Dear Mary: We are a month behind on our mortgage payments and plan to catch up this month. We told our credit union that we will pay half on the 1st and the second half on the 13th. This will bring us current. Yet they call all day, every hour. When we answer they say they have to call us constantly until the amount owed is paid. It is their policy. I say this cannot be true or allowed by law. It looks like harassment. — Cindy
Dear Cindy: I can certainly understand your frustration, but I can also understand your lender’s policy. I don’t know of any law they are breaking by calling you at reasonable hours during the day. (You may be confusing this with the laws that protect you when a debt is released to a third-party collector.)
Look, when you signed the original loan document, you promised to make your payments on time, every month, according to the agreement. You failed to do so. It’s not the end of the world, but you have to look at it from their perspective.
If you broke your promise to pay on time, why should they believe you’ll keep your promise to make up on the 1st, 13th? If you had no money last month, what makes them sure you will have it this month in addition to your regular payment?
Rather than feel entitled to pay late on your terms, why not see it through their eyes?
Thousands of people in this country have decided to get out of their mortgages. But do they inform the lender of this fact? No. They stop making their payments and lie when the lender calls. They stay in the house until the lender can work through the complicated and expensive maze called foreclosure. The statistics are staggering. Many people manage to survive for years without making payments, while staying at home.
You’ve missed a payment, and that’s a red flag for your lender. The frequent calls keep them at the forefront of your every thought, which you have to admit is pretty smart.
Here’s an idea: tomorrow, call them before they can call you. Be kind and once again express your remorse for being late. Tell them the exact day and time you’ll bring them money, even if you’ve told them a dozen times. So keep your promise. Show up in person. And be grateful for their long suffering.
Dear Mary: Several years ago, I started following your advice to use cash, not credit or debit cards, for everyday purchases. On paydays, I would stop at the bank and withdraw enough money to last until the next payday. I then challenged myself to have some of that leftover money in my purse, which would then go into a piggy bank at home.
I just want to thank you because it worked really well for me. I’m way ahead of their game. I still don’t use debit cards for my purchases, only cash. I feel like I won and it was all because of a lesson you learned years ago. Keep up the good work. We are always listening! —Carol
Dear Mary: Once a quarter, we have our home and property treated for pests by Terminix. The results were great and we no longer have the bug issue we had before. Do you know of a home or store-bought solution that we can use instead of paying quarterly? The payout is quite steep, and while I was able to negotiate with Terminix to lower the fee, I know it’s only temporary. I fear that if we don’t continually have our home treated, we could end up with an infestation again. – Gloria
Dear Gloria: The reason pest control done by a professional service like Terminix is expensive is that they use chemicals that are toxic and limited to consumer use. Professionals know how and where to apply chemicals in a way that does not endanger you and your pets.
There are DIY options for minor issues like ants and aphids. However, it seems to me that you have bigger problems that warrant the services of a professional. Instead of trying to do it yourself, I suggest you shop around for the most cost-effective service possible and let Terminix know you are. Also consider servicing every four months or twice a year. This may be sufficient as a maintenance option and may reduce your costs.