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Let me start off by saying that I am no saint when it comes to credit card debt. I do have credit card debt of just over $12,000!

Over the years, I have been good at minimizing my interest. I have not paid a "regular" (8% or above)APR for over 5 years.

My method of minimizing interest is transferring balances from card to card. Introductory rates are great. The key with intro. rates is to know when the rate expires. Three weeks before the intro. rate expires I begin searching for a different/new card to transfer my balance. Never pay transaction fees to transfer a balance, this defeats the purpose of reducing interest.

When searching for a different card to tranfer your balance call existing cards that don't have a balance, see if they'll offer you a promotional rate, many times they will. I carry many cards (w/o a balance) that I never use (to charge), simply to keep my options open for transferring balances. If I find that certain cards refuse to accommodate my transfer needs repeatedly, then I close the account (be sure to get a confirmation letter when closing an account and hold onto it). Look for offers in the mail read the fine print (usually on the back of the letter in table format) and check the Internet. Transfer and keep transferring the balance before the intro./promo. rate expires.

Never charge unless you have to. Be careful not to charge on one of the cards that has the balance transfer intro./promo. rate a higher rate may apply to your purchases.

After years of doing this, I have finally received offers from two existing cards to transfer a balance (no fee) at 4.9% & 5.9% until the balance has been paid in full. If I were to purchase using these cards I would have a higher rate on my purchases and my purchase balance would be the last balance to be paid.
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That is a very good idea on saving interest, but you may not want to do it too often. then you will have a ton of cards on your credit report. even if you cancel them, they will still be on the report. This might make purchases such as a home or card harder for you.
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It's great that you have saved so much in interest, but you would have saved more if you focused on paying the balances off instead of just moving them around. Stop screwing around and pay off your debt!
-steve
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Never charge unless you have to. Be careful not to charge on one of the cards that has the balance transfer intro./promo. rate a higher rate may apply to your purchases.

Awesome post, Stan.

This is exactly how I've managed my debt. I haven't paid more than 5% on any credit card debt since October, 1998. At that time I owed about $15k on cards and $45k on non-CC debt (school loans, vehicle loans, etc).

Since then I've continued to pay down my CC debt and roll non-CC debt onto new teaser rates. Today I owe about $11,000 at 2.9% until June 2001, $8,500 at 3.9% until paid and $3,500 non-CC debt (school loan) at ~8%. I'll be paying off the school loan in December, and I'll have that $11k gone before June. Like you, I'm done with the Balance Transer Game. Congratulations on your achievement, BTW.

One thing I've done a little differently than what you described in your post is to set aside one rewards card for regular purchases, and always pay in full. I use a Discover Card. Technically, I owe an additional $6000 on this card, but that's because we bought a couple PCs for my wife's office (and got reimbursed). We have the $6k sitting in checking for now. I expect to get nearly $400 back this year!

SpeleoFool.
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