Wednesday, January 14, 2009

My personal mountain

Usually when people talk about their personal mountain, it's in reference to a huge personal hardship they've had to overcome. Mine's isn't quite as existential. Mine is my debt.

This isn't something I usually talk about in real numbers with people. It's rather embarrassing really. I'm sure my husband would freak if he knew I was sharing. But I'm pretty sure this is for the best. I need to. If I share, it's real and I can be proud of my accomplishments when I've conquered this mountain. This debt mounted for two reasons I believe. 1) We went from renting to owning, which increased our monthly housing expenses by over $550, double, and didn't really change our spending habits. This doesn't even take into account the increase in other costs, like utilities, household items and the appliances we purchased. 2) Then, gas prices went through the roof and, though our spending habits did change slowly, we couldn't afford everything. With over $500 a month on gasoline alone, we were using credit cards for groceries and gas and bills got paid late. Now that gas prices are a little more reasonable, we're okay. We've also changed our health insurance plans, saving us a few hundred dollars a month. And now we've got a plan.

Other things have happened recently to set us back, like my car getting hit with MAJOR damage twice in two months (not my fault and no one was hurt...except the deer, thankfully) and a few surprise medical bills that amounted to over $1000. Oh yeah, and my husband's truck, which we still owe almost six grand on, keeps needing repairs for a few hundred bucks a pop! We're working towards paying it off. It will be slow, but I'm sure we can do it. And posting it here every month we keep us accountable, in check with the reality of it.

The recent budgetary discussion I had with my husband in regards to the basement issues was a very positive experience for us as a couple I believe. We BOTH realized how much we were in debt and we BOTH realized we had to do something about it. And we are. We've set up a plan and we're working on it. We will be reviewing everything together every month and working to the goal together.

So here it is:
  • CitiBank: $7,126.39
  • WAMU: $5,686.77
  • Amex: $1,873.55
  • 5/3 MC: $9,123.85
  • BofA: $840.07
  • 5/3 VISA: $189.65
  • Kohls: $150.75
  • PayPal: $161.15 (business related do to delinquent payments)
Grand Total: $25,152.18

And this doesn't include our cars, my student loans (more on that later) or our house. The good news is that the 5/3 MC and Amex are both the result of balance transfers and therefore have very low interest rates. The bad news in Citi, WAMU and BofA have all defaulted to the maximum 28.99%. As bad as it sounds, I will be looking for a way to tranfer those balances to a lower rate card. I don't want to open a new account, but that interest rate is just going to kill us! Hopefully we'll be able to see progress soon.


  1. You should honestly, honestly, honestly look into a consolidation loan. We weren't too far off from where you are right now b/c of me having to quit work when Micah was born. We were able to consolidate & now it'll all be gone in 4.5 years. *hugs*

  2. What kind and where did you get it? We went to the bank about 6 months ago and they wouldn't give us one that big b/c we didn't have anything to back it. And we don't have much equity in the house, but already have a home equity from when we bought the house with zero down. I'm game for more ideas!

  3. Try going through We ended up getting one through Credit One (a division of Capital One). We had 3different offers, but that one was the best.