Sunday, March 29, 2009

Beggin and Pleadin 101 - Part 1

When you say you have no money people assume you mean "I have no money until payday" or "I have no money until my pension check or disability check comes." But for many of you and for almost two years me also, it means I HAVE NO MONEY. No cash of any kind and no cash coming. For me, I hit rock bottom when I had to borrow money from my neighbor for bread and milk. My checking account was so overdrawn I was afraid I'd be arrested if I tried to take anymore invisible money out. All I could do was watch the calendar like a dog watching a cat. Remember when you were a little kid and you thought if you went to bed and fell asleep Christmas would come sooner? I even tried that to make my cash day come faster. Having no cash in a so-called cashless society will truly make you stagger on the right side of insane. We'd maxed out every credit card. Blown through every line of credit and even done the "check under the couch cushions" number. I went from ignoring pennies to picking pennies up from the sidewalk. Until I had no cash I didn't realize that the co-pay for my monthly medication exceeded $200 a month. Fortunately, I only ran out two days before the cash arrived.

What all this has to do with beggin and pleading is that when you find yourself in a situation similar to mine there will still be bills to pay. The way you reach out to an speak with your creditors will make all the difference in agreements that are reached. It is possible to speak to the electric company or telephone company representatives without groveling or losing your soul while at the same time giving the person on the other end of the phone their due. It took many tries for me to get this right and understand its importance. You will have to accept that you need their help. You need them. They don't need you. The best advice I received was from a young woman trying to help me work out utility payments. She said "We don't have the authority to change due dates and deadlines. Always ask for a supervisor. They'r the only ones that can really help you." In Part 2 of this blog I'll tell you exactly what words to use during those conversations.