No. of Recommendations: 17
I have been lurking around this board for the past couple weeks, 
and I decided that it would be worth it to buy a membership.  My
favorite posts to read are those where people spell out their debt
situation.  Somehow I think its therapeutic to read that I'm not alone.

So here's my story:

I'm 25 and have been married for 10 months.  After our 
wedding, my wife and I added up all our credit card debt 
and were disgused to see that we had accumulated about $14,000.  
So I took the $4,000 in cash that we got from our wedding and 
paid off credit card debt with it.  I also transferred most 
of the balances to some 0% offers that I got.  But we didn't 
change our spending habits, and I was shocked to add everything 
up in December and see that we had $16,500 in debt.  I felt 
horrible for having nothing to show for that $4,000 that we got 
from people for our wedding.

Since then we have been committed to paying down our credit card 
debt.  At first I said that credit cards would only be used for
groceries and gas.  That helped, but we would still slip up from 
time to time.  So for the last three weeks we have kept them locked 
up in a drawer.  I only use them for buying things on the Internet.
That has worked well.

So here is my situation now.  I'll give periodic updates and I 
hope some of you continue to do the same.  The moral support 
keeps me focused on my goal to be credit card debt free by the 
end of the year.  (By the way my Citibank rate is so low because 
its an employee rate.  I work for another division of Citigroup.)

07/03/2002
----------

Card              Rate          Balance
-------------     --------      ---------
GM Card           12.74%             0.00
Citibank          5.75% var.        78.16
Discover          14.99%             0.00
AT&T (wife)       0% thru Sept.   2000.00
AT&T (mine)       0% thru Sept.      0.00
Chase             0% thru Sept.   6100.00
                                ---------
Total                            $8178.16
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No. of Recommendations: 4
Seems like a pretty good start!

Just wondering. Are you keeping a good written monthly budget? Sometimes not having one makes it easier to "slip up."

Fred
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No. of Recommendations: 0
We keep a budget for how much money we get to eat out for lunch - we each get $80 per month. But no, we don't budget for groceries or any other expenses.

For the first six months of this year I banned my wife from buying any clothes or accessories (like nail polish). And she banned me from buying any playstation 2 games. That has helped out a lot.

I also got a good bonus check in February and a good tax refund check in March. So that helped out too.
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No. of Recommendations: 0
For the first six months of this year I banned my wife from buying any clothes or accessories (like nail polish). And she banned me from buying any playstation 2 games. That has helped out a lot.

Good to see the spending bans going both ways!!!! It definitely would seem that you're both on board. Makes it a lot easier.

Cindy
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No. of Recommendations: 1
I see that you have a few zero balances on some of those cards. Would I be right to recommend that you cut up and close at least one or two of those accounts?

Have a happy Fourth of July everyone!
Nealio
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No. of Recommendations: 1
nd1999,

You might want to keep track of all your spendings for a couple of months to REALLY see where all your money is going.

Also if you want something really excellent on the boards to read check out "Evening On the Fool Winner #4" http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=17427788

Utahtea
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No. of Recommendations: 0
Welcome, you will never regret spending the membership money, promise!
An excellent way to track your spending is to use a financial software program, (I prefer Quicken) once you get it all set up it is a breeze to see exactly where your $'s go. A tip I followed at the end of my debt pay off was if it went on the card, that amount was sent in "IN ADDITION TO" the payment I would be sending in on the card. Otherwise you will be working against yourself.
Ak, glad to have new faces (typefaces?), in the hills north of Fairbanks.
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No. of Recommendations: 0
I too was wondering if you were going to cut up some of those cards you aren't using. In particular the Discover, it's down to zero and has the highest interest rate. Also why do you have a credit card at 0% until September with no charges on it? Seems as though you don't need it.

Congrats on getting here thus far and can't wait to see you dance!
Megan
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No. of Recommendations: 0
Yes. I know I should close the accounts that have a zero balance.

The thing is I've done that before and its a real hassle. The first person that you talk to will transfer the call to someone who specializes in trying to convince people to not close their account. You have to tell them about ten times that it doesn't matter what the credit line is or the interest rate is. (They can't touch my employee rate Citibank card.) And even then they might tell you its closed, but its actually not.

In addition to the ones I listed, my wife has a Victoria's Secret and Express card. Both have zero balances, and need to be clsosed. So that's two more phone calls.

So I was thinking that I would wait until they are all paid off and then close all of them except my Citibank card. I'll do it on a Saturday morning and after a few hours the hassle will be over.

The Discover one is a special case. We go back and forth on whether or not we should close it. The main reason to keep it open is that Sam's Club will only take the Discover card. But they also take cash or checks....

I paid off my 0% AT&T card in six months even though I had 0% for 12 months. So that's why I have a 0% card with no balance.

My Citibank and Discover cards are the only cards I've actually ever used for purchases, and they get paid off every month. The other cards are strictly for good BT offers.
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I think getting rid of the Victoria's Secret card would be going a bit too far. ;)
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Hey, it's kind of a bigger pain in the butt, but the best way to close a credit card is in writing. There's a letter on here somewhere that I've used, and you send it certified return receipt, ask them to close your account, and to send you a letter confirming that the account was closed at your request. That way, if the account shows up on a credit report as open, or as closed by the credit card company, you have proof that you closed it yourself, with that letter they sent you.

I can't recommend it enough. I will look for that letter for you!


--Booa
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No. of Recommendations: 0
Hey, the letter is here:

http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=17248381

Send it certified, return receipt, and watch for their letter in return, saying they've complied with your request. I'd give them thirty days then remind them you want to hear from them, on paper, that they closed your account *at your request*. They usually forget to tell their various partners, so you might still get some mail from them with weird promotions, but it ought to be reported correctly on your credit report.


--Booa
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No. of Recommendations: 0
"The thing is I've done that before and its a real hassle. The first person that you talk to will transfer the call to someone who specializes in trying to convince people to not close their account. You have to tell them about ten times that it doesn't matter what the credit line is or the interest rate is. (They can't touch my employee rate Citibank card.) And even then they might tell you its closed, but its actually not."

nd1999


Why not just type out a generic letter on your computer and print out how many letters that you need? Then you can go through, sign and mail them and won't have to waste all those hours on the phone, where they might close the account or not depending on their mood.

Stockbuyer2
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No. of Recommendations: 0
Booa & Stockbuyer,

Thanks for the tips. I'll try sending letters instead.

nd1999
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