I am terrible with money. I spend money like I have it. I spend it like I’m Jay Gatsby and the all the world is one big party guest.
The worst are credit cards. I have to remind myself that when I use a credit card at someplace like Starbucks, I’m basically asking the bank for a loan for an iced cappuccino.
And then there’s the banks. I used to know so little about banking and how banks actually work. It wasn’t until I started seeing random $10 charges here and there that I started to question, what does a bank actually do for me, its client?
A while back I wrote a post on shopping local. I firmly believe it’s important to shop at small stores and keep your money in your community — if you can. So where does that leave me with banking?
When I wrote that post, I learned a lot about not just shopping local, but keeping your money local. And that’s when I entertained the idea of joining a credit union. In a credit union, you’re the owner. You know exactly where your money is going. You have, on average, lower fees for things like using ATMs, surcharges, overdrafts, and so forth. With banks, it’s like, god forbid if you use an ATM that isn’t part of your bank. You may as well walk over to the nearest body of water (a spilled drink at a bar is fine), open your wallet, and dump everything in it. Which, in my case, is like four dollars.
I would love to join a credit union. I’d love lower interest rates and lower fees. I’d know exactly where my money was going. However, and this is the big problem, there’s no credit union near me. The closest credit union near me may as well be in Michael Caine’s vacation home on the moon (because you KNOW he has one there).
So I’m kind of stuck. I don’t know what to do. Right now I belong to two banks. One of them I guess has most of their ATMs in Narnia, because there is only one near me, and the other one likes to charge me for apparently no reason.
Do you use a credit union? Do you like it? If not, what do you use and why?
This post is sponsored by Make Your Money Matter, in association with PSCU, though all views expressed are my own.