Monday, June 8, 2009

There Will Be Setbacks

Saving Money Tip #151- There Will Be Setbacks. As you begin the process of getting out of debt or building up your savings, there will surely be setbacks. Unexpected expenses will come up. Things will happen that will make you want to throw in the towel. My advice is to keep up with your plan. An unexpected expense or unforeseen circumstance will set you back. But that doesn’t mean you should go down a different road – one that doesn’t lead to getting out of debt or to greater savings. Even falling behind is better than not going down the road to financial freedom at all.

For example, suppose you are paying $500 per month toward getting out of debt. Then the unexpected happens and you break your leg. You can’t go to work and you lose income for a month. It would be so easy to fall back into your old ways and forget about the debt repayment plan. After all, you just wasted a month’s income. It is frustrating to have come so far in paying off debt only to start to fall behind. It would be so easy to give up at that point and say getting out of debt isn’t worth it.

But don’t fall into that trap. Before you even start on your financial goals, know that there will be setbacks. And then take them in stride. Instead of being debt free in 2 years, it may take 2 ½ years, but that doesn’t mean you should forget the good habits that you’ve worked hard at building up to this point. All roads to any goals have stumbling blocks. Handling them is just part of the journey.

In Real Life (IRL) – As I mentioned on Friday, my husband was in a fender bender. He called me soon after it happened and told me that a woman pulled out in front of him from a parked space so it wasn’t his fault. Unfortunately, the woman saw the situation differently and denies that she was pulled over and had just stopped to make a left turn while driving. Because of the conflicting stories and the fact that my husband was the car in the back, our insurance company has agreed to pay out the claims. In other words, they are not faulting this woman or are not finding it worth it to challenge her insurance company, which would end up costing them more in the long run if they lost rather than just paying it out to begin with.

It was a frustrating day on Friday. First because of the accident and realizing we need to rent a car while ours goes in the shop. Second because our insurance is going to pay the claim meaning we have to pay out our deductible. Third, my husband has a court date because the police (who my husband called!) could not determine the cause of the accident, so they are leaving it up to the judge. This will involve court costs and a possible fine. And then there is the likelihood possibility that our insurance costs will go up. As the dollar signs started adding up in my head, I was feeling some anger. Here I work hard at saving a dollar or two here or there only to be set back several hundreds of dollars in one instant.

And it made me want to just say, “the heck with it!” Why bother trying to get strawberries at a bottom-dollar price? Why try so hard to look for cheap activities for my kids? Who cares if dinner out costs $50 instead of $20? Why even bother with all of the hard work I do in keeping expenses down when we have setbacks like this. But then as my anger and frustration melted away later in the day, I step back and look at my overall plan – to keep saving, to have money put away for big future expenses, and to prepare for retirement. And I realize that there will always be roadblocks. And while it is easy to get frustrated and give up, it doesn’t make sense to do so. So we’re back on track mentally and I realize that I buy my meat on sale because it means I can handle unexpected expenses (even if I don’t like them).


nankie said...

Sorry to hear about the accident, but glad no one was injured. ( I am surprised he has to go to court for such a minor accident, I thought the police and courts are involved only when there are injuries.)

But I know just what you mean about how frustrating it can be to watch your spending so carefully, and then have some big thing come along that undoes all your efforts. In my case, although my husband is fairly frugal overall, he is more likely to indulge himself than I am and sometimes I have felt annoyed when he makes some dumb (to me!) purchase and I think, "gee and I'm knocking myself out selling $10 items on ebay". But then again, the little things add up, and it's still more money than you would have had without those efforts.

Michele said...

Yeah, it stinks. The reason they have to go see a judge is because their stories differed.

You sound just like me, Nankie!