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December 2017 Check-In Thread

Moderator

December 2017 Check-In Thread

 

As we approach the holidays, the stress of overspending can be tremendous.  What steps are you taking so that you ring in the New Year not drowning in debt? What new ideas or plans do you have so that 0% promos don't sway you away from your goals?  If you have a plan or strategy that you would like to share, please do! 

 

I know you are all hard at work with your credit goals.  Have you progressed as far as you hoped?  Were there any unforseen expenses that cropped up and may have thrown you off schedule?

 

As a reminder, participation in these monthly check-ins is optional, but encouraged. The goal is to help keep you on track, so feel free to post your progress updates here. This is a no-judge zone; feel free to say what's keeping you up at night or give yourself a kudo for having it all together.

 

Did you hit any potholes or speedbumps? Achieve some milestones, either small or mighty? Change your goals or add new ones?

 

Let us know how you're doing!

What have been your biggest accomplishments

and obstacles so far in the myFICO Fitness Challenge this year?

Message 1 of 8
7 REPLIES
Contributor

Re: December 2017 Check-In Thread

Ok December. Let's get started.

 

So, I admit that I went a little crazy last month. I needed and leased a new car. Technically, I should've paid cash for an older model and been done with it but no. I had to go for a new Lexus. Ah well. Can't beat myself over that now. But, immediately afterwards, I went on an app spree and am now trying to manage SUB requirements. So far, so good tho. I have a total of $5k spend requirement in 90 days and figure I'll just run my bills through them. Buuuuuut, the cards with the SUB are Amex cards and not all of my bills can be paid via Amex. So, I've decided to run a few of my business expenses through and just do an expense report for reimbursement. That takes care of that.

 

My scores, now that the dust has settled are:

EQ: 748

TU: 755

EX: 727

 

I hoped to be 760 across the board by the end of 2017 but, I don't see that in the cards. I'd be thrilled if I could get 2 out of 3 so. that's where I'll set my goal for this month. FICO simulator says that I'll be 769, 755, 741  if I just pay my credt card bance down by $159 (I'm at 2% Ut right now.  How accurate do you think that is? I could settle for that. And of course, there will be holiday spending so, I guess I need to factor that in somehow. Also, I don't think my car is showing up yet so, yikes. Oh, and I need to replace the hood on my car. Don't even ask.  I'm not happy about it. So, that's an additional expense along with insurance on the vehicle.

 

On a good note, I'm excited to have gotten my $300 in airline gift certificates from the Amex airline credits benefit. Next month, I'll grab the other $300, having platinum and gold this first year at no AF. Figuring that out was definitely on my to-do list.

 

I'm sure I'll have stuff to add to my goals list for this month. I'll come back later.

 



Starting Score (May 2017): 584 TU
Current Scores: 760 TU, 764 EQ, 727 EX
Goal Score: 820+



Message 2 of 8
Valued Contributor

Re: December 2017 Check-In Thread

Super excited to join the 700 club finally!  No idea why TU jumped from 695 to 701 but assuming either it's some inquiries from May finally losing some punch, or maybe my installment loan is finally old enough to recover a bit of FICO ding.

 

Won't do a 3B pull until December 20th when everything reports again, but still pretty excited to see 700s even though it doesn't mean anything versus that 695 that was lurking.

 

fico8 december 2017.png

 

Really weird to me that EX is 710 with no derogatories whatsoever, but TU is 701 with an unpaid tax lien reporting.  I have to go over things with a fine toothed comb to figure out what's keeping EX back so much.  FICO simulator (which we can't trust) shows me at 795 for EX and 789 for EQ in 24 months, but only 720 for TU with that stupid lien still reporting.  Disputes have been no-go so CFPB is next to see what can happen.  I live in a state where EVERYONE pulls TU every time, so of course it's frustrating that TU is the one still showing that lien.

 

My December goals have nothing to do with credit -- I just paid off a $10,000 unreported tax situation in full to avoid a new lien (lots of court dates and arguments and me using really improper terms for the tax folks in front of the tax judge who laughed often and seemed to agree with me).

