Maintaining a Spirit of Gratitude When You Don’t Get Ahead Financially As Fast As You Would Like

PiggyBank3174754333_5d5eeec036_mMy flash savings challenge to save $3,000 in our emergency fund was so successful, it inspired me to think long and hard about a huge, hairy audacious goal.  I am not ready to reveal that goal just yet, but I planned to start setting money aside for it now that our $3,000 emergency fund is fulfilled.  I planned to raise money for this big, hairy audacious goal the same way I did for the flash savings challenge, by taking extra jobs, selling stuff, and keeping any found money.

I have been incredibly blessed in that several extra writing jobs have come my way.  Yes, I am working very hard right now, but first I was saving for the flash savings challenge, and then I was putting money aside for the big, hairy, audacious goal, so it felt great.

And then, as has happened a lot lately, life got in the way.

My husband does not buy new clothes.  The nice work clothes that he has, I bought at garage sales and second hand shops.  So, when he told me he really needed a suit jacket to go to his Christmas party where he would introduce himself to several doctors that could potentially help him get ahead in his career, I understood.  We looked first at thrift stores, but my husband is a smaller man, and finding smaller suit coats is no easy task.  When we unsuccessfully exhausted those options, we went to Sears and bought the best clearance suit coat we could find for $70.

Two days later, my husband’s computer, which is over 5 years old and had a small crack in the plastic frame surrounding the screen, cracked completely.  He could no longer close the laptop, which meant he couldn’t take it to work.  We have been putting off buying his computer because money was so tight, but we no longer had a choice.  We spent $750 on his new computer, which we hope will last 4 to 5 years since he is not as hard on computers as I am.

Our car was overdue for an oil change and a lot of other services.  Basically, we have been putting as little as possible into any repairs or maintenance for the last 20,000 to 30,000 miles because we just didn’t  have the money.  This time, however, we had to pay the piper, so to speak.  Yesterday I took the car in and had to replace the trans pan gasket because our car was dripping fluids.  We also had the oil changed and the tires rotated, and we ended up owing just under $500.

The mechanic then said we need new tires.  We knew this was coming because we haven’t bought new tires in three years.  We also need to replace the brakes, brake fluid, spark plugs, and something else I can’t remember.  All told, we are looking at $1,500 to $2,000 in upcoming repairs and replacements.

Not only is all the money I set aside for our big, hairy audacious goal gone, but now I am going to have to continue to work extra hard just to meet these basic needs that we have put off for so long because money was so tight.

It is easy to get discouraged, but I am choosing to take a spirit of gratitude.  Not only have we reestablished our $3,000 emergency fund, but thankfully I got many extra jobs this month that helped us afford these things we needed.  Yes, the big, hairy audacious goal is going to get pushed back, but at least we don’t have to go into debt for these expenses.  There is definitely something to be said for that.

I shared this post at Gratituesday.

Photo courtesy of swimparallel on Flickr.


  1. Don’t you hate when these things happen. It always seems to happen in the winter too when bills are at their highest. Do not get discouraged though. Keep tucking money away and use what you need for unforeseen circumstances. As my mom would say…”its called life… when shit hits the fan!” Well okay she says it in Dutch but the meaning is the same.

  2. I hate when things like this happen. We had a similar spate of events this summer in which four consecutive Saturdays something in or outside our house broke. It’s never just one thing, but many. It’s hard to be content and not get discouraged. You did a great job on building up the E-Fund and getting the extra work. Thankfully, it’s not always like this.

  3. Life happens and even though the costs took away (in some degree) most of the money you made, realize that the costs would have been there regardless, and had that money not been made, imagine the stress and negative feelings you’d have.

  4. You have a great attitude about it, & totally agree. it can be so easy to get caught up in trying to get ahead, that it’s easy to forget how grateful we should be for all we already have.

    You’re doing great!

  5. I know exactly how you feel. Our rental has a drainage issue that will cost $4,000 to fix. That will turn our rental income negative for the year, but at least we have the cash to pay for it.
    Hopefully 2013 will be a little smoother for all of us.

  6. I know how you feel. It’s almost like every time you get some extra money, something just HAS to go wrong.

  7. I think we can all relate to your story Melissa! A good reason to keep your emergency fund fully funded! Happy Holidays!

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