Every Day

2020 Goals: To Replace The Money We Will Be Using From Our Emergency Fund

We have a very large emergency fund. We have saved money over the years to feed it so that we can pay for any emergencies that come up.

We keep enough in it to pay for a new car when it is needed, new large appliances when they bite the dust, a new roof when it is needed, a large amount for necessary household repairs, money to replace carpeting and furniture, to pay for large medical and dental expenses, and a miscellaneous amount for anything else that might pop up.

Well, I got some bad news at the dentist a few weeks ago again. You all know that I have spent a fortune at the dentist over the past 10 years. We had no dental insurance up until 6 months ago. We now have a plan that my dentist offers that pays for 2 cleanings and dental exams, 2 fluoride treatments a year, X-rays once a year, and one emergency visit with an X-ray once a year. We go to the dentist every 3 months for cleanings and exams. Those 2 extra cleanings have just a $30. co-pay. We also get 20% off the standard fee for other procedures.

Fall of 2018, I had a partial denture made to replace a permanent bridge that was only 4 years old that failed. Just on those two things and some crowns to hold the partial and our cleanings and exams, we spent $XX,XXX. out of our emergency fund. We scrimped and saved to replace that money over the past 6 years. We did it.

But now, the tooth under a crown that is holding one end of my partial denture has fractured. The tooth has actually started to come out of the crown and my gum has started to grow around both of them. This must be taken care of soon because both the fractured tooth and crown could come out at any time. When I was at the dentist 4 months ago, I mentioned some pain that I had in that tooth area.  The dentist took X rays but the fracture did not show on them at that time. He put some kind of medicine in that area and I never had any pain after that. I didn’t expect to hear anything but good news on this visit because I had no pain or tenderness and my gums are in excellent condition. Was I ever wrong!   

To repair this I only had a couple of options: have the crown and tooth removed and an implant put in to replace it so that it can hold the partial, have the fractured tooth and the other tooth holding my partial removed and a new full upper denture made or replace both teeth with implants. I may also have to have bone grafts done if need be to be able to have the implants. That will be much more money.

The tooth that is crowned holding the other side of my partial could fail at any time. So if I don’t have it removed now, it could be even more money down the road when it does fail.

I am so sick of living in my dentist’s chair that I decided to have both crowned teeth removed and a new full denture made. I just want to be done with all of it and not have another problem down the road. It would involve going for an appointment to have an impression mold made to send to the lab to make the denture. Then when the denture is ready, I need to go have the two extractions and on the same appointment the new denture would be put in. I would never be without teeth. After I heal I may have to have the denture realigned which is done in the dentist’s office. The cost is $3286. but after my dental plan discount, it will cost me $2636. out of pocket.

I think it is the right thing to do and the dentist agreed with me especially since he knows what I have been through and the costs I have already paid out of pocket.  Hopefully when this is all done over the next few weeks, I will only have to go for cleanings and exams. My lower teeth are in good shape.

So we will have to work to replace this money that we will be paying out of our emergency fund. This is another goal for 2020.

 I only tell you all of this because when you are planning for your retirement, make sure that you plan for many dental expenses in your retirement years. Even if you have a dental plan, it does not pay a lot on expensive things. So this is one more expense that you have to be prepared for.

Off topic, I am still working in the basement. I am now going through our many bins of Christmas decorations and deciding what we will keep and what we will purge. Once that is done, the large storage wall is done. Then on to the other areas.

Every Day

Recession or Not?

Lately when Hubby has the news on which I don’t watch, I am hearing people scaring Americans about a recession coming.

Is there one coming? Probably, but when is another question. There has been a recession about every 10-12 years in the 52 years that we have been married. So this is nothing new and we are due. Things aren’t always good. What is surprising to me is that they are talking recession when the economy is so good. Flooding in the midwest this year could contribute to one along with other factors. Time will tell.

But I don’t worry too much about a recession because they don’t usually affect us much. There were recessions in the early years of our marriage that I didn’t even realize were happening.

Sure the stock market will be affected but what goes down will eventually go back up.  I doubt we will have a depression like the 1929 one. But of course all of this is just my opinion. Everyone should form their own opinion.

One of the reasons that we are pretty much recession proof is that we are always prepared. We have no debt, not even a mortgage. Even when we had a mortgage in the early years of our marriage, we always had an emergency fund. 

I read an article a few years ago that said that 69% of Americans could not cover an unexpected expense of $1,000. To me that is very scary! What do they do if the car breaks down, they lose a job, or the furnace needs an expensive repair? I don’t think things have changed that much since 2017. If they had, the average American wouldn’t have $8189. in outstanding credit card debt which includes bank and store credit cards. And remember, this is an average. Many Americans owe a whole lot more than this and some less and some none like us. This tells me that most Americans rely on credit cards and borrowing if they have an unexpected expense.  At an almost average 17% interest rate on unpaid balances, they just get themselves into more and more debt.

