my soft spot

just a mom who plays hockey and knits

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Once again, the due date is NOT the due date.

A while ago (perhaps it was last year), we had a furious debate on moms as to whether due dates were written in stone. One gal, who apparently works in finance, said vociferously that due dates were just that, dates on which payment was due, end of sentence. I demurred, stating that I had many times been late on paying my PG&E bill in college, and that after a year, they sent me a note that I had "excellent credit" and was welcome to show that note to anyone wishing to know the state of my credit history.

Also, I have several times paid a credit card bill late (far less often now that I can not only pay thing online but also schedule payments automatically), and called and had the late charge as well as the interest reversed.

Finally, my mortgage is due on the 5th, but the automatic-scheduling program the bank itself uses constantly schedules the payment for the 7th, 8th, or even 9th of the month. As far as they're concerned, it's not late till after the 10th. The first time this happened, I called up in a panic, knowing that the late fee was $30 (or maybe it was even $50!). They assured me, things were fine and I was the apple of their eye.

Fast-forward to November 2005. I have a new system for not forgetting things from David Allen via my sister: a sort of open file/sorting thingy with tabs 1-31 in front, and months Jan-Dec in back. When something is due on a certain day, or I need to deal with it on that day (and need no prep days ahead of time), I put it in that slot. Then, according to the system, each day, I check the day's slot and deal with those items. You can see what's coming, can't you? So I dropped the reminder of my recent speeding ticket into November 19, knowing it was due to be paid by November 21. Looked at my file on November 23 and gasped. I quickly wrote out a check (dated November 20; Daddy didn't raise no dummies) and posted it, hoping for clemency.

Voila, a week later, I get my receipt and the info for traffic school. No late fee or nothin'.

I tell ya, the due date is most assuredly not (or not always) the due date.


At 2:46 PM, December 05, 2005, Blogger Andrea said...

i think the due date is when they'd like it, the grace period is when they'd really, *really* like it, but after that, they're not too happy that you've forgotten about them. kinda like a parent counting down from 10.

i'd use that file thing but i'd get lazy after a month, as if doing it for a month meant i was on top of things. i've given up and created monthly reminders in my calendar to tell me that i have to go give somebody some money.


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