Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Help, My Money Cushion is Gone!

For as long as I can remember I have had one goal...live debt free...have savings. Sadly with a massive debt due to a special needs and sick child, that debt free thing as been more like chasing a butterfly than a reality. Still, I have been steady making progress on paying off debt. I have held onto savings for years, sometimes a nice amount, sometimes enough to keep the account open.

I have been carless for a year now. It was no big deal as our son was unemployed and living with us, which meant I had his car as needed. Recently, that changed. I no longer have his car. Okay, so it was time to deal with the no car issue. We did. We bought a rodeo in need of a new engine one week and the engine the next. Our trusty mechanic who knows we live with way, was happy to get the business. He checked the rodeo and gave me a list of needs beyond the motor and kindly let me shop eBay for the best deals. I was excited and pleased to know in a matter of weeks, I'll be sporting an old rodeo with new parts. One we could pay for out of savings. One we paid cash for...and then...the other shoe fell.

Why is it when you are on top of things, something always fall off? Yesterday as my husband drove in to work, a two hour commute he makes twice a week, the water pump on his rodeo blew up. Yes, it had to be towed in. Yes it has to been fixed...yes he called and asked, "Do we have any money left after buying the stuff for the car?" We did, we don't now that I know the cost of fixing his transportation. And so life goes.

Today I start over. Today I find more ways to build back up the savings it took us a year to save. It would be easy to toss my hands in the air and say we will never win. But we will and you will, if you just keep at it. While I was down watching an online bank transfer from savings to checking wipe us out, I was proud of that savings to keep us from reaching for credit. That's a big win, and I have to keep focused on that point.

How do you cope with broken things, emergencies and the unexpected? As your plan worked? What advise to you have for someone wanting to get back on their feet fast?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

It's Not Just Gas That's Going Up!

You would have be under a rock not to know everyone is worried about gas hitting five dollars a gallon. Fact is folks, while you are looking for the lowest gas price, making sure you keep the car full, you might be missing the big picture.

Diesel prices.

Everything in the country is transported using diesel. For years diesel was cheaper than gas, and a bargain, now, it cost more. The higher cost is due to a change in environmental requirements a few year ago. While few people watched, the price of this fuel used by tractor trailer rigs or 18 wheelers, climbed. What does that mean to us? When the price of transportation goes up, so does food.

You can't store gas long term. You can, store food. Knowing this, your best savings during this gas hike might be to put your money into food first. If you own a deep freezer, this weekend, clean it out, cook up older meats, and take an inventory of what's in there. Now it not the time to store loaves of bread and boxes of girl scout cookies, though, I fully understand hording the latter. Rather, make room for the meats your family eats on a regular biases. Beef will make the highest rise in price, love taco night, better watch savings for ground meats. Chicken is expected to stay at a lower rise in price due to the fact that most chicken does not travel as far. However, we only buy organic and for us, we have seen that price rise this year.

As we are headed into summer, well spring really, fresh vegetables will soon be sold at farmer markets. I would not worry as much about stocking up on vegetables as meats. If you don't have a deep freezer but depend on the refrigerator freezer, treat it the same way. Clean it out, organize, label and know what you have. Check the local grocery store ads and carefully load up as needed.

Next time you buy gas, look over at the price of diesel if it is sold. This will help you know were food and other transportation prices are headed. Also when you are filling up the tank, don't for get to check the air pressure of your tires, make sure they are at the right rating for better fuel consumption. Check air filters, belts, and hoses, all these effect your cars fuel needs. Finally remember to slow down. Fast driving, ridding the breaks all add to your gas cost. 

Like you I am concerned. I am blessed to live in town so that I can walk to the places I need to go. Still, to reach most anything beyond basic needs, I have to leave and drive into the nearest city. That means at least 80 miles. I'll be leaving the area very little, and only to care for family. Good news all that walking may help me get fit and thin again!