Credit card debt report December 2008

Hello-

It’s that time of the month, the time when I talk about my credit card debt and let you know how much longer until I am debt free.  Here is my credit card debt report for December 2008.  I am only a few payments away from getting my Discover Card totally paid off.  I just sent in another $21 payment on my $518 balance.  I am so looking forward to getting this card paid off.

I am thinking about switching to a Discover Motiva Card where they give you a credit every 6 months of one month of interest charges if you make all your payments on time.

Then, I can transfer the balance of my stupid AT&T Universal Card to it and get those bastards out of my hair.

Here’s what I owe:

Bank of America: $16267.64

Stupid AT&T: $10342.02

Chase: $14292.01

USAA: $10187.33

Discover: $518, with pending $21 payment.

Total Credit Card Debt for December 2008: $51,607.

Total Credit Card Debt for November 2008: $52915.05

Total Credit Card debt as of September 2008: $54,154

Difference from November: $1308.05

Total Credit Card Debt Started with: $62124 Feb 2008

Total Credit Card Debt Paid Off: $10517.

Pretty cool, I’ve paid off over $10,000 in credit card debt this year.  Just realized that as I put it in the calculator and typed it up.  Hopefully, I will accelerate how fast I can pay this debt off and get maybe $25,000 more paid off next year.  And then get it all paid off by 2010. That’s the goal.

Be credit card debt free by July 2010 and buy a new one story house with a library and big walk around veranda and a new dark blue Toyota Tacoma.

Thanks for reading!

-Adam

The Credit Blogger

Now my AT&T Universal Card hates me…they want to raise my interest rates

Hello-

It’s almost time for Thanksgiving and I got a big thank you from my AT&T Universal Card – “Your interest rates are going up!  Thanks for being a great customer.  We don’t earn enough money off of you charging 18% interest so we want to charge you 24.99%!”  We sure do appreciate your business.

FUCK YOU AT&T Universal Card!

I just got a letter from them saying they wanted to change my terms and interest rates.  First they cut my credit limit now this.  I never miss a payment.  I always pay on time to all my credit cards.  My total credit card debt is going down which means I am a less risky customer but yet they feel the need to charge me more money.  WTF?!?!?

This is how you reward your customers?

I have the right to opt out and not accept these crap terms and then I’ll be able to pay off the balance at the current terms which isn’t the greatest deal – I have an outstanding balance of $10,582 and change, $7,103 is at a rate of 18.26% which comes out to about $110 in interest charges each month and $3,527 is at a rate of 4.99% which comes out to about $15 in interest charges each month.

My minimum payment is $230 and $125 of that goes to interest each month and you want to charge me more interest?  I say it again:

FUCK YOU AT&T Universal Card!

And the card is run by Citibank so I guess that explains a lot.  Since they are failing and cannot do anything right they want to take their customers down with them.  It’s no wonder their stock has lost billions of dollars over the past few months.

On the brighter side, I just made a $356 payment on my Discover Card and my balance will now be down to almost $500!!!!  Only a couple more payments and it will all be paid off for good!

It’s funny, one credit card is trying to raise my rates – stupid AT&T Universal Card – and now Discover is sending me low interest balance transfer offers.  Maybe I’ll just transfer the balance to Discover and avoid paying AT&T any more money than I have to since this is how they reward their on time paying customers.

How risky can I be if I’m trying to solve my credit card debt problem by writing a blog about it and writing all about my financial problems for all to see?

Enough of that today.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.  Except you AT&T Universal Card!

-Adam

The Credit Blogger

Credit card debt report November 2008

Hello-

Just a quick update to post my credit card balances for November 2008.

Discover Card: $1096.18 with $34.90 payment pending.

USAA: $10,300.88.

ATT: $10,456.90.

Chase: $14,470.45.

Bank of America: $16,590.64.

Total Credit Card Debt for November 2008: $52915.05

Total Credit Card debt as of September 2008: $54,154

Difference of: $1238.95

Total Credit Card Debt Started with: $62124 Feb 2008

Total Credit Card Debt Paid Off: $9208.95

How long until I am debt free?  Who knows.  Hopefully in 2-3 years.

