How to effectively tackle my credit card balance
I joined the debt paydown challenge this year thinking no problemo! And I was doing really well. I got my $4000 CC balance down to $1900 in only 4 months. But then, you know, life happened. Our old beater car broke down and we decided to buy something newer/more reliable so we could avoid costly repairs and save money. Little did we know, newer cars also cost a lot to maintain. 🙃
At this point I have increased my monthly expenses by $375 for car payment/insurance. I also had to put $1086 on my credit card for new brakes and a battery. And then we had to move! So there's an extra $500 on my credit card and I could literally cry if I wasn't so mad. 😑
Normally I would just roll with it, like okay I'll just make some adjustments and pay off my balances slower. But I'm potentially quitting my job in September and won't have an income. I was hoping to start school with this balance paid off, but that seems completely unattainable at this point.
I have about $13k saved (might be more like $16K by September) so I don't have to work while I'm in school. It's wrapped up in my pension plan right now earning interest. But that's barely enough to cover my living expenses during the 6 month program and that's not including the cost of the course which I haven't figured out what I'm going to do about.
Anyway, that's how I got into this mess and now I'm brainstorming ways to get out. There's no way I can pay off the balance before I start school. I don't even know if I can make a dent in it, tbh. I really don't want to delay my start because it's been so hard to get in already.
I was thinking of paying off the balance when I get my pension savings. That will be one less monthly bill to worry about, but then I might need to get a part time job or something. I'm trying to avoid having to work so I can focus on school.
The other option is to just let sleeping dogs lie, let the balance sit there. I can pay the $80/month minimum payment which includes a portion toward the principal. That way I have the money I need to live and I guess paying it isn't a big deal. Literally going back to where I was a year ago. 🤷♀️
I'm really unsure of which way to go with this. Or maybe there's a third option I haven't considered. I'm hoping for some guidance or like... permission to carry a balance or something. lol I don't know. It just breaks my heart seeing that balance after all my hard work...
Does anyone have any advice?
I don't have any specific advice for the time frame that you mentioned, but I have been in your shoes. I spent a lot of years paying down debt only for emergencies to occur that then added to my debt. 😭It was exhausting and definitely felt like I'd never be out of debt. I'm still not, to be honest, but I do see the light at the end of the tunnel. It wasn't until I really lived by rule 2 that I started making progress. For me it was saving for Christmas (as if it was ever a surprise when it rolled around 🤦♀️), but my car maintenance category wasn't without fault.
I guess my advice is: rather than focusing on clearing out that debt, first take a closer look at your true expenses and make a plan for those. They will continue to occur even when you are in school! I'd err on the side of paying down less debt in order to be more prepared for true expenses. You'll get the debt paid off - slow and steady.