No. of Recommendations: 18
The good...

Completed the balance transfers to Amex from chase slate, a new credit card, and my existing chase. Amex now stands at 14k. Have 10k at 0%.

In an attempt to reduce our expenses, we spent last weekend in yard cleanup which saved us $135. The five of us, including the baby, spent the better part of the day picking up branches, raking leaves, trimming some overgrown shrubs etc. The day went even better when we tamed the boys desire to throw the branches at each other and instead into a pile on the ground. My husband decided to go freestyle on me when he ripped out a thorny flower bush that lined a portion of the driveway. I understand why he did it, we all were getting sick of being poked, but I wish he just had a plan on what to replace it with. For now it will have to remain an empty hole.

We decided to stick with the fertilization and lawn mowing for this year with the current landscapers as doing it ourselves would have required some new equipment purchases which I believe I can get used. We will tackle leaf cleanup ourselves this year...<<shudder>>....but doing so should give us the biggest bang for our buck.

I also suspended parking at work for the next six months. If I park in the street and walk the 1/4 mile to work, I will save $250 - (a little less because its taken out pretax) and lose (hopefully) that last 10 pounds of baby weight. That $250 i am going to apply to the $580 I need to put the oldest in a six week camp and the middle child to a 2 week camp. Am trying to sell some old living room furniture which will hopefully make up the shortfall. Have a bunch of baby items that I will try to send to the consignment shop later this week. The nice thing about it is that they give u cash upfront.

Using the free trial of YNAB, still trying to get the hang of it, but so far so good.

The bad...

Had to pay an xtra grand towards taxes this year AND the $400 accountant fee that I forgot to put in the budget. Did get back an additional $200 from the state that I was not expecting to make the net loss $1200. This is money that I was planning on putting into debt reduction so disappointed.

Anyway, will keep on trucking and posting...till the next time.
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No. of Recommendations: 0
Good deal

If, when winter comes, the leaf removal becomes too much, call those guys. Till then, keep in mind, that a dollar saved is like $2 earned (from the Wealthy Barber).
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No. of Recommendations: 3
Completed the balance transfers to Amex from chase slate, a new credit card, and my existing chase. Amex now stands at 14k. Have 10k at 0%.

That's great. If you can make the $1100 minimum payment that you were making on Amex, plus $2500 additional per month, you should have this one down to a $0 balance in about 4 months. Then onto the next Chase card..... I see lots of happy dances in your future!

One more thing to think about - If you are trying to improve your credit score, be sure that you continue to leave cards open, with a $0 balance, until you have all of your credit card debt paid off. In order to keep the cards active, and counting in your credit score, you should use each zero balance card at least once every 3 - 6 months for a small purchase, and pay off the balance before the due date. However, if a card charges you an annual fee and it has a $0 balance, you might want to think about closing the account before the next annual fee is charged. There are credit score simulators where you can see what closing an account will do to your score at www.creditkarma.com www.bankrate.com and www.myfico.com among others.

AJ
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No. of Recommendations: 0
Got my terms of agreement with Amex and they are clear as mud. I am honestly not sure what my minimum payments will be. There are two charges: one pay in full and another pay over time. Amex determines what will be paid in full and what constitutes pay over time. Specifically Amex says:

A charge is eligible if it equals or is more than a
certain dollar amount. We will tell you this amount
when you enroll, and it is subject to change. We
will tell you if we change it. Certain charges are not
eligible, such as cash and similar transactions.
We assign a Pay Over Time limit to your Account.
We will not place any charge into a Pay Over Time
balance if it causes the total of your Pay Over Time
balances to go over your Pay Over Time limit. We
may reduce or increase this amount. We may do so
even if you pay on time and your Account is not in
default. We will tell you if we change that amount. You
must pay in full upon receipt of your billing statement
all charges that are not placed into a Pay Over Time
balance. We may change which charges are eligible
to be placed into a Pay Over Time balance.


My minimums have been more or less $1000 - sometimes a bit more, sometimes a bit less. In January my minimum was $4000! Talk about scrambling. Assuming no curve balls, my goals is to pay them $3500/month until the debt is completely paid off , which I hope as you say will be in 4 months.
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No. of Recommendations: 4
We assign a Pay Over Time limit to your Account.
We will not place any charge into a Pay Over Time
balance if it causes the total of your Pay Over Time
balances to go over your Pay Over Time limit. We
may reduce or increase this amount. We may do so
even if you pay on time and your Account is not in
default. We will tell you if we change that amount. You
must pay in full upon receipt of your billing statement
all charges that are not placed into a Pay Over Time
balance.


So - there is a maximum amount that you are allowed to 'pay over time' and when you reach that limit, or a charge would put you over the limit, you don't get to 'pay over time' any more - you must be pay off as part of the current charges in the next month's minimum payment.

A charge is eligible if it equals or is more than a
certain dollar amount. We will tell you this amount
when you enroll, and it is subject to change. We
will tell you if we change it. Certain charges are not
eligible, such as cash and similar transactions.
.
.
.
We may change which charges are eligible
to be placed into a Pay Over Time balance.


