Credit cards. They are so great and they are so horrible. I guess that is beside the point. The point is that I need to start using them responsibly and making them work for me.
The next step in IWTYTBR (I Will Teach You To Be Rich) in the credit card chapter is to take an inventory of all of the APRs on your credit cards. Then to call the company and negotiate down that APR. There is a script in the book for you to follow in case you are not confident in telling your credit card company what you want (that is me.)
I am not a confrontational person. I work with Kindergarteners all day for Pete's sake! This was going to be very hard for me.
I got a bill ready with all the information. I read (out loud) the script in the book and with shaky hands I dialed the number. I got through remarkably fast and was on my way to talk to Jana.
Jana: "Hello, my name is Jana, how may I help you today?"
Me: "Hi Jana, I am going to be paying down my credit card debt more aggressively and I would like a lower APR."
Jana: "Let me just say congratulatons on your decision to pay your cards more aggressively. Let me have a look at your account....okay, I see that you have been on time with your payments and I just want to congratulate you for that. Hmmmm....hold on just a moment while I see what we can do for you." (puts me on hold.) "Okay, let me congratulate you again on both paying your card on time and deciding to pay your cards more aggressively. I can go ahead and bring your APR down by 1 percent."
Me: (fueled by Ramit's saying that I should ask for 50 or 40 percent and being congratulated at my good deeds)"You know Jana that is just not going to work for me at this time. I would like you to bring it down 40 or 50 percent."
Jana: "Ma'am why do you think we should bring it down that much?"
Me: "Well Jana, I recently returned to work after some time off. I received my Masters and a substantial raise because of this. I am currently looking at a very aggressive approach to paying my debt and I would like you to lower my APR by 40 or 50 percent. I will also tell you that I have been receiving offers from other cards offering me interest rates at half of what you are offering or 0% on balance transfers. I have been a customer for quite a long time and I would hate to have to take my business elsewhere but as you can see I can't pass up these lower interest rates." (I swear I think Ramit must have inhabited my body because I was ready to rumble - over finances!)
Jana: "Let me put you on hold for a minute."
You know when you just know -- I knew! She was going to do it...I could hear it in her voice. I played the game and I won.
Jana: "Ma'am, let me go ahead and congratulate you on being a customer with us for such a long time and on improving your financial situation. I would now like to offer you an APR 40 percent lower than your current APR."
I did it. I did it. Go Ramit, Go Ramit!
I think it helped that Jana was so congratulatory too. It was like "great job for being a customer. Great job on paying your bill, great job for calling to lower your APR..." Ego boost.
Okay so by now, I am not sure if you have noticed but my husband has. I have developed quite the crush on Ramit. I keep telling my husband "Ramit says this and Ramit says that." He looks really dorky on the cover of his book, I am not sure what the bright pink shirt and barefoot look was supposed to represent but now he is unabashedly my main crush. He helped me lower my APR and I was empowered by it! The POWER!
I will zoom back down to Earth now.
I am done with step two to my financial stability...lowered APRs all around!
On a side note I finished reading Julie and Julia.
What an inspirational story! Only in America!