Penny Wise…

Back in August I managed to chip a tooth. I’ve always been the sort of person to try avoiding debt whenever I can. I typically keep my credit card balance at zero and try to pay down any loans I do have faster than the bare minimum. Because of all the medical expenses and other financial difficulties (and the realities of working for a startup), I decided to wait a bit until I could afford to get the tooth fixed.

Stupid mistake.

I finally changed my mind and decided to put the tooth repair on a credit card, short-term, and then roll it into a loan with the other medical bills relating to that spider bite and Tiff’s pregnancy at some point before the interest rate picks up. Unfortunately it was too late by then. The nerve was infected, and now I get to have root canal therapy done on the tooth. Had I nipped it in the bud immediately, it would likely have been no worse than my second chipped tooth (that I chipped last month and got repaired today), which only cost about $100 to repair. Now I get to pay $150 for the initial filling, $800-1000 for the root canal, and another $800-850 for a crown. What should’ve been about $350 total for both teeth and the checkup is now going to set me back over $2k in debt…

Moral of the story is, even if you’re trying to be frugal and live within your means, there are some situations where a little temporary debt can help you avoid a huge amount of debt later. Most of you probably already knew that though.

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Jonathan Goff

Jonathan Goff

President/CEO at Altius Space Machines
Jonathan Goff is a space technologist, inventor, and serial space entrepreneur who created the Selenian Boondocks blog. Jon was a co-founder of Masten Space Systems, and the founder and CEO of Altius Space Machines, a space robotics startup that he sold to Voyager Space in 2019. Jonathan is currently the Product Strategy Lead for the space station startup Gravitics. His family includes his wife, Tiffany, and five boys: Jarom (deceased), Jonathan, James, Peter, and Andrew. Jon has a BS in Manufacturing Engineering (1999) and an MS in Mechanical Engineering (2007) from Brigham Young University, and served an LDS proselytizing mission in Olongapo, Philippines from 2000-2002.
Jonathan Goff

About Jonathan Goff

Jonathan Goff is a space technologist, inventor, and serial space entrepreneur who created the Selenian Boondocks blog. Jon was a co-founder of Masten Space Systems, and the founder and CEO of Altius Space Machines, a space robotics startup that he sold to Voyager Space in 2019. Jonathan is currently the Product Strategy Lead for the space station startup Gravitics. His family includes his wife, Tiffany, and five boys: Jarom (deceased), Jonathan, James, Peter, and Andrew. Jon has a BS in Manufacturing Engineering (1999) and an MS in Mechanical Engineering (2007) from Brigham Young University, and served an LDS proselytizing mission in Olongapo, Philippines from 2000-2002.
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2 Responses to Penny Wise…

  1. Habitat Hermit says:

    *cough* not for me to interfere in your personal economics but as I’m not an US citizen I’ve got to ask: isn’t your debts at least partly “tax-deductable”? (Or to that effect). While I couldn’t be more supportive of living frugally I think paying down debt in advance might not always be a money-saving option.

    Anyway, hope it all works out 🙂

  2. Anonymous says:

    If you need a source of a loan at better and less risky terms than you are likely to get with most credit cards, you might consider using http://www.prosper.com/ Credit cards are a risky form of debt because most of them have clauses that let them jack up your rate wildly at the least excuse. Hell, if you decide to go through Prosper you might even be able to get some of your blog readership to signup as lenders and fund pieces of your loan at very favorable terms. Everyone wins.

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