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Question of the Week: Handling Emergencies

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This is our Sunday series where we all respond to reader questions. If you want to submit a question, please go to this post.

Question of the Week

How are you going to handle difficulties and emergencies now that you are in debt reduction mode and will no longer be relying on credit cards and loans? posted by Hot Sauce

Stephannie

 When my husband started with his medical problems they were running all kinds of tests to try and figure out what was wrong.  We had gone to Houston for a major test and before we could sign in they wanted $1,800.00. I completely panicked and all we could do was put it on a credit card. His health problems were the main reason I shelved my business and went back to work for someone else.  We just could not afford all the medical bills plus the debt we had accrued. I went back to work full time, worked my business on the side as much as possible (monogramming) and worked a second job in the evening at my parents business.  Because of this we were able to put some money into an emergency savings account while still paying down our debt. That was a hard time on our family because I was never available for my girls since I was always working. While it was hard, it was so worth it because we now have a little set aside for emergencies. I am now only working at my day job and doing a little bit of my business on the side. But, if we needed it I would do it all again because I don’t ever want that feeling again of knowing we have to pay for something that concerns our health and the only option is to put ourselves more into debt.

 

Jim

That is a real toughie for me.  You see we already live paycheck to paycheck.  This wasn’t always the case… Before I quit my job, to be home with my family, I was making around $4.5k a month and we did have a good savings.  But little by little, the savings got eaten up.  But I do want to build that emergency fund up, because my wife and I have terrible luck.  After the end of this month, I will have a clearer picture of where my money is going and where I can budget everything.  After that, my first priority is to start that emergency fund.  I haven’t really relied on credit cards for a while now (another story), except for the one store credit card.  That is for a clothing store of my wife’s.  She has lost a lot of weight since we have been married.  And I know that she will need clothes for the summer.  Hell everyone will need clothes, except for me hopefully.  The kid’s I try to buy next year’s clothes after the season ended on clearance.  But it is getting harder to find these clothes.  But yard sell season is coming and I am anxiously waiting to find what kind of deals and steals I can get this year.You ever notice that when a real emergency comes up, you somehow find the money?  Whether it is from robbing Peter to pay Paul, or selling stuff?  Somehow you always do, well I hate the fact this happens all the time with us.  So hopefully I won’t have to once I sit down and look at where all my money is being spent 

Hope

I am on the fence about an emergency fund. I know I should have one, especially with four kids. However, I also know that I am really bad about dipping in when I shouldn’t.  I did well last fall and saved $50 per month in an account that I cannot access without going to the bank – no debit card, no online transfer, etc.  That worked. I put the money in when I deposited a check and didn’t think about it.  In addition, I am leaving no cash I can get too, everything is going to bills or to debt.  We are living very lean in trying to do this. But then an emergency struck, my son broke his hand, and I had to rush him to an Urgent Care after bank hours. I had no access to money, none! Thank God, literally that his dad lives 30 minutes away and met me halfway to bring me the money to get him seen.So the answer is, I have no idea.  I am not a panicky person. I have a good support system I could call if needed. And I carry life insurance in case of the worst. I think I would probably fly by the seat of my pants and trust God, karma and my great family and friends would help me for now.  But I am considering starting my inaccessible emergency fund again, maybe.  Would love to hear the communities thoughts on it.

 

Ashley

I think, for me, the biggest change will be a psychological shift. When we experienced our most recent emergency (with my husband’s health crisis – discussed in this post), my immediate reaction was to whip out the credit cards and reserve cash for only the essentials (e.g., rent, utility payments, etc.) In the end, we ended up accruing more debt that was totally 100% avoidable because, in fact, we had an emergency fund that could get us through at least 2.5-3 months (or longer if we really cut down to bare essentials. For some reason the credit cards provided a sense of security. But that’s exactly what an emergency fund is supposed to be for….emergencies!!! I think by shifting my mindset to not viewing CCs as a “safety net” and instead viewing them as the devil (a little dramatic, but you get the idea), and relying on my emergency fund in case of emergency we should be okay. Restocking a month or two of our emergency fund is a much faster/easier process than paying down our monstrous debt that is accumulating daily interest!

Reader Q&A

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Hi BAD community!!! We’re all so thrilled to be here!

As Jeffrey mentioned, we’re starting regular blogging next week. But Hope had an awesome idea we think would make a fun series.

We want YOU to tell us any questions you might have for us.

We will all respond to the same question so you can get 4 different perspectives on the same issue. It’s a way for you to ask us about whatever you’d like to know more about and also an opportunity for you to get to know us a little better.

Some example questions might include…

  • Do you think your debt occurred predominantly from a trickle (i.e., small over-expenditures in lots of different areas) or a flood (i.e., a few large purchases)?
  • Once you are debt-free, what will be your first “big ticket” item to purchase?
  • How old are your children and how (if at all) will you involve them in your debt-payoff journey?
  • What is the biggest sacrifice you have made (or are making) to get out of debt?

Now it’s your turn. Leave a comment with a question (or 2 or 3!) that you would like for us to answer. We’ll sort through them and start a Q&A series in the coming weeks!

See you all on Monday!!

BAD Bloggers


The New BAD Blogger Format

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Now that we have four new bloggers, the question was how do we set up their posting so that everyone can follow along, but it doesn’t become a mess. We felt having all the bloggers write posts randomly throughout the week could be quite confusing, especially having to reorient to which blogger you were actually reading about with each post. We have therefore put some structure into it so that hopefully the confusion will be minimal, and it will be easier to follow those who you like.

We have assigned each blogger a specific day to post as follows:

Ashley: Monday
Jim: Tuesday
Hope: Wednesday
Stephannie: Thursday

These are their days, and they will put up a minimum of one post on this day. These posts will be about them specifically, whether it’s about their budget numbers, a specific success that they had or any other post that they want to share to all about themselves. While there is a minimum of one post on this day, they are free to post more if the need / want.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday will be open days. Each blogger will put up at least one post over these three days as well. These posts will be more general in nature. They may be a question that they have and want the readers to give opinions about, it might be a great deal that they found that they want to share with everyone, or it could be a general “how to” article they put together from their own experience.

With this in place, each blogger will be making a minimum of 2 posts a week and we should have a post each day to keep the overall blog more active.

This isn’t necessarily the final way that it will be done, but it will be the way that we begin. As with any new project, we expect that there will be issues that we hadn’t considered. At a minimum, we will be making tweaks along the way. It also might be that this won’t be a good way to set it up, and we’ll have to change the process completely. Consider this the Beta version with multi-bloggers.

With that in mind, we always welcome the readers’ suggestions on ways that we could make this blog better, so feel free to share as the process emerges. As always, feel free to leave comments and I will be sure to read them.


The New Bloggers

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First, I’d like to thank all the people who took the time to show interest in becoming a blogger here, and especially those who took the time to write an introduction. I would also like to thank all of you who read this blog for taking the time to read the introductions, and giving your opinions on who you think would be interesting to take over. Nate and I sat down the last few days, and with the help of your comments, we have decided on the next bloggers for Blogging Away Debt.

The new bloggers will be:

Ashley
Jim
Hope
Stephannie

The goal is to have all of them up and writing beginning next Monday, so you can look forward to hearing from all of them soon. This will be the first time that we have multiple bloggers writing which will be new to us. Nate and I have put together a format that we think will enable all the bloggers to write with their own voice without causing too much confusion among the readers (I will be posting more about that tomorrow). If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment.


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