Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Offers we can't refuse. And some we can.

I've spent a good amount of almost every day these past few weeks working on our finances. Or lack of.

Between the endless stream of numbers for taxes and those for creditors, my head stays in spinning mode. It's not a happy place, but I do think it's a bit better than worrying EVERY DAY where the money for the bills is coming from. While I am thankful that we do have an income, I look forward to the day when I can appreciate the monthly paycheck, not bemoan the fact that it isn't nearly enough.

What I've been doing with our creditors who have been bumped way down the list is to make an online payment (more of a token, actually) and send an email to their Customer Support. That has resulted in emailed responses with phone numbers, which I document in my notes for each creditor for my next contact. Simple enough... until a letter arrives with another phone number, and I don't know if the letter has crossed paths with an email or phone call (i.e., which is the most current number). Or a rep calls with still another number. Or I call and get - surprise - a different number.

Spinning, spinning.

What I'm trying to do, although I don't enjoy it at all, is keep everyone updated by phone or email on a weekly or biweekly basis. Some reps have expressed understanding and appreciation that I'm calling them, others seem a bit more interested in 'saving your great credit history' (i.e., snag a payment any way they can).

Two offers, which the respective reps have treated as bargains, stand out. With one, our interest rate would be generously dropped to 7.99% (almost half the current rate), but there's a catch - we'd have to come up with $1219. As our payments were under $200, and we were 'only' a month behind, I have no idea how that figure came to be. Doesn't matter, either. I explained that if we had $1200, I probably wouldn't be on the phone with them.

In bargain offer #2, we were told we could have 0% for 61 months, with a payment of only $333/month... which is more than we were paying at the time. Once again, I explained that it was the monthly payments we couldn't handle until our side businesses were able to fund their own expenses again. And our unexpected medical bills were paid. And perhaps if gas quit being so outrageous, considering my husband's driving. Etc., etc., etc.

So far, we've managed to procure two 'plans' that we will make work. For one, our payment was halved, and the interest rate was whacked from 23.24% to 3%. We'll have to renew it in 12 months, and while they may think I'll forget about it, I've got notes all over. I will not forget.

In Plan #2, our payment was reduced over $50/month, and our interest rate was cut from 19.24% to 2%. Again, we will have to renew in 12 months. NO PROBLEM.

The good news is that with these plans in place, these two cards will be paid off in five years! And with the agreement, the phone calls cease.

The downside is that these plans both require bank drafts. As I felt uncomfortable with that but felt the necessity of accepting them, I simply opened up a separate account for these and any future workable plans that may require bank drafts. Only a bare bones balance will be kept there for the drafts.

What am I talking about? We don't have any other kind of balance....

So we have two relatively happy campers in this financial storm. The rest? Not so much, although it helps that we aren't the only ones struggling and that I do let them know I'm keeping notes and will update. And then do... like it or not.


1 comment:

  1. Just keep at it. It sucks that you have to be "behind" before they are willing to even talk to you. I wasn't behind, and the answer I got was "too bad." One actually suggested I stop paying them anything.....huh????