Fighting the Battle Against Credit Card Debt…

Posted: February 7, 2008 in attitude, credit card debt, credit card diet, credit cards, debt

We have been fighting an uphill battle against credit card debt since we first got married almost four years ago.  Facing over $16,000 in credit card debt (costing us over $500/month) we took a big step last July and cut our credit cards into tiny little pieces.  So how are we doing now thus far?

Well, we’ve managed to pay a bit more than the minimum payment each month on all our credit cards.  However, it seems between car repairs ($1,500 worth last month alone) and other essential spending the extra income we NEED to  use to pay off the credit card balances is eaten up in advance.  Our budget has been trimmed to spartan lows, now we are merely waiting to catch a few breaks (i.e. a couple months without costly car repairs).

Please keep our financial troubles and efforts to overcome them in your prayers.

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Comments
  1. AndrewE says:

    Paying off a credit card is like losing weight isn’t it?

    Good luck and it seems like you are doing well. Keep it up.

  2. Good luck with that. My student loans are coming due soon, so I can just imagine what it’s going to be like. Debt sucks.

    That all said, one of the best things I learned was some simple car maintenance. It’s very, very, very easy to fix your own brakes. Advance Auto Parts charges $34 for the brake pads. A mechanic charges $200 for the job. Yeah, I think a few hours of my time is worth $170!

    If you can change a tire, you can change our own brakes.

    (My next project will be changing my rotors by myself.)

    Changing your own oil is really easy. Sure, you only save about $5 or $10 by doing it yourself, but you save more if you need a synthetic (I think I save $15 by buying the oil at Wal-Mart and doing it myself). It only takes about 15 or 20 minutes, once you figure it out.

    Sure, a lot of car repairs (like engine or transmission work) is nearly impossible to do without special equipment and knowledge, but I figure that the money I save on oil, brakes, and coolant (oh, that’s one of my next projects) can be allocated elsewhere.

  3. Well unless you know how to fix a busted water pump, leaking engine intake, and several other problems it wouldn’t have helped much

  4. Neil says:

    Will do! Keep up the focus and the good work. It will pay off. We had a $3,000 transmission problem a couple months back. D’oh!

  5. See, though, you save money on the stuff you can do yourself, and that helps with everything else. :p

    Neil,

    Why not just get a new transmission? At one point, I had a $3,000 engine problem that was solved for $1,200 by… getting a new engine. 🙂

  6. Neil says:

    I wasn’t clear – the $3k was for a new transmission with warranty. A rebuilt one was over $2k, so I went for the new one.

  7. Scotti says:

    Congratulations!! That is so awesome that you have cut up your cards. We worked hard for some time to pay off all our debt and cut up our credit cards. Have you read Dave Ramsey’s book – Financial Peace? I highly recommend it. We started with an emergency fund before working on the debt. That should be the first step. You may need to keep making the min. payments on cc until your emergency fund is in place. The value of this fund should be 3-6 month of your essential expenses. This is what you use for those unexpected items like car repairs, loss of income, etc. We also now have a budget line item for car maintainance so we save a little each month for future car repairs and a budget line item for emergency fund replenishment. Prayer is vital in this process because once you start being a good steward of what the Lord has given you, you are sure to be attacked. This happened to us as well (everything hit us at once – such as A/C unit going out in the middle of a Texas summer). Don’t give up. You are off to an amazing start.

    God Bless,
    Scotti

  8. […] unknown wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptWe have been fighting an uphill battle against credit card debt since we first got married almost four years ago. Facing over $16000 in credit card debt (costing us over $500/month) we took a big step last July and cut our credit cards … […]

  9. Angie says:

    It is hard to climb out of the C.C. trap.

    Dave Ramsey”s programs are great.

    Personally I think the Credit card companies are run like loan sharking with the mob.
    It should be illegal with some of their shenanigans!

    Good luck, you are doing great with them. Know it seems like a long uphill battle but youall will get there.

  10. Vilma Perez says:

    Hey John…. so sorry you’ve been feeling sick & congrats on cutting up the cards! Hubby and I are going on our 2 year anniversary in May and we too entered our marriage with debt of our own. It is my mission (i’m trying to get hubby on board) to live debt free. We are currenlty trying to implement the Debt Snowball method & we should be out of all debt excep student loans in 3 years.

    You & wifey will be in my thoughts & prayers.

    ~ Vilma

  11. Thanks Vilma. I can’t wait to experience the feeling of being “debt free.”

  12. Randy says:

    John,
    Haven’t visited your site in a while (sorry) and just got to this item.

    Credit cards are a mess. Others have pointed to Dave Ramsey, he’s great. 2-5pm eastern time, or download his show for podcasts. You can listen on the web or local radio in some markets.

    One approach he uses would fit you well. That’s the snow-ball approach. List your debts (Credit cards) smallest to largest. Make minimum payments on all but the smallest. Pay as much as you can on that one until it’s gone. Then tackle the next.

    The short term reward is like losing 2 pounds the first week of a diet. It builds confidence. The interest rate differences between cards doesn’t matter near as much as getting 1 or 2 out of the way.

    Good luck. Keep posting about your progress.

  13. Luella says:

    With your experience, when you look back, do you think credit cards are a bless or curse?
    I spend money just too easily.

  14. While they got us through some rough times, they came with a high price. Although part of that is largely my fault for wrecking my credit while I was in college.

    Like anything us in life their offer benefits, but those benefits come with responsibility. Sadly I enjoyed the benefits long before I had a sense of the responsibility. That is why I plan on giving our daughter a secured credit card when she turns 15 so she can get some experience with a credit card that has small spending limits tied to her own contributions.

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