This post is part of our 21 Days to a Better Budget Series! To view all the posts in our series, please click here.
“Just another day in paradise baby”, was my response to my husband after the rack and pinion went out in his truck, followed by the power steering pump. Again. Not to mention this happened right after we just fixed our dryer, paid off over $5,000 of debt in one month, and then on top of that, we had to make two very unexpected trips out of town.
Life is full of moments and seasons like this.
Moments where it seems like there will never be enough money, enough time, enough room to breathe to keep going. It almost seems easier to just give up. I mean, how much more can we take?
It’s easy to allow ourselves to become overwhelmed and overly stressed about our current situations, I mean sometimes life really does stink. Sometimes there are major catastrophes, there are major illnesses, major life-changing events that are in fact completely unexpected and unavoidable.
So, here’s the question…
How do you prepare for hard times?
I wish I had the perfect answer for you. Instead, what I do have is the answer that has worked for my family throughout our tough seasons.
In my Is an Emergency Fund Necessary post, I share the story of when my husband fell out of a two-story window while at work and how our emergency fund literally saved us from going completely and totally broke. And it’s why I firmly believe that an emergency fund is a must have for all households. You need to have a designated savings account set up for emergency situations because they will happen.
Yep, y’all knew this one was coming. We’re huge fans of getting rid of debt around here and no longer having the weight of over $55,000 of debt (not including the mortgage) on our backs has made weathering life’s storms so much easier.
It allows us to have more room in our budget every month for life’s curve balls and helps us manage our money better. If you have a mountain of debt on your back, it’ll be difficult to navigate life’s seasons, especially the tough ones. I encourage you to stop using debt and to pay off any existing debts you may have. It really does make managing your money and your life so much easier.
This one thing has saved us countless times during our rough seasons – pausing. When a crisis happens, it’s all too easy to panic and start running around like chickens with our heads cut off. But, if we take a moment to pause, breathe, and pray, navigating those really hard moments becomes so much easier.
When I got the call that my Daddy had passed away unexpectedly, I was devastated to say the least. I didn’t know which way to turn or what do to do. I had to figure out how I was going to get my family to North Carolina. I had to figure out what to pack; I had to figure out what I was going to do in this situation as the decisions of what to do what my Daddy’s body fell to my brother and me. It was a very difficult moment for me, but when I took a moment to pause, pray that God would guide me, and took a deep breath, I was able to hold off my grieve so I could move money from our savings to our checking, pack up my family and fill my car up with gas to take us to the mountains of North Carolina.
It wasn’t easy, but pausing gave me the space to figure out what I needed to do. I encourage you to remember to pause when life throws you for a loop. You’ll be able to see more clearly and figure out what your next move should be.
I know, I know. You’re going “but life just threw hell my way – how can I possible budget or stick to my budget now that it’s completely shot?!”
When tough seasons happen, you still need to budget. If the tough season is a result of your budget failing, you need to figure out what went wrong and how you can fix it. If this season is the result of something completely out of your control, you still need to figure out a budget. You need add in whatever new life development has been thrown at you.
For example, when my hubs’ truck was having to be repaired, I had to re-budget our money so we were applying more money towards our auto account in order to pay in cash for all of the repairs. This required me discussing various things with my husband on cost and if he could do any of the repairs himself. By doing this, I was able to keep our budget stable after the initial falter.
Related Post: Building Your Family’s Emergency Car Repair Fund
When life gets you down, remember to pause, pray, and breathe before attempting to figure out on your own what you should be doing. And when you’re in a season of life that is more stable, make sure you are building up your emergency fund, and slashing debt like a crazy person. It’ll make navigating the tough seasons easier.
What is your tip for navigating life’s bumps?
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Money controlling you? I know the feeling. My family has been living this real life on a budget for a long time and I can tell you that there's never a perfect season, but with a few changes you can start to reign in your money issues.
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