When Paying Taxes Leaves You Temporarily Broke
Thanks to a big check coming in my direction at the right time (literally, it hit my bank account yesterday morning), I was able to make my 2014 tax payment of $5,443 and my recommended 2015 estimated tax payment of $2,100.
Otherwise, I would have probably made a partial estimated tax payment now, caught up in June, and waited to see if I would owe penalties or interest.
If both checks were to clear at exactly this second, I would have $61.51 left in my bank account. They probably won’t clear for a few days, maybe a week, maybe two, and by then I should have another $2,700 in my bank account as more freelance payments come my way.
In fact, I am likely to have the first of these payments hit my bank account tomorrow.
And yet I am still putting everything I buy this week on a credit card.
(I can’t get out of buying things this week; I’m on a plane headed to FilkONtario, so it’s not like I can hole up in my apartment and eat Wheat Thins and play No Spend Wednesday.)
Here are my emotional responses to this, in order:
1. Who cares? You’ll get paid, you’ll pay it off, life goes on.
2. But you promised yourself you wouldn’t put any more things on credit cards. YOU PROMISED.
3. You know you could have put that airplane Wi-Fi payment on debit and it would probably be okay.
4. This is what credit cards are for! To cover you when—
5. No, no, that is what you said before when you had no money and now you have debt and you PROMISED YOURSELF—
6. But what if that payment you’re expecting doesn’t arrive before the IRS deposits your checks, and you bounce a check to the government? Isn’t this the more financially prudent choice?
7. BUT CREDIT CARDS.
8. But it’s a zero-interest credit card! One that was given to you by your bank! Zero interest through the end of the year! At least you’re not putting it on your high interest Ann Taylor Loft MasterCard.
9. But if I can’t trust myself to have enough money to meet my basic needs, even when I get an unexpected $5,443 and $2,100 tax bill, then it means I can’t feel financially secure, which makes me distrust everything else about my life. Like, maybe I did everything wrong. Maybe life will always be like this, with me not having quite enough money and having to use credit cards to cover the gaps, and no matter how hard I work to pay my debt down there will always be more debt.
10. I should really check Tumblr now. Just to check it. Not so I can stop thinking about this.
There’s always plenty of conversation about whether you should pay your taxes with a credit card, but I’m curious how many other people are in the same boat: putting everything else on a credit card until they get their next paycheck, because they just paid their taxes.
While you discuss that, I’ll be over here checking my Tumblr.