As a household that works hard at fiscal responsibility, you really look forward to the chance to see the hard work pay off. I mean, what fun would an emergency fund be without some emergencies, right? Think how boring it would be if nothing ever went wrong and you just sat there accumulating money. After having given that some thought, you can see why I was excited on a Saturday a few months ago to hear that our washing machine wasn’t working.
Now in terms of washing machine economics, the Kingsley family has generally avoided the last 20 model years (I think we had probably spent a grand total of $50 on washing machine purchases since being married). Now, we know that they don’t make ’em like they used to, but we also find that even what they used to make doesn’t generally last much more than 20-25 years (at least not without some expensive maintenance that I don’t know how to do). We had already paid for a repair a number of months ago, so I made a dramatic decision – we’re getting a new washing machine (at least one of my ancestors rolls over in their grave every time I mention this).
There were numerous factors in this decision. One is that we already have a strong, established nickel and diming relationship with our 15 year old car and I wasn’t sure we could truly commit ourselves to another such relationship. Another was that our budget had already been completely destroyed the last several months (thank you Saturn SL 1), so why not go for the jugular? (I highly recommend avoiding this logic without several other compelling rationales to support it