Would You Buy These Plane Tickets Today?

I’m going to Nerdcon: Stories in October, which means I need to be in Minneapolis by the evening of Thursday, October 8.

I have not yet purchased my plane tickets.

Here are my current financial priorities:

1) Pay the $500 holding deposit and the $1,990 first/last rent on my new apartment. (I already did this one, so let’s mark it COMPLETE.)

2) Return $1,000 to my savings account to make up for what I took out to pay the first/last/deposit. I pulled $1,500 out of my savings for this, and I’ll be happy if I can return an extra $1,000 back to savings, in addition to adding the usual 10 percent of my monthly earnings. (This goal is IN PROGRESS.)

With these two goals, I won’t realistically have enough cash to buy plane tickets to Minneapolis until around October 1. Right now, I can get great flights, non-stop, for $256.20. Will they still be around on October 1 at that price? Who knows.

Here is the argument that is going on in my brain right now:

— If I buy these tickets, I will either need to use a credit card or money that I’ve already marked for my savings account.

— Yes, this is exactly what both of these items are for. I could put the tickets on my credit card and pay myself back on October 1 when I get more cash in my flow. Or I could buy the tickets now and put more money in my savings account on October 1, instead of immediately diverting all extra cash towards savings to make up that $1,000.

— It would be perfectly reasonable and financially sensible to do either of these things. It would be financially foolish to wait a few more weeks and pay an extra $100 or more on plane tickets.

And yet my brain (and my emotions) are telling me to wait, because what if something happens.

What if I don’t get the paychecks I’m expecting? What if I put $256.20 on my credit card and then something happens and I can’t pay it back, and then I start creeping into credit card debt again? What if I don’t put $1,000 back in savings, and then an emergency comes up that can only be solved with cash, and I don’t have enough cash to solve it?

This is another one of my personal financial vices. When you’ve been working at paying down your debt, taking out any new debt seems like the biggest possible financial mistake, even if you have every expectation of being able to pay it off at the end of the month, and even if it will save you $100 or more.

I want to pay cash for everything, because then it’s paid for and I won’t have to worry about what might happen to prevent me from paying for it later.

What about you? Would you buy these plane tickets today? Would you use the credit card, or the money that you planned to put in your savings account? Or would you wait until you had cash that wasn’t already budgeted towards something else?

This piece is part of a series examining our financial vices.

Photo credit: thejaan

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