 

This entire month I am basically in the Caribbean except for 5 days I'll be at home winterizing and making sure it stays winterized, so I don't have a lot of "real life" to deal with, but my to-do list for December 2017 is:

 

  1. FICO related: Send off CFPB dispute on the tax lien and see what they can do if anything.  Not really all that hopeful!
  2. Not FICO related: I have my biggest CD maturing on the 15th ($8000!) so I am splitting it into two CDs and putting half into a 24 month CD and half into a 12 month CD.  I am moving all of my 12 month CDs into 24 month ones along with half sized 12 month ones over the next 12 months, and then in another year I'll move everything into 24 month ones that mature every 2 months.  Future goal for 36 month CDs that mature every 2 months so I'll have 3 years of more than my bimonthly income maturing bimonthly.  This is huge for me since my expected accruing interest may be up to $6000 a year of "free" money that is safe and available fast enough to cover a total loss of income.
  3. Kinda FICO related: I am closing down my Comenity Williams Sonoma card in January but hopeful for a Christmas clearance to get one of my wish list items and earn enough to get a $25 gift card (I have a $21.80 gift balance or something).  Once that's out, Comenity is on my blacklist for life.  7 months having the card, $400 toy limit.  I believe this card counts towards 5/24 but maybe not, but either way it doesn't matter or affect my 5/24 in either way.
  4. FICO related-ish: I have no problem keeping and maintaining AZEO method.  I just did an audit of 2017 spend and looks like I left somewhere in the range of $2300-$3300 on the table in possible credit card rewards because I couldn't qualify for rewards cards, and even today I still can't qualify for Chase Sapphire Reserve.  Amex Platinum is on my wish list as it'll boost my annual rewards by around $600 even with the residual annual fee -- but I wrote a Chase 5/24 calculator in Google Sheets and if I get Amex I won't be at 4/24 until 10/2019!  Holy moly.  Might make more sense to just get CSP if I am preapproved and after a year try to PC.  Still, my 2017 audit really kicked me in the gut because I figured I was doing well with credit card management on spending and earning as much as possible.  $3300 of possible money left behind means $3300 that isn't sitting in my rolling CD portfolio earning me more money free.  Ugh.
  5. Not FICO related: I drastically cut spending even more than ever in November -- chopped out 4 lingering useless subscriptions and only have 1 subscription left (Spotify) which goes away when Capital One stops giving me $5 back monthly.  All those fees I was paying now goes into my rolling CD portfolio.
  6. Not FICO related: This month I am also considering selling off a bunch of real estate because the market has gone to insane levels -- one of my favorite rentals only earns about $1200 a month before expenses and costs, but I can sell it for $180,000 or so which is the equivalent to someone buying a future foreclosure on themselves.  3 properties are on my list of consideration because they've gone to insane prices (comps) and cashing out of real estate might earn me more than collecting rent and dealing with maintenance/landlord stuff.  For those thinking of investing, now is a horrible time to buy in 71 markets I monitor in the US.  
  7. FICO related: I bought a small bought in May from a broker I have gotten close to.  He needed one more loan closed that month and offered me a fantastic deal: if I got a loan through him, he would cover 100% of my interest for the first year in-kind (free maintenance, boat washes, inspections, oil changes, etc, versus every dollar I spent in interest).  So that boat loan lets me get some data points for free.  Unfortunately, I tried to pay it down below 90% to see what effect it would have on my score, but the bank reports 2-3 months behind schedule.  So right now it shows 96% utilization even though I am well under 90%.  In January I am paying it to below 40%, and in March I'll pay below 8%, then pay it off in April.  It's very annoying to see how long it takes to update, and the data points have been uesless since my FICO scores have gone up an average of 20 points a month, every month.  Still, maybe I'll glean something out of loan utilization.  I do have an Alliant SSL sitting at $40 balance/$500 original, and that will stay that way for the full 5 years with little $1-2 pushed payments every 3 months.
  8. FICO related: Amex 3X CLI comes up January 2, 2018 so hoping to get to $6000.  I like the BCP, a lot. My local grocer is offering $10 gift cards on $100 gift card purchase for their grocery store only, and they do code as 6% on BCP, so I may be able to max out my $6000 this year in supermarket spend if I have time back home to do it.  Sadly, $2000 limit right now makes it very difficult and I have no idea how Amex would look at me if I spend $5200 on supermarkets in December, lol.  Probably not worth poking the bear over just $300 or so...
  9. FICO related: Was really hoping to see new "Your Offers" in Chase around November 30th which was the 6 month mark since I accepted the previous offer of Chase Freedom Unlimited.  Some rare data points said people lost offers for 6 months.  December 1st or 2nd I finally got a green check mark on the Chase login menu, clicked it excitedly and the only green checkmark was for a credit card terminal.  I laughed for 5 minutes at the stupidity of that offer since it was showing with a checkmark for 6 months.  Oh well.  Was hoping to see CSP so I would run to a branch and ask for a CSR offer, but so far, no-go.  Booo, hiss.
  10. FICO related: Amazon CLI request on 12/16 -- went from $400->$5000 (chat)->$6000 (luv button) all in 5 months, and now am into 6 months and 12/16 is 90 days since I got the $6000 bump.   I don't use Amazon at all for shopping so it's a weird useless card but I am eyeballing a very expensive cinema camera and one of the 3rd parties said they'd put it on Amazon for me at a $1000 discount there, but my CL at $6000 means I can't afford it ($6500 with the discount).  So getting $10,000 would be awesome, would put $300 more in my pocket, and I already rent 2 cinema cameras out locally for bundles of cash and this one would probably pay itself back before wedding season is over in 2018.  Last one I bought paid for itself in just 9 weekends during wedding season!

