The vast majority of Americans today, would have trouble keeping it together if someone in their home became unemployed. I read a report recently stating that most households wouldn’t even be able to scrape together $400 to cover the cost of replacing their tires. We are told over and over to save money and prepare for a rainy day. However, most of America has not taken this advice or have found themselves in situations that prevent this.
I was reminded of this need today. See, we have been out here in Illinois for nearly two weeks vacationing in what has become an annual trip and have, for the most part, not had to vary much from our plan as to how we would spend our money while we were here. Much of this freedom has come from simply having a plan, budgeting money for the trip and avoiding purchases that we simply do not need leading up to the trip.
These seem like easy decisions with a desirable outcome, yet many people do not have that much foresight (keep in mind, I am not attempting to put myself on a pedestal here) and struggle to get out of there own homes for more than a few days at a time because of this.
However, even long-term plans will give way to emergency expenses from time to time. In these moments, what do you do?
So, Elisa and I were driving around Vandalia, IL last Friday night when we noticed that the truck was starting to make a slight grinding noise. It was nothing scary and it only happened when the truck sat idle.
Okay, let me step aside from this story real briefly here and tell a different one.
A couple of years ago, Elisa and I decided that we needed a second vehicle that we could use for hauling a little pop-up camper around when we felt like doing some camping. I was insistent that we buy something without taking on a loan through the bank. We also preferred to buy something that was already set up to with a ball-hitch on the back. A couple of other preferences were to find a vehicle that had never been wrecked and was not owned by a smoker previously (sorry smokers, that smell never comes out of the seats). After about six or seven months of searching on Craig’s List, I found a 1998 Ford Expedition that met all of the criteria but had over 160,000 miles on it for under $3,000. After weighing out the pros and cons, we decided to buy it and it has been a wonderful purchase.
Alright, back to the first story.
This wonderful purchase is making a weird grinding noise when it sits at a stop light. Shortly after that, the air conditioner stops working. We did not have much driving to do this week so I did not immediately get the truck into a shop. However, after failing to recharge the air conditioner yesterday and noticing that the grinding sound was not improving (unsure why I expected that it might), I decided to have a professional take a look at it.
Apparently, at some point while driving around Vandalia, a large piece of my truck’s air compressor fell off on the road. Yes, that is right, as in it no longer is attached to the truck. The grinding noise that I heard was the rest of the air compressor attempting not to follow the clutch in it’s liberation attempt. This process is also accompanied with a repair bill somewhere around 475 bones.
Repair bills are never something that you plan into your vacation budgets. You know? You plan for motel costs, eating out expenses, even fuel. Nobody ever says, “How much should we set aside in case our car breaks down.” Actually, there are probably people out there who do that. They are just much more prepared than I am.
Thankfully, we no longer live paycheck to paycheck and could afford to absorb it. Now, once again, I am not trying to puff myself up because this is something that anyone is capable of doing. It’s not special insight and it is not rocket science.
DO NOT SPEND ALL OF YOUR MONEY EACH TIME YOU GET PAID!
It really is that simple. Or maybe you just need to find a second income source. You never know when that rainy day will come.
Life is Strange. Live it Well.