We live on a tight budget. Duh...I KNOW. But I just felt like I needed to start with that little reminder. Because when my washing machine started to make the spinning noise but wasn't really moving....I jimmied it up to get it to spin and continued to wash my clothes. And when it decided to fill and fill and fill and just never stop, flooding my basement and my new master suite (that sounds fancy...but it's just a converted rec room) I cleaned up the mess and learned to stand over it and manually stop it every time so I could continue to wash our clothes.
These are just the things you do when money is tight and you still have dirty underwear to wash.
But when my husband decided to try and "fix" it and actually brought about it's final demise, I knew we needed to purchase a new one.
So I stalled for about a week and searched Craigslist for a used one. And then I took a trip to the laundromat. I used all eleven top-loading machines in the place, wasted four hours twiddling my thumbs, and spent $40. Then I went to Sears and picked out the best front loader set I could find on sale and went home to talk it over with Chris.
We thought our only option was credit. We knew better, but in desperation and our culturally trained mentality of "give it to me NOW", that's what we concluded. I wanted a front loader that would save us on electricity and water and wash twice as many clothes. But then, of course, I wanted my dryer to match. So we thought we'd charge it on a no-interest, no-payments for 12 months card. Sounds like a great deal, right?
But we both felt sick about it.
We spent a good 48 hours trying to justify it before actually committing.
"We can pay it off before the 12 months is up and have a washer RIGHT NOW!"
"Don't I deserve a nice one? I mean, geez, I do a ton of laundry."
"You know, our last Kenmore lasted 14 years. We need new so we don't have to repair an older one."
"It's 40 percent off, free delivery, and a PUD rebate but the sale ends in two days. We need to do it NOW!"
But in the back of my mind was this...
"Who knows what the future holds. What if something happens and we can't pay it off in 12 months?"
"I don't want the pressure of knowing I have a payment every month."
"How can I really enjoy it, knowing that we don't really own it."
So finally, we reminded ourselves that debt is presuming on an uncertain future. There's no guarantee that we'll have the money to make the payment later. And with that, we chose cash-only or to do without.
We decided to take a deeper look at our finances. We pulled a little bit of money from here, and little bit from there, sold some stuff we didn't need, decided to put off some things that could wait till later and lo and behold....we had managed to come up with enough to buy the matching set for cash.
The money was there the whole time, we just had to use a bit of creativity and patience.
Living on a cash-only system can be inconvenient, I admit. But I can't tell you how good it feels to know that there are no strings attached. And when my beautiful new babies are delivered on Monday they'll be mine.....all mine.