Personal Finance Debt Balance Updates! And the credit card game: we so own you.

Whew! Almost forgot this post in all the excitement of my guest post over at Get Rich Slowly. Man, I wish I had more traffic, even half a fraction of a fraction of GRS: the comments are so much fun! Even when it is, you know, about how you let $120,000 slip through your fingertips…

If you haven’t already, please go check out my post over there about How We Became Reluctant Landlords. And don’t forget to read the comments: they can be quite enlightening; and always interesting. I also know J.D. filters out any of the real nasty, crude comments, and I can’t help but wonder if I warranted any…

And thanks you guys who continue to be loyal commenters over here at my humble Budgets Blog. I  so appreciate you. Really.

Anyhoo. Here’s our numbers for the end of September. You astute ones (you know who you are!) might notice a few changes:

Debt Balances as of the End of September 2010:

  1. First Mortgage:  $169,668.33
  2. Credit Card Transfer: $23,975.00
  3. Second Mortgage:  $7,106.09
  4. Rental Property:  $107,319.92

Total Debt:  $308,729.35

This is a difference of –$660.01 in principle from the $308,069.34 owed in primary and rental mortgage debt at the end of August.

Yes, our debt snowball is still just sitting there until we sell this house.

Reminder: Regular Payments Breakdown:

  1. First Mortgage: $1538.63
  2. Second Mortgage: $283.90
  3. Rental Property: $758.00

Total Monthly Payments: $2580.53.

$1,919.93 of this was toward interest alone. But we finally got it under $2000! Woo-hoo!

Quiz: What Changed?

Ooh, we racked up a credit card! But somehow we paid down almost $24,000 from our second mortgage…? Oh, wait. You guessed it! (Or remembered me telling you from last month.) We transferred a chunk of our 2nd mortgage balance over to a credit card offer of 0% interest for one year. And the fee was just $75 — which is made up for in about ten days of not paying interest.

We’ve done the 0% balance transfer before with great success, so I have confidence we can do it again, barring any natural catastrophes or personal disasters.

Changes in Interest Paid to Second Mortgage

After “paying off” $23,000 from our second mortgage, the daily interest that accrues on that account dropped by about $5.50! (To about $1.59 to date.) And the amount of the $283.90 payment that actually goes toward principle (and not interest) almost doubled.

I like that.

Until We Sell This House…

The question I have to answer, exactly:

  • How much will we pay on the 0% offer each month?
  • How much will we continue to put away in cash savings each month?

For the last six months, all available cash has been going into a liquid savings account until we sell this house. So far, we’ve built up $9,111.50.

Part of me didn’t even want to tell you that, because I feel like it should be at least $2k more. We’ve definitely loosened up our spending a bit since we eradicated our initial snowball and found out that we’re moving.


Technically, if we sold our house tomorrow, we’d only owe $176,774.42 to the bank from the proceeds of the sale (give or take some interest). After all, the bank doesn’t care if we have a credit card balance that we know came from the home’s equity.

That does free us from some financial complications in case we have to sell this home at a loss (to us).

Ideally, we will sell this house soon and pay off the first mortgage, what’s left of the second mortgage, AND the credit card transfer. In that order. BUT.

What if we don’t sell in the next few months? What if it takes until Spring? (Or *egads* longer?)

I really want to take some of our savings and max out at least one of our ROTHs by the end of 2010: $5000 worth. Currently, we are not contributing anything to either ROTH. And that’s not good.

We have until April to contribute to our 2010 ROTHs, by which time I’d like to have maxed out both: $10k total. But depending on what this house sells for, I understand that may not be possible. But I’m hopeful.

What would you do? Are you still with me?

Thanks guys, so much, those of you who are still hanging in there with me. I know this is so exciting. Don’t you all wish you were me?

