Here we are almost 2 years later, and we are back at square one — ZERO!
This post has been a year in the making! The first year of debt freedom, we had $9,500 before it started to go downhill. We weren’t wasting our money on frivolous spending, but we added a new baby into our world as well as lost an income. If you add up all of the savings that has vanished in the last year that could have been (and most of it was..at one time) set aside for emergencies, the total would be roughly $18,000!
Talk about borderline depression. LOL
Here’s the deal though. We paid off the second part of our mortgage to the tune of about $7,500 and then in December of 2010 we gave what was left to our church. Though we knew it would leave us with zero, we were confident that the reason was worth it, plus we knew the first of the year would help us rebuild it. We were right about that part.
By around March or April (can’t remember exactly) we had about $6,500 saved up. We found out that we were having another bundle of joy due at the end of August so we decided to upgrade one of our cars to a minivan. Our goal was to spend $5,000 on a car leaving us $1,500 in the emergency fund. Sounded like a good plan until we realized that for the upgrade we were looking for we needed to spend a little more money for a used minivan with low miles.
We found one but it cost us $6,500, which brought us back to zero yet again. And again, we began to save and up until recently, we were back up to $2,000.
As you know, we took a last minute trip a week ago that was not in our plans. With a baby due in a couple of months we weren’t planning on going anywhere, but when the opportunity to go see my daughter came up we knew we had to jump on it. It would have been nice to plan a little more for the trip but my wife was off for 7 days so she didn’t have to worry about taking any time off or using her PTO hours. So off we went and we never looked back.
The trip cost us 2,000, though we tried to do it with just $1,500. Because of circumstances we didn’t stay in the same hotel every night but it would have helped us get a better deal. We did use Priceline (and hotels.com), but for the first time ever, we had a hard time finding the deals we had found in the past. Hotels alone cost us about $600 and I don’t think that’s that bad, but it definitely wasn’t what we were hoping it would be.
In Western New York gas prices were crazy high compared to back home so we put a lot of fuel in the tank. One day we drove back and forth between Buffalo and where we were the night before just to save $100+ on amusement park tickets. I’m sure we still saved money but with all of the driving caused by craigslist sellers not being very reliable we definitely didn’t save as much as we would have liked to with all of the extra driving we did.
Now for the killer — FOOD! I totally planned to cook as much as possible but we found that it was nearly impossible since we were usually on the road at meal times. We did get free breakfast for 4 of the 7 mornings which definitely helped, but feeding myself, my pregnant wife, a 15 year old, a 5 year old, and a 2 year old things got pretty expensive pretty fast. Talk about blowing a diet!
Last but certainly not least, we had entertainment. We didn’t go crazy and we had a great time, but it still adds up so quickly. The trip was AWESOME and we are so glad we went!
Why am I sharing this with all of you?
Besides the fact that is what bloggers do, I wanted to share my experience and show that even when you try, try, try, sometimes it feels like you’re not making the progress you would like to make. It weighs heavily on the mind and sometimes it’s hard to stay motivated to fire up the resources to do it yet again.
You have to keep going!
You have to stay focused on the ultimate goal, which in our case is to get $10,000 saved up so we can execute the rest of our financial plan. Had we given up at any point in time, we would not have been able to do and accomplish the things we did accomplish even though it was at the expense of our emergency fund.
We’re still debt free. We paid off our second mortgage. We helped our church. We bought a nice minivan for our growing family. And we got to go see my 15 year old daughter for a whole entire week at the last minute. All of that on one income too!
So while I have been feeling down about the progress we have made on our emergency fund in the last two years, the truth is that we have still been very blessed. I wouldn’t do a single thing differently if I had it to do all over again.
If you find yourself struggling with the progress you are or aren’t making I hope you take a second to reflect on the reasons. Some of you may find that you could be sacrificing a little more to reach your goals, while others may find that they are experiencing the same situation we are. Regardless of the reason, the point of this post is to motivate you to keep going! Keep moving forward and keep thinking about what you can do to increase your chances of success.
My wife and I are in the process of stepping up our efforts.What can you do to help your situation?
Whatever you do don’t give up!