Waylaying Worries

by Kelly · 15 comments

in Thoughts On Frugality

It’s been a pretty stressful last few months for all of us lately, and by all of us I mean everybody who is affected by the financial state of affairs. From rising gas prices to falling home values, to layoffs here and cutbacks there, this is a pretty unsettling time, money wise. My reaction is to hunker down and wait for the storm to pass, to gather my children close and conserve our resources as best I can, buying as little as possible. But of course sometimes even that doesn’t work. The kids need new shoes, or we have to go to the doctors. The car needs new tires, or even worse, a new transmission. Not to mention that the holidays are looming.

I’ve also been worrying about other stuff lately. That I’ll never be able to find a job after I graduate, and have to go back to a job I don’t like which doesn’t pay me enough to cover childcare. That the car will die. That we will live in debt for the rest of our lives. That we will get kicked out of our house. That my children will live deprived childhoods due to our lack of ability to buy them stuff. That the cats will eat us out of house and home- if the kids don’t get there first. That I’ll never be able to afford another Starbucks’ latte again (not that there are any Starbucks where I live to begin with, but still).

Whine, whine, whine. I’ll bring out the cheese now.

Although I’m worried about all these things, I try not to let them affect me… too much. I can’t do anything really to delay or avoid them happening anyway. I can only try to prepare as best I can.

So, I’m putting a little bit of money away every month, to rebuild our emergency fund. If we do have to pay for a new car or a new transmission (and for the moment everything is running smoothly), then we’ll still have to take out a loan. I won’t be able to save enough to pay for it in cash. But that doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t save at all. An emergency fund is still a savings account after all, and a little bit is better than nothing. Not to mention the psychological satisfaction that comes from being able to tuck away a little bit of money. I feel like I’m making a difference.

I’ve also changed our medical reimbursements so that they go directly into the ING savings account. After all, this is money that we already paid (to a doctor or pharmacy), and the reimbursements always felt like free, found money. Automating my savings helps me feel even more secure. And I have a few checks from blogging income and Etsy (albeit small ones) that will also be deposited directly into the emergency fund. As I wasn’t counting on this money as part of our monthly budget, it makes little difference if it hits our main account or not. Not to mention that I can always transfer money back if I really need to do so.

I know that there are many positions to be argued as to whether or not debt should be paid off before beginning to save- if you should climb out of the negative hole you’re in before trying to tuck money aside. For me, however, this little bit extra every month, helps keep me from being so worried. That’s money well spent.

And you? What are you worried about?


1 Emma December 8, 2008

I too believe in saving and we have an emergency fund. It does help to feel better and more confident about the future if you know that no matter what your family won’t be left hungry for the next X weeks. I know a lot of people who have debt and still are saving.

And of course there is always this “what if i lose my income” worry. One thing that I’ve learned from my friend Chris is that when the economy is in slow-down, working two part-time jobs is better than one full time job, because even if they are letting people go at one job, you’ll still have the half income from another (http://www.homeiown.com/household-survival-tips-ho-to-make-and-save-more-money/).

Another confidence builder for me is my past. The more tough times I have seen, the more confident I am in my ability to “figure something out” and get through it.

Emma´s last blog post..Switching a baby from formula to cow’s milk – all questions answered

2 Emily December 8, 2008

Kelly, we’re in the same boat you are. Our business is failing, our home is about to go into foreclosure. All I can say is, all the worrying in the world won’t change things. Or, maybe, it’ll change things only in your health. Find something that relaxes you, be it faith, exercise, reading, whatever. Please don’t shorten your life by stressing…your family’s going to need you for a bunch more years!

Emily´s last blog post..Eating Healthy on a Tightwad’s Budget

3 Lucie @ Unconventional Origins December 8, 2008

I think you summed up my worries quite well. I am worried that I will never get a job after graduation, that our student loan payments will be so much we can’t afford a decent home to live in (rent or buy), that we will never have enough money to be able to easily visit our sons who do not live with us, that we will never have a savings account, that I will not work out some of these hospital bills with the insurance company and I will get turned into debt collection . . . the worries go on and on!

I do, however, try to be proactive about these worries and not let them affect my family too much, no matter how good it feels to whine about it 🙂

Lucie @ Unconventional Origins´s last blog post..Tapping the Gold Mine – Reader Questions

4 Lucie @ Unconventional Origins December 8, 2008

PS: Emily – I really hope things get better. I think you have the right attitude about worrying! Kelly I hope things get better for you as well!

