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The J-Lo Principle for Unexpected Expenses

(Yes, that’s J-Lo for Jennifer Lopez.  I promise it makes sense.)

Today is guest post day, and boy are you lucky.  Lindy normally takes up web-residence at Minting Nickels, where she’s currently exploring different ways to make extra money…as well as different ways to slack off from making extra money because sipping hot chocolate and watching movies is sometimes more fun.  


A few nights ago I found myself in the Emergency Room with a red-faced two year-old who refused to stop crying, no matter how many bubbles those desperate nurses blew in his face.

“He had a bonk.” 

That’s what the babysitter told me as I got home from work that afternoon.  My son had fallen backwards off a chair and landed his precious little noggin on the concrete. 

I’d like to think I’m not one of those moms.  You know, the type to call the doctor at every turn.  But when he was still crying on the couch an hour later, and since it was his head that was the matter, I figured I should call, just in case.

“He should be seen.”

That’s what the nurse told me after I tried my hardest to not sound like an over-dramatic paranoid mom, throwing in my “he’s probably fine,” and the nurse throwing in her “just to be safe,” and also “we’re closing right now.” 

So ten minutes later we were on our way to the ER.  Just to be safe.  He’s probably fine.

And he was fine, though very unhappy to be in the hospital with all these crazies blowing bubbles in his face. 

And after the doctors told us that nothing was wrong, the hospital administrator marched in to collect our $250 co-pay. 

Now my head hurt.

Just like it hurt in June of this year when I had to spend $700 on new car tires and some unavoidable car maintenance.

And in July, when we had to shell out $300 for school supplies, uniforms, and fees.

In August I had to pay $550 out of pocket for some really fun dental surgery.

And September – well, September was actually pretty good.

The point is, every month you are going to be dealing with a nuisance by the name of “something,” as in, “it’s always something,” and “something always comes up.”

Have you used these phrases before?  I know I have.  Or how about this one:  “if only I could have one month without something happening, then maybe I could get back on track.”

The J-Lo Principle

When J-Lo was interviewed by People Magazine after having her twins (yes, I read gossip magazines, don’t judge), she claimed she didn’t stress over trying to get pregnant because a girl only has 12 chances in one year.

Now, I’m no J-Lo fan, but I have to admit that’s a pretty reasonable way of looking at things.

Similarly, you can take an entire year and say that in 365 days there are 12 chances that something will go wrong.  And as we’ve all experienced, it’s pretty likely that 12 “somethings” will come up over the course of a year. 

Sure, budgeting for the unexpected is one way to be prepared.  In our case it looks like $500 might be a good amount.  Another approach is to keep a mini-emergency fund for these things.

But being prepared mentally is the key. 

Instead of looking ahead to each new month with clinging hopes that nothing goes wrong, look ahead with the expectation that those somethings will be coming by to visit.  Be prepared to welcome them at the door with tea and biscuits.   It’s much less stressful when you know they’ll be coming.

And the best part is if they don’t make it one month, then hey, you have an extra $500 to play with.  (*whispers* Partaayyyy!)