Day 8: The financial spring cleaning begins…

So last night …and regularly now from now on…Friday night is budget night in our house. Fun times…who needs date night, friends, a social night or even Friday night in front of the TV – naaa – lets get the receipts out and a calculator! Strangely though I’m warming to the idea… must be starting to work, my changing character 🙂
I spent my budget time session looking online at previous bank statements to work out just how rich I would be if managing to claim back all the charges I’ve ever had… I got back to January 06 on just 1 account and I’m already up to £555. Discusting. Calming down slightly on the issue, and after a private facebook message from a friend who works for HSBC who was probably a little defensive when my status update turned into a bit of a mini protest of angry bank customers – anyway he’s offered to look into it for me and reccomend what I should do, I feel like I should probably give this reclaiming thing a go. I may fairly easily be able to stop this £75 from being taken, but would be worth it to try to get as much as I can even though I was not all that inspired when reading the Martin Lewis advice regarding the sucess rate… but I won’t be deterred and basically I now admit my bank accounts are a TOTAL MESS.
So lets go back to the start of my relationship with a bank… It was the 1980’s and my first ‘save up’ was all my pocket money…20p every week and a few tooth fairy payments to get me up to the £7 I needed to buy the first Kylie Minogue LP. I saved it probably a good 6 months before it was actually released but spent every Saturday going into town and goin into WH Smiths, of all places, to ask if it was in yet. Not too long after my parents took me to open an account. It must have been one they signed for or something but I think I’d probably been given a tenner for my birthday or something. I remember going to the Abbey National in Sheffield city centre, where All Bar One is now. Whilst I was opening the accout I was thinking all the time of what I really wanted… I was saving for a tape player. I knew the one, a yellow and grey phillips dual tape deck with RECORD! and I saved and saved until I had enough- withdrew the lot with glee and can’t remember feeling precious about my account since. I never understood my brother, who just saved and saved and never bought anything. Today I have retained my spendingness but am not even so good as to be disciplined to wait and save up. 😦
That account, however, in some shape or form is still open… I went in to the branch, with my 10 year olds signature account book, to try to close the account 5 years ago but left having opened a 2nd account with them and transformed them both into an ‘e account’. Having not really got the internet at home at the time and having a few problems with the passwords and access, I did the sensible thing of ignoring the problem and hoping it would all go away. So 5 years later I have moved twice and not told them my change of address and have no idea how to access my ‘savings’. Worst case scenario is that the person who moved into my old house after me has stolen my identity and got me into shed loads of debt… since I know they stole our clubcard points I can’t rule it out :s (I also keep secretly hoping that I go in and they say… ok here’s 10,000 which has built up in interest… but I think there was less than a tenner in there so I’m trying to reign in my imagination on that one)
So I have 2 accounts with Abbey, 3 accounts with HSBC, 2 credit cards and now our new account with Allience and Leceister. A little too much going on there perhaps? There are legitimate reasons for each and everyone of them… such as 1 account exists purely because child benefit gets paid into that one and I don’t know who to ring to change the payments… or there’s a maxed out overdraft on that one… All these accounts are dangerous as you never know how much you actually have and the risk of getting overdrawn becasuse the little bits you have are so spread out is huge! Hmmm feel I should do something proactive! So – today is the start of something new – I’m going to go to Abbey and deal with AND CLOSE DOWN my 2 accounts with them!

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