Yes, I know the feeling. You are trying so hard to stay on track and something comes up, it always seems to come up. How is it possible to ever get ahead when this always seems to happen? I don’t have an easy answer for you, but I can tell you that you are not alone. There are things you can do to help your situation so when things do come up you feel better prepared to handle them.
The first thing you can do is make sure you have enough in savings to cover the unexpected. I’ve heard 3x your month salary all the way up to 1 year salary should be in savings. I don’t know about you, but that can really feel daunting and especially unrealistic. I honestly wonder what the people who have 6 months – 1 year salary sitting in a puny little savings account, making less than 2% interest, are doing with the rest of their money. In my opinion, I think it’s a poor investment strategy to have that much sitting there and not working for you. I do understand the comfort level that may come with that much, sitting at your fingertips, for anything that might come up. But, I guess I like to live on the edge.
My suggestion is to keep as much in savings as you are comfortable, and able to. I do not know your personal situation, so I will speak in general terms for what works for me. I always try to keep at least $1000 in savings, anything above $5000 should go into a greater interest bearing account. My savings account will ebb and flow a little bit, because I do budget pretty tightly and things do come up (it seems, $100 at a time.) I find myself rejiggering to ensure that I stay on track for my long-term goals and don’t feel like I need to throw my hands up in the air and give up on having a budget when I find out something will end up costing $200 more than expected (because it has, this weekend, in fact.)
So, breathe (that’s always my first piece of advice,) know it will all be OK and it will work out. Even the tough times eventually get better. If you are going through a tough time financially, being cognizant of what you are spending will help you get through this time. If you are doing great financially and just got a raise, or have always been prudent with spending. Kudos to you, you may be in the minority (talking in general terms for the US.) I’m glad you found this space. I hope we can all learn something from each other. <3 Bobbi