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Friday, March 13, 2009

Retro Housewife Survival Guide - Credit Card Debt

Last summer I took a look at all of our credit card debt and nearly had a heart attack. Between us, my husband and I had nearly $60,000 of debt - much of it stemming from paying the IRS. Since I knew the economy was going to tank in a big way my top priority became getting out of debt.

Not only that, every last one of my husband's cards was charging him between 27 and 30% interest. (I actually thought such rates were illegal, but as it turns out, they are NOT.) So here is what I did. I lined up the bills by the interest rate percentage we were being charged, highest to lowest, picked the biggest offender (Discover card - you will pay to discover...) and then started throwing every spare penny I got my hands on at the bill.

When I had paid off the balance of that card, we closed the account and I started paying on the card with the second highest interest rate, and so forth. I am now on the 2nd to last card and can't wait to have those gone too. I found this method really helped me get a handle on the situation before it got out of of control. (Just to be clear, I made sure I paid the minimum balance on the other cards, but any extra funds went towards the high interest card.)

There is no magic to my method, all I am doing is paying off the most costly debt first. It also makes the situation seem less overwhelming if you focus on one piece at a time. Closing the account after it is all paid off is a great feeling - we're getting our freedom back.

Hope that helps,


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Kate said...

Thanks to our two deductables, I mean children, we got enough back to pay off two of our 3 cards. My goal is to pay it ALL off! I don't even want to be in debt again!!

Retro Housewife said...

God, I know. If we had at least done something fun and irresponsible with the money (like the rest of the US) - but paying taxes! I cut them up as they get paid and if it turns out we owe more in taxes than we thought, we'll owe the IRS or go to tax jail.

I wonder if they have internet in tax jail?