In which I ask the interwebs for financial advice

… and, okay, ultimately I’m probably gonna listen to my wife on this more than y’all, but it’s not like I’m overflowing with other subjects to discuss today.

So like a lot of you (so many people are checking their bank balances online that the apps are crashing) we got our stimulus money today. Twelve hunnert for me, twelve hunnert for my wife, and another five hunnert for the boy. My wife and I mostly keep our finances separate; we divide up the bills, so, like, I pay the mortgage but she buys the groceries and pays for utilities, and any bills that are ours, like cars or student loans, are our own personal responsibility. The boy’s chunk of the money will probably end up going toward tuition.

We are not among the people who need this money. It’s nice; I’m never going to turn down cash, but we do not need it. We both have jobs that provide us with sufficient funds for our lifestyle and furthermore we are in a position where our jobs are at least less likely to go away because of the pandemic– she works in the health care sector, broadly speaking, and while disaster-related teacher layoffs are always a possibility I have enough seniority at this point that I’m highly unlikely to be affected by them, and they won’t happen until this fall at any rate. I may not like my job once everything shakes out, but there’s not a huge possibility of losing it.

(He said, casually knocking on wood afterward.)

So the question becomes what to do with it, and … well, like I said, I don’t have lots else to talk about at the moment. So:

  • OPTION ONE: SAVE IT. Probably the most obvious choice; the merits of saving money don’t even really need to be explained. Things are okay now; they may not stay that way, even if I think it’s probably likely that they will. Somebody could get sick; something could happen with one of the cars or the house, shit happens. Especially in the last couple of years.
  • OPTION TWO: PAY OFF CREDIT CARD. My overall credit card indebtedness has gone down enormously recently; I only have one card with a balance right now and $1200 would pay off a sizable fraction of it, but not finish it off. Yet. That said, the monthly bill for the card isn’t that high, and I’ve been paying twice that amount every month. It’s gonna go away (again, assuming no financial disasters) soon enough even if I don’t put this big chunk into it.
  • OPTION THREE: SAVE HALF, PAY OFF HALF. Probably the most reasonable option unless I decide to prioritize saving.
  • OPTION FOUR: BUY MORE BOOKS AND DICE. You can never have enough books and dice. This one is probably not the smartest idea, but would be the most fun.
  • OPTION FIVE: DONATE IT TO SOMEONE. The most socially responsible option since, again, I don’t need the money, but I think a certain amount of financial selfishness is warranted right now for the exact same reasons one might give to save the money. We’re not so well off that this money is nothing— it’s still definitely a good chunk of change– it’s just not immediately necessary for anything.

So, whaddya think? How much should I be tilting toward paranoia and safety right now? Or, alternatively, what are you doing with your $1200?


12:56 PM, Wednesday April 15: 610,774 confirmed infections (and over two million worldwide); 26,119 Americans dead.

A finance question

b-of-a-card-artJust curious what the hive mind thinks:

I owe a moderate amount on a credit card that I used to owe five figures on.  I can pay it off immediately, but at the cost of maybe a third of my savings.  Or I could continue paying it off in chunks and it’ll be gone in between four to six months, assuming I don’t have some sort of crisis and need to use it.

Once it’s gone, I will no longer owe Bank of America a single dime of money, down from a sizeable chunk of my yearly salary seven or eight years ago.  This is more than a bit attractive, as thoughts go.

Pull the trigger?  Or stay slow and steady?

From the “I’m a dumbass” files…

b-of-a-card-artWithout getting too deep into my financial status, I will say this: I have spent my thirties paying off less-than-optimal decisions I made in my twenties.  The good news is that I’ve been pretty good at being in my thirties, and while I had hoped to be entirely free of credit card debt by my 40th birthday at one point and won’t make that date, I’ll be pretty damn close.

I currently have two open Bank of America cards; one that was originally opened from BoA and one that was actually the first credit card I ever had in my own name and has subsequently been acquired by them.  One, the older one, has a zero balance.  When I started beating on it, the balance was five figures.  The other card is my current “target” card, and a big part of the obscene raise I received with the new job this year has gone to paying off this card.  I tend to send them money twice a month a lot of the time.

Furthermore, the paycheck I just received last Friday is technically a “third paycheck”– meaning that I already have a Bills Paycheck and a Mortgage Paycheck in January, so I can literally spend this one on whatever I want.  When it showed up, I took what was left in my checking account from my last paycheck and immediately sent it to Bank of America.

Tonight, planning on making another BoA payment now that I’ve figured out what I’m doing with the extra money, I logged in.  And noticed that the extra money I’d sent them didn’t appear to have shown up.

A bit of investigation showed that somehow I had managed to make a $150 payment to the card with the zero balance, meaning that that card now has a -$150 balance in my favor.

Bank of America is one of the worst corporations ever, so I expect shenanigans when I try and fix this tomorrow, if I even can, because of course I discover this on the Sunday night before a national holiday.

I’ll keep y’all posted.

Sigh.