Sadly, this is not a post I want to write. We’ve had to seriously dip into our emergency savings over the last 12 months. Some of the reasons were happy ones, but some were very annoying! In both cases, we were grateful to have had the foresight to have built a savings account to draw on. Hopefully our experience will serve as a little reminder of how important an emergency savings fund can be.
1. Emergency Dental Work for You
The real impetus for this post is some crappy news I got yesterday. I will need to have roughly $8,000 of dental work done in the next year, and probably more after that. Yes, you read that right. There are three zeros there, not two. I think this was karma’s way of telling me I don’t have it all figured out after I just posted about our budget plan to accommodate for double child care costs in 2018 (sigh). So I’m dreading this work as much as anyone would, but I’m very glad to have the savings I need to take care of it. Goodbye, vacations 2018. Hello oral surgeon. Ugh.
2. Emergency Dental Work for Your Dog
I wish this were a joke. It sounds like it should be. My dog must have had some crazy empathy for me going on because she also needs $3,000 of dental work this year. The timing could not have been more uncanny. We just paid for two-thirds of that work a few weeks ago. The rest may have to wait now that I’ve found out about my own dental needs. She’s been such a sweet and low-cost pet for 12 years, but now of course her expensive days coincide with other expensive times in our life. With all the joy she’s brought to our lives, we’re determined to do right by her in the last years of hers.
3. Unpaid Time Off Work
This was related to #5 on the list for us, but it can happen to anyone for a wide variety of reasons. We were able to make a strategic choice to take some unpaid time off while on FMLA to spend time with our new baby this year. It was time and money well-spent, but we wouldn’t have been able to do it had we not saved up for it. In our case, most of this time off was planned for so it wasn’t a true “emergency” use of savings, but we did end up with a bit more time off than planned in the last few months due to a never-ending string of winter viruses (go away, winter germs).
We also moved within the last year. This change came about for us somewhat abruptly, as we realized our existing space was not going to work well for our family. We hemmed and hawed over whether to make the move or not, and perhaps a closer look at the pros and cons of that decision warrant a post. However, we decided to go for it and the only reason we were able to do so was again because we had the savings we needed to do it.
5. Having a Baby
Whether planned or unplanned, there are lots of costs involved with having a baby, ranging from prenatal care to labor and delivery to LOTS and LOTS and LOTS of diapers. We do what we can to save on baby stuff, but having some savings to draw from if we need it has definitely provided peace of mind.
Ok, so now that we’ve successfully spent down much of our emergency savings in the process of proving how useful these savings can be, it’s time to build them back up again. Back to the budgeting drawing board. Those college savings goals for the kids may need to be adjusted a bit for this year…sorry, kids.