March 11, 2010

Using the Emergency Fund

Filed under: budgets,debt,money,Toyota — by elysianconfusion @ 11:51 am
Tags: , ,

I so didn’t want to use my emergency fund, but man, we had a bad week. Sunday we took our Sienna in to check the brakes, and instead of just needing new pads, it needed new rotors. $555 dollars later, we have a safe car that stops great. I have a targeted account for car repairs, but didn’t have enough for the whole bill in there (I’ll have to adjust the amount that goes in there monthly).

Monday, oh joy! I tried to wash my hands and there was no water. NO WATER. Did I pay the bill, you might ask? No, because I have a well. I tried flipper the breakers, nothing. Called my husband. He came home, couldn’t figure it out, called a well professional. That guy was great — he came out, pulled up hundreds of feet of wire, and found a broken connection. He fixed it, wrapped it all up again. $268 later, we have running water (with lots of sediment and sand that we’re still dealing with). Can you say “Ouch!” Well repair, surprisingly, isn’t in my budget at all.

So I paid cash for both repairs — this is really amazing. I could not have done that a year ago.  And I got paid today and our EF is back to previous emergency state, I just have to save a little less for summer camp this month. I’ll need to make that up next month. Still, this is pretty empowering.


February 24, 2010

Summer Camp Costs

Filed under: budgets,children,debt,family,money — by elysianconfusion @ 5:22 pm
Tags: , , ,

Ahh childcare. I want my kids to have a good summer. I want them to do and learn fun things, and I think they’ll be happy at camp. Last year we had a babysitter for the summer, and that was great but…

I don’t like having people in my house every day. I didn’t like having to tell her what to do to keep the kids out of my hair (one of the burdens of working at home I suppose). I didn’t like not knowing what they did when they weren’t here (how much tv did they watch? I have no idea).  And they got almost no playtime with other kids. So this year we’re thinking camp. Unfortunately for me, this really kills our budget.

1) Camp costs at least 200$ per week per child.

2) Many camps don’t have full programs for 4 year olds.

3) Camps seem to require payment before the program begins, which means I need at least 3k by June 1 for summer costs.

4) I have to figure it out now to make sure we have a spot.

5) The sessions seem to be typically for two weeks, and you pay for both even if you don’t go to both. So either I keep them home for a week and go on vacation for a week, or I pay for two weeks and only use one (I don’t want to do that).

6) It’s really hard to find comprehensive summer camp information for the area, and it’s impossible to search on things I want to know (price, minimum age, hours). I don’t even want to look at the camp unless they take both kids. Otherwise I’ll spend all my time driving them to and from and won’t get any work done.

So although of course I knew I’d have summer childcare costs, I somehow didn’t realize that I had to pay for them before sending the kids for a single day. I’ve been redoing my budget to try figure out how to get everything paid in cash and on time. The worst thing about that, really, is that I can’t think of any way to do it without (temporarily) cutting back on my snowball. I’m really disappointed about that.

I think I can get it all worked out and make sure I have enough to prepay preschool (saving 400$ in interest I’d pay taking the monthly payment plan) in August. So it’s basically six months of lowered snowball payments (I think they’ll be 379$ extra going to debt a month, but I’d sorta been planning on 719, which would have paid off a credit card in the next twelve months. (Can you hear the big sigh??) And I’d just calculated a new emergency fund goal of $6,000 and started my own little snowflake spreadsheet to keep track of everything and hopefully ramp this stuff up a bit!

Well, I guess I’ll see what I can do with what I’ve got… maybe I can find more corners to cut in our budget and push a little hard on the EF and snowball. (Although my husband was just complaining about how tight the budget was last night — and I think we waste lots of money! I guess we need to sit down and look at everything we spend — I do this all the time and he pretty much never does. Two posts at Get Rich Slowly made me think we need to work on this: What Marriage Has Taught Me About Money and Money Without Matrimony (even though we’re married and heterosexual, sounds like a good book!))

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