Blog Challenge: Alexandra C.


Everyone (well, most everyone) has had a DROP-SHIP TO BROKE-LAND

Everyone (well, most everyone) has had a "money blunder" at some point. Maybe you maxed out your credit card, missed rent and got evicted, or given your credit card number to an online thief under the guise of an incredibly well-priced yet high-end purse salesman. Well, I did none of those things; however, my money blunder probably lost me more money than any of the people in the above scenarios.

To preface this story, I'm a fitness freak! I love working out, I even became a certified personal trainer. So, once upon a sunny summer day in 2012, I discovered that some of my favorite exercise videos came from a company called Beachbody. So, I went online to research. It turns out, anyone can become a Beachbody Coach and start running their own mini-business. Naturally, I signed up! Turns out, Beachbody endorses one brand of post-workout protein: Shakeology. This stuff is awesome! It's got high-quality whey protein as well as being loaded with all-natural power foods. So, I ordered one and tried it for a month- it was just as good as Beachbody promised and I got a Coach discount! By Coach discount, I mean the normally $100 protein was discounted to the still-not-so-cheap price of $60. I knew I wanted to keep using this product, and when I went online to order it I selected an option that I would regret: "Automatically drop-ship monthly."

I failed to notify my parents of the wonderful product that would be showing up the first week of every month. I also failed to remember that my Beachbody account was filed under my mothers credit card number (because I didn't have a credit card at this point).

Shortly after this, I got a job at GNC (a vitamin and supplement shop). I began using GNC protein and quickly forgot about Shakeology, but Shakeology did not forget about me. Those green Beachbody packages continued to show up at my doorstep every month. They began to pile up. It was only so long before I had to address it. Fate had it that my mother lost her credit card and had to get a new one. A few days later, we received a letter in the mail, notifying her that Beachbody did not have an active credit card number. They threatened to stop the drop-ship. She handed me the letter and asked what this was all about. My mind started racing, I hadn't thought this through and I had forgotten to deal with this! Then it occurred to me, I cancelled my Coach account with Beachbody. This meant the ten green boxes stacked in the cupboard cost my parents $100 each. Horrified, I cancelled the drop-ship and apologized relentlessly.

Moral of the story, monthly automatic payments fall straight into the financial danger zone! Drop-ships, or any automatic payment that you can easily forget about! Some example pitfalls are gym memberships, magazines, tanning salons, ect. These payments are easily forgotten about and require active cancellation. It's not rare for cancellation to be a difficult process, as well. What if you don't want to cancel your gym membership? Or an automatic monthly payment is the easiest thing for you? How can you avoid these financial traps while still enjoying what you're paying for? I have a couple suggestions!

First, even though a gym (or any other business, for that matter) may not give you another option other than automatic payment, that doesn't mean there isn't one. Always inquire about you payment options and chose the one that is least likely to get you in financial trouble down the road. Sometimes convenience is detrimental to you financial health.

Second, if you do chose an automatic payment, KEEP TRACK OF IT. Get a mobile phone application or an online account so you can check your account daily! This way, you're 100% aware of what's being taken out of your account and why. In addition, you'll catch any suspicious behavior going on that could possibly be fraud, which is common these days with online shopping and accessible personal information. This way, you can see that Ripped & Fit is taking $50 out of your account every month (the $50 you usually use to get gas, maybe?) then budget accordingly.

Lastly, be wise about using your credit card in general. Many financial traps can be avoided by being cognizant! Just pay attention and learn as much as you can about how to be careful with your finances. I hope my lessoned learned will help bring light to just how much money can disappear if you don't pay attention! If you follow the three steps above, you have nothing to worry about! You'll secure your future by nurturing your account and taking your first baby steps towards wealth and financial comfort!