Charges must be a certain minimum amount to be allowed to be put into the 'pay over time' account. If the charge is less than $25, for instance, Amex may want the money all at once. Not all charges are eligible to be 'paid over time' - for example, Amex may allow plane tickets/airline charges to be paid over time, but they don't allow charges at a casino or purchases of traveler's checks to be paid over time, because they consider these 'similar to cash'. (I have no idea if this is how Amex treats these merchant categories, or if there are other things that Amex considers 'similar to cash' or otherwise ineligible - you would have to get the specifics from Amex.)

My minimums have been more or less $1000 - sometimes a bit more, sometimes a bit less. In January my minimum was $4000! Talk about scrambling.

So, my guess is what happened is that you made enough in new charges in December to max out your 'pay over time' allowance, plus another $3000; that you had enough in small transactions (below the minimum 'pay over time' threshold) to add up to $3000; or else you made $3000 in charges that were ineligible to be put into the 'pay over time' account. (Or some combination of these 3 issues.) In January, having that $3000 in December charges that were not put into the 'pay over time' account required you to pay the minimum $1000 (+/-) that you had been paying on your 'pay over time' balance, plus the $3000, which is how you got to a $4000 minimum in January.

Assuming no curve balls, my goals is to pay them $3500/month until the debt is completely paid off , which I hope as you say will be in 4 months.

If you aren't making any new charges, your minimum payment should remain at or below the $1000 per month - depending on how Amex figures the minimum payment on the 'pay over time' account. If you can pay $3500/month, then you should be able to pay it all off in about 4 months, more or less - depending on your actual balance and interest charges.

AJ
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No. of Recommendations: 1
Which variety of AMEX card do you have? I have the Amex Blue Cash, and it acts just like any other credit card and is a revolving credit card. Might you have one of their charge cards, which are different, and as I recall, required all the charges to be paid in full each month? This was the standard for corporate cards used for travel and such, and it sounds like you might have some sort of hybrid between a charge card and a credit card. And that would explain the minimums changing so much and the way they seem to put the charges into Pay Over Time vs. Pay Now.
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No. of Recommendations: 1
My minimums have been more or less $1000 - sometimes a bit more, sometimes a bit less. In January my minimum was $4000! Talk about scrambling.

So, my guess is what happened is that you made enough in new charges in December to max out your 'pay over time' allowance, plus another $3000; that you had enough in small transactions (below the minimum 'pay over time' threshold) to add up to $3000; or else you made $3000 in charges that were ineligible to be put into the 'pay over time' account. (Or some combination of these 3 issues.) In January, having that $3000 in December charges that were not put into the 'pay over time' account required you to pay the minimum $1000 (+/-) that you had been paying on your 'pay over time' balance, plus the $3000, which is how you got to a $4000 minimum in January.


The thing is is that I didnt make any new charges. My amex had been my preferred card because of the points, but because I was using it so much, they imposed a credit limit, a few hundred more than my balance. So for the past 7-8 months or so, I set it aside. The payments due were anywhere from 1000-3000 with the bump of 4000 in January. Recently, it has been 1100ish. This month just 800 actually. In any case, over the last year, there was no heavy charging with the card, so I should not have any large min payments due. In any case, even if I do, it means I pay the card off that much faster.

Once i'm done with this debt, i will solicit the boards advice on trimming my cards back. I have one amex, three chase, two bank of americas, one cap one, a GE capital, and a citicard. Its a little crazy. But that's a task for another day, when i get down to zero.
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amex platinum. i have had this card for the last 7 or 8 years. It comes with a hefty annual fee which at that the time was worth it to me because it granted me access to several airport lounges and I was traveling quite a bit for work. It started out as a charge card with pay over time for just travel, then the pay over time category expanded to include groceries and every day expenses.
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No. of Recommendations: 3
The thing is is that I didnt make any new charges. My amex had been my preferred card because of the points, but because I was using it so much, they imposed a credit limit, a few hundred more than my balance. So for the past 7-8 months or so, I set it aside. The payments due were anywhere from 1000-3000 with the bump of 4000 in January.

Then they may have decreased the credit limit that they allowed you in December or January. They do say in the terms:

We assign a Pay Over Time limit to your Account.
.
.
.
We may reduce or increase this amount.


Is it possible that they sent you a notification (or put it in the fine print on your statement*) that your 'pay over time' limit was decreasing, and you either missed the notification, or didn't understand the implications of the reduction?

AJ

* My Amex card statement is the longest statement of all of my cards - even if I only charge one thing or just make a payment and don't charge anything, it always seems like it's 6 or 8 pages - with lots of fine print.
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No. of Recommendations: 3
As someone who went through this long journey - don't let the downs get you down. There will be more occasions where it will feel two steps forward and one step back.

Just keep moving forward.

It just seems in life there is always that unexpected $2000 here and $500 there. It's just life.
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