Joel and I have decided that we will no longer use credit cards. Instead, we are trying very hard to follow Dave Ramsey's program and build up emergency savings, get out of debt and start paying cash for everything.
So, we built up our 1,000 dollar emergency fund, which we knew would be put to good use in January since we wouldn't start to get paid by SUU until February. Actually, Christmas expenses had already knocked a bit of it out by January so we had around 700 dollars in there.
We used some of it in January to pay the car payment (which is what our SUU checks pay for, plus a few other small things) and then we didn't get any SUU checks at the beginning of February. Somehow, we were able to make things stretch until February 15th when Joel received his SUU check. That's right. Mine still hasn't come. Payroll says they mailed it, but it isn't here, and the Music Department secretary said she has had several people with the same issue. Weirdness.
So fine. It was tight without my check, but Joel got paid yesterday from his high school/middle school job and it would be okay. Especially since our landlord hadn't cashed rent yet and we'd sort of dipped under what should have been in the account to cover that payment since I didn't get my SUU money.
Well, he didn't get paid. The school district's bank made some error and nobody got paid yesterday. And that's when rent went through. It should have been covered by about 200 dollars of the 450 dollars or so that was in savings, but the bank depleted savings and still charged us an overdraft fee. They made about 300 dollars of our checking account unavailable because I did a deposit through the ATM. Which makes zero sense to me, but oh well. Also, that was the first overdraft fee we have paid since the very early years of marriage when neither of us was so great handling the finances.
The money was deposited today, and they actually paid us a whopping 15 dollars more than usual. (Maybe to make up for the mistake?) Joel is going to call our credit union and complain about that stupid overdraft fee that totally shouldn't be there. And life will go on.
It just made me really thankful that we are trying so hard to live the way we are. We would have been in a lot of trouble yesterday if we hadn't been as frugal as we have been and if we hadn't had any sort of savings, low as it currently was. It is so hard to live on a teacher's salary, but we are making it work, and doing our darnedest to live within our means. We will hopefully be able to build our emergency fund back up quickly (tax refund, anyone?) and pay off most of our credit card debt this year.
I will also hopefully receive my SUU check before the end of July.