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Seize the Means: Sinking Funds 101

Updated: Jun 7, 2021

Ever been hit with a massive bill that you weren’t quite prepared for?

Cue, your car going in for a regular three-monthly service - and the mechanic finding out your radiator is on its happy way to getting cracked soon. Then the damn thing ACTUALLY cracking halfway up a hill. Big sigh!

Or an operation or medical procedure, you never even knew you needed.

Or being laid off without an idea of when you can get a new job again. *Evil side-eye at COVID-19* and its negative spill over effects in Solomon Islands, despite us still being COVID-free.

Being blind-sided by a huge bill, or a future without your regular pay-check, is never the makings for a less stressful life - and this is exactly why I thought I’d share my thoughts for managing this.

This is where sinking funds are the magic you did not know you needed in your life - unless of course, you already have them set up.

If you do, you are the realest MVP! I was ‘last-year’ years old, when I realised their importance.

So what are sinking funds?

They’re called different things - I’ve heard ‘savings pots’ for example - but they all basically mean the same thing.

Sinking funds are line items in your budget that you put a little money into every fortnight - or month - depending on how often you get paid. These amounts are savings towards a future expense you are expecting to happen.

A perfect example are birthdays! They come around every year, right? My husband and son are both May babies, so I’ve learnt to set my LIFE up to save towards May.

For this blog, I’ll use my babies’ birthdays as an example.

I’ve certainly learnt the hard way that preparing for it a month or two in advance, doesn’t quite make the cut.

Let’s say I have $2,400 set aside for their birthday - singular, because I’m a miser and although I usually have a separate cake for them on their actual birthdays; I hold their birthday party together on the same day.

This budget will cover the presents, cakes, party knick-knacks, and all the miscellaneous expenses that usually happen on birthdays.

In May (because I want to start saving again, the month after I have just spent on them), I will set up a standing order to my Smile account for $100 every fortnight. This equates roughly to $200 a month, but you will usually end up with more, given some months have three fortnights instead of two.