Yesterday I was talking to one of my good friends. She called me complaining about how she checked her bank account and saw a check had been made out for $34.00 to Citi Corp. She had no idea who wrote the check and what it was for. She was freaking out thinking that someone had stolen her checkbook.
First of all why would someone write out a check for $34.00 to Citi Corp? Wouldn't they have written out a bigger amount to themselves? Why would anyone steal checks if they could have stolen your wallet from your purse? Really???
Fast forward 30 minutes later, she calls to tell me the charge was from a jewelry store that she forgot she made monthly minimum payments to each month. I was seriously wanting to bang my head on my desk at that time. How does one forget about MONTHLY payments? Why is she just paying the minimum?! That's not the worst part.
Next, she says she was hit with an overdraft charge of $35 because she was getting ready to close that account so she took out all the money in it the day before. Sigh.
ME: LISTEN, call your bank now and tell them what just happened. I'm sure they will reverse the overdraft fee for you if you ask nicely. It doesn't hurt to try.
What happened next baffled me...
FRIEND: Damnit Erika! Why didn't you tell me?! I already brought the account up to date!
(WTH!? That doesn't mean you can't still call.... an overdraft fee is an overdraft fee. AND WHY ARE YOU BLAMING ME?)
However, I wasn't going to give it up. I wanted to help her, I am a good friend after all.
ME: It doesn't matter! just call them and explain your situation...I have done it before with my bank and it takes 2 minutes.
FRIEND: I don't feel like arguing right now.
ME: You won't HAVE to argue!
(Can you tell I was getting impatient... literally pulling my hair at this moment)
I KNOW. BUT I'M LAZY.
Screw that! I'm finished trying to help. You acknowledged the problem, I gave you advice but you still don't want to do anything about it. You basically threw away $35.
LESSONS TO BE LEARNED:
- Keep track of all automatic payments and which account they come from.
- Make sure you have enough money in all of your accounts where bills are paid from.
- Always call or go to your bank to try to reverse an overdraft charge. I don't care if you did it on purpose... it's always worth it to at least try!
- If you're going to close a checking account, cancel all recurring payments made from that account immediately.
- When I get frustrated, I want to bang my head and pull my hair out... not cool at all.
I'm so serious that this happened on Friday. Don't worry, we're still friends.
Have any of you tried to help friends with financial issues only to fail miserably?