It has been a while since my last post. I’ve been busy contemplating several life changes, among which is marriage. The frugal guy I’ve been seeing proposed and I said yes. But, more on that later. 🙂
• The smallest things count
After tracking my expenses for over a year I’ve learned that the smallest things I spend on accumulate. Suddenly, I learn that I exceeded my average expenses for one month and they don’t comprise major purchases. They’re composed of small buys such as a coffee or bottled water, here or there. It was annoying because I’ve been good the past few months and haven’t gone shopping at all, except for needs such as groceries and toiletries.
• Globe phone line has been charging me several pesos a month
Let me preface this by saying that when I state that I “exceeded my average monthly expenses,” this presupposes that I’ve already set aside the 30% savings and investment part of the budget. I physically set aside the money by placing it in the bank and stock account. Thus, my excess discretionary spending came from other items of my budget.
Upon learning that I exceeded my average monthly expenses, I started looking closely at my bills and statements (I never really do that before). I found out that my Globe postpaid line has been erroneously charged for several things such as: international message maintenance fees (But I didn’t text an international number) and data charges (even if I didn’t exceed my data allocation). I promptly reported this to Globe, which promptly corrected the erroneous charges.
Unfortunately, the erroneous charges appeared for the next two months. So Globe made me waste 4 plus hours in calling their customer service. Now, this made me really wonder uncomfortably whether Globe made other erronous charges for the other months that I didn’t review their bill statements. I had no way to verify for myself whether the data and text messaging charges were erroneous.* I didn’t dwell on this though. That is already sunk cost.
• BPI bank has been charging me PhP 300.00 every month
I accumulated some zero-maintaining balance payroll ATM accounts with BPI bank over the years. Despite leaving those companies, I maintained one account because of the zero maintaining balance (this was useful to me as a law student with limited income who couldn’t maintain the PhP 3,000.00 maintaining balance). I’ve kept his one ATM since 2007.
In 2015, I started to notice that my bpi atm balance didn’t correspond (There was PhP 300.00 missing from the account) with the balance recorded on my budgeting app on my phone. I checked my deposit slip and the amount recorded on my phone should be accurate. I got a printout of my bank statement from the nearest bpi branch (I had a distrust for online banking, found it too risky). Lo and behold, bpi had charged my account PhP 300.00 MONTHLY (Since 2008) as maintainance fee for failure to comply with the PhP 3,000.00 maintaining balance.**
No one from bpi has ever informed me (via phone/through bank teller) that a payroll account loses its zero-maintaining balance status once you leave the company though. I don’t remember signing a contract with bpi that states that they can charge my account for maintenance charges at any time, without prior notice to me, the account holder.
Admittedly, I should’ve asked for my bank statements (monthly!) from bpi and globe and diligently checked them every month to check for any undue charges. Hey, I’m still just a twenty something kid at heart. Haha.
So, I lost money there. The little things that just added up. I made a lot of money in stocks while in law school. Apparently, I was so busy making money that I didn’t realize that the bank had taken such hard-earned money. People put money in banks for safe-keeping. Oh, the irony.
We put so much undue faith in the big institutions such as banks and big telecommunications companies without knowing that they are most likely to erroneously take your money with impunity. So please, let us diligently check our monthly statements (whether it be your stock or bank account, utility bills and the like).
*I found out I was being charged erroneously when I checked the running monthly unbilled statements and was surprised to learn the erroneous PhP 400+ charges EVERY MONTH. This would definitely add up, if left unnoticed.
20 something lawyer
**I estimate that BPI has taken from my account since 2008 the total amount of PhP 25,200.00, more or less (maybe more). That’s (300*12 months)*7 years. The bank tellers can only provide bank statements of up to 6 months back. Thus, I have no way to verify the exact amount taken. I miss the old days when banks were required to give/mail hard copies of monthly bank statements.