Interview Series – Budgeting In The Fun Stuff

October 15, 2011

I met Crystal, the woman behind Budgeting In The Fun Stuff, a few weeks ago in Chicago. She definitely has some fun stuff up her sleeve : )

We spent an hour or two chatting with a few other personal finance bloggers and learned about some of Crystal’s adventures in money making. The most interesting one was her story about how she sold her hair to the highest bidder on eBay! I’ll let her share all the detail on her site some day but it’s definitely an interesting story.

Before the conference I had asked Crystal to share her experiences dealing with financial bullies, here are her answers.

1) Describe a time that a person or company tried to take advantage of you financially and what you did to stop them.

Comcast could never get our bill right.  Every month, they “forgot” about a discount and every month I spent an hour or two making sure we only paid what we agreed to.  As soon as AT&T U-Verse became available in our area, I called and dropped Comcast like a hot potato and made sure to let the customer service department know the exact reasons.  I wrote an email to them as well.

2) Describe a time you were bullied into a financial decision (by a person or a company).  How did it end up impacting you and if you could go back in time how would you handle it differently?

We used to have our taxes done every March by a professional CPA.  For the 3 years we worked with her, she was never upfront about her rates and would just spring the bill on us at the end when we’d be signing off on our return. 

I was young and stupid and just accepted this until the 3rd year, when the bill went from $300 to $475 without any notice.  I was horrified and asked what happened.  She explained that her secretary got a raise and her costs went up. 

We gave her a check and have done our own tax returns since then.  If I could go back, I would have explained to her that she should have let us know beforehand about a huge increase in rates and would have refused to pay her $475.  I would have offered her the $350 we were expecting.  I now have very little trust in outsourcing and am very careful to get all rates up front.

Comcast Follow Up
After reading Crystal’s story I told her that we had a similar experience with Comcast. We went through the same hassle but eventually they got it right so we’re still with them. However, I was tempted to switch to AT&T U-verse though because at the time they were offering like $300 for new customers.

So in a follow up question I asked her if she’d had any customer service or billing problems with U-verse, here’s her response.

The only hassle I have ever had with U-verse was when our credit card info was stolen.  Even though I went in and changed all of my auto-pay info, they still screwed stuff up for a month, but they waived the late fee that had occurred without any problems and apologized. 

I have been very happy with their service and their customer support is way better than Comcasts’ if you ever have a technical problem.  Someone accidentally cut our dsl line once and U-verse sent someone out to fix it within 3 hours instead of the following day as I was told.

Thanks to Crystal for sharing her story! Another interesting tidbit about Crystal is that she quit her job a few months back to work online full time. Good luck to her in her new venture!


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Ben Edwards, the founder of Money Smart Life, saved up enough to buy a Nintendo back when he was 12 years old. When he used the money to buy shares of Wal-Mart stock instead, he knew he wasn't like the other kids... His addiction to personal finance has paid off for his family and now he's helping you to afford the life that you want. Check him out on the web at Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook.

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One Response to Interview Series – Budgeting In The Fun Stuff

  • Barb Friedberg

    Great meeting you at Fincon. I’m following Crystal’s blogging rise with great enthusiasm. Thanks for the update.