Termination Shock: My Credit Card Debt is Now $0.00!

Hey Guys,

IT’S OVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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My credit card balance is now $0.00!!!!  :screams:  🙂   !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   Oh wait, one more… “!”   🙂
I have successfully defeated the evil plastic nemesis and am now credit card debt-freeeeeee!

I got a tax refund and it hit my checking account today. Woot!  I immediately used some of it to pay off the rest of my credit card debt. When I say immediately, I mean within seconds.  Most of my refund went into savings.

DDSW February 2015

You guys can’t see me, but I’m doing some serious dancing right now!

gif elaine dancing

Ohhhh, I thought I’d never see this day. After two looooong years of payments, during part of which I was unemployed, $30,340 of credit card debt is finally gone.  I have no speeches or words of wisdom in this post. I’ll have something more articulate to write next time. Right now… I just gotta dance!!!!

Carlton’s with me…

gif carlton dance

C’mon all you guys, join in. Let’s boogie!  All together now…

gif peanuts dance

DDSW

Debt Update: February 2015

debt update

Hey Peeps!

I know. I know. Long time, no write.

Where have I been?  Where else… at work.  I certainly can’t afford to go anywhere else.  I had a string of projects that left me too drained to blog. It all culminated in an all-nighter session to get some deliverables submitted on time that took me three days to recover from. Getting older sucks.

overwork at workplace stress and debt

Since then, things at work have returned to a manageable level…at least for the time being.

Meanwhile, back at the BatCave, I have some good news on the debt front. As you can see from my progress bars in the footer of this blog, I have made great progress on my credit card debt. I just received a year-end bonus at work. Yeah, I know it’s February, but that’s how my employer works. Anyway, I took every penny of it…well, every penny of what was left after taxes (ouch!), and put it towards the credit card debt.

credit card debt due

I now have $520 left in credit card debt!. *screams*

It’s only a matter of days now before the final blade lowers.

ILLUSTRATION: Credit-card guillotine

I…CAN’T…WAIT..!!!!!

I can’t wait until I can finally end this credit card debt once and for all.  I already have a nice place picked out for it to rest…eternally.

RIP Credit Card Debt 3

I get giddy with excitement every time I think about it. No more credit card debt. Gone forever and hopefully burning in the fires of hell where it belongs. Does this make me sound evil?

evil woman

I assure all of you that I am not…well, not much. 😉  It’s just that $30,000+ of credit card debt has been financially strangling me for years. I have likely single-handedly financed someone else’s retirement with all the interest I’ve paid over the years. I will not be sad to see that debt die. 😈

Finally, I’ll be able to save up for a small savings fund. The next few months will give me a breather to save at least a $5k – $6k buffer, so I can sleep better at night. After that, I plunge into tackling my mountain of student loan debt. Watch out Sallie Mae, you’re next!

In another bit of good news, my retirement savings (investments) are accumulating faster than expected. I have increased my 2015 investment savings goal (including employer match) from a $20,000 total to an even more ambitious $30,000 total.

In the meantime, will DoubleDebtSingleWoman defeat the Evil Plastic Menace? Come back to see part 2.  Same Bat time. Same Bat channel.

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“Debtor’s prison is real, and opportunity cost is a bitch.” (DDSW)

Goodbye 2014: The Year in Debt Review

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As the clock ticks down on 2014, it is a natural time for reflection on the wins and losses and ups and downs of the year. It always seems as though the year flew by, and this was no exception.

I started off in 2014 with high hopes of finishing what I started in 2013 – finally killing this infernal credit card debt. In January 2014, I had $22,770 left in credit card debt (of my $30,340 total) and measured optimism. I knew that the single woman with double debt faces certain additional challenges to being able to turn around her finances. I also knew that in my case, the key to getting rid of this credit card debt within the year would hinge on lowering my living expenses.

I was not happy in my living arrangement for most of 2014. I really wanted still want to have my own place, but that is completely impossible in my high cost of living area. To live in a nice place, and in a nice area, many people spend on rent what I bring home in an entire month.

