My Piling Up Bills Problem + $999.99 Giveaway

I am co-hosting an awesome cash giveaway.  You can enter to win $999.99 at the end of the post.  Enjoy!

money from walletAs 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

paid stampHere are my current payment options for the couch.

  • 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.

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Grayson Bell

Grayson Bell

I'm a business owner, blogger, father, and husband. I used credit cards too much and found myself in over $50,000 in debt. I paid it off, started this blog, and my financial life has changed. I now talk about fighting debt and growing wealth here. I run a blog management company, along with another blog. It is Empowered Shopper, which helps people get information about products they want to buy. You can also check out Eyes on the Dollar, which is a great blog that I co-own.


  1. February 5, 2013 at 8:34 pm — Reply

    I would go with the furniture store financing! We did it for the appliances in our studio apartment…just have to make sure I get then paid off in 6 months.

    • Grayson
      February 5, 2013 at 10:17 pm — Reply

      Yeah, this one comes with 5 years of interest free financing, but I get cash back on my card with 12 months of no interest.

  2. February 5, 2013 at 8:34 pm — Reply

    Hmmm I’m not sure what you should do. If you’re 100% positive that you will pay for the credit card bill when it comes, then do it! Also, not sure where you went, but most furniture stores will haggle like crazy, so if you haven’t done that yet, do it!

    • Grayson
      February 5, 2013 at 10:17 pm — Reply

      I plan on haggling, but it will still cost some money.

  3. February 5, 2013 at 9:42 pm — Reply

    I’d go with the credit card option. I charge everything and then pay off the bills in full. As long as you know you’ll pay it off before it comes due, either the furniture finances or the Amex both make sense.

    • Grayson
      February 5, 2013 at 10:18 pm — Reply

      Thanks for your feedback KK.

  4. February 5, 2013 at 11:09 pm — Reply

    Its amazing how one little unexpected cost can really throw a wrench in things. I had the same problem while building my house. I had just enough money to put down for the house but then my second oldest boy needed tubes in his ears. It cost quite a bit because I have a higher deductible plan but the great thing is the bills are a lot more spread out so I can pay them slowly over several months time. I know it can seem frustrating at times but all I can do is just take things one day at a time.

    • Grayson
      February 6, 2013 at 12:50 pm — Reply

      That is the key Chris, just taking it one day at a time and figuring out what I need to do.

  5. February 6, 2013 at 12:50 am — Reply

    Do you have the option of a good quality used (but cleaned) couch? That might be a good bridge until you get past the immediate cash crunch!

    • Grayson
      February 6, 2013 at 12:51 pm — Reply

      Hey Alex, my mom was going to give me her older couch, but then they got into a cash crunch and couldn’t get their new couch. Apparently this couch problem is a family issue!

  6. February 6, 2013 at 2:46 pm — Reply

    I would take the cash back credit card. Now that you have your finances together, it is time to make the CCs work for you!

    • Grayson
      February 6, 2013 at 3:26 pm — Reply

      I like your thinking Pauline!

  7. February 6, 2013 at 3:51 pm — Reply

    Ugh, what bad timing! You have such a blessed event (the baby, not the hospital bill!) that you prepared for financially and a broken couch (of all things) throws a wrench into your plans. I would go with the credit card option. You have 12 months interest free, which should be plenty of time to pay off a nice couch, and get cash back. Seems like the best bet with the greatest reward.

    • Grayson
      February 6, 2013 at 3:58 pm — Reply

      Thanks Shannon. That seems to be the nature of the game. You plan and then you get hit with a wrench. And I like tools!

  8. February 7, 2013 at 12:57 pm — Reply

    Grayson, as a new father also I can totally understand what you are going through. Mine is 11 months old but I’ve had unexpected expenses as well. It’s funny how you notice it even more when there is a new one to take care of. I had a gas leak which cost me $800 to fix. My furnace broke and had to pay $400. So many things I did not expect happened. I guess that’s why an emergency fund is so important. Anyways, I would choose the furniture store financing and avoid the credit cards. Best of luck.

    • Grayson
      February 7, 2013 at 3:49 pm — Reply

      It always comes at once. I would live for that not to happen, but that is just not how it works. Stupid money and that guy Murphy!

