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Conflicting Priorities

May 26th, 2017 at 04:56 am

I need some advice...

I got approval from my company for reimbursement of that certification that I want to go for. The issue is that I have to pay for it upfront. There are two costs associated with this certification. The prep materials are $265 and the exam fee is $550. My plan is to get the materials, prep for a month, and then sit for the exam. I only get reimbursed if/when I pass the certification. (Side note: I took a practice exam with zero prep regarding terms/formulas and using only my experience and scored 50%. I need 85% to pass. I'm fully confident that once I review the materials, I will pass the first time.)

There are several ways I could go about this:

A) Credit card now, pay it off in June before the statement even closes since this card just closed. (This option would entail delaying the Mariner Loan payoff as I would be using those funds to cover the credit card payment. I would then pay the Mariner Loan with the reimbursement or the following month if I should happen not to pass. The pro to this option would be that I could start prepping immediately. The con is that I'm trying to stay away from credit cards until I'm confident that I can use them responsibly.)

B) Buy materials with cash. (This would delay my start time as I wouldn't be able to purchase them until my 6/7 paycheck. Even then, I would be taking the cash from our account and again paying it back with the money designated for the Mariner Loan payoff from my second paycheck.)

C) Wait it out and see what happens. (My brother is now living with us. We are giving him some time to adjust to living on his own and told him to pay us as he could the next few months. Those payments were slated to be split between debt and savings, but I could use the first payment or two to pay the certification costs, and then designate the reimbursements to savings. The con to this one is that I'm not sure when he will be able to start contributing which would again delay my start time.)

Any thoughts?

One other thought...while there are free prep materials out there, this particular certification requires a certain number of instruction hours. Those can only be achieved through classroom, online, or podcasts created by certain providers. The $265 prep materials were the cheapest I could find since I was uncertain that my company would pay $2000 for a certification that is somewhat beyond my reach. (It's a certification that requires experience in a position that I've never officially held.)

3 Responses to “Conflicting Priorities”

  1. Dido Says:

    You seem motivated now, so I'd go for it now. Give yourself a rule: use the credit card only when expecting reimbursement, and not otherwise. I'd put it on the CC and pay off--seems like you'll be delaying that extra loan payment in most cases--but if this certification helps you get a promo/good review at work, it's worth it. I know that in changing careers myself, my career didn't really take off until I had my certification. Think of it as an investment in your human capital and not as an expense. My two cents.

  2. creditcardfree Says:

    I don't entirely disagree with Dido. However here is another thought. Learning to live without debt and credit card payments does take discipline. This is something that you can save for in the short term, which is just two weeks. It's not an emergency situation, which is what credit cards should be viewed as while you are paying off debt. (If you read my blog, you know we do use credit cards, but they are used like a debit card, paying them off in full twice a month when we are paid.)

    How quickly will you get a raise or a promotion after passing the certification? Will waiting two weeks when you have cash on hand effect your promotion and raise significantly.

    Again, it's not wrong to use the credit card, but waiting the two weeks is a good exercise in using your financial patience muscles. Smile

  3. rob62521 Says:

    I agree with both DIdo and CCF...I wouldn't wait a super long time. If waiting two weeks is workable, then that's the way I would go,but if not, then if you will get the promotion or raise soon, then I would most certainly go for it as soon as possible and earmark any extra money to pay stuff off.

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