I ended 2018 on such a high note. Six years after discovering Mr. Money Mustache, I finally met all the financial goals I set out to complete in a year. I had an emergency fund, got my mortgage under $50k, and paid off my credit cards.
And then, 2019 came in – pardon me – like a wrecking ball.
I’m a pet sitter. That is where I make additional income while on SSDI. People bring their small pups to me and even on a bad day I can pull myself together for a 3 minute drop off.
I’ve been incredibly lucky that I have never had an occurrence of bordetella (aka kennel cough). While all the pups are vaccinated the vaccine doesn’t cover all strains so there is always a risk despite disinfectant and air scrubbers. To clarify to people: bordetella doesn’t mean the boarding facility is dirty or unclean or that people aren’t taking care of your dog. It’s a doggy cold. Just like sending your kid to school or day care there is a good chance they will catch a cold at some point. Vaccination helps, but cannot prevent it completely.
So one of my clients did a one off at a local day care with their pups and then came to me the next day. While their pups did not get sick they did act as carriers and my dog became ill. I’m so grateful that I did not have any other dogs, and that he developed symptoms quickly, and I could trace who, what, where, when and end it at my own pup.
But he was sick and contagious. I had to cancel the two bookings I had for January. The only bookings I had for January outside of that one night stay for those carrier pups. I’ve never cancelled on anyone. Ever. That was really hard, but what was worse? I had to refund those pet parents.
Not only was I at zero income for January, but now I was negative income for January.
Here is where we say hallelujah for the emergency fund. If I had not worked so hard to build the emergency fund over the last year plus I would have had to take cash advances off my credit cards to refund those pet parents. It really hurts to lose what I worked so hard for, but I’m so grateful I had it.
I have a very clear no refund policy on bookings so I have never had to issue a refund before, but in this case it was very appropriate. I also worked to help them find other accommodations for their pup.
Thankfully, since I pay all my bills the minute money comes in, I was okay for January. I stopped driving around and worked to eat what I had at the house (despite being in the middle of a WHOLE30), and spent a week waffling about refilling my most expensive prescription, but then chose to and a MIRACLE HAPPENED!! I went to fill it and was going to have to use every bit of my remaining efund to pay for it when it came back at less than half the normal price. Some sort of discount program had become available for cash pay clients. Huzzah!
Then, my dog’s groomer came by and dropped off a box of my dog’s food without even realizing it was the food he ate. She just knew I fed that brand and that her dogs had turned their nose up at the fancy food. I just gained a few weeks before I would need to buy dog food! We got to chatting and I let her know I would need to bump my pup’s groom out a couple weeks and she just said, “Nah.” and told me to come in like normal. WHAT IS THIS AMAZEBALLS?
I called on a medical bill that I believed was incorrect and was able to have it zeroed out.
I volunteered at a food bank and was then told I could, “take whatever I needed,” and I told them thank you very much, but I was okay for most things, but my favorite coffee and creamer were quite a luxury and I’d be grateful just for that. I got my favorite coffee and my Whole30 approved Nutpods. As I was leaving I notice that there are pallets of my dog’s fancy dog food and I asked if I could have one and she, again, told me to take what I needed. Another small box of food to gain another few days!
This just keeps getting nuttier, y’all. Two of my friends contact me and know that I do a lot of flipping of small items on the side and tell me they have stuff of value, but have no interest in selling it. “Just come make it go away.” I’ll be swinging their way next week.
I worked on this website and worked with some friends for ideas on how to improve it for you all and my web traffic as of today beat the last three months!
I really want to share with you that when the sh*t hits the fan you have choices. You can hunker down in your anxiety and stress. I could have wailed about no income, negative income, and just sat in the cycle over and over and lost weeks of my life. That was very much me a few years ago. Instead, I choose to continue moving and boy, have I ever been rewarded!
I’m still out the money, my efund is still depleted, but I have the opportunity to practice incredible gratitude for my friends and the great serendipitous universe right now.
I’m about to finish my Whole30 and I do want to share that my GAD (generalized anxiety disorder) is remarkably reduced by the lack of sugar. It is absolutely astounding how clear my thinking is and how badass I am handling things without sugar in my life.
I’m looking at all the wonderful things that came out of this experience: self efficacy, stress management, appreciation for friends and family, gratitude for the gifts of the universe. I’m stewing in this. Despite the very next sh*tty thing that happened. Which I will share with you in the next blog post. Optimism is my drug y’all. I just always believe things will work and and we’ll get through it because you know what? I’m still here. Alive and kicking. Proof that it always does work out.
Sending you my love, my friends.
Hmmm. Maybe I should check with you before I send stuff off to the thrift store next time. I definitely fall into the “just make it go away” camp but would love to make sure our things go somewhere that they’ll get used and not just an intermediary for the dump.
I am here to help! It’s become a bit of a side gig for me to resale/flip small items acquired through friends and family. Whatever I can’t move or I deem not worth the time goes to my local Buy Nothing group. Another thing to think of is all the social currency I have gained from being so active in my Buy Nothing group this way. When I post an ask, people tend to be very generous because of how much stuff I share with the group. My community/ social group just knows to bring everything to me. I’ve become a bit of a nexus/hub. LOL!
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Okay, I love that! I’ll definitely try and get you some of the better quality stuff as we declutter 🙂
I loved this post!
I think that all the good things happened because you looked after yourself and had the emergency fund.
I’ll bet that if you didn’t have it – the shit really would have hit the fan big time.
People often fall into this idea of, “it’s not worth doing for such a small amount.” Like struggling and hustling so hard for $1,000 took over a year for me. They don’t see the point of struggling when everything goes to shit, as it does. BUT LOOK. LOOK HOW MUCH BETTER IT IS when you have a little bit of preparation! I’m sooo grateful that things worked out the way they did.
Goodness, bordatella is such an unfortunate thing to have hit your home when you’re sitting pets! But thank goodness for both that emergency fund and all the little saving graces that came your way after that. Goes to show that it’s not just financial backup we need, social capital is really important too or people wouldn’t have thought of you to share what is bounty to you that was only junk to them.
No kidding! That small emergency fund took me all year to build up, but it saved my bacon for the immediate problem, but what about the after? Without the generosity of the community I’ve built up around me I would be in a much more difficult position. This is worth a post on it’s own, but I also want to mention that many of these people have no idea what is happening financially in my life. This is just the relationships that I’ve developed and fortunate timing. That says even more to me about the people I surround myself with. So grateful!
So glad things worked out for you, even if it did deplete what you have… That’s (obviously) still a lot better than things could have been.
Also glad to hear that cutting out sugar has been so good for your GAD. I don’t think I have the heart to do it myself, but if my anxiety gets bad enough then maybe I’ll consider it.
I don’t know how to express the level of difference it has made. I could never have imagined it would do this much. To think that 90% of my anxiety issues could possibly come from food? Insane to me, but I am the chillest, coolest cucumber on the block right now.
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