Extra bills, unplanned purchases, and a short check: The potential makings of a financial storm.
Yes, this is how our month has gone so far. We took yet another hit when hubbies last check was short. Groan! He has a very irregular paycheck and depending on what time in his pay cycle he comes home, it causes his check to be one of either feast or famine. Needless to say, when you are digging out of debt, the latter is never a good thing!
As for the additional bills, we had the expense of the trip I took to see my family, the added car insurance, hubbies glasses (an absolute must!), and to top it all off, we finally got the bill for the snowplowing which was also higher than expected. I blame that one on Mother Nature for hitting us harder with a lot more snow this year. Next year I intend to be better prepared in that area. The unplanned purchase? The chainsaw, but I think we may be able to recoup that “investment” by hubby cutting up some of the downed trees we have on our land. We had intended to have two more loads of wood delivered in June, but will now reduce it to just one load.
With our bills not aligning with a paycheck of a feast, we had no choice but to dip into our savings. On the bright side, I am very thankful we had the funds to cover our expenses and pay all of our bills on time. Had we not continued to add to savings, these costs would have completely exhausted our emergency fund. Still, I’m not too happy that we even had to go this route.
Robbing Peter to pay Paul can be a vicious cycle. While we intend to repay Peter promptly with our next check, we are striving to avoid ever needing to do this again. Some people refer to this as living on last month’s income. The potential financial storm we faced showed me the importance of doing so. Had more money already been in our household account, any additional transfer out of our savings could have been avoided all together. The problem is, how do you even go about putting this in place when your budget is already pushed to the limit?
Here are some of the things we have been doing to help us reach our (as I like to call it) Peter and Paul fund.
- Made saving a priority and do so on a regular basis. We have continued to save an additional $50 each week.
- Side hustle which can be anything that creates extra income. My seasonal job is just that. At first, we were going to use it all for debt, but our Peter and Paul fund has since become an equal priority.
- Make your money scream for mercy. Squeeze everything you can out of it and then save, save, save!
- Create sinking funds. Not familiar with them? Sinking funds are basically setting money set aside for irregular expenses (like car tags, license renewals, tax bills, snowplowing, etc.). Admittedly we are still struggling in this area. I had hoped to add to this account this month, but with everything we cash flowed, it isn’t happening.
Budgeting isn’t exactly rocket science, but sometimes it is easier said than done. With all the “save for this, save for that, pay this, pay that,” I often can’t help but wonder how we even made it this far in life! Obviously, we didn’t do well, but thankfully somehow we did manage to survive! We are only into our fourth month of religiously budgeting, and I honestly understand how it might cause a person to at this point, just give up. Rest assured, we won’t! We didn’t get ourselves into our financial mess overnight, and it is going to take some time to dig ourselves out. We are still far better off than we were when we first started. April has been rough, but we have learned from it. Our biggest lesson is that with such irregular income, continuing to save must remain a priority. In the past, the very lack of savings is what would make us reach for a credit card. Thankfully with having savings to get us through rough patches, we no longer rely on credit to make ends meet.
Have you ever robbed Peter to pay Paul? If so, how did you overcome the need to do so?