If you were following my STOP-tober and NOT-vember posts about living frugally and saving money, you will know that I got into it in a big way. I didn't do a summing up post (pun intended) at the end of November but I continued into December and even with Hanukkah and DD's birthday I managed to get the total month's spending down to just under 6,000 shekel. That's currently a bit over 1,000GBP.
With this new figure I was confidently anticipating 2014 to be a financially doable year. I added up expected income and even before finding some more work (which I must do and I have the time for) I was comfortably within the spending budget. So positive was I that I even started a savings account with money added automatically every month.
Finding out that 1st Grade will cost much more than Kindergarten (the afternoon programme with lunch and one special interest club, until 4.30pm is extra whereas this year we had an almost free school day until 4pm) and reading that the cost of living is going up (though not salaries of course) did not phase me (much).
Then everything broke.
1. Friends in England sent DD 150 shekels for a birthday present. I added another 150 to get her the cheapest tablet (TEAC) for 299 shekels. (You can get cheaper online but I wanted to buy from a reputable store nearby.) The first one had a dodgy battery so they swapped it for a new one. The new one packed up after two weeks.
ME: Are you having a lot of trouble with these cheap tablets?
SHOP MAN: Some
ME: So why are you selling them?
SHOP MAN: I don't know.
The next tablet up (Pocketbook) was 499 shekels. I don't know if I would have bought DD a tablet for 500 shekels in the first place. However, having given it to her I couldn't now take it away. So I paid the 200 shekels difference and we have a new new, hopefully better, tablet.
2. DD has a CD player in her room to listen to her music while falling asleep. When we rented out our place 1 1/2 years ago, the renters' 3yo son walked in, picked up the machine and dropped it on the floor. It still worked after a fashion but it was never the same again. The loose button that we had to keep balancing in place finally admitted defeat this week and the whole thing died. 299 shekels for a new one. (Yes I know we could download music onto the tablet but we have CDs and we use them.)
3. A DVD got stuck in the DVD player. No way to get it out. 199 shekels for a new DVD player.
That's 698 Shekels paid out today for electrical items. And we've not finished. The rest, however will have to wait until next month.
4. I need a new oven. When I posted those nice looking cakes I made for DD's birthday I neglected to mention that they were barely cooked in the middle and decidedly crisp at the edges. When I make pizza from scratch I have to put each slice on the toaster/grill to finish cooking the base underneath. I always use the highest setting these days but it's just not getting hot enough. New cooker: from 1,200 to 1,800 shekels (depending on the model) plus delivery charge.
5. As if all of this isn't enough, the microwave door broke. New microwave: about 400 shekels. I may have to do without this for a while.
That's almost 3,000 shekels (about 500GBP). That's the emergency fund that Elaine Colliar (@MFinThree) advised that we save up. It's the amount I smugly reported back that I would have saved up by September. Gone by the first week in January!
Of course the money isn't going to come out of the emergency fund. Don't worry Elaine, I heard you. It will come from another year of living close to the breadline. Ho hum, one day my prince will come...