That’s all for now.

-Adam

The Credit Blogger

How long does it take to pay off a credit card?

Hello-

Way too damn long!

Just got an email from my Discover Card saying my new statement was available and the minimum payment due is only $37.  Cannot remember the last time I had a minimum payment due of only $37.

So I take a longer look at my statement and see that of that $37, about $21 would be going to interest each month.

Now that’s a great deal if you are the credit card company.  But it sucks if you are the consumer who is trying to pay off your credit card balance.

So I went over to one of the free credit card payment calculators to see just how long it would take me to pay that sucker off if I just made the minimum payment of $37.

And here’s what it gave me: “It will take you 146 months to be rid of your debt. In that time, you will pay $1,138.47 in interest.

If you devoted $36.53 to your debt every month, it would be paid off in 51 months, and would cost you $536.29 in interest.”

So it’ll take me 146 months to pay off my $1300 balance and I’ll pay $1100 in interest charges! FUCK!

Man that just makes me want to open a bank.  I should make an offer to buy Wells Fargo or WaMU!  How the heck are you ever supposed to get out of a mountain of credit card debt if you pay $37 as a minimum payment and $21 of that goes to interest charges each month?

The answer is that you are NOT!!!!

Don’t even think about a late fee or any other type of fee.

Those usually run $39 each time and that will each up about 4 months of principal payments.

So you know what to do: pay much more than the minimum if you ever want to lift the burdens of too much credit card debt off your shoulders.

On the bright side, you can see that I made over $600 worth of payments last month on my Discover Card balance so know I only owe $1314.  Hopefully I can have that sucker paid off by the end of the year.

That’s all for today.

Have a debt-free day!

-Adam

The Credit Blogger

Credit card debt for September 2008

Hello-

Just wanted to post a quick update to myself basically keeping track of how well my credit card debt repayment is going.

My Discover card is getting closer and closer to being paid off and I’m starting to get excited at that prospect.  It has been too long since I have seen a zero balance on one of my credit cards.

I have $1865 remaining on my Discover Card.  Hopefully I can get it paid off by the end of the year.  I’ve been making around $600 in payments each month to it so in three months it should be GONE!!!

And then I can celebrate and go buy a brand new 100 inch big screen plasma LCD tv!  Don’t even know if they make those yet or if that’s even possible. :o)

After I pay off my Discover card I have a decision to make, I have 2 cards that each have about $10k on them, one with $14k and one with $16k.  Since both Bank of America and ATT Universal Card have both treated me badly either by trying to raise my interest rates or lowering my credit line even though I’ve made all my payments on time, I think I want to pay off those two first so they can stop earning so much interest off of me.

I’ll have a couple months to figure that out, first things first, get the Discover Card paid off!

Here’s my balances:

Discover: $1865

USAA: $10071 – Been using it a little which is why it has not gone down.  Slap my hand.

ATT: $10683

Chase: $14776

Bank of America: $16759

Total Credit Card debt as of September 2008: $54,154

I’ve paid off $7970 since Feb 2008.

That’s all for now.

-Adam

The Credit Blogger

How much do you pay in interest charges each month?

Hello-

When was the last time you really looked at your monthly credit card statement?  Do you know how much your balance is going down each month or is it even going down at all?

When you have over $50,000 in credit card, I imagine I am paying a ton in interest charges that I shouldn’t.  But what choice do I have?

Is bankruptcy really a choice?

There is debt settlement and debt negotiation but then I would not be able to use my cards anymore and my credit would get all screwed up just as much as if I did file bankruptcy.  But I digress.

The amount of money you pay in interest charges can get crazy.

You need to be aware of how much of your payments go to interest and how much go to lower your balance.  No one knows the value of compound interest as much as your credit card company.

They get to make interest off of the interest they are charging you when you fail to pay the balance each month.

And this just goes on and on for months and months and months until it becomes years and years and years.

Sigh.

That’s hundreds and thousands of dollars each year just basically washed down the drain that you’ll never see again.

How to minimize your interest charges?  Call your credit card company and ask, demand, plead, etc for a lower rate.  Check your credit report and see how many on time payments you have made in the past four years and point that out to your bank.

