Thursday, 3 May 2012

Seizing Opportunities: Expect the Unexpected


If an amazing opportunity came up, would you have the resources set aside to do be able to pursue it without worrying about how to pay for it?

Many people have an Emergency Fund but it is important to keep this money earmarked specifically for emergencies. When I was getting out of debt, I used my Emergency Fund to pay for trips to University interviews, leaving it severely depleted when I needed to pay for car repairs a couple of weeks later.

One option is to create a fund for unexpected expenses. I've already done this with things like car maintenance and gifts, however I recently set up a “Travel” category (inspired by the photos of my holiday with The Boyfriend last year) and a “Moving to Uni” category too. I know how much is in each category but they are all stored in the same account, which gives a bit of a buffer if needed.

So today I say hello from Kent! (I am writing this at home but I will be in Kent when you read this!)

I was supposed to be camping with my Mum this week but we've had to cancel because something came up at her work. I already had the week booked off as holiday from work, so I couldn't even go in and pick up some shifts. I decided to text some friends I hadn't seen in a while in the hope that they might be free. As luck would have it, two of them in the South East were able to get some time off so I booked a train ticket using my Young Person's railcard (saves you a third off most train fares – costs £28 but worth it if you make more than £100 worth of train rides a year).

A couple of months ago I would have had no room in my budget to make this unexpected trip although I have been dying to see my friends for nearly a year now. Having that money set aside specifically for travelling meant I could take advantage of the opportunity that arose, without trying to fit it into my budget or reaching into my Emergency Fund for a non-emergency.

I know a lot of people specifically save for travelling and it is a great idea. I would like to save up to visit another country either during or after my PhD, so I will slowly start funding my Travel fund. It will allow me to take advantage of last minute offers, as I know the cash is available.

Do you have an Opportunity Fund? Do you have money set aside to use doing something fantastic, without knowing exactly what it is right now?

10 comments:

safdar ali said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Tony said...

Frugal oh yes you are. Good read.

Pamela said...

This is a really good idea--yes, we should cover the emergencies but it's also good to have cash socked away for the opportunities we'd rather not miss!

Suzanne with Laughing Wallet said...

I really like this idea! I have an emergency fund that I do try to not touch except for real emergencies, and I sometimes save up for specific things separately, but I hadn't thought to set aside an "opportunity" fund for unexpected trips, opportunities, etc. - that's a great idea!

skipandscatter said...

Hmmm. Good thinking.
Our current plan is: try to save as much as possible in everyday life and then see what's left for fun stuff. So far so good, but this is an interesting thought nonetheless!

Frugal Living UK said...

I don't actually have an emergency fund at the moment, having sunk everything I had into my house, but now I have been inspired by you to address this - I am not really comfortable on running on empty!

Little Rosie said...

Good point. No I don't have an emergency fund but I really think I need one. The car and washing machine are always the things to take me by surprise (never a good time for these to break down). I can live without most things but not these, so they need repairing or replacing asap. Need to open a seperate account for these emergencies. Debs x

SARINA said...

I have been making my own laundry liquids at home for month now. And I have been putting the money I would have spent on comercial and chemical cleaning fluids aside each month. I saved a small fortune already and shall continue to do so. No real ideas what I`m going to spend these savings on eventually. I just keep saving. I`m sure there will be a time in the future when some of it if not all will come in handy. If I don`t use it I shall continue with the saving to build up my retirement fund.

mabelandmaisy said...

Oooh! Great idea but more importantly where in Kent are you? It's my home! However we love coming to your part of the world too. Enjoy your "opportunity trip" x

Tawney said...

Brilliant idea - I've got funds for holidays, school trips and for our two daughters' university related expenses, but I'd not thought of an Opportunity Fund. Time to start one I think :-)