Monday’s Money Medicine: Credit Card Debt, Down Payments, Student Loans and More

A weekly dose of tips to help you manage your money

Money Medicine prescription of the week

You’d think that as someone who writes regularly about personal finance, I’d be on top of money management 24/7. Ha! I wish. We all make money mistakes, and I’m no different.

Here’s one money mistake that I recently corrected: I finally got a handle on my high-interest credit cards.

It was pretty simple, actually. I combed through my credit card statements and noted their APRs and balances. In an Excel spreadsheet — I used to be allergic to Excel — I sorted my credit cards by name, balance and APR, along with my personal loans and their balances and APRs. I then marked in red the three credit cards with the highest APRs and committed to wiping out those balances.In part of the same spreadsheet, I listed money in savings and from stock holdings that I could allocate to my credit card debt. And I assigned those dollar amounts to the three credit card debts.

I’m pleased to report that all three credit cards are now paid off. As a result, I’ve already seen my credit score go up. And I’ve committed to avoid using those cards so that I can steer clear of running up high-interest credit card debt.

The lesson here: All it takes is a little sleuthing and math to come up with a plan for chopping down high-interest credit card debt.

Here’s to your financial health!

Your Money Doctor,

John Egan


Here’s a curated collection of money prescriptions that can help protect or heal your financial health. (Full disclosure: Some of these links are from websites that I write for. They have not paid me to include these links.)

If You Can’t Put 20% Down, You Can’t Afford to Buy a Home

time.com/nextadvisor/mortgages/downpayment-and-home-affordabilit

This Strategy Could Help Reduce Your Credit Card Payments — Yet Few People Are Using It

cnbc.com/2020/07/22/this-strategy-could-cut-credit-card-payments-few-people-are-using-it.html

Three Things to Know About Student Loan Forgiveness During the Pandemic

forbes.com/sites/wesleywhistle/2020/07/22/three-things-to-know-about-student-loan-forgiveness-during-the-pandemic

A Beginner’s Guide to Building an Emergency Fund ASAP

walletjoy.com/how-to-build-emergency-fund

Credit Card Disputes: What You Need to Know

creditkarma.com/credit-cards/i/credit-card-dispute

3 Savings Mistakes I See Over and Over as a Financial Planner

businessinsider.com/personal-finance/savings-mistakes-i-see-as-a-financial-planner-2020-7

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The Best Freelance Side Gigs for Professionals

smallbiztrends.com/2020/07/the-best-freelance-side-gigs-for-professionals.html

Best Credit Monitoring Services for 2020

creditcards.com/credit-card-news/best-credit-monitoring-services/