Show them how good of a customer you have been and ask them and then ask them again and then ask them even one more time to help you out and lower your APR.

My mom just told me about a $39 late fee she got charged on one of her statements because she didn’t get a bill when she switched over to paperless billing.  I told here to call them and have them waive that thing.  It was already 2 months later that I fould out about this.  I said it didn’t matter, you are a good customer and they should waive that fee.

She called and they didn’t hassle her at all and waived the late fee.

$39 saved and it took less than 5 minutes.

That’s the equivalent of earning $468 an hour!

When was the last time you made $468 an hour?  Make the calls and get the rates down.  There’s no need to pay the credit card company any more fees or high interest rates than they are already getting.

Now here’s the sick part that I didn’t want to see.  How much I am paying each month in interest charges.

Discover: $35 on $2345 balance.

Chase: $155 on $15121 balance.

Bank of America: $172 on $17176 balance.

ATT Universal Card: $120 on $11106 balance.

USAA: $104 on $9984 balance.

Total interest charges each month: Approx $586! #@#%#%!$@#%^&&*&*!

That’s a really nice car payment right there.

That’s also a decent sized mortgage payment right there.

How the hell did I ever get into this mess…

-Adam

Getting out of debt – I have $55427 in credit card debt

Hell0-

The road to getting out of debt is not a short one when you owe over $50,000 worth of credit card debt.  Don’t you just wish you were a mega bank and you could just write down your debts when you make bad investments?

I wish I had that power.

I would write down a few thousand dollars worth of bad buys that I’ve made throughout the years.

Some people will think that bankruptcy is one of your biggest options when you owe so much money and you don’t even make that much in a year.  But for me, it’s more of a principle thing.  I spent the money, I made the good and bad decisions with the money I borrowed, so it’s my responsibility to pay off all the money I’ve borrowed and get out of debt.

Can you even compare the feelings of getting out of debt through hard work and being frugal versus getting out of debt using bankruptcy?

In one sense, you’ll feel total elation that you’ve climbed your way out of a huge hole and will have a tremendous sense of pride.  You’ll also have developed the financial habits that will lead to a very prosperous future.  You’ll be able to save money for retirement and for your kid’s college.

In the other sense, you might feel embarrassed that you had to file for bankruptcy.  You’ll struggle finding a job because your potential employer will be able to check your credit and see you have a bankruptcy.  You’ll struggle to buy a car or house because the lender will see you as a very bad risk.  This will go on for at least 7-10 years if not longer.

Don’t get me wrong, I have considered filing bankruptcy to just wipe out my credit card debts.

But for me, that’s not the best answer.  That would be the ultimate last solution.

There are plenty of other options available before bankruptcy is my choice.

There’s debt consolidation, debt negotiation and debt settlement.

Here’s my credit card debt as it stands now:

Discover $2696

USAA $9754

ATT$10856

Chase $14966

Bank of America $17154

So basically in a little over a month, I’ve reduced my credit card debt by about $1200.

I had a good month incomewise for the month of July so I’m looking forward to applying a good chunk of that to my Discover card so I can get that card paid off SOON!

I also had to divert almost $600 from credit card payments to help my girlfriend out with a dental surgery.  If not for that, my debt would have gone down by another $600.

I’m sure this happens to a lot of people out there, those unexpected expenses that take away from your debt repayments.

The key is to not let it get you sidetracked for too long.  Do what you have to do then get back to paying off your debts.

That’s all for now.

Thanks for reading.

Have a great day!

Adam – The Credit Blogger

Paying more than the minimum on your credit cards

Hello-

If you want to get out of credit card debt without using any type of debt relief program such as debt consolidation or debt negotiation you have to pay more than the minimum on your credit cards.

But you know this already right?

If you took the time to calculate your debt payoffs then you’ll understand why it is so important to pay off your debts quickly.  If you want to avoid paying thousands of dollars in interest charges to your credit card company you need to pay much more than the minimum.

I’ve been doing this a lot more lately.

When I get my Discover Card statement in the mail, the only transactions I see are my finance charges and several payments that I’ve made to them.

