taking "charge" of my debt
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|Wed, 06-04-2008 - 1:38pm|
I've been lurking for a while and you all have been very inspirational to me. I hope that this returns the favor. :) I have decided to stop being scared of my debt and now I'm doing something about it. I feel better than I have in years. Here's what my process has been so far:
1) Learn more about credit-card debt. I have about $8,000 in debt, most of it from when I was in college. I get invitations for new cards in the mail (more since I got married), but couldn't figure out which was the best offer. So I went to google (yay, google) and found Card Hub's Education Center. Guess what? I suck at using my credit cards! And I found out that I could call my credit-card companies and ask them to lower my interest rate. So I did, and one of them did -- from 29.9% to 14%. This is a huge difference!
2) Once I was successful at this, I felt soooo much more confident, so I went to the car salesman who leased me my Subaru stationwagon. I still had 2.5 years on my 5 year lease, but with another baby on the way, my car wasn't going to fit our family anymore. So, I asked if they would buy out the rest of my lease, and they said yes! (though I had to walk out of the dealership a couple of times before they'd make me a deal :). They bought out my lease and now I've bought a 2005 minivan. The payments are $50 more each month, but I'm buying it rather than leasing it, so I'm building equity. Also, the van costs something like $30,000 new, so buying one a few years old (plus an extended 3-year warranty) will save me money in the long run, right?
3) Finally, I went back to Card Hub and did a search for a credit card that would give me a low introductory interest rate for balance transfers, plus cash-back on purchases. I transferred some of my balance from my highest interest-rate card (one of the companies said "no" to my lowered-rate request, so buh-bye!) to my new card. And, I won't be using that card for new purchases, because guess what? This credit-card will charge different interest rates on purchases, but when I make payments, they pay off the lowest interest-rate debts first.
I finally feel like I'm gaining some control over my debt, after feeling out-of-control for so long. Now if there were only something we could do about my husband's student loans!!
Money Mommy Marilynn E.