I got a notice in the mail from Chase saying my minimums were going to go up to 5% of my balance instead of 2% or whatever they'd been - I did some quick math and lo and behold I can't frigging afford that. So I called them up and said, I can't afford this. A very nice Indian lady went through my budget with me, how much I spend on this and that, and how much I pay to other companies, and set me up on a fixed payment plan where I pay a little less than my current minimum for the next five years to pay it off. Not bad. The interest rate even got lowered to 6% - a win on one card, where much of the balance was from a balance transfer that had expired, and had been at 9.9% and then raised to 14.9%, and a slight loss on the other card, which had all fixed rate balance transfers at 4.9%. But altogether a good deal. And once I have more money I can certainly pay more and get it paid off sooner.
Flush with this victory, I decided to call Bank of America, who'd also raised my interest rates and slashed my credit line (though, among my creditors, who hasn't?) and told them that the interest rate increase was too high and I couldn't afford it. Apparently at some point they'd included in the very fine print, in the online statement they encouraged me to sign up for, that the rate was going to increase on x date and if I didn't want it to increase I'd have to call them and tell them so. The deadline for doing this? The day before I called. So the somewhat-less-nice-than-at-Chase Indian lady went through the same budget thing with me, except that they determined that I make too much money so good luck with paying the higher minimums ha ha ha. Screw them.
In my perpetual habit of finding the upside to things (even when I really just want to be angry about it and leave it at that) I guess it's good that I didn't reject the interest rate increase at Bank of America because if you do, they close your account and you just get to pay off what's left at whatever the rate used to be. Given that the deal with Chase also closed my cards there, once I paid off all of this, I'd have little credit left (I also have Discover and Amex cards but they are much smaller credit lines.)
But still, not fun. Things are pretty tight as Boyfriend is still not working. There have been some leads but nothing solid yet.
My ridiculous amounts of mystery shopping are finally starting to pay off - yesterday felt like one big money party because I got a $100 check for the open house jobs, 2 $50 Visa gift cards (in lieu of checks, I guess) for our rebates on the phones we recently bought at T-Mobile, notification that another $100 would be deposited next week from a set of mystery shopping jobs I did a few weeks ago, and two other jobs paid by PayPal. Plus, I sold a text link ad and completed a bunch of shops this week and will get paid for older ones at the end of the month. I feel like I am maybe catching up a little bit. Of course, we have plenty of uses for that money - reserving a hotel room for a friend's wedding in September, buying dog clippers and a Peticure for the dog, fixing the oven which fails to complete the essential purpose of an oven (which is heating up), fixing my car which is getting progressively louder, buying more storage shelves for the basement to get our crap off the floor, finding out what that smell is in the kitchen, etc etc freaking etc. But mostly I just want to put it in savings as it makes me nervous to not have any.
Between my job, Boyfriend's unemployment, and the mystery shopping, we certainly aren't going to not eat - but I'd like to be a little less flying by the seat of my pants, financially. If we have any large catastrophes, such as my car breaking down completely or having a major house repair, we're going to have to pull money out of my Roth IRA, which is obviously less than ideal. Boyfriend's glasses just broke, so he's currently wearing contacts full time, but that's not a great solution since he's going to run out of contacts eventually. Hopefully when he gets a job it has vision insurance...