Thursday, April 20, 2006

 

WaMu Said They Can't Find the Error!!


As a followup to my previous post about the WaMu error in my favor, here is the reply I received to my email of 4/19 asking when the account will be adjusted:

"Per your request, I have reviewed your account. Unfortunately, I was unable to determine the error.

Our records indicate that two separate deposits for $628.12 were made to your account. I am unable to determine the reason that an adjustment should have been made.

Please clarify the reason you are requesting an adjustment. When describing your situation please be as specific as possible, and include all the information you think we might need. "

So I have just sent them my third email giving them all the details I already gave them in my first email. I also requested that if they are still unable to determine the error, that they send me official written notice.

Is it possible to be in a state of shock over this? I'm completely unable to get my head around the fact that not only did the bank lose checks, but they don't know that they lost checks!! I am so glad I switched banks.

Update: 5/3/06 In response to my three emails, I received a letter from WaMu with photocopies of the checks I deposited on 3/13. They hope that by showing me that I did make a deposit that the issue is now cleared up. Well it wasn't, so two phone calls to the branch manager later the money has finally been removed from my account. And it only took them 48 days!!!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

 

An Ethical Dilemma, Is this My Money or Not


What do you do when the bank makes an error in your favor, I'm not talking the $10 you get in Monopoly. How many times do you point out the error to the bank and how long do you give them to fix the error?

This money is from the replacement checks that were issued to cover the deposit that the bank lost, the money was supposed to have been debited from my account on March 15. On March 24, I emailed the bank and let them know the money was still in my account. I was told that an internal investigation of the original deposit was being conducted and it would take 5 days to resolve and the adjustment made to my account. Well five business days later (March 31) the money was still in my account. Its now April 17, I've received 2 banks statements since I deposited the money and the money is still sitting in my account.

So one bank visit, one customer service email and two statements later it seems to me that the bank wants me to keep this money. And I won't deny it, I would like to keep it as its over $600. Hence my dilemma, should I just let it sit in the account forever, should I email the bank again, or should I take the money and run with it to my new checking account?


Update: 4/19
I've just emailed the bank again letting them know that they still haven't corrected the error and asking when I can expect the money to be adjusted out of my account. If they still do not take any action, I am going to go into the branch and close the account and see if that will get a response from them.

Monday, April 17, 2006

 

Giving a Shout Out to...a Commercial??

There is a commercial roaming the airwaves these days that I found interesting and I can't get it out of my head. Its a John Hancock commercial and the first thing said is to treat your family finances as a business. That really struck a chord with me, am I treating my family's finances as well as and as carefully as I would my business finances (assuming I had a business). It was a take on family finances that I hadn't thought of before. It's also a take that ties in with a blog I discovered today, The Family CEO, where a mom has hired herself to be her family's Chief Economist and has saved her family $8311 so far, her goal is to earn the highest salary she can. I really, really like this idea especially since my finances really are my "business". I would like to be able to say, as the commercial does, "The Sparing Change Family finished on an upnote today".
 

Amazon Cancelled, eBay Had It & I Saved Money

Waaay back on February 27, I ordered 2 cd's from Amazon. One was an import that I had been wanting for a long time, I ordered the 2nd off my wish list in order to qualify for the free shipping. Well today (note that it is April 17) I received an email from Amazon saying that they were unable to get the import cd and had cancelled it off the order. The other cd had shipped and they were now charging me freight! I emailed Amazon and explained that the order was originally free shipping, they have now refunded the freight charge. I also went on eBay and found the import cd, with shipping it was still cheaper than it was on Amazon so I purchased it. So although I've had to wait a bit longer than I would have liked and had the hassle of having part of my order cancelled I'm happy because I'm still getting both cd's and for cheaper than I planned:

original Amazon total $27.80, new eBay & Amazon total: $24.20

I know its only $3.60, but as I like to tell my bf every time I pick up a penny off the ground, I'll take every cent I can find. There's a moral in this story somewhere, its either check eBay first or don't buy cd's and I'll save even more money. I choose to go with moral #1.

Monday, April 10, 2006

 

April Budget, a Motto, and a Loveseat Hunt


Well here it is April 10th, payday, and the start of a new budget month. March was a bad month budget-wise, I went on a spending spree and bought some new clothes and I can't remember what else and we ended up $163 over for the month. Both of my experiments for the month failed as well which sucks! This month is not looking much better as the car went in today for its 40k service, which I'll have to charge for now and make an extra credit card payment at the end of the month.

This month I'm trying something different, I'm going to have a motto and start a savings goal. Motto: "No Pizza Until May 10th" and the goal is to save up for a new loveseat/armchair. Ours is a one-armed loveseat 80's reject that has lost all its cushioning powers. I saw a really cool oversized armchair (fits 2 people) on JC Penney's website that is also a twin-size sleeper. Its on sale for $499, but we want to save up at least $600 in case this is no longer available when we're ready to buy. The oversized armchair will work really well for us because we are limited space-wise. We can't go any longer than 65" because our tv/computer/cat room is a tiny converted bedroom with no room to swing a cat, not that he would let me. mmm pizza, I'm hungry gotta go.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

 

Gardening with Your Groceries and Your Garbage!

