Monday, June 3, 2013

You Need A Savings Account! aka A Dead Car Battery Doesn't Have To Ruin Your Weekend

So...after church on Sunday, Trent really, really, really wanted fried chicken.  He didn't care where, but the fried chicken part was non-negotiable.  After getting ourselves said chicken...this happened....

No, not the fancy truck with the flat tire and AAA service dude.  Scooch over to the little red car in the middle of the truck sandwich.  I got in, turned the key and...nothing.  No sign of life in my car whatsoever.  Apparently Raising Cane's was the place to have car trouble on Sunday!  

My battery was a goner.  Trent looked at the date on it and discovered it was five years old, which I then learned was a life well lived for a car battery.   Two rescue friends, two and a half hours and $180 later, I had myself a new 7 year life battery and a running car.  

And I was juuuust fiiiine about all of it.  

You see folks, there was a time not that long ago when having to suddenly drop $180 on anything would have ruined my weekend.  It would have stressed me out, freaked me out and bummed me out. But now, we have this thing called a healthy savings account balance.  

Oh, we need four new tires all at the same time?   Happy trails.

Car battery totally dies and have to get a new one?  Start your engines.

Husband gets really sick with sinus junk and has to pay three digits for doctor and lots of medicine?   Get well soon babe.

No sweat.  No biggee.  We've got the money stashed away for these very purposes and it's readily available when we need it.  I cannot tell you what a relief this is.  And I cannot stress enough the importance of keeping a savings account.  When things are tight, this is hard.  But here is what I recommend: try.   Even if it is $10 per paycheck that can go to a savings account, do it.  Even if in a few months you have to buy a new tire or a bunch of medicine, that's at least $40 or so less than you would have had to spend.  

Which brings me to an important point: If you work hard to put money into savings and then end up having to actually use it for a legitimate purpose, don't let it bother you that you had to take some out. That is what it is for!  I struggled with this for a while.  We worked hard to gradually build up a nice balance in the account and then the four new tires at once scenario happened.  $400 of our hard earned and diligently saved money, gone.  I kept telling myself "This is what this money is for Anna.  No reason to stress about it because it was there when we needed it and this expense did not throw off our regular cash flow, end up on a credit card or make us eat beans for two weeks.  It's oookaaaay."  And now?  Yeah it stinks to have to deplete savings, but life costs money and since we've got some money stashed away, I don't sweat it when we have to use it.  

So, do you have a savings account?  Do you pout when you have to actually use money from it, like I used to?  Have you ever gone to eat fried chicken and ended up spending almost $200?  


  1. Anna - what else do you use your savings for? I struggle with this, as I have become a stickler for having $1000 in an emergency fund. But, after I hit that $1000, I wonder if you ever use this for entertainment. I noticed that your monthly budget doesn't include a line for entertainment or back-to-school supplies, or clothes for work. So many budgets I've seen have items like this and I have noticed that I get bogged down in those expenses that I don't always need. But recently a show came to town that I wanted to take my nieces to and tickets were about $300 for the four of us. Would you ever do something like this?? Seeing your budget, I don't see a place for this. Don't get me wrong - this is not a regular expense for me. But I want to expose them to things like this at the same time I'm trying to pay off debt and be frugal...Are these things diametrically opposed?

    1. First keep in mind the budget in my posts is a simplified example budget for screenshots. But we don't have a line in our regular personal budget for entertainment either because we just don't really spend money regularly on it. We've got Netflix on our budget but otherwise we don't go to movies or stuff like that regularly. More like never. We don't have kids in school so I don't have school supplies on there on there and we rarely buy clothing, just gradually as needed, so what we normally do with that is pull from my overtime pay I get here and there throughout the year, just stock up when we have extra money available. Your budget should be YOUR budget, so add as many line items as you need to when you are creating your own.

      We absolutely pull from savings sometimes for fun things. We just did for a pool table, which my husband has been wanting to years and we just found a good deal on one from Craigslist so we pulled the money. If you've got a healthy enough savings balance to cover actual emergencies like car or house repairs, for example, then I think it's just fine to pull from the remaining balance for other things that pop up if they are valuable to you. Life is meant to be memorable, though wisely navigated financially, and I totally believe at grasping at opportunities like the show you went to with your nieces. I'd just recommend that you keep building savings as you go, even if you haven't used any of it for a while. Then if fun things come up or you suddenly get a new job and need a new wardrobe entirely or your car needs a big fix, you've got plenty there.