Hey all, needing some advice about how best to nuke this debt. Forgive me for how long this is, any input is soo much appreciated! I’m a new business owner (brick and mortar) that I just started beginning of 2022 and now realizing I bit off way more than I could chew. This is my actual adult career that I’ve always wanted to do and been working toward while spending years jumping random jobs (mostly service industry, no benefits, no 401k).
I’ve generally been good at staying on top of my finances, always maintained an above 750 credit score, and have $67,000 credit limit spanned across 5 personal credit cards — 2 for personal expenses to collect rewards / pay in full every month, 2 that I took on for business expenses with a 15 month 0% APR, and 1 for emergency only.
I put $30k of my savings into the biz which I thought would be enough to cover startup expenses and offer some padding until I actually started bringing in revenue, but I really should’ve tripled that # — an insanely high deposit to secure the lease for my perfect office, rent, equipment and furnishing, liability insurance, inventory, marketing, staff — it all hit me quickly and even though my doors were open since January, business didn’t actually start picking up til May. To make up for that slow period with basically no money coming in I had no choice but to rack up balances on all the cards just to keep the ball rolling. Please feel free to recoil at the interest rates 🙂
CC1 Bal $13,000 @ 32.15% APR
CC2 Bal $7,600 @ 28.24% APR
CC3 Bal $10,500 @ 22.99%
CC4 Bal $12,700 @ 16.99%
CC5 Bal $16,500 @ 0% until 04/23, after 20.99%
*Total debt = $60,300
*Total minimum monthly payments = $1540. ( I generally try to add another $100-$200 more on top of each one but that’s not even putting a dent in it at such high interest )
My credit’s score’s tanked this year down to 593. High utilization + in the chaos of all this I somehow missed one of my car payments and got hit w a “30 day late payment” that I haven’t missed in my life ever.
As far as my biz goes I’m making anywhere from $5k – $8k gross revenue per month and confident that when I put more into marketing and continue to build my client base, $15k-$20k per month is totally possible within a year. The problem is I’m burning through money NOW — money that would best be put towards marketing to bring in more biz. I can’t invest in those things when everything is going towards debt. My monthly expenses are around $6k (personal & biz).
I recently got off a call with someone from Credit Associates about consolidating 4 of the 5 cards amounting to $43,800 to reduce it all to one monthly payment of $653 over a 4 year period (and if I want to pay it down faster obvs I can) — this would save me about $600 every month which would be fantastic — the big catch is that after those debts are settled they would close my accounts and in effect tank my credit score.
I want to hold onto my highest limit CC4 as it still has a 0% APR until next April and I think I can pretty much tackle that one by then and also I don’t want to be left with zero credit cards in case something happens.
I’ve been going back and forth about pulling the trigger on this plan — I have not been using these cards at all and I know my income is going to significantly increase in the foreseeable future, but it’s not happening fast enough and I feel like this debt is just looming over me, I need to do something. Is this the best option to go at this? I tried to apply for an OnDeck loan and didn’t qualify, I haven’t looked much more into balance transfers cause I’ve done it several times already and w my current score and utilization I don’t think I’d even get approved for any new cards w 0% introductory APR.
Has anyone had success using these debt relief programs? Am I in the position to do it without getting completely screwed?