If you do not have an emergency fund, it should be your first priority over the next couple of months. $1,000. will help. But to really protect yourselves, you should build it up to at least 6 months of expenses. You say you don’t know what your expenses are monthly? Well then, now is the time to track a month’s worth and include those expenses that you only pay once or twice a year. Then multiply that by 6 months and you will have an idea of what you should have in your emergency fund to fully protect you and your family. But if you have no fund, building up to $1,000. will help when you have a small emergency. 

The other thing that we do to help during a recession is to build up our stockpile of food. When a recession is coming, you should put at least 6 month’s worth of food away. We try to have a year’s worth. Right now we don’t have that much in our freezer because we have been eating out of it. However, I believe that we could make meals out of our pantries, if need be, for up to a year.  

Yes, we have some gaps that need to be filled but I am working on that with a list I worked up of what they are. You saw that this past week, I purchased 2 cases of canned whole potatoes.  Fresh potato prices are going up here and I pay attention to things like that. These potatoes will also help me not to shop over the winter. You all know that I hate driving in the snow. If I could stay home all winter, I would.

I also stock on food when I believe that food prices will be rising which could happen with all of the flooding. We are already seeing beef and pork prices rising here. By stocking, I insulate our family from these rising prices. Yes, the prices are getting higher but I believe they will go even higher. 

The other choice that we have is to not eat those products that are rising. With beef and pork prices rising, buy poultry. If they rise, buy whatever hasn’t risen or go meatless.

If you don’t have an emergency fund start working on it by figuring out what you truly need. Then start funding it. Next, stock some food in your pantry. If you only have an extra $10. a week, then just buy $10. worth of food. Next week buy another $10. worth. Keep doing that and eventually you will have a stockpile that you can rely on.

By doing this the next time you have an emergency, hopefully you can handle it without pulling out your credit card and going deeper into debt. If you build up your pantry, you know that you and your family will be able to eat.

Every Day

Your Most Important Fund

Different people save for different things. They have Christmas Club accounts, vacation funds, a home fund, and many many others. But the most important fund that you should have before all others is an Emergency Fund.

Emergencies rear their ugly heads especially when you least expect them. The washer breaks or the dryer stops working. The furnace needs a repair or the A/C dies. You car needs a repair or you have a leak in the house and need a plumber. There are so many things that could happen that you need that Emergency Fund. 

So many times people have said, “But I can’t afford an emergency fund, I have too much credit card debt or a multitude of other excuses.” 

You can’t afford not to have an Emergency Fund especially if you are in credit card debt. Let’s say the dryer stops working. You have a few choices. You can try to fix it yourself by googling what the problem could be or looking for a You Tube video to watch that would show you how to repair it. You still may have to pay for an expensive part. You can call the service people to come and repair it. Or you can hang your laundry to dry until you have enough money to fix it. But no you want it fixed right away so you call the service repair people who cost you $85. -$90. just to come out to the house plus the cost of the repair.

Since you don’t have the money to pay for it you put it on a credit card that you already owe $4,000. on. That credit card you pay a bit more than the minimum payment every month. Your interest rate is
11% or more. So now you owe more on the card and if you don’t pay the repair off when your bill is due, you pay interest on that portion too. 

Have you learned your lesson and started an emergency fund? No you just hope that you don’t have another emergency any time soon. So 2 months later, the furnace stops working. You call someone to repair it and put that repair on your charge too. Do you see the vicious cycle that you set up for yourself? 

No matter how much money you have coming in or how much you owe, you have to save an emergency fund. Then when something breaks, you hopefully have the money saved to pay for it.

So how much money should you save? It depends on your situation. But when we first started saving for one over 50 years ago, we saved $1500. It was not easy back in the 60’s but little by little we saved it. Then we never touched it except for an emergency. If we did need it to repair something, we replaced whatever we had to spend as fast as we could. Back then, we only made 4 figures. Today you should be able to put more than that in an emergency fund. I would save $5,000. or more and hope that you don’t have to use it any time soon while you are saving up.

We finally built ourselves up to a year’s expenses in case Hubby lost his job. Then we started saving for buying our cars and bigger things. Once you start doing it on a regular basis, it just builds and builds. Then when you have a true emergency, you don’t have the stress of how to pay for it or have to put it on a credit card. 

Even if you are living paycheck to paycheck, social security to social security or pension to pension or are in credit card debt , you should be able to build that fund. I don’t care whether you can only put $5., 10., up to $50. or more a week into that fund, you have to start today to build it.

You have no extra money, you say to me. Well, then you have to either make more money or cut your expenses. It’s easy to cut your grocery budget by $5. or $10. per week or more. Just shop carefully, forego junk food or desserts, buy cheaper meats or do away with meat for a # of meals, and use every morsel that you purchase. Don’t throw food away. There are so many ways to save on food and other items that you need. But I will go into many of those ways over the next few months. I think you get the idea. 

Do not use that emergency fund that you are building for anything but a true emergency. And going to the movies, buying a cup of coffee out, going out for a drink or to a restaurant are not emergencies. They are wants; not needs. 

Please start doing this over the next week and do it every week thereafter. It will take you awhile to get it built to where you want it but it is the right thing to do for yourself and your family. 

I hope you all have wonderful weekend.