Plan for the Unexpected

It’s Easier Said Than Done


Probably the number one piece of financial advice we have all heard countless times is to save for a rainy day. It’s that thing we all know we should do, and some of us actually are doing (or are trying to). But when that rainy day comes, sometimes it really pours. And sometimes the roof springs a leak, too.

There are plenty of tips and tricks you can use to make saving easier. My husband and I found that automating that savings by having a portion of your check automatically rerouted to savings is a great way to accumulate a rainy day fund without even having to think about it.

We recently discovered that we were very lucky to have that rainy day fund because the thing we thought would never happen, happened: my husband lost his job of 17 years. A really good job. A job that, among other things, offered our family solid health insurance coverage at no cost to us. Because he’d had that job for so long, we had been shielded from the reality of what health insurance coverage actually costs most people.

We were lucky. Not only did he get a decent severance package, but he landed a new job right away. Nevertheless, there was still a gap in health insurance until his new job’s plan kicked in for us.

So you’re probably thinking, what about the Affordable Care Act? Yes, that’s what we thought, too. And then we priced it. Once we picked our jaws up off the floor at the cost, we quickly decided that we needed a Plan B. Either we could wrap both of our kids and ourselves in bubble wrap and hope for the best, or we could check into a plan from my employer. When we considered things like prescription coverage and the possibility of someone getting sick or injured and how much that could cost, we knew the bubble wrap wasn’t going to be a viable option.

We were incredibly lucky that my employer offers a great plan and we could get coverage for the three months until his coverage started. However, that coverage did not come without a hit to the household budget.

That rainy day fund we’d saved didn’t go nearly as far as we had hoped it would. That was due, in most part, to us not taking into consideration that the cost of healthcare for our family would be way more than we were prepared for. Plus, since we had to switch policies, that meant we started over with things like deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses for the new plan. So while paying for the new plan, we were also paying additional expenses on top of the premiums.

Now that we’re counting down the days until things go back to normal, we’ve learned a valuable lesson. As usual, we’ve learned it the hard way, though. Now we know that not only should that rainy day fund cover the usual expenses like bills, but also the equally important things like health insurance.


Money Saving Ideas for Fall’s Big Night

One Mom’s Money-Saving Approach to Halloween

Halloween has become big business in the U.S. over recent years. Between costumes, candy, decor, and the fun outings that your family wants to enjoy, you can drop some serious cash if you’re not keeping an eye on the bottom line.  The idea is to have as much fun as possible without busting the budget, right?

Halloween Costumes are the first place to save. We start by looking at what we’ve already got stuffed in closets and can recycle or repurpose. I don’t want to spend a lot of money on something my kids would wear just for a few hours and then it would likely find its way into the dress-up clothes bin in the playroom. My daughter’s dance costumes have been repurposed into everything from fairies to witches to zombies. I mean, it’s Halloween, so all you have to do is put “zombie” in front of something and it’s the perfect costume, right? We’ve raided my husband’s hunting clothes, my son’s martial arts and sports uniforms, and anything else we have on hand. My kids have always loved their costumes even if their friends are all dressed as the latest superhero to rock the box office.

Halloween Candy is my next favorite place to save. As tempting as it is to buy only our family favorites, it’s much more practical to watch the sale ads and buy what’s discounted. I’ve been surprised to find that when Trick or Treaters ring my doorbell, if we give them a choice between a nontraditional treat and candy, they almost always choose the unique treat over the candy. So don’t be afraid to think outside the box and offer something other than candy. (Then you can always hit the after-Halloween sales and get your favorite treat for yourself!)

Halloween Decorations are a fun way to get in the spirit of the season. Whether you’re into spooky or just festive, the price can definitely add up. Try to only purchase items you’ll be able to use year after year and save by stocking up on these items in the after-holiday sales. While it might mean you can’t match the elaborate display your neighbor has this year, by shopping wisely and getting 75% or more off your purchases when retailers are trying to clear their shelves, you can not only accumulate a lot of fun decor items, you can also save a lot of money at the checkout. If you’re just starting to build your collection of decorative items, focus on objects that make a big impact. A beautiful wreath on your front door is a great place to start. If you stick with a fall theme, instead of strictly Halloween, you can leave it up right through Thanksgiving if you’d like.

Halloween is fun, so enjoy all it includes, but be careful not to break the budget. After all, at the end of the night, isn’t it really all about how much candy you’ve got anyway?

Trick or treat!