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Home > What Would You Do, and a general update

What Would You Do, and a general update

November 25th, 2007 at 04:06 am

It's been almost two months since I've written anything here. We've just been rocking along okay, more or less. I was not able to find a seasonal job, though I applied for four, and interviewed for one. The interview was at Michael's, during a job fair there. I thought I hit it off pretty well with the manager, but either I really didn't, or I failed their "loss prevention" quiz somehow, or else, more likely, she really wanted someone to work permanent part-time, and I wanted to work through New Years only.

As it turns out, I might have had to quit anyway, since my husband has been preparing for a huge trial that starts on Monday and has only had Thanksgiving Day off for the last three weeks, with two more weeks of the same ahead. Someone had to stay with the kids, you know? So my faith that things always work out the way that they are supposed to is affirmed, even though the way things work out might not be the way we want them to.

In other financial news, I paid off my Parisian/Belk card this month. It's really not a huge deal, because when I got the card ten years ago, they offered a special "pay a larger payment and pay no interest" option, and I never paid any interest on that card. I would pay it off, not shop there for a while, then I'd go shop again, take a few months to pay it off, and so on. Anyway, I guess the last time I bought stuff there was before spring break, and I had been paying the "interest free" amount, and just went ahead and paid the balance this month. So that card is done, and I doubt I'll use it again. In fact, I should probably close the account.

So a small victory, but a victory nonetheless. It's one less payment to make.

In other credit card news, my husband got a credit card offer from AARP (yes, we're members, even though I'm only 40! He's 52.) I think I am coming to love AARP. For one thing, they have an auto club like AAA that is almost half the price. We signed up for that last month, after paying $65 for towing when I had a blowout. Then I was studying the credit card offer from AARP - no annual fee, 9.99 APR (my Wachovia Visa, which I've had for years, is ten-something, and our American Express Blue is 11.75) and 0% APR for balance transfers until March '09. AND the balance transfer fee is only 3% of the transferred amount, as opposed to the 5% I usually pay. I stuck the offer in my bill folder, thinking I'd get around to sending it in, when a few days later another offer came, this one with an 8.99 APR! It too had the 0% APR balance transfer offer. So I applied online, and the card came in the mail the other day. I set up our online account, and it wouldn't let me do a balance transfer online, but the card came with one balance transfer check, which I am going to use to pay a big chunk of the AMEX balance. Husband is also under strict instructions not to use the AMEX anymore.

I'm not even going to say what our AMEX balance is - it's too horrifying. I looked at the account online to see what our interest rate is, and it showed a breakdown of balances - about $2500 of it is from balance transfers, but the bulk of it is "purchases". The horror. A lot of the "purchases" are from when my husband would charge work expenses, and then when he got reimbursed I would usually need that money for other bills, and so would not pay off his expenses.

To give at least small props to AMEX, I did cash out a bunch of our AMEX Rewards points for $75 in Barnes & Noble gift cards, which I am going to use for Christmas shopping.

There are a bunch of other things I wanted to blog about, like how the movies are a total ripoff, and how food prices are obscene, and how I laugh when I think about how I used to buy all organic food. However. I really want input from any readers, so on to the What Would You Do:

Our city property taxes are due on December 20. We paid the first half in June (from our income tax refund). I have been trying, honestly, to save for it, but I have only managed to save about $650. We need $2300. My husband might be getting a percentage check next week (which is a perecentage of his profits) but even if I knew he was, there's no way to know how much. In any event, it is unlikely to be more than a thousand dollars.

So as much as it makes me want to hurl, my options for paying that bill are as follows:

1. Withdraw the money from a retirement account, paying an early withdrawal penalty and taxes on the amount, but not incurring any more debt, or

2. Paying it from our home equity line of credit, with an APR of 7.8, and which already has a $29,000 balance from adding on a room & other home improvements.

It's also possible that I could have my husband call and request additional balance transfer checks from our new Visa, and pay it with one of those.

I really am tempted to take it from our retirement account, just so I know it's paid and gone, not sitting as a balance we have to pay later. However, it's highly unlikely that money would make it back into the account, and we're not adding anything to our retirement at the time anyway.

I welcome any opinions on this issue....

5 Responses to “What Would You Do, and a general update”

  1. Broken Arrow Says:

    Well, early withdraw penalties are 10%, whereas your HELOC is 7.8%.... As unsavory as it sounds, my initial opinion is to go for the HELOC.

  2. baselle Says:

    Just on the %, the 401K is 10%, the HELOC is 7.8%, and your credit cards are 8.9% and 9.9% respectively. I'd go with the HELOC, but I'd save as much as possible.

    Where are you holding your savings? Definitely want to put it in as high an interest rate vehicle as you can. $20 in interest is $20 you won't have to HELOC.

  3. scfr Says:

    I'd use the HELOC for the December property tax payment, but then I'd sit down and figure out a way to make sure the required amount (~$200 per month) was being set aside each month for the property tax bill. This is gonna sound brutal ... But if you are down to bare-bones minimum spending and still can't cover the property tax bill, is it possible you are in more house than you can afford? Any possibility of downsizing?

  4. mamayogini Says:

    Thanks for the input -

    Our savings are at ING Direct, earning 4-something percent.

    scfr, actually, I have thought about downsizing, but (1) this house needs a good bit of work before we could sell, even if that were a good idea for us; the exterior is fine but needs painting, carpet, and entirely new bathtubs/showers in both upstairs bathrooms. Also, we live in an excellent school district (which explains the high taxes, but the education is worth it to us), and would pay as much in rent in this district as we are paying in a mortgage to get even a two bedroom apartment.

    And to be honest, we are not down to the barest bones spending. Yet. ;-)

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