Financial Blues? A Rant and Rave post!

RANT:

I’m quite familiar with them! Being eighteen and married is not always the puppy love fairy tale. And that’s okay. I must say that being in an apartment and having bills is nothing compared to being in a dorm on a college campus. The rules change how the game is played and, honestly, there really isn’t a game to be played in a dorm. Meal plans are laid out for you and you don’t have to think twice about how much water or electricity you use. Crank up the AC if you please!

But in an apartment? Oh no. Wear an extra sweater if you’re cold. Sit in front of a fan if you’re hot. And you don’t really need that light. Or that one. And while you’re at it, cut that shower time in half.

So, my financial life has been kicking my ass. As a wise lady once told me, “I don’t know anyone who has gotten it perfectly right.” The other week, I very gracefully freaked out thanks to my best friend, the Bank. And by gracefully, I mean horrendously in every sense of the word.

I had a check I forgot about post over the weekend. It’s no wonder I forgot about it since it posted over 3 weeks after it was originally written! Never mind that, it’s my fault, I’m not making excuses, blah.

So it posted along with a lot of little items. Now the little items had all been accounted for and budgeted for and were pending even! A coffee here, a sandwich there, another addictive trip to Target mixed in- everything was fine. And then this check posts. No pending transaction, no tentative withdrawal, just BAM, posts. So I find out that the bank’s policy is to post things from over the weekend that pile up in order of the largest amount down to the smallest amount. What does that mean for me?

It means, instead of making an overdraft fee on the one big check, it gave me 10 overdraft fees on all of the little items that came afterwards. Which is some bull. My savings account was completely depleted. You might be thinking, “completely depleted?!” but I am eighteen and have no savings, so my 200 dollars was no more.

So, I called and pitched a fit to the Bank Man about there posting order and he said he could do nothing. The Bank Man put me on hold so he could ask his manager but, strangely, was back in less than 30 seconds and claimed the manager agreed that nothing could be done. I called my husband, sad and sorry. And ashamed at my bookkeeping skills to boot. My husband took it upon himself to call and pitched a fit to the Bank Man. The Bank Man conceded and took off one of the fees. Luckily, the Bank is only allowed to post 5 fees max. So it was dropped to 4.

I think the posting order is wack still. And I’m getting better about my finances. Which leads me to my RAVE:

www.mint.com quite possibly saved my life. In it I have been able to lay out my budget which used to be laid out neatly on pieces of paper or in crevices of my brain. It hooks up to your bank accounts and updates daily. I can see pie charts and gauge how close I am getting to hitting or going over my budget for the month. It also shows you how much you spend in one category, for example I have $12 in coffee for the month already (That’s really my husband’s new Starbucks addiction, but whatever).

The best part- it’s free. Quicken.com is pretty nifty also, but it charges $2.99 a month after the free 60 day trial period is over. I tested both out and, fortuanately for me, liked Mint better.

It made me financial blues better. Not go away altogether, but it sure helped a lot. I figured it might be useful to some of you as well.

If you’ve got any other ideas or methods of beating back the financial blues, let me know! I could always use another tip. If this helped you at all, then right on! This post will have been a success.

And break.

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  1. I will soon be making that transition. Nothing to worry about now. I just ended my dorm living, and now I’m back in the house with the guardians, but soon and very soon I feel there needs to be a change. I guess I can stay here as long as I like, but we all know that I need to get out of the house and into an apartment. Then I will be able to relate to the “turn off that light, runnin up my light bill” mentality.

    As for bank posting order, I have a similar story. I was going to Chicago this year for the fourth of July weekend, and before I left I wanted to go clothes shopping. So I did, and when I hit five hundred dollars, nothing worked. I was so embarrassed by the time I reach Express. I was standing at the front of the line and my card kept on being declined.

    I called the bank on Monday (this was over the weekend) and they told me that I had overdraft charges, but if I had the money (a check that i had deposited on thursday afternoon) then it would post before any of the vendors charged me. I don’t care. I am concerned about being embarrassed like that.

  2. Awww honey. Being a grown up sucks huh?

    I do have a good tip for those of you who write checks and live on the wire. Always have 2 accounts. You use your online banking wisely.

    So you do it this way. You have a checking account that basically stays pretty empty. You move only money into it that you are going to write a check on. That way you never have to worry about it again. If someone doesn’t cash it for 3 weeks.. outta sight outta mind. It wont affect what you THINK you have in your real account.

    You will never bounce a check this way ever again.

    If you want financial advice sweetheart.. ask.. Im pretty good with finances and know a little bit about money. And next time, have your mother help you make that call to the bank. She will show you how to get the bank to do what it is YOU want. Never ever allow some junior staff member to talk to you. Ask for the bank manager personally.

  3. blasianFMA: it’s totally cool, you learn from your experiences! That sucks about your experience though. Thanks for visiting my blog, I hope you read again! And good luck on your move out!

    Amber: thanks for the advice! That’s a really good idea, when I need to reevaluate my finances again then I know I’ve got another source!

  1. September 15th, 2008

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