Here at MFW, we’re constantly talking about healthy spending and saving habits. Make better food choices, research expensive purchases, take advantage of resell prices, understand your bank account, save, save and save some more.
Well, MFW readers, I save… and I save a lot. Just like my strategy for checking accounts, I have more than one savings account. I have my emergency fund which is worth a few months of unemployment, heaven forbid. Then I have my holiday fund, which I know may sound a little weird, but when you decorate as much as I do, and give as many gifts as I do throughout the year, the “holiday fund” becomes your best friend come October. Lastly, I have my general savings. This is where the bulk of my savings goes each paycheck. The general savings is multi-purpose. I don’t allow myself to touch it, but when I do, I pay it back with my next opportunity. It truly just sits there, with the exception of an occasional car repair (paid back) or the unexpected doctor bill (paid back) or the unfortunate incident of turning-left-at-a-no-left-turn-intersection (also paid back).
Car repairs and doctors bills can’t always be prevented. It’s good to have back-up money in case your checking account is unable to support the bill. Tickets for driving violations can certainly be prevented, but in the case that you get one, you can’t ignore the cost. I was fortunate enough to borrow from my savings so I could resolve the citation as quickly as possible. But, as promised, I paid it back and my account balance returned to normal. Then in mid-August, I accessed my savings account simply because there was an item I wanted, and gosh darn it, I deserved it!
That’s right. August 13, 2011, I fulfilled a childhood dream and bought a jet ski.
Was it the most practical purchase? Depends on how you look at it. I have always spent my summers on the lake and I wanted a toy of my own to not only play with, but gain experience. Because I want to own a boat someday, this is step toward learning how to maintain a personal watercraft. Plus, I purchased it from a family friend, so I felt more comfortable than if I had worked with a dealer.
Was I prepared for the purchase? Sort of. I made the mistake of buying the carriage before the horse and was forced to stare longingly at the new PWC for a full two weeks, because I underestimated the time it would take to have a trailer hitch installed on my car. I also had to pick up the jet ski a day late, because I had to get a storage unit lined up (a case of buying the horse before the barn, if we’re sticking to my analogy). But, when talking finances, I was more than prepared. While I wasn’t expecting to purchase a jet ski that particular afternoon, the deal presented itself and I rationalized that this was one of those times it was okay to break into the piggy bank.
While I’m still experiencing the sticker shock of it all, I’m proud of doing something just for myself. I save and budget and plan non-stop. It felt good to just do something because I could. Don’t let saving money confine and restrict you from the spontaneity of life. Live a little. You’ve worked hard for your money and as long as you live and spend responsibly a majority of the year, you’ll be ready for life’s happy surprises. Even jet skis.