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How I Finally Decided It’s Ok to Spend Money

  August 6

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How I Finally Decided It's Ok To Spend MoneyLast month was the month of the unexpected expenses, y’all. I shared my July budget with you at the beginning of the month, and I promised to give you an update.

Here are the highlights lowlights:

Unexpected Car Expenses

So, the worst thing that happened in July was that we had to fix both our cars. As I have mentioned around the web before, the hubs and I both drive old, high-mileage, but paid for cars.

He drives a 2001 sedan with 190,000 miles on it, and I drive a 2006 SUV with 230,000 miles on it.

This is the third time this year that the SUV needed repairs. Twice it has left me stranded and then this time, it sounded really bad so I brought it in again.

All in all, our cars cost us $1,500 to repair this month. For the first time, in a really long time, I actually had to use my emergency fund instead of cash flowing it.

Unexpected Dog Expenses

Our crazy dog, Julep, started acting really weird. She used the bathroom in the house twice, which in all the 6 years of having her has only happened one time when she was a puppy. This dog is nuts, but she is very potty trained so I started to get worried about her. Then her hair started falling out in big clumps, and I knew I had to take her in for a check up.

She is fine, and I think we concluded dealing with a bit of anxiety and stress now that the kids are running around, taking her toys, and grabbing her tail. I’ve been paying lots of special attention to her and taking her on long walks and she is doing much better. However, her vet visit and updates on her vaccines set me back $350.00.

Unexpected Medical School Expenses

Hubs was supposed to have all of August off, which he was going to use to prepare his residency applications. At the last minute, he got the opportunity to rotate at a different hospital for the month and decided to take it. All of the expenses related to this decision cost me $600.00, and I’ll explain more about this at the end of the month.

So, all in all, we had around $2,500 in expenses that were not on our budget sheet at all in July. We went over in our food budget too because I keep buying packs and packs of produce like raspberries and blueberries for the kids. I have cut back a little bit in August already when it comes to that. They still get all their nice little organic food, but it’s portioned out a little better, i.e. we’re not going through a pack of blueberries a day.

I Feel Ok About Spending Money

You know, it doesn’t feel great that I had to spend $2,500 I wasn’t expecting to in July. It doesn’t feel great that I had to take money out of an emergency fund that has been sitting pretty solid and untouched for a year. But you know what? I am 100% ok with it.

The reason is that there was a time in my life where I would have lost my mind in a panic attack if I had to come up with $2,500. There was a time in my life when my cards got declined at Wal-Mart when I was trying to buy groceries. There was a time when I had $6,000 in credit card debt, a big 50″ plasma TV, and tons of other stuff I didn’t need.

Because of years of minimalism (including going without the TV entirely) and hard work, we didn’t have to stress about those unexpected expenses in July. We had the money sitting right there in our accounts. Would we have liked do something else with it? Yes, absolutely. I can think of about 500 things I’d rather spend $2,500 on, but the fact that we’ve planned enough and built enough of a cushion to take of our family’s needs without going into credit card debt makes me so incredibly happy.

Remember, if you’re in a tough financial situation, I’ve totally been there too and you’re not alone. Take a deep breath, get organized, and make a budget. It only took me a few years to go from being in credit card debt to having a significant cushion. If I can do it, you can too.

How I Finally Decided It's Ok To Spend Money

How did your July go?

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26 responses to “How I Finally Decided It’s Ok to Spend Money

  1. I know sometimes you plan a deteminated buget, but then boom unexected bills, repairs mean a lot of money to spend, but being adult and good with your finances I’m sure that your emergency fund will be great again..

  2. I also used to stress too much over unexpected expenses. Now when this comes up, I have to remind myself that I should be grateful I have the money in savings, and that this is actually what money is for. Of course we’d rather keep it in savings, invest it, or spend it on a vacation. But ultimately, the primarily purpose of money is to meet needs. That’s why it’s okay to spend on these things.

  3. I’ve been there too where I couldn’t cover basic expenses. NSF charges out the wazoo! Tough times I tell you. I know it’s frustrating when you get hit with unexpected expenses, but it sure is awesome when you’re able to cover them and it ain’t no thing =)

  4. I like the feeling of security an e-fun gives us, and do feel a little disappointed when I have to part with money from it, but when the unexpected occurs that’s what’s it there for.

