I am curious, do you know the exactly how much money you are paying in interest and bank fees each month?
I ask because recently I’ve been particularly worried about this one credit card account I have. It was literally the first card I got when I decided to try reestablishing myself credit wise.
This means I had to pay an annual fee for the card and a pretty high interest rate. It was something I felt was necessary though since nobody would extend credit to me otherwise.
Well just the other day I got a notice from that credit card company about how the account terms are being changed. The annual fee is going up and so is the interest rate, big time. It’s been five years since I accepted that car and I actually forgot just how much I was paying them to extend credit to me!
Since accepting that credit card offer I’ve improved my credit tons and I now have several lower APR/ no annual fee cards that are a much better deal. I quickly decided that this first credit card is something I don’t need to be paying for any longer and am closing it.
Well, this all got me thinking about how much N and I are unknowingly throwing away on bank fees and interest charges each month. I was scared to sit down and figure out the exact dollar amount but I also knew that if I didn’t we wouldn’t truly see how much we can cut back and even save if we make some small changes.
Let me tell you adding it all up and listing it all really does put it in perspective folks! It also really helped me to see which accounts we wanted to focus on paying down first. Throwing less money away is always a good thing right? You gotta take those blinders off first though.
Plus, once it is all listed you can go through it and see how the interest rates and owed balances are looking. Available balances and interest rates are two very different things, just because you have the money available to spend doesn’t mean you should.
Listing your monthly interest and fees paid will also help you see if you are using high interest rate cards too often or if you have too much charged to them. It will help you determine if you should be paying more towards one card as opposed to another. It will also help you to see if certain cards are just charging you too much in comparison to all your other accounts. Ignorance is bliss… but it is bliss you probably can’t afford right now!
Are you convinced yet? If so you can use this free spreadsheet right now to plug in your own information. It will figure totals for you over a 6 month period, then you can print it out and keep it as a reference if you want.
I am also curious to see how much individuals are paying each month and how all my readers average so I made an anonymous survey I hope you’ll take.
It is just asking for your January 2009 numbers, no personal information. It’s all recorded on a spreadsheet and then I’ll share the anonymous values with you all in another post so you can see how you compare to other readers.
In these times of economic hardship everyone is looking for ways to cut back and to save money. Watching your monthly budget and spending trends is a simple and obvious way to find areas that you can cut back. How much interest and fees banks charge you is a big one many people overlook!