For the past 3 months, there has been at least 3 payments made for each month.  Two months also have me making 5 payments.  And the amounts I am paying are not huge either.

These are payments I made for the month of May for example:

$42.00

$46.61

$30.00

Those are the small ones, then there was a couple of bigger ones:

$130.00

and

$317.75

The minimum payment for May was only $76.  I paid over $567.  Hopefully, in just a few short months, I will finally get this card paid off once and for all.

Whenever you get any extra money I would suggest sending that to your credit card company before it has a chance to burn a hole in your pocket and get spent on another frivolous purchase.

When you keep hacking at your debts and making credit card payments several times a month, you always have the thought of getting out of debt in mind and it helps to control your spending in a way.

You get in a more frugal frame of mind which is required for paying off huge credit card bills.

If you need more tips on how to be frugal and reduce your spending, check out this post from Zen Habits that offers 50 tips for frugal living

Keep hacking away at your debts and we’ll talk soon.

Have a great day!

Adam – The Credit Blogger

Free credit card payment calculators

Hello-

Do you know how much your debt is costing you?  Have you seen the numbers of how long it will take you to pay off your debts if you just pay the minimum?

There are several credit card payment calculators available to give you the sobering news about your credit card debt.

Here are a couple free calculators from Bankrate that give you the details of how long you will be in debt if you just pay the minimum:

The true cost of paying the minimum:

http://www.bankrate.com/brm/calc/MinPayment.asp

This shows you how much money you are throwing away when you do not pay off the balance each month.

Here’s another one from Bankrate that helps you calculate what it will take to pay off your credit cards in a specified period of time.  Say you want to be out of debt in 3 years, it will figure out how much your payments need to be each month.

http://www.bankrate.com/brm/calc/creditcardpay.asp

So for example, if you have about $56,000 worth of credit card debt and your interest rate is about 12%, you will need to make payments of $1860.00 every month to pay off your credit cards in 36 months.

For people with that same amount of debt but with a much higher interest rate, say 18%, it would require $2024.53 every month to get out of debt.

And let’s say you have an even higher interest rate, which I know many people do, like 29% APR, $2346.72 every month is what you would need to pay.

Here’s another free calculator from CNNMoney and it gives you a graphical representation of the same information for those of you who like pictures and graphs.

http://cgi.money.cnn.com/tools/debtplanner/debtplanner.jsp

And here’s my graph for just paying the minimum each month:

debt free in 34 years

According to this chart, I’ll be debt free in just 34 years and 4 months and will have paid over $46K in interest charges.  Ouch.

So do yourself a favor and run your numbers real quick and see if that motivates you a little bit more to get out of debt.

-Adam

2 ways to consolidate your credit card debts

Hello-

In the last post about ways to get out of debt, I mentioned using debt consolidation to help you lighten your debt load.

Today, I wanted to go over a couple methods you can use to help lower your interest rates on your credit cards to help you pay off your debts faster.

One way to consolidate your credit card debt is to get a debt consolidation loan and use that to pay off all your credit cards.  You then just have to make one monthly payment.

Most debt consolidation loans are at a lower interest rate than your credit cards.  So you’ll be saving hundreds in interest charges alone each year.

Make sure you shop around for the best rates and lowest fees.

The other method is to get a new credit card that offers a low balance transfer offer with a long balance transfer period.

I have several offers on my credit cards where I am paying 3.99% and 4.99% APR for the life of those offers.

Then you transfer all your higher interest rate credit cards to the new low interest card and again have one monthly payment.

Do your best to pay off the balance while in the introductory period or else you will start paying higher interest charges.

Again, shop around for the best deals.

Credit cards are very competitive these days so shop wisely.  And get on the phone with the banks and ask if they can lower your interest rates.  Don’t be a wimpy negotiator.  Be persistent.

And don’t just try once either.  Make several attempts to get a lower interest rate.

Write a letter, send emails, and make phone calls.  Speak to a manager.

Don’t pay 18% or 22% or higher interest on your credit cards if you don’t have to.  Take the 5-15 minutes to call your bank and work on getting better deals on your cards.

Let me know your thoughts.

-The Credit Blogger