Saturday, February 13, 2010


I was reviewing my credit card statements this morning - I have been paying everything almost a full month in advance to ensure that I am not late on any payments - and am very nicely encouraged by the fact that 4 out of 5 of the accounts are coming to an end in terms of money owed and the use I got out of them for getting into this house.

There is one card, however, that has such high interest and loaded with so many fees - a $21.00 monthly, minimum payment only brings the principal amount down a few dollars. This - I find to be highly irritating. Not only that, but the card itself is no longer issued, the bank of Delaware or whatever the name of the company is dumped that card.

I have only myself to blame, of course, but still. I have tried several times to contact them and arrange a payoff on it. They refuse. Probably because I am talking to people in Delhi, India, not mainstreet America. I ended up contacting the bank itself to file a complaint. The complaint is simply that they had offered a substantial reduction to the amount owed on the card if I would simply make a one-time payment to get rid of the balance. Now, they are refusing to honor that deal. Note that at the end of the first year of use and the beginning of the second year, they dumped a $150 "annual fee" onto the card. THAT is what really got me cooking about this "card".

I will be calling that company - the bank itself, not the outsourced company that is being used to collect payments - until they get sick of my phone calls. They WILL, at the very least, respond to me and not dump me off onto a voice messaging system with a person that promises to "call back as soon as possible" - with ensuing phone call never being made. I am going to pay 2 of the other cards off - the balances are less than $100 now - and take the monthly payment money I was making on those cards and apply it to this card.

Even my Fingerhut account is getting close to a $100 balance. I usually pay more - sometimes much more - than the minimum monthly amount due. I want to keep my Capital One card; the Chevron-Texaco card; the Fingerhut account - but probably not the prepaid card. It only has a $200 limit - it's a prepaid account, I could just cancel the account, they would take the amount owed out of my "savings account" with them and that would end that card.

It was also nice to see that this month's monthly payments - including Direct TV and also Qwest high speed internet - are paid until next month. Child support also already paid and in the ex's account, the only other payment due this month is the car payment. Oh, water bill should be showing up sooner or later as well. Getting ahead feels so much better than always being behind.

I will be putting any more purchases for the trailer on hold until next month. The only exception would be if I could find a smoking deal on carpet. However, we are nowhere near the point of putting carpet in and there is enough material to keep busy for - weeks actually at the rate we are going. The walls - insulation and paneling - have to be installed and the leak-proofing has to be completed. Well, in order - leak-proofing before any new materials are put in there. The floor in the bedroom is done. Insulation in the floor, new wood, good to go.

Ex-Marine landed a new security job. The only thing that saved me from his lack of employment in terms of receiving monthly rent is the fact that he receives a check from the military every month for damage to his hearing while serving in the Marines. The newest guy? Seems pretty cool - I hope to be able to ask him today about anything that might be bothering him and try to address any issues - if at all possible.

Work? Who knows. I just continue to bust-@$$, keep a good attitude, work work work. I left early a couple of times this week - but only after all the deliveries were done - because I wasn't feeling well. Jury's out on how I feel today, I usually only start feeling it when I start working or doing something, and right now? I don't feel like doing anything. I sense that things are not all well in the land of my employer - numbers aren't exactly high - just the feeling that decisions are being made. What decisions affecting who, no clue. When companies do lay-offs, it's not like they broadcast that they are going to do it in advance or tell the affected individuals about the demise of their employment, either. That's standard, modus-operandi for most all corporations. I neither expect or want to be laid off from work. I can only hope the job situation continues, I'll take reduced hours over NO hours any day of the week, month or year. I can imagine the alternatives - not a pretty picture.

I do have a plan if such happens - ugly at best - to try and save my home from foreclosure if I lose my employment income. $1,000 per month in unemployment benefits to start with - but that's taxed, lol. I could easily see myself renting my master bed and bath out. My son wouldn't much care for it, but I would be moving into his room. I could get $500 a month for my bedroom and bath - it's large, a lot of room with a walk-in closet. I would still have a deficit to deal with - but at least I would be able to make the mortgage payment, keep the internet and satellite tv on (not for me - tenants will not stay without either of those 2 - either and both are equally important), water and electricity. The painted picture is actually not as bad as - people losing their homes and ending up living in apartments or - in many cases - having to move into someone else's house and rent out rooms. Craigslist is full of people advertising to rent a room - at a rate that is a give-away at best.

