Monday, July 31, 2017

One Step at a Time: We Paid Off Credit Card #1!

I’m in the process of composing a July In Review post, but in the meantime, I couldn’t wait to share some exciting-to-us news: 

We paid off one of our credit cards!

Frugal Stick Person cheers with excitement
This was the credit card with the smallest total: $1553.03 as of the end of July. The original plan was to throw $150/month at the balance and pay it off early next year. But in response to our post about our financial goals, an anonymous commenter strongly urged us to either ditch this debt ASAP or transfer the balance to a card with 0% interest. They pointed out that from an interest standpoint (the card sported a relatively hefty interest rate of 14.99%), it was the smartest thing to do.

I don’t know why, but my initial reaction to this advice was one of resistance. The thought of using our precious savings (a whopping $2500, folks!) to obliterate the balance was scary to me. I took great comfort in our emerging financial safety net and wasn’t sure I wanted to lose that sense of security. As for the recommendation to transfer the balance to a card with a no-interest grace period, it sounded like a great idea. It totally made sense. Yet somehow, when it came to actually applying for a new card, I found myself dragging my feet - maybe because I don't want a new card. I already have too many credit cards.

After hemming and hawing for about two weeks, Fortysomething and I finally decided to just pay it off and be done with it. So late yesterday, I logged into my account, typed in an amount just a tiny bit higher than the balance, and clicked the Pay button. I felt a surprising sense of relief. 

Yes, taking this financial step means working with a more diminutive emergency fund, but given that we finally have stable jobs (this is the first time in our married life that we've had full-time salaried employment at the same time, believe it or not!), we decided it was a relatively safe gamble. It also helps that I recently landed a side hustle which, when it starts in September, will allow us to rebuild the emergency fund in a fairly expeditious manner.

In my mind, the primary benefit of taking this leap – as small as it might be – is that it motivates us to keep going. We can now use that $150 a month to increase our payments on the second credit card. By January, when our car loan is paid off, we’ll be able to put over $700 a month towards repayment of that card. We’ll start to see some real movement.

It’s a small but meaningful step in this long journey, and the despite the distance we still have to go, it's a milestone worth acknowledging and celebrating.

The Very Expensive Feline is also excited.
This is her excited face.

8 comments:

  1. Snoopy dance! Woo hoo! The power of snowballing debt is amazing! So very happy for you!

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  2. Congratulations, awesome accomplishment! Keep the momentum going :)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks very much! We certainly intend to keep the good debt-obliterating mojo going.

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  3. Way to go on this important milestone (and for stopping the debt pile from growing even more too!)

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! I *hate* our debt pile, but you're right, we have to focus on the fact that we're now making some progress in reducing it. Onward!

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