Don’t Take Delight In Others Misery

I used to subscribe to the news feed for Business Insider.  I always felt that they had a good staff of writers from multiple sources that gave a good feed for the economy, business, and money related issues.  I referenced them here on Money Beagle more than a few times.

But, I recently unsubscribed and will no longer be reading, because of a pattern that I felt was too common and too disturbing:

Too many of their writers are taking glee in the recent rash of economic news, most notably the European debt crisis, the stock market downturn, and the potential for a second recession.

These are all very real problems, and I’m not suggesting for a second that they should be reporting false information or even suppressing information.  That would be disingenuous.

Where I have a problem is when their authors consistently include things along the lines of:
“Markets down 200. SELL SELL SELL.”
“Technical support broken, time to PANIC.”

The bottom line is that the vast majority of Americans are losing market in this stock market.  Many of us have done the right thing and have opened IRA accounts, 401(k) accounts, or other accounts to save for the future.  Watching those balances go down day in and day out is bad enough, but it’s a kick in the face for writers to take glee in this.

The Internet has opened the door for many more voices to be heard.  In the case of Business Insider, that’s proving that it may not always be such a good thing.

So, for those of you who write in a public manner, I implore you, even if you’re right about something, please don’t rub it in.  There’s no call for taking delight in someone’s misery.

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

What Bills Do You Auto-Pay?

We use auto-pay for a majority of our bills.   Here’s a run-down of bills we have on auto-pay:

  •  Mortgage – We can adjust this a few days before the payment comes out if we have any extra income to apply.  Easy!
  • Student Loans – This comes out on the 20th of every month.  If we have any extra payments, I send those through Internet Bill Pay (our bank sends them a check) as their system is not as easy to modify the payment.
  • Credit Cards – We don’t send paper checks.  We just go in every month and set the amount (our full balance) that we want to pay off.
  • Insurance – Our car payment comes out monthly.  The annual payments we still send in though I may change that as I almost forgot to send in our homeowners policy payment this year.  Yikes!
  • Cable – I love our cable company and have never had any issues here
  • Electric & Gas – Both of these come out automatically. We get the electronic statements three weeks or so before the payments come out, so we always have plenty of time to make sure everything is right.
  • Garbage – Our garbage pickup is paid quarterly and comes out automatically.
  • Church donations – Instead of throwing money (or a check) in the basket, we have a weekly donation taken out that we can manage anytime!
  • Cell phone – Our cell phone bill gets charged to our credit card.  This is because we used to get extra cash back for cell phone bills.  Even though the credit card doesn’t give an extra bonus, I’ve never bothered to change it, but no big deal since we pay it every month.  Same as with the gas & electric bill, we get the statement weeks before the payment is due, so I’m always able to resolve any issues before payment takes place.
  • Newspaper – This is charged to our credit card every six months.  I do want to change this as, for some reason, this one catches me by surprise every time.  Probably because they don’t bother sending out the statement until a week or two after the credit card actually gets charged.  Lousy customer service is another reason that newspapers are dying, FYI.  Still, this ends up paying for itself in the coupons we clip.

Payments we don’t auto-pay:

  • Car payment – Only because we don’t have one 🙂
  • Water bill – We set this up as an Internet Bill Pay item as our city hasn’t gotten on board with being able to pay this online easily.
  • Property taxes – I prefer to drop these off a few days before they’re due so that I can make sure our account gets credited in time.

What bills do you auto-pay?  Are there any that you refuse to use auto-pay for even if the capability is there, and if so, what are your reasons?

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

I’d Rather Be Safe Than Sorry

Last month was the four year anniversary of having closed and moved into our home.  It’s been great.

With that came the annual responsibility of paying our homeowners insurance premium (we don’t escrow).  We do our car and home insurance through Allstate, as having both with the same company saves us money on both policies.

I’ve gotten into a pretty good system where I have this payment set through my online access.  It deducts from my bank account and we’re good for another twelve months.

Not this year.

I went in a couple of days before the date of which the payment was due.  Having worked with this before with no problems, I figured I’ll keep my money as long as possible.  Logically, I know it’s only a couple of pennies in interest that we’re talking about, but still.

Except it wouldn’t let me in.

I had the username and password correct.  I keep this in a master list of access codes and the site even confirmed that I was entering it correctly, but it wouldn’t let me in due to some ‘Account Upgrades’ that were taking place in the back end.

Concerned, I called my agent’s office.  The nice lady on the phone (who I’ve dealt with many a time) assured me that I have until 10 days after the policy is due to pay it without penalty and that the account access would be restored by then.

What do you think I did?  Do you think I said ‘OK’ and hung up, taking my chances that I could pay past the due date.


I cheerfully asked ‘Well, can you just process the payment for me?’

‘Sure’.  So I paid over the phone (oh, and with my 1% Citi card so I’ll get 1% of my policy amount back, woo hoo).  Ahead of time.

I guess I could trust the insurance company.  They’ve never given me reason not to.  They’ve always handled every claim I’ve processed quickly and without error.  They’ve always worked with me when I had any concerns on pricing.  They always handled everything on the up and up.  They’ve given me every reason to trust them.  I could have.

But I didn’t 🙂

Better safe than sorry, I say, and I certainly slept better that night having exercised those words of wisdom!

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

Liking Something When I Don’t Really Like It

Like so many others, I’m a pretty active Facebook user.  I don’t go crazy with it, posting status updates once or twice a week, but one thing I do use it for is to communicate with companies about their products or services.

It’s well known that companies are becoming more actively involved with social media to engage with their customers.  As such, sites like Facebook and Twitter are areas where companies are nowadays expected to interact with users.

More often than not, I find myself hitting the ‘Like’ button for a company when I’m really not liking them at all.  Don’t get me wrong, I do ‘Like’ a lot of things that I really do like, but there are times when I ‘Like’ something so that I can get help about something or let the company know that I’m having a problem with something that they’ve provided.

Does it work?


So-so….I was having problems with a steam mop that I had purchased that was still under warranty.  The company wasn’t providing the service center with my parts, so I wrote on their wall.  They wrote back but with a very generic response.

But, sometimes it does work and voices are heard.  Our cable company is moving toward an all digital service, and were in the process of transitioning, but this required some pretty drastic changes to the equipment in our house.  I (as well as many others) engaged with their customer service, and in the end they relented and made the transition much less intrusive.

If a company does it right, then when someone ‘Likes’ them because they really don’t like them, hopefully the customer will ‘Like’ them in the end.  Taking a negative experience and turning it into a positive experience should be the overall goal of interacting with a displeased customer on a social networking site.

I do think that there has to be reasonable limits.  Our grocery store has gas stations at many locations, and they often get blasted for the rising price at the pump.  Wisely, they pretty much ignore these type of complaints, but they do respond regularly to complaints about customer service, out of stock items, or other items that can be addressed within reason.

I hope more companies jump on this bandwagon.  In the end, social networking may bring customers back to more personal experiences with those that they do business with.

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.