Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Chase Card #1 Update

Love love love that right now 100% of my payment goes to the balance. I will really hate when this ZERO interest promotion runs out. Paid another $131 on this balance during September, leaving a balance of $6,434.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Bank VISA September update

Just got the statement in the mail today for the Bank VISA. New balance is $3,564.01. Hopefully, there will be more progress on this debt next month!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

A "No-Change" Update on Chase Card #2

As I said before, I am only paying the interest charge and the current charges on this card right now. At least that way, paying the current charges as they are incurred meets the minimum payment and the balance is not going up. This month's statement shows a balance of $3598.75.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Holding my breath

Even though experts don't anticipate the Fed to raise interest rates until sometime in 2010, I still hold my breath every month until they announce the results of their meeting. An increase in the prime rate would really hurt my efforts to pay down this debt! Just a couple more hours until I know whether I can breath a little easier for yet another month.

The Grand Totals

So there it is all laid out for the world to see! The starting balance of $396,113.59 that has been ever so slightly reduced to $392,069.89. I have a long way to go!!!!!

The Money Market Loan

The last loan to list is not owed to anyone except myself. It was borrowed from my Money Market account to pay off a credit card balance a couple of years ago. Because I'm insane, I refuse to admit that I used money from my emergency fund for anything other than an emergency so I keep track of it. Like I said, I'm insane. But if someone handed me $110,000 today I would pay myself back.

The current balance of this debt is $4,711.50.

Kroger Credit Card

Other than the HELOC, this one is currently the one I'm most driven to see a zero balance on. Is it because it has the lowest balance? Is it because I'm ticked they raised my interest rate from 7.49% to 11.24%? I don't know, but I'm the most mad at this one and have the crosshairs of my scope set on it.

I still use this card at least twice a week, but I am now transferring the amount that has been charged every two or three days. In fact, last week I think I had a payment posted to this card every day during the week! The good thing about this strategy is that if I can get the balance low enough where I am paying (using my current spending) throughout the month the amount of the last statement balance or more, I won't incur ANY interest charges. It's still a little too high for me to do that since I use this card only for groceries and gasoline at Kroger. I do earn some rewards on groceries and a 15 cent off per gallon on each fill up of gasoline. Hopefully, next month I won't have to pay interest on this card.

The current balance is $958.23.


I opened a new checking account at a local bank recently, and they of course offered me their VISA with a ZERO promotional rate and a decent rate after the promotional period that is tied to the prime rate.

This account is so new, I don't really have any progress to show. The current balance is $3,575.78.

The Capital One Pet

Dave Ramsey has a quote about credit cards that hang around so long you think they're a pet! That is certainly where this one falls. I think we've owed on this longer than our youngest child has been alive...maybe even longer than our oldest child!!!

This is another one though that is not too high on my radar screen. The interest is fixed 4.99% because I opted out of a change in terms a couple of years ago. So once the card is paid off according to the original terms the account will be closed. The minimum payment is almost nothing, so I'm only paying about $11 towards the balance each month.

Thirty days ago, the balance was $1,129.26. The most recent statement showed a balance of $1,118.16. I calculated that at this rate, we'll have this paid off in 8 years. *sigh*

Chase Credit Card #2

This is probably the account I've had open the longest. It has had a pretty decent rewards program, but I did receive notice they are changing the rewards program at the end of October, so any benefits will be significantly reduced.

This one is not too high on my radar list to tackle. I'm just trying to pay the interest each month and pay off what I'm currently charging on the card. It carries an interest rate of 11.99%.

Thirty days ago, the balance was $3,620.62. The most recent statement showed a balance of $3,599.17. I don't expect to see a whole lot of movement on this debt for quite some time.

Chase Credit Card #1

Listing out these debts is about as depressing as all the rain we've been having lately. But I know that if you draw a line in the sand, don't acquire any more debt, and keep making payments (however minimum they might be), eventually there will be progress.

