Saturday, February 03, 2007

Float

1. We bought our plane tickets—at a price that had already gone up substantially over the first price I saw ($145/ticket versus $100), which is irritating and entirely my own fault. One of the reasons I'd delayed was that I didn't know where the cash would be coming from—my plan is to pay for the trip out of the slack in my extra March paycheck. I put them on my credit card, and K wrote me a check for his ticket minus my share of our household bills.

2. My Metrocard ran out. Instead of having the money in my bank account, I'm running it through the FSA, which just means I need to buy it first and get reimbursed second. Of course, that means I don't have the cash up-front. I put it on my credit card.

3. I'm still owed the $25 that I spent out of pocket for work expenses. I put that on my credit card, and skimmed little bits of money out of my virtual envelopes to cover the bill when it came due.

So, all in all, that's about $247 in charges that I will have the money to pay for, but don't currently have the money to pay for. I've repeated the skimming process in #3 for #1, on a much larger scale, and scraped up the $145 out of buckets of money that were supposed to be doing other (not-so-urgent) things like clothing, buying lunches at work, toiletries, dry cleaning, and so on. It means I will have a very tight week or so, but I can get it paid for. Theoretically, I could do the same thing for the $76 with my next paycheck. Or theoretically, I could pull some money from my savings account, but I really hate doing that, so probably I'll end up scraping that cash up and paying off the card with it.

What might be a good idea is having a little "float fund" in my Bank of America savings account. The interest rate is negligible, but the access is instantaneous. I think I'll do that with the reimbursements for the Metrocard and the work stuff to prevent this sort of tightness hitting again.

2 comments:

Adam said...

That's a wonderful idea. I keep a small amount (enough to cover small miscalculations) in my bank's savings account, but I'd also recommend a money market type savings account for that. ING Direct is the one I've been with so I can testify to the fact that while their transfers take a bit longer than instant, it's still under 3 business days and it's completely free... plus you get the better interest rate.

I think of that as sort of my oh-crap-I-missed-a-zero miscalculation fund.

3 Things About Money said...

I think it is a great idea -- I keep an extra 100 dollars in my checking account that is the float, but in my check register, I don't see it -- so when my account goes to zero, I have 100 dollars left. Given my inability to balance a checkbook, this has been the sole reason why I have not bounced a check for two years. I recommend the float!