Nothing else on my to-do list.  Pretty boring actually.  2018 is going to be just as boring -- just want more CLIs so I an get over $10,000 so I can hope to get CSR at some point.  Amex Plat, CSR in 2018 if I can, and then try for some awesome 3% card for 2019, and I'd say I was done with my rebuild.

FICO8FICO8Visit my posts:
03/1712/17My 11 Rules to Credit RebuildingFree FICO Scores!
550EX
570TU
559EQ
710EX
701TU
734EQ
FICO alert: why did my credit score drop???
Message 3 of 8
New Member

Re: December 2017 Check-In Thread

I'm new here. so why not make  my first post the december check in.

i'm currently trying to grow my score.

Message 4 of 8
Highlighted
Contributor

Re: December 2017 Check-In Thread


ohjoy wrote:

Ok December. Let's get started.

 

So, I admit that I went a little crazy last month. I needed and leased a new car. Technically, I should've paid cash for an older model and been done with it but no. I had to go for a new Lexus. Ah well. Can't beat myself over that now. But, immediately afterwards, I went on an app spree and am now trying to manage SUB requirements. So far, so good tho. I have a total of $5k spend requirement in 90 days and figure I'll just run my bills through them. Buuuuuut, the cards with the SUB are Amex cards and not all of my bills can be paid via Amex. So, I've decided to run a few of my business expenses through and just do an expense report for reimbursement. That takes care of that.

 

My scores, now that the dust has settled are:

EQ: 748

TU: 755

EX: 727

 

I hoped to be 760 across the board by the end of 2017 but, I don't see that in the cards. I'd be thrilled if I could get 2 out of 3 so. that's where I'll set my goal for this month. FICO simulator says that I'll be 769, 755, 741  if I just pay my credt card bance down by $159 (I'm at 2% Ut right now.  How accurate do you think that is? I could settle for that. And of course, there will be holiday spending so, I guess I need to factor that in somehow. Also, I don't think my car is showing up yet so, yikes. Oh, and I need to replace the hood on my car. Don't even ask.  I'm not happy about it. So, that's an additional expense along with insurance on the vehicle.

 

On a good note, I'm excited to have gotten my $300 in airline gift certificates from the Amex airline credits benefit. Next month, I'll grab the other $300, having platinum and gold this first year at no AF. Figuring that out was definitely on my to-do list.

