Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Well, so much for trying to be fugal

I've been living VERY cheaply lately - since my last frustrating post about money and debt.

One of the things that I broke down and set up last month was a "debt recovery" service. It's not the cheapest thing in the world, but if I can pay off my debts sooner (as the process I was using was failing miserably) -- I decided to give it a try. However, the first three months, the payments are 100% to pay the "fee" for the service (then there's ten months where 50% of your payments are for fee, the rest go toward debt, then the rest of the payments are 100% debt). They then negotiate down your debts (supposedly down to 35% or so - but at minimum of 50% of the debt amount); so paying 15% of my debt amount to them seems high, but hopefully it a) pays off my debt sooner like promised and b) gets the bill collectors off my back.

Well, here's how I managed to screw that up. Between the cost of moving, paying for two apartments for the month of august, the full cost of another month in deposit at the new place (and no refund on old apartment thanks to stains in the carpet)... I've been a bit pinched. I called and asked them to wait 10 days to process the debt recovery service payment this month (they did say they would work with me)... and they didn't delay it. It went through. The minute I realized it was going to go through (was watching the bank account like a hawk), I put in a $500 payday advance payment.... but it was the next day - so I incurred $350 in overdraft charges. UGH!

AND? I ended up at the dentist today - had put off putting on my last crown (had two teeth in need of one) because of my buggered up knee. Ended up with one of the teeth breaking, so we did get in and get that crown done. When it came time to plan "next steps" - I had too options - take care of the three minor fillings (not yet paid for); or the second crown (more expensive, but I THOUGHT I had already paid for it). Even though the second crown could probably wait until next year, I knew that since it was already paid for (with Flexible Spending Account money) - I knew we would have to deal with it this year. So, I asked them to do the crown first. So they did the preparation today & fitted me with the temporary crown. AND then when I get to the front desk, I find out that I did NOT pay for this yet, and my insurance AND flexible spending account is used up for the year. I dug through my old records, sure enough, I hadn't paid for it. I had planned for it, they told me about it, but then they didn't include it in the bill as anticipated (only the root canal done at the same time)... so it didn't get paid for. AND it could have waited. If I had waited until January - insurance would have covered the majority of the expense and I only would have needed 20% -- and I would have had fsa funds. UGH.

Instead? I know owe almost $1000 for dental work that I would have put off doing if I had known it would cost me a cent. AND, since it's going to take me several months to pay off this debt; I can't afford to do the fillings that I should have gotten done.

I'm feeling quite cranky.

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