcards.com/calculators/balance-transfer.php

It said I would save almost $500 during the balance transfer offer net of the $150 balance transfer fee and would then save about $21 a month in interest after the offer was over.  So I transfered my USAA balance at 12.5% to Discover and now I have about $900 left to pay on my USAA card and get that one paid off.

So here’s the credit card debt report for March 2009:

USAA $908.48
Discover $9497.11
Bank Of America $15851.51
Chase $13746.62
AT&T Universal Card $9182.60

total credit card debt as of March 2009: $49,186.32

total credit card debt as of Feb 2009: $49,869.27

difference from Feb to March: $682.95 8-(

That’s not a lot.

I need to start making some more money so I can pay off my debts faster.  And then I’ll have a bigger tax bill next year.

Have a safe and happy spring break.

-Adam

The Credit Blogger

Credit Card Debt Report February 2009

Hello-

Time for another look at how much credit card debt I still have left to pay off.  I’ve been focusing my efforts and extra payments on my Universal Card since it has a special 6 month promotion of 9.9% on my balances that do not have a special rate.  After the six months is over, the rate jumps back up to 15.9% or so depending on the LIBOR rate.

So after that happens, I am thinking about transferring the balance to my Discover Card which increased my credit limit to $10,000 and has a short balance transfer offer of 4.9% for 6 months and then it goes to the standard rate of 15.9% APR after that.

I also got a nice rate increase letter from my Chase card this month.  They are not happy with the profitability of my account so they want to raise my rates to 19.99%.  Since I am not a profitable customer because I pay all my bills on time and do not give them the pleasure of charging me late fees or over the limit fees or any other crap fees they can think of.  So I have to write them a letter and opt out of their high rate offer and keep the special lifetime balance transfer offers I have with them at 3 and 4% APR.

And there are rumblings that USAA is increasing rates too for a lot of their customers to improve profitability of their credit cards but I have not received a letter yet so let’s cross our fingers.  If USAA does increase its rates on my card, I will have to opt out of that too and I will be left with my Discover Card as the only one I can use.

So one way or another, I will not be able to use plastic in the near future at all.  Which is not necessarily a bad thing.  Since I used those plastic cards too much to get in a mountain of debt in the first place.

Enough about that, let’s take a look at my current credit card debt for Feb 2009:

AT&T Universal Card: $9697.17

USAA: $10,167.73

Bank Of America: $16,057.08

Chase: $13,947.29

Discover Card: $0.00000000000000!

Add it all up and you finally get under $50,000! $49,869.27

Total credit card debt started with: $62124 Feb 2008

Total credit card debt paid off in last 12 months: $12,254.

My income went up in Jan so I should be able to make a few extra payments in big chunks to take a nice bite out of my Universal Card so I can stop paying so much in interest charges each month.

Thanks for reading,

Adam

The Credit Blogger

Talk your way out of credit card debt

Hello-

Happy New Year!

It’s 2009 and time for people to make the New Year’s Resolutions – lose weight, stop smoking and get out of debt.

I’ve been reading this book by Scott Bilker about talking your way out of credit card debt – in it he has transcripts of calls that he made to credit card companies to get his debt reduced.  He made calls to waive late fees, lower the interest rates and get better offers.  Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t.

He pointed out that the calls usually didn’t take that long – maybe 5-10 minutes.  And then he calculated how much interest he saved on that phone call, and usually it came out to earning several hundred dollars an hour becuase each call only took a few minutes.

I recently did this with all my credit cards and I wasn’t so successful.

It seems the financial crisis and huge credit losses the banks and credit card companies makes them want to extend less credit and be less generous with their credit offers even though prime is so low right now – currently at 3.25%. The banks and credit card companies are trying to recoup their losses from the bad customers by making the good customers pay higher rates.

I have 5 credit cards – Discover, Bank of America, Chase, ATT, and USAA.

The only one that was able to reduce my rate for any period of time was ATT and they are closing my account soon anyways because their computers show I am a bad risk.  They reduced my purchases rate from 15 to 9.9% for 9 months.  They had a rate of 7.9% for 6 months but I went with the longer term because it saves a little bit more.

Discover card offered to extend a balance transfer offer from April to August but no waiving that 3% fee that can cut into your savings.  $100 just to transfer a balance!

And then I called USAA and the rep said that USAA was raising rates on all customers by 2% on February 1st. And that I should have received a letter.  No letter.  That’s crap.

So because they made bad investments, they have to charge higher rates for their good customers – nice way to treat your customers.

So all in all, I wasn’t too thrilled with talking my way out of debt, maybe in a different market environment I would have had better results.

Don’t let that stop you though.  If you have a good payment history and a good credit score – call your credit card companies and see if you can get your rates reduced.

You don’t need to pay more interest than you have to.

-Adam

The Credit Blogger

Discover Credit Card balance December 2008: $0!

Hello-

I just finished sending in a payment for the remainder of my Discover credit card balance to get it paid off.  Yippee!

Here’s the scheduled payment:

The posting date is December 25th, so I guess it’s a Christmas present to myself.

In Feb of this year, the balance was almost $6,000.

I just finished making my payments for the year for all my other credit cards trying to get my balance under $50,000 for the year and let’s tally the numbers:

Discover Card: $0!!!!!!!

USAA: $10,247

ATT Universal Crappy Card: $10, 342

Chase: $14,109

Bank Of America: $16,089

Total outstanding credit card debt end of December 2008: $50,787 :o(

Guess I didn’t make as many payments as I thought I did.

At least I got one credit card totally paid off.

If you haven’t already heard, there were some new regulations passed down to the banks and credit card companies that are supposed to make it easier on us consumers.  The biggest one I like is the no more universal default clause.  I hated this one.  If you make a late payment on one card, all your other cards could penalize you.  How fair is that?

The other one that I liked was the applying your credit card payments to the highest interest balance first.  I have several low balance transfer offers for the life of the balance transfer on some of my cards and they charge 3 or 4% interest and other balances on that same card for 18% interest and the payments I make go to the lowest interest rate offer so I pay much more in interest while I have that outstanding balance.

I just want to get these cards paid off so I can stop flushing money down the drain to these greedy credit card companies in interest charges.

Total credit card debt started with: $62124 Feb 2008

Total credit card debt now (December 2008): $50,787.

Total credit card debt paid off this year: $11,337.

Looking forward to getting over $25,000 of credit card debt paid off in 2009.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

-Adam

The Credit Blogger