 

I'm sure I'll have stuff to add to my goals list for this month. I'll come back later.

 


Ok. Moving into week 2, my TU score is now 760. Now to get the rest of them up. I usually pay off all of my balances but had still been carrying a balance on my NF Cash Rewards card, basically forgetting that my brother's card, for which I'm an AU usually carries a balance. AND, now spreading my spend across 3 new cards that require it for points, I've made sure that I've paid everything down to zero so that my brother's card will be the only one with a balance. It's sitting at 8%, barely making it for what I'd like but, hey. I can't require him to make any moves so, I'm hoping this will be good enough to grab me more points for years end. So, I'm looking forward to all of my accounts reporting for this month.

 

Also, in other threads, I talked about my Navcheck being lower interest thatn my NF CC. And wanting to rack up my required spend for points quickly and also plan for Christmas spending. Someone recommended that I open a PenFed and grab a zero percent card. So, I opened a PenFed account and applied and was declined. Too many recently active accounts, whatever that means.  I'm going to call for a recon and explain that I'm looking for a 0% specifically and all my accounts remain PIF. No lates, no baddies and my score for them was 755.  Yes, I did just do an app spree but, I mostly got credit cards. AND, I have 23 inq on my EQ but, that's from buying a car and leasing a car. C'mon! Anyway, when I first rec'd the decline, I had pangs of my lower score days in my gut. But, in reality, I'm reconning with some pretty decent scores. Meh.  Let's see what happens. It's worth a try. Wish me luck! 

 

But seriously, what's up with EX. They dropped me down to 727 and don't appear to be interested in moving. That's a long way to 760 with a reluctant CRA. Ah well. I'm still hoping for a Christmas miracle. I think I'll do some researching and see what makes EX happy.

 

Welp! That's all I have for now. Wishing everyone a successful month!

 

 



Starting Score (May 2017): 584 TU
Current Scores: 760 TU, 764 EQ, 727 EX
Goal Score: 820+



Message 5 of 8
Contributor

Re: December 2017 Check-In Thread


ohjoy wrote:

ohjoy wrote:

Ok December. Let's get started.

 

So, I admit that I went a little crazy last month. I needed and leased a new car. Technically, I should've paid cash for an older model and been done with it but no. I had to go for a new Lexus. Ah well. Can't beat myself over that now. But, immediately afterwards, I went on an app spree and am now trying to manage SUB requirements. So far, so good tho. I have a total of $5k spend requirement in 90 days and figure I'll just run my bills through them. Buuuuuut, the cards with the SUB are Amex cards and not all of my bills can be paid via Amex. So, I've decided to run a few of my business expenses through and just do an expense report for reimbursement. That takes care of that.

 

My scores, now that the dust has settled are:

EQ: 748

TU: 755

EX: 727

 

I hoped to be 760 across the board by the end of 2017 but, I don't see that in the cards. I'd be thrilled if I could get 2 out of 3 so. that's where I'll set my goal for this month. FICO simulator says that I'll be 769, 755, 741  if I just pay my credt card bance down by $159 (I'm at 2% Ut right now.  How accurate do you think that is? I could settle for that. And of course, there will be holiday spending so, I guess I need to factor that in somehow. Also, I don't think my car is showing up yet so, yikes. Oh, and I need to replace the hood on my car. Don't even ask.  I'm not happy about it. So, that's an additional expense along with insurance on the vehicle.

 

On a good note, I'm excited to have gotten my $300 in airline gift certificates from the Amex airline credits benefit. Next month, I'll grab the other $300, having platinum and gold this first year at no AF. Figuring that out was definitely on my to-do list.

 

I'm sure I'll have stuff to add to my goals list for this month. I'll come back later.

 


Ok. Moving into week 2, my TU score is now 760. Now to get the rest of them up. I usually pay off all of my balances but had still been carrying a balance on my NF Cash Rewards card, basically forgetting that my brother's card, for which I'm an AU usually carries a balance. AND, now spreading my spend across 3 new cards that require it for points, I've made sure that I've paid everything down to zero so that my brother's card will be the only one with a balance. It's sitting at 8%, barely making it for what I'd like but, hey. I can't require him to make any moves so, I'm hoping this will be good enough to grab me more points for years end. So, I'm looking forward to all of my accounts reporting for this month.

