Financial Lesson: Set Backs Happen
Life on the financial front has not been so good lately. I’ve been keeping up with my goals but it seems like every time I turn around, I get slapped with another bill. First it was advance booking for a trip in May ($300, part of which is being paid at a future date by friends) . Then I decided I couldn’t put off getting my eyes fixed any longer ($300, $225 of which will be reimbursed, plus another $250 for a years supply of contacts), then a running belt ($60), and yesterday I opened a letter from the Canadian Revenue Agency saying they’d overpaid me $124, and now they want it back. This may not seem like a lot to some, but I live with an “extras” allowance of $50/week, so these numbers represent a lot of weeks of extras.
Add to that the stress of knowing that I need to save for some upcoming expenses (getting my winter tires off soon, dentist, the rest of the costs of that trip, and my first hair appointment in six moths) and you’ve got one very stressed out personal finance blogger.
What happens when stress hits? As Blonde on a Budget and Below Her Means have said before, stress causes money to start slipping out of our hands. For people who have/had shopping problems, stress is a trigger to spend spend spend. This is true for me too, a few days ago I was even shopping on-line before I caught myself and closed the browser. Spending is definitely not going to help me in this situation, but I’ve come up with some things that will help me through this stressful time.
Have a Plan
To deal with these unexpected costs, I’m going to use my emergency fund to pay the CRA, and then replenish the fund to $2,500 slowly, over time. I’m going to delay going to the dentist yet again until I have my trip and car maintenance paid for. I’m going to get my contacts month by month instead of a year supply, spreading the cost out over a whole year makes it more manageable. This will cost me more, but I truly don’t have $250 to spare right now. With this plan in place, I won’t be buying any books or summer clothing any time soon, but at least I will stay on track with my debt repayment and wedding savings goals.
Take Solace In Routine
Routine can be a saving grace for me. Instead of stressing over money and how I’m possibly going to pay for all of this crap while still saving for my wedding and paying off my debt, I hunker down. I try to enjoy the little things in my routine, from my morning fruit smoothie to my afternoon run. I’m making a significant effort to enjoy my day to day, and let the big picture take care of itself. Staying within my routine also keeps my spending in check, so I don’t add more fuel to this fire.
A tired body makes a peaceful mind. After my runs, I’m much more peaceful and have an easier time letting go of my stress. Instead of worrying and thinking and not being able to get my brain to settle down, already! I can just go to sleep. You know why? Because running makes you tired.
Step Up the Side Hustle
Currently I don’t have a side hustle (I know, I know) but this string of events has really brought home to me the need to step up my game and get my skills out there. So this weekend I’m going to get a plan together to start bringing in my extra cash using my amazing abilities. I’m not sure how it’s going to pan out, but I’m going to put the effort in.
Having all of this stuff come up at the same time is stressful, but I have to remember that it would be a lot more stressful if I didn’t have my financial ducks in a row, including my emergency fund of $2,500. I can ride out this slew of expenses, and for that, I’m thankful.
Now if I could just stop worrying about it.
Have you even been in this situation? How did you handle it? I want to know!