Ugh, okay. I’ve avoided talking about finances long enough, especially since this is, at least nominally, a personal finance blog.
I’ve been skirting the issue because it has been a huge headache since April. I haven’t wanted to deal with them, let alone try to explain it all to third parties.
But this month’s paycheck is in the bank and everything’s all sorted out for the month. So I guess it’s time to tackle an update.
Normally, my paycheck gets here on the 10th, and the credit cards aren’t due until the 19th. So I:
- Send Tim to deposit the check into the business account
- Wait a day for it to clear
- Write myself a paycheck and a check for expenses
- Wait a day or two for that to clear
- Still have plenty of time to pay the cards before the due date
But not this time
We left for our May trip the morning of the 9th, which meant that I had to deal with May’s credit card statements the month before.
I got my April check, paid the card balances due on the 18th, then waited a few days (until the next round of credit card statements was out, and paid off those. Unfortunately, April’s check couldn’t cover both (at least, not if we wanted money to live on that month), so $2,300 came out of savings.
I consoled myself with the fact that I could put the money back in once We got back from vacation and deposited the latest check. But…
Starwood begged to differ
The Starwood Hotels card ended up being due on June 10th, so the payment had to be paid May’s check.
Oh, and just to make things extra complicated, it turns out that I can’t make weekly payments on this card.
Well, that’s not precisely true. In fact, I can make a payment every single day if I want — but only up to the most recent statement’s balance.
In case you fail to distinguish that from a normal setup, consider the following scenario:
I charge $100 in the first month of having the card. The day after the first statement comes out, I charge $5,000. I now have a statement balance of $100, and a current balance of $5,100.
On every other credit card I’ve ever had, I’d be allowed to make payments up to $5,100. Comparatively, American Express would only let me pay $100.
That creates a sizable problem if, like us, you charge everything. Since we weren’t able to make payments as we went, the statement balance was about $850 higher than usual. That plus a few big purchases (especially the $1,150 for CVS gift cards) meant that the payment due was huge.
Apparently, AmEx’s weird restriction will go away once my bank account has been on file for 90 days. I can’t begin to guess the reasoning there. Instead, I’ll just try to be grateful there’s an end in sight. In the meantime, we’ve switched back to the Barclay’s card for day-to-day spending.
Since I already had to crack into May’s check, I went ahead and paid all three cards’ statements. I also changed the Starwood card’s due date to the 18th for simplicity’s sake.
Thanks to those actions, we don’t have to make any credit card payments in June. Instead, every spare cent went into the savings account. go back into savings account. And I’m happy to report that our finances are back to where they were in April.
Of course, I wish we were doing better than that — especially since our federal tax refund got gobbled up by all these payments. Then againwe’ve had some large expenses since April, including a $1,000 deposit on new windows and the aforementioned $1,150 investment in CVS gift cards. So I guess we’re doing a’ight.
Any of you guys struggling with weird due dates or the need to prepay?