A friend of mine works at a large bank.  She works in the fraud department, and as a result, she sees the best and worst of  people as they try to scrape by.  A few examples:

– People playing their mortgage with credit card convenience checks.  BAD idea.  With credit card interest accelerating to over 20% if you miss one payment, you have just taken your mortgage from 7 % to +20%- that is not a smart idea.

-People lending their credit cards to their kids, having the kids spend more than they were alloted, and then alleging fraud to the credit card company.  Sorry- if your kid charged $200 sneakers, your problem is with your kid, not the bank.

-People alleging spouses spending too much money equals fraud.  “I didn’t know he was going to put it on this card.”  Sorry- not a bank problem, that’s a marital problem.

When you use a credit card, the Bank pays the merchant for the item.  You have essentially taken off   without paying, and the only way to redeem yourself is to pay your credit card bill at the end of the month.  If you don;t pay, you have essentially stolen the item, so it’s pretty ridiculous to claim fraud or get mad at the bank when you are the one who is stealing, not them.

If you have a problem keeping track of your purchases and balancing your own personal budget, try a debit card instead.  Use a pad to write down your purchases as you make them. Be responsible.  Because every time you don’t pay your bills on time, the more fees and higher interest rates the rest of us have to deal with, to make up for the debt you are sticking to other people.  Your silly actions have downstream consequences for us all.

It’s not that hard to be responsible and play by the rules.  In fact, we benefit from things like deferred gratification.  My kids have always taken much better care of items they have saved up for, worked hard for themselves, rather than the stuff they get handed to them, for birthdays or other occasions,  where they have less sweat equity in the deal.  So as much as I would like fancy things, living within my budget is so much more important. When I really want something and save for it, I know I deserve it, so to speak- I have earned it, and it’s no longer an indulgence, but a trophy of hard work, and much more satisfying as well.

It may seem boring to be responsible, but I’m not sure we have any real choice anymore.  Besides, I’m happy to skip the excitement and adventure of getting calls from bill collectors, personally.