I’ve always been a great saver. Once I put money “away,” it generally stays put. I’m a little obsessive/compulsive in that regard. I have designated accounts for “my next car,” “my next big trip,” “my next book printing,” “my next Christmas party” “my insurance co-pays,” and so forth.
And looking back on September, it’s a good thing I’m wired that way. For the most part, the various accounts have been gutted, but at least I’m not nose-deep in debt. Painful but necessary, I had to “put on my big-girl panties” and deal with a great deal of financial stress coming at me all at once.
It started calmly enough: I had budgeted my “Back from Obesity” book printing and laid down the expected $3,000. But the next week, I scraped my beloved mustang’s fender against the damned cement columns in the VA Hospital’s impossibly small-spaced parking garage, and there went another $1,000 for repairs.
Since Rick can neither get in or out of my mustang until his sternum heals, I decided it was time for me to buy a second vehicle—something I could later use for book bazaars and taking my bike to the beach and bringing home the Christmas tree.
A friend found me a “reasonably-priced” older mini-van, but by the time I did all the needed belts, pumps, tie-rods, tune-up, radiator replacement, EGR valves, license, insurance, rust and roof repairs, plus tires, I had suddenly spent a whopping $4,000 on a 20-year-old vehicle.
Daily commuter gas to the hospital and cafeteria food put another $1,000 dent in my savings. Add in another $1,000 to “ready” Rick’s home for his new LVAD life. From lift chairs to life flights, it all adds up!
Half my property tax bill was another $1,000. Putting winter tires on the mustang, yet another $1,000 bill. And then—the sprinkles on the frosting of the cupcake of my ever-looming bankruptcy—then I tried to download or update or whatever it’s called, OS8 to my iPad. And my iPad said, “Not going to do that” and went tits up. Yes, tits up! Not even my techno-wizard Rick could fix it! The Apple store where I had to take it insisted it was a hardware, not software problem, and I ended up plunking down a very thin credit card to cover the “replacement device” charge of $299, because of course the warranty had expired.
Total it up, and I did something I have never done before: I blew right by $12,000 in a single month, and my ledger tipped precariously toward the red zone.
So what to do about it? Well, for one, I can be grateful I was raised to be a great saver. I had the money. Darn thing is, there’s not a lot left “for emergencies” and I’m pretty nervous about it. Right now, I’m planning to financially recover from all this over the next couple years, provided nothing else crops up. Do you HEAR ME, Universe? NOTHING ELSE!
Meanwhile, anybody wanna buy a book?