After deciding to move our family checking account from Compass Bank to USAA Federal Savings Bank, I went down there to close the account and ask what had happened to the $5000.00 my son deposited in college monies. Any guilt or reservations completely vanished after she told me they had been deposited to another account. She moved them back without so much as an apology.

This is the fifth time they have been careless with our money. The first FOUR times were the result of a customer in Phoenix walking into a bank making out a withdrawal slip that had the same account number save the last number. This person makes their fives look like eights and instead of the teller asking the customer who is standing right there in front of them what that number is --zip goes our money into a complete strangers hands. I told her I expected the bank to make compensations for any overdrafts, bounced check fees and a note in our credit report to explain their derelictions. The bank manager put a note on our account but after the FOURTH time she suggested that I close this account and open a new one.

What a pain! There were at least a dozen automatic withdrawals and two direct deposits had to be rerouted, but after the last SNAFU I was glad I went through the hours of filling out forms and following up with phone calls. Things get easily confusing for me at times like this and when the automatic withdrawal for car insurance didn’t show up USAA called and helped me take care of it on line.

They also offer a small rebate every time we use our debit card and punch “credit” on the debit machine. Up to 15 bucks in rebates for ATM fees, free checks, free checking, free on line banking with unlimited Web Pay and when I asked if they would consider lower the APR on my MasterCard with them they cut it in half:)

This year my resolution is to restructure our finances. So far it’s been a very successful. Here is what’s been done so far:

  • Set up a weekly EFT of 40 dollars into my savings account so every time the cars break down it doesn’t wipe us out. Car repairs average around $300.00 because ours are so old and we can’t afford a car payment plus insurance. When it reaches $2000.00, the cost of a new engine for my Mopar then I can start saving for tile.
  • Anytime the credit card is used a check is written out of the checking account because it’s already spent. The first few months it was a bit panicky until I realized the bill was already paid. It was simply a matter of voiding out the checks and writing one to pay it in full woo hoo!
Here is an idea that some may find useful for any kind of long term debt, like credit cards, car loans, mortgages and home equity loans. For each debt:
  1. Open up a free checking account.
  2. Divide your monthly payment by 4.
    For example our five year home equity loan payment is $191.00
  3. Set up a weekly electronic funds transfer that equals one fourth of the payment.
    In this case I rounded mine up to $48.00 and picked the day after payday so my bill was paid first.
  4. Set up an monthly automatic payment with the institution that owns your debt.
  5. DO NOT TOUCH IT! Leave the extra funds that build up in there from extra weeks in the months.
  6. Make a payment to the principle loan with the extra funds at the end of the year.
  7. If it’s a mortgage or home equity loan deduct the interest off your taxes.
  8. Viola! A five-year loan is paid off in two and a half to three years.
Having Quicken makes it easy peasy. I got this idea after the bank who holds our mortgage Chase Manhattan gave our name and number to telemarketers. They called asking if I would be interested in making biweekly payments to pay off the mortgage early and save thousands of dollars. They only wanted to charge me nine dollars a month. So for $1620.00 (9x12 = 108.00 and 108 x 15 years = $1620.00) they would get the use of my money for a few days before sending off to Chase who got the use of my money two weeks before it was due! After making biweekly payments directly to Chase they credited the first payment to the monthly payment, the second payment to the principle then charged me a late fee! BTW Chase has bought out Bank One so what will they call the Bank One Ballpark now? *ugh* I hope it’s something less corporate.

Now that Gen has all of her shots we began walking this week. Getting ready for walks has been very bittersweet. It reminds me so much of Kiki and Sam. Some of the neighbors have stopped us to ask about them. But once we get out there and start training it’s all forgotten. Gen is doing fantastic! Yesterday one of the neighbors asked me if I would train his labs. She runs ahead and behind with her tail held high in such great joy only to find herself wrapped around a mailbox post. This week she figured out how to unwrap herself which is a good skill to have.

I’ve taken the neighbor’s dog into the vet for heat exhaustion because she left him chained up to a post in the back yard. He got wrapped around it so tight he couldn’t get in the shade. By the time I peeked over the wall to see what all the whining was about his body temperature was over 108 degrees F. Wrapping him in a wet towel and I raced him to the vet. My neighbor is new to the desert wasn't aware of how heat can be deadly she is also single and Baxter was her baby. We couldn’t contact her to get permission to treat the woofie so I promised the vet that I would pay up to $100 dollars for her treatment.

It was kinda cool what the vet did with the pup. She had rigged up a clothes dryer with a stationary cage in it. Then they put the dog in there while the dryer blew cool air on Baxter until his temp came down then loaded him up with subcutaneous fluids. Dogs have a lot of loose skin between their shoulder blades so by the time my neighbor got there Baxter had this huge lump on his back. They were SO happy to see each other.

Gen is five months old now, close to 40 pounds, and tall enough to put her paws up on the counters to STEAL my potholders! While dinner burns we are playing keep away in the back yard. To stop that I put duct tape with the sticky side up along the edges of the counters because most doggies don’t like the sticky sensation on their paws. After one of my dogs went through a plate glass window I used the same trick. It’s also is useful to stop jumping up on doors.

Take care:)

Jesus said, "I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you."
-John 14:18 (NIV)
Even though others abandon me I am never alone.