    1. I’m the same way. I get all excited that the emergency fund is healthy, and then get depressed when we actually have to use it. But that’s what it’s there for! Glad you were prepared, Cat. We’ve been on both sides of the equation and the prepared side is so much better. Obvs.

  5. That’s awesome that your in a place where you don’t have to sweat small, unexpected occurrences like this. I also had to do some major car repairs this month, which was a pain but I was thankful that I had the cash to pay for everything.

  6. $2,500 of unexpected expenses is never fun, but it’s great your emergency fund has been untouched for the year so far! Especially with the twins! I can’t imagine how many unexpected expenses must come up for the kids.

  7. Cat, I join you in the unplanned expenses!! for many of the same reasons. Both our cars were in the shop AT THE SAME TIME this week. We spent over $1000 on towing, rentals, and car fixes. Our dishwasher went kaput – which I would do without, if we weren’t trying to sell the house. Our dog ate a year’s worth of heart worm medicine, so that was a fun one. We don’t’ exactly have the money, though. That small, untouched emergency fund was supposed to help me start my new online career. I decided this is just extra motivation to kill it. (and if anyone wants to hire me as your freelance writer so I can pay my bills… [email protected] 😉 )

  8. I’m glad you have a healthy perspective on the emergency fund. For me, I’m generally not this ‘zen’ about the thing. Even though I’m using the fund for its intended purpose, it still feels like a bad thing, as if I magically have the power to avoid emergencies altogether.

    Usually, after some time passes, I can get to the healthy outlook that you did though. Cheers, and glad the pup and cars are okay!

  9. Wow! Sounds like a tiring and expensive July! Great job with staying positive. July was an expensive month for us as we had to pay much more to sell our house than we originally thought. Closing costs kicked our butt.

  10. I remember living paycheck-to-paycheck as well, and it’s hard to believe I’m the same person who has plenty of savings now to draw on if necessary. I think it’s healthy to have that ‘this isn’t great’ feeling but still have the means to pay for these types of expenses as they come up. You’re right in the sweet spot of that pendulum swing.

    But this is also why I don’t like to call the bulk of our savings an emergency fund. I think I have such a strict definition of emergency that I would never allow myself to touch it and then miss out on reasonable spending, like you had this month. We have a very small emergency fund, but then a lot of other savings that is just general.

  11. Unexpected purchases are never good, but you have a fantastic attitude. If you’ve been successful enough to establish an emergency fund you should be proud when you’re able to use it instead of charging the unexpected purchase. These are great examples of why an emergency fund is so critical to build.

  12. Ouch! That’s a tough month, but I’m glad you were able to cover the expenses without worrying too much about them.
    I had a decent month in July. Things have been kind of crazy over here lately since I quit my job, but I think it’s all going to work out. 🙂

  13. That is a rough month for unexpected expenses! We had a $1,300 vet bill when I had to rush my dog to the emergency vet — it hurt *a lot*, but I was at least able to comfort myself knowing that we had the ability to pay for it, and didn’t have to take a chance with her health because of our finances. It’s nice to know you’re able to support these unwelcome, unpredictable expenses.

  14. It’s always a great feeling to be able to have emergency funds to fall back on. Once you get back on your feet, you might consider starting a new vehicle fund. I would feel a little unsafe driving a vehicle with that many miles. I got stranded on the interstate with my 3 children once and that is no fun!

  15. Oh, I can relate! We had to replace a furnace and air conditioner at one of our rental properties, our lawnmower, our water heater, plus have our chimney rebuilt and our air conditioner worked on for $1,100 this summer. Unreal!

  16. So sorry to hear about Julep! Hope she’s doing better now! It always seems like expenses pile on each other all in the same month. But, it’s a real testament to your financial prowess that while it was annoying, it didn’t put you into debt or seriously set you back. You’re so right that sometimes you just have to spend, even when you haven’t budgeted for it.

  17. Ouchie! Those are some big gremlins. It’s fantastic that you are now in a position where expenses like this aren’t super stressful and don’t threaten your well being. I was literally thinking about how awesome it is that we would have to have a rather big expense show up to really upset us these days. You know, the things most people think about as they walk down a staircase.

  18. I’ve had to make my peace with unexpected spending. When both you and your spouse have significant health problems… It could be an unexpected doctor visit or test. It could be a new, more expensive medication. Or it might just be that you couldn’t make it to the grocery store and had to order in.

    Granted, by “make my peace” I simply mean that there’s no longer wailing and gnashing of teeth. But hey, it’s a start.

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