I WON THE FREAKING LOTTERY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Day 159 | $61,994 paid | $28,723 till freedom

Boom! Sixteen dollars! I’m RICH!

My Dad always stuffs everybody’s Christmas stockings full of scratch-offs, but this time, since I wasn’t in town during the holidays, I had to wait (extremely anxiously since I could feel a big win was headed my way) for my parents to actually send them to me. The 20 tix finally arrived a couple of days ago. As you can see, two were massive winners.

This will put a huge dent in my debt. I’m psyched.

Bank of America Sucks
I was getting gas last night and my credit card was declined, so I had to use my debit card instead. I thought it was a fluke, but when I went to pay for groceries this evening, the credit card was once again declined.

So I called the number on the back of it when I got home. After 12 minutes of waiting on hold, an account manager picked up and, after getting my information, told me that my card had been reported “compromised” on Jan 10th, put on hold, and a new card had automatically been sent out to me and shipping would take five to ten days.

Umm…what?

I’ve been using the card regularly since the 10th–it was only yesterday, three and a half weeks after it was allegedly “put on hold,” that it was declined. And the replacement card that was supposed to arrive in five to ten days after the 10th? That definitely never happened.

WTF, BofA?

I got a little snippy with the account manager and pointed out all the problems with the situation. Why could I still use the card well after it was supposedly put on hold? Why had I never received a new card in the mail? Why had nobody called me to tell me the card had been compromised? Hell, even an automated courtesy email would have been a nice…courtesy…and wouldn’t have cost them a  cent!

She basically ignored all of my questions and told me she would have a new card out to me within five to ten days.  Umm…Fail. This is my only credit card, and while I have a few thousand in my UBS account, I don’t have a debit card for it. The only debit card I have is for my BofA account that has about $300 in it, and I don’t have a transfer mechanism set up between UBS and BofA.

She replied that she would get a card out to me by Tuesday and waive the $15 expedite fee.

Gee, thanks a lot. Way to go the extra mile for me.

I don’t know whether to be more confused by or angry with the situation. It’s so bizarre!!

First Roommate Is Peacing Out
Sarah’s six months are up at the end of the month, and she has elected to leave instead of extending her contract like I offered. I won’t comment on the circumstances that led to this decision, other than to say that it’s probably for the best (hint, hint). Unfortunately, it does mean that I won’t be getting her $450 rent payment this month since she paid first and last months’ rent in September, so that will leave a huge, painful gap in my February finances.

I am giving two landscaping quotes this weekend with Michael, so hopefully those turn into some lucrative jobs this month.

The Amish Project
Tell me you guys have seen this.

Two words: Holy. Crap.

For those of you not interested in clicking the link, it’s a video created by a guy who went 90 entire days without Facebook, email, Twitter, LinkedIn, and texting.

Incredible. The video is completely moving.

Here’s the article where I heard about it. Awesome stuff.

As the loyal readers already know, I left Facebook on December 23rd after I read a Harvard Business Review article about Facebook being a “den of comparison,” a huge waste  of time, and a huge cause of superficial relationships. I did miss it for the first week or so, but I’m well over it now.

The gentleman behind the story, Jake Reilly, took things to a whole new level when, in addition to giving up Facebook, he also gave up things like texting and email. I admire the hell out of him for it. That’s awesome! It terrifies me to think of what would happen to my social life if I were to go down that road. It sounds like he was at first miserable when he disconnected,  but he eventually hit an inflection point and ultimately thrived and didn’t even want the stunt to end when the 90 days were up.

It makes me wonder if I’m going to start thriving in my current situation, and if I won’t want it to be over, either, when  I make my last loan payment. I guess it doesn’t technically have to be over–I can keep being frugal, but there will be less of a clear goal for me, so I might not be as motivated.

And I wouldn’t say I’m currently miserable, but I don’t know if I’m as positive about my current stunt as Jake was about his while he was doing it.

