If you’ve found yourself in a cash flow crunch for an extended period of time, you may have noticed how much it costs to be broke. If you haven’t noticed, please let me enlighten you.
First, there is the cost of NSF charges. Want to increase your heart rate and your stress level quickly? Log on to your online banking and see that NSF notice. And as if that’s not bad enough, the intended recipient of the funds has a charge for you too.
Now here’s a procedure that adds insult to injury. When you fall behind on your credit card payments, the companies increase the rates. Thanks guys! I’m already struggling with the minimum payments, this will help greatly! (Sarcasm noted?)
I understand the logic – somewhat – you’re a higher risk so they need more insurance against you defaulting. But doesn’t the increase in your rate make you an even greater risk?
Speaking of higher interest rates, if you are fortunate enough to find someone to help you refinance, you will pay a higher rate of interest for the same reasons as noted above.
Honestly! Who can afford to be broke?
Solution: Although there is no way to totally avoid this, here are some suggestions:
- If you run a tight account, keep a close eye on your bank account. Make sure you know exactly what is coming out and when and have it written down. Check your account regularly (online banking is especially useful in this regard)
- If you know you cannot make a payment, call the recipient and ask if you can have it stopped or moved to another date. If you are too late, contact your bank and put a stop-payment on it. The fees are a lot less than an NSF.
- Strive always to make at least the minimum payment on your credit. That way, you are at least up to date. If you are unable to, contact the credit company to see if they will allow you to make interest-only payments or defer a payment.
- Look at your options early. Often refinancing may be an option if you look at it soon enough. If you wait until you are behind, your options diminish greatly
- Finally, seek outside guidance. Just because your bank says no, it does not mean no one else will look at you, and your banking representative may not have the resources necessary to point you in another direction. Contact a professional (like me!) to help you explore ALL of your options.
Do you have an example of the cost of being broke? Offer your comment above!