Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Money Decisions for December... Again

Sooo.... guess who got a rather handsome Christmas bonus?

Actually, it isn't a Christmas bonus per se'. My company offers profit sharing. They split the year end profit sharing into two checks - one that you get before Christmas to help with the holiday shopping, and one they give out in January - after the books are closed and the actual figures are known. It is an extraordinarily nice benefit, and you can see it made a big impact on last's years numbers as well. (Please note that not all the money you see in the sidebar is from the bonus though, some was from my freelance work and I have had some nice book & DVD sales. I even sold Night Slave!)

Now... what to do with it? The obvious thing is to pay down my debt. I still owe my Mom for the loan she gave me for finishing painting the house. In fact, $350 of the money in my sidebar there has already been sent to her. It's a bit tricky though. When she gave me the money, she was so incredibly sweet about it. She told me she wasn't going to charge interest and I could just pay her back $20 or $30 whenever I had it. She also said she wanted me to keep track of it, and she wasn't going to worry about it one bit. Isn't that nice?? But, if you've been reading my blog for awhile, you know that isn't how I work. With each check I've been getting from my part time jobs, I've been saving a little of it for my emergency fund and giving mom the rest. So far, I have sent her $800 - two $350 checks and one $100 check. Each time she gets one, she tells me how hard it is for her to take my money since she knows how hard I work for it. She's such a dear.

So, I owe her $1900 yet. I could turn around and just pay her off. It is probably what I should do, but for some reason, I am hesitating...

Part of it is what Mom has been saying about how she feels about cashing those checks. It makes her feel bad. She is well aware that it is a loan and I am simply paying her back, but she wasn't expecting big lump sums. If she has a problem with $350, imagine how she'd feel with a $1900 check!?! I'm not sure she'd believe me that it really was okay.

But, that's not the only thing... there is something else, and I don't know how to describe it. When I get money like this, my impulse is always to split it up a bit - make the most out of it. If you look at the post I wrote about last year's bonus, you'll see I split it up. My current urge is to take a portion of my bonus and send it to Mom as a repayment, take another portion and put it in my emergency fund and a final portion and invest in one of my larger home improvement projects. I keep thinking that I could send her another $400 - $500 now, and then kind of pace it out over the month. That will still be a lot for her to take, but I think she'll do it. Then again, maybe this is selfish, I don't know. I originally really wanted to pay her back before Christmas, and this would let me do it. Yet at the same time, my range hood microwave hasn't worked in 6 months, and there are a lot of good deals right now. For a couple hundred bucks I could have that fixed finally. Or perhaps get a bed that doesn't hurt my back, since I have been sleeping without a box spring for 18 months.

On the other hand, it isn't like this is the only money I'll be getting. I'm working a ton of shifts at the part time job through December, and I should be getting another profit sharing check in January. (That one will most likely be a bit less. It usually is.)
It is a strange thing. How come when I get a $400, I can fairly easily turn around and send Mom $350 of it, but once the money coming in gets over that $1,000 mark, I can't do the same? It must have to do with large numbers - it has to. I have to have some kind of block or something. Whatever the reason, it is how I feel. And I guess the reasons don't have to be logical. I am an extremely logical person - who is known for looking logic in the face and doing the exact opposite. I mean, deciding to get $900 a month over your income to keep not one, but two homes, is not at all logical - yet I did it.

So what to do? Follow my head, which says just pay mom back in full or follow my gut which says do it a little at a time? The good news is, I don't have to decide now. I send out my checks through online bill pay, so it doesn't cost me a thing - not even a stamp - to cut multiple checks. I can send out what I am comfortable with now, then see how I feel throughout the rest of the month.

Photo by: _ES
via flickr

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