Reality Stick Smackdown: What Does It Take?

I don’t understand some people’s ideas about money.

They think once they’ve accounted for all the things they know they have to pay for, they’re done worrying. No unexpected or unaccounted-for things could possibly happen to them that could mean the difference between having a balanced budget that month and suddenly scrambling to pay basics like rent and groceries.

I’ve written about a finance board I post on, and one poster in particular, who refuses to give up, change or compromise anything she wants or likes, in order to make living without debt a reality. I should add that she comes from a well-to-do background, and the Bank of Mom and Dad is still probably bailing out her more stupid moves. To make matters more compelling, she is raising children to live this way; buy whatever, spend whatever and don’t worry too much, so long as the income and outgo kinda sorta match up at the end of the month. After all %$!* doesn’t happen here, not to us.

Do tell.

I’ve lived long enough to lose track of the number of  “Oh %$!*” moments in my life. From feline bowel blockages to a husband who breaks a leg on vacation, to an overflowing commode that ruins a bathroom floor, to a sick parent, they never end. Sure, you can break out the plastic, or borrow from family, but isn’t it better to have some funds to fight back with when the reality stick hits you and knocks the wind out of you? Bad enough you have to think fast and react faster; having some money available to pay for extra food, medicine, a plumber, vet, a much-needed adult beverage  is vital to your sanity.

And yes, you can make room in your budget for an emergency fund. We’re talking about a few dollars set aside a week. Give up a treat or two, or put the money aside when you save money couponing and rebating. Try what I do: set aside a small sum every time you do laundry. It’s asking a lot in already lean times to do this. But the next time life wields the reality stick over your head, you’ll at least have a protective shield at the ready.

And an update: All the kind thoughts are appreciated. Mom isn’t doing well, but we are hoping for the best, whatever the outcome will be.

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Filed under budget, family, frugality, mental health

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