Saturday, September 14, 2013

Once bitten, twice shy

I wonder how many others obsess about money the way I do. And by do, I mean do, did, and do again.

When hubby and I were both working for however-many years the last time around, I often worried that we did not have enough money, even though we were able to put a nice chunk of change in the banks every month. I cannot explain this somewhat irrational fear, though I am guessing it is mostly related to our making less than many others I knew. And then when I was first laid off, I worried even more, because all of a sudden our income was drastically reduced. So if I was worried before, it made sense that I would have a world of worry at that point.

But eventually my worrying lessened, even though I went several years without a steady income. Being frugal and boring to begin with meant that we did not have to give up too much (oh, we definitely gave up stuff). And caring very little about material things helped tremendously. If we had been spenders who had debt on our credit cards and lived paycheck to paycheck, I don't know how we would have coped. It was challenging enough being the way we were!

Now that I have been working for almost six months, I have finally sat down and looked at our budget, something I had not done in almost a year. Back then I figured there was little purpose; we did our best on the income we had, and my income was so sporadic that it just seemed pointless. But a few weeks ago, the hubby started talking about getting a (new to him) truck. We sold our very old, rusty thing about 1.5 years ago. And over the past year, his not quite-as-old car had been going downhill. The hubby was afraid the car would break down, particularly now that he picks up the kid from school 95% of the time, and/or the next repair would be a real killer. So he started looking.

And I started fretting. The thought of having a car payment, which we have not had for a couple of years, really bothered me. I could hear Dave Ramsey saying, if you cannot pay for it in cash, you should not buy it. But the thought of taking that money out of our savings to pay for the car bothered me more.

Time was of the essence, and the hub found a nice, used truck that seemed, well, really nice. We bit the bullet and bought it. And, yes, we financed it (puts head down and does not look Dave or friend Mel in the eyes). The last time Brian got a car, we financed it for three years, but paid it off in one year. I would love to do something similar this time around, although this truck cost quite a bit more than the last, so that probably won't work.

I am trying to tell myself that we can afford this (we can; so sayeth the budget). And we could pay it off tomorrow (which again, we can, but there are many other things we should spend that money on).

But then that nagging voice inside me reminds me how easy it is to lose a job in this economy (which has improved, but is still not great). Or all the other things that can go wrong.

And then I wonder, do others fret about this stuff as much as I do? Or do they just buy what they want, credit card interest or no money in the bank be damned, and am I just the silly one?

I do not know.

But I am determined to worry a little less this time around.

Here's hoping I did not just jinx myself...

6 comments:

bluzdude said...

There's nothing wrong with being cautious about spending, especially on high-ticket items. I think buying the truck is a prudent use of funds... a big repair is lost money... you'd eventually have to replace it anyway.

Jessica R. said...

I am 100% like you! I go into panic mode any time we have to spend big money. And this impending maternity leave / pay situation has had me losing sleep for months now.

Facie said...

Glad I am not alone. But I have to admit, I was hoping someone would say that they spend until they drop.

chris h. said...

You should feel good that you care so much and are so careful -- waaayyy too many people don't and aren't. It sounds like you made a good purchase (used is the way to go). Autos are a necessary expense -- and it's not like you went out and bought a sports car. We, too, struggle with the idea of financing a car vs. paying cash -- hate the thought of monthly payments, but also hate to see the huge drain in savings.

Mel said...

facie, you can look me in the eye with no fear. finance gurus make suggestions, but every situation is unique and I even have friends who lease (shudder) and I keep my mouth shut. I have no say. I can only say what works for most and what works for us. our savings is still not built up where it should be, but we try to be wise, pray a lot, and trust that God will provide. and He does. so, I suspect you will be just fine. ; )

Facie said...

Thanks, Chris and Mel. Chris, it is nice that someone else gets my concern. And, Mel, I have to say that we were seriously considering leasing. Bri works from home, so he tends to put only a few thousands miles on his vehicles per year (he drives a company car when he travels anywhere for work). But Dave should at least be happy I neither leased nor bought new. :-)