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As most of my readers know, my wife and I recently had a baby. He is a little over a month old and growing extremely fast. I really have enjoyed each moment with him, even though I am not sleeping and I feel completely exhausted. Overall, the process of becoming a father is going well. I am learning a lot and my son is keeping me busy. The one day that I was dreading arrived last Friday. I got each and every bill in the mail on the same day. It was left over’s from what the insurance didn’t pay. I feel pretty lucky to have a great job that has awesome benefits, but no matter how good they are, you can never be happy when you receive medical bills. I am not going to divulge what the total amount is, but it is 4 figures. This money has to come out of our pocket to pay the doctors and the hospital. I can honestly say that just having the baby is expensive, let alone the cost of raising a child.
Now, some of you may ask why I wasn’t more prepared for these bills. Did I not budget for them or at least have knowledge that I would owe money after the delivery? Before you start jumping up and down, let me say that I knew exactly how much I was going to have to pay. Even so, that doesn’t make it any easier to dish out thousands of dollars on anything. I had these bills in my budget and was ready to get it all done, but then something in our house broke!
Our Couch Broke
Yep, you heard me right, our couch broke. Apparently, it had taken quite the beating when my wife was pregnant and laying on the arms. Day in and day out, my wife laid awkwardly on the couch and it took it’s toll. One side of the couch arm broke and is just hanging there. On top of that, the springs on the side that she slept on each day have worn completely out.
You might be asking why a couch is a big deal. Well, we don’t have any other chairs in our living room, so our couch is our central seating area. Without, we have nothing. We may as well just go Japanese and sit on the floor (which I have no issue with doing, but it gets painful on my back). We are now in need of a couch.
My wife and I went shopping this weekend as my mother-in-law watched our son. It gave us some time to get away and be together, so it was nice. Unfortunately, we had to go shopping, something we both loath. When we purchased our current couch 7 years ago, we got it for about $300. This was right when we got out of college and didn’t have any money. I wasn’t expecting to pay that little for a couch today, but I had no idea what my budget was going to be. I didn’t have this “emergency” calculated. See, since I paid off my credit cards in July, I had been saving just for the medical bills. I worked hard to reach that goal, and I got there. I was not prepared to have to buy a coach. I mean, come on, when do couches just break?
My Money Problem
Here in lies my money problem. I am about to pay off the hospital bills, but where do I come up with the money for a couch? My wife is feverishly searching for the best couch she can find. Apparently, money is no object in her eyes, but it sure is in mine. She is worried about which color will go well in our current setup, but I am worried about how we are going to pay for it.
After searching store after store, we finally found something we liked. We talked about the setup of the couch and how it could be used. At this point in the conversation, I started thinking about the couch as more of an investment. We spend a lot of time on the couch and our current one has more than reached it’s return on investment (ROI). I want to make sure that I get a great ROI on this next piece of furniture. While we could just go and get another cheap couch that will last us a few years, we could also pick up a nice couch that will last us much longer. It is the classic dilemma of pay now versus pay later.
One of my biggest issue when dealing with personal finances is when expected and unexpected expenses come at the same time. It is true that “when it rains, it pours”! I have to figure out how to juggle my money around in order to achieve the desired outcome. Our optimal outcome would be to pay off the medical bills and get a couch. Oh, the choices!
My Payment Options
- Furniture Store Financing – The furniture store where we found the couch we liked offered us 5 years of interest free financing. They made the payment extremely low, in hopes that we would just pay it and then wouldn’t get it paid off in the 5 years. If that happened, then we would owe interest on the full amount. This is my least favorite payment option, but my wife loves to see the brochures.
- Pull from Savings – I do have enough money in savings to pull some money in order to purchase a couch. I was using this money as my down payment fund on our next house, so this is less than ideal. If I do use this option, then I can just build back up my savings and not have to deal with financing.
- Cash Back Credit Card – I recently got my American Express Blue Cash Preferred card and I love it. I could purchase the couch with this credit card, which has 12 months at 0%, and then pay off the balance over the next few months. I would aim for 4 months. I would also get 1% cash back with the purchase.
I am leaning toward using the cash back AMEX card and then just paying it off. I am also hesitant with this option because I was in massive credit card debt before and don’t want to go there again. What would you do in my situation?
For those of you who have bills piling up, then why not enter to WIN $999.99? It is free and easy, just use the widget below.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net