Wednesday, May 07, 2008

The Checking Account Is Half Full, Right?

We're not exactly getting ahead, but at least we're not falling behind...not too far, anyway. Back at the end of January, we found out that we were getting an income tax refund. YAAAY, right? But then, this happened. There went every bit of that tax refund, just like that.

Then, more recently, we were anticipating the stupid (yes, I think it's stupid, and yes, I'd happily give it back if the money could be applied to something that benefits the country in some REAL way) "economic stimulus" rebate, partly, to pay for stuff that we had planned on paying for with our tax refund. It arrived in our checking account, directly deposited, yesterday. Which would be great, except that, LAST week, THIS happened:


That's the driver's-side door of Alex's truck. More specifically, that is the driver's side door of Alex's truck after coming out on the losing end of a confrontation with a salt block. MORE specifically, that is over $2,000 worth of damage. Nice. Goodbye, stimulus check.
I'm trying to remind myself to have a good attitude about these unexpected blips on life's radar. Wow, that was a terrible metaphor. Anyway, what I mean is that while I could be saying to myself, "MAN, just when I had a little money coming in to catch up on expenses, THIS happens!" what I'm TRYING to say to myself is, "MAN, it sure is fortunate that just when these bad things happened, I had the money to help pay for them!"

We have, in the past, had an "emergency" fund for things like this, but it got spent on...emergencies, and so far, we've not been able to get it built back up. How do you handle unexpected expenses?


  1. So sad to admit this, but, his name is DAD. I turn 30 soon and need to start my own emergency fund, but he's never turned me down, so it's easy to fall back on.

    I think now that I just admitted that, I'm motivated to stop it already.

  2. We've always had random money come our way right when we had some huge expense. Never had the fun of using it on something we wanted, but instead always used it on the "urgent" need.

    Last week we had tornado weather blow down our fence in the backyard. There goes our refund, too.

    P.S. In other words, I commiserate and have no advice. Sorry.

  3. It seems like when we've gotten in tight squeezes, somehow it happens when we've for some reason received money from something (like this economic stimulus package.)

    I suppose I should be waiting for some sort of accident to occur right now.

    We did ask my husband's parents for money ONCE. It was humiliating and I won't ever do it again.

    Or there's always streetwalking. I hear they're always looking for girls.

  4. The exact same thing happens to me. Always just enough to cover some out of the blue expense.

    And I try to do the half full thang, but man, I wanted new shoes...

    Sorry babe, no advice. We are only just getting back on our feet after MPS being off work sick for 2 1/2 years.

  5. We fly by the seats of our pants. Just before WB was born, when we had some money set aside for certain baby-related expenses, our cats (yeah) got deathly ill and we ended up with vet bills in the not insignificant four figures. We trimmed the household budget and just coped. There've been variations on that theme many times since - unexpected expense related to house or car and POOF! money's gone.

    We just deal with it as it comes. Which isn't helpful, I know, but it's all I got :)

  6. If the truck door still opens and closes securely, I wouldn't classify this an emergency...just an inconvenience not worthy of repair. I'd leave it there to remind hubby to give salt blocks a wide berth from now on. And unless that salt block was in the parking lot of the local Tractor Supply store, this won't be the last boo-boo the truck will ever see.

  7. I'm with Speck. I'm riding around with a dented door because I used the insurance money to make a house payment when the mortgage company was about to get rillyrilly ugly.

  8. If it isn't a leased car, and you are able to get the door open and closed, I'd leave it - or just have a body shop hammer it out. I have an imperfect door on my car from not stoping quite in time and left it (with a little hammering out so it would open/close easier).

  9. Mom always says that cars can smell money... as soon as you have a little extra coming your way (or it's just pay day), something will happen and cost ALL your money PLUS $40. And damn if it isn't true. Ryan's truck got hit-and-run the other night and now the bumper is dangling. Which means that, of course, our refunds are probably in the mailbox. *sigh*

  10. I don't even know. It seems that whenever we have 'extra' money - something bad happens to take care of that problem.

    For example: Four years ago I started making and selling custom dog ornaments. Wouldn't you know that the first week of January (no more orders at that point)- with a nice, but small, profit - my cat had to have dental surgery to remove an abcessed canine tooth....

    Then this year I made more $ from ornament sales and we got a nice Christmas check from my father in law. Of course the week before Thanksgiving we discover that the toilet had been leaking for sometime and had made the kitchen ceiling all moldy. Of course it wasn't the EASY part of the ceiling to get to - but the one corner where ALL our upper cabinets are mounted.


    This year I'm beating the system (knock on wood) by pre spending the dang thing on new siding for the house. Sure it's going to be 10 times the stupid economic stimulus check - but it beats the unexpected expense!


  11. Sadly, I don't have any advice either. My life is exactly the same as yours...when something big happens, money just seems to appear.
    We are also driving around with a broken side mirror and a cracked windshield, because the insurance money paid the mortgage and car payment that month.
    The boys Wii that I bought for Christmas, with the money for the water bill? Yeah. Uhm. They shut the water off for a day. OOPS. But, we do have guitar hero! Maybe we couldn't shower...but GH3 rocks!
    I can't even pre spend the stimulus check...because I am sure that SOMEONE already has their eyes on it...I just don't know it yet!

  12. Gah, that's awful. Stupid Karma and her ways with money. This year is the 1st year that my husband is getting a refund and then we find out I OWE $2900, which is really AWESOME. NOT.
    As for handling unexpected expenses? I hide. In bed.

  13. For crying out loud, how BIG was that salt block? Was it thrown at the truck? The salt blocks I've seen are about 10 inches square.

    Signed Curious in Nebraska

  14. Belinda~~ No advice. Just simple commiseration.

  15. Seems like money always comes in just before a disaster and not only during tax season. It's there, usually, and we have it to spend. Just never on the fun stuff.

  16. With prayer, usually.

    We're taking bets on whether the water heater or the washing machine is going to wipe out our emergency fund first.

    I admire your persepective of gratitude!

  17. I cry. And fret. Then suck it up and pull out the credit card. When THAT bill comes in, I transfer funds from savings to checking and pay it. Then I cry some more... After that I pretend we're the Ingalls Family in "The Long Winter." Even if it's summer. Somehow, in the end, things seem to work out. ~annie

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