Saturday, January 28, 2012

Money 101

Warning....the following post is going to sound a lot like a bitch session. Language can will be slightly foul.

So if you've read my last post, Lessons in Fiscal Responsibility, you will know where this is coming from. Without having to recap to much of that post, I am teaching trying to teach my daughter some financial responsibility. That said, apparently I should keep my day job because I am failing epically. Oh shit wait! I am a teacher by trade, so what does that tell me? 

Anywho, let's pick up where that post left off. Her January cell phone bill posts to my account. Now remember we are living overseas. Her cell plan isn't half of what we had in the states and it costs about the same as one of the higher end plans by Verizon. There is NO unlimited texting to all cell phones, only to those in your same carrier. There is NO unlimited calling except to those in your same carrier. There are also charges per call for calling land lines. Of course as with any cell plan, go over your allotments and get raped on charges. Truthfully it's a shitty plan, but it's what they have here and it's what she agreed to. Wait! Did I mention that you don't get a paper bill, going green bullshit, and I can't get them to update my email so that I can get the emailed bills? Also, in Germany when you sign for these contracts they automatically deduct the payment from your account. Yea... it's friggin' awsome! So back to the story... the bill posts my account. $262 DOLLARS. Yup big text and all. I too choked when I saw it. Her bill is usually around the $100 range. I was like WTF??? FUMING! So I try not to flip shit on her and simply asked her what the hell happened? She was wide eyed and flabbergasted at the amount. Not to mention that she knows how much she already owes me. We'll get to that later! So I ask her "what the hell are you doing with your cell phone that you are racking up charges in the amount of $262 dollars?" Of course.... as you expected, she has no idea. Actually she thinks it's my cell phone that racked up those charges. So I call the cell carrier and confirm that indeed it's hers. So what now?

Well I'm pissed! To add insult to injury she walked in the other with $30 yoga pants and a new shirt. WTF?!?! I asked her where she got them from... so-and-so bought them for me. Really???? REALLLY???!!! Oh my dear! I am ready to strangle her! So I took a more logical approach. I need to teach a lesson...lesson...lesson...lesson. I keep repeating it because it keeps me from smacking her upside her head, and at 16 that approach is not very effective. So I repeat...lesson...lesson...lesson.

The lesson in money management. That is the lesson. 

I go to my handy dandy Xcel and create an invoice. Oh did I fail to mention she has been friggin' going haywire with her iTunes purchases as well? Yup that too is accumulating. So I create a very official business-like invoice. I included Decembers cell bill, all the iTunes that she has purchased since the cell phone bill posted in late December and then added her January cell bill. Here is the lesson part. Wait for it...wait for it. Late charges!!! Hey if this were a real cell phone bill, they would have cut it off already. Since I can't do that and not have a boat load of penalties, this is the next best thing. 

I added a 2% interest charge to all of December charges which are now past due. Granted it was only three bucks but it's the point. If you are going to play with the adults then you play by the adult rules. 

I haven't sat down and explained the invoice to her, but I will. My husband, who is in other parts, agreed with this plan. Now let's see if we can get it to work. Maybe the fact that she owes $472 between two cell phone bills and iTunes is enough to jar her ass back to reality. Maybe she pick up more shifts at her work to pay it off. I may go down and still take the money from her account. Am I relieving her of the responsibility of paying her bill? She is still "out" the money, but if I get it myself then she didn't really pay it. I don't know. I am confused and talking in damned circles. I just need her to understand that financial responsibilities should not be taken lightly. Ever. 

It's frustrating as hell, and I hate being the bitch. However, I feel like if I don't do it now she may never understand what it is to live within your means. I love her to pieces and being the only girl she really is my princess. But I have to do right by her and this feels like tough love. Am I wrong? Am I doing the right thing? Comments and suggestions are always welcomed. 

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