A Story About Paying Off Debt and the Obstacles Along the Way

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Waiting On A Raise, and Credit Card Plans

Tomorrow, Fortysomething will find out if he'll get a raise next year, and if so, how much. I'm going to assume they'll give him at least a cost-of-living raise, but we'll see. This is his first year in this position. We don't know exactly what to expect. But even a small raise would be appreciated, and a more significant raise of a few thousand dollars would go a long, long way towards us getting out of debt faster.

Ready-for-summer vibes
Speaking of which, I am JONESING to get the last credit card paid off. The current balance is at a little over $9100. We've been making payments of $405/month for the past couple of months while we build up our emergency fund. I see the balance decreasing, but the rate at which this is happening seems soooooo slowwwwww.

The pace should pick up soon, though, because Fortysomething has some summertime side hustles lined up to the tune of ~$4000. There's also a decent chance I'll get a small bonus of $500 or so in July, and rumor has it that Fortysomething will land a bonus soon, too. Like the raise, the details are fuzzy, but I'll estimate another $500.

All told, between summer work and bonuses alone - not including our regular monthly payments - I'm hoping we'll be able to reduce our total credit card debt to at least $4000 by the time school starts up again in the middle of August. At that point, our emergency fund will be in good shape, and we'll be making regular credit card payments of $1000 a month.

That means that all of our credit card debt should be gone for good by the middle of autumn. I CANNOT WAIT. 

To me, this particular credit card (which we unlovingly refer to as Credit Card #3) constitutes the most difficult part of our debt elimination journey. It has the highest interest rate of all our remaining debts, and of our three credit cards - two of which are now gone! - it has the highest balance. Of course we'll still be dealing with student loans once the credit cards are obliterated, but we'll be able to make a dent in those at a much faster pace, especially if we can refinance Fortysomething's student loan and reduce his interest rate by a few percentage points.

Also, for those who have asked, we ARE considering a balance transfer to a 0% interest credit card. Chase Freedom Unlimited looks particularly promising, so if you have any experience with this one, let us know.



  1. That sounds awesome - what a great way to end out the year...knocking a card out of the lineup.

    I have used three balance transfer offers on my way out of debt: Chase Slate, CitiSimplicity, and BankofAmerica. The three things to factor in and prioritize (in whichever way makes sense for you) are 1) fees to transfer (both the Chase and BoA cards had no fee), 2) length of 0% term (I think the Chase one was the longest 21 months...but if you have a solid plan to be done with this card in the next six months, any of them will be fine for you), and 3) interest rate after promotional term ends (There seems to be an inverse relationship between transfer fee and rate after promotion ends, but I didn't pay much attention to this because it was always my plan to either have the balance paid off before it expired or else, failing that, take advantage of another balance offer).

    It was only once I started doing this that I really made significant headway with my debt. What I did was take the offer and then immediately destroy the card. I then calculated out how much I needed to pay each month in order to have it paid off before the end of the "free" period. Aside from the one fee I paid for the CitiSimplicity transfer (3% of the balance), I have paid a penny of interest on any of the credit card debt in almost 2 years.

    You really should go for it.

  2. Extra $ would really push your snowball ahead. As for doing credit card balance transfers, I have no problem with it. Hubs and I started doing so about 8 months into our journey, and that is where we really started gaining traction. As long as you can be responsible and not use the new cards (or charge up the old ones!) I say go for it!