Friendly Wednesday: Planning ahead!

Today's guest blogger is Pamela from:

Pamela is a sort of stay-at-home mom of three very active boys. She is an aerobics instructor, addicted to reading and scrapbooking and lover of food! She is blessed to have married her high school sweetheart and love of her life, and certainly is living the charmed life. Her blog - The Busy Woman's Guide To Surviving Motherhood - is a place for tips, tricks and funny stories about surviving the jungle call motherhood. You can also visit her book review blog - Busy Moms Who Love to Read - for reviews, giveaways and musing on reading in general.

You have heard it 100’s of times before – plan ahead. But what does that really mean? Do you become totally paranoid and addicted when it comes to your planner? Let’s find a happy medium. Being organized and looking a few months into the future can save you a lot of money and stress down the road. Surely you have encountered one of these conundrums:

·       Christmas is around the corner and as you rake over your bank account there just doesn’t seem to be much for presents
·       It’s Johnny’s birthday and you forgot about putting together a party
·       You just got a flat tire because you let them lose all the tread
·       The appointment to have family portraits done is tomorrow and the nicest thing you have to wear is what you all wore in last year’s photo.

The most obvious solution to all of these problems is to have a savings account full of money to use at your discretion. But for those of us living in the real world we have to get creative and plan ahead. You certainly cannot plan for everything – you do not know when the alternator on your car will stop working any more than you can plan for a trip to the emergency room. But you can do your best to plan ahead. A little bit of preventative maintenance can go a long way and not on just on your car.

There are two tactics I have used to make certain events (birthdays, Christmases, and other holidays) more bearable. The first is to realize that your child will live if they do not get that new gaming system this year. The other is to learn to spread things out. I am not the best at putting money into a savings account and then leaving it there until I need it. So I just start early. When I know some event is coming up that is going to require a large amount of output from the bank, I sit down and try to make a list of every single thing I will need to make the event happen, putting it in order of things I can buy in advance (party favors) to things that have to wait until just before the event (fresh produce). As each paycheck enters the bank I cross a few things off the list. This will work for any party, birthday or otherwise, and any holidays were a large meal and/or gifts are involved. It may sound neurotic but I pick the theme for next year’s party (whatever occasion) the day after this year’s party. That way I can keep an eye out for things in the clearance aisle and on craigslist.

As for the unexpected things – car or health problems – get a check up!! Your entire family should have some sort of physical – when you are not currently ill – at least once a year. This will bring to the surface anything that needs attention now before it becomes an emergent situation. Thousands of illnesses, some cancers even, can be effectively treated in the early stages. Getting an oil change on your car – every three months or three thousand miles – does more than just keep your engine oil clean. Not that I have anything against the quickie oil change places – but it would be better to take the car to a full service automotive shop than an oil change only place. At a full service shop they will do a complete inspection of your car, usually for free– in hopes of finding any problem areas. Then really listen to the technician’s recommendations regarding urgent fixes and preventive care. You could save a bundle by replacing a leaky seal now instead of having to replace the whole engine when all the oil leaks out.

Planning ahead can save you so much in the future – money and heartache. But some things you just can’t plan for and in those situations grin and bear it – this too will pass.