This whole year, I’m supposed to be really trying to attain a simple lifestyle. Simple living. We’re given 2 checks a month totaling about $260. $89 of that a month goes to our MetroCard, and the rest is ours. That leaves me with just about $171 for food, personal spending, and so on. It’s been hard budgeting, but I’ve had a lot of help from my family, thank God.
I think that God decided to test me this week, though. I have mentioned to my community members and I have told myself several times in the last few months that it is hard for me to save money and hard for me to live off of so little. I like to impulsively shop and I’m not one to save my nickels and pennies. I have been living off of two checking accounts. One that I had my personal saved money in, and one that I’ve been depositing my stipend checks into. Well…both accounts have been fast dwindling, but the final straw came this week.
I knew that my personal checking account was very low on funds, but I got an email on Wednesday from my bank saying that my balance was $00.00 (yes they typed it out just like that). I immediately became queasy and sick. I started to feel anxious and helpless. But HOW?? I haven’t even used it in the last few days! How am I now out of money?? I panicked while at work and rushed to check my online statement. It was a large NEGATIVE number. I freaked out and started to closely examine my statement. I found almost immediately a few purchases upwards of $190 that were made. Albertsons, Ralphs, Target.
WHAT?? There aren’t even any Albertsons or Ralphs here. OH SHIT. I’ve been ROBBED. I have been compromised.
I clicked on the links to view the checks used to make these large purchases. A man’s name on the check. A Los Angeles address. His dirty, grimy, sneaky, cruel signature. I wanted to scream. He stole my identity.
The maddness commenced. I don’t even know how to describe it. I frantically called my bank and begged them to close my account. No luck. I receieved claim numbers and was told this would stop. And then an hour later I got an email from the bank saying that my balance was -$5,519.81. Yes. Negative FIVE THOUSAND. FIVE HUNDRED. NINETEEN. and 81 cents. WHAT THE FUCK?? I called the bank again and the woman says, Ah, yes, I see you’re currently making a purchase at Best Buy.
WHAT?? No I’m not. I’m in New York City, at work. Volunteering FULL TIME at a job where I make about $6 a day. WHAT THE HELL??
So bottom line: I’m being tested. I have less than $100 right now to live off of until I go home. I have a credit card bill that’s maybe 20x the money I actually have, and there’s not much I can do. Because I was working the rest of the week, I had no time to file a police report and no time to square out my credit rating. I feel my financial life crumbling and this CREEP getting away with a lot.
Sigh. It didn’t even help to tell this story. I’m more stressed, more angry, and more scared. This is a large test, God. I hope I pass.