 

Also, in other threads, I talked about my Navcheck being lower interest thatn my NF CC. And wanting to rack up my required spend for points quickly and also plan for Christmas spending. Someone recommended that I open a PenFed and grab a zero percent card. So, I opened a PenFed account and applied and was declined. Too many recently active accounts, whatever that means.  I'm going to call for a recon and explain that I'm looking for a 0% specifically and all my accounts remain PIF. No lates, no baddies and my score for them was 755.  Yes, I did just do an app spree but, I mostly got credit cards. AND, I have 23 inq on my EQ but, that's from buying a car and leasing a car. C'mon! Anyway, when I first rec'd the decline, I had pangs of my lower score days in my gut. But, in reality, I'm reconning with some pretty decent scores. Meh.  Let's see what happens. It's worth a try. Wish me luck! 

 

But seriously, what's up with EX. They dropped me down to 727 and don't appear to be interested in moving. That's a long way to 760 with a reluctant CRA. Ah well. I'm still hoping for a Christmas miracle. I think I'll do some researching and see what makes EX happy.

 

Welp! That's all I have for now. Wishing everyone a successful month!

 

 


Welp! TU giveth and TU taketh away (and EQ too, btw). The 5 pts from TU went poof, along with 5 pts from EQ. This is because my Navy Amex was added ($15K SL with $302 balance). I wasn't sure when it would report and CSR estimated due date at the end of the month. So, the balance reported slipped past me. No biggie. After doing some reading, I found that in using the AZEO method, the account carrying the balance should not be the AU account (as planned in my last post). So, this $302 will serve as my one reporting balance. I've paid it off since.

 

As for the PenFed recon, the CSR didn't help much and was rushing me. I asked that she transfer me to sr loan officer or have him call me back. To date, no return call. But, I did get the survey over the weekend and expressed my displeasure there. So, maybe someone will call me back after that. But really, I'm over it. I really don't need a new account added. I plan to just try for a cli on my Discover and use that 0% promo. After that, I'm going to pick up a shovel and head over to the garden. Oh, I've said that before and it's hard to sit down but, I think 6 months should do me well and allow me to grow what I have.



Starting Score (May 2017): 584 TU
Current Scores: 760 TU, 764 EQ, 727 EX
Goal Score: 820+



Message 6 of 8
New Visitor

Re: December 2017 Check-In Thread

I am trying to build my score and pay down my UT. Due to lots of travel, and buying a new home and needing appliances, etc, I am at 90% UT!!! $%^$%!!! Not good. I just paid off my Delta Amex which was $3000. That should bring me down to 60% UT. I need to pay off my Barclays which I used to buy a Macbook Pro for work ($3000). My husband is not very financially savvy or a good saver so its like talking to a wall trying to explain how this works. He pays bills and will begrudgingly save but its not a priority for him so thats a bit frustrating.

 

Goal: Pay off my cards in 2018 and enjoy this trip to Rome I'm going to in May (booked with points!) 

Starting Score: 489
Current Score: 598
Goal Score: 850


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Message 7 of 8
New Contributor

Re: December 2017 Check-In Thread

we finally closed our home refi last month with a local CU and got away from CitiMortgage.  we also refid a small car loan (that we've had since early 2014) thru the same CU as well as bought a gently used Jeep last month and have that loan thru said CU.  our Z06 will sell in the next week.  we're looking forward to being able to save more in 2018. no new cards.  for now, trying to get the utilization on my 3 cards to 9% or less.  my average is 11% at this time.  good luck to my fellow challengers.  may you have a peaceful holiday season Smiley Happy


Ch13 filed 3/2009 : discharged 1/2014
Starting 2/16/2013:
EQ673 TU667
Current 12/04/2017: EX732 EQ829 TU837
Goal: 850

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Message 8 of 8