canadiandebtgirl

Posts Tagged ‘Total Debt’

Approaching 50% of Credit Card Debt Paid Off

In Uncategorized on November 4, 2010 at 8:00 am

A milestone is near.

I will soon be halfway there: halfway to credit-card-debt-free that is!

When I began this journey, I was more than $30K in debt. And that is if you only counted my credit cards. I also have student loans, a car loan, and a mortgage that don’t get included in my debt tally – yet. Once my line of credit VISA is paid off, you will see them added into my debt repayment plan.

In only 19 months (since May 2009) I have cut that number in half. The official anticipated date for paying off Credit Card #2 will be December 10, 2010, and I will be down to one credit card balance on my line of credit at a measly rate of 5.65%. Though the remaining balance is the highest, this card has the lowest interest rate. I’m looking very forward to seeing quick progress on its repayment once I’m paying more than the minimum.

I owe all of my debt repayment calculations and motivation to this Debt Reduction Calculator. If you are only just now beginning your journey to debt free, or would even just like to see how long it really will take to pay off your mortgage, I highly suggest you go download this free Excel spreadsheet now.

I’ve got some other things I would like to give credit to for my debt repayment plan working, but I’ll save them for a separate post. 🙂

Adding to my Debt

In Uncategorized on March 16, 2010 at 11:18 am

Despite where the title of this blog post might lead your assumptions, know that this blog has primarily been about my credit card debt only.

Until now.

I love to play with my Excel spreadsheet “Debt Reduction Calculator” from vertex42. It has single handedly kept me motivated to stay on my debt repayment plan. To enter a few numbers and see the resulting debt free dates pop up gets me excited. Lame, I know. There is also a sheet that outlines the payment amounts to make to each debt every month until you are paid off. Its great! You can also enter lump sum amounts to any debt and it recalculates your payment schedule. Neato. And you can play with your plan by ranking your debts in priority order. You can snowball the payments, pay lowest balance first, or highest interest first. And you can play with the options and it spits out how much interest you will be paying in total over the lifetime of your debts. Trust me, seeing that number alone will get you motivated to pay everything down as quickly as humanly possible!

Up until two weeks ago I only had my credit card debts entered into the spreadsheet. This is because they are my primary focus right now. I am dedicated to them until they are gone forever.

I decided to go a little wild. I entered ALL of my debts. I entered my car loan, my student loans, and our mortgage. I put in all of the interest rates, monthly payment amounts, and the debt amounts. It was fun!

Ok, well seeing my debt free date get pushed back 15 years (due to mortgage amortization) wasn’t fun, but I loved to see where I would be in 3 years, 5 years, 10 years, you get it.

I took the mortgage off the calculator though because we don’t know how long we’ll actually be in this house and we consider the mortgage better than rent. Plus, our home value is higher than what we paid so let’s just pretend it doesn’t exist right now, okay? *sticks head in sand*

Anyways. All of this just to say that I’ve added 4 more debts to my repayment plan and the outcome looks good.

Credit card debt free by July 2011.
Car loan debt free by February 2012.
Free and clear of all my student loan debt by April 2013.

And that does not include any extra payments I make, any future increase in salary, or interest rate renegotiations. Which I do regularly – about every 6 months I review what interest rates are at various banks/credit cards and call and ask for consideration to lower, or an opportunity to transfer balances.

So in at max three years I will be completely debt free except for our mortgage. Hurray!

Making More Money

In Uncategorized on March 15, 2010 at 12:59 pm

One of the things Gail Vaz-Oxlade always insists on when she helps people on her show Til Debt Do Us Part (my long-time TV show crush) is that to help get yourself out of debt, you need to make more money.

I’ve known this for as long as I’ve had my debt repayment plan in place. It makes sense. You want to pay off your debt as soon as possible, as fast as possible, so you pay the least in interest and get to your DEBT FREE DAY sooner.

Well, I’ve done it!

I will be contributing an extra $400 a month to my debt. My income increased!

It just goes to show that you CAN get what you want, but you do sometimes have to suck it up and ASK for it. I sucked it up, and I asked for it, and I got exactly what I wanted.

My salary is substantially higher now, and it fits into the bracket I was at 2 years ago when I left my old job to start a new career.

Two years to climb back to where I was? Not bad!

If you recall, I posted about my D-Day back in October 2009. Back then, I was hoping I would be getting this raise, and with those hopes in place, the plan I had would have me free of debt by November 2011. You’ll see below that I have moved my debt free day up to August of 2011: a whole 3 months sooner than planned! This was as a result of the aggressive payments I made to clear Credit Card #3, and the negotiation of a lower interest rate for Credit Card #2 (from 18.5% down to 11%), and now the increase in my salary.

Credit Card #2:
Old Repayment Date: January 2011
New Repayment Date: August 2010

Credit Card #4:
Old Repayment Date: October 2012
New Repayment Date: August 2011

Old Debt Free Day: February 2012
New Debt Free Day: August 2011 – less than 17 months away!

Debt Update

In Uncategorized on January 13, 2010 at 11:19 am

It’s been awhile since I updated my debt, and this blog. For that I apologize. I don’t have any reason to give you other than that I’ve been busy (typical excuse) and that I have not been motivated to write.

