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Counting Christmas Blessings: Adventures in Unexpected Holiday Expenses

It’s been something of a trying week for my family. Our crawl space and basement flooded on Monday, so we’ve been drying carpet, removing damaged drywall and sorting the ruined items from the salvageable in our crawl space. And, while it hasn’t been an ideal way to spend the week leading up to Christmas, we have been trying to focus on our blessings — especially the fact that it could have been much worse. We are also fortunate that we are financially prepared for an emergency.

Emergency Fund

Building up an emergency fund is important, especially for unexpected expenses. We have an emergency fund more than adequate for this problem, and since the cleaning and restoration folks are going to bill us, there is adequate time for the money to be transferred from our ING account into our bank account. On top of that, if we had to, I have money in an investment account. The stock market is up on the year, so selling would be a possibility.

Additionally, the company that sucked the six inches of water out of our home offers a payment plan. Depending on the interest charged, we might consider doing a payment plan instead of depleting our emergency fund so much. We will look at all of our options before making a decision.

We are blessed to be financially prepared for this situation.

Do It Yourself

We do plan to save some money by doing some of the work on our home ourselves. My husband’s cousin knows construction, and he taught us how to remove baseboards so that air can circulate to dry the walls, as well as helping us test the insulation (dry, thank heaven). He is also helping us remove the damaged portions of drywall and replace them. This will likely save us a great deal in the long run, since we won’t be paying the cleaning and restoration company to do it. We have helped this cousin out a lot in the past, so he offered to donate his labor to us while we buy the supplies needed.

We are blessed to have someone with the knowledge to help us out, and we have been blessed for helping others out in the past — now we are receiving some valuable help.

Comparison Shopping

We aren’t done yet. We will need to have someone come in and replace the carpet padding and re-lay the carpet. We will also want the carpet professionally cleaned. (We will probably have the upstairs cleaned as well, since workers and ourselves have been tracking through there for most of the week.) However, we won’t just go with what the cleaning and restoration company offers. We will get a price breakdown of these services, and comparison shop, looking for the best deal. I already did this with the de-humidifier. The company charges $75 a day for their machine; it is possible to rent it elsewhere for $40 a day.

We are blessed to have options — and a little extra time this week to do some comparison shopping so that we save some money.

All in all, we have been fortunate. We have arranged our finances so that we can take care of these unexpected expenses, and we have friends and family who have offered to help us. We are blessed indeed.

Merry Christmas!

Image: luigi diamanti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

This post was included in the Carnival of Personal Finance

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