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How I Recently Made $37.35 an Hour…and it was EASY!!!

April 24, 2011

I’d say I’m pretty nice, most of the time. That’s probably because I have a low tolerance for confrontation. Of course, like most people, my “confrontation-tolerance” is a little higher when I’m on the phone. I guess the absence of eye-contact helps me be a little more of a jerk than I should be. Once a phone survey person called our home on a Sunday night and I just gave them the what-for. I felt pretty proud of myself until my wife scolded me (nicely). It was then that I remembered that I had been a phone survey person myself just fifteen years ago. I’m lame.


A week ago or so, I noticed this charge on my account’s “transaction” screen:

What?! “Interest Charged Standard”? I can’t think of any account that charges us a “standard” interest charge, or I would have canned them a long time ago. I did a little searching and ¬†found the following on one of our two credit cards’ sites:

We had been charged $2.49 for not paying our balance in full by the due date. I can’t think of the last time that we didn’t pay our account in full. It has seriously been over a decade. Then I remembered…a few weeks ago we realized that our payment for this particular card was due, but we hadn’t realized it until the due date. We only use this card once every couple of months, so we’re not overly aware of when we have to pay it off. I made an online payment on the due date, and then called the credit card company to let them know that the payment was completed online and to give us a break. They told us that there would be no fee and we didn’t need to worry…so I didn’t.

Until I saw the charge on Mint.

Once I figured out that we were being charged for making an online payment on the due date, I grabbed my card and began to formulate my plan for how I was going to yell at the first non-computer person that answered the phone. I’ve had this card for fourteen years. Never a late payment. Always paid in full. They owe me!

All geared up, I made the call. Once I had a real person on the line, I explained my story and asked them to undo the $2.49 charge. Ready for a verbal battle, I was a little surprised to hear the lady apologize and fix the problem. I was a little let down. I was really going to give it to her!

After I hung up, I checked my phone. The call had lasted just under four minutes. I made $2.49 in four minutes. $2.49 x 15 = $37.35. I just made nearly $40 an hour! Pretty sweet. Very quickly, the interest charge was refunded and showed up on Mint:

Here’s the lesson: No one is watching out for your money other than you. Your bank isn’t. Your credit card company isn’t. The government isn’t. Your neighbor isn’t. Even your friends aren’t. You are in charge of that. When you see a problem, mistake, rip-off, etc., go to work to fix it. It may not take you as long as you think, and you may be able to get away with being nice about it. But if not…

Here’s the other lesson: Using some kind of financial tracking tool makes it a lot easier to see when weird things happen in any of your accounts. If anything suspicious or odd happens in any account that I use, I instantly notice it on Mint. The sooner you notice a problem, the easier it is to remedy the situation.

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