As you probably remember, we did decide to keep the Sapphire card open, but we got a new rewards card this year. Which has caused a bit of a quandary.
It started with panic
On February 4th, I was calmly making my weekly payment when I noticed that the card’s due date was February 5th. And it takes about two days to get the money from Capital One 360 savings into our main bank account.
Cue minor heart attack.
Through the haze of panic, I somehow managed to see that the payment had already been made. Apparently, I thought ahead last month and paid the statement balance in full.
Still, it was several minutes before I calmed down. Definitely not an experience I felt like repeating, so I changed the card’s due date. Now both of our cards are due on the 18th.
On the horns of a dilemma
The change had an unforeseen consequence.
The new due date means that the card’s current billing cycle, which started January 9th, won’t end until this Tuesday, February 21st. This means a large statement balance — but one that isn’t actually due in February.
So I could technically just bank a lot of money this month… If I don’t mind withdrawing a chunk of it next month. Or I could pay it this month and coast next month.
As of the 21st, our bill should be around $2,950 for 43 days.It breaks down as follows:
- $1,030 for insurance and Tim’s quarterly medication refills
- $660 in Walgreens & PETCO discounted GCs (about four to five months’ worth of expenses)
- $235 in doctor co-pays
- $310 in expenses that come out of our fun money and date night accounts
- $340 for six of Tim’s massages
- $425(ish) in other expenses
If I wait until the actual March due date, we’d put about $2,400 into savings this month. But we’d have to withdraw $500 to $700 to cover March’s credit card bills.
I could (mostly) pay this month.
I wouldn’t have quite enough to pay the balance in full. After the fun money/date night funds have been applied, there would be about $2,600 outsanding. I could pay only about $2,450.
Still, that means paying only $150 on the new card (plus $320 for the Sapphire). Depending on how much was left at the end of the pay cycle (usually $200 to $400), we’d put away $1,700-1,900 in March.
If I pay half the statement now and half next month, we’d put away $1,140 this month and around $550 to $700 in March.
The same… but different
In all three scenarios, we end up putting $1,700 to $1,900 into savings over the next two months. The outcome is the same no matter what.
So this is all about psychology — which is why it’s so damn hard to choose a path.
Will the thrill of banking $2,400 this month outweigh the stress of lowering the savings balance in March? Is it less stressful when it’s a planned withdrawal?
Or is the peace of mind from an almost non-existent credit card bill next month worth making literally no progress this month?
Or is the low-grade stress of two mid-size payments outweighed by smaller-but-still-durn-good progress two months in a row?
I honestly don’t know. Hence this post.
FYI, I’m not oblivious
I know this is a problem that many people would love to have. And that I only have it because I make more money than a lot of people.
The defensive part of me wants to (and therefore will) point out that, while I’m overpaid, part of that is because I do a lot of overtime. Pretty much whenever it’s asked of me.
The other gal takes a vacation at least twice a year. Each time that means I cover every single email that comes in — for around 18 days.
Even when she’s not on vacation, I already take one weekend of overtime every month, which means that 12 times a year I work at least 12 days in a row. .
Plus I work hard to go above and beyond my job.
But I’m well aware that lots of people bust their asses (many in jobs much harder than mine) and also work overtime and still don’t make what I do.
And that reading a post like this a few years ago would’ve probably left me pretty bitter about the unfairness of it all. But I try to be as open with you guys as I can and trust that the majority of you will be supportive. Or at least know that this is something that has never (and almost certainly will never) happen again.
Still, I want you to know that I’m all too aware that this is one of the First-Worldiest of First World Problems. And has at least as much to do with luck (in finding this job) as it does hard work and money smarts.
Has anything like this ever happened to you? Which scenario would you choose?