Balancing balance tranfers + Debt snowball progress for May 2015

Earlier this year, I got my first balance transfer card in hopes of paying the bill in full before the 0% interest promotion ends in April 2016.

Well, I took advantage of another promotion. My main bank mailed a promotional offer to get 0% APR on balance transfers and direct deposits through November 2016. Initially, I just threw the paper aside. Then the bill for a major surgery arrived. I needed $1,800 and credit seemed like my only option. Previous medical bills had eaten most my HSA and regular savings.

balance transfer processSo I called up the bank to learn more about he offer. The representative, Denise, was so helpful. We talked for 40 minutes. She helped me understand the conditions of the promotional offer, talked about her past issues with credit and gave advice on how to repay my credit card debt.

Denise said she was trying to keep up with the Joneses in Atlanta. She was charging purses and whatnot on her credit cards to look fly. Before she knew it, she had a major problem/ Just like me, she took advantage of balance transfers with 0% APR promotions to climb out of debt.

I decided to go ahead and get a direct deposit to pay for my surgery. Denise said she knows so many people who are using credit to pay off medical expenses.

I told her about the credit cards I’m paying off. Then she asked how much interest I was paying on a store card. When I told her, she was like, “Girl, go ahead and transfer that balance to this card.” She said it doesn’t make sense to continue to pay that high interest rate, when you can use this offer to pay if off without accruing interest until November 2016.”

Then she asked if I had more questions.

“Could you lower my interest rate?”, I asked.

“I’m so glad you asked,” she replied.

It cracked me up because although I’d read about asking for interest rate reductions, I hadn’t asked in such a long time. “Clothes mouths don’t get fed on the boulevard.”

Denise lowered my interest rate on that credit card and another card, which I’ve paid in full and haven’t used since, by 3 points each. She also gave me an extra year on the promotion and

With the direct deposit, I essentially created more debt. I hate that notion, but I realize that what’s more important is that I have a decent plan to pay it off in a decent fashion.

I’ve reworked by debt snowball plan, leaving out student loans. That’s a whole ‘nother can of worms. According to my calculations, I can get out of credit card debt in a year and 2 months—so before my 30th birthday. What a gift that would be!

Debt Snowball Progress May 2015

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Mid-Year Financial Check-Up | Progress on 2015 goals

Wow! I haven’t blogged since late January.

What happened? Love happened…well, a little bit. I started dating a handsome guy and reading everything about love and relationships. And I just got lazy. My cares about personal finance blogging took a backseat.

But I’m getting back on track with reading and writing about money. And I feel as if I’m on track in regards to my goals.

Let’s revisit the financial goals I set at the beginning of 2015:

  • Save $53 per pay period to have an additional $1378 in the emergency fund by the end of the year –> I have been automatically saving that money each pay period. I’ve had to use some of those savings for big purchases, but that’s what it’s there for.
  • Learn more about investing by reading at least one book or completing an online tutorial quarterly –> I haven’t kept this up, but I look forward to catching up.
  • Reset Roth IRA contributions to contribute at least $100 per month –> I reset my Roth IRA contributions, but to $50 a month. I decided to put more money toward debt repayment for now.
  • Pay off two of the three remaining credit cards in full using the Debt Dash or snowball method –> I will pay off the first of those three cards in June. I should repay the second card by the end of the year.
  • Pay at least one extra student loan payment within the year by making a small extra payment each month –> I decided to put more money toward repaying higher-interest consumer debt instead of toward low-interest student loans.

Seeing some progress is better than seeing none. At one point, I never thought I’d finish paying off credit card No. 1. It was a card I got for car repairs. The card allowed promotional purchases in which you wouldn’t incur any interest for six months. But when those six months were over, the 29.99% interest kicked in. Woo!

So finally seeing a balance of about $2,100 (near the $2,500 limit) in June 2014 go down to a couple hundred bucks (MY LAST PAYMENT) is a huge feat. I’m excited to roll that payment into the payment for Card No. 2 and paying it off before the interest kicks in March 2016. Also, I think I’ve saved enough so that I won’t have to use the card again. Progress, people! Progress!