I definitely vote to use the credit card, this is what they're there for. If you're worried about racking up a balance again, and even just paying it off this month makes you nervous, maybe just pay off the balance as soon as your next freelance check clears. I only have one card I use, but it definitely lets me make payments at any time, so I assume most/all credit cards would let you do that.
@aetataureate I get the sense that the LW doesn't know the answer to that question at this point, and given this line I think the parents might not either: "They are in the very early stages of looking at houses and my dad was the one who approached me with this in passing. He can be a foot-in-mouth kinda guy. I’m sure if my mom had been there she would have shut him up until they had figured everything out first." My conclusion is that this was a request that was not very well thought through on the Dad's end, and unsurprisingly the consequence of that is confusion/discomfort/some resentment by the LW. Once the parents move past the exploratory phase, I hope it will be possible for them to come to an arrangement that works for everyone, so long as the lines of communication are a bit more open. This is what I would advise the LW: immediately start figuring out how much it will cost you to get your own place. Think about how much of a nest egg you would be comfortable having in savings, but try to be very honest about this, letting go of the idea that you are entitled to keeping the full $8k, since it seems clear that, fairly or not, your parents do expect you to financially help them now in exchange for the generous support you’ve received over the years. Then, once you have a number in mind for how much you’re comfortable contributing, talk this over with both of your parents together, but make it very clear what kind of support (if any) you’re prepared to give them in the future. Hopefully this will mean they can make sure they don’t lock themselves into a retirement lifestyle they can’t support, and will avoid a repeat of this scenario a few years. Easier said than done, but good luck!
@LookUponMyWorks Yeah, something is just not quite adding up. I am theoretically very in favor of the LW financially contributing to their parents, given all the extra support they've received. But I can't quite wrap my head around why the parents are making this particular request. It seems like if they were able to finance at least one, possibly two kids college educations outright, and are thinking of buying a second house to retire in, then it seems odd that $10,000 would make a meaningful difference to them. I know it's not chump change, but $10k really isn't that much in terms of funding a retirement.
@fletchasketch Yeah, I am guessing she meant that she had a bunch of interest accrued from when she wasn't paying it down that wasn't capitalized, and that she has now paid off that balance. The statement about not having any more incentive to pay it down quickly doesn't make sense to me, though, since it really doesn't matter if the balance is from the principal or from accrued interest.
The last few weeks have been so filled with mildly unpleasant grown-up tasks that I have been thinking a lot about this comment from a Do-1-Thing that clearly resonated with me since I still remember it over two years later: http://thebillfold.com/2013/02/im-a-slave-4-that-1-thing/#comment-34356 Anyways, I devoted a whole day to dealing with this type of stuff a week from last Sunday, and have been steadily working on additional tasks since then, and I STILL have so many left. Yesterday I finally did the one I was dreading the most, which was to email my company’s accounting department to confirm that nope, the form I submitted to change my tax withholding when I moved states last June definitely did not go through. (I should have noticed this at the time, but in my defense my address got updated on my paystub so I assumed this meant the withholding was changed at the same time.) Today my one thing was to re-submit that form, and this weekend my one thing will be to deal with the mess that is figuring out my two state tax returns (I already did federal, which was when I discovered the problem.)
I spent so much on stuff I didn't need this weekend, which often happens when I come off of a really intense period at work since I a. get used to expensing lots of takeout/cabs, and b. make a lot of excuses about not wasting my precious recovery time on responsible things like grocery shopping. Total damage $152: - $50 on impulse online shopping while I was waiting around at work late Friday night (both items from Jane Marie's Friday discount post, I'm happy she's doing them again but my wallet is less happy.) Dinner and cab home that night will get expensed. - $20 on takeout lunch and dinner on Saturday - $20 on cupcakes and $15 on prosecco to bring to a friend's birthday - I rarely do stuff like this, and it felt good to splurge a little on someone else. - $22 on ubers both to and from said birthday, surge pricing both ways. The one there was totally avoidable if I had planned a little better. Cringe. - $25 on takeout lunch/dinner Sunday.
@Erica Agreed, I almost always have the opposite problem, where I crave McD hashbrowns for hangover food, but rarely can drag myself out of the house to get there in time.
@JaneA This tutorial recommends sewing in hooks and eyes in between the buttons as an alternative to the safety pin method - I don't honestly think I will ever get around to actually implementing it, but I love the idea: http://thehairpin.com/2011/09/a-femmes-guide-to-improvement-couture-hacks
@thisisatest He mentions paying off the student loans with the year-end bonuses over the next few years, so I think it makes sense that he is treating them as lump-sum windfalls, rather than as part of regular income in his monthly budget. My case isn't quite as extreme as his, but that's definitely how I do the mental accounting. If you make a base salary that is more than enough to live comfortably, it's an obvious way to avoid lifestyle inflation, and instead focus the money on big-picture goals like debt reduction, big purchases, savings, etc.
@aetataureate Yes, I would second the idea that differences in curriculum at the high school level is somewhat important. My boyfriend and I both majored in Math at the same college, but I started out two semesters ahead because of my private high school's math offerings compared to his public school curriculum. He was able to overcome this, but he was very frustrated about feeling so far behind and like he had to play catch up in both math and physics compared to some of our peers who were even more far ahead. It's probably not a dealbreaker and there are tons of other factors to consider, but I definitely think it's something to at least think about when making the decision.