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My concerns are that in my debt payoff quest I have utilized a number of BT offers: citi, chase slate, and chase freedom for a total of almost 15k. Citi comes due first on April of 2015, with an interest rate rise of 22%! The balance is <3k so I could divert payments to clear that prior to the interest rate change. To save 6-8 weeks of higher interest, I will have five out of seven cards at >90% utilization. Also I don't have it clear in my head that I will be able to pay those amts off prior to their expirations. With th exception of citi, they will revert to their normal interest rates of 9.9 to 15%. I still have tons of debt at 10% to pay off, so the 0% would not be getting my attention for some time. My snowball calculator from April predicted 22 months of debt paydown. I would have to run numbers again given the new interest rates. Even if numbers are do-able, knowing that my eagerness to take these 0% offers landed me in part in this mess I am now in, makes me pause.

There is the hard number analysis, and there are behavioral concerns. The numbers are easier to prove, but the behavioral concerns will have a bigger impact on your finances.

The key thing that jumps out at me is that you aren't sure you can manage the complexity you have built into your debt management. When this happens, it's time to stop adding more complexity, and may be time to reduce existing complexity.

Complexity is neither good nor bad in and of itself; but it can obscure what's really going on. Bear in mind that you have a life to live, while the credit card issuers create complexity so that some percentage of the borrowers will pay them more money than the advertised benefits. (This phenomenon is not unique to card issuers, but card issuers are what is relevant to you right now.)

The way you beat an army of paid lawyers and marketers creating a bewilderingly complex structure of rates, expiration dates, and hoops to jump through is not to play their game. When it gets so complex that you doubt your ability to clear the hoops and grab the low interest rates, stop chasing the low interest rates and focus on paying as much as possible toward the debt.

Remember that getting lower interest rates is not a primary goal. It is a tactic that enables you to have more of your payment applied to principal. You get out of debt from paying all the principal, not from paying less interest.

Yes, the structure of all the 0% balance transfers can by analyzed, and a plan can be made as to when you need to focus on the 0% debt that's about to transition to a higher rate than your currently highest rate. But if you can't keep clear what that plan is, and how to make reality match that plan, it's time to have a simpler plan.

The plan of throwing as much money as possible at the debt is a pretty good basic plan. Finding a way to squeeze $50 out of spending just this month, and sending that $50 as extra debt payment, could be a better use of your time and energy than analyzing a lot of zero percent BT offers.

Patzer
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