- Platinum Member
- Posts: 94
- Joined: Thu Feb 06, 2014 11:01 am
- Location: TX
I've been there for a couple years now.
In 2009, I was making six figures, living paycheck to paycheck (just piles of "keeping up with the Joneses" debts) and had FICO scores in the mid- to upper-500s. Our family car had my father-in-law as a co-signer to keep the interest low. My SUV was used for security for a high interest finance company loan. The few credit cards I had were all at approximately 95% utilization and all had interest rates in the upper 20's (a couple were 29.99%).
When the company I worked for was bought out and I was given a sizable stock option that vested in 2012, we decided to spend the three intervening years to get out of debt. By the end of 2012, I only had part of a vehicle loan remaining when the stock plan paid out. We paid that off, bought a high-end fifth wheel travel trailer outright and put the rest of the money in retirement/investment accounts. I semi-retired from my full-time job and went part-time.
We now travel around the country 26 weeks out of the year in our RV, living in it full-time. We sold our (paid off) home this spring and put the proceeds in the retirement/investment funds. When we started traveling, we quickly realized that the chance for credit or debit card fraud was greatly increased so, instead of getting rid of the credit cards we had recently paid off, we kept them and started adding to our card portfolio over the last couple years.
Even though my income is about 60% of what it was, I'm only working half the year now. Expenses are much lower without a mortgage, utilities, taxes, trips to the home improvement store to keep a yard and garden alive, etc. My FICO scores are now in the high 700's. Our cards are used for about 95% of our spending and are PIF each month.
I can walk through about any store now and really have no desire to buy the latest gadget. I've never been one to buy expensive, flashy objects just to impress others. I've really had a shift of thinking about credit cards over the last 3-4 years. Used to be, I would use them to buy things I didn't have the cash for immediately and only care about the fact that I can still make the minimum monthly payment. Now, they're used primarily as a tool to earn rewards while smoothing out our somewhat erratic income stream. We're dedicating all our rewards dollars and points this year (aside from airline miles) to pay for a week-long trip to Disney World next January.
I think as far as my card portfolio is concerned, I might drop the lower limit CO Platinum card but keep everything else. I'm on the fence, though, as it is a sock drawer card that pays all our monthly recurring bills (cell phones, insurance, etc.) and gives 1% back in the process.
AmEx - Platinum (NPSL) , Blue Cash Preferred ($19,000), Gold Delta Skymiles ($8,500)
Chase - Sapphire Preferred ($14,000), Disney ($11,500), Amazon.com ($9,000), Freedom ($8,000)
CapOne - QuickSilver ($7,250) / Platinum Rewards ($7,250)