In immediate response to #7 of my last post I have decided to share my Debt journey with you all. This will be an utterly humiliating experience. I don't know about you but I'm looking forward to it! So the first thing I did today was buy a Mocha...I know, I know, but it's Mocha Mondays! Discount Mochas every Monday at Moxie Java! Okay, okay I promise to do better. It doesn't help much that I got a Chocolate Chip muffin as well. Yikes. Nearly $6 down my stomach. On a positive note I did not buy lunch today. I had a mini-Stouffer's Lasagna in the freezer at work. Very satisfying.
I also visited Suzeorman.com for some advice on my lunch hour. I'm not sure why but I enjoy Suze. She is kinda overbearing but she has a big heart for the average American who does not have access to financial advisors. On her website I found a link to check my credit report for free. And not just free for thirty days and then they charge your account if you don't cancel, either. Actual free. I was very relieved to find no suspicious activity and all my accounts in good standing! Whew! I also found this list summarizing key points to becoming debt free:
1. If you are in credit card trouble, you must cut up all of your credit cards now, with the possible exception of one card for emergencies; do not carry this card in your wallet, however.
2. You must pay more than the minimum payment every month, as much more as you possibly can. If you owe a credit card company $5000 at 18 percent interest and all you do is pay the minimum each month it will take you over 30 years to pay it off.
You must pay off the credit card with the highest interest rate first, and the rest in descending order.
3. You must negotiate for yourself the best interest rates, even if it means switching credit cards every six months.
4. You must understand everything about how your credit card works--all fees, how the company charges you, all about the so-called grace period, everything.
5. You must honor all your debts equally--whether it's the money you owe Visa, or the money you owe your brother.
6. After you pay off one credit card, you must apply the money you have been paying that particular company to paying off another credit card.
7. If you doubt that you can do this yourself, you must get in touch with a wonderful nonprofit agency known as the Consumer Credit Counseling Service; they can be reached by calling 1-800-388-2227. They will help you organize and consolidate your debt.
8. You must never let this happen again.
9. After your debts have all been paid off, you are to apply the money you were paying all those months toward creating your future.
Number eight speaks particularly strong to me as the sad truth is that I did let this happen again. I had been completely out of credit card debt by a once in a lifetime gift from my mother after she sold her property downtown. But here I am again. Although, save a recent plane ticket, I have not used either of my credit cards in almost a year I owe approximately:
Capital One: $4800.00
First Financial: $5200.00
Yes, almost exactly $10,000 in credit card debt, and at large interest rates between 18% and 26% a little does not go a long way. Interest alone eats up my monthly payments leaving me feeling powerless. I also have a remaining student loan debt of which I pay fixed monthly payments at a low consolidated rate.
Honestly, it hurts me to post this but I must if I want to be honest with you and myself. I appreciate your company on this journey...
P.S. Anyone have 10 Grand?