Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Regular update

I have been very busy lately, but here's a drive-by update!

Lunch challenge status: Safe! I was off work on Monday but ate at home. Packed in leftovers Tuesday and today, and will continue to do that the rest of the week (regularly scheduled lunch ladies has been rescheduled). I'm bringing in snacks from home too, thanks to my successful Costco trip (which I still need to write about, I think). For the most part, so far so good.

In other news, I signed up for NetworthIQ today and will figure out how to include that in my sidebar. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but it'll do. Sadly, it will be going down the rest of the year as I take out more student loans, so I'm glad I didn't set a goal to make it equal my age or anything like that.

In the process of inputting my information, I checked my credit card online just to see if my cell phone bill had posted there yet (in which case I would have a debt to include) and discovered a mysterious charge for $32.500 from Blockbuster. I had no idea what this was for. I used to be a member of their online program, until the third time they raised the price and lowered the number of movies I could have per month, but that was in 2007. And this charge is several times what I was paying monthly (but not exactly several times, so it's not like they bundled a few months and charged them all at once). I returned no movies late, and in fact checked out a movie only a few days ago and had no notice of any overdue fees. So I disputed it through my credit card company, and then called Blockbuster (which I probably should have done first, but they didn't list a phone number on the statement, so I went through the online dispute process). Sure enough, their records showed I had not returned two movies at all. I HAD returned those movies, and even knew the date I had returned them. The girl checked, found both of them on the shelves, and reversed the charges immediately.

This brings up two points:
1. STAY ON TOP OF YOUR LIFE! I typically check my credit card online at least once a week, even if I'm not expecting anything to show up. I find they work with me much faster if I dispute something immediately than if I wait for the entire billing period. Likewise, I check my online bank accounts every few days and note any strange charges (this is how I discovered that my debit card number had been stolen last summer, avoiding thousands of dollars in fraudulent charges).
2. Blockbuster is vicious. If those movies HADN'T been returned, they wouldn't even be two weeks late. I rented them while my sister was visiting, and neither were brand-new releases. I rented movies in the interim from Blockbuster, who never gave me any clue that their system showed me as being a deadbeat. I'll be checking with a manager the next time I'm in to find out exactly what their policy is on this (I used to get voicemails reminding me a day before a movie was due, too. Wonder what happened to that?), and to let them know that their staff is not handling returns dropped in the box correctly. AND I'll only be returning movies at the counter from now on.

And speaking of student loans (which I did, a few paragraphs up) I finally got in touch with the financial aid office and found out what's up. Just like they didn't send out an email announcing that registration was open, they didn't send out an email that I need to do x, y, and z to try to get loans for the summer classes. There are forms on the website I have to fill out, but it's so many clicks in, I couldn't find the form while I was on the phone with the office. Thank goodness I'm a little anal about stuff like this, or I'd be in a world of hurt. Right now, I'm waiting for approval for the loan amount I need, which I expect will be no problem.

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