Step 3. Play the credit card game

To do more than just survive in grad school (ie-have some beer, shop some) I lived on credit cards. I also used them to enable my fianace’ to get a car, go out to eat etc.

In addition, I  was renting a  house above  my means. I was taking in $1200/month as a research assistant but was paying $485 rent + elec + gas + water. The MAX I should have been renting was $300 inclusive of all expenses. I rationalized: I had yard ($) for the dog ($), garden ($ plants). I needed to fill it with STUFF-cheap stuff from garage sales, but still.. Also, I used the credit card to buy my wedding, ring.

yep. I bought m y on wedding ring. Did I mention it didn’t last? *********************** How to play:

1.Call each credit card company.

2. Say “I’m considering transfering my balance to another card with 0% interest. What’s your best interest rate for me?”

3. If answer is “I’m sorry, that’s the best we can do”. Say, “Ok, I will just transfer the balance.” Stay chipper the whole time and don’t give up.

4.If you do get to transfer, typically, you wil be charged 3% of your balance. *”$10,ooo = $300 charge. Ask yourself “is the $300 charge worth it?”

5.Pay off the ones in your name. Stop enabling someone else.

6.Pay off the SMALLEST one first. Why? It gives you a sense of victory.

7.Apply for a credit-union credit card for transfers.

8.Once a card is payed off, shred it and keep it OPEN.

9. Go to next smallest card. Rinse, repeat. Use the funds from previous card to pay it off.

10. shred it and keep it open. Rinse, repeat. 11. Limit new purchases to $25 on 1 card/month.

12. If you have memorized your cc number, ask bank to send you a new card. The 3 or 4 digit code will change and prevent you from purchasing more.

13. Stay out of “trigger” stores. For me they were “Forever 21”, “Claires” etc


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