15 February 2013

Cold Feet

I've gotten a bad case of cold feet. Last month, I was able to finally make a sizable payment on one of my credit cards, bringing it within striking distance of being eradicated forever. I had fully intended to use my next paycheck and part of my emergency fund/savings to make a final payment on it. Meanwhile, two paychecks have come in since then, but the balance has unfortunately gone the opposite way.

I'm tempted to blame the plateau on stuff I actually am in control of. Part of the increase is because gas prices are rising again and I use that card for my gas buying to collect the triple rewards. When that ends, it'll likely see no more use until another triple rewards comes up. But truthfully, that's only a poor excuse. As it stands, I am simply stalling for no real reason. Although I am raiding my emergency fund, I am simply transferring it to somewhere where I get a better return on my money. (Paying off credit card interest vs. collect less than 1% APY in my savings account.)

I don't anticipate my car taking another vacation anytime soon and I know how to fix the issues it does have. I also have a few opportunities in my work schedule coming up that are conducive for biking even if it does go out. I'm healthy and I have insurance. No tuition is due, no books to buy. My tax return should be showing up soon. I'm still working, so more paychecks continue to come in. So in essence, my complacency is largely based on an irrational fear stuff happening that I can manage. Anything beyond that would be out of the range of my emergency fund balance anyway.

So thanks to your prodding, I've finally put in to have the money transferred. In the same breath, I added what I'm saving in interest to the recurring transfer back into savings. I'd much rather pay myself than send my money off to someone else and I'm glad I'm finally getting a tangible lesson on that concept.

If you face a similar situation, where you have a choice of paying off vs. preserving the emergency fund, minimize your risks and pay the thing off. With one less bill to worry about, life improves tremendously, far beyond just not being bankrupt. Most of us have stuff we can live without for a little while to pay for an emergency expense. Will it be cushy? Probably not. But it will be manageable. Don't put it off.

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