Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Credit Card Companies, World Bank and IMF in miniature?

I have a payment schedule for my credit cards and loans, however the due dates for some cards bundle up and don't match my paycheck dates for both jobs. That means that every moment I get "gentle" reminders to pay my minimum payments on almost all my cards. Having a loan and two credit cards with Credomatic means they are the ones that usually call me the most.
Just about two weeks ago they were calling me to remind me of minimum payments on my cellphone card and my platinum. Lately i've been doing better in paying timely so this was just their reminder for me, they would call at 7:30am , or noon or 10pm. They would call for one card one day and I would confirm my payment date for both, but they would still call about the other card the next day.
I was mildly upset at their call strategy but I accept that I owe them money and they have the right to call me to pay.
However today they called me offering a second card for my cellphone credit card , "for your wife, son, daughter, father, mother, brother or sister". What?!? So I don't have a good enough record to get extrafinancing but I have a good enough record to get more debt with another card? I was still shocked halfway thru the saleperson's pitch. At the end I just said no and fortunately he didn't press the issue more or I would've let him know of the thoughts in my brain.
So, as I'm reading about US credit card companies charging fees for someone not using their card enough or for inactivity, etc, basically penalizing good behavior, I wonder if this isn't how third world countries live. We get loans from international agencies, then they request payments as they are entitled to, when we are drowning in debt they set economic conditions for us and stop the money flow that the country is used to. The country is then concerned (worried) about making those payments on time.
Eventually we pay back some of the money so the international agencies are then kind enough to loan money back..and the vicious circle starts over.
So, no Mr. mini World Bank, no mini IMF, I don't want your "free" additional card. I don't want the discounted jewerly for us "selected customers", thank you very much. You fooled me for a long time but not any more.
Some days i'm inspired.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

We are in!

Since I last wrote our ex President came back to the country. That led to some tense days were we couldn't leave our houses, then we could for a few hours then we had only night time curfews that at first started only a couple of hours after being announced.
As you can imagine it was some difficult days. Money wise, having to stay at home was a blessing and a curse. A blessing because I could work more for my morning job and put more hours in. But a curse because when the stress of staying at home usually leads to eating more than usual, and when we are then given a few hours to go out, the first things to do are to go buy gas and foods.
With everybody in this 1 million people city trying to either get to work or to get food or gas at almost the same time, it's hard to be picky as to where to go to buy groceries, we had to go to the nearest place, not necesarily the cheapest. Stand in line for a couple of hours and then get back home with one the bare essentials to hold us up until the next day or days.
Then there was the uncertainty of not knowing how long curfews would last..or when the next curfew would start. In general my objectives were not affected much but they were affected some as I spent more on fuel and food than usual. Some days we bought more fast food than usual just because of the urgency to get food home.
Well that was that. Now things are calmer and we are back to regular days. I haven't seen a protest (they are out there, I just haven't seen them) in a long time now.
Remember that some time ago I was writing about asking Credomatic to reverse the $150 membership fee? Well I asked them, even though i've been late doing some payments, They said my request would take 3 to 5 business days. Then our ex president came in and things got delayed a bit more. But one day I logged into my bank's online site and was happy to see the credit for $150. So i'm really close now to finish paying that balance off. There is les than $300 to go on that.
I was asked to put my debt numbers up since it's been a year or so since I've updated. I'm interested too in looking at the comparison.
Lately i've been focusing more on putting in hours for the morning job as much as I can, almost to the point of making it another full-time job. That really cuts into the time that I have to write. However I always feel the need to write about the stuff that i'm going thru, but the day ends before I can sit down and write. I wasn't even able to twitter as frequently! Amazing!.
I still like to twitter because I can just write a thought or something that happened almost at the moment it did. While here I have to gather thoughts and write them out and take more time. But here I can extend myself much more on deeper thoughts. So today I bit the bullet and decided to write to keep this journal alive for myself for those of you who follow my trip to paying up all the money I owe.
I hope to post those numbers soon. I do have budgets now for my two jobs and all my debts and expenses. So I am tracking my money better.
I still have to put in those pesky unexpected expenses and small cash expenses down. They are big problem for me now and they keep throwing my budget off balance.
Today however it's a Honduran Holiday because our soccer team has qualified to the World Cup, so we are all in party mode. As I was writing these lines the Honduran soccer team arrived at the airport and it was a sea of people waiting for them there. Now they are at the presidential office and there is another sea of people there too. Later they are going to a Catholic mass and the church there is already packed with people. A little joy for a country that has been torn apart by political problems.
Well the happiness of today is free...