"Chimore, you need to be practical with your money. Because if you don't you will have problems for years," my mom explained to me.
"Yeah, I know already," I replied, trying not to hear a lecture from her.
"For example, you shouldn't have bought that Mickey Mouse checkbook, you should've got plain checks for free."
"Mom, it's my money and I can do what I want with it. If I get a negative balance or waste my money on nonsense, let it affect me," I sassed at her.
I didn't want my mother to say anything else on the matter, so I changed the subject. I wanted to be independent and I wanted her to know that I wasn't a little girl anymore; I could handle my business on my own. The truth was I didn't actually know how to handle my business, but I didn't realize that until it was too late.
Since I hadn't looked at the monthly statement the bank sent me, I didn't notice that almost every time I used my debit card, they added a fee. Every time I used an ATM at a store, I'd get a $1-$3 fee. When I withdrew money from a bank other than my own, they'd charge another fee—sometimes as much as $5.
After two months, my mother's prophecy was true. I wasn't being practical and I ended up having a negative balance of $98.00. I couldn't believe it. I was pissed off, wondering how it had happened.
I finally looked over my monthly bank statement. Between all the fees, my Mickey Mouse checkbook, and the money I spent on my Metrocard, my account had gone into overdraft. It hadn't taken long at all. I didn't keep on top of my balance like I was supposed to, so those fees kept crawling in on my account like a snake ready to catch its prey.
I hated the thought that my mother would look at me like I was a child. I knew I had to fix this problem, so I called one of the representatives from the bank. She gave me another shock: My account had been closed because I hadn't paid off the negative balance. I didn't get any warning call. If they sent me a letter, I never got it. To make matters worse, the bank had already reported me to a collection agency.
Things weren't going well for me. I had to leave college in New Hampshire and go back to New York. I lived once again at my foster mother's house. And since I didn't have a job, trying to pay off the bill was difficult. I tried job hunting but I couldn't find anything.