Lucie @ Unconventional Origins´s last blog post..Tapping the Gold Mine – Reader Questions

5 Nicki December 8, 2008

Yeah, you’re in a boat full of people with this one. I worry we’ll never be able to get out of the debt hole we’ve dug. I worry something huge will break that we can’t afford to fix (already happened with the furnace) … etc. I worry about affording opportunities for my daughter in the future. But Emily is right, no amount of worrying changes anything. I have to choose to be peaceful because a worrisome Mom isn’t helping anyone. I choose to be strong and put emphasis on what’s important and lasting. Great post.

Nicki´s last blog post..Reflecting on Peace

6 jodi @ bpr December 8, 2008

Definitely keep tucking that $$ away – we went with the Dave Ramsey plan…$1000 starter emergency fund and then eliminate all debt except the house. Having that $1K in the bank gave us great confidence that if something did go wrong (water heater die, blow a tire, etc), we could cover it without going deeper into debt. Saving it also seemed to help our mindset more and made it easier to pay off debt when we got to that step.

After we were out of debt, except for our house, we attacked our real emergency fund – Dave recommends 3-6 months expenses. We own our own business, so we opted for a heftier emergency fund…it gives me a lot of peace of mind in an economy like this when no one knows for certain what is around the corner.

Our business is at a bit of a crossroads right now…and we’re not sure what it will look like in 6 months…we have a 2 year old and a baby due in Jan – but because we’ve been able to make these financial preparations in the past, I’m not worried about finances at all right now, and that is a true blessing! I would so encourage everybody to work on saving, to cut out the unnecessaries and to really evaluate what you “need” to live a happy, simple life. For us, making some of those changes in the past made a huge difference that continues to pay off today!

jodi @ bpr´s last blog post..Christmas Planning – 2 Weeks & Counting

7 Sarah H. December 8, 2008

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I’m trying not to worry too much and am hoping I can go on living life fairly normally as this storm passes. But every once and while I wonder if all these hard economic times will hit our family in the way it has hit others. The best we can do is continue to live frugally, spend responsibly, and save.

Sarah H.´s last blog post..Houseplant Hacks – Seven money-saving tips when buying houseplant supplies

8 gic December 8, 2008

Dear Kelly,

Just put your worry dolls under your pillow and let them do their job 🙂 and in the meantime think that you have achieved a lot of things in life and many more achievements will follow. At least this is what I do, and it works..

9 Kelly December 8, 2008

It seems like we’re a pretty even mix of those who are in the midst of it, and those who have come out on the other side. It’s nice to hear encouraging words- it keeps those who aren’t quite sure they’ll make it going strong.

10 barb December 9, 2008

Aside-Isn’t healthcare in France paid for through taxes? How come you’re having to pay?

Automatic deposits and online banking have helped me a lot. Good luck!

11 Kelly December 9, 2008


Healthcare is paid for here, at least 65%. But, we front the costs and then are reimbursed. For example, when I go to see my doctor, it costs me €22 (that’s all she receives, but for a specialist it costs more). I pay her, and then the government reimburses me €17 and my private insurance reimburses me €5. The same proportions work out for everything, except things like emergency services or children’s well visits are reimbursed at 100%. When I have a prescription for a medicine, I don’t even have to front the costs at the pharmacy either.

There are problems with the system, to be sure, but it’s a wonderful system from the point of view of the consumer. I love not having to worry about paying for healthcare.

I have more posts on healthcare in France here:

12 Courtney December 9, 2008

I completely agree…you have to do what works for you and your family. Having some savings, even if you still have debt, helps you to worry less and feel more secure, so money well spent, indeed!

Courtney´s last blog post..Shopping is boring…unless you have shoelaces

13 Ali December 9, 2008

I would consider myself the queen of worrying. Even before any of the bad economy stuff came to light I was always afraid that something would happen to the car (my #1 fear) or hubby or I would get sick or lose our jobs or whatever. We have some manageable debt and a ton of school loans as we are both still in school, but I can mostly live with that stuff. I have a few bucks saved up now “just in case” and having that money as a safety net makes all the difference. It reallt isn’t enough and I wish that it was more, but knowing that we can handle little emergencies here and there really makes all the difference. -Ali

Ali´s last blog post..Holiday Eating

14 Anna G. December 9, 2008

Things I worry about: that my fiancé’s temp position won’t turn into a full time job, that we won’t be able to afford our student loan payments when our forbearance runs out, that we’ll live in a tiny one bedroom apartment with our now 4 month old daughter forever, that a medical crisis will arrive and we don’t have medical insurance… pretty much anything that has to do with money.

I love the Guatemalan worry dolls! A friend bought me some when she visited Mexico 11 years ago. I haven’t used them since I was 15, but I think it may be time to dig them out again.

15 barb December 14, 2008

Thanks Kelly, I'll take a look at the sites. That little bit of info makes me want to move to France, unless Obama and Congress are able to make some significant changes here soon.

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