Reader Shrinks Credit Card Debt

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This post comes from Jen at Money Talks friend blog We’re on a Budget.

In April of this year I wrote the post below. I am happy to say that effective Nov. 19, 2010, I made my FINAL payment on my last credit card and am now 100-percent credit card debt free! In less than one year I managed to rid myself of almost $10,000 in credit card debt. Granted, a bit of sacrifice was required, but the relief I feel after ridding myself of this huge burden is well worth it. Here’s to living on a CASH basis. My new motto is: If I can’t pay for it with CASH now then it I don’t NEED it! To learn how I did it read on …

Original Post: April 2010

You make your minimum credit card payment every month and the balance never seems to go down. That’s because making the minimum payment ensures that you will be paying that credit card for many, many years to come. Check out the scenario below based on one of my credit cards. Yes, the interest rate is insanely high, I know! Despite my decent credit rating, the credit card company decided to jack my interest rate from 9 percent to 26.24 percent last year. Why, you ask? I have no idea: I assume it’s simply because THEY CAN. Needless to say that card is CLOSED and no longer usable, yay me!

Balance: $3,961
Interest Rate: 26.24 percent
Minimum Payment: $130

If I continue making just the minimum payment it will take me 17 years to payoff this card. That’s right, that’s not a typo – 17 years! I will have paid $6,440 in interest, nearly double the principal amount that I owe. Is that insane or what?

After reading Life or Debt 2010, the book that saved my life and bank account, I kid you not, I discovered a method for eliminating my debt and avoiding 17 years of minimum payments and more than $6,000 in interest. To get full details you’re going to have to read the book for yourself, which I highly recommend. To give you the gist of it, the method is a snowball effect. You attack one item of debt at a time, starting with the smallest and working your way up to the largest. Every time you pay off one item, you move onto the next larger item and add whatever you were paying on the previous item to the payment for the next item in line. I know that sounds confusing. Read the book: The author explains it much better than I do!

So let’s say instead of making the minimum payment of $130 per month on the card in the earlier scenario, I attack it with a $600 payment each month. The results are astounding! By making a payment of $600 per month, the card will be completely paid off in 8 months and I will have paid only $263.68 in interest. That’s a savings of $6,176.32 in interest! Yes, making a $600 a month payment is a bit tough and requires discipline, planning, and cutting back on non-essentials, but with those kind of results how can I not? Don’t take my word for it, see how many years and dollars you can save yourself with this Debt Reduction Calculator from CNN Money. Then go get Life or Debt 2010. To save money, do what I do: Use the most important piece of plastic in your wallet. No, it’s not a credit card!

Thanks for the story, Jen! If anyone else out there has a story about destroying debt, I’d love to see it – even if you did it without reading Life or Debt!
– Stacy

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