When A Curveball Account Isn’t Enough

Woman at Car Repair ShopIn the last couple of weeks, my husband and I had two big, unexpected car repairs, an error on our 1040 (translation: we owe the IRS) and—say it ain’t so! but it is!—my husband’s laptop needs a repair.

Our curveball fund is wiped out and I had to break the rule and pull cash out of our emergency fund.

What happened? Did my curveball account fail? Am I not saving enough?

At least three to four times a year, my financial operating system needs a tune-up. And it sometimes takes a breakdown to show me where the problems are.

My big mistake: I didn’t expect the expected. If you have a car, a house, a pair of shoes—they will need a repair in the near future. By saving money only in the curveball account (which is for surprises), I wasn’t prepared to cover expenses I could anticipate.

Now I’m going to add a sub-account just for the car.

In a similar vein, we need a tech fund. My husband and I both depend on computers and smartphones for work—and tech gear is expensive to maintain and replace. The amount we save in our curveball fund, about 7% per month, isn’t enough—when you consider the other curveballs of life. We need to aim for the standard rule-of-thumb, which is 10%.

Now that we’re deep into the “new normal”, it pays to save a little more—and be a lot more strategic.

Stash it. How are you coping with unexpected expenses?

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