Archive for the ‘Finances’ Category

A Package of Pull-Ups

Filed under: Finances,Frustration,Kaelin,Kid Quotes — Amy @ 4:02 pm

I have always looked upon the fraud prevention measures taken by bank and credit card companies with mild annoyance.  A necessary evil, I suppose, but in the past they have only caused me undue frustration.

Numerous times, my cards have been canceled without my knowledge, all because of charges I made myself.  I once shopped at the same store three times in one day.  Apparently that’s a no-no if you want to keep your card.  The next thing I knew, my card was being declined at the gas station and when I called to inquire, I was told that it had been canceled and I should have a new one within two weeks… which of course, doesn’t help me when I’m standing at the pump wondering why I can’t put gas into my car.

Another time, I had made a purchase online that the card company didn’t approve of.  I don’t remember what it was, but all of a sudden, my card was unusable.

If I’m lucky, I can call them before they go so far as to cancel the card, and then they’ll push the charges through and I get to keep the card.  But that doesn’t seem to be the case most of the time.

So I rolled my eyes today when the cashier at Safeway told me my card had been declined.  After checking with Jens for any obvious issues, I called Bank of America to ask why I was unable to purchase groceries.

The girl on the other end of the line asked me the routine security questions, and somehow I was able to answer most of them (“What’s your online ID?” “I don’t know, it’s stored in my browser”).

And then she rattled off a list of charges to my bank card that I didn’t recognize.  At all.

They were from all over the country and all in small amounts – $0.96 here, $10 there, $2.61 to Robert H Cash in West Virginia.

So I spent 10 minutes on the phone in Safeway sorting through the mess of charges, and was told that my card would have to be canceled but that I could go to a branch to get a new temporary card to use until the new card gets here in the mail.

Except that this is Small Town, Alaska, so of course there are no Bank of America branches.  Which means I’m card-less for the next 7-10 days.

Also, I was told that the bank would have to be on the phone with me when I went through the grocery line so the charge would go through.  Unfortunately, I had not allowed an extra 20 minutes in my schedule to mess with fraud, so I was out of time and had to leave to pick up Kaelin from dance class before I could go back through the checkout lane.

I left my shopping cart in one of the empty registers and told the cashier I would be back in a few minutes to check out again.

I arrived at Kaelin’s dance class to find that they were running late, so I probably could have stayed to check out after all, but suddenly remembered that we had to hurry home because Jens needed the car to get to his physical therapy appointment.

On the way home, I tried calling Safeway to let somebody know that my shopping cart would be sitting there for longer than a few minutes, and as luck would have it, the number listed was wrong.  So then I tried calling the floral department (only number I could find) but the woman on the other end of the line couldn’t hear me.

At this point, I was in awe over how much effort I was having to exert just to get a package of pull-ups to take to my son’s school.  I wondered aloud in the car why everything had to be so difficult today.

Kaelin, who was in the back seat, didn’t miss a beat.

“Mama, nothing’s difficult today.  Maybe it’s just difficult FOR YOU.”

A Delicate Balance

Filed under: Finances,Is It Time to Panic Yet?,Moving — Amy @ 10:00 am

We’re shopping for a house right now. And discovering once again that this kind of thing is always more complicated than you think it’s going to be.
First there’s the mortgage, and the fact that the myriad of mortgage calculators available online are virtually useless because they never seem to match what the bank seems to think you can afford, nor can they estimate important stuff like property taxes which have quite the impact on your monthly payment.
And mortgage paperwork is insane. Two months records of this, three months of that, last year’s this, your most recent that, every piece of identification you have available. Sign here, here, and here. And here. And here. Oh and here, here, here, here, here, no just initial there and there, sign here, here and here.
The timing is also quite crucial. If your lease expires in June, you want to close on a house in June because that way you get to skip any housing payments in July and can therefore use the money for moving expenses, closing costs, etc. So if you start your search early and find a house you like, you end up waiting around until the proper time to make an offer, just so you can close at the right time. But if you don’t start searching early enough, you end up being unable to see all the options and possibilities available, and wonder if you’re purchasing a second choice instead of “the one that got away.”
One day things will be simple. They will.

The Cost of Healthy Living

Filed under: Finances,Food,Such is Life — Amy @ 1:59 pm

$1.35 for a fruit cup. A 2-oz plastic cup with maybe 5 edible pieces of fruit, most of which were grapefruit (ewww), which of course tainted all the other fruit to taste like grapefruit (ewww) because that’s what grapefruit (ewww) does.
I can get a chocolate chip cookie the size of my head for $1.00. I can get a king sized bag of chips for $0.65. But try to go the healthy route and you have to take out a loan to pay for it.

If God intended us to eat healthy, he should have made it cheaper.

Super-Size My Champagne

Filed under: Finances,Food,Friends,Memories,Such is Life — Amy @ 12:17 pm

Watched Super-Size Me! for the first time. Ewwwwww. It will probably be a little while before I eat at McDonald’s again. I have to admit that it does make me twinge everytime I have to categorize a McDonalds or a Wendy’s expense as “dining out” in Microsoft Money. They should have a different category for “consuming food products that rot your insides.”

Though I doubt the movie has permanently turned me off of fast food, because I am a great believer in moderation, and don’t really see any evidence that my once-a-month or less fast food “dining out” experience is going to kill me.

But I did get an education on those chicken nuggets I’ve always been fond of.

I had a friend in middle school who found a feather in her McDonald’s chicken nugget. At the time, that was as gross as it got. Actually, looking back on it, we should have seen it as a relief. You know, hardcore evidence that the food we were consuming was actually made from meat that used to be real at one time.

The McDonalds’ around here seem to be making a great effort to overcome past reputations. There are a few locations around our house that we refer to as the Petroleum Club McDonalds. Walking into one of these immediately hits one with a sense of disorientation. Marble floors, mahogany wood walls and bookshelves (complete with classic editions), glass chandeliers, fireplaces, and that little sign in the bathroom that says We strive to keep our restrooms upholding to the highest standards of cleanliness. If this restroom does not meet with your approval, please flip this switch to notify the manager.

The whole Petroleum Club McDonald’s experience is a bit surreal. I’m waiting for the day when I order from the dollar menu and get asked if I want champagne with that.

Like Wow.

So I’m now covered on the best maternity insurance plan I’ve ever seen. From now until the baby leaves the hospital should cost us no more than $460. Score.

$130 for a Sandwich???

Filed under: Are You Kidding Me?,Finances,Food — Amy @ 2:15 pm

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, we were actually charged $129.55 for two sandwiches this weekend. At Quiznos. They tried to remedy the error by voiding the transaction instead of just crediting our account, which left a temporary authorization of $129.55 held out of our available balance.

Subsequently, about 6 transactions went into overdraft. I was really hoping to spend a day this week chasing down a Bank of America manager to fight a ton of overdraft charges on an account that never actually went negative, while listening to “not a bank error” sixty-four times. Really.

For the record, if we ever visit that Quiznos again, we will be paying in CASH.

I think the worst part is the pain and the sorrow that gnaw at my heart like millions of tiny evil gnomes…or doves. Evil Doves.

About Me

Hi. I'm Amy. I started this website in 2005 as a place to deposit my journal and photos. It has gone through a few incarnations and masquerades as a family site, but since I'm the only one who contributes to it, it's really all about ME, ME, ME.

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