Question: Dear Luise: I have a problem dealing with money in a practical way. I get into deficit spending very easily and my right hand often doesn’t know what my left hand is up to. For instance, I am trying very hard to be debt-free by the end of the year, so my savings don’t always equal my debt. However, I was hurt in February and am getting $3,000. over and above my expenses from the insurance company. I want to take a cruise because it feels to me like that is “extra” money that was/is not part of my budget. Yet, part of me says I owe twice that much and need to apply it on my Visa balance. I just hate feeling irresponsible and unreliable. I’m not a kid. Sam
Answer: Dear Sam: What a tightrope many of us walk between being too loose with our money and too tight with it. And everyone has a different definition of what both loose and tight means…to make matters worse.
It sounds like this bonanza has thrown you off balance. It also sounds to me, and I may be wrong about this, like you don’t expect to meet your end of the year goal if you don’t dump the extra money onto your Visa balance. Is there a possibility that you are trying to create some new habits at this time where money is concerned? For instance, saving money while you charge up the same amount isn’t really saving anything at all, right? Saving money from the way you describe your situation, means first becoming debt-free and then not charging up anything more. With that in mind, I would pass on the cruise and get on with it. Also you will need to handle your Visa differently so as not to get right back in the soup. Why not keep a running, monthly Visa balance with a limit, so you can always pay it in full every month and still save? I think you are ready to make some changes and that blowing the $3,000., no matter how much fun that might be, would be counterproductive to where you seem to be headed, which is solvent, saving and sane. Blessings, Luise