Finance Updates Linky-Linky

Speaking of exciting, I hope you all will link up your own debt and networth updates to my linky-linky below. If you’re reading this by email or your RSS feed, you’ll need to click over to the post itself. But please do: I’m still hopeful that this will be a monthly get-together for all of us keeping track for all the web to see and cheer us on and gain motivation. This is inspiring, people! And if I may speak for myself and others, I’m needing all the inspiration I can get right now. :)


12 thoughts on “Personal Finance Debt Balance Updates! And the credit card game: we so own you.

  1. I really wish I had the audacity to not only layout my financial situation like this on paper for myself, but for the world to see. Hats off to you on this. This is something I need to do in my life and debt soon….and I will.

    Have done this in the past, faced the debt monster that is eating at me, but fell of lately. Hope your post will motivate me to do so. It only helps.

    This is a tough market to be selling in as it may take much longer than you ancitipate, how it doesn’t for you, but it is good to be realistic when you are trying to sell. Many sellers at this point are throwing in incentives to get buyers over the edge to purchase like cars, TVs, iPads, whatever they thing can move the buyer. Have you considered something like this? Or even lowering the asking price?

    Tough market, best of luck to you!


    jolyn Reply:

    Oh, do! do! You’ll feel so much better about your financial condition, seriously! Somehow the Unknown just makes it worse. Just knowing where you’re at and taking away the mystery somehow helps give you the motivation to start doing something about it. Let us all know if you start keeping track! I’d love to help keep pushing you on. :)

    And yes, we have just lowered the price, a few weeks ago. Open house tomorrow- wish us luck!


  2. Geez, Jolyn, I hope your house sells soon. It’s such a little thing but such a HUGE thing.
    We are skipping retirement investing this year I am told. Ken isn’t really working while he is studying so I think we are keeping our money in a available form.


    jolyn Reply:

    You and me both, Kristin.
    I hope the school thing goes well and benefits you both in the long run. :)


  3. I bounce around some balance transfers too – recently plunked $5000 on a 1.99% transfer for a year and applied the $5000 to a 6.5% LOC. The added benefit to this is I pay MUCH more attention to when the intrest rates will rocket up, and it is a great motivator to pay it off!


    jolyn Reply:

    Yes, it is a great motivator! For some reason when it’s on a CC, I want to pay extra even though I’m no longer paying any interest. But when it’s a regular loan I just make the regular payments like clockwork without putting much thought into it…


  4. Hi Jolyn,

    My only question is why do you want to max out the IRAs? Do you think you’ll make more money with the IRA instead of paying down the debt which (I’m guessing has an interest attached to it?). Just wondering. I understand your desire to save for retirement, but if you paid 10K toward your new 0% loan you’d be better off in a year from now. I’m sure when that loan adjusts, you’ll be paying a butt loan in interest at that point. $14K looks better than $24K when they hit you with the interest. Anyway, great job on the GRS article and good luck selling the house.
    Your buddy in debt blasting – Jeff


    jolyn Reply:

    I guess I’m looking at the house selling before this time next year and the proceeds paying off (at least most of) the second mortgage, however it’s financed. What I didn’t mention in the post is that I’m also getting ready to “pay off” the remaining balance on the 2nd into another offer w/0% for a year, with no fees. That offer goes up to 6% in a year on the remaining balance, which is lower than the current interest on the 2nd, so we can’t lose. The bigger balance of ~$24k goes up to 8.9% interest on whatever balance is remaining, so we definitely want to make sure that one is gone.

    I guess I’m not wanting to lose out on the ROTH potential for 2010. And I’m holding onto the idea that we won’t be paying any more interest on the debt if we max those out instead because the house will sell! Bit of a gamble? I guess that’s the question…

    But another tidbit: we actually wouldn’t put the money in ROTH IRA’s, but just regular ROTHs. So technically, we could withdraw our contributions in the next five years without any penalties. It would kill me to have to do it b/c of the house, but it would be an option. So really, we wouldn’t be risking tying the money up in an account that couldn’t be accessed w/out paying Uncle Sam exorbitant fees, so there would be that.

    Thanks for your questions, Jeff. It made me think it through better. I’d appreciate you bringing to light any other points I’m missing. :)


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