I remember last year when I went through something that I considered and financial setback but ended being a financial step forward.
My children and were sitting at a stoplight eating fresh apples from the farmer’s market. In a split second, we felt a sudden jolt and our apples flew out of our hands and hit the dashboard. A woman in a rather large SUV was texting and had slammed into us. We got out and she was crying hysterically and telling us that her husband left her and cancelled her insurance. The police came and we gathered the information but was told that I would have to cover the deductible and other expenses such as a rental car until my car was repaired.
I looked at my budget and realized immediately that the cable television would have to go if we were going to get the car fixed. I knew my children would be upset so instead of just telling them “too bad,” I decided to sit them down and have them do the math. They added up the income and subtracted the expenses. Then I told them to look at the expenses and figure out which was not a necessity as well as a costly luxury. I was amazed when they came to the same conclusion that I came up with.
After about four months, I was about to break the good news to the kids that we were going to reactivate the cable when I received their report cards. I realized that their grades had improved since the cable was disconnected. They also played outside, read and played board games more than they did before. I decided that I would keep the cable off and save my money as well as a few of my kid’s brain cells. It was right around the time where the top rated television shows were reality TV. I sure didn’t want to be a parent who was so busy “Keeping up with the Kardiashians,” while my daughter was “16 and Pregnant.” It was a good decision too, because a year later, I lost my job so we had to look for even more things to cut back.
It’s funny how the things that we find hard to let go always seem to be the very things that seem to tighten our budget and stifle our creativity, development and growth. When I look back over the car accident and job loss, what I thought was a set back was a moment of clarity. I realized that we needed a lot less than I thought. At the same time, I also was able to teach my kids a lesson on budgeting, teamwork and sacrifice.
Copyright © 2011 by Katrina Smith
Republished – originally published with Yahoo! Finance
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