Be Vigilant About Your Bills And Pay

Here is an expensive lesson I have learned and an important advice I want to share.

Be vigilant and check your bills and pay regularly. Don’t blindly trust anyone, any business or any employer.  People make mistakes. If you don’t catch them and have them corrected, no one will do it for you. And you end up losing.

My two recent experiences will help explain what I mean.


Two months ago, my family bought two smart phones at BestBuy and had to upgrade our family plan. The bill from Sprint showed a charge of $385. I knew something was wrong and called Sprint. The sales person at BestBuy mistakenly created two separate plans instead of one family plan covering three lines. I expected to get a credit of over $100.

Today I received my new bill. I only saw a credit less than $50. So I called Sprint again. After talking to the supervisor, she acknowledged the mistake and gave me about $140 credit that was overcharged. She was apologetic and complimented me on being vigilant about my bill.


I have worked for the State of Minnesota for 13 years. State employees don’t get paid well comparing to people working in private sectors. We have not got any cost of living increase since 2008. In addition, the pay for information professionals ranks close to the bottom comparing to the pay for other professionals.

While I knew I didn’t make a lot of money as a librarian and a state employee, I did trust that I would get paid accordingly, whatever I should get.

As it turned out, that was not the case.

Recently after talking with coworkers about our salaries and taking a closer look at my pay history, I found out that I didn’t get paid correctly for 9 years. HR made a mistake and didn’t code my pay rate correctly in 2003, and no one noticed. I didn’t notice because I wasn’t clear about the union contracts.

I never questioned, because I trusted.

I am pretty good at checking my bills and receipts and spotting errors. But it never crossed my mind to be as vigilant about my pay. I assumed I would get what I should. I had a lot more trust in governments than businesses.

A mistake.

Now I will get my back pay. I am not happy about the fact that I will have to pay a lot more taxes for the mistake others made.

What an expensive lesson for me!