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Will It Blend? Credit Card Edition

Target Visa Fail

(image from here)

In this uphill climb to get out of credit card debt, I figured today I would try calling one of my lenders to see if I could get my interest rate lowered, as advised by articles like this. It had worked for me in the past and since things have gotten even tighter around here, I decided to try again.

I wanted to get the rate lowered on my Target Visa. It’s at 22.9%. It’s the highest rate I have, and really, it’s ridiculous. The very nice young woman on the other end of the line told me she couldn’t do that for me, but the company does periodic reviews on all the accounts and one was coming up soon. During these reviews, accounts in good standing are chosen for automatic rate reductions. (I was thinking it’s more along the lines of: Hey we’ll review all these accounts and see who we can RAISE rates on.) So I asked her if my rate is not reduced soon, could she give me contact information on “those people at the company” who handle this? She could not. It’s all automatic. Great.

Turns out I’m not the only one who’s had this problem (and others) with Target Visa.

Snowball Calculator

(image credit)

Are you like lots of other Americans who have credit card debt? I have to admit I’m part of the statistic. Although, I’d like to think I’m part of a smaller statistic who got into this mess as a means to stay afloat during a rough patch and not as a result of mindless shopping sprees trying to keep up with the Joneses or the Kardashians or whoever people are trying to keep up with.

We didn’t buy any LCD tvs or vacations or fancy-schmancy clothes. We were barely living on part-time income while I was in school full time. Our families helped with what they could and I did not expect any more than that. That was more than generous. I used student loans for the majority of my school expenses. I didn’t qualify to even apply for most scholarships because I was not a traditional student (I went back at 22) and not a minority. The ones I did apply for I did not win. Luckily, I did get a small grant from the state.

Being in a dental hygiene program is not like getting a regular degree in terms of cost. There are extra technology fees, which are somewhat common. Then there is the cost of scrubs, equipment, board exams, etc. Our initial kit of instruments and other supplies was $1000. Add on replacement costs to that as needed. Then to take the board exams to get your license that’s another grand at least. (And hope you pass them on the first try! I was so relieved I did!)

So I ended up with a degree and a good profession and a rather large hole to dig out of. That digging happens a little more slowly that I would like since there are way more hygienists in this area than jobs, but hopefully that will get better in time as the economy improves and more people want their teeth cleaned again. Fingers crossed.

So, I’ve recently started using this snowball debt calculator at Whatsthecost.com. I think it’s one of the better calculators out there for keeping track of your snowball. There’s no messing around with a spreadsheet. This is a big positive for me since I’ve forgotten everything I learned about spreadsheets in high school. (Well, I do remember how to alphabetize a list, that’s about all. I think we spent most of that class time making our graphs look pretty.) This site will help you calculate how long it will take to pay off your cards. You can choose to pay them off in balance order or by highest interest rate. You can also enter payments and fees and hopefully watch the balances get smaller and smaller. It will save all your information so you don’t have to download anything. You can even set up reminder emails so you don’t forget to enter payments!

I’m due to enter payments tomorrow. Progress!