Tuesday, January 22, 2008

So this is how it went: We had a wedding. We went on a honeymoon. We fixed our driveway. Eric got word his boss was thinking of replacing him. We went to Seattle for Christmas. We had to call a plumber to fix a leak. Eric ordered a new computer. Eric lost his job. We went to a convention at a hotel. We went to IKEA. I discovered we never got last month's credit card bill.

Result: we owe more money on the credit card than we have. (That's not quite true--we have money in Ameritrade accounts--but with as badly as it's doing we hate to pull that money out.) I paid most of it once I realized what was going on, but there's still a balance. With Eric's last paycheck incoming, and our tax refund fairly hefty once I actually get my W2, we should be okay in a couple of weeks with some money to spare. But I found out last night that credit card debt really, really stresses me out.

It's worse that this was inadvertent debt caused by not thinking to check on the credit card bill for three weeks, of course--if we really had to carry over debt, we'd have used a lower-APR card. (We use the main one because it gives cash-back points.) And it's bad that with only my paycheck coming in, it'll take longer to pay off and replenish a cushion in the bank account. If we can. I'm going to call the credit card company to beg for mercy--we got hit with finance charges, a late fee, and a higher APR, and I'm hoping to get two of the three removed, considering I've held this card for several years and never had a late payment or a balance before.

So we talked last night about how to save a little money. Lower the thermostat, cut out all unnecessary spending (except for Eric's weekly trip to Ann Arbor...I've promised that we'll keep that if we can, but if we have to, he'll be Toledo-bounded for a while). Take off the extra hundred dollars we've been paying on the mortgage. No eating out. We have an insurance bill due April 1, and my car renewal April 5, plus the usual bills. I think we'll be okay, if tight, but we're going to have to see. I hadn't realized how much of my happiness comes from knowledge of financial security. It also--kind of--makes me happy that I can--kind of--support us both, but things will be better in the fall when Eric can teach again. Or, if he can't get a student teaching placement this semester, in a month or two when he finds a new job.

So yeah, not happy times this January. At least it's getting lighter out. And the job's going okay. And I'm writing again. And I have enough books and yarn and fiber to keep me going for entertainment through the rest of this year.

1 comment:

Blake said...

Penalties, late fees, hidden charges… we’re lining the pockets of credit card companies with $8 billion in fees every year. Where is the love??? Go to www.creditcardreform.org and with one click you can send a Valentine’s postcard to your Representative and Senators telling them it’s time to kiss credit card rip-offs goodbye! Consumers Union will hand deliver your postcards on Valentine’s day to tell your legislators it’s time for real reforms in credit card company practices.