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Thread: Credit Scores & Debt in General

  1. #21
    Professor Zymologist's Avatar
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    My credit score is alright (720-740 range), and I make my payments on time.

    Still, we're finding it incredibly difficult to actually get out of credit card debt and stay out. I had all of our credit cards paid off earlier this year, but then something came up--don't even remember what--and we have credit card debt again. Not a ton; maybe 10% of our max), but it's there.

    There are some facets of our situation that make it harder to work with than would be expected. It's all we can do, consequently, to save $200 a month*. We are saving it, but if, for example, our 30-year old water heater were to fail tonight, I'd have to use a credit card to replace it. Wouldn't have any choice.



    *I do this by having $100 deposited into a separate savings account with each paycheck deposit: an account at a different bank, and one that I don't have easy access to. I have to physically go to the bank to get money out of this account, and so far I haven't touched it.
    Hofstadter's Law: It will always take longer than you expect, even if you take into account Hofstadter's Law.

    "Metal is an apple--everything's good but the core."

  2. #22
    Dept. of Redundancy Dept. Cow Poke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zymologist View Post
    My credit score is alright (720-740 range), and I make my payments on time.

    Still, we're finding it incredibly difficult to actually get out of credit card debt and stay out. I had all of our credit cards paid off earlier this year, but then something came up--don't even remember what--and we have credit card debt again. Not a ton; maybe 10% of our max), but it's there.

    There are some facets of our situation that make it harder to work with than would be expected. It's all we can do, consequently, to save $200 a month*. We are saving it, but if, for example, our 30-year old water heater were to fail tonight, I'd have to use a credit card to replace it. Wouldn't have any choice.



    *I do this by having $100 deposited into a separate savings account with each paycheck deposit: an account at a different bank, and one that I don't have easy access to. I have to physically go to the bank to get money out of this account, and so far I haven't touched it.
    Zym,

    Something to think about. Look at the interest you're making on the savings -- probably next to nothing, right? And look at the interest you are PAYING on your credit cards. SAVINGS are important, but if your savings are being eaten up by finance charges and interest on the other side of the ledger, they're not really savings.

    One of the reasons savings is important, of course, is when those emergencies come up. But if you're planning on handling emergencies with credit cards, the savings isn't really all that critical.

    Just something to think about.

    1 Tim 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.

  3. Amen Carrikature amen'd this post.
  4. #23
    Professor Zymologist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cow Poke View Post
    Zym,

    Something to think about. Look at the interest you're making on the savings -- probably next to nothing, right? And look at the interest you are PAYING on your credit cards. SAVINGS are important, but if your savings are being eaten up by finance charges and interest on the other side of the ledger, they're not really savings.

    One of the reasons savings is important, of course, is when those emergencies come up. But if you're planning on handling emergencies with credit cards, the savings isn't really all that critical.

    Just something to think about.
    I'm only planning on it because I don't have any choice. There are a few things I could discipline myself on (as always), but there doesn't seem to be much, realistically, that we could do differently. We buy clothes second-hand (I'm an engineer with no qualms about buying pants at Goodwill), we use coupons for food, I donate plasma regularly for disposable income, etc. If you go online and look at lists on how to save money, we're already doing basically all of it, and have been for several years.

    If I can find one, I might post a picture of one of the (ridiculous) CVS pharmacy hauls my wife has made with like $15. Stuff like toilet paper, toothpaste, etc. She's currently in the top 1% of CVS savers nationally, and she hasn't even shopped there that much this year.
    Hofstadter's Law: It will always take longer than you expect, even if you take into account Hofstadter's Law.

    "Metal is an apple--everything's good but the core."

  5. Amen Cow Poke amen'd this post.
  6. #24
    Dept. of Redundancy Dept. Cow Poke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zymologist View Post
    I'm only planning on it because I don't have any choice. There are a few things I could discipline myself on (as always), but there doesn't seem to be much, realistically, that we could do differently. We buy clothes second-hand (I'm an engineer with no qualms about buying pants at Goodwill), we use coupons for food, I donate plasma regularly for disposable income, etc. If you go online and look at lists on how to save money, we're already doing basically all of it, and have been for several years.

    If I can find one, I might post a picture of one of the (ridiculous) CVS pharmacy hauls my wife has made with like $15. Stuff like toilet paper, toothpaste, etc. She's currently in the top 1% of CVS savers nationally, and she hasn't even shopped there that much this year.


    So, do you have a plan for attacking your credit card debt? Do you know (I'm not asking you to tell me) what the interest rate is on each?
    Some debt retirement specialists will tell you to pick the card with the highest balance, others will say pick the one with the highest interest rate - and attack that card first.

    Sounds like you're serious, so I'm certainly not fussing at you -- I'm trying to cheer you on!

