11.01.2011

Who has two thumbs and doesn't know how to pay bills?

Remember, remember the first of November
The bills were paid, I thought;
Then for some reason, the one time this season,
The mortgage I forgot.

It's actually the first time ever I have forgotten.  The whole time I've had this house.  I'm an idiot.

Here's what happened:
Knowing all my bills are due around the first, I cozied up to my computer and went to my bank website.  I noted that the cable bill, my car payment, my cell phone, and both of my student loans (from Wells Fargo and the Department of Education) had been automatically paid.  Excellent, I thought, when I saw my checking account balance -- I had more than enough left over to pay the rest of the bills and then make significant payments to credit cards.  So I go through the payments --

Gas bill -- $22
Electric bill -- $89
Water bill -- $28

I made a payment to Home Depot, because that's where D. and I got all our stuff to drywall my bedroom.  The bedroom isn't done yet, and we're on this 12 month no interest plan thingie; I'm hoping we can have the bedroom done by the time we pay off the card...

ANYWAY, so I check to make sure there was no balance on the Kohl's card.  Not that I had to check, because I've been deprived of clothes shopping for months now.  Every time I see that $0.00 on my Kohl's statement, I feel frumpier.

I then pay off my Amazon Visa, which was only about thirty bucks.  Then -- thinking, "D. is going to be so happy and proud!" and "I hope we don't have an emergency before D. gets paid on Friday" -- I take every last cent out of my checking account and put it toward my bank credit cards.  One of the cards, once paid off, will never be used again, and the other card will be used to make big purchases, but only when we have the cash saved up to pay it off that same month... that way, we still get my rewards points, but no finance charge.  (I think.  We don't have the money book yet.)

So I'm sitting there with my calculator, doing the math on how long it'll take to pay off the rest of my cards, and I glance at my checking account statement, where I happen to see this:  WF EFS STDNT LN AUTOPAY PPD.

WF EFS STDNT LN AUTOPAY PPD.

WF EFS.

Wells fucking Fargo.  The lender for my student loans.  And, incidentally, my mortgage.

"Oh, fuck," I said out loud in my cubicle.  The guy that shares my partition paused for a second during his phone call before resuming his discussion.

I forgot that they take my student loan out of my checking account on the 28th, but they usually don't take my mortgage until the 2nd.  I had seen the "WF" in my account before I started paying bills, and I somehow reasoned that I'd already paid the mortgage.  I didn't pay attention to the "EFS," because I'm not smart enough to realize that it stands for Educational Financial Services.  So then, suddenly, I didn't have a cent left, and Wells Fargo would end up trying to squeeze water from a stone.  Tomorrow.

Maybe I could call them?  Ask them to wait a few days before my room mate is paid?  Ask them if I can pay with a credit card?  (That was an option I didn't want, as I'd just paid an amount equal to one and a half mortgages to my credit cards.)  Could I write them a check?  Maybe I could get hired one night as a waitress somewhere and make a bunch of cash.  Wait, no, a waitress wouldn't make enou-- ooh, stripper!  I bet I could pull in some good money there.  But then what if Wells Fargo finds out that their homeowner is stripping for extra cash?  Really, I just wanted to insist that they tell me why on earth they would lend to someone who is such a fucking moron. 

I called D. instead.  One of three things could've happened:  (1) He would be mad and say something like, "No wonder we never save money!" and then I'd probably cry; (2) Maybe he would have a solution somehow??; or (3) He would provide moral support, despite my mistake that could easily be our treacherous path toward foreclosure and homelessness.  Having slept on dirt before in the Army, he would probably adapt better than I would as a homeless person.

"I messed up," I said in a small voice.  "I paid down the credit cards but didn't leave enough for the mortgage."

"Why don't you just make a transfer from your savings, and I'll pay you back on Friday?"

............ oh.  I have a savings account.  Left over from the first-time homebuyer tax credit, for which I had to go through a lot of red tape, as ex-fiancĂ© P. had to amend his taxes to let me have the full amount of the credit.  And D. isn't mad.  He didn't even make fun of me, and he always makes fun of me.  Like when I botched my hair:


So I stuffed some cash in a savings account after the tax credit, and the whole point was to not touch it -- that's why it didn't even occur to me earlier to use it to pay the mortgage... I'd pretty much forgotten I had it.  But now I'm rethinking it:  I'm not making enough in interest to even justify having a savings account.  I'm losing more money in interest on the credit cards than I am earning money in my savings account interest.  I have made literally $0.06 with this account.  So this week I'll be taking my savings and paying off the credit cards, down to every filthy penny.  After that, I don't think I'll be using credit cards anymore -- I think they're giving me a rash.

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