Right, so anybody who’s been keeping an eye on the news (and if you don’t, you should from time to time so you don’t look stupid for being the last one to hear about something), you’ve probably noticed the desperate attempts of some banks (like Bank of America and Wells-Fargo) to regain lost revenue because of the new federal cap on the charge that stores owe to banks when they accept their credit cards as payment (hence why Discover is everywhere, because it’s the cheapest for stores to accept it, while American Express has to pay the bank more to accept it from customers, hence the rarity of finding a store that will actually accept American Express), among other factors.
In case you have been inhabiting the underworld of a rock, this is the desperate attempt those banks are making: it’s putting a fee on the use of your debit card. That’s right, your debit card.
Yes, the banks have been REALLY whiny lately, but the real nice thing is that recently (and this has been buzzing around everywhere, from Twitter to YouTube) is that after a bunch of people came to a CitiBank in protest (yeah, they did it too) of this new debit card fee, by arriving as a group to close their accounts, Citi freaked out and called for a bank run (which was one of the major problems of the Great Depression back in the 30s–that’s right, the Great Depression), and meanwhile, all of those people who had come to close their accounts got “a little rowdy and angry” (duh!) and were arrested for “illegally” trying to close their accounts (another Depression aspect).
So, let’s not pretend that we’re on our way back to the land of milk and honey and just assume the worst: this will not be the last bank run, which could mean a Second Great Depression.
Great news for that college student or graduate struggling to make ends meet while burning the candle (sometimes literally to save on electricity) at both ends to punch out that debut novel, or get that awesome short story published in a lit mag, or poem, or what have you.
And by great, in this context, I mean terrible.
Things were bad enough, and now we’re finding that we might be headed into another Depression.
Isn’t that just…depressing?
Don’t lose hope for. That’s what escape into your stories is for. And for God’s sake don’t panic! (yet)
Let’s just see where this goes. But I wanted to bring this up, because it’s the worse place to be for a college student who has hopes and dreams of hitting it big, not just in writing, but in any walk of life, even something as stable as accounting (well, actually, they might be okay). I am just flagging this issue because everybody’s thinking about it (and if they aren’t, I envy you’re ability to shut this kind of crap out of your consciousness indefinitely).
Cheer up! If we do end up in another Depression, brace yourselves for it with a grin. Be smart about your money, but at the same time, when you have the money, don’t cling to it! I’m not saying either SAVE, SAVE, SAVE, or SPEND, SPEND, SPEND: I’m saying everything in moderation. I myself am guilty of splurging, and even I have trouble keeping to my budget, but when I do, I can ease those heart-palpitations by knowing that I have managed to save a lot of money and kept myself from going completely going over the edge, even if I do have spending wishlists a mile or two long and their not all that cheap either.
For example, if you watch Southpark, you may remember the “Margaritaville” episode, and you will see that the economy does thrive on putting money into it, otherwise it’s not much of an economy, is it? But what do I know, I’m just getting the hang of this whole adult thing, and needless to say, I’m still stumbling along.
That’s the other thing too. If you do find yourself in a moment of weakness and you order out for pizza rather than eat something cheaply from your fridge that you bought at the grocery store, keep that job of yours in mind (and if you don’t have one, there’s no shame in selling yourself to the fast food industry–I did, and I probably wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t done), but keep that job of yours in mind, and know that you can always make more money, save it, and buy more treats for yourself with what you save (as long as you leave some for rent, electricity, food, etc.). Diligence is key. But you have to work at it, including myself.
And you know what? Whatever the Buddha said (and he was a great guy) it is totally sweet to get yourself something nice now and then. A new hat, a purchase off of Pyramid Collection, you name it.
As for this whole business with the bank, there are ways for you to fight back (and without getting arrested I might add). If you have to close your account fine, but as long as you protect your $$$, (if you feel that you’re in danger that is), that’s half the battle.
Here are a couple of links concerning the issue:
Any more tips, news stories, etc. feel free to post a link to them in a comment below. 😛