When the money is tight, and you are feeling the pressure, the motivation to tighten the budget and make changes is high. Sticking to the plan is easy. But when things start heading the right direction, and some of the pressure is off, it is easy to fall back into the same habits the created the problems in the first place.
Two weeks ago I began a post about resisting temptation. Due to many different events, we suddenly found ourselves with a lot more money than we are used to coming in. That is a situation we have not been in for a long time.
Most of the inflow of money we were expecting. We had a plan for the money. The plan was to top off our emergency fund, catch up our student loan payments, purchase new mattresses for our sons, and to pay off one credit card. We did all those things.
There were also a few unexpected sources of income (Thanks to those who have donated using the button on the side bar.) and the increase of income that has come with my job. Having a nice chunk of money in savings, and more money than normal coming in made us feel comparatively rich. It also made us want to spend money.
Suddenly this old slow computer I've been using for years became completely intolerable, and the thought of buying a new laptop became very attractive. Our old small capacity washer was being replaced, in our minds, with a new high efficiency front loader, instead of the used $100 washer that we plan to purchase. The money was begging us to spend it.
I can completely rationalize making either of the above purchases. They are practical, and it could be argued, in the long run, they would pay for themselves. There is nothing wrong with purchasing either of them, except for one thing; they aren't in our budget. They aren't priorities on our list. Our priority right now is to pay off debt. Buying a new computer or expensive washer does not line up with our goals at this time.
I'm glad to say we've stuck to the plan, and the extra income has gone straight toward paying off debt. I'm sad to say that we learned exactly why it is important to have that emergency fund in place, and to stick to the plan.
Days after I began the post (which never got finished ) about resisting temptation our van broke down. It was a costly repair to the tune of $700. I am so glad that we had the emergency fund in place to pay for the repair. Now our plan will be amended slightly to bring the emergency fund back up, but then it is back to paying off debt. Sticking to the plan is worth it!