What Much Is Your Debt?

As I sit on hold with Capital One and look at my spreadsheet, I’m a little under $19,000 in debt. This includes 3 settlements, one of which I’m trying to update, and some personal loans for upcoming surgery (another post). This number is daunting but I’m pushing to have this cleared out in under 2 years. Since we paid off our car loan, I’m using that extra money to put towards these bills. I’ve been following the Dave Ramsey method, starting with the small amounts and working up to the big ones. We have $1,000 in emergency and I’ve paid off all the little ones from doctors. dentist and fuel bills. I am disgusted I allowed this to go on for so long but as we get closer to putting our house up for sale, these debts needs to be paid off as quickly as possible.

As I enter 1 hour and 30 minutes on hold, I get the replay that we are experiencing high call volumes, thank you for your patience. I never know if that is the truth or if people are too lazy to pick up the phone. To me, this is bad customer service. A customer should never be on hold more than 5 minutes for anything. I called to get current totals and to change my monthly payment. In order to do that, they have to transfer to a different department. All just to change payments, which should only take a minute.  What is it I will have patience to be on hold but lack patience in other aspects?

1 hour and 50 minutes later, everything is squared away to remove these 2 debts in 6 months and 16 months, instead of 4-5 years. These payments will be hard at first but once they are done, they’re done. I’m trying to eliminate all credit card use and only use cash. I keep one card active, as a backup, as I don’t want to use all our inheritance money. That money is for our next house and will be taken out and put into CD’s to help recover what we’ve lost.

I should have taken care of this years ago instead of letting it get worse and worse, dragging my credit score with it. I was so desperate for relief that I went with a debt collection agency. They told me to stop making payments, as most have to be 6 month behind before settlements can occur. In that time frame, my credit score dropped over 100 points and restricted any type of loan that I would need in the future. As I’m slowly paying things off and pulling my reports monthly, the score is slowly climbing. I am also working with Self Lender, Self Lenders get credit monitoring and the opportunity to apply for a credit builder account. A credit builder account can help you establish credit history and save money in a safe, responsible way as the CD is FDIC insured. This will also creditors to see that I am being responsible and should be able to apply for loans in the future. I’m nowhere near where I need to be to be financial secure on my own. Every type of loan is through my husband so technically I don’t own anything, except the deed to the house. I have no financially responsibility for it but that’s another blog post on a whole different issue.

Bottom line, if you are desperate to get out of debt, create a budget and eliminate unnecessary spending. We shop at discount food stores, clothes from Goodwill, subscribe to Netflix and Hulu, and only have mortgage, electric, internet and fuel (winter) as our main expenses. Any money made gets towards debt and savings, if possible. I try to teach my kids if they want something, they have to work to get it. I try to sell whatever I can, a few dollars is a few dollars.

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