(Hypo)Manic Money Management

I mentioned in my May update that I had been a bit up during the month. This was caused by a new medication that I was adjusting to. Sometimes antidepressants can cause mania or hypomania (less severe version of mania) in bipolar patients. This is what occurred with me. I ended up spending roughly a full month’s pay outside the norm. Lately, I’ve been figuring out how to manage it.

My first thoughts were panicked, where I thought using any points and cash back I had to pay my credit cards was the best option. I didn’t commit to that plan as I knew I needed more time to think on it.

My VentureOne credit card finally finished its introductory period, jumping from 0% interest to a whopping 22.49%. That’s pretty hefty. Last month I put concert tickets ($134) and a bridesmaid dress ($160) on it. Between that and my DiscoverIt card, I had a full month’s pay on credit cards. I also had late fees on my Chase auto loan from not paying my bill last month. I have no idea why I deactivated my autopay in April, but I did.

So, here’s what I did:

I called CapitalOne and asked them if I could lower my rate. They said no, but to call back in a month. They also said I could upgrade from miles to 1.5% cashback on all purchases. I was effectively getting 1.25% cashback with miles, so I took the upgrade as there was no change in APR and no annual fee. I also paid the concert tickets off as my father reimbursed me for cancelling two days before the event.

Next, I called Discover and asked them the same questions. They awarded me with a $1300 increase to a $3900 credit line and a 0% APR for a year. They allowed me to pick between having the 0% APR for a year that resets to my current APR of 16.49% or a decrease to 13.49%. I took the 0% for two reasons: (1) It gives me time for the insurance company to pay me back on my therapy while earning 1% cash back and (2) I can always ask for them to lower my rate after.

Lastly, I reactivated a couple autotransfers to take away some of my access to cash. I reinstated a $10/month autobuy for Target (TGT) in my Loyal3 account and also a $25 a month transfer to my Ally online savings. I did, however, lower my automated savings to my local savings account from $75 to $25 (but also activated my 401(k) at work that will take 6% a week out of my paycheck, an estimated ~$15).

Now some might say I should have called my car loan company, but I didn’t. I didn’t have the guts to. I was terrified of my failure. This is where anxiety and emotions become messy in finances. I cancelled the autopay, probably because of the job change and being uncertain of what my money situation would do, and allowed this mistake to happen, costing me $30 in late fees. I just couldn’t do it. I know the chances of them waiving it over the phone because of my good credit and history with them are high, but I couldn’t do it.

I did receive my Colorado tax refund, but it is currently acting as a buffer on my checking account. I have decided to limit the amount of activities I can do a week. For instance, last week I went to one lunch with a couple friends and didn’t go out to movies or spend money on extra food, etc. I am allowing myself one big event a week until I get this matter resolved.

After I see what these efforts have done, I will most likely use my refund to pay off more of my car or repay some savings that I used last month.

How would you handle this situation?

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