Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Big News!

I have never said on here our actually amount of Credit Card debt. We only have a couple cards, our MasterCard through our bank, my Ann Taylor MasterCard from when I worked there, and our Military Star (Military Exchange Credit Card). We only ever used one, our bank MasterCard, but boy did we use it! I was so excited and proud when they raised our limit to $8,500 when I was only 21 years old! I can remember thinking "Wow, they must think really highly of me if they'll 'give' me that much money!" WRONG! What was I thinking? They didn't GIVE me any money, but that's how I saw it. It was mine-it had my name on it and I could use it as I wanted. And no, they didn't think highly of me. They were hoping I wouldn't pay it in full so they could charge me interest. And I totally proved them right.

But today, a year after starting my blog and 6 months into our Total Money Makeover I am ready to confess our credit card balance. On the first page of my Money Binder, in a sheet protector is a printed statement from January 20, 2009. The balance was $6,700 and change. Do I need to wait for you to catch your breath? But wait-that wasn't the highest it's been! At one point it was $8,046. That number STILL makes me sick to think about. But why am I confessing today? BECAUSE YESTERDAY I PAID IT OFF IN FULL. Yes! In less then a year, on one income and at the ripe old age of 24 we are credit card debt free.

We were able to accomplish this by making a couple changes. First, in November of 2008 we committed to stop charging things we couldn't pay for. Now, this doesn't mean we haven't used the card, because we have. For example, my brother is in the Navy, stationed in VA and I always help him book his plane tickets. I use my credit card to purchase them and he writes me a check when he gets here, which I then use to pay the credit card. So the key is that even if you use it, to PAY IT OFF. Secondly, we stopped adding to our savings. At first that thought scared the crap out of me. In the first recession of my adult life, I stopped saving money. Instead, I put that money toward paying off that credit card. When I really say down and thought about it, it made complete sense. I was saving money, that was making me 2% interest, which WASTING money by being charged 9% interest on the credit card balance. I was paying up to $50 a month on a finance charge, while making pennies on my savings account. (I do agree with Dave Ramsey though, and I kept at least $1000 in savings at all time for emergencies. We were also lucky enough that David would take short deployments at work, and while gone, he tried to save as much travel money and per diem as possible to put toward our debt. His sacrifice it what made it possible to pay off that card.

I can't put into words the peace I have now that we are credit card debt free. It's a peace that sinks deep into my heart. It's wonderful to make goals for 2010 that don't include paying off a stupid credit card. We can do so much more with our money when it's not going to a credit card company.


Kelly said...

Congrats on being Credit Card Debt's a lot of hard work, but well worth it in the end!!! I can't wait til I am able to say the same!!!

CheapbyChoice said...

Congrats!!!!!!!!!!! I too am not willing to report what our credit card debt is, but we too are working on it. Great job!!!