Credit Card Balances Over TimeEliminating credit card debt has certainly been a journey. An ongoing one.

I’ve been keeping track of my individual credit card balances since June of 2005. Previously, I was just interested in what I had in my checking account — before I knew it, and because I wasn’t looking for it, I was $20k in the hole.

Not the greatest position to be in.

It was about that time that I decided to do something about it. Looking at the graph pictured, well, from June 2005 to June 2006, I went from $20k in debt to… $20k in debt. It didn’t move at all. My “snowball” had gotten stuck it seemed.

And that’s when it became apparent to me; there is a point where you just can’t dig out of debt.

Thankfully, I wasn’t paying the cards down as diligently as I could have. Since then, it’s been a yo-yo battle. I knock it down a few thousand, then, like everyone says, something comes up.

That “something” for us was the new roof at the tail end of 2006. The loan we took out — which was essentially a $12k convenience check from a credit card — skyrocketed my debt to depths I’d never seen before. Ouch.

At the time, I kinda thought all was lost. I’ll just coast along from here like that guy in the commercial who’s in debt up to his eyeballs.

Combined with my wife, we had some pretty nice income in December 2006 and January 2007, and we applied most of that towards the debt. In just over a month, we’d knocked nearly $10k off of our total balance. Talk about a roller coaster of emotions…

But now we were motivated and, better still, on a roll. We kept at it, at a ridiculous pace, through April of 2007. By month’s end, the total balance was just over $9k. That’s a $20k swing in the span of 6 months. That… will make anybody a little cocky.

And it did. I guess ‘cocky’ isn’t the right term, but it made the idea of expensive home improvements seem possible and that’s when we decided to get the house sided as well.

Just like that, in June of 2007, we were hovering around the $20k mark. Again. Just like June of 2006. And June of 2005. So much for the wind in our sails.

But there was a difference. See, this time, the debt had gotten us something. We brought the exterior of our house into this century. Everyday when I pull into the driveway after work, I see a house that isn’t an eyesore. Two years ago — even one year ago — that just wasn’t the case. And I was still $20k in debt.

All was not lost.

As you can see, the balances are falling again. Not at the great speed they did earlier this year, but still falling roughly $1k per month. The current balance, as of today, is $14981.

I’m not proud of that. But it is manageable. And just knowing that we are capable of paying off sums larger than that in relatively short periods of time, well, it makes me that much more excited about the future.

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