This is the second installment of The Debt Diet Challenge, in which Credit.com follows the lives of five people selected to take Jean Chatzky’s Debt Diet to get themselves out of debt and on track to a better financial future. Every week, Jean Chatzky will update us on the participants’ progress, and the participants will blog about their experiences with the program.
I continue to track my spending and I realize that I spend way too much on eating out. While I expected this to be higher than normal due to my vacation, it continues to happen now that we are home. I have groceries here and normally my husband (who is retired) will cook supper, but for some reason he hasn’t wanted to cook. When I get home, it is late and I am usually famished and want to eat ASAP. We have talked and are going to try to improve in this area.
I talked with Jean Thursday and learned that I have been doing my payments on my credit card all wrong. Normally I pay more than the limit on all my credit cards. I end up using the extra payment throughout the month. I paid off two loans earlier this July (less than a payment was due on each one). I was going to start to save some money when Jean told me to apply what I was paying on those loans to the credit card with the highest interest. That is when I realized and confirmed with Jean, that I should be putting all my extra income on the highest credit card. I am now paying $10.00 above the minimum on all credit cards with the additional money going on the highest interest card. I should have this card paid off in 3 months if I continue to do this. Then Jean told me to work on the next highest card and so on. I also need to put my cards away—well, all but one—and only use that one card for emergencies only. I have a credit card that currently offers 10 cents off a gallon of gas, so I pay extra on that card and use it to benefit my budgeted gas money. That is my “one” card I carry. Jean said this was a good idea and how I need to look at credit cards (how they benefit us). I am so happy that I have 2 loans paid off and now am working on a credit card balance that I have had for about 3 years and haven’t seen much of a dent in the balance. I am very excited to work toward that goal. This was an “a ha” moment. To think had I been doing this earlier that credit card would probably be paid off by now. Also, this high interest card has been closed by the vendor for the past 2 years. I have made my payments on time and above the minimum and they refused to lower my interest when I called them in January. I probably need to try again.
This program has helped me and my husband watch what we spend together. I was worried he wouldn’t help and not care, but happily I was wrong. I have told everyone I know about me being on this program and they are all supportive. I even blog on my Facebook page on my accomplishments. That is how excited I am to know that someone cares about helping me. Thank you for offering this wonderful opportunity.
[Related article: Jean Chatzky’s Debt Diet: A Behind the Scenes Look]