OK, But What’s $400?


I’ve decided those articles about Americans not having $400 in case of an emergency is bullshit.

Not because it isn’t true, but because $400 doesn’t get you out of an actual emergency.

As of right now, I owe the following:

  • $1,200 to the IRS for miscalculating my health care tax credit
  • $1,200 to Advocate healthcare for my emergency room visit
  • $3,000 for dental work (which is actually $4,985, but I was only approved for $3,000)
  • Unknown amounts for my new allergist and two rounds of blood work.
  • Because of said health care tax credit that I’m not actually eligible for, an increase of $100 a month on my insurance premium

My safety net of $1,000 is now $500 because I gave it to the IRS.

I’d like to keep $500 in the savings account, but might have to dip into this as these monthly bills start to roll in.

I’ve sent in an appeal on the tax credit. I’m waiting on paperwork for assistance on the medical bill.

The $3,000 loan for the dental work is interest free, as long as I pay it off in twelve months (so, $250 a month.)

I’ve stopped contributing to my 401K. I cancelled our HBO Now and PBS subscriptions.

I stopped considering getting my Masters Degree this year. And also stopped looking for a house.

It’s fine. Honestly.

But having $400 isn’t going to help someone. Just like getting an additional $1.50 a week doesn’t either.

I don’t want to admit it, but in the short term, the new tax bill is helping because I’m now in a lower tax bracket, so my paycheck is about $30 higher every two weeks. I also would have owed nothing or even gotten something back this year if the bill had been for 2017.

I guess my point is, you’d have to have LOT of money to take care of things like major medical bills, loss of unemployment or a large repair to your home or car. So this imaginary $400 standard isn’t helpful.

Save as much as you can. Always. Invest some of it. Aggressively if you’re young.

Stay on top of your bills and always contact them for assistance.

At least some of my due dates are being delayed.

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