Now that my car purchase is complete, and my health issues are winding up, things have finally gotten back to normal. Well, an adjusted version of normal, I should say. Financing a new car means I’ll have a car payment for at least a few years (depending on how quickly I can pay it off). Accounting for my monthly car payment, and the increase in my six month insurance premium, and annual plate renewal, I’m having to cut back on the amount of money I was applying towards savings.
A few months ago, I had money set aside for an emergency fund, a new roof on the porch, a small vacation fund, and had started setting aside money for a bathroom remodel. After each of these goals were accomplished my plan was to start funneling my extra cash into paying off debts. The porch roof is going to end up costing $1,000 more than I originally planned. Then there were the initial costs of the car (updating plates, changing insurance) and a myriad of health costs. I didn’t have time to save individually for each of these goals, which meant I had to decide how I would shift around the money I already had saved.
I’ll admit, it was a bit deflating taking away from the progress I’d already made. I had to make some tough decisions about where my priorities lay, and where the money was most needed. In a way, it’s not really going to make a huge difference what “pot” the money comes from; It’s still the same amount of money that’s being spent, and will eventually be replaced. So what really mattered was, where do I need the money first?
The first thing to go was my vacation fund. As nice as it was to have that, it isn’t really a priority right now. My mom, older sister and I had discussed taking a little mini-vacation sometime soon. But the reality is, we’ve never really nailed down any plans. And my sister keeps hinting that saving the money for a trip is going to be very difficult for her. So, while it was nice to have the money set aside, it isn’t an immediate need. The vacation fund is officially gone.
The money for the porch roof was left alone. In theory, I could have held off on that project. But it’s already been without a roof for some time. Midwest winters can be harsh, and it isn’t great having snow and ice covering the front porch. Plus, it seemed a little disrespectful to my neighbors, leaving the project undone for so long. So, I opted to go forward with that project. The contractor actually started work yesterday. As an added bonus, I will get a (very small) portion of the cost back from an insurance settlement. That money will then be put towards another goal.
That left my emergency fund, and the bathroom remodeling money. As weird as it may sound, I really didn’t want to touch my emergency fund. It’s small anyways ($3,000), and I really didn’t feel like anything I was spending the money on was truly an emergency. Not to mention, since I’m still funding the bathroom remodel, it really doesn’t make a difference time wise which I took the money from. If I had taken from the emergency fund, all future cash would be going back into the emergency fund until it was back to being fully funded. Growing the bathroom remodel fund to where it needed to be would have to wait until the emergency fund was complete. So, it would take the same amount of time to grow the bathroom remodel fund to where it needs to be, whether I took the money from that fund, or from the emergency fund. So, I took the money from the bathroom remodel fund.
So, I now have no vacation fund, and a severely depleted bathroom remodel fund. But honestly, I’m not too worried about it. For now, I’ll continue contributing my extra cash to the bathroom remodel fund. I’ll have the insurance money, and possibly some reimbursements from Aflac, to help boost my savings. Tax season is also right around the corner. The extra boost from my tax refund should enable me to accomplish all of my savings goals. And from there, it’s on to debt repayment!
Buying the car has definitely slowed down my savings progress, and will continue to do so until the car is paid off. That has definitely been on my mind a lot lately. I think it’s really important at this stage in my life that I start seriously considering ways that I can make some extra money, whether it be from my day job, or from a side hustle or two.
The simple fact of the matter is, priorities change. Big or small. I think it’s good to be flexible. I’ve definitely had some setbacks this year. But I’m still slowly but surely making progress!
– Cindy W.