Monday, February 18, 2013

Fee Sprees

I have noticed a trend in American society that gives me pause: the charging of fees for things that should be free!

For example, the IRS now demands a $150 payment for setting up a payment plan. Who came up with this idea? It amounts to penalizing taxpayers who cannot afford to pay the full amount of monies due.

Likewise, some cell phone companies (e.g. MetroPCS, Cricket) charge a fee when you pay online OR when you come into the store to make a payment. What the hell?

In addition, the courts, jails, and public defenders offices are forcing those charged or convicted with a crime to pay a fee for days spent in jail, parole services, and other penalties. Is this what America has come to? Insisting that those with the least pay the most.

Another example is Cox Communications, a cable company that charges $30.00 if you  install a cable box yourself. If you do it wrong and need a technician, the cost is $60.00.

Some credit card companies, charge as much as $14.50 to make a payment by phone.

My bank charges $3.50 to transfer money from one of my accounts to another, such as from savings to checking.

Come on America, this mean-spirited mindset is making it more difficult for average consumers to conduct business.

Similarly, there is no longer an effort to serve the consumer. Rather, agencies and businesses have no compunction about charging for services that should be free.

More and more, we are held hostage to big government and corporations that are all about the almighty dollar and less about treating Americans fairly.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Post-New Year Blues

Well, here I sit, one month and seven days into a new year. Sad to say, I have broken one of my (few) resolutions. It has to do with my finances.

I keep very close tabs on my spending, so I  have a clear picture of where my money goes, and it ain't where it should be going---into a savings account.

I should have a substantial nest-egg by now after all my years of working. So, why am I so careless about spending? There's always a battle between the Me that wants to save and the Me that wants to keep money in my checking account in case I need it for something.

I am not a spendthrift my any means. I buy most of my clothes from thrift shops and take lunch to work. I don't go to hair or nail salons. I borrow DVDs, CDs, and books from the library. So, why the heck do I resist putting money (after expenses) into my savings account?

When I fritter away money on day-to-day purchases, at the end of the month, I don't feel good about myself.

This year, however, I intend to examine my behavior and find ways to save for that rainy day.