Chase Card #1 is the result of a balance transfer from another credit card late in the year of 2008. I have been making the minimum 2% payments each month. And lucky for me, the card is still at ZERO interest until January, 2010. At the time I signed up it was supposed to switch to a fixed 6.99% rate in January 2010. But with all the changes in the credit card industry this year, I'm not sure if they have changed the terms. I haven't been reading those inserts too closely since I really don't have any options except just to ride it out and pay it off.

Thirty days ago, the balance was $6,698. Currently, it is $6,565. And I will be transferring another payment in just a few more days. So maybe then we'll see a little more movement on the ticker line.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Oh Joy!

Just finished reading an article about saving for retirement. Based on my age and the current balances in 401K and IRAs, I need to be saving 18% of my salary. That is absolutely impossible until ALL these debts are paid off!!!

Where do you stand on retirement? Is it even a possibility?


I'd always heard that Home Equity Loans (HEL) were just missing the last "L" in their name. And that's truly how I've turned to feel about mine.

I need to remember the good things about this HELOC. It was only because we had LOTS of untapped equity in the old house that we were able to tap this to buy our new home. A whole different story about how we found and ended up buying the house we now live in, but it never would have been possible if the HELOC had not already been set up on the prior residence. Also, it's a superb minus 0.5%. So for the past few months it's been at 2.75% interest only. Good things, right?

So why is this loan my scary one? What if interest rates skyrocket before I get the first mortgage on this property paid off? I really cannot afford for the rental property NOT to cash flow every month. The budget is way too tight to be pumping more money into it. Also, because this property is no longer our residence, the interest on this loan is mostly non-deductible. By following the interest tracing rules, I will be able to deduct a small portion of the interest. And that's no big deal when interest is at 2.75%, but what if interest rates go back to where they were in the early 80's? Anyone else remember 13% and 14% on mortgages? Personally, I think it might be on our horizon given the actions of the Federal Government in recent months.

Am I just borrowing trouble? Maybe or maybe not. I have been able to knock about $10K off this balance with some distributions from my mother-in-law's estate. She passed away this spring. And my husband had committed a portion of his inheritance to pay towards this loan when we made the decision to max it out and buy our new home.

Thirty days ago, the principal balance was $92,711.42. We have since paid $3,000.00 (from funds received from my mother-in-law's estate), $9.00 survey income from Opinion Outpost, and a monthly interest payment. The principal balance today is $89,702.42.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Another Mortgage

This is the mortgage on the rental property. It used to be our residence until we moved into our current home. We tried to sell the place, but in six months never even got an offer. Now I'm glad we didn't. I had lived there for 17 years, and once the kids are grown and gone and school districts don't mean as much to me, we might move back there. It's smaller and much easier to maintain. And as of right now, we have wonderful tenants. Last month's mortgage balance of $27.723.90 is manageable. The last time I refinanced I put it on a 10 year note with a fixed 4.5% interest rate. It will be paid off in about 4 years and the last payment knocked $528.23 off the principal balance. Today I owe $27,195.67. The only thing that worries me about this one is those two or three days at the beginning of the month waiting for the rent income to show up in my mailbox!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Time to List my Sins

I'm going to start with the largest debt, the primary mortgage. I actually don't even really mind this one. It's directly related to our home, and when I refinanced in April, 2009 the payment dropped over $200 a month. The good news is that I got a 4.5% fixed rate. The bad news is that there are 29 years, 8 months remaining. The balance is now $254,643.96.

I said before that I started tracking all these debts 30 days ago when the balance was $254,984.88 so $340.92 of the last payment was applied to principal.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

It's time to face reality!

Yep! I actually faced the reality about 30 days ago. But the realization that digging my way out of this hole I've created is going to take a very long time has prompted me to start this blog about my journey back to a firmer financial foundation. My debt load is staggering. At least it is staggering to me. So much that I ignored it for many months. I didn't do a written budget. I just kept using the credit cards. I wasn't conscious about how many hours I chose to devote to my income-producing work. I was half-heartedly using my grocery shopping and couponing skills.

For thirty days I have followed a written budget, paid off each credit card charge within a day of the transaction, and am much more diligent about the time I'm devoting to my business. I can only hope that one day I will look back on this blog and actually see progress.