I am embarrassed to even THINK of all the emergencies I financed through credit. I am still paying for emergencies that came and went five or six years ago. Thanks to my Debt Management Plan, they will all be paid in three more years.
Yes, it's costly to rely on credit for the many, many emergencies life hands us.
I've learned my lesson, and I just LOVE telling store clerks, "Oh, I don't use credit," when they try to entice me to open new accounts. But, I digress; life's emergencies are stressful enough, but not being able to pay for them makes them even more nightmarish. Since I began my journey as a more financially responsible person, I've made the commitment to SAVE every payday.
Saving is absolutely an essential part of life now because that nasty "black cloud" of EMERGENCY can sit over us at any moment and start wreaking havoc.
Although I cannot always save a large amount for my "emergency pot of money," I do put something away every time I get paid. Even meager amounts begin to add up after awhile.
I have found that along with being financially responsible, I must also be responsible in other ways.
For example, making a habit of doing routine maintenance around my home and keeping an eye on how things like appliances, heating and cooling systems, and even unevenly growing landscape trees are doing can help offset an emergency situation.
About a year ago, I noticed that a huge Live Oak in my back yard was becoming overly heavy on one side with massive limbs hanging ominously close to my neighbor's fence. I called a tree service to survey the situation, and for $250 I had the heavy branches "cabled" to branches on the sturdier side. This, according to the tree expert, would keep the tree safe for a few years until I could afford to do a more extensive trimming. Had the tree's unstable limbs collapsed, even with homeowners insurance, I could have faced a huge bill.
I've found it really pays off to stay vigilant about what's happening around the home.
This certainly applies to your cars, too. I don't drive, but I'm trying to teach my son the habit of "preventive maintenance." This can really keep an emergency from becoming an overwhelming catastrophe.
I obviously don't have all the answers for how to handle a large financial emergency, but I know that these two strategies, saving and "watching," have helped me immensely and have relieved me of a lot of the fear of something happening.
There are definitely challenges to living the CASH ONLY life, but there are ways to rise to the occasion, we just need to think ahead and think creatively. As much as is possible, we need to try to be good Scouts, and "Be Prepared."
Julie Van Wert
I am a Medical Social Worker at a community hospital, living in the great state of California. I am married and have three wonderful children, and three beautiful grandsons, with another grandbaby on the way. My family also includes a miniature Dachshund named Conrad. I love gardening and spending time outdoors, but I equally love doing home decorating projects. I've been enrolled in the Debt Management Plan for just under a year, and that has been a real "turning point" in my financial life. I hope you will follow along with my blogs under A Straight Talk and My Journey out of debt in the CareOne blogs. Compensated CareOne Debt Relief Services Blogger.