Is it a coincidence that this article surfaced during the same week that Facebook’s filed its $5B IPO?

By the way, if that figure outrages anyone, first take a chill pill. Then realize that we have nobody but ourselves to blame.

Get Paid to Save
A very considerate and well-read friend of mine from HBS, Stan, reads my blog regularly and sends me related articles from time to time. This week, he sent me  two very relevant articles. The first one was about a company that will actually pay you points not for spending money, like credit cards do, but for saving and paying off debt.

Awesome.

I personally won’t be doing this because I’m not a fan of sites like this and others where my account information is on a site other than the site of the bank it belongs to.

But I do like love the concept.

How Much Entertainment Can One Hundred Bucks Buy in Austin?
A lot, according to this article.

Stan sent me this article written by Seth Kugel who describes his weekend in Austin where he experienced a good chunk of Austin for only $100. He doesn’t eat or drink quite as much as I  typically do, but I do appreciate what he’s done here. That said, I’m trying to spend $50 on entertainment over four to five weekends, not twice that amount in one weekend, so this will probably be more applicable to my post-NMHD life when I’ll be a little less frugal.

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21 Comments

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21 responses to “I WON THE FREAKING LOTTERY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  1. amb

    On the BOA CC, I suggest you call them tomorrow. Explain the situation calmly and ask what are they going to do to keep your business. If their answer is to say sorry again and to remind you that they didn’t charge you some $15 fee simply take your business elsewhere.
    I suggest a smaller regional bank or (even better) a credit union
    amb

  2. Johnnie

    You can visit a BOA branch and they can give you a temporary card.

  3. You should physically go to the bank and determine what exactly happened with your card. Is there someone out there stealing your identity or did you purchase something that is so out of the ordinary it got flagged? (one of my girlfriends go flagged after moving since she started buying furniture when almost all of her purchases for the previous 3 years had been on clothes or shoes)

    This would probably kill you, but I don’t use any electronic communication devices from sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturdays.

  4. Cheryl

    Couple of thoughts, I have 2 credit cards, my one card from Chase gets shut off about once a year, I think it was all related to shopping at DSW and TJ Maxx. One time the card was used to buy motorbikes in Italy. When something happens, Chase calls immediately and wont stop till they get my on the phone. It sounds annoying but its a great service. The second card is there as backup if I am traveling. Sounds like BOA is sleeping on this one.

    Loved the links on the “Amish” electronic guy. Great video. thanks for sharing. Last year I tried to have a 24 hrs without electronics every weekend (but answering the phone). Its great, highly recommend it. Hard to do but its a but like FB, its not getting you anything and its taking away and you don’t realize how strong the habit is until you try to stop. And thats what it is just a habit.

    Last, I am enjoying your journey, its not just about money. Have you thought of looking into being a guest blogger on the HBR site when you have paid off the loans? Would be super cool!

    • I’m glad you’re enjoying the journey! It would be an honor to be a guest blogger on HBR when this is done. I just got an email from somebody who said my blog might make for a good book, given the current student debt crisis. Maybe there will be life after NMHD, but probably not a lot in the way of something fresh and original…we’ll see.

      • Sarah

        A book would be awesome. Can I get mine autographed since I’m the #2 commenter? :) First an almost documentary and now book?! So cool considering you said this blog started as a joke. Let’s brainstorm ways to get the the film going again, I could really see it doing well at SxSw 2013.

        • Haha, you’re going to make my friend hate the fact that he gave up more than he already does! The documentary was his own debt-paydown plan :) We really needed to hire somebody 24/7 to film me because I was moving so fast at the start. I’ll post some footage from the first month if I ever go non-anon.

  5. Sarah

    Congrats on the lotto win! You deserve it!

