Monday, April 06, 2009

This was my weekend. How was yours?

So I have recently gone back to work after taking some time off to complete the worst part of my Masters Degree program. It wasn't supposed to be a big deal -- I had a chunk of savings from Christmas, and I was able to stretch it until I went back to work. But really just barely. I was going to be fine, however, so long as work paid me my first paycheck on time.

They didn't. A paperwork snafu means I won't see my pretzel moneez until sometime later in the week, and, well I have bills to pay.

So you say, hey John, don't you have a credit card like most bipedal hominids? And yes I do, but here is part 2 of our funny story: on my most recent bill from my credit card company were a whole bunch of charges that I never made. The credit card company was very good about it, but step 1 is they immediately cancel my old credit card, leaving me temporarily bereft of credit. Now I know how the global economy feels.

A note: While I can't tell you for sure who is responsible for this minor identity theft, I can absolutely tell you that, after years of me using my card sparingly with a few well-known and reputable merchants, these fraudulent charges started appearing on my bill immediately after renting a U-Haul van from the franchise at Mulock, just south of St. Clair in Toronto. Stay the fuck away -- this is just the most egregious reason.

There's no tip jar on the blog, nor do I intend to put one there. My problems are an annoyance, but a relatively minor one. They will pass in short order, and we can get back to the content you all crave -- dismal predictions about climate change and the global economy!


Anonymous said...

This situation is almost exactly why even though I only ever need one credit card, I have two. One that I use frequently, and one that I use every six months or so to make a small purchase just to keep it active. The first time I had to deal with fraudulent charges was enough to convince me that a backup card was worth having, even with no intention of actually using it.


john said...

Not a bad suggestion, but my dismal earnings over the last year don't exactly put me at the top of any bank's credit ratings.

Still, maybe when I'm out of school and have a real job...

Catelli said...

No. Credit Card bad..

As soon as you can, get a line of credit. Interest rates much better.

Even a $5000 LoC can be enough to tide you over.

Just don't treat it like free money, and run it up to buy that spanking new Macbook you have your eye on....

john said...

I tend not to pay interest because I only use the credit card for functions where it's necessary (car rentals, e-commerce) and pay it immediately. Haven't managed much in life, but have managed to not treat credit cards like real money.

Er, "real" money.

Catelli said...

Good for you.

We never carry a balance on the Credit Card either, only use it for purchases we know we can pay off that month.

On the rare occasion where the CC got a little high (car-home-appliance repairs, etc.) we pay it off with the LoC and then pay the LoC off as fast as we can.

One advantage of using the CC even for the big stuff, is you can still earn the reward points (if any) and avoid the high interest by moving it to the LoC when payment is due.

Anyway, I've blabbed on about this enough.

Anonymous said...

I tend not to pay interest because I only use the credit card for functions where it's necessary (car rentals, e-commerce) and pay it immediately.

Yes. This is the only way to use a credit card. Anyone who finds themselves in a situation where they're carrying a balance from month-to-month is risking a very bad debt trap that is hard to dig yourself out of once you're in it.

I tend to use my credit card as a convenient replacement for cash - if I didn't feel like I could pull the money out and pay cash for it, I don't buy it. That's learned behavior, though, after getting myself into a relatively small debt trap during my undergraduate days in college and only digging myself out once I'd graduated and gotten a full-time job. Since then I've been careful to pay off the whole balance, and watch my monthly spending pretty closely.


Anonymous said...

Stay away from Uhaul - period. A horrible company.