Ummm, no.

umm no cat

Sadly I can’t afford that. So, if I must live with roommates then, I knew I needed to make it as financially worthwhile as possible.  I couldn’t wait to get out of the onerous lease that I was trapped in.

At work, my awesome direct manager left to work at another employer and…

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Yes, she did. And I was afraid of reporting to the senior manager as she was quite intimidating to me. I was afraid that I might lose my job if I displeased her. I am happy to report that the senior manager and I have since worked together on a couple of projects and I no longer find her quite so intimidating at all. She has been quite kind to me, however I do know that I have room for improvement.  In other words I’m not shaking every time I get called into an unplanned meeting, but I’m not still naive enough to think that I can get comfortable in my role. The job is challenging and is at the upper range of my skill set, so it will continue to be draining as I develop professionally.  I also have a new direct manager who is also great. Things are not perfect, as it is sometimes very stressful at work, but I am grateful to have an income.

By April, I’d paid down half of my credit card debt to $15,000. It was a proud moment for me, as the first half of the journey is the hardest. The balances are at their highest and payments appear to have the smallest impact. By April, I was at the midway point. I was finally gaining momentum. I was starting to see a life beyond this credit card debt. I was starting to dream of doing something that I’ve wanted to do for over a decade — take an international trip — once the credit card debt was gone. While most of the leaders in the personal finance blogosphere warn against such choices, as it could lead to a life of reckless and out of control behavior…

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…I got some good words of encouragement from you guys to help me keep things in perspective.

I’ve realized that travel is important to me, and that I don’t want to wait another 10 years before I can see the world. That is a prison sentence. I plan to take a trip in 2015 or 2016, depending on when I have the credit card debt gone for good and have cash saved up for the trip. So daydreaming of exotic locales also keeps me motivated these days.

In June, I found a new room to rent and was over the moon happy to spend $1,000 less on rent every month. Seriously the cost of living here is ridiculous. My new living arrangement with my three Craigslist roommates is far from perfect, but much better than what I had before. I’m having to put up with things that I ordinarily would not put up with, but that’s the price I have to pay for such reasonable rent. With that extra money going toward debt, I was able to pay down my credit card debt to $9000+ by August. Breaking that 4-digit mark was a great psychological boost. Now with 4-digits of debt, I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. It helped me to renew my resolve.  I continued to make my payments. My debt dropped slowly to $6,000+.

In the last few months of 2014, I feel like I’ve been on a debt carousel. I’ve stalled at the $6,000+ mark. Unexpected but necessary medical expenses, along with a poorly controlled food budget have slowed my payoff.

Spending confession: Holiday Hangover

One step forward…two steps back. Is that how the saying goes?

hangover

After reaching an all-time low credit card balance of $5,567 at the beginning of December, I now have $7,190.47 in credit card debt. Ugh! I want to strangle myself sometimes.  What the hell happened? What did I even spend it on?

I just looked at my statement and did some eyeball calculations. Numbers are approximate.

$285  Groceries & food
$100  Credit card interest  (My 0% transfer rate has now ended.)
$300  Holiday Gifts
$333  Handmade Bed Quilt
$100  Books (work-related)
$500  Clothes  (Half of which I will likely send back once they arrive.)

With my next paycheck I will pay some of this back down. All in all, however, it’s been a pretty good year financially — down from $22,770 to $7,190  $5,990 in CC debt.

Addendum:

Woot! I got my last 2014 direct deposit paycheck this morning and promptly put the bulk of it toward the credit card debt.
With only hours remaining in 2014, my ending credit card balance will now be $5,990.00

With more careful planning, it should have been zero, but I’ll take what I can get. Now that interest has kicked in on my credit card again, this really needs to die, and soon.

Thanks guys for reading along and sending kind words my way throughout the few years that I’ve been posting here.

two kittens - friendship love

Goodbye 2014!

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“Debtor’s prison is real, and opportunity cost is a bitch.” (DDSW)

It’s Over 9,000! My Credit Card Debt Breaks the 4-Digit Barrier!

