Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Another month, Another money malady!

Is it just me or do you guys get financial mishaps as well? Shesh!

Listen to this one...

Like most folks who have a credit card, I get a statement through every month with a 'payment due' slip at the bottom, which when I pay it keeps 'the man' happy for another month. Having got behind with my credit cards once before a few years ago, I am at great pains not to let this happen again, and make my payment each month like a good little boy. I do then have to 'borrow' it back again, just to squeak through to the end of the month. Only in the last 6 months though.

Thing is, when I checked my balance mid-month to see how much I could 'lean' on the card this time, the automated voice told me that I was now over my credit limit and my last payment had been at the beginning of February.
"Ok", you say, "and what?"
Well, I had made my monthly payment, on time, at the beginning of March!
With my new job I had to pay over-the-counter at a different branch of Barclays Bank; and they had LOST my money. The immediate ramification was I now had the credit card chasing their money, plus I had been charged late-payment, and over-limit charges! Moreover, I now couldn't 'lean' on the card basically wiping out my budget for the last 2 weeks of this month!

Despite having a 4 day weekend this Easter, I went nowhere, as I had no money in my pocket and no fuel in the car. My saving grace has been, 4 days doing nothing, and raiding my penny jar yesterday. I now have £8 to live on till Friday; All food, travel and socializing!

There has to be a light at the end of this tunnel!

N.B. Barclays still don't know where my money went and I now have to make a double payment in April to cover the payment the credit card didn't get this month, further eating into the money I ain't got in the bloody first place..............


Monday, March 24, 2008

'Merry' Easter

Cold enough for you! Snow at Easter, whatever next.

I hope you boys and girls are having a pleasant Easter; better than my miserable weekend! With no money in my pocket and no petrol in the car, I've confined to the house, with the gogglebox as company. Not a major problem seeing as my Sky+ box was rammed full of unwatched shows. But with just £5 to get me through to this coming Friday and the fact that I enter the last month of my probation period at work, with me effectively not selling a thing during February I'm fearful that I have not done enough to keep my job! :(

At least Kimi Raikkonen provided a ray of sunshine on a dull weekend by storming to win the Malaysian Grand Prix early Sunday morning. It was well worth getting up at 6.30am for. It would of been a Ferrari 1-2 if Felipe Massa hadn't spun off the track whilst running in a comfortable 2nd place, next time. In further good news. the BBC acquired the rights to broadcast Formula One from 2009. ITV coverage has been dire from day one and I'm so happy they won't be showing it anymore. Hopefully ex-drivers Martin Brundle, Mark Blundell and Louise Goodman will be retained as the only ones on ITV at the moment who know what they're talking about!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Out in the big wide world

Like the mighty field mouse poking his twitching nose out of the burrow for the first day in months, the mid Sunday in February was literally my first social trip out since my birthday night out over a month before. Money and new job fatigue were the reasons why, but it was certainly about time as I was going stir crazy!

My darling lil sis had come up with the idea of visiting Speakers Corner in Hyde Park. I had heard of the place, but that was about all. I was up for the idea. As always; doing something new and different will always get me signing up 1st. I done my usual wikipedia search and was buzzed by what to expect; an open forum where ANYBODY could stand up and speak about anything he or she wanted.

As always it was good to see Sarah again, and we 'tubed' upto London's Hyde Park and just behind Marble Arch and the Speakers Corner, which was less of a corner and more of just an area of park where people congregated.

What became apparent after wandering back and forth between the 'speakers' was that that they all spoke on religion. And what I found fascinating was that people could debate, sometimes quite heatedly and passionately, without descending into violence. What also felt apparent was that the speakers themselves were regulars, coming every week to speak, and heckle each other. To me it was very bemusing, not believing in religion, but it was still very fascinating to hear the different points of view.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Confesions of an estate agent

For this story to make sense there are a few facts you need to know.

- My job is Mon - Fri, with a stint every 3rd Saturday, accompanied only by a young lass who, only, works Saturdays.
- My company has 5 offices, and I'm able to offer any property from any of those 5 offices.
- This all happened on the weekend I expected my pay cheque to have cleared. It hadn't so I had no money on me. Not a penny!

My 1st Saturday

I had only worked 2 weeks before I had to do a Saturday, and unlike during the week when there are 4 staff, for a Saturday, there is only 2; yourself plus Nikki, the Saturday girl. Obviously I had not met Nikki yet so did not know who or what to expect as I arrived for work that day. I was holding keys for a property in the Islington office, having done a viewing on one of their properties the previous day. I had a 12pm viewing near their office and intended to drop the keys back then.

Only 5 minutes into the day Islington rang saying that they had a viewing on the property I had the keys for, in an hour! Not knowing what to do I asked Nikki is she could cover my 10.30 appointment while I hotfooted over with the keys. On my way back I gets an angry call from my manager. Nikki could not get into the property and the office was not meant to by unmanned either! I picked up Nikki from the house, apologised to the viewers, whisked her back to the office where we discovered she had taken the wrong keys, having mistaken tag 13 for tag 18! I then rushed back to do the viewing only to find parking meters everywhere! I had no money on me so had to drive back to the office with the car and then run back to the house to do the viewing!

