I never want to feel financially helpless.

I never want to feel like I can't buy food for my children. Like I can't stay in my home. Like I can't meet obligations. It's happening to a lot of people. And it feels like it's always a few decisions away from happening to us.

We have been blessed by great opportunities and we are careful with our money. I'm squirreling it away, just in case. Ideally, I'd like to have 12 months of expenses in cash or almost cash (CDs, money market, etc). We have 5 months of current living expenses and 8 months of barebones expenses in savings. Our savings gives me great peace of mind and makes me feel like I'll never be financially helpless. If we ever have to tap our savings to help us just live, I hope that we can replace lost income before our savings run out.

J-bird and I don't always see eye to eye on how much we should save, invest, spend. My husband is a reformed spender. He likes tech gadgets, new cameras, nice watches, new cars, but he realizes that we have other priorities right now. I've always been a saver, always waiting for the other shoe to drop, always thinking, worrying. Our entire marriage has been a personal finance dance, trying to meet each other in the middle. He laughs about my couponing ways (hey, $100.85 in coupon savings for the month of March isn't too bad). I see it as a way to stretch our dollars, as being a good steward of his our hard earned money. He says I'm hoarding money, I say I'm being prudent.

All of my money moves and my near obsession with personal finance are ways for me to cope with anxiety about money and the fear of getting to a place where I feel helpless. It takes time, careful planning, and hard work to be financially comfortable. And I'm doing all I can to help our family.

Because really we're all just 5 decisions away from crapping in a bucket.

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