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My pal in times of need

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There’s something I hate to do more than paying bills with a credit card, and that’s taking money out of savings to cover slow periods in my business.

I got an email through my website commenting on Tuesday’s blog on paying bills with credit when business was slow, asking why I didn’t “simply pull it out of savings.” Not sure how he lives or runs his business, but taking money out of savings is never simple, at least not for me.

To begin with, our household savings account is almost nonexistent courtesy of my last full-time employer. After moving halfway across the country for the job, they changed their minds after a year, leaving us in the lurch. Our savings account has never recovered, and since then I protect what little we’ve managed to put back in with a ferocity rivaling that of the guards at Ft. Knox. Sure, if I absolutely, positively have to, I’ll pull out some funds but it has to be a near emergency to do so.

Instead, I have a different kind of rainy day account of a sort. I’ve used PayPal for more than a decade as a safe means of buying things online, but a couple of years ago I started doing some occasional online work for a company that pays me through PayPal. The income from that source is extremely variable – some months see almost nothing, while other months can be lucrative. The point is that I don’t consider that to be regular income. And while the money going into PayPal is tallied on a 1099 from that company and figures normally into my yearly income, it doesn’t show up on our regular bank accounts on a day-to-day basis. As such, I tend not to think about it and there’s typically at least a couple hundred bucks sitting there at any given time.

So, as the need arises I may still rely on a credit card to pay a bill during slow business, but I can turn to that little PayPal fund first. As a result, it’s a great stopgap measure that bumps pulling money out of savings a significant notch farther down the list.



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