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View Poll Results: Future Cash Flow or Emergency Fund?
Future Cash Flow 1 3.57%
Emergency Fund 27 96.43%
Voters: 28. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 12-10-2012, 02:45 PM   #1
sandynd
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Tough it out or break into emergency fund?

Hey everybody! First of all, just so everyone knows, this is not a "hard luck before Christmas" story - I do not want anyone to donate gifts or money please! Opinions and good wishes are always welcome though

However, it is right before Christmas, and we've had a sudden financial drain. My husband is diabetic and in renal failure, so he's been retired for two years. We had a budget worked out that pays the bills and still lets us put some aside for planned spending: health care fund, vacation fund, vehicle fund, Christmas fund, etc. However, we had no more extra to put into our emergency fund. Our medical fund was also going to be rolled into our vacation fund to pay for dialysis while we were at the World! However, my daughter and I both need new orthotics, and they're expensive, so bye bye saved up medical fund! Then my car broke down, which was an expensive fix, so that eats into the vehicle fund. We had to replace the furnace this fall, so that ate up the furnace fund (with a little extra on top, of course!) Suddenly, about five weeks ago, my husband's foot became gangrenous, and half of it was amputated last Thursday. I've been driving to the hospital every day at least once for the last two weeks. It's a three-hour round trip, and we've had to take our truck more than once, since my car was laid up. Besides burning a ton more gas than planned, we've spent a ton of money on cell phone minutes to keep in touch while in transit and a bunch more on prepared foods for my daughter and I to be able to grab and run, as well as coffee etc. at the hospital itself. I also broke down and gave my daughter a couple of Christmas presents early to keep her occupied and less stressed while we did all of our medical running around, so I would like to replace those presents with a couple of others for Christmas morning. Now DH will probably need a walker / wheelchair or both, and we'll need to do some modifications to our home entrances to get him in. Fortunately, I have a builder friend who built the ramps, but I want to reimburse him for materials at least. My question to the budget board is, would you attempt to squeeze future cashflow to pay all of these sudden extra expenses off (It's going on our daily-use credit card right now, which I usually pay off every pay day) or would you break into the emergency fund?
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Old 12-10-2012, 03:00 PM   #2
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I'm sorry you're dealing with all this.

I would probably do both; amputation qualifies as 'emergency' but I'd be squeezing future cash flow to pay it back ASAP.

Hopefully 2013 is a better year for you!
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Old 12-10-2012, 03:03 PM   #3
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Sorry to hear you have to deal with all this! (My mom was a diabetic amputee too -- but the amputation gave her a few extra years with us, so she was able to enjoy time with my daughter.)

I, too, think that this qualifies as an emergency.
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Old 12-10-2012, 03:54 PM   #4
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If you have the funds in the emergency fund to pay off the cards without incurring interest, I'd go that route. (I think this qualifies as an emergency).

Then, I'd squeeze future money (including possibly reducing the amount to vacation funds, etc) until the emergency fund has been replaced.
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Old 12-10-2012, 04:23 PM   #5
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I would use the emergency fund. I also would put all my extra back into my emergency fund rather than a vacation fund. Vacations are the last things that get paid for in our household, everything else comes first. We're fortunate to be able to still take vacations (some years are a lot more exciting than others, depending on what we have going on. lol)
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Old 12-10-2012, 05:32 PM   #6
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I'm so sorry about all of your husband's medical issues. I'm sure it must be hard on all of you. I think you are doing a great job handling it all.

If I were in your position, I would really try and limit the eating out/coffee. It is astonishing how fast that adds up. I would try very hard to make up a few casserole-type dishes that you can freeze and reheat. Make sure to pack some easy food for your trips to the hospital (sandwiches, raw veggies, fruit, etc). Make coffee before you leave the house and store it in a travel cup.

Is it really absolutely necessary that you visit your husband each day? Perhaps you can agree on every other day. It must be hard on your daughter also being in the car for that long every day. That would cut your extra expenses in half right away (half the gas, eating out, coffee, etc).

The hospital should allow you to make interest-free payments on his medical expenses. Most are more than happy to do that! Sometimes for as little as $50/mo...they just want to know they will get the money no matter how long it takes. Doing that may allow you to not dig into your emergency fund. I would avoid that if at all possible.

You need to cut down on your cell phone usage some. I'm sure your husband understands all of this...you have to be reasonable and set these limits. He knows you would be by his side 24/7 if you could but it just isn't realistic.