Over 9000

I’ve been waiting to write this post for a while. It will be short, but sweet…

WooHoo!  My balance is under $10,000 for the first time in over 8 years!!! Yes. That’s not a typo. I can’t believe it either.  I don’t even want to think about all the interest I’ve been paying out all this time. Ugh! Ugh! Uggghhhh! (Cries) 😥 .  I only want to think about how great it feels to break this barrier. Now I feel like the end of the tunnel is in sight. And this train has no return trip.

Forgive this anime (Dragonball Z) meme reference but, if  ‘Over 9,000’ refers to a feat of strength or an off-the-chart feeling of power, then this applies to me.  I like to think of this animated gif as my credit card company getting the news that I’m about to pay it off way sooner than they thought.  Ha!

what 9000

Oh yes, it’s right, credit card company. Oh so very right. Muahaha!

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I’m killing this debt, Kill Bill style.  This is the countdown…

$30, 000’s  – Elle Driver (California Mountain Snake)

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$20, 000’s – Vernita Green (Copperhead)

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$10,000’s – Oren-Ishii (Cottonmouth)

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One more to go…

$1,000 – Bill (Snake Charmer)

Bill snake charmer

And now, I’m going to kill Bill.  He represents the last $1,000 of this credit card debt. And he’s goin’ down! You can run, but you can’t hide!

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“Debtor’s prison is real, and opportunity cost is a bitch.” (DDSW)

The Post Where I Eat an Entire Package of Skinny Feels: Celebrating Debt Milestones

skinny feels

Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.

Hmmm. Really??

How about, “No shiny crap looks as good as control feels.”

I’m talking about the sense of control you feel when you, and you alone, decide how you spend the limited time you have left on this earth. That’s one of my life goals.

As of yesterday, I have paid off a tad over half of my credit card debt. Last year, my credit card debt was at an all time high of $30,340. My current balance is now $15,000.00!  Yes, this credit card is half-dead and running for it’s life.

gazelle chasing cheetah

Ha! Resistance is futile, you evil little card.

After some fits and starts last year (i.e. losing my job and being unemployed for 3-4 months, and later  after getting a new job in another state, moving into my current overpriced apartment  out of desperation), I’m finally back on track with my debt paydown.

I haven’t decided what, if anything, I’ll do to celebrate this midway milestone.

I know that in 8 months or so when this infernal credit card is finally paid off  IN FULL,  I am going to celebrate by doing the one thing I haven’t been able to justify doing in the past 10 years. I’m going to take an international trip!

Most Americans have small to medium debt loads (excluding mortgage) that can be paid off in 2-3 years of “Gazelle Intensity”. Sacrificing our wants for 2-3 years is not fun, by very doable.

freedom-from-debt

For those of us with massive debt ($100,000 +), the challenge becomes learning how to delay gratification without delaying life.

We can’t delay life for 10 years. I’m talking to those of us in our mid-30s and up. I’m 39. I can’t afford to delay life for another 10 years while I tackle this student loan debt and save for retirement. That’s a deferred life plan. I regret not using my passport for a decade. The reason was entirely financial. I’ve had too much debt, and not enough money for a long time.  I still have too much debt and not enough money, but while debt payoff is important, I’ve realized that living life is also important.  I’m learning the meaning of “balance”.

trial-balance

Minimalism is teaching me to identify the top things I value the most and to put my energy in those places. For me, travel is one of those things.  While travel is absolutely fun and fruitful at every stage of life, there are some things you can get away with, and some venues that are open to you only when you are younger (in your twenties and to a lesser extent into your thirties). I want to travel now and I want to keep traveling.

For those of you who are also deep in debt and a little ‘less young’, it is important that you plan and celebrate debt milestones by doing those precious few things that you value the most, whatever they may be.

I’ll save up and pay for my trip up front in cash of course. That almost goes without saying.  I’m about 70% decided on where I want to go, but I have a list of places I’ve been wanting to see for the past 10 years, so my first destination is not certain. However, wherever I land, it will be someplace awesome.

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And you know what? They are right. Skinny Feels are freaking delicious!

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“Debtor’s prison is real, and opportunity cost is a bitch.” (DDSW)