This is a post from Make Love, Not Debt staff blogger, Abby.
Image: Tom Small
There are moments when I look at my savings accounts as abstract items not to be used – pristine, shining examples of my frugality that are there for looking, but not for touching. And then there are the moments when my apprehension disappears, and I understand why I continually add to them in the first place.
Recently, a situation arose in which a friend of mine left her home for some time, and would need (or like, or want – however you want to put it) visitors. This was a medical situation, and one in which I knew I would, without question, figure out a plan to accommodate that desire. Old friends aren’t something you should play around with – they’re rare (I realize this as more of my local friends express astonishment at my old friendships) and important, and worth some inconveniences – even of the financial kind. And so I set to planning a somewhat last minute trip, and one that certainly wasn’t budgeted for.
Enter the “Travel Fund.” My husband and I set aside money into this fund for a few reasons: to have money to travel when the opportunity arises (see: Spain), and to have money that we won’t feel miserable about spending when the need arises (see: out of town weddings, unexpected situations like the one I now encounter). There’s something slightly less depressing about spending money that you’ve already earmarked for the purpose, particularly when it’s a surprise expense. I was able to pull some cash from that to pay for train tickets, hotel rooms, and anything else that arises (meals, taxis, etc.).
After spending years and years constantly worried about where money was coming from, and if I was saving enough for any future problems, it’s an incredible relief to be able to do this – to pick up and help in a stressful situation without the added stress of wondering how I’m going to pay for it. That’s not to say that I’m not still careful about this kind of spending, and apprehensive – only that I know I can do it, and try to use that knowledge to set aside any concern I have over cost. I may agonize for hours over whether or not I really need that dress or pair of shoes, but this was a no-brainer. The money would be spent, the cause was important, and that’s the end of that.
Are there moments when you’ve viewed your savings accounts in a different light, or been happy to have the money to spend when you needed it?