    The Facebook IPO is definitely mind boggling since they aren’t a company that produces a tangible good. You’re right in that we have no one to blame but ourselves. To quote from learnvest.com (a personal finance website created by an HBS dropout): “Every time you share a link, like a website, change your relationship status, or comment on an article using your Facebook login, that information could be useful to somebody—like, you know, an advertiser. For instance, if you live in Chicago and change your relationship status to engaged, you can bet that a Chicago-based wedding photographer wants to get in front of you.” http://www.learnvest.com/2012/02/the-facebook-ipo-from-billions-of-likes-to-billions-of-dollars-123/?utm_source=sub-nav&utm_medium=the-latest&utm_campaign=main-story

    Happy to hear about the landscaping quotes, hopefully the clients will accept your quote.

    • Yeah, that’s wild. The power of advertising. Nay, the power of consumption.

      Ehhh…maybe it’s the power of both? Chicken and egg–do we consume because of advertising, or do advertisers advertise because they know we’ll consume?

  6. Jyoti

    Oh my gosh. I was reading your blog and literally the EXACT same thing has happened to me and my BofA card TWICE in the last year. And the customer service people can give me no explanation of how my card was compromised, why they didn’t inform me in any way except snail mail and how they can just turn my card off on a random day. The whole situation makes me SO livid. I currently get 2% cash back on all purchases, which is the only reason I have kept the card, but after all the annoying-ness, I’m strongly considering giving that up. Also, how is it ok for banks to have customer data compromised SO many times? Doesn’t that seem strange?

    • Kevin

      It’s not necessarily the bank’s fault that there is always a breach of customer data it seems. It’s usually merchants of all kinds – restaurants, retailers, and even online websites where CC info is transmitted. Anyone with an outdated PC with spyware on it can also be a victim of credit card fraud and all that junk. I’m an IT consultant so I know first hand all about security issues with computers and you’d be amazed how many compromised computers there are out there. Anyway, I do regular virus scans, always update my software and apps, and for good measure I have a credit freeze through all three bureaus to protect against ID theft. It also helps me from impulsively opening up new lines of credit or going after loans and the usual stuff that always got me in trouble with debt in the past.

  7. Aunt Pat

    I am so proud of you for doing this – you set your mind to it and you are almost there. I have to admit I thought you were a bit crazy, and I was worried for you, but you have shown once again your resilient spirit. Can’t wait to hear you say, ‘I did it!”

  8. Sarah

    Jake said that during his experiment he found that those he once considered his close friends were in fact not. Curious if you have found this after leaving FB.

  9. JM

    New fan. I’ve been devouring your posts for the last 24-36 hours. BoA was definitely spending pattern related. I’m a customer they have done it to me multiple times. Too big for their own britches.

    As to doing a “digital diet” —I absolutely love this concept. If for nothing else than to gain perspective. Only after falling really far this past year (financially, personally, socially and professionally) did I see the same. I am a stranger to those I love and vice versa….but a couple of months ago, I would have told you the exact opposite –how “connected” I was to so many. I have hundreds upon hundreds of friends and links on every platform, but I am dead from isolation and lack of true connection. I exist on 2-3 hours of sleep and have for years. Ping!

    This is a fallacy of life. ala MMM (thanks for citing him! love him too now). Which has led me to this multi-week long life hiatus where I reevaluate – everything. I found your blog and a couple of others over the weekend and haven’t turned back. I love your blog and your introspection. Spot On!

    My whole career is built on digital marketing and social media. Over a decade. I’m hardwired to my veins, but have lost much in the process. Posts like yours make me want to change careers because if nothing else a potential trend is a backlash against our industry might develop.

    My job is to make you want “things”. Build a brand. Build access and platforms for those brands to thrive. My role is help find insight in your every digital activity (albeit customers are kept anonymous) and plot for more ways to “connect” you to my brands. And make you happy about doing it. All day. All subjects. All platforms. It was sexy and exciting at first….. Gasp, my brethren and I might all need to reevaluate what innovation really means in our jobs going forward. ;-)

    Kudos to nixing FB. Working on being so brave myself. -JM

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