It’s not too late this year to get a grip on your finances. It’s just the start of the last Quarter of the year. Use these months to follow your spending and collecting your data if you don’t have it yet. ( Find out what you need here. ) You will be ready to start a shiny new year with a plan in place. If you do have your data consider this time to be a practice run for next year. It will help you keep a budget top of mind over the Holidays when most of us give in to the Credit Card . You never know what the future holds, and these months could make all the difference. I am right there myself and here’s why: (Missed the budget tutorials? Look here.)
Here is the rest of my story. How my finances tanked.
It all started going south with our finances when my old faithful car decided it was her time to go. I had 2 houses that were supposed to close, (I am a Realtor), that would cover the cost of the used car we bought, so mistake number 1, we bought the car on credit. Looking back I should have purchased a lesser car, and paid cash. The deals on both houses I thought I had sold fell through. I think I remember something like “Don’t count your chickens before they are hatched.” As a chicken lover I know this.
Several months later the air conditioner on our house went out, and could not be fixed. More bad news. A new unit was $6000.00. Again thinking I could sell homes to cover it we financed the new AC. We didn’t want to touch that emergency money. The finances could take just on more debt, right? We would only have two payments. The air conditioner and the car.
But then, I started feeling sick. This feeling went on for at least a month before I couldn’t take the pain anymore and asked my husband to take me to the emergency room. I had a completely blocked colon. The next day I was taken to emergency surgery and I had my entire Sigmoid Colon removed. That would not have been as crushing if that was all there was to it. What I woke up to was crushing emotionally, and physically. My colon was in such bad shape that they could not reattach it until the inflammation went down. Now I would have to wear a bag for 6 months.
The second surgery.
It was the worst 6 months of my life. I felt like I smelled bad all the time, and usually it was because I did. The bag rarely attached right, and would leak. The skin around the bag seal was so inflamed from the whole messy thing that that it burned all the time.
I got sick again and ended up back in the hospital for a few days, just long enough to have to put off the procedure to reattach things another few months. I finally had surgery to remove the bag 8 months after the first surgery, but there was again a surprise.
This surgery was supposed to Laparoscopic, about 2 hours in and out of surgery. That didn’t happen. There was too much scar tissue around where the bag was attached, so they had to make an incision from about 2 inches below my belly button, up to mid rib. I ended up being in surgery for over 5 hours, with 2 surgeons. It was the right thing to do, since the only other choice would have been to leave the bag on. This meant however a much longer recovery time, and I couldn’t work. I did manage to sell one home between the first and second surgery, but only because it was a friends’ sister.
The final surgery?
The next blow came when I began to feel like maybe they had not put me back together right. It seemed like my pants were getting tight , in kind of a lop sided way. I thought that maybe I was just gaining weight. As time went on it became apparent that there was something wrong. You really can’t gain weight on just one side, but I was.
Back to the surgeon, for a consult. First thing they did was to order an MRI to see what the lump was. I looked about 6 months pregnant but only on one side. The results showed a VERY large hernia. It was pushing it’s way into the incision from the second surgery. So we planned surgery number 3. By the time I got to that one I was a normally wearing a size large shirt, but was up to a 3x to fit over the giant lump.
Why am I telling you this?
So why am I telling you all of this? Not because I want sympathy, but because I want y’all to be prepared. We thought we were prepared, but nope. We had about a month and a half of money in the bank as an emergency fund. That didn’t cover my being off work for a year. Half of the emergency fund was gone after the first surgery for our deductible. The timing of these surgeries was such that even though they all happened in the period of a year, it spanned 2 calendar years. That meant we had to pay the out of pocket maximum twice. Bye Bye savings. (sigh) I really don’t want my friends finding themselves in the same situation as I was, having to make hard choices about how to save, and payoff debt. Read that story here.
Don’t wait to start taking control of your finances until January, do it now. You never know what lies ahead for you. Till next time…