The Importance of an Emergency Fund/12. Stick to Budget

At the beginning of 2014, I came up with my financial goals for the year. Those goals included:

1. Max out my Roth retirement account ($5,500/year)
2. Save $10,000
3. Pay student loans down by $10,000
4. Research investment options (I’m not sure that buying property is the best investment option for me, so I just wanted to look at what other options are out there)

I planned everything out with monthly payments to each account and was on track to complete all of these by the end of the year.

But then I started having back issues, and paid approximately $1,200 for my chiropractor.

And then I broke my foot and paid another $1,200 for my doctor and physical therapist appointments.

And then…ugh, there was The Water Incident.

I was cat-sitting for my mom one weekend and was lounging on her couch with my computer next to me. There was a glass of water on a table just in front of my computer. Well, being the clumsy person that I am, the glass of water was knocked directly onto the computer and instantly, the computer stopped working. Of course, it had never been backed up (because, why would I have thought to have done that?) so everything I had ever done on that computer was gone. I ran to the Apple store and they said they could send it out to get it fixed, but that once it went out, any data on the machine would be lost.

So the next few days, my computer sat like this…


…in an effort try dry the thing out. When that didn’t work, off it went to Drive Savers to recover all of the data. I’m happy to report that Drive Savers worked like a charm and they were able to recover everything! However, it was an expensive charm that set me back another $2,000.

So I quickly went from being on track to meet my savings goals to spending around $4400. Luckily I didn’t have to pay everything at once, but it did set me back a few months.

That being said, I had to take another look at my list for this year and I quickly realized that there were a lot of expensive things that I, clearly, was not going to get done. I decided that anything that cost money, even a little bit of money, wasn’t going to happen. So this is my excuse reason for the following not getting done:

1. Skydive
3. Take LEED exam
5. Purchase a work of art
7. Go paintballing
9. Attend a murder mystery dinner
14. Take Maine vacation
26. Divvy for a day
28. Stand on Sears Tower ledge
31. See Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind

I am excited to report, however, that the rest of my financial goals were accomplished and I ended up paying $11,000 down on my student loans, which feels pretty effing fantastic. And I’m on track to save my originally planned $10,000 in the next few months. Which also feels pretty effing fantastic. And, without having my emergency savings accounts, a lot of the above payments would have gone on a credit card (which is how I previously paid for emergency charges). So I think the best feeling yet was knowing that I could pay for each of the above items without putting myself into further debt.

To help with my savings goals, I used the following blogs/articles: Mr. Money Mustache (do yourself a favor and start at the first article…his latest articles aren’t as relevant to me, but his first few are great if you are at the beginning of your financial goals), Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps (instead of his Snowball plan, though, I listed my debt from highest to lowest interest rates and tackled it that way), and The Frugal Girl (which is helpful for more day-to-day ways to save or, rather, not spend money). I even helped a friend with her budget last fall, which was completely weird for me (the girl who was always bad with money) to be helping someone take control of their finances. I know debt can be overwhelming so if you need any help getting started, just let me know!