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Controlled Levee Breaks

Spending Floods

Sometimes we hold off spending our money on really big ticket items, because we convince ourselves we cannot afford it, or we think we cannot deal with the resulting debt, and, while these are all good reasons not to overspend sometimes some big expenditures must happen (e.g. windows on your house need replacing, a crack in your house’s foundation is causing a leak, etc.,). What needs to happen is that you don’t end up in a situation where you must spend the money, and maybe try to spread these larger expenditures out so you aren’t flooded out financially.

This is unfortunately what is happening in real life in Manitoba and along the shores of the Mississippi River where controlled floods are being allowed to hopefully save a larger number of houses. I don’t wish to sound flippant with my analogy here, for those affected our prayers and thoughts are with you.

How many large expenditures are backing up behind your financial dike or levee? If you wait too long you could end up with a horrendous set of financial outlays like:

  • Your home’s roof needs replacing due to age, or storm damage
  • Your furnace needs to be replaced due to age
  • Your air conditioning just is not working and needs replacing

Couldn’t happen? It did to me in an 18 month period, and luckily I had enough money to deal with most of the expenses, but any more of these big ticket items might have caused a lot more consternation in my life.

My wife and I have held off doing the windows on our house, even though we know they need to be done, but we are now faced with having to do them, or risk damaging our house’s framing and possibly causing greater damage by not acting on this (or more expenses with air loss through the deceprid windows that are currently in place). The expense is going to be quite spectacular I am assuming, and there are other large bills looming, but sometimes you just have to deal with the controlled flooding to keep from getting financially swept away.

Any other stories of perfect storms of large expenses occurring at the same time?

Feel Free to Comment

  1. Sometimes it’s actually cheaper in teh long run to just take care of some household projects. The only problem is that you can usually only see that in hindsight. And that really sucks.

  2. One reason we are glad we keep an emergency fund came around this past Jan/Feb. We have a cat who had REALLY bad tartar and his health was close to being affected. We knew he’d need about $500 in vet work on his teeth. So we’d planned for this expense. Thing is, he caught something at the vet and got one of our other cats sick (he was sick too). They both had to visit the vet ($$) and get anti biotics ($$). So we paid about another $400 due to the “extras” the first cat brought home.

    Then our house was broken into. Stolen: 2 laptops, digital camera, $150 worth of HD gift card gifts, my down winter jacket, wallets w/ about $150 in em, and then the cost to replace some of the cards in wallets. All in all, another $2000 or so.

    And then our property taxes were due at the same time. This was a planned expense, but the flood gates sure felt they were wide open when another $3000 or so left our account. Plus our normal bills – internet/tv/cable, hydro, heat, mortgage (which we pay 40% more than our base payment). We felt as though we were hemorrhaging.

    For frugal people who like to save and invest it was a brutal start to 2011.

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