Leave of Absence

This morning my laptop’s network card died. Sadly, it was a very sudden and unexpected death. The timing of things is very interesting.

Last week – my husband’s desktop died (4 years old)
This week – my laptop’s network card died (5 years old)
Ongoing – my cell phone is freezing up and I expect it to die at any time (3 years old)
Ongoing – our tv display is slowly dying, pixel by pixel (20 years old)

We still have a number of computers around the house, since my husband is an IT guy and seems to collect these things. I have a Dell Mini and an HP Tablet, but neither of them are my primary workhorse. My husband still has his work laptop, which is good because otherwise he wouldn’t be able to work from home anymore.

We really, really want to replace some of the dying electronics. We shopped around for a television and blu-ray player at Christmas but decided to wait until we paid off our last credit card. Then the computers started dying. We wavered a bit on replacing them but decided that we are going to remain faithful to our financial plan of paying off the last credit card. Lord willing, provided the dentist appointment next week is routine, we should send in our last credit card payment in six weeks.

I am very excited that we are so close to being out of credit card debt! I am also mourning the loss of my primary laptop. The two emotions are conflicting but the desire to be out of debt is stronger.

However… I will be posting very little until I am able to replace my laptop. I love the Dell Mini’s size, but it is a pain to type on. I have lost access to my RSS feeds and thus will not be able to keep up with everyone’s posts. Productivity around the house should be very high without ready internet access and without the distraction of fiction books!

I’ll be back as soon as I can. Until then, stay safe and have a wonderful January!

Done! Complete! Finished!

I interrupt this normally scheduled Nano time to bring the following important announcement:

We have paid off our lowest balance credit card!!!

I sent the final payment this morning.

We have paid $1,589.25 since August 30th. Our goal was to pay off this card before November 30th and we are 4 weeks early. Wahoo!!!!

If we had paid only the minimums, it would have taken 60 months to pay off this card. Under our current interest rate, we would have paid $403 in interest over the next 60 months. The $403 doesn’t even include the hike in interest that our credit card recently informed us about. Instead, we paid $21.23, for a savings of $381.77.

Hubby and I both need to visit the dentist ($95 each just for an exam and x-rays!) and we’re also planning on diverting some of our snowball into savings. We are very gun shy about employment as we’ve suffered several layoffs in the past 18 months and would like to build up a bigger emergency fund. So we’ll be taking a few days to discuss our next financial goal and then I’ll post about what’s next.

One. More. Week.

$699.82 starting balance
– $256.59 snowball payment
+ $8.67 interest
– $164.00 contract paycheck

= $287.90 current balance (82% paid)

Total paid in October: $999.37 If I had realized we were that close to an even thousand, I would have found the extra 63 cents! Oh, well.

I didn’t even realize we could find that much money to send the credit card company. A good portion of that money is from my contract job so it’s too bad that my hours are so unpredictable. It will be hard to duplicate months like October because I can’t predict my hours and I am paid a month after completing the work.

Woohoo!! Another week and that credit card will be gone! Adios. Sayonara. We don’t ever want to see you again!

We’ve also reached another milestone. Our consumer debt is now 50% paid. We owe about $21,000 but we’ve paid just over $21,000. The numbers are way too big and each month doesn’t make much of a dent. But we’re at the half way point and are slowly chipping away at it!

Blessings of the financial kind

God is so very good and I am so very proud of my hubby!

Hubby met with his boss today to discuss his job performance and how hubby feels about the company thus far. He walked away with a raise and a bonus! Praise the Lord!

Hubby’s boss also gave him a $50 gift card to the Olive Garden so that hubby can take me out on a date. It’s the boss’ way of saying “thanks and I’m sorry” for taking up a good portion of our evenings and weekends in October. Hurray! We’ve never spent that much money at the Olive Garden. This means we’ll be able to get an appetizer, two entrees, and dessert! What a treat!

2/3 complete

$703.48 starting balance
– $3.66 half.com payment

= $699.82 current balance (66% paid)

We’re making progress!

This upcoming week, my paycheck will clear the bank and that payment will be sent to the credit card. That should be another $160. We’re so close I can taste it. Thanksgiving will be oh, so sweet because we will be slaves to one less lender.

Change in terms!

We’ve reached another financial roadblock. Yesterday we received a letter from the bank saying that one of our credit card interest rates is going up to 19.24% (variable, of course). We’ve done nothing to warrant this change. We’ve made all payments on time, haven’t gone over the credit limit, etc. This is the same credit card that we are trying to pay off by the end of November. Coincidentally, the interest rate change will go into effect on December 1.

