Thursday, January 15, 2009

Hey! We've got comments! And a cold!

I logged in today and was thrilled to see comments on some of the posts we made last week. It's exciting! I wasn't sure anyone would read this. It makes me eager to post even more (if you can't tell by the ratio of my posts to Trent's posts, I'm the one in this relationship who can't seem to shut up).

This week, Walgreen's has consumed a nice little chunk of our (dwindling) checking account. I woke up two days ago to the cold from hell: chest congestion, nasal congestion, sinus congestion. Sleeping was so impossible last night that I didn't even bother. I stayed up until 6 a.m., ate some cereal, rummaged through the pile of medicine we purchased in the last 24 hours, found something that contained a sleep aid, and took a nap. 

The winter colds we've suffered in our family are good reminders to have some emergency cash in the bank just in case. Granted, this doesn't really qualify as an emergency, per se (though I've had moments when I felt like I might keel over and die as I try to get some air into my clogged lungs), and Walgreen's brand drugs aren't exactly expensive, but what if it hadn't been a cold? What if someone had broken an arm or a leg? What if the cold were to turn into something that required a doctor's visit? Last time I checked, our doctors charge around $200 per checkup (and of course, our insurance doesn't cover any exams outside of a yearly physical).

Trent and I talked this morning about putting more into our savings account. We are both concerned about the seeming inability of the economy to get back on its feet. We worry that five or six months from now, our contracts might stop rolling in, the offers will dry up, and we'll be in a high-stress financial situation. Putting more into savings means paying less to our credit card company (we've been paying more than the minimum), which under normal circumstances doesn't make sense. In the future, though, we may have greater concerns. Like paying our mortgage.

People talk a lot about savings accounts and how much money to put into them. Financial guru Suze Orman has said it's a good idea to sock away enough to cover eight months' to a year's worth of living expenses. I'm a little embarrassed to say that we are nowhere near being able to do that. We pay ahead on our mortgage, but if the job train slowed to a crawl, we would be in trouble. 

We'll need to take another look at how much we've been handing to the friendly Visa and Mastercard companies and see if we can make any adjustments. Of course, now that we've given up our tricked-out cable package and a monthly prepared meal service, we can send that cash right to the bank. I can't wait to see how our recent efforts to live more frugally will pay off in the long run.


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