Thursday, September 22, 2011

Chris McGinty - Enemy of Debt - Episode Eleven

Welcome to Episode Eleven of: Chris McGinty – Enemy of Debt

For an explanation of this feature, and disclaimers that talk about how I’m not a professional money anything, go to Episode One. If you are caught up to speed though, we’ll begin discussing my friend who called me in financial desperation on July 10, 2011. Out of some, perhaps slight respect for his privacy, I’m not using his real name. I am instead referring to him as Genghis Concert for Bangladesh.

One of the few readers we have quipped something about me going to a Genghis Concert when I went to help him out, probably because concert going is one of my big pastimes. She said that maybe that didn’t quite work. I thought it was funny though, and so I tweaked it a little, and now we have this week’s name. This is good because I had no idea what I was going to use next. I had actually thought about giving Genghis’s wife the nickname Madeline. The problem is that the naming thing requires a logical, and knowledge based, jump to start with. This requires an extra jump, provided you understood the naming convention to begin with.

Last week, I discussed how Genghis decided to quit smoking. He presumably gave me all of his cigarettes, all his cigarette paraphernalia, and he even emptied his car ashtray. After that we went and talked to his bank. We were going to see about getting yet another loan now that the old one was paid off. The reasoning was because they charged real interest rather than reinstatement fees. This meant that the money going out the window would be far less if we got a loan from the bank and paid off the payday loans. They said that we would have to wait at least two weeks, so we will look into that soon.

We went and reinstated one of the payday loans, and for the first time, we paid off a little bit of the principal. It wasn’t much, but at least we’re seeing some progress. I think we jumped the gun a little bit though, because we went to fill the gas tank on the vehicle her mom gave them. It’s a forty-five gallon tank. My intent was to find out how much gas it really is burning. By the time we were done buying the nicotine lozenges, paying a $17 fee on his rent that was left over, paying on the payday loan, and filling the tank, he owed me $144. So much for getting paid back. The thing is that there was still plenty more that I would have to loan him.

The first reason was that we had to pay another payday loan, just the fee this time. Then he paid me back a little more when he got his guard check. But then we had to pay his cell phone, pay the third payday loan fee, pay the remainder of the electric bill, and then I put $84 to fill his tank again. This was after a week and a day.

I did the math, and the vehicle is getting 7.5 miles per gallon. That’s terrible. I’ll probably have to estimate how much they can afford for gas each week so they don’t overuse the vehicle.

I have the actual figure around here somewhere, but he owes me around $400 now. His rent is due this week as well as two of the payday loans, so I doubt I’ll be seeing it until maybe his guard check.

In the last episode, I talked about buying the nicotine lozenges for him to quit smoking with. The problem with last time he used those was that he never slowly tapered off the lozenges, so he quit smoking while not quitting nicotine. The lozenges are more expensive than smoking if not used right, so I insisted on rationing those out to him like I’d done with his cigarettes. The actual treatment required twelve weeks and would be expensive. I figured that I’d already been weaning him from cigarettes (who knows how much he screwed that up when he sold those DVDs though), so I figured we would start four weeks into it. It was still going to be too expensive though. He owes me money. I have some say.

The first box we got was 4mg lozenges. You’re supposed to slowly taper off of those, and then move to 2 mg lozenges. I decided that rather than buying as many as he needed to wean himself according to the directions that we would buy two boxes, no more, no less. This isn’t too far off what he should be doing anyway, but it required me to figure out how many he could have each day. He doesn’t really know yet, but I bought a 2mg box, and I started mathematically reducing the amount of milligrams he intakes each day by using a mixture of 4mg and 2mg lozenges. This is probably a little cruel because when he pops a 2mg lozenge it’s not as effective, but the same logic applies when you go from 1 to 2 hours to 2 to 4 hours. You’re taking in less nicotine. And no one ever said that quitting an addiction was easy.

Again, I’m doing all of this for his own good. He can’t afford to smoke as much as he used to smoke. He can’t afford to buy the lozenges to maintain his addiction rather than quit. If I was truly a cruel person, I would have forced him to quit cold turkey when he first called me. There is a part of me that feels that would have been the better way to do it. There is also a part of me that believes that if he meant it when he told me he really wanted to quit but couldn’t, then he will be more likely to quit and not start again. It would at least be his choice then. I don’t know if he’ll go back again once he has control of his money again, but at least while this is going on, I think there has been less drama since he made that choice.

I think this is still posting about a month after things happen, but I think that this is starting to hit a slow point, which is fine. I don’t want a lot of drama each week. I figured that it would be pretty crazy to begin with. We had to talk to absolutely everybody, every time we went to pay something, just to get more time to pay everything. It’s finally starting to even out, and so a lot of that will be gone.

What I see for the future of this feature is just whether or not we can get everything paid up before Christmas, whether they can get a vehicle that doesn’t burn gas like crazy, and whether they get sued by the title loan place. He said that he got a certified letter, but he hasn’t gone down to pick it up yet. It’s probably the title loan place, because he never called to tell them where the van was before it got towed. Wonderful.

I’ll see you next episode.

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