A month ago I took a good hard look at my credit cards. (Okay, it was actually the bills since I cut up the cards almost a year ago.) I realized that due to a couple of stupid mistakes over the holidays, I've been spending close to $300 a month on interest alone. Fed up I went into my credit union and inquired about options for a consolidation loan. The customer service person told me they don't do consolidation loans, but I could either apply for a new credit card at a low introductory rate of 3.99% or I could apply for an increase in my line of credit at 14%.
Honestly, I didn't think I would get approved because my debt to income ratio is high, but I thought "What the heck?" Its not going to be any worse than paying 26% on the credit card I have now and its cut up so I won't be tempted to use it. Amazingly enough, I was accepted for an amount that was almost enough to cover it.
When I got the card, I was still a bit unsure if I was making the right choice. After all, I've transferred balances before and I'm still struggling with debt. After much debate and a month later, I made the call. Sure enough, it couldn't be that easy. The woman I spoke with today said the interest would be 11%. I asked her about the introductory rate and she said it ended March 15th. Funny, that was about 5 days after I received it. I decided to do it anyway. After all, that is 15% less than what I am currently paying.
So, have I learned from my past? I hope so. To help guarantee my success I've arranged for automatic payments from my account to make sure I don't miss a pay date. I'm closing the other account as soon as its paid off.