Posted on Sep 27, 2016
SFC Christopher Perry
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SCPO Investigator
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Yep...1, take scissors in left or right hand. 2, cut card. 3, deposit in trash can.
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SFC Christopher Perry
SFC Christopher Perry
5 y
SCPO (Join to see) More for the younger folks than you and I.
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SCPO (Join to see)
5 y
SFC Christopher Perry - I don't trust me with them either, and I am way north of 60!!!
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Sgt Field Radio Operator
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SFC Christopher Perry I have two credit cards that I only use for larger purchases. I pay them off as soon as I receive the bill. There is no reason to pay high interest to a credit card company when you can better use that money elsewhere.
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MAJ Rene De La Rosa
MAJ Rene De La Rosa
5 y
Absolutely correct, Sgt Theodore (Ted) M. Hallock. The days of saving up money for a large purchase have gone by the wayside. The idea of 'keeping up with the Jones's' is complete and utterly ridiculous. Why invite hell and brimstone from a banker/credit union/credit card company needlessly? Yet, for many, this is the only way.

My wife and I are like you; we hate to pay interest to these leeches.
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SFC Christopher Perry
SFC Christopher Perry
5 y
Sgt (Join to see) MAJ Rene De La Rosa Funny, I predicted that the folks with years of experience would be the ones responding on here. Or at the very least those that begun to figure things out.
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CPO Officer Candidate
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Edited 5 y ago
I have 21 financial accounts according to the Credit Bureau. Of those 21, 12 are open credit card accounts, resulting in a total credit limit of $70,000. Because of my SCRA benefits, I have been fortunate enough to own some very prestigious cards. My credit score is climbing exponentially. However, I did not get to this point over night.

At one point I was considering filing for bankruptcy because I didn't know how I was going to make my payments. I asked myself, "How did I get myself into this mess?" Going in, I planned on using a credit card like a debit card. Somewhere that got lost. I spent close to ten-thousand dollars on a parachute, I bought a $20,000 car on a credit card because 4% APR was much better than NFCU's 11%.. I furnished a house and bought a wedding ring that cost more than my parachute. I have felt the crippling sensation and fear that comes with irresponsible use of credit cards..

However, in the short coming months I will be completely debt free. I have learned how to manage debt andcredit cards properly (the hard way). At one point I had to make my cards inaccessibly. Everything was set to auto-pay (still is), but I was living on so very little in order to get by. That was a terrifying and very stressful time in my life.

What I will say, however, is that once your head is above water and you can properly make payments without having to sweat every time you buy a bag of M&Ms, you can expect your credit score to go up. Credit cards are a very useful resource. The rewards points, money back, and rewards miles I have earned from proper credit card use has been outstanding. I am flying both my wife and myself home completely free just for using these cards. So they definitely have their perks.

Understanding how credit cards work, how APRs affect payments, perks and benefits to cards, as well as how they affect your credit score is important, however meaningless unless you have a plan in place on how to pay those debts off while maintaining a suitable and responsible lifestyle.

Once I am out of debt, I will cycle through my cards every month, using them like I would cash or a debit card. This way, I continue to show activity on the card, am eligible for credit line increases, and continue to earn rewards on each card - all the while reaping the benefits that inherently come with the cards (like a buy one get one free airline ticket *CHA-CHING*.

**On a side note: if you are active duty, you have SCRA benefits. Many companies will lower your APR to 6% or less while you are on active duty and retroactively refund the difference of any APR above 6% you paid BEFORE you joined the military (including student loans and credit cards). Many credit card companies will allow you to keep this perk 1 year after you exit the service. This is how I am able to own and afford two cards that would normally cost $450 a year. The only downside to owning such cards is that once you leave the service, those fees are no longer waived. Thus, if you do not have other cards of a similar age, this may make a small impact on your credit score (negligible). Because of the number of cards and the average age of my account history, when these accounts are closed, it will have very little impact if any at all. However, because I am reaping literally thousands of dollars in free benefits because of SCRA, it is completely worth a 1 or 2 point impact years from now. All you have to do is call and ask them to apply your SCRA benefits to your account. (Navy Federal and USAA will NOT apply these benefits to your account any time after you joined).
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SFC Christopher Perry
SFC Christopher Perry
5 y
CPO (Join to see) What a fantastic turn around you have made. You got yourself into the position that so many do these days, but managed to recover cleanly.

However, I will add one thing for those reading this thread as a means of educating themselves. Your approach is working great for you, but has taken you a lot of time and effort to perfect. Honestly, it is far too complicated and requires a level of discipline most folks simply don't posses.

And I will add one little caveat for you. I realize that you are using these credit cards as a tool at the moment. However, 70,000 in available credit on 12 different cards is potentially weakening the rise of your credit score. I believe that you will find your score would rise at a much quicker rate if you were to close half of these cards. While you have showed the ability to manage your finances, this is still seen as a credit risk. Quite simply, the programs see the large amount available to you as an almost inevitable pitfall. For example, something unexpected happens in your life and you suddenly have to max all these cards out in order to survive. May be totally unrealistic, but that is how these way into the equation when your scores are calculated.
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