    1 Tim 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.

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    Professor Zymologist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cow Poke View Post


    So, do you have a plan for attacking your credit card debt? Do you know (I'm not asking you to tell me) what the interest rate is on each?
    Some debt retirement specialists will tell you to pick the card with the highest balance, others will say pick the one with the highest interest rate - and attack that card first.

    Sounds like you're serious, so I'm certainly not fussing at you -- I'm trying to cheer you on!
    I know, I just tend to get frustrated whenever the topic of money and debt comes up. As far as a plan goes...sort of, not really. Right now I'm just paying the minimum and making sure that my financial house is somewhat in order and I'm not running a deficit every month. It's been a very stressful year for me.

    I feel like I do a lot of unloading around here, and must seem like a real wretch. Sorry for dumping my problems in your thread.
    Hofstadter's Law: It will always take longer than you expect, even if you take into account Hofstadter's Law.

    "Metal is an apple--everything's good but the core."

  8. #26
    Professor Cerebrum123's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mossrose View Post
    Oh, and I am a terrific bargain hunter. Canada has a "scanner code" that retailers here apply. If the customer notices there is a discrepancy between the scanned price of an item and the shelf price, the store is obligated to sell that item not only at the sale price, but discounted a further $10.

    For example, I have had several purchases over the years at Walmart where I have been able to take advantage of this policy. One example was a small frying pan, regular price $22, on sale for $12. The scanner rang it up as $22, I objected, and I got it for $2! I watch my purchases and check every receipt before I leave the store.

    The problem is, most stores don't bother telling customers about the policy. Walmart happens to have it posted at every till, that's how I learned of it. Walmart still won't offer the discount unless the customer asks for it.

    I also will take every advantage I can for seniors discounts and use coupons when I can. We don't have couponing here like the States does, but every little bit helps.
    I wish that policy was used down here. A few times I remember I could have been given money for buying stuff.
    Safka, you are NOT "unknown", you were loved by many, and you will not be forgotten. I will always remember you Puginator.


  9. Amen mossrose amen'd this post.
  10. #27
    Professor Zymologist's Avatar
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    Here's for some optimistic stuff:

    My wife paid $30 for this:
    cvs30.jpg

    $15 for this:
    cvs15.jpg

    and 23 cents for this:
    cvs23.jpg

    She got gift cards/extra bucks back for each of these, which I didn't count in how much she paid.
    Hofstadter's Law: It will always take longer than you expect, even if you take into account Hofstadter's Law.

    "Metal is an apple--everything's good but the core."

  11. Amen mossrose amen'd this post.
  12. #28
    Professor Zymologist's Avatar
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    ^She also told me that those first two were when she'd just started couponing, and "weren't that great."
    Hofstadter's Law: It will always take longer than you expect, even if you take into account Hofstadter's Law.

    "Metal is an apple--everything's good but the core."

  13. #29
    Dept. of Redundancy Dept. Cow Poke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zymologist View Post
    I know, I just tend to get frustrated whenever the topic of money and debt comes up. As far as a plan goes...sort of, not really. Right now I'm just paying the minimum and making sure that my financial house is somewhat in order and I'm not running a deficit every month. It's been a very stressful year for me.
    Accountability is key, Zym.... it's easy to get discouraged and spiral into worse debt. Hang in there.

    I feel like I do a lot of unloading around here, and must seem like a real wretch. Sorry for dumping my problems in your thread.
    Not at all! This is about encouraging folks -- as you can see, we've also been in financial pinches, and it takes hard work and discipline. Don't give up!

    1 Tim 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.

  14. Amen Cerebrum123, mossrose amen'd this post.
  15. #30
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    This would not work today, but back in the early 80's, I wanted to take my wife and small children to Disneyland.

    I didn't want to have a bunch of debt when we got back, so I decided I'd open a savings account.
    I went to our local bank, and told them I wanted to borrow $1,000 for six months.

    Banker: "Do you have any collateral?"
    Me: "Yes, a thousand dollar CD".
    Banker: "Where is it?"
    Me: "It's still in your bank."
    Banker (looking confused)
    Me: "That's what I want the $1,000 loan for - to buy the thousand dollar CD"
    Banker: (still looking confused) "But, the interest rate you'll pay on the loan is more than the interest rate you'll earn on the CD"
    Me: "That's OK - I know if I OWE the money, I'll pay it back, but I'm not as good at "saving" money, so this will force me to 'save' $1,000 for vacation".
    Banker: (looking really confused) "Well, OK, if that's how you want to spend your money...."

    Six months later, after faithfully paying back the loan, the banker handed me my now paid for $1,000 CD.
    I said, OK, I just need to cash that for my vacation money.

    The banker disappeared to the back, then came back with a check after being gone for longer than I thought it would take to print a check...

    He said, "the money you earned on the CD is MORE than the money you paid in interest". He looked stunned. I was pleasantly surprised.
    The CD was compound interest, the loan was simple interest.

    I sure wish I could do that a bunch of times today, but things have changed, and they don't do it like that anymore.

    1 Tim 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.

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