This week hit us with a slew of “necessary” (but unexpected) expenses. Some were definitely more necessary than others—take the furnace, for example. Waking up cold in the middle of the winter is nothing new to me, but when the hubby is the first to say it’s freezing, there’s clearly a problem. And, of course, it was the most expensive problem possible. But, at least it wasn’t in the middle of an ice storm.
The good news is they were able to get our heat working quickly, as opposed to the 2 days they originally suggested. So, at least we were able to avoid a hotel stay. We did, however, leave the girls in after care to give the house a chance to warm up. We escaped ourselves, as soon as the heat was officially running again. It was our first lunch date in years—and that totally falls within the No Spend Month exceptions.
What we learned this week is that our emergency fund isn’t enough. It had already been depleted when the brakes in my car went out. Then, when my tires had to be replaced. And, again when the microwave, washer & dryer broke. Last year was dubbed the year of broken things, and while I really hope the furnace isn’t a sign that the curse has followed us to the new year, it’s clear we need a better cushion for the unexpected expenses we just can’t avoid.
Total Money Spent $753.06
- Furnace Repair: $662—our house is warm again. ‘Nuff said.
- Date Night: $9.97—we did use a free pizza coupon & gift certificate for our lunch date, so it wasn’t a total loss. We also used some Christmas gifts for a date night on Friday when the hubby’s parents volunteered to watch the girls for the evening. After gift cards & coupons, we spent a total of $9.97 for two dates—well worth it. And, on the official exceptions list anyway. Date Night is at the very top of our priority list right now.
- Pig’s Ear: $.99—after lunch, we hit the grocery store. Ordinarily, I would have vetoed the hubby’s impulse buy. However, our poor dog has been crated for 3 weeks after a back injury left him temporarily paralyzed. He’s greatly improved and gaining mobility, but he still has 3 weeks left in his recovery period so I went along with the well deserved treat. (For the record, this is why I’m very specific when I send him to the store.)
- After Care: $24—technically, we won’t pay for this until the March 1st bill is due, but we made the decision to leave the girls at school until the house had returned to normal.
- Target: $2.29—I used a $5 gift card unearthed in cleaning last week to pickup a few needed items but I went over by a few dollars. We have 2 science fair projects due later this month. I think we have a couple boards we can reuse/recycle, but I haven’t tracked them down yet. I bought just one for now, so they can both layout their projects. This will be on next week’s list, too, if we can’t find the other tri-boards.
- Valentine’s Day: $6.98—I had a plan for this. I had a plan. And, yet, I didn’t think it all the way through. We usually just do trinkets for the girls so I was set there with items from my gift closet. I also preplanned the girls’ school Valentines—months ago. We saved the leftover bubbles from my sister’s wedding and planned to put them in some treat bags I’d picked up on clearance last year. But, I never checked my treat bags against the number of kids in their classes. And, I didn’t count the bubbles. So, we ended up back at Target—twice. Yet, I’m pretty sure we still saved money over buying enough cards for 85.
- Class Party: $28.88—Months ago, I signed up to coordinate the Valentine’s Day party for Brenia’s class. I’d sort of forgotten about it, until a couple weeks ago. Which means I wasn’t prepared and ended up making some purchases to put it together. It all goes towards the required volunteer hours for the school, of course. So, again, it’s fairly necessary—and I only spent $1 per kid. Still, I could have done better if I’d been planning for this all along.
- Tax Filing: $17.95—we don’t qualify for any of the free efile programs, and filing taxes is obviously required so I spent some time this weekend getting it out of the way. This way, we’ll get our refund back a little bit sooner. It’s a bit higher than anticipated, so we’ll also be looking at our paperwork for this year.
Total Money “Saved” $37.94
- Girls Night Out: Did not spend $15—MFJ deserves a celebration for her new job, but we’ve both decided to save the money by enjoying a night in, with what’s already on hand. So we skipped Margarita Monday last week and have planned a girls night in.
- Jump for Heart Health: Did not spend $10—oh, the fundraisers. They never end! We give regularly. We have our favorite charities. And, yet, we feel compelled to fork over money any time a collection envelope comes home. This time it was a jump rope-a-thon for something or other. I said no. And, we’re all okay with that.
- Valentine’s Day: Did not spend$10—yes, it goes on both lists! While at Target, I had to work super hard to avoid the too cute items that I could have given to the girls today. I’m sticking with the original plan on this one!
- Bone-shaped Caribiner: Did not spend $2.94—So the dog’s on cage rest, and after 3 weeks he’s figured out how to open the door. We’re using a caribiner to keep it latched, and he’s tearing it up trying to figure it out too. In my retail travels this week, I found a bone-shaped one. How perfect is that? And yet, I so don’t need it. He’s already ruining this one, and we only have 3 more weeks of cage rest left. But, I want it. I just don’t need it—which is entirely the point of this exercise.
Angie @ Just Like The Number says
We definitely learned the hard way that what we *thought* was an adequate emergency fund actually needed more cushion. We drained it when Mike was out of work and have been working hard to rebuild it ever since. Dave Ramsey used to suggest 3-6 months expenses, but we’re aiming for 8-10 months now. I always get so bummed when we have to dig into for something, but then I remind myself that’s what it’s there for. What used to go on a credit card now gets paid for with cash. I applaud you for taking on the No Spend Month, and I’m learning a lot from you!