Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Return of the Overdraft

One of the things I discovered when I got my free credit report is that I had a student loan payment that was 120 days late.

I found this rather confusing, since I didn't remember receiving any kind of notice that this payment was due. I deferred all of my student loans back when I was unemployed, and two of the three of them duly resumed sending me statements after six months. Why this one didn't, I don't know, and in my hazy financially lazy mind, I figured they'd just granted me a 12-month reprieve instead of a 6 month, and never followed up.

My bad, yes. I'm financially retarded. I'm working on it.

I owed them $248 in overdue back payments.

I looked over the money I had in the bank, and according to my fuzzy math, I could pay them this and still stay in budget. I could make up the difference by paying less toward my CC payments next month (not paying the loan further injures my credit score).

But, once again, my lazy, imprecise "well, that's about right" math didn't work, and I overdrafted again for the first time since I started my new budget.

The real killer about the student loan payment is that it's another $64 I have to pull out of my budget somewhere. I'm honestly not sure from where. I can cancel the Netflix and maybe - maybe - take $40 out of my food budget and pay $10 less a month toward my old medical bills, but... well. I have to keep paying those huge payments to my credit card debt every month if I ever want to see the sun again, which means that money has to come out of things that are nice, but unneccessary. And no, I don't want to pull it out of my $100 fun budget.

That $100 fun budget is killing me as it is. Chopping that to $50? I wouldn't make it. What's that, a movie once a month and a couple Chipotle runs? No bowling, no coffee dates, no buying pants or socks when I need them. No occasional coke or peanuts or avocados.

I can barely do it as is right now.

I hate money.

7 comments so far. What are your thoughts?

Anonymous said...

Please don't hate me for suggesting this.

But if you have no hopes or intentions of purchasing real estate in the next seven years, you might consider declaring bankruptcy -- having it all wiped clean and starting over from scratch.

It seems that a lot of folks do that -- which is one of the reasons why credit card interest is so high for the rest of the world. So, one could think of it as payback for all that usurous interest you've been paying.

Another thing to think about is loan consolidation. Ask your bank to recommend a non-profit site (some of those places are scams) for debt relief.

It completely stinks that Americans don't have access to free health care, so I'm at the point where folks ought start taking advantage fo the system that's taking advantage of them in the first place.

Kameron Hurley said...

That would be silly. I can pay off the credit card debt in 2 years.

And I've missed the great interest window for consolidating my student loans, but it's still an option.

Making more money is also another option I'm working hard on.

Treat Queen said...

Don't chop your fun budget. $100 is little enough as it is, and as soon as you chop it, something else will come up that you have to have that money for too. Besides, if you don't have any fun, life's not worth living anyway.

Anonymous said...

Sorry -- I got the impression that the debt burden was much larger than that. (Ack! With so many struggling writers, it's easy to confound one story with another, especially for a dim-wit like me.)

Kameron Hurley said...

It's Ok, anon!

When my roommate sat down with me to create this "get debt paid off in two years" plan, he told me that if I would have been another 10K in debt, I'd pretty much be fucked for the next 10 years.

So, understandable to think that it was too staggering to be surmountable. The one thing I *have* done is figured out how surmountable it is. And it *is* doable without bankruptcy (and I would like a house within in the next 3-5 years, so bankruptcy isn't really on my list).

And yeah, Nicole, I reeeeally don't want to cut that fun budget any more. Even though life is uncomfortable for the next two years, cutting that budget in half or a third might make it unlivable, in my middle-class estimation.

At this rate, though, I may have to cut out my annual Christmas trip home due to budget issues if I'm really committed to fixing this credit issue.

Jackie M. said...

I agree that you shouldn't kill the fun budget. Psychologically speaking, you need that $100 in order to keep the rest of this hardcore book-keeping going. And you need to stay hardcore until you get those cc's paid off...

Travis said...

Money sucks.. yep we already knew that I know.

but you'll pull out of it soon enough!