Murphy Strikes Again, Twice

You know Murphy, the guy that comes around and throws a giant wrench in your plans (also the author of [tag]Murphy’s Law[/tag]).  Lately, he’s been hanging out around our place and he has definitely overstayed his visit.  Last night my wife went to the refrigerator to start preparations for dinner and noticed that the food did not feel cold.  A couple months ago our fridge stopped working and we had to wait four days for a Sears repairman to visit, living out of a cooler during that time.  At some point during those four days the thing started working again, so naturally the repair man shows up and says everything is working fine.  The complex diagnosis cost us $60 in a non-refundable “service fee.”  We did get a few tips of things to try should it happen again, which we employed last night to no avail.

So, about 10:00 last night we embarked on a refrigerator cleanup throwing out most non-essentials and older leftovers.  I ran to the store to grab a few bags of ice and we transferred condiments, drinks and a few packaged foods over to a cooler.  Now we’ll wait it out for another visit from a repair man.  We aren’t paying another $60 fee, either.

Just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse I awaken this morning to discover a [tag]credit card[/tag] payment posted a day early, and resulted in five non-sufficient funds charges to my [tag]checking account[/tag].  Yes, five – for a total of $175!  I almost fell out of the chair.  I plan to visit my bank during lunch, hat in hand, and beg for mercy. I feel I owe at least one for my calendar error, but FIVE?

Both of these incidents remind me of the importance of a solid [tag]emergency fund[/tag].  The refrigerator dying and my banking screw-up have the potential to be a real budget-buster this month.  Assuming I have to pay for both Murphy attacks I can always move some money over from my emergency fund, and then replenish it when things return to normal.  I have to admit these two items have knocked the wind out of me, but without that padding I would be a lot more upset.

Buy appliance parts online and save.


  1. Oh, how I hate Murphy. Murphy struck me too. My college decided to wait to cash my tuition check, a month after I wrote it. I thought I had budgeted for it, but apparently I didn’t. Luckily the check didn’t bounce, nor did my rent check for that matter, but I had about 6 overdraft items after that, plus $35 overdraft fees per item, for a total of $225 overdraft. Yuck.

  2. Oh I remember the pain years ago, from bounced check charges. But these days, most checking accounts offer “overdraft protection.” You just have to sign up for it, or request it, by making a phone call to your bank. If this situation were to happen to me, then the funds would come out of my savings account, and there would be no bank fees. It is definitely something I would recommend you inquiring about. I would be very surprised if your checking account didn’t provide this service. When you go to your bank in person, you could ask them about you getting on their overdraft protection program.

  3. Thanks for the advice, Sandy. Unfortunately, even overdraft protection has associated fees at my bank. Apparently, they pull from savings in $100 increments and charge you $10 for each pull. Unbelievable. Then they had the audacity to tell me that they would credit one of the fees if I signed up for a credit card. I told them I wasn’t trading one fee for another, and I didn’t do credit cards. Needless to say, I’m shopping a new bank tomorrow!

  4. I do have overdraft protection on mine, but it too works in $100 increments (or if I have less than $100 in savings, it takes it all). And I only had about $30 from that savings account (its my Keep The Change account, really), but it doesn’t cost anything to use. The $30 didn’t really help.

  5. Ouch! I feel your pain. Been there with the insane overdraft fees many times.

    I first solved that problem by tricking myself- I use Quicken to balance my checking account so I went back to the opening balance and subtracted $200. That helped me to always have a bit of a cushion in the account. That worked until I could get further ahead financially and now I always carry over about $1,000 in my account going into each month so I know I can safely pay bills as scheduled regardless of the posting/scheduling dates. I know it you can’t magically throw an extra $1,000 in your account, but it is something to work toward.

  6. Those overdraft fee get me too sometimes. I know in 2007 I have had over $250 in overdraft fees. It always feels like a kick in the chest. I hate it when it happens because I made a stupid calender mistake. This year I am trying really hard not to get any. Wish me luck!