My finances are like a small boat with a hole in the side several inches above the water level. In calm seas it is smooth sailing. A medium sized wave has me bailing like mad to keep the boat from sinking. One large wave and I am sunk.
I have to keep the debt repayment on course. Even the best boats take on some water in calm seas and making regular debt payments and not allowing the debt to increase will help keep things high and dry.
If a wave comes I have to bail myself out. I cannot rely on the government or a family member. There is only me. I have tens of thousands of dollars of available credit on my 3 credit cards and me HELOC (home equity line of credit) but if I need to bail myself out with more credit debt then I will never get ahead and the boat will slowly sink under the weight of the payments that I struggle with at the current debt level.
To help keep things on course I looked for extra money around the house today. I rolled $49.50 in change and I decided to sell a gold bracelet I never wear and have no sentimental attachment to. I also spent more time on hold with Bell trying to get the $11.00 they still owe me from the time I cancelled my account. They are very tricky and try and get me to hang up by playing tacky computer generated hold music that is some variation on 90s pop. They kept coming on every minute to tell me they appreciate my patience, that they are experiencing a higher than normal volume of calls and that a representative will be with me as soon as one is available. That is not how I intended to spend my day off. I was forced to hang up. I was able to hold my own against the bad music but after 20 minutes the battery on my cordless phone died. Bell wins again.
I will add the money from the bracelet ($10 or $15 at most) and the rolled change to the emergency fund. The emergency fund is my own personal bailing bucket. Right now my emergency fund is the size of a Campbell’s soup can. It can keep up with the small puddles in the bottom of the boat but I need my emergency fund to work like a diesel run bilge pump. Something large and powerful that automatically deals with every bit of water that comes in through the hole or across the bow. An emergency fund big enough to protect me from the largest wave.
A great song from my college days. My boat has been leaky for much more than 6 months but I am working on it. Split Enz 6 Months In A Leaky Boat.
After writing the first draft of this post I went to Home Hardware and bought a new sump pump. I have no idea how old the current pump is so I have installed a new one. Better safe than sorry. A little bit of bailing now to save being hit by a big wave later.