Friday, February 08, 2008

Breathe, EM, Breathe

I'm in a state of high financial anxiety right now. There are a lot of expenses piling up, and a lot of balls in the air, and I feel like I'm about to let them all come crashing down in a heap. Here's the breakdown:

1) My taxes
Problem: I owe money, somewhere in the neighborhood of $175-$200
Solution: Don't file right now. This will give me some time to save up the money. I'll file in March or April.

2) My medical visits
Problem: I'll owe $300 at the end of the month for two medical visits my insurance may or may not cover. I was hoping that the check from a previous insurance claim would cover this, but when I called the insurance company today to check on its status, I got the old "We have no record of receiving that claim, Ma'am" business.
Solution: Unclear. I have two options: 1) dip into savings, or 2) ask my mom to cover the bill. She would, but I'm not sure I want to ask. Alternately, 3) I can work up a ton of hours on my office freelance project before I hand it over to someone else and hope that I can come out of that with $300. Then if the claim money comes in, I can use it to cover the tax bill. This is the best option, I think, especially since things are a little light at work this week, and I have some extra time.

3) My MetroCard reimbursements
Problem: I filed a claim for reimbursement a little late, and wasn't sure if it would get through in time. It didn't. At the end of this month, the grace period will start on those charges, and if they're not paid by the end of it, I'll pay finance charges. I've never paid finance charges. I don't want to start now.
Solution: Actually, I should be able to wait on this one. Because Chase applies payments to old charges first (even if in my head I'm paying for something specific), as long as I get the reimbursement check at the beginning of next month as I should, I'll just pay the two MetroCards off with that. I put in a call to the company about the claim status--just to make sure they received that claim--and was assured that it will be processed at the end of this month. They're a very reliable company, so, not too many worries there.

4) K's birthday
Problem: It's expensive to treat someone as well as I want to treat K for his 30th birthday. I'm not going into specifics, because baby, I know you read this.
Solution: Live very frugally for the next two or three weeks and splurge on the birthday weekend. Problematically, though, I have a dear friend flying into New York for an impromptu visit next weekend. I promised her brunch, but I think for the rest of the weekend we can do the old "walk around, go to cheap-or-free museums, have drinks at my apartment instead of at a bar" routine familiar to 24-year-olds the world over.

5) Valentine's day
Problem: We want to do something nice, but at the same time: K's birthday!
Solution: Cook a nice dinner in. My dad said he'd buy me the ingredients for my special ricotta cheesecake if I'd make him one, too. Which I'm happy to do. Then I think I'll do some kind of salad and shrimp scampi as an entree--delicious, and the ingredients aren't too expensive.

6) The GRE in Literature in English
Problem: With all the financial worrying I'm doing, I'm not in a good headspace for studying.


Anonymous said...

When I run into issues like these, I too usually wail and flail for a bit before realizing, sheepishly, that these were upcoming expenses I should have factored into my savings plan. I've gotten a little bit better at having an ING account for these things -- one for gifts I know I'll buy, one for unexpected events. And I have gotten in the habit of keeping some money handy in case I need to cover a reimbursement that didn't come in promptly.

The downside is that this slows the savings down, and I do sometimes get impatient. But then I remind myself that one of the reasons I am trying to be frugal is so that I don't have to pay finance charges or put medical bills on a credit card. I try to pat myself on the back a bit, even if my savings is not mounting as fast as I would like.

Hang in there!

Escape Brooklyn said...

Relax! It's not so bad and worst case is why you have an emergency fund. You'll be okay.

Amy K. said...

We're doing a quiet night in for Valentine's day too - and going out to a fancy dinner the Sunday befor for my 30th. Here's what we're having for Valentine's day:

Baked brie - top brie round with seedless raspberry jap, pop in toaster oven for about 10 minutes, until the cheese is melty and the jam is nice and gooey
Baguette - to spread the cheesy jammy goodness on
Chocolate fondue - melt chocolate in microwave, added cream is optional. We'll probably dip the rest of the baguette in the fondue, or maybe buy fruit.
Sweet Rosie dessert wine from our last trip to the Finger Lakes region.

And then we'll pass out in some sort of sugar coma while we watch a movie. :-)

Good Luck with your financial worries, and I hope you both enjoy the 30th birthday celebration!

ichimunki said...

That's what emergency funds are for! Plus, Congress just passed the economic tax stimulus package so you should be getting a check in May according to the Treasury chief. It is awhile away but good to know that a $300 to $600 check will be appearing in your mailbox.

Mrs. Micah said...

It's great that you've come up with a potential solution for each one. I think the taxes one sounds good and easy enough to do. The others it sounds like you're getting a handle on. :)

Anonymous said...

You should also try resubmitting that first claim if it's been more than a couple of weeks. Get another copy of the doctor's paperwork and write a letter with it so they don't think you're trying to fraudulently double-submit.

E.C. said...

Sounds like you have things well planned out.

I must admit, when I read your title I thought about panicking over the electromagnetic theory course that's currently taking over my life.

Shuchong said...

Err.. hi! I just wanted to say that I found your blog a few days ago, and I've been going through the tags here and there, and enjoying it very much in a nerdy financial sort of way.

And that is why, while you definitely have a right to flail (don't you love it when the world seems to conspire against you?), I have no doubt that you'll weather this without too much trouble. All that I've read in the past few days indicates you have a good amount of persistence and determination.

Kudos to you, and I wish you the best.

Kim said...

Recipe for the special ricotta cheesecake please? :-)

SavingDiva said...

Good luck! It sounds like you have everything under control. I know how you feel when a large group of random expenses comes your way...but remember this is why you save. Take a deep breath and use your savings to cover anything that you can't cover with your pay checks.