So far, this doesn’t sound like a problem since the card will be paid in full. We were hoping to receive or apply for a balance transfer rate on this credit card because it is currently our lowest interest rate. Now it will be our highest. Balance transfers to this card would not be beneficial at a higher interest rate, even if the balance transfer is 0% for six months. Our plan was to transfer a balance from a higher rate card and then let the balance at 0% interest sit while we aggressively paid off a higher rate card. That’s not going to happen now.

I’ve seen numerous articles that say that some banks are now starting to charge fees if the user does not charge anything to the account or annual fees regardless of usage. The new credit card legislation (link is a pdf) goes into effect in February and I’m afraid the banks are trying to take advantage of the last few months before they are restricted. I’m really nervous that we’re going to be getting rate increase notices on all four of our credit cards.

Now we have to decide – do we close the accounts for which we receive notice of increased interest rates? Keeping the accounts open and facing increased interest rates is going to hurt our finances. Closing the accounts and taking the hit on the our credit scores is also going to hurt but only if we try to apply for credit. I hate credit cards and regret the mistakes I’ve made with them.

Over the halfway point!

$1,028.48 starting balance
– $25.00 minimum payment
– $300.00 snowball payment

= $703.48 current balance (65% paid!!)

It feels good to make some real progress this week. We owe less than a thousand dollars!

I hate that the bank will only allow me to make payments every three days. I probably need to start making one payment a week instead of sending multiple smaller payments. The $300.00 payment hits our account on Monday because I had to schedule it in the future due to having just made the minimum payment. It doesn’t seem fair that the bank can charge interest on my daily balance but I can only send payments every three days. That’s just a bit lopsided in their favor.

For this upcoming week, I should be receiving a paycheck for my contract work shortly. As far as I know, that will be the only payment for the week. The only other possibility is the mail in rebate for our tire purchases but I don’t expect that check in the immediate future. The fine print stated that rebates can take up to six weeks and I mailed in the paperwork a week ago.

We are in route to having this credit card paid off by the end of November, which was our goal. I am very excited and can’t wait to see one less bill each month.

One third complete

$1,278.60 starting balance
– $244.00 contract paycheck
– $6.12 half.com payment

= $1,028.48 current balance (35.3% paid)

When we started aggressively paying off this credit card, Bankrate calculated that it would take 60 months to eliminate the balance. Calculating our current balance, Bankrate now states that it will take only 36 months of minimum payments. In only 6 weeks, we have eliminated two years of minimum payments! Every little bit really does help.

First time for everything

What a great day of firsts!

  • First day we’ve not turned on the air conditioning since June. I hope it stays that way!
  • First time I’ve filled out a Citizen Survey for my city.
  • First time I’ve gone shopping at Walmart at 5AM. Great customer service and the store is perfectly clean.
  • First time I’ve applied to participate in a credit card program. Earn 20% of any balance paid above the minimum for the next three billing cycles. I can’t use the card (no worries there) and my credit line will be reduced by the amount paid above the minimum. I had called to find out why my interest rate was raised 1.75% and they offered this instead. I applied, but hubby and I discussed this program and decided we won’t take advantage of it. Because the payments are applied to lowest interest rates first and we recently transferred a balance to this card at a much lower rate, we would actually be losing money by paying off the 1.9% interest instead of the 10.24% card we’re paying on now.

We might be visiting another small art museum for the first time tonight. It depends on how tired we are after doing the last bit of grocery shopping at the farmer’s market.

The balance grew…

I meant to post this yesterday but I fell asleep at 6:30 last night and woke up at 6:30 this morning!

We made NO progress on the credit card last week. I have a feeling that the first week of each month will be the one that we are unable to make a payment. Hubby gets paid at the end of each month but most of our bills are due within the first 10 days of the month.

$1,266.04 starting balance
+ $12.56 interest

= $1278.60 current balance (19.6% paid)

This week will be much better. I was paid on Friday but I’m waiting for the check to clear the bank. As soon as that clears, I’ll be sending a payment.

Our snowball will also be affected this month as our car wouldn’t start on Sabbath and we found out our battery needed to be replaced. We missed church. That’s another $100 we’ve had to put into the car. Combine the new battery purchase with the new tires and we’ve paid almost $550 into car maintenance in less that two weeks! The beauty of it all is that we have an emergency fund (for the battery; the tires were budgeted) and haven’t had to use the credit cards. God is very good!