Here's something I never thought of until I read it on About.com, but I went duh! when I read it. Fresh fruits and vegetables that you get fom the grocery store have seeds, why not plant them? It'll save the money of buying seeds and starter plants, and even if it doesn't work, you've still gotten the benefit of eating the food so your money wasn't wasted.

The articles I read are full of ideas about what you can plant from your grocery and garbage. And if you don't know how to grow something, you can always read the back of the seed package at the store for hints. You can plant the beans that come from the grocery store because beans are seeds. You can also plant whole peas, raw peanuts, popcorn, wheat berries, garlic, onions, popcorn, raw untreated spice seed (celery, anise, sesame, etc.) Peppers, tomatoes and fruits have seeds in them that will grow. Scoop the seeds from a cut tomato and save with the liquid surrounding them, or mash a whole tomato and let it set at room temperature two or three days, then rinse gently and dry for storage, or plant them right away.

Peppers, cucumbers, squash, pumpkin, and eggplant should be allowed to mature before using the seed, as the seed matures along with the vegetable.

Plant beans, peas, peanuts, etc outdoors after the last threat of frost, or plant them indoors if you want an interesting plant to liven your home. It's very cheap decorating, but they will seldom, if ever, bear fruit indoors.

As for garbage, if you've got a veggie that has started sprouting, plant it instead of tossing it. Turnip roots can be replanted indoors; so can celery roots, onion bottoms and carrot tops.



We've decided to try container gardening this summer. I'm going to for sure try tomatoes, potatoes and onions and just for kicks I'm going to start saving the seeds from our fruit and veggies to see what happens. We've decided to get this Organic Gardening Kit because you don't have to dig out a spot for a garden, the kit will work right on top of your grass. It has a barrier to keep the grass and weeds from growing into your garden. It comes with or without seeds. You can get the kit witho or without seeds and right now they will give you $20 off every order over $40. Thank you to Jane Dough for the idea.

If you'd like to read the gardening articles on About.com, the links are here and here.


"

Thursday, April 06, 2006

 

I Want to Buy My House


We are currently renting a 670 sf house in serious need of fixing up. We are hoping to be able to buy it, my dream scenario would be to agree with the landlord on a price and then simply turn our quite affordable rent payment ($960) into a house payment and pay and pay until the house is paid for. I realize I'm probably being too simplistic, any advice on buying from your landlord would be appreciated.

According to the tax man, the house is worth $236k up from $200k last year. Zillow has it at $290 but that doesn't take into account all the fixes it needs like new wiring and plumbing. There's no wall insulation, it still has original windows, the bathroom floor is soft, the appliances are outdated etc. Real Estate ABC has it at a nicer $269k, I'd like to offer the landlord $250.

A huge thing that is scaring me is that the housing bubble in Seattle shows no signs of stopping, according to an article in the Seattle Times today, 17 of 20 counties in Western Washington reported a 20 percent or more increase in house prices compared with this time last year. In my county, the median home price has jumped from $324,950 in March 2005 to $365,000 last month. I also read an article from Forbes stating that Seattle was the most overpriced city to live in "For the second year in a row, Seattle takes the top spot in our study. Why? The city does poorly on all counts, but was at the bottom when it comes to job growth, and the cost of living is very high." I'm worried that if I don't approach the landlord soon, he might decide to take advantage of the housing market and sell before we are ready to buy. My plan was to not approach him until next year when we are debt free so that if he would like a down payment it would be easier for us to come up with one.

The landlord is coming out this weekend to fix a leaky faucet that we don't have the tools to do ourselves, maybe I can test the waters and see how he feels about selling without really committing to doing it right away.

Sigh...

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

 

What is my car's value???

I went to Vehix, Edmonds and Kelley Blue Book to determine the value of my car, every site had different values and I'm not sure which one to use in calculating my net worth:


Kelley Blue Book
Trade-in $11660
Private Party $13345
Suggested Retail $16045* They do not let you input the cars condition for Suggested Retail, the price given is based on an assumed excellent condition and is a starting point for negotiation. My car is only in good condition so SRV would actually be lower.

Edmonds
Trade-in $11775
Private Party $13136
Dealer $14349

Vehix
Trade-in $15175
Retail $17575
Vehix is pretty inaccurate I believe, they do not ask you the condition of the car (excellent, good, fair etc) and they do not allow you to input as many features as Kelley and Edmonds.

Right now I'm using the Edmonds Private Party value even though I should probably be using the trade-in value, but private party seemed nicer to my net worth.
 

Housing Update A-ha!


The house-for-sale I was disgruntled about in a previous post, has a new for sale price $319,950. 20k less than what it originally listed for, ha ha! I am quite gleeful as I still think the original price was way too much.

Update: 5/3/06 The house sold for $320,000. The taxes on it were $5701, I just love that the county posts all this information on their website for me to share with you.