April 4, 2008

“Cleaning Out My Closet” − Eminem – Part II

Posted in Backstory, Finances tagged at 4:00 am by otherdeb


Part II

So, how did Dee and I begin to clean up the mess we were in?

Well, it was hard…add to the financial issues the stresses of a long-distance relationship, and several apartments we were supposed to be getting falling through, and you have a recipe for depression and inertia.

The first thing we each did was start making payment arrangements with our various creditors. Then we set up support networks. See, one thing that inspired us was a friend who decided that he was going to clean up his finances and post about it in his blog. Although his situation was nowhere near as dire as ours, we were in his support network, and it inspired us to get more aggressive about cleaning up our stuff.

We timed it right, too. As we were making our plans, the government passed a law that allowed everyone to pull their credit reports once per year without paying for them. This gave us each a chance to see who would be hitting us for what and, also, a chance to correct information that was incorrect.

Now, paying things off was costing me money, because I was stuck using money orders. Several years prior to our efforts a so-called friend had bounced about $800 in checks on me, and could not pay me back. It took me a year to pay the bank back, and then they refused to reopen the account, although they had promised me they would. My next step, therefore, was to try to find a way to get a checking account. Since the bank had reported me to Chex Systems, I could not find a bank that would open an account for me. Fortunately for me, my ex was willing to help out by writing checks when I needed them, which cut down on the cost of money orders.

But I am nothing if not persistent. I kept looking on the Internet, and found a few places that offered lists of financial organizations that would help people who had been, as it were, branded by Chex Systems. Not only did I find a credit union whose only requirement for membership was that I either live or work in Brooklyn, but said credit union has a great bill-paying feature, where I only get charged if I don’t use it once a month! Now I could pay off bills without having to pay for the privilege!

After the collection agencies were paid off, I acquired a Visa card and a MasterCard for emergencies. I also acquired four store cards from stores I regularly shop at: Macy’s, Target, Avenue, and Sears. This was for specific purchases that would take less than a month but more than one paycheck to repay. (All four store cards currently have zero balances, by the way, and the MasterCard and Visa are being paid down as I write this.)

I pulled my credit reports for the second time last September. To my great delight, there were nine or more accounts in good standing on each of them (including the student loans), and four adverse items or less on each. Several of the adverse items were duplicates, which I was able to correct by calling the report issuers. The remainder of the adverse items should be gone by September 2009. That means that by October 2009 I should be able to start apartment hunting again! Also, once I get the two credit cards paid off, I can start repaying the various friends who have helped me along the way! You cannot imagine how I am looking forward to watching those debts disappear!

(To be continued)


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4 Comments »

  1. Good Blog. I will continue reading it in the future. Nice layout too.

    Aaron Wakling

  2. Nice article. Thank you for your valuable information…

  3. otherdeb said,

    @ Aaron Wakling:

    Thank you. I look forward to hearing from you in future!

  4. otherdeb said,

    @ chexsystems banks:

    Thank you. It wasn’t easy to be without a checking account, especially since so many things (like PayPal) require one as a funding source.


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