How To Pay Off $35,000 In Credit Card Debt In One Month

Several years ago, I put around $35,000 on my one and only credit card thanks to a home remodeling project and a new watch purchase. My “reward” was a 1% rebate towards my home mortgage, which is not bad considering $350 paid to principal is thousands in interest savings over the life of the loan.

$35,000 is the most I’ve ever put on a credit card in one month and it felt kind of odd. But, I really wanted to create a new bathroom from a closet to add functionality and value to my house. There’s an amazing amount of stuff you need to buy when building a new bathroom: wall tiles, toilet, limestone, shower heads, copper pipes, sinks, mirrors, lights, deep soaking jacuzzi jet tub, lights, light fixtures, paint, doors, crystal knobs, skylight, ventilator and so forth. $20,000 in materials adds up quick!

The watch was a Stainless Steel Daytona that cost $9,600, which I promptly sold for a profit three weeks later because a friend begged me to sell it to him! For those who know watches, the Stainless Steel Daytona is one of the most coveted watches on the market, which can’t be bought in any store. You need a jeweler, connections, or a history of purchases to gain access to this particular watch. It’s a big waste of money, but one of my weaknesses that I so conveniently categorize as a hobby to justify.

Add on all the other normal purchases of food, insurance, membership dues and transportation costs, racking up $35,000 in credit card debt in a month is just as easy done as said!


Small Business Credit Card Issuers: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

We all know the old adage, “you can’t judge a book by its cover.” What you might not know is that banks apparently had this in mind when branding business credit cards. You see, one would think there’d be significant differences between general-consumer and business credit cards. However, according to a recent Card Hub study, the only thing that really distinguishes a business credit card from a general-use card is the fact that a company is liable in addition to an individual cardholder.

Oh, and the fact the new credit card law (CARD Act) only applies to consumer credit cards. In light of this, a clear hierarchy of business credit card issuers actually emerges when you compare the extent to which issuers recognize the bond between consumers and business credit cards and in turn proactively apply CARD Act protections to these spending vehicles despite their branding.

Ultimately, you are left with a list of the good, the bad and the ugly business credit card issuers.

The Good

Should I Have Closed My Credit Cards?

I did some spring cleaning the other day and found two credit cards in my drawer which I totally forgot I had!  One was a Home Depot credit card I got three years ago at the check out counter because I could save 15% off my $3,000 purchase immediately.  The other card was a Banana Republic card that I applied for also three years ago to save 10% off my $1,300 purchase of a couple new suits, shirts, and shoes.  Both cards have zero balances, and neither have been used since the initial purchases!

My first reaction was to close both cards since I didn’t want someone risking get a hold of them and going crazy buying Brazilian rosewood floors at Home Depot or alligator shoes at Banana Republic or something.  In essence, I wanted peace of mind and so, I closed both cards.  To my surprise, I didn’t get a hard sell to leave them open.  I pressed several buttons on my cell phone and both cards are now shutdown.  Ahhh, so nice to not have to worry and have less potential holes to leak wealth.


Are Credit Cards Weapons Of Mass Financial Destruction?

The answer depends on if your name is Saddam Hussein, although proponents would say no proof was ever found!  You hear so many stories of consumers up to their eyeballs in credit card debt, and I’m just wondering WHY?  Credit card debt is the most expensive debt out there, second only to usurious rates of loan sharks.

Perhaps the reason why is because credit cards are ubiquitous.  According to the US Census Bureau, there were 173 million credit cardholders in the US in 2006, using 1.5 billion credit cards?  That’s right, the ratio is almost 10 credit cards to every one user, with transaction volumes of over $2 trillion a year!  No wonder the US consumer gets in trouble, and why credit cards are such big business!

My view on credit cards is quite simple: Use credit cards only to your advantage, and never let them take advantage of you!  Whenever you see your credit card misbehaving, you should think to yourself “Bad boy!  Bad, BAD!”  I think my wife tells me this sometimes, but I try and tune it out.

Joel is hosting a $500 American Express giveaway, and gosh darnit, I’m entering to give myself a chance to win.  In “You’re Rejected!  How I Use Rejection To Motivate Me Every Single Day,” we discuss how success is a numbers game.  The more you put yourself out there, the higher the chance you have to succeed.  Here’s my attempt to win and use the proceeds to buy toys and clothing for underprivileged children this winter in San Francisco.  The program is called “Toys 4 Tots.”