Sometimes, our finances feel a lot like a roller coaster ride. You know when you ride a roller coaster and the car slowly climbs up the large hill? Tick, tick, tick. Bit by bit the car makes its way up the hill. You can feel the weight of the car and the effort it takes to go against gravity. Finally, you reach the top, and you go soaring down the hill, so much faster than you went up. So much faster than you can imagine.
Finances are often like that.
Climbing the Hill and Making Progress
My husband and I have a $2,500 cushion that we use to pay this month’s bills with money we earned last month. It’s not enough to cover our expenses for the entire month, but it does cover a good portion of them. Eventually we’d like to have a full month’s cushion, but we’re not there yet.
For now, we’re focusing on creating a separate, dedicated emergency fund. A few weeks ago, I set it up so $50 was electronically taken out of our checking account every week and put into our Capital One 360 emergency fund. True, it’s only $200 a month, but over a year, that could grow to $2,400. I’m not ashamed to say that I check the account every week and get excited to see the little balance growing. Right now we’re at $250.
Tick, tick, tick.
We’re fighting gravity to get to the top, just like the roller coaster.
But What a Fast Ride Down the Hill
And then, as they say, “the best laid plans of mice and men. . .”
A few weeks ago, my husband came home from his six month dental check up and showed me what looked like a blister on his gum. Turns out it was a sign of bone decay. Yesterday he had the endodontist appointment. Our portion of the bill came to $300. That’s just for today and doesn’t include the follow up in a few weeks with the endodontist as well as the follow up with our regular dentist who will put in a new crown.
Yesterday I also visited my wellness doctor, who finally confirmed what I had thought for quite some time–I have an intestinal yeast overgrowth and a leaky gut. That’s why my food intolerances are so bad. I’m happy to have a diagnosis, but the plan of attack is expensive. I need to have several more tests done, a 3 month round of medicine, and fairly expensive medicine to heal the leaky gut. I’m also going to be on a very limited diet.
Oh, did I mention three weeks ago we finally just paid off this doctor after making 5 months of payments?
Meanwhile, we’re waiting to hear how much we’ll owe on our income taxes. We have a few thousand set aside in anticipation, but if it goes beyond that, well, I try not to think about that.
In just one day, five weeks’ worth of tick, tick, tick up the hill, growing our emergency fund, is wiped out in one day of doctor’s appointments.
We’re riding a roller coaster.
Finding Gratitude Even in Difficult Times
It would be easy to be upset or discouraged. (Well, I’ll be honest, I am discouraged a bit.) But mostly, I’m thankful. Three years ago we had so little income we had NO money in the emergency fund, but we had a boatload of debt.
Now, we have our small emergency fund, our cushion, and extra money that I make from some of my jobs that can be funneled to these unexpected expenses. We have not incurred any credit card debt despite these additional expenses, and we don’t plan to. We got this, even though it’s not really the way we’d like to use our money.
But we got this. And that is a huge improvement over a few years ago.