Once back I had to cover a viewing in Stoke Newington. The problem was when I got there in was all parking meters again so I had to park about a mile away and again run to the property. The keys were with the landlord and because, being new, I had no business cards, the landlord would not let me have the keys! Luckily, Toby from the Islington office was there too, and he vouched for me. I was 10 minutes late, but the viewer was later still. All which meant I was not going to make it back in time for the next viewing! I had to call Nikki and ask if she didn't mind breaking protocol again and leave the office unmanned to do my viewing.

I was not having a good day and I don't think I was making a good first impression on Nikki, everything was going wrong. Thankfully the rest of the day was smoother but there was still a lot of back and forth. Luckily Nikki and I had each others phone numbers now, and we used them a lot that day as we tried to recover.

After work, which was only 4 hours, the longest 4 hours of my life! I thought I would pop into my old office and say hello to the old crew. Everything was fine until i got onto the A406 to Barking. There was a massive traffic jam and it took me an hour to get from Redbridge to Ilford! And then the Ilford turn off was at a standstill! Obviously I had given up on going to Barking during my hour stewing in the jam but had to take the gamble of trying to turn around a Barking, hoping that the traffic would be lighter. It took another 30 mins to get to Barking, by which time I was so fed up with my day that I headed straight home. I finally got home at 4.45 after leaving work at 2pm. Plus because I had unexpectedly had no money I had not eaten a thing all day!!

I haven't even got round to telling you how I set the alarm off in a million pound house, which had a police response, and how my manager got shouted at by the vendor and had to spend most of the day tying to get reset code from the alarm supplier and how she is now the only person allowed to do viewings.....

Sunday, March 09, 2008

The great payday debacle

Now those of you that know me, know that I am always banging on about how I am short of money 'this' month. Blah, blah! I know! Hopefully I will pass my probation and keep my new job, which if I bring in the same about of business in 2008 as I did in 2007 I can expect a 30% pay increase in '08 over '07. Fingers crossed!

Right now, I am out of money! Lol! But it was January's pay that wiped me out.......

Like most folks I was paid early in December, on the 21th in fact. I had to pay off for the France trip, buy Xmas presents and leave enough in the tanks to make my financial commitments in January. January is always a tough ole month for everybody, and for me it was to be 6 weeks without money coming in. So obvious I was quite desperate by the end, and it was with glee that I went to the ATM Jan 31st, only to find no money there!

I hastily rang my old company and was told that the last pay is made out in a cheque! Not a problem, 'If I had known!', but I have all of my direct debts set up to come out within the first 7 days of each month and with my bank needing 7 days to clear a cheque I was in deep doo-doo! Facing £200 in bank charges and my credit rating being thrown back into the dark ages, I was not happy! After half a day ringing around trying to find a solution, my brother, thankfully, stepped in and bailed me out, taking time out of his day to deposit enough money in my account to cover the bills. The cheque itself didn't ultimately clear until February 11th; 8 days after I took it to the bank, meaning I went 7 1/2 weeks between pay days!!!

I still incurred 2 bank charges; £60 down the crapper! Even worst still, I'm on flat pay till May, meaning I can't dig myself out of this hole till then. However back to my first paragraph; the future is looking bright!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Guess who's back? (Well sort of)

Hello! I'm still alive!

While the rest of the world works on reducing its carbon footprint I've working on reducing my 'cash' footprint. December's pay, paid for my ultimately expensive trip to France. January's pay covered Christmas (and there's a story behind that which come in a future post); and as I didn't work all of January (new job) I didn't get a full month's pay. And with February, March and April being my probation; I am/will be on on a wage equivalent to a semi-bad month in my old job. So not a lot of cash around for the first half of this year.

The other reason for me dropping off the radar is me, unashamedly, still struggling with the '5 day' run at work. Apart from a handful of times, I have always had a day off during the week. Only working 3 days then getting my day off and a lay-in, then working just 2 days before another rest day. Bliss! After *cough cough* years working that way, since school, I now have to adapt to doing 5 in a row! My body still feels like it needs its lay-in every Wednesday/Thursday, but instead I get up and go to work again for another 2/1 days. By the weekend I'm so overtired that the weekend is spent sleeping, and evenings, having dinner, then early night.

Its getting better though, no more headache or stars!

Tee Hee! In fact I've blown out Jason and John at badminton tonight because I was out till midnight last night, and today I was in bits.

However, the main reason I've blogged tonight is because the London Freewheel is back!; the free biking day where the roads of London are closed to all but bikes. Its on Sunday 21th September and you can sign up here. I know a lot of people missed out last year so sign up early.

Thanks Sarah for the heads up.

Until next time!