  9. February 20, 2013 at 10:07 am — Reply

    Will she couch shop on craigslist? You might be able to find a temporary couch that would work until you could afford something nicer!

    Sorry about all of the unexpected bills =/

    • Grayson
      February 20, 2013 at 10:51 am — Reply

      We already bought a couch (and many other pieces of furniture) this past weekend. I will have a post about it coming up on Monday.

  10. February 20, 2013 at 9:20 pm — Reply

    How much does it cost to have a baby? In Canada they make you pay for circumsion, prenatal vitams and parking but everything else is free.

    This is a very personal question so just a ball park average of what it costs to have a little American baby would be fine.

    • Grayson
      February 20, 2013 at 10:03 pm — Reply

      Here in the US, it really all depends on your insurance policy. Some pay very little and some pay a lot. We all have to pay for prenatal vitamins, but most everything is covered under insurance. I know that we paid between $1,000 and $2,000 for medical bills. I know others that have paid $5,000. If you don’t have insurance you can expect to pay north of $10,000.

      • February 21, 2013 at 10:29 am — Reply

        Then I am glad you had insurance. Nothing stopping you from having 4 or 5 more with the insurance paying for most of it.

        • Grayson
          February 21, 2013 at 11:30 am — Reply

          Well, insurance only pays for the process of having the child. You still have to pay for everything after that yourself. At a running $250,000 per child to raise until 18, I don’t think I would have 4 or 5.

  11. February 21, 2013 at 1:04 am — Reply

    Cashback credit card seems to be the way to go.

    PS: How do I participate in the hosting the giveaway?

  12. February 24, 2013 at 1:56 pm — Reply

    Grayson, I am glad to see that you are taking time to think about the purchase. I had to buy a new mattress set after our third child(bed rest for momma). Since your credit card option offers 12 months without interest that may be your best option. You may want to pull from savings if other things occur and you end up facing interest on your balance as the 12 months come to an end. Congrats on father hood.

  13. February 26, 2013 at 5:13 pm — Reply

    Grayson, it sounds to me like you are concerned enough about going back into debt that you should not have a problem using the Amex cash back card. If I were you, I would use the card, enjoy the no interest free ride and then pay it off! Or if the overhanging debt concerns you, use the card for the cashback and then just pay it off on the next statement!

    • Grayson
      February 26, 2013 at 9:19 pm — Reply

      Thanks Jose. I decided on going with the card. It is working out so far.

  14. Vanessa
    February 27, 2013 at 6:18 pm — Reply

    It does not seem that you and your wife are on the same financial wavelength. You need to be on same page if you are to get ahead financilally.

    • Grayson
      February 27, 2013 at 6:25 pm — Reply

      Actually, we are very good financially and it is hard to get two people on the same page with wants and needs. It is compromise and we do well with that.

      • Vanessa
        February 27, 2013 at 10:14 pm — Reply

        Hmm. Ok – it could be my perception.

        First time reading your blog (recommendation from Get Rich Slowly or Simple Dollar – can’t remember which one) and I am going strictly by your statement: ” 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.”

        Since I am a Dave Ramsey fan (religious views aside), I subscribe to the – Live like no one else so you can live like no one else, philosophy. :)

        Congratulations on baby! No worries – there will be no sleep for next 18 years. Now hurry up and save the approximate 300-500K that it requires to bring up a child in today’s dollar amount.

        • Grayson
          February 27, 2013 at 11:01 pm — Reply

          Yeah, I got a little in trouble with that statement when my wife read it. She is good with money, but when we were searching for the couch, it seemed like she was wanting the best. It could have been how I was dealing with the situation.

          Thanks for the congratulations. I am starting to get used to the lack of sleep, but there are some days where I just want to crash. I am working hard on saving up that much cash. It gets a little difficult to fathom that amount of money. Having a child is not easy and is definitely an investment.

          Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I always appreciate active visitors.

  15. Sophia
    August 29, 2014 at 6:52 pm — Reply

    I’m drowned with bills, try to pay on time but something always come up. When I get out of one situation I enter in another I have three kids and without a job and trying to find one, it is extremely hard for a single mother to make ends meet. I try but something always come in and mess it up. I just don’t know what to do at this moment but to pray and hope I can be blessed with something so I can support my family. I have faith.

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