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.

Exercise More

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!

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  • Michelle (@SenseofCe

    I know exactly how you feel. I have so many expenses this month. And now you reminded me that I only have 1 contact left, so I need to go to the eye doctor. UGH!

    • Jordann @ My Alterna

      Eek, sorry!

  • Modest Money

    That sucks that you were hit with all of those extra expenses all at once. It sounds like you've got a good plan to deal with it. I'm under some big financial pressures right now myself. I do agree that more exercise does seem to help. It distracts our mind, makes us feel better about ourselves and helps with sleep too. I hope you share some details of the side hustle you've got planned. There are all kinds of ways to make extra money if you are willing to put in the time and effort.

    • Jordann @ My Alterna

      Thanks for the motivation, Jeremy. I really need some when it comes to my side hustle, I'll definitely do a post on it if/when I get some income flowing. I hope your financial pressures ease up soon.

  • See Debt Run (@seede

    I'm tellin you…I would be SO good at saving money if life weren't so expensive :(

    Hang in there, chick!

    • Jordann @ My Alterna

      I know eh? If only I didn't have to buy anything….I'd be on the right track!

  • The Happy Homeowner

    Keep your head up and keep focusing on the positive as you're already doing (yay, e-fund!). I like to put myself on spending diets when things get a little too crazy. Some people don't agree with the No Spend Day concept, but it works well for me. Good luck to you!

    • Jordann @ My Alterna

      That's true, at least I have an emergency fund. I'm going to try very hard to curb any absolutely non-essential spending, my problem is realizing what is non-essential!

  • Rye @PPI claims/recl

    This happened to my quite often before but thank God my hubby and I are both working now. And you are right, stressing about it didn't help a bit. Worrying too much will only make matters worse as sometimes it can get in the way of thinking rationally. I'm happy I have my partner to discuss my worries with now.

    • Jordann @ My Alterna

      Me too! My fiancée always knocks some sense into my silly worried brain. Last night it was "You started this whole PF craze to worry less about money, not more". Sometimes I forget that.

  • shopping2saving

    I think we are twins. So identical. I love running and I get stressed out when I do not have a routine. I also wish I could have fruit smoothies everyday for breakfast but my future MIL is still asleep when I go to work so that's a no go. I guess I could make it in the work kitchen haha.

    Anyway, I added you to my blogroll – I think we are so similar!

    • Jordann @ My Alterna

      Thanks for stopping by! I live in a wide open studio and my fiancée sleeps later than me, I make up for disturbing him by leaving a big glass of smoothie in the fridge for when he wakes up. Bribery works! :)

  • Mo' Money Mo&#0

    I think we've all been there. I mean, that's exactly where I was last year, trying to save but had unexpected expenses come up all the time which forced me to keep dipping into my savings. I've definitely got a better handle on things now but it too a long time to get there. I also started working out around June last year because like you I kept feeling stressed all the time and it definitely helped me clear my head, get the toxins out, and feel relaxed after.

    • Jordann @ My Alterna

      I think I just put off too many expenses in an effort to save money, which I can see now is backfiring on me. Never again!

  • belowhermeans

    Thank you for linking to me!

  • thisthatandthemba

    I need to find a way to step up my side hustle too. I have to find a good one though. It would be nice if my site were making some decent income.

    Cheers to exercising more. I am glad it is becoming warmer weather and I hope to get outside more!