Welcome to Episode Five of: Chris McGinty – Enemy of Debt
For an explanation of this feature, and disclaimers that talk about how I’m not a professional money anything, go to Episode One. If you are caught up to speed though, we’ll begin discussing my friend who called me in financial desperation on July 10, 2011. Out of some, perhaps slight respect for his privacy, I’m not using his real name. I am instead referring to him as Genghis County, Jr.
On Wednesday, July 20, 2011, I got off work at 5 am. I went home. I showered, ate breakfast, and left to meet Genghis at his work. We pulled out all of the cash that was in his account from his direct deposit, I will be checking his bank transactions next time we go to do stuff to make sure that was really all of it, and we got a money order for the late fees for the apartment and a money order for the fingerprints he had to do for the guard job. I then took everything he had left to pay me back. I owed him $1.32 at that point. He still had $9 and there was technically almost $3 on his bank account.
We went to the gas station, and I used my money to put gas in my tank. I took the $9 he had, plus the $1.32 I owed him, and I added $30 to it, and put it in his tank. While we were there, he got into a debate with me about how many packs of cigarettes I was allowing him to have. I should give him more. I told him that I would give him all of them, but he had two weeks before he would get anymore, and since he’s proved that he can’t budget anything, he would be out before his next big check, which is all going to his rent anyway. He asked if he could buy some odd almost cigarettes that are only a dollar something a pack, because they would help him space out the number of real cigarettes he smoked. I told him one pack, but that was it. If he burned through them he was out of luck.
We went to his apartment, and then I drove him over to do the fingerprints. We had some time between that and the time that payday loan places open, so we went to the grocery store, and we stocked up on staple foods, and cheap but relatively nutritious stuff. He’s been doing pretty well with controlling his food stamp spending, but I wanted to make sure that even that money was spent wisely.
We paid the apartments, and then went to the first payday loan place that was due, and the cheapest one to bring current. The problem was that we needed one or the other to give him more time, because I didn’t want to loan him back as much as he just paid me back. The first place wasn’t going to help him, so I asked about what would happen if we didn’t pay it. She said that the loan would default and he would have a month to pay it before it would go into collections. I asked if it would be fraudulent checks…
I should take this time to explain about the time that he went to jail for fraudulent checks. This was the reason I was helping him out before. Now don’t get the mental image of him running around with his checkbook, maliciously spending, laughing to himself thinking that he’d never have to pay it. It wasn’t like that. In a really strange way, when I explain it, you might even feel a little bit of sympathy for him. Don’t. Remember that his financial problems come largely from buying beer and cigarettes before taking care of the things he’s responsible for.
He didn’t have enough money to buy his kids Christmas presents one year, so he got a payday loan. It defaulted, he didn’t have the money to pay it, they lost their apartment, and they moved out of state. Then they came back to Texas, but he had never called to take care of the matter, fearing he would go to jail. He got pulled over one night, and was arrested. I had to bail him out, and it was under the conditions that I help him with his bills for a while. This was late in the year, and he did listen to me up until the point that it was time to buy Christmas, and then he said he could handle it from there. Clearly, he couldn’t. I would have thought that he would have never, ever done a payday loan again after that, but like I said, he learned nothing.
… so the woman at the payday loan place explained to me that as long as he didn’t stop payment on the checks or close down the account that he wouldn’t be charged with check fraud. I told her we might be back depending on what the other payday loan place said, and we left.
This is when Genghis started hitting the panic button, and reacting emotionally to money problems. We have to pay it. I’ll go to jail. We have to pay it. I explained that he wouldn’t go to jail. I can’t have fees for overdraft. And that I agreed with, but if we paid that one, we couldn’t pay the other. But we have $160. We can afford to pay them both. Then I explained that we didn’t have $160 because he needed gas to get to work, so I put his money in his gas tank, and $30 from my money. I then pointed out that if we had used the $38 from the carton of cigarettes for gas for the van that we would have enough for both payday loans, and that’s why he needed to quit reacting emotionally to everything, and think.
I told him we would see if the other place would give us more time. If they would, we would have the money for the payday loan place we just left. He started to explain to me how they were not going to work with us at all, because they already worked with him once, and that we should just go pay the one we just left, because we had to pay them both anyway.
I want to explain something before we wrap up for the week. I had enough in my bank account to pay the smaller loan, and I had enough in my pocket from what he temporarily paid me back to pay the bigger loan. The thing is that what I don’t have in my bank account is enough to throw my money indiscriminately at his problems, and if I had, he would be in even more danger than he even still is of losing something or defaulting on something. The $400 we got from the loan I discussed in Episode Three was a necessary evil. We’ll discuss this more next episode.