Here is my situation: I paid a lot in out of pocket medical/dental costs this year (more than $5K) I still need about $2K in dental work. I do not have the cash on hand to do it. But, if I get it this year, I can deduct it from my income tax (I think). I can do it with a no-interest balance transfer ($88 transfer fee) on a credit card. Is it worth it? Or am I better off waiting and doing it when I have the cash?

Possibly irrelevant financially, but personally significant: I have a missing bicuspid that makes me self conscious, and as I am unemployed and searching for a job, I feel it doesn't help me put my best foot forward at interviews.

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    "What should I choose" questions are a bad fit for SE -- they usually wind up having to be too specific to the individual, and really you know your situation and priorities better than we can. – keshlam Nov 29 '15 at 23:20
  • To clarify, I'm looking for assistance with the cost benefit analysis. What I mean is, which is financially a better decision? Possibly I should have left out the subjective information about my job search and missing tooth. I really dislike the idea of taking on debt, but since I would have something like 18 months interest free to pay it back and it could increase my income tax return, maybe this is the best time to do it? I guess one reason I'm asking is if maybe I'm overlooking something in these considerations. – SarahM Nov 30 '15 at 3:06
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    Tax questions require a country tag. – Chris W. Rea Nov 30 '15 at 23:24

To deduct medical expenses (in the US), your expenses must first be reduced by 10% of your AGI. So a $30K earner can only deduct expenses over $3K, for example. Then, the deduction is added to your other itemized deductions, and it's only taken if it exceeds the standard deduction, $6300 for a single person. In the end, you need to do the math and see is the savings is worth it. If the tooth makes you self conscious or insecure, it may be worth every cent to do it ASAP.

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Never borrow money to get a tax deduction. Even 18 months interest free is a stupid risk to save a few $ in taxes (we're talking $1K or less in tax savings from what I can tell in your questions).

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  • See my answer. Say she's in the 15% bracket and this year, from the current expenses, the $2K is fully deductible. She'd save $300 doing it now, vs the $88 cost to borrow. For a sofa, or big TV, I'd say "no way." In this case, I put my 'numbers' hat aside and consider the emotional distress this causes her. The confidence a smile brings far outweighs the cost. In any other circumstance, I'd agree with you 200%. – JTP - Apologise to Monica Dec 1 '15 at 22:13

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