Sunday, November 28, 2010

Emergency Funds ~ Break glass to use... when?

Colour in our garden ~ gorgeous! 

Gotta love modern technology ~ car, communications and now cash! We have picked the Trifecta!!
But, as happened with the car repairs and the Hellstra Debacle, NAB seems to be making good progress fixing its funds access 'glitch'. The last recipients to be balanced are those awaiting Centrelink payments ~ those deemed least able to cope with this loss of cash flow. We've not been inconvenienced by the inaccessibility of 40% of our income ~ sure it is nowhere near the ideal, especially having had an opportunity to do shopping for SmallBoy's birthday and start putting tickets beside 'The List' for Christmas. We can catch that up during school hours this week. No worries! *grins*

Big picture, and bank/credit union/financial institution types aside, this is probably the first time in these days of electronic banking we've encountered such a situation with any type of 'glitch' on the depositing side to the humble Joe. Many will have had a time when payroll 'missed the cut-off time' for transfers and might be late by a day ~ it's usually fixed by lunchtime, no big deal. This incident is a little different and could potentially be more widespread 'next time'.

Making it even more surprising for us personally is as our main income is via the affected route, part of the group 'last on the list' to be rectified, and at a lower amount than we'd had six months earlier, this is the first time we've ever been ready for such a situation. All we really need to do is reschedule part of the birthday shop once the funds are available. If that's not happening by Tuesday, we'll take from our 'emergency stash' of $320 and replace it with the transferring funds when available! Who would have thought we would get to having access to emergency funds!?!
You don't always see where the storm hit hardest

Our Personal Costs Risk Analysis 

When we bought our home five years ago, we made sure it was manageable on one income instead of the two good wages we had. Just in case. Because Husband could have an accident at his labour intensive job, or during the five hours of daily commuting. Because maybe we could both go part time in the future. Because we could pay in more than the minimum amount, we did. Take-away Fridays were and Cheaper Tuesday Movie nights happened. When I stopped working, we could still maintain our lifestyle by reducing the amount of 'extra' being paid into the mortgage, going to the cinema less. In the height of the GFC, we could still manage a nice balance of need to want when Husband's work and paid hours were reduced by 25%. The entitlement of a pension card was a medical expense godsend.

At the start of this year, we changed weekly Friday take-away to a monthly treat and forewent the cinema to special occasions or blockbusters only. Many of the speculative 'what ifs' in life had actually become for us ~ with the knowledge some paralysis, pain pathways and mobility were showing up indicating problems post-op ~ plus we had little or no balance anywhere in our living, working, family, friend situation barely maintaining the 'when' of 'if'. This was how we started to build an emergency stash and, while piddly in the goal of having three months of expenses available, perfect to help over this fortnight and avoid any stress over missed repayments.

In one Simple Savings forum thread discussion is about wanting to be able to get money out of the NAB, with one member said they were up the proverbial creek, another relieved not with NAB, others  giving credit to credit unions, some affirming the over-reliance on technology and a bit of chatter about having but not wanting or knowing if it was the right thing to choose to use their 'emergency funds' or stash of cash. We have never had sufficient in the 'emergency fund' to actually provide funds if required, same as never really had a time when we would be needing to use it, and actually having to utilise some of the funds. Into my brain the question popped, "if you have the funds available in an emergency account, what is the rule for accessing your 'emergency money' and how?"

What is your answer to that?

On Friday, along with about a million others, we were expecting the regular fortnightly deposit of $495 from Centrelink into the NAB account. Half is needed this week to cover a regular automatic/set debits ~ $200 for our power, $45 insurance premiums, $60 loan levies, $15 to collections, $10 mortgage extra, $10 to emergency fund, $5 to savings plus $50 for petrol ~ there was and still is an in-credit balance of $209 in the account. Of course, this did not happen and as at Sunday evening, still has not occurred.  If the funds are still not accessible early afternoon Monday, we will withdraw $200 from our Emergency Funds via WestPac, walk into NAB and deposit $150 into the account at the counter, use the remaining $50 for petrol. When the delayed funds are cleared, we will transfer $200 back to the Emergency Fund electronically.

No financial stress, no accounting mess - but others are asking requesting advice to determine when is the right time to use your emergency fund or how much is the right amount to have on stand-by. SO financial institution aside, income level irrelevant in some ways ~ have you an emergency fund and what are the rules of access? How does it get activated??

