Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Making Paper

I pay for everything with cash.

Not literally, mind you. I have a lovely plastic debit card that gets a good bit of usage, but everything I spend is money I've already earned.

This has been my way of life for, give or take, a good seven years or so. I was irresponsible with some entry-level credit cards and decided that if I couldn't handle it, I was going to nip it in the bud.

Today I dropped over $900 on auto repairs for my nine year old Saab. brakes, brake pads and calipers. I have no idea what the latter is, but it was something my mechanic absolutely insisted on when I dropped off the car.

By the sound of things, he was probably right.

The addition of calipers well more than doubled the $375 job I anticipated. I was ready to drop the cash for a simple brakes job, but this addition called for a little more jack.

And that meant a little more time for me to make paper.

Five weeks without a car. That was my challenge - surviving without swift, independent transportation for five weeks, until I had the 900 bucks to drop on it. I was confident I could do it; I'd done it before (actually, two and a half months between February and April when my Turbo blew up several years ago - the worst time ever to go without wheels), and knew I could do it again.

Especially since my recent move to Over-the-Rhine positioned me closely to work, play and local volunteer efforts.

My calendar included a few far-flung commitments where, thankfully, several kind friends offered to drive, allowing me some semblance of normalcy.

Another good friend, one of my closest, was kind enough to loan me his cars on two occasions when he was out of town. Grateful for the convenience but not wanting to abuse it, I didn't drive the cars nearly as much as I would have were they mine.

There are blessings and curses to my current philosophy on finances.

Nothing happens without planning. No big expense is made, regardless how obligatory or frivolous, without serious consideration of my financial forecast.

I know what my standing, monthly obligations are, and I know how much I can squeeze out in any given pay period/month/whatever.

Vacations involve some thought and a quick assessment of the future and other anticipated obligations.

Crises are attended to on a case by case basis. Every major expense is planned for, when possible. And that means the unexpected sometimes has to wait for everything else on the ledger to clear.

The great thing about this philosophy: every dime I spend is already mine. I'm not spending future earnings, I'm dropping money I already have in the bank.

I gotta tell ya, there's nothing like going on a vacation and not worrying about what you're spending. I save for months and plan to ensure I can enjoy a trip without worrying where I'm eating, what I'm drinking or what I'm doing.

Would it be as enjoyable if I knew the bills would come piling in after my return home? I don't think so.

Ringo Starr is not my favorite Beatle, but I certainly love the tune he recorded on the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album.

Indeed. We DO all get by with a little help from our friends.

Between an outstretched hand and a little bit of hard work of my own, I've learned I can overcome almost anything.

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Kate's Random Musings by Kate the Great is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.


Ara said...

That is awesome. I seriously don't know if I could go without a car like you did.

Tony B said...

I have an apartment in newport but currently work in oklahoma city. I keep a car in the 'port so I can get around when I'm in town.
Since I don't use it most of the month I have two friends who use it regularly due to their cars being iffy. Plus anyone who knows me knows they can request to borrow it.
It's a win win for us.
And it keeps me from getting a ticket unless my dumb ass forgets to check the signs when he parks it in front of his place after visiting his parents. Thanks for the -$10 birthday present, Newport.