I Should Have Written Before I Cried

8:31 AM Edit This 18 Comments »
So, I'll give you the happy news first. I ran for FIVE WHOLE MINUTES yesterday! Well - not in a row, but one minute - five times. And it felt good. And I wanted to do more, but the running program I'm following says not to because I might get hurt or burned out or whatever and I really want to do this thing, so I'm following directions. Five of the 35 minutes I was on the treadmill, I ran. I RAN! That makes me a runner! Doesn't it? Does it?

Sigh. Here's the bad news.

I was all psyched up to call my credit card company this morning. I look good, I feel good, I was positive, I was all those things. And I called and I got a pat, "We can't do anything for you." And I countered with, "Is there someone else I could talk to?" And she repeated herself. Very unwilling to put me through. And since I felt the tears behind my eyes, I knew I had to get off the phone after saying, "Not even for a lifelong customer with excellent credit and four accounts with your institution?" And she said, "No."

So, when I got off the phone, I cried. Because that's what I do when I feel overwhelmed. But I have a second plan. And that is to go to the bank on Saturday morning and ask to speak with someone in person about "reviewing my accounts." And see if they can help me. And if they don't, then I guess I have to be prepared to take my accounts and go. Right? Help me, internet. I don't know how to do this. I don't know where to go from here. I'm still kinda crying, but if I come up with another plan, I'll talk myself into that one and try again. But I don't know what to do.


Sue Ellen Mishkey said...

Just a few thoughts on this post and the one preceeding it. I'm sure you can find better interest rates at a different bank, perhaps ING Direct (if you hvae it in SD), if not, see if you can just go in and talk to someone. I know that the banks don't set the interest rates per se, the Fed. does, however I'm sure they have a little say in it, after all they are in the business of making money. I would suggest going in cause it's a lot harder to say no to a person face-to-face than it is over the phone.

Moving on...

As far as living in SD goes, and I am not American, nor have I lived there, but it sounds just awful. Awful, as in there is nothing to do there. Perhaps a move to a different state/bigger city would change your persepctive on things, or maybe it wouldn't be good and would make you so lonesome that you'd go back to alcohol. I don't know, I've never had a problem with things like that. All I know is that sometimes you need to shake things up in life to mopve forward. That's all I have to say. Thanks for listening and I love, love, love your blog. I guess that means I really love you (in a human way) cause your blog has touched me enough to make me cry on numerous occassions.

carrster said...

I think if you talk to your bank (or perhaps a local credit union?) they would be MORE THAN HAPPY to take over your accounts. Banks are competing for your business. Perhaps you could get some kind of line of credit with them that would allow you to pay off the nasty credit card & have a lower interest rate. It's worth a shot. I think people forget that even when credit card companies have you by the...well, you know whats, you are still the customer. If you can make a switch, I say do it!

In regards to your last post...I hear Duluth is a fabulous place to live (and very close to Grand Marais...).

Sparkling Red said...

The first 2 commenters left the financial advice I would have given. So all I will add is that I know you can be brave and get through this, even if you're not convinced of that every waking minute. I know you can do it.

MsDarkstar said...

Every year, my Mom's bank charges her an "Annual Fee" on her credit card and every years she marches her little grey haired self right into the bank and tells them to reverse the fee or she's taking her business somewhere else. And they always do. Before Saturday, review your other banking options. Then march right into your bank and tell them you are a lifelong customer with excellent credit and four accounts and if they don't do something about the astronomical hike to your interest rate then you would like to close all of your accounts with their institution and take your business elsewhere. If you research ahead of time you can even tell them "Bank A will give me an X% interest rate and I've never before been a customer of theirs"

You CAN do this!

And, yes... you've done running, you are now "a runner"! Way to go!!

Malaise Inc said...

Just a comment on credit cards. The companies are jacking rates up on everybody, whether you are a good credit risk or not. My credit score is something like 800 (out of 850). Yet, the rate on my VISA card just got increased to around 25% annually. They got me because I rarely use the card and almost always pay in full.

They are less willing to do anything anymore. The only real solution is to pay it off and keep it that way.

Anonymous said...

Ugh...credit cards. Yes, move your accounts elsewhere and roll the credit card balance into a new card - lots of banks are still offering low and even 0% introductory rates, and will transfer your existing balance at that rate. With good credit you should never have to pay more than a few points over prime.

I had the same credit card for 15 years. My payment was always due on the 10th of the month, and I always mailed it a week or so before the due date to avoid late fees. One day a late fee showed up on my bill, even though it showed my payment credited on the 8th. So I called the bank, assuming it was an error. "No sir, your payment was due on the 7th and we didn't receive it until the 8th." I replied "No, my payment is due on the 10th, it has been due on the 10th of every month for the last 15 years."

"Oh, we recently switched to a 28- DAY BILLING CYCLE, so now you have a payment due every 28 days." Which of course means the payment is due on a different day each month. Which no normal person can possibly keep track of. Which means they get more late fees.

