Keith and I have always been very good about being financially responsible. We've cut out a lot of the luxuries in life that most people take advantage of like buying make-up, getting my nails done, "guy time" at sports bars, cable, home phones. We only have 1 cell phone between us. We have a fuel savvy car (33 MPG highway). We have extremely good credit. We only spend $60 a week on groceries.
And yet, we can never seem to beat the budget at the end of the month. It seems like every time we're going to get ahead, something comes up to eat whatever savings we've managed to acquire. Just this month, we had to help my father pay the bills on the house, we had to put the car in the shop twice, our rent has gone up, our car insurance company went bankrupt, and we got a $700 bill that was past due because they mailed it to our old address after we updated them last year. We're going to have to wreck our emergency fund to make ends meet next month. And considering we had $20,000 in savings when we got married 3 years ago, this isn't just a one month "oopsie" kinda thing. This is a continuing pattern. Something always seems to come up that we can't help.
At this point, the only thing we can do is live on peanut butter sandwiches and pasta and pray that God comes through at the last minute. He's done it before, and I have no doubt He'll do it again. The only question is, when will be be able to save into our emergency fund again? If one of us were to lose our jobs tomorrow, we'd be destitute. We wouldn't survive financially.
What about you? How do you get ahead of the bills? What do you do when those unexpected bills come in?