I don't see a need to dip into your emergency fund if you cut back some. I hope things get better for you soon.
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Old 12-10-2012, 05:44 PM   #7
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sorry to hear of the issues you are all going thru. I hope that your 2013 is much better and healthier!
As a practice I say avoid that emergency fund, however I think the situation qualifies at that. I would really try and get some of the things you need, walker etc, on something like Craigslist to cut expenses and do whatever you can to cut on phone and gas expenses as well. Best of luck to all of you!
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Old 12-10-2012, 05:50 PM   #8
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Squishy, you are absolutely right about cutting down on the eating out. I wasn't up to any sort of planning or discipline last week, but I packed lunch and dinner yesterday. The cell phone minutes are a problem because for some reason we were not able to get him connected to the hospital's wireless, and tech support isn't able to help him, so he's using the phone to keep in touch with the world outside of his bed. Can't say I blame the poor guy- he has cabin fever badly!

We didn't go see him today, so we'll go tomorrow, but I do have to go every other day to learn how to do his dressings and physio. They're sending him home soon and I'll be
responsible for his rehab in between appointments. Fortunately, because we're in Canada, most of his medical expenses aren't coming out of our pockets - that would truly stress me out.

And yes, vacation funding is off the table right now, but I have to have something to look forward to, so I'll be working toward that again ASAP. Thanks for all the ideas!
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Old 12-11-2012, 08:48 AM   #9
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You said your DH will be out of the hospital soon, which is great news.
In the event that there's another longer hospitalization in the future, you may be back to spending time drinking that yummy hospital coffee. A friend whose mother was hospitalized for an extended period got clearance from the staff to bring in an inexpensive coffeemaker and leave it in the patient lounge. She would bring in a travel mug and a container with some ground coffee whenever she came, and left a bunch of filters there with a sign that it was for anyone's use. The other patients' families were able to use it, and would leave coffee supplies (like creamer, sugar, styrofoam cups) and occasionally brought in baked goodies.
The coffeemaker was under $20, and she just brought ground coffee from home, so she was saving money after just a few days.
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Old 12-11-2012, 09:04 AM   #10
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Would use the emergency fund and the buckle down to get that back up to an amount higher than last time to help with the next time this happens.
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Old 12-11-2012, 11:47 AM   #11
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Years and years ago, I mentioned to my mom that DH and I were going to be able to take care of a big financial expense, but that it would wipe out our rainy day fund and that I'd tried every option but couldn't see my way 'round it. She looked at me and said "dear, it's raining."

Dear, it's raining.
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Old 12-11-2012, 11:50 AM   #12
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I just wanted to add that if you have family or friends in the area who are making offers to help, take them up on it! If they say, "Is there anything I can do?" tell them that bringing over dinner would be wonderful, or you'd love to borrow a thermos (so you aren't buying coffee out), or whatever it is that would be most helpful to you. Best of luck to your family.
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Old 12-11-2012, 12:12 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snarlingcoyote View Post
Years and years ago, I mentioned to my mom that DH and I were going to be able to take care of a big financial expense, but that it would wipe out our rainy day fund and that I'd tried every option but couldn't see my way 'round it. She looked at me and said "dear, it's raining."

Dear, it's raining.
I got a kick out of this. As a dyed-in-the-wool saver, I'd also need someone to tell me it's raining.

However, that being said, we all know how hard it is to accumulate money in the emergency fund, and once it's been spent it is often even harder to build it back up. Even though I never (NEVER!!!) carry a credit card balance, I might be tempted to carry the additional expenses for a few months and try to cut back on my other budget items to make faster payments.

How's your credit? Could you do a balance transfer to a 0% interest card that could give you six months to pay it off? You sound like a disciplined person who could transfer the balance and hold yourself accountable to paying it back before the interest kicks in.
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Old 12-11-2012, 01:35 PM   #14
eliza61

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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrsklamc View Post
I'm sorry you're dealing with all this.

I would probably do both; amputation qualifies as 'emergency' but I'd be squeezing future cash flow to pay it back ASAP.

Hopefully 2013 is a better year for you!
Second that.

Wishing you good fortunes for 2013.
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Old 12-11-2012, 01:36 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snarlingcoyote View Post
Years and years ago, I mentioned to my mom that DH and I were going to be able to take care of a big financial expense, but that it would wipe out our rainy day fund and that I'd tried every option but couldn't see my way 'round it. She looked at me and said "dear, it's raining."

Dear, it's raining.
Good one SC, I may steal it to use.

I think it's that emergency funds seem so hard to build up and yet so easy to drain.
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