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I have a mission – be debt-free by 2017. For months I have been steadily paying off my credit card. And by my calculations in the next three months the repayments will be completed. Once it is all paid off, bye bye Scotia, goodbye MasterCard. I am cancelling that card. This is something I truly long for.

So last week when I got paid,  I signed into Scotia Jamaica online to pay my credit card bill. I transferred cash from my account to the credit card. After confirming the transaction, I noticed that my electronic access account balance had increased.

I panicked.

I called Scotia Jamaica customer care immediately.

The rep apologised and said that the redesigned online system has caused this mistake to happen to others. I accidentally transferred money from the credit card to my primary account. I gave myself a credit card cash advance.

The Scotiabank customer service rep instructed me to transfer the money back to the credit card, and then make the payment in the regular way. So I did this.

When I signed back into the online system I saw that the “to” and “from” buttons on the website were re-positioned. I was livid. Why make this switch in the positions when something like this is likely to happen. It made no sense. A redesigned layout for functionality and aesthetics is fine, but, the swapping of these two elemental fields make a major difference in how customers make transactions.

I don’t have an ending for this particular story (as yet). I was assured by the customer service representative that I will not be charged interest in the transaction or any other fees related to the cash advance. But I have to wait and see my statement next month before I am certain about that.

Now here is what is a little strange about this experience, two weeks ago when I was considering blog topics to explore, I made a rough draft of a post schedule for the remainder of September and for October and initially I wrote “Budgeting Advice” for today’s discussion and reflection. And beside the topic, I added the notation, ‘do I dare??”

So why was I hesitant? Well, I am still in debt. So much has improved in the last few months but there is still so much more to accomplish. Am I qualified in any way to give budgeting advice? I mean, I did complete FutureLearn’s Managing My Money Personal Finance Course in July, and, I passed the class with an 83% average. But sadly, no, I am not qualified to give money advice to anyone. One day, I hope to be financially secure, money literate and investment savvy. And only then, I will attempt to share money management tips.

Until, that day comes around, I do think I can only share my failures. Here are some budgeting and money management don’ts, these are the things I did wrong, and I hope no one else has these experiences.

  1. Own multiple credit cards.
  2. Max out these cards.
  3. Only pay the minimum on credit cards.
  4. Never read credit card statements.
  5. Spend indiscriminately.
  6. Constantly dip into savings.
  7. Never make or stick to a budget.
  8. Say yes to spending/giving loans/going out when no should be the answer.
  9. Not planning and saving for major life purchases.
  10. Making random impulse purchases over and over again.

I think that’s it, those are all the messed up money mistakes I made over the years. I am a recovering spendthrift. I hope no one else in our My Jamaican Vignettes community is making these mistakes. If you are, please stop.  Reconsider why you are spending more than you have and get to the root of the imbalance and realign.

Have a blessed and frugal week,

Chantel