I’m still holding about the same amount of credit card debt that I did 5-6 years ago, if not a little bit more. The good news is that it hasn’t gotten worse. But I’m mildly upset with myself that it hasn’t gotten better.
I had made some significant inroads earlier this year (2012), but a few things wiped those out. I’m glad I did manage to pay some debt down before these latest charges and impacts happened:
- I ended up owing quite a bit in taxes this year, much to my surprise. It turns out that I must have changed my exemptions sometime in the past couple of years and just crossed an income line where the impact was noticeable. So there’s a big chunk of new debt. Not unmanageable, but it undid a couple of recent payments.
- Adjusting the exemptions means I’m taking home about $120 less a month, which is money that I had been using for credit card payments. So I get a big new charge while having less money to apply to monthly payments. This will even itself out when next tax season rolls around, but is still annoying.
- Had to do some big dental work this year with very little insurance help – $3000 in new charges. This is on a dedicated card and will be paid off in 2-3 more months, I think, which will finally free up money to go back to my main debt.
- A few vet-related bills on that same dedicated card has slowed down the dental pay-off, but not significantly.
- After a year of having cable tv and internet again, of course the promotional periods end and the bill jumped up significantly. I’ve pared down my service to make this more manageable. I wish there was a good high speed internet alternative in my area, but cable and its big bills seem to be the primary option.
Then, stupidly, I have made a few extraneous purchases that seem innocent enough on their own but add up quickly, particularly when there’s a little less available per month to apply to the main card(s). I’ve tried to practice austerity and will be good for a month, and then as a reward for myself I’ll get succored in by a fab.com sale and buy things I don’t really need. I’ve been a little better about this recently, but not good enough.
So – I did manage to pay down some debt just in time for it to balloon back up again. However, since I had managed to pay down a good amount, the debt level is back to about the same level it’s been over the past few years. And a couple of big charges will be cleared off the books within the next few months, which should hopefully make it easier to get back on track before the next crisis hits. 8 months ago