My current credit card debt sits as such:

Starting Amount (April 2009):
$30,032.47
Paid Off: $9,155.12
Current Amount (January 2010): $20,877.35

I’ve paid off $9,155.12 of my debt in 9 months, or reduced my debt by 30%, on a salary of $42,000. I also contribute to our mortgage and housing costs (50%) and make regular payments on my car and student loan in addition to contributing to savings.

That makes me feel good.

My Debt

In Uncategorized on August 6, 2009 at 12:00 pm

Some of you may be wondering what exactly my debt consists of. Well if you want the WHOLE story, there is a lot more than what’s listed here because I have a car loan and a mortgage as well as my student loan and credit card debt. Yep, up to my eyeballs in debt. This is my life.

My first goal in becoming debt free is to get rid of my consumer debt. First of all, credit cards. I started out with 4. One is a line of credit, and three were issued by banks. One has since been paid off entirely – whee! – and the other three are in the snowball. The line of credit has a better interest rate so it is last on my list to get paid off, though the amount on it is really high.

I’ve been toying with the idea of lowering all credit card debts to 75% of my limits so that my credit score will go up. Since it will be taking my three years to pay it all off, I don’t want my score sitting low while I do this. All of the other stipulations for having a good score have been met. If you are curious as to what contributes to your score in Canada here are the points:

* Always pay your bills on time. Although the payment of your utility bills, such as phone, cable and electricity, is not recorded in your credit report, some cell phone companies may report late payments to the credit-reporting agencies, which could affect your score.

I do this. Each payment is made when the bill arrives.

* Try to pay your bills in full by the due date. If you aren’t able to do this, pay at least the required minimum amount shown on your monthly credit card statement.

Always make just a little more than the minimum on all my debts, with the one being focused on getting the majority of my debt repayment amount.

* Try to pay your debts as quickly as possible.

Ha! Trying my best!

* Don’t go over the credit limit on your credit card. Try to keep your balance well below the limit. The higher your balance, the more impact it has on your credit score.

I am not over any credit limit, but all are close to maxed. This is where I think I can improve by lowering the balance on all until they are all at 75%. This would change my debt repayment snowball, but I’m not sure how else to do that…?

* Reduce the number of credit applications you make. If too many potential lenders ask about your credit in a short period of time, this may have a negative effect on your score. However, your score does not change when you ask for information about your own credit report.

I haven’t had any inquiries in quite some time.

* Make sure you have a credit history. You may have a low score because you do not have a record of owing money and paying it back. You can build a credit history by using a credit card. See the next section to find out how.

Oh, I have a history all right!

What do you think?

Debt Update

In Uncategorized on July 22, 2009 at 12:30 pm

Here’s an update on my debt – finally!

Starting Amount: $30,032.47

Paid Off: $5,753.65

Current Amount: $24,278.82

Not bad, and I’m on track. I want to pay off another of my debts by the end of the year and I think I can do it. Considering I started this in May, I think I’m ahead of schedule so far!

Since I’ve paid off one card in full, I’m wondering what I should do next.
Do I close the card?
Do I maintain it by charging one thing to it per month and paying it off completely?
What is the best method to help increase my overall credit score?

Any suggestions are welcomed!

How Did I Get Into This Mess?

In Uncategorized on May 12, 2009 at 9:03 pm

Believe it or not, I monitored my progression into this debt very closely. I’ve always been the one to look after the finances in my relationships, and I’ve paid every bill on time every time. I’ve also made all my minimum payments on time. I’ve even paid off and closed credit card accounts in the past!

I know, hard to believe.

It all began with that first card you can apply for as an 18-year-old. Making 100% disposable income with my part time job, having a credit card made sense. ‘Start building your credit.’ they said. ‘You will need a credit history.’ they said. So I did. And sure, paying off $500 was a cinch.

Slowly but surely they increased my credit limit. And since in my mind this was ‘free’ money, I spent it! Just as any good 18-year-old girl would do. But I was never one to spend a lot on fancy clothes or shoes. I was the one to spend it on travel to far off places. And dinner out with friends. And extravagant gifts for my family and boyfriend. I’m an ‘experience’ spender.

I worked hard as a student and held down a part time job throughout the year and also worked full time every summer. But I still needed my student loans. They were ‘good to have’ just in case. And I used my credit cards to pay for any ‘extras’ I needed to have. I used the word ‘needed’ very loosely.

Slowly but surely I got more credit card offers in the mail, and heck if you have one, you might as well have another.

Eventually I got some nice balance transfer offers and decided to minimize the interest I was paying – I guess I knew that much – and opened a new card.

Flash forward to 2009 and currently I have 4 credit cards. Three of which are close to maxed out. Here I sit with a grand total of $30K in credit card debt alone.

Hello, my name is Debt Girl and I am a spendaholic.

In Uncategorized on May 12, 2009 at 5:04 pm

Yes, you read the title correctly. I have a problem. I have a $30K problem.

I am in a massive amount of credit card debt. In addition, I also have a car loan, student loan, and mortgage debt, but those are not my focus. I owe a large sum of debt I accumulated over the last 10 years through lack of discipline and a lot of emotional and impulse spending.

But the bottom line is I am paying it off. This is my chronicle to becoming free of credit card debt in three years. It will take some time, but I’m determined to do it.