Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Phone Calls and Balance Transfers

I'm glad I married the man I married. And sometimes I'm really glad I married the man I married. At the risk of sounding completely cheesy, he really does complete me. Together we're one smoothly running, unified team instead of two separate halves of a whole.

Case in point:

A week ago, I got an $800 dental bill in the mail. My first inclination when I get dental bills is to whine and cry about it (at least figuratively) then stick them up in the mail holder, and eventually suck it up and get them paid. Now we don't actually HAVE $800 just lying around - if we did, there would be no need for this blog - so it would have gone on a credit card. I never doubted we owed it though. I've had a lot of dental work done lately. A lot, a lot. And those root canals and crowns aren't cheap. So I'd pretty much resigned myself to an $800 step backwards in our debt repayment efforts. But then my groom came home, took one look at the bill, and said "We don't owe this. We already paid our portion." The next day he made some phone calls, the insurance was re-billed, and we suddenly don't owe $800 anymore!

It works both ways too. Just a few days after the bill from the dentist, we got one of those balance transfer offers in the mail. I generally just ignore those, shred them up and throw them out. I opened that one though, and read it carefully. It was an offer from a current card, NOT an offer for a new card, and the interest rate for transfers was much lower than that of our smaller balances cards. I read the fine print, and I read the fine fine print (so important), and we decided to go ahead and pay off and transfer the balances from two of our cards. I have to stop right here and say that we never would have done it if we weren't well aware of the two major caveats of such a transfer: 1) we won't use the paid off cards again, and 2) we won't make any late payments! The lower interest is in effect for the life of the balance transferred, and since we aren't spread over 3 cards anymore, that means that even making the same exact total payment every month our debt will come down faster. Awesome.

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