Man, I get jumpy when my CC debt gets around $500.
but to the OP... i'll see you in the garden. I didn't have many good credit cards before the past 2 years. rebuilding takes focus. I tend to hyperfocus on my debt/credit at times. Thats why the above post. Then i remind myself that number will be PIF when its due. I use my cards like my debit card to get the rewards...but seeing that 'balance' will bring my spending back in check really fast. hang in there.
This is such a great topic. I went through this in 2002 and again in 2007, as I also was a slow learner. I am finally getting back to where I can be approved and it feels great. Knowing that I didn't want a round three of lates, chargeoffs or collections , decided to join this forum and take control of my financial issues!
When I joined my cc uti was probably 75% or so on some months and 0% on others. I've learned to pay it down and I will make controlled strategic purchases. Right now my uti is about 21% and by the end of the year it will be 7-9%.
A lot of knowledge is to be gained and sadly you have to budget like a ninja <---as my hubby puts it! ) Always preparing for accidents, job loss, vehicle issues and other mishaps.
Good luck to you and I agree a program that indicates when you have gone too high is always good. I write mine down and keep track that way...for some reason pen to paper helps me remember better.
I'm spending way too much money for what I bring in. I actually feel humbled. I remember some oddball poster saying negative things about me here and what was said was not far off from the truth.
I have to settle down and spend what I can afford. My CC debt got up to over 10k.
I have to thank my lucky stars for PSECU, they have never let me down. I was able to get a personal loan to clear half of my CC debt and thankfully the rest is on a 0% card I can make big payments on monthly.
I have this forum to thank, because I realized I grew my credit garden way too fast and got irresponsible with it. This is a lesson learned.
Thank you everyone!
(And yes, I had to take a HP on EX but this is something that had to happen to get things straight. My butt will be parked in the garden for 2 years, all of my credit aspirations have been reached and they need to age!)
It's good that you have caught yourself before things got entirely out of control. Time to get out the excel spreadsheet, make yourself a strict budget, and get back on track! It's possible and I know you can do it! Keep your head up because you didn't do all this work improving your credit for nothing!
I'm glad you've had a "moment of clarity" with your CC's and spending before it got any worse. Many, many people don't have this moment until it is so out of control that it is beyond fixing without drastic life changing measures (like BK, home foreclosure, repos, etc.). You aren't anywhere near that, fortunately, and can pull back in a fairly short amount of time provided you let this moment take hold and you stick to a plan.
I've followed your sucesses, trials and tribulations on this forum since you joined. I've been amazed at your candidness about the good and the bad, which is rare on an internet forum. I've likely been one of those "oddballs" who criticized and warned you of the perils of the path that I saw you taking (having been there myself long ago). Although it may have seemed that I was somewhat confrontive at times, I was honestly only trying to help you learn what I had to learn the hard way - maybe so you wouldn't have to go through the same thing.
I think this thread might go a long way toward helping others as it seems that many who have read your thread and posted are in the process of having their own "moments of clarity". Here's a few suggestions for your future posts that will not only help you, but could help others as well:
Stop talking about applying for new credit and CLI's because you aren't going to do either.
Start talking about your progress, i.e. balance reductions on your accounts, decreasing utilization, and increasing FICO scores.
Stop placing time frames on when you are going to apply for new credit (i.e "I'm gardening for at least two years, or until January 2013 etc.).
Start looking at this as a one day at a time deal.
Stop being so hard on yourself.
Start talking about the credit lines you are going to CLOSE because they aren't useful, you don't want them, or you don't need them.
Start to have PATIENCE. It takes a while to pay a large debt off.
I wish you the best, LS. You'll come out of this just fine.
I applaud LS for recognizing the spiral. Having CC's and being responsible with them is important to learn. Occe you get decent credit, and start getting higher limits it can get out of control if you are not very careful. I keep mine on a spreadsheet where I enter the balances and can see my bottom line. Getting new cards (with spend requirements for bonuses) can sometimes compound the problem, if you allow yourself to spend on things you don't need just to get a bonus.
You also have to watch your balances/utilization because as your total amount of available credit increases, you can still be well within the "sweet spot" of 6-9% utilization (for fico purposes), but the actual amount you owe is more than you can afford, or more than you are comfortable with.
It is great to have good enough credit to be able to have the option of a personal loan and 0% BT cards, because many don't. This is not to say that I always act as responsible as I should with credit, as I found this forum as others did, when I was dealing with some credit "challenges." Just acknowledging that it is still a learning process, and we all need a wake up call now and then.
I really appreciate everyone's responses!!!!
Android, I want to say thank you. You've been very helpful to me and I only wish I would have tooken more of your advice earlier in my credit journey. Sometimes you have to fall in order to get back up and stay up.
Someone nailed it earlier when they said when your overall util. grows to high limits you don't realize how much debt you really have when your util. is below 20%, that seem acceptable to you. That's how it was for me.
I figure to be back down below 5% util. in 6 months. A combination of tax returns and big payments will square PSECU and BArclays away and all of my other cards are zeroed out.
I cant see myself closing accounts just because I love them too much and GE is very very good to me and thats where most of my high lines are. I can say i'm not seeking anymore new credit and not having an urge at all. Maybe years down the road if I want more cards i'll close one out and get another.
LS... you will be fine. I know what its like to go from 3k in available credit to over 40k in a short amount of time. I was fortunate to have the lines when I needed them but honestly the zync is my primary card because I am forced to pay it off every month.
Try using zync more and bring lunch or eat home more. You will be fine its just a learning curve of learning how to manage crazily huge credit limits.
I really like this idea. I have a month or so before I can start doing this but i'd love to do my daily spend on Zync just to have to PIF every month.
You will get through it, LS! It was brave and helpful of you to post your situation. Just know that you're not alone. I'm in a similar situation as far as the amount of cc debt. I sobered up to my situation two years ago and now manage my accounts quite well but I'm still paying "stupid tax" as Dave Ramsey would say. My recent app spree has enabled me to do a couple of BTs @ 0% and that has helped. Luckily, in my foolish days, I didn't earn any negs on my cr, only high util. That's what saved me. LOL! I know once I pay them down/off, my score will get a nice bounce.
I know many others are in the same boat and it's a nice change to have a post like yours, showing the other side. I love seeing the approvals and I'm happy for those who post them but a thread like this is an eye opener for us all.
Keep the faith, you can and will do it! We have confidence in you!!!!
I keep my accounts in my budget software. If I am over-budget, the software shows me BIG RED NUMBERS and I hate those! This has really helped me control my spending.
I do EXACTLY the same thing and the red negatives have absolutely the same effect. I rework the expenses until the reds are GONE!!!