Friday, April 29, 2011

The Spending Diet and Bank Fees

Recently some laws were passed and there was a lot of hoopla about trying to help consumers with those big old nasty banks.  I didn't pay much attention because, much like my cat, if it's not right in front of my nose and doesn't directly affect me, it usually slips through the cracks and is out of my consciousness.

I got a big wakeup call today though, when Justin and I both got notices from the bank where we have our individual checking accounts.  I have used mine periodically for holding extra spending money for a specific purpose.  I used it when I was working on building up some savings for Ben for his car when he turned 18.  I really haven't used it for much of anything recently.

Justin is using his account as a way to collect money for the Gettysburg 2011 Honda S2000 Club drive in August.  He is president of the chapter for his car club and he is organizing the event and taking payments for registration.  He is depositing those payments into the account to make one large payment to all of the event coordinators.  It is not something he would otherwise use for anything in particular and usually there is a very small balance simply to keep the account open.

Congress finally stepped up and bit us in the ass this month.  First it was the annual fee that appeared on my credit card of $59 which had never been there before.  I've had this card for at least five years, always paid more than the minimum requested payment, last month actually paid it off, and suddenly I owe them $59 for the privilege of giving them interest if I carry any type of balance.  Are they serious?

Today, we both received notices that we will be charged a $10 monthly "maintenance" fee on our individual checking accounts beginning June 3rd, unless we either direct deposit salary into the accounts or have a more than $6,000 balance.  Again, are they serious?

Since I haven't used my checking account in quite awhile and I think there is only about $100 in there combined between checking and savings, I intend to take the letter over to the bank and close both of my accounts, telling them that if they want to charge me for the privilege of having an account with them now, after five years, then I will take my (admittedly small) business elsewhere.  I don't really need my own account for anything anyway.

Justin also plans to close out the Gettysburg account, which is a shame since registration just opened and payments just started coming in.  It's going to be a pain in the butt for him to go to another bank.  But, neither one of us is a fan of having to pay the bank for them allowing us to store our money there.  We pay so much in interest on the credit cards we already have and carry a balance on.  And the bank gets the honor of using our money every month.  Why would I pay them to allow them to do that?  $10 a month times 12 months is $120 a year on two accounts is $240 a year.  No way.

I know the new banking regulations are at fault here and I'm not going to pull any punches when I say I think they screwed it up.  All of these things the government was supposed to do to make life easier for the middle class and all they did was drive up the cost of everything.  Did they really think the big bad banks were going to take losing all that money?  Of course not!  They are passing it right on to us, just as Justin said they would when this whole thing started.

I don't care if you're a Republican or a Democrat.  If you have a credit card, a debit card, or a bank account, you're going to feel this in some way.

Justin says the answer is term limits.  Get all of the politicians out and start over.  I'm starting to think he's completely and totally right on that one.  I can't do this spending diet thing if the prices of things I have to have keep going up. All it means is that I will never, ever have a spare dime to do anything extra, no matter how hard I try.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I'd love to hear from you. Feel free to tag back to your blog in the body of your message. Comments are my favorite!