Nope. Cancelled card. Took my business elsewhere. Not that they care, but I refuse to give my money to people who play games like that.

Oh, and just to add insult to injury, the guy tells me that, apparently, they informed me of this billing cycle change months earlier in the form of a new agreement that was mailed to me. You know that 20-page double-sided document printed in a 0-point font in light blue text on a white background? Yeah. Somewhere in the middle of that is a sentence that says "Oh, by the way, we're switching to a 28-day billing cycle, effective immediately."

BrianAlt said...

Cancel the card. Go find another one. Try to transfer the balance or take out a loan to pay it off. Even if you can't, keep the card closed and pay it down over time.

Tell them, "I am NEVER doing any business with you again! Goodbye!" They might even reverse their decision, but you may not want them to.

clearness said...

I've always gotten better results with writing a letter. With as horrible as my blog is, this probably makes you worry about me, but I do great when I write a letter to a company and ask for things.

I'd just write a letter to the credit card company and say stuff like.........

I have four accounts within your institution and each account has at least $ amount of debit. I'm paying % interest on each account, which puts me at $ in interest alone per month. I am in a rough spot of my life right now, and am ready and willing to take control of my credit card problems, but I need your help. If you would take just (something reasonable)% off my interest rate, I could still pay my current minimum balance but have more of that money go toward principle, which would not only help me out tremendously, but wouldn't hurt your fine institution. $40 (whatever the number may be) a month for me is a lot of money, but $40 for your institution is probably less than petty cash.

I'm asking you of this favor because I'm worried about possible bankruptcy. If that happens, my credit rating goes to trash, and you'll not get your money. Please lend me a hand.

....Hopefully this inspires you a bit....Good Luck!

Holly said...

I agree with everyone telling you to go in and explain that unless they meet your requirement you will take your business elsewhere.

Totally, totally agree with MrsDarkstar about doing some research. FYI, local credit unions are usually fab at this and it might do the trick.

I did this when I had to get my car loan with Toyota. I told the dealer that my credit union (which I hadn't actually joined - just got a quote) quoted me X.X% and the dealer came in below that once I told them I would not finance through Toyota.

You have to call their bluff.

And Minneapolis has some really nice joints to live. Come to St. Croix Falls if you don't want to live in the city. You'll be close to all of us!!

Ink Spiller said...

Is there anywhere you can get free financial advice? Or even if you'd have to pay a small sum to get it it's probably worth it. Your bank may even be able to help you look at options if you go to talk to them.

The Good Cook said...

Dear Runner Kate,

yes, that's right - you are a runner. Congratulations! Sticking to ANY program is hard and you are doing splendidly.

Can you stand one more piece of advice from a retired JPMorgan-Chase employee?

Go to your bank. Sit down in the office of the customer service representative. Have her/him pull up your accounts. Ask them what credit card offers they are currently promoting. Tell them why. If they refuse to work with you, close all your accounts, THAT day and march on down to the next bank. Do your homework - make sure Bank B can give you a good deal. Sit down (before you go to your bank) with Bank B's customer service rep and make sure you have all the information you need.

This is the easy stuff Kate. Don't cry. These banks just are not worth your tears. They are in it for the money - and new customers are features in a branch's hat.


G said...

Everyone here has given great advice. I'm just surprised that customer service refused to connect you to someone. That is unheard of in this day and age.

artemisia said...

You are a runner!

Ok - look into what institution you would like to move your accounts to. Do your homework. Then, go ahead with your plan on Saturday. If they won't budge, I say close your accounts on the spot and go the new bank you have identified. You owe your bank no loyalty. They certainly haven't shown you any.

You can totally do this.

Kelly Hogaboom said...

Congratulations on running. I am so sorry to hear you are having a hard time with your money. I hope you receive the advice and help you need. Please know we are reading and wishing you the best and giving you the help we can.

The stories and life of a 10-toed North Dakotan said...

I don't know who you bank with, but from experience all I know is, if it's a national chain, you pretty much have to play by their rules. Checking, saving, loans, mortgages... it's all decided in a little corporate room and anyone local just has to do their bidding. It's impersonal, but it's best for their bottom line. If you want wiggle room, perhaps you could try a local or even state bank? They REALLY want your business, and are willing and capable of flexibility for you.

Hope it helps. :)

Suburban Sweetheart said...

I don't know anything about finances (&, um, I should), so it's tough for me to give you financial advice, but it seems like a lot of people have chimed in on that. I WILL say, A) you should be proud of yourself for the running, and B) ain't no shame in crying a bit, as long as afterward, you figure out some options & get a move on. A line from my favorite musical, Aida, is this: "If you don't like your life, change it. You are your own master, there are no shackles on you."


lacochran said...

Everything is negotiable. If these people don't want to work with you, find another company that will. Consolidate all debt into one block, at the lowest rate you can, and then aggressively pay it off. Everybody deals with debt at some point. You can, too.

lacochran said...

And, yes! It does make you a runner! Congrats!! WOOT!!!