I’m a moron. I racked up $8,000 in credit card debt in about 11-12 months. On top of that, I have $26,000 in student loans (WHY DIDN’T I PAY THEM OFF FIRST, BRAIN!?!). In an attempt to alleviate the blow from interest, I split the debt across 3 more credit cards with no interest for 12-18 months. The problem? My credit started tanking. Fast. It started at 740 and in 7 months it bottomed out at 608 this month. I’m going to stop spending and start repaying starting this month.
Should I pull down all of the cards’ utilization rates to <80% or should I focus on my whopper debt? The whopper debt being the Chase Sapphire Preferred charging me 15.24% interest, though it's only at 68% credit utilization. My Discover is at 87%, my Citi is at 84%, and my CapitalOne is at 83% (though it would take a $268 payment to get it below 80%). What do you think? Whopper payment or save my credit score in the short term?
You are not a moron. You just made a mistake. A mistake I might say that you will learn from and it may serve you well for the rest of your life.
You will probably greatly benefit from the service offered by ReadyForZero.com and the structured approach it gives you. Using their free service you can prioritize your debt repayment and focus on knocking out the highest interest rate debt first. Your balances are so far away from the target utilization rate of 30% or less that focusing on the best mathematical approach makes sense.
If you decide to not use the ReadyForZero.com approach, I’d focus instead on the lowest balance card first and once that’s paid off use the extra monthly funds on the next lowest balance card, etc. This approach gives you greater emotional support without a structured framework.
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