I understand these people are broke and destitute, but to take $250 per month for a room that is bringing $400 would not be doable in my situation. I am "giving" away help to those people in the trailer, that's as far as it goes for now. Even they are expected to pay for their own utilities - I demand that. No-one rides for free around here. I figure their $100 per month - $25 per week - pays for their usage of everything. They can figure whatever they want, but they would be on the streets right now and I am quite sure they understand that. If they stay, the amount they have to come up with will go up when they start running the AC on that trailer, and trust me, I have no doubts in my mind whatsoever that when it gets hot, they are going to cool that trailer. That is why I am making sure all walls and the flooring have a good amount of insulation going - try to get some kind of efficiency out of the use of it, but in the end, they are responsible and I will make sure that it happens - for payment for the amount of electricity they are using. I already know what my summer electricity usage is - I figure it to go at least $100 above that with that AC unit running out there.

Well, this entry grows long and I have some things I want to get done around here - mostly cleaning projects.




Fin said...

Good work on reducing credit card debt. I will be MOST interested in how the waterproofing goes. What will you buy, how is it applied, does it really do the job, etc.

Fin said...

When I read about your and others' experiences with credit cards, I realize how out of the mainstream I am. I have one credit card. I run it up to over a thousand dollars almost every month and pay it down to zero.

I have never paid a dime in any kind of charges, and sometimes it is good to remember how lucky I am with it. The only interest I pay is tax deductible (as all credit card interest used to be).

BenB said...

These old trailer "grow" leaks over the years. The trailers are moved all over the place, the entire structure sways back and forth-eventually you have gaps and, of course-those gaps create huge holes for leaks. As far as I can see it, the only way to deal with it is to replace the internal structure - which is all wood and tightly screw the exterior skin - metal - into the wood, caulking it before screwing it in. After that caulking is dried/set, you go back and caulk a nice thin line over that.

As for credit cards, you are exactly like my mother. She charges everything and then pays it down to zero-balance at the end of the month - while gaining whatever points. I am almost there. I just got a card from Chase bank that has airlin miles on it. It's a debit card but when used as a credit card - you gain the points. I pay nothing for that, so that's all good.

Fin said...

It is a big step forward for you. I have something like 150,000 'points' which I have not yet tried to use. BG found some sealing tape at a dollar a foot.

Anonymous said...

I just checked my credit score - haven't done it in - a long time really. It sucks, but it isn't near as bad as I thought it would be. Last time I checked, it was at 560 if I remember correctly - it's up to 610. 5 months showing of being behind on mortgage payments are the killer here. That and the Americredit - unresolved issue with the totalled pickup truck - that shows every month a no-payment - even though this thing was written off 5 years ago - are hurting it badly. Then there are low credit limits on my cards, which also affect it negatively. I'm not sure, actually, why my mortgage payment shows up until December that I have been behind on the payment - I have made that payment on time for 5 months running now. I am going to dispute several things on there. The Americredit dispute has been up there for a year, I am going to call them and demand they remove it - they have 30 days or 60 days or whatever it is to respond, if they don't the negative showing should be removed.
I am hoping to make 12 months on-time payments and then look into either refi or 15-year loan.

Dorrie said...

I NEVER use my credit cards (visa, mastercard) except for getting cash at an atm when visiting the states. I only use my debit card, which gets taken off my bank account nearly same day... so no build up of credit due (and NO fees!). Most bills I pay either online or they get automatically taken off my accounts (rent, insurance, utilities...all those monthly regulars) so I never have to worry about missing them.
I jut can't believe the fees you're paying!

BenB said...

The fees were known at the time of signing up for them. Well, I didn't know about the $150 annual fee, that's a total load of bs right there. I used those cards to up my credit score - approximately 110 to 120 points worth - which got me into my house. It'll be over with soon enough. I'm just a bit miffed at that one particular card and all the junk they add onto it on a monthly basis.
Credit cards are great to use if they have perks to use them. On a normal card, if you pay the full balance due every month, you incur no interest, yet you get those points or whatever adding up for freebies.
I think credit cards are really only for the well-disciplined - otherwise, you get into trouble. I know a person that has 40k worth of junk on his cards. He pays a HUGE monthly bill. Crazy.

I have an absolutely horrible headache. But I'll get to that in  a moment. After discussing today with "people in the know", ...