How February’s Budget Went Awry And What I Did to Navigate It

How February's Budget Went Awry And What I Did to Navigate It

One month ago today, I shared with you my plan for February’s budget. Unfortunately, things went awry. Emergencies happen. That’s why it’s important to have an emergency fund as well as contingency plans for when financial plans don’t go as expected.

What Went Right With February’s Budget

Not everything went wild when it came to February’s budget. I had planned different ways to save money in order to reduce my costs for the month. I managed to succeed with several of those.

Instead of using a zero interest credit card to pay my dentist, I actually got a deal on good cash back rewards for medical services on one of my cards. Therefore, I used that to reduce the overall cost of going to the dentist.

I didn’t end up spending money on entertainment costs at all. So, I was able to cross that line off in the budget.

There were a few subscriptions and dog treats/toys that I didn’t need this month. So, I successfully canceled those.

It’s important to celebrate the little wins. Those things were good. However, they honestly didn’t amount to very much in financial savings. I still have to pay off the credit card to the dentist immediately to get that savings. I saved less than $200 in February with those other activities.

Family Emergency Trip Caught Me Off Guard

Unfortunately, I had a family emergency that required me to suddenly take a few days off to go to my hometown. These things happen. We should plan for them in our budgets even though, of course, the plan is loose because you never know when an emergency might arise. Unfortunately, I didn’t set things up well for much wiggle room this month, which means I ended up losing a lot in February as a result of this unexpected trip.

Trip Expenses

The trip itself cost money, of course. There were four key costs:

  • The flight, which cost about $200.
  • Hotel rental, which cost about $300.
  • Boarding for my dog while I was away, which cost about $225
  • Costs associated with care for my family, which totaled about $300

There were also smaller added costs. For example, I had budgeted my groceries very specifically and ordered them to my home in advance. However, I still needed to pay extra for meals when I was away.

Lost Income

The bigger problem, honestly, was that I lost a lot of income as a result of this family emergency. While the trip itself was only a few days long, the emotional situation around it had me out of work for almost two weeks.

On the plus side, I’d done some of my work ahead of time. I try to work ahead in my jobs when I can for just this exact reason. However, it’s not always possible. Moreover, I was supposed to pick up some extra income with petsitting this month, and I had to cancel some of that because I was away.

All in all, I lost over $1500 income due to the situation.

How I Handled The Financial Struggle

It wasn’t easy taking this financial hit. However, family comes first and this was something that I had to happen. Luckily, I had a little bit of money in my savings account, so I was able to pull from that emergency fund to cover the bills.

I have an aggressive debt repayment plan right now but I had to put those big payments on hold for the month. I made only my minimum monthly payments instead.

I remembered that I had $25 in Inbox Dollars that I could redeem, so I did that. This isn’t cash, but I was able to redeem it for Amazon rewards which I could use to pay for the few subscription items that I didn’t cancel.

I also realized that I had a little bit of cryptocurrency in Coinbase that I could cash in. Most of my money there is in Eth2 which you can’t sell right now. However, I was able to pull about $100 out of that.

The trip costs went on a credit card. I used the rewards I had to reduce the cost. However, I will have to begin paying off the flight and hotel costs as soon as I get my feet back under myself financially. Ultimately, I spent more than I gained, but I was able to offset a lot of the loss thanks to my previous planning. This is why we all need emergency funds!

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