When the “Stuff” Hits the Fan: Do You Have the Finances to Pull Through?

Twenty-sixteen has been another rough year in our household.

I’ve had gastric issues come to a point that I had to have “Plumbing” work done this week.

Selena’s dad lost his battle with Alzheimers a week ago and we had to spend time on the road to be with him and family before he passed and when he did.

We weren’t up on how our investments would affect our 2014 taxes and have been hit with a large back tax payment.

Selena’s transmission went out in her car and had to be replaced.

I tore up the tractor and had to spend to get it back in order.

Despite all this, we’ve not taken on any more debt because through the years we’ve stashed enough money back to cover all these costs and some. Twenty years ago we’d be in the hole, but we learned back then to start socking money away.  This has been one of the few years that I haven’t fretted about our finances.  It’s been quite soothing, knowing that we have money enough to cover all these expenses.

At a time when the stress could really be worse, it hasn’t been because of lack of money.  I TOTALLY understand about having an emergency fund.  It’s a shame that others haven’t figured this out yet.

This year is also been interesting in that I took out a new credit card.  Now for somebody who has been preaching about not using credit cards, this might sound hypocritical, but let me explain.

David Carlson, of Young Adult Money, wrote a blog post about “Debitize“, a service that one ties to a credit card so each purchase is pulled from the bank account to make the payment, thus the credit card works like a debit card, so I got “Debitized.”  On top of that, my new card earns money back.  In fact, in buying Selena’s new transmission I met the $500 in purchases in 90 days to earn $100 dollars cash back.  Pretty cool I think.

Now, I must emphasize that a credit card is not an emergency fund unless there are funds in the bank to immediately pay off the expenses. If there are not, then the credit card is just another debt builder.

So, how does one go about setting up an emergency fund? The easiest way is by auto-drafting funds into a special account. As emergency funds are for just that, it is recommended that these funds be put into an account that cannot be easily accessed, thus preventing pulling out funds for non-emergency use.

Smarty Pig is an excellent place to put money. Although I don’t have a Smarty Pig account, I have read many good things about the system and have a former student who ia now using Smarty Pig and says it’s great. I shared Smarty Pig with her a while back and she said it was easy to set up, and she really likes seeing her balances grow.

Despite all the chaos of 2016, I’m more “Even Keeled” than I’ve been in the past. I owe this to the financial knowledge that I’ve gained over the years and what we’ve put in place, especially the Emergency Fund. It’s amazing the information that’s out there and what one can do with it.

Yeppers, we’re SO glad that we put an emergency fund together and have made a point to stash money back over the years.

How about you?  How’s your Emergency Fund, Savings, and Investing going?