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?