Most people are able to cover their day-to-day expenses. They pay their rent or their mortgage. They make their car payments. They have plenty of food to eat and keep their lights on. Maybe there is a credit card that doesn’t get paid off every month, but in general, most people limit their spending for normal life to their income.
This morning at 7:30 AM, in the middle of one of the common storms we have in this part of the country, I heard a rumbling sound unlike the normal thunder and wind. It lasted for about five seconds, and I guessed exactly what it was. We have several large trees that make up the back border of our property. One of them , a large blackjack oak, had split in two in the wind and had fallen, half on our property and half on our neighbors.
Luckily it was too short to hit the house (although it is inches away). If it hadn’t, I wouldn’t be writing about it now since I’d be busy trying to save belongings from the rain and tarp the remains of the roof. We were actually really fortunate that the tree picked a great location, falling into mostly open areas in our yard and our neighbors. The only damage done besides the tree was one section of our fence and a slat from our neighbors.
Even with this minor event, I expect the bill to be a couple thousand dollars to remove the tree, plus maybe a couple of hundred dollars for the fences. We will probably put in an insurance claim, but we still have a $500 deductible that we’ll need to cover. Even when things work out the best they can, there are still expenses beyond your normal costs when life’s little events occur.
In our case, because we’ve done things like buy used cars and drive them for a while, take road trips instead of exotic vacations to Club Med, and eat most meals in instead of going out all of the time, we have a reserve of cash to cover things like this. It also means that when the car unexpectedly dies and needs an immediate repair we can float the bill, or if we get into an accident and need to replace it, we have the cash to buy the next one. It isn’t fun to have these things happen since they disrupt our lives (this time two days before Christmas), but there is a big difference between having them happen when you have the cash in the bank to cover them and when you have a zero-balance in your checking account because you’ve just spent your last dime on Christmas gifts.
This is really my goal by writing this blog. Not to make people rich so that they can drive fancy cars and live the rock-star lifestyle. It is just to get people to put aside some of the money they make at their jobs and invest it well rather than spending every dime that comes in so that they’re ready when bad things happen.
So how are you doing this fine morning? Are you ready for your tree fall?