• Like a bad penny, debt always turns up…

    unless we change how we interact with money, of course!

    The Bad Penny is dedicated to two pursuits: getting out of debt and staying out of debt! It recognizes that frugality and caring for our planet go hand in hand, and that our unsatiated need for stuff is hurting us in so many ways.

    Easier said than done!


    I am not a finance professional. I write about the world as I know it, and my advice may not be the best course of action for you! Please seek qualified advice for your particular situation.

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Victory! CitiBank Personal Credit Card Paid Off!

Woohoo!  This is our first real debt removal victory.  Yesterday I put the final $114 towards this credit card with my husband watching.  It feels good!

Our December bill listed our balance at $2261.81.  We’ve been putting everything we can towards this debt.  I am simply amazed that in 4 months worth of payments, we eliminated over two thousand dollars! It really makes me think we can continue to do this.

So what we have left as far as credit cards is around $10,500 on the other Citibank and $6000 on the Chase card.  I’m unsure which one to work on next.  The Citibank has far more and a higher interest rate.  Plus our shipping costs for our ebay liquidation are still being charged on this card, so I want to make sure we don’t get too close to the limit (we have about $2000 left on our limit.)  But the Chase card would be eliminated much faster, and I think our low interest rate expires in November.

It feels wonderful to have one fewer bill each month.  With recession looming in the future, I don’t want any debt hanging over my head – it’s just one more thing that could really ruin a person!


January Progress Post (5 days late!)

Let’s see how we did in January:

Personal Credit Cards:

Citibank: Was: $1787.71
Now: $1212.73

We paid off $615.00 on this card this month – $165 of that was snowflaking, mostly from selling our product on Ebay. We also charged $40.02 on the card – all but $6.99 were interest charges.  $6.79 of that were for February’s interest charges, so that number has been inflated a tad.

Business Credit Cards:

Transferred to our Business Citibank for a better interest rate and a much better bank.

Chase: Was: $6236.37
Now: $6138.80 (I paid $125, finance charges of $27.43 )

Citibank: Was: $4927.42
Now: $10,130.14 (This reflects the old Suntrust balance.  I was able to transfer my balance and go from a 14.29% interest rate to a 4.99% interest rate.  I made a payment of $100 to this card, and finance charges were $27.47 – reflecting the old balance.)

Total Credit Card Debt:
Original Debt:                 $18, 954.86
Last Month:                     $18,326.75
Current:                            $17,481.67
Monthly Difference:   $845.08
Total Paid Off:               $1473.19

Accessible Savings Account:
Current: $212.46

(We also have a saving account at our bank in North Carolina that has about $3000 in it.  That’s our current emergency fund – it came from a Certificate of Deposit that finally came due.)

I’m pleased!  This certainly offsets the heartache of the upside-down house loan!  I feel like we’ve been making progress, and it helps that we’ve been able to put extra towards our debt from liquidating our products on Ebay.  We’ve had to pay a lot of the fees and put money in our Stamps.com account for shipping, but we won’t have as many of those costs in the future.  I have another $120 in the process of transferring to our bank account to be put toward the personal Citibank, and another $80 already accumulated in our Paypal!

So all in all, I finally feel like we’re making progress on our credit card debt, if nothing else!  It feels wonderful!

The rundown. Are you squeamish? (aka getting down to business.)

Now that I’m at this point, I’m a little nervous. Am I doing the right thing, posting this here? Will this really work to motivate me to keep focused on paying off debt, or am I just providing fodder for the snarky internet lurkers out there?

I just have to be honest. I know that this is what is going to make the difference. So here’s the rundown:


Mortgage in current residence: $ 97, 524.70
Bridge Loan on former residence: approx. $180,000
My student loans: $20, 865.01
Citibank (personal): $2261.81 (min. payment is currently $89, interest is 14.9%)
Business Cards: Suntrust: $5375.25 (min payment is currently about $283.00, interest is 12.74%)
Chase: $6366.37 (min. payment is currently $127.00, interest is 4.99% until it’s paid off – we transferred this from another card for this promotional rate.
Citibank: $4951.43 (min.payment is currently $112.43, interest is 9.9%)

Total Credit Card Debt: $18, 954.86
Total debt: $137, 344.57

Yikes. So that was a little painful. As I’m sure you noticed, I didn’t include the bridge loan on our previous house. The reason is that we are currently selling that house, so I don’t expect it to be on my “debts” list for long. The sale of that house will also bring in some equity money, some of which we need to purchase and install a new septic system since ours is antiquated.

You might have also noticed that our interest rates are pretty low. Somehow we’ve managed to maintain a decent credit score despite racking up thousands of dollars in debt. We’ve been careful to pay on time, and with the exception of the business cards, we’ve always paid our bills in full. I can only attribute that fact to God’s provision, as the money always shows up just as we need it.

I wanted to explain something else, too. We’ve been using our personal card for all of our everyday expenses because they were giving us 5% cash back at grocery stores, gas stations, and restaurants, and 1% everywhere else. When we finally decided we really needed to get serious about getting rid of our debts, we decided to stop using credit cards altogether, including the personal card. What basically happens when you do that is that you end up not only having to pay the credit card bill for last month, but you also have to cover your expenses for this month, so we weren’t able to pay it off in full. Add the fact that we had several expensive things come up and no savings to depend on, and well, you saw what happened. It’s a great way to use credit cards if you can use them responsibly, but if you are faced with suddenly not using them anymore it may complicate things.

That’s a lot for anyone to ingest, especially me! I’m going to put the kiddo to bed and think on this a while before I start looking at our monthly budget.