Hmmm ~ it's a bit like home-work.  Think about it and let us know what you do or would like to be doing. If we've helped you in any way, please consider adding to the Spare Change Jar *grins*  Still got that $37k of debt out there.

Wednesday's Weekly Report will be interesting as we hope to know what the outcome of our Hardship application is and have the next three months budgeted around this being approved. To help us stay on track, mortgage information is going to be in the report and the debt is going to be shown as a total amount to balance down over the next 12months ~ with reader help and contributions of spare change *hints*
Sometimes you get a bonus just because...
A week ahead 

Sunday is menu planning ~ thus covering a wee stocktake to know what to use already at hand, ideally nothing extra is required. Having a lambs fry for dinner ~ 98c for over 500g ~ used to be about that and this was down by 66%. Maybe on mash, maybe on grainy bread toast. Mmmm ~ leaning toward toast. The week's breakfasts will be a choice of cereals and muesli, plus fruit n veg smoothies. Lunches will be salads, sandwiches and/or savoury smoothies as we build up on the raw food components.

Monday : ~ Omelettes
Tuesday : ~ 'Gourmet' basil herbed sausages, chips and salad
Wednesday : ~ Turkey drumstick, barley, brown rice slow cooker thing
Thursday : ~ Pasta with a tomato, fetta, herbs kinda sauce
Friday : ~ Pie from turkey drumstick slow cooker meal
Saturday : ~ sausage rolls for lunch; a roast beef and veg for dinner
Sunday : ~ Freezer Pie Surprise or chow mein if we come across cheap (free) cabbage

What an exciting menu for this week ~ nice variety and aside from not having a cabbage for chow mein, nothing needs to be purchased for this menu plan. There is still $37 left in this fortnights budget for groceries and we might use that to ready for SmallBoy's birthday party. We've got the lamb roast in the freezer, on standby if we can't find a suitable and reasonably priced roast pork with crackling, or pork spare ribs for next week's birthday dinner. And home made pizza (including the base) next weekend. We might make this week a Simple Savings $21 Challenge ~ with $30 to use on birthday supplies.

Should the $495 not be in the account until the end of the week, the automatic outgoings are covered and the $150 food budget not required *laughs* novel concept to 'not need' to go shopping aside from milk, perhaps veg later in the week.

How many more sleeps?

So it is 26 or so sleeps to Christmas ~ probably all days are shopping days from this time onward as there does not seem to be any days where you can't shop for food, gifts or clothing at the moment. We've got a heap of 'goodies' from the garage we are using as gifts plus loads to go onto eBay. Having finally caught up with the backlog of items to send, emails received, contributions to the Mission's debt reduction through lowering our outgoings, changing our payments, wonderful readers and followers (thanks NS :D - will shoot you a personal message xx) the focus is on the Financial Report due. Knowing the bills outstanding are lower in amount owing, in-roads are being made.

Found a plethora of Tupperware to auction on eBay ~ a rose coloured Illusions set with servers, wondering if it should go up for sale, away as a gift or kept for prosperity as its all still in the bags ~ and the de-clutter bug inside me says it should all just go.  Here's a little sample to leave you with *grins*

Perhaps a gift option lies within that ramble of plastic fantastic ~ will get it going asap! See the toys still in the bags ~ its the train kids pull along and it wobbles. There is a complete Bake2Basics set of old with the silicone 'nipples', a silicone roaster, a high round cake taker and the icing ball as some of the set. Any moneys from this lot of eBay items will be going straight onto the credit card as, inevitably somewhere back in time, it was once charge to the VISA thus now forming in part through history the debt our Mission is to remove forever!

Great way to end ~ please feel free to 'shout us' a Cafe Memories Moment from our Treasure Chest ~ it's been a while since we've done 'the coffee thing' so a boost reminding us how different $5 can better be used to pay down debt while we don't have the ability to add the extra ourselves would be greatly appreciated. *chuckles* In that waffle it says, please give us a few dollars ~ it reinforces to us how effective it is against debt instead of a take-away latte from the Cafe!

Happy days & smiley nights
Who has time to fuss or fight
Think about it - we're all the same
So you drink beer, and I champagne
Its time to put the effort in
To share whole truth so we all win
I never owned her, yet you owned me
Released at last, debts clear and free


  1. If I thought it would be right through the post I'd send you a cabbage or 3 or 5 or more...!
    I'm overrun with the blighters which were planted 2 every 2 weeks & are now all ready at the same time.

  2. I thought it was cabbage season *grins* Would work with one of those poly-styrene jobs!! Chow mien freezers well! *free tip*