High winds and rain took out a lot of power lines in Maine last week. Here in Freeport we were in the dark for two days – not long compared to others but enough to throw a kink into daily activities. On one hand, we saved money (no energy costs) but on the other, we spent more (eating meals out, a hotel for a shower, etc.).

It made me think about how our finances can easily fall prey to unexpected disturbances. Without a safety net, unusual expenses wreak havoc not only with our money, but more importantly with our sense of security. By not planning for extraordinary times, we keep ourselves on the edge of disaster and never having enough.

But, why don’t we plan ahead and have that safety net? We have endless excuses. It all comes down to choices. Somewhere along the line, we made the choice for immediate reward over long-term security. It may have been last night’s dinner out, last week’s shopping trip or last year’s vacation. Or, we made that choice years ago with a purchase of a car or house we couldn’t really afford. Somewhere along the line, we made that choice.

It’s the old story of the grasshopper and the ant. Now I’m the first to say it’s much more fun in the here and now; and living too much in the future can take us out of the present moment. But, there needs to be some kind of balance between the days of want and the days of need. Because if we lose that balance, just like the grasshopper who lay dying of starvation, we’ll learn that same lesson the hard way. It is best to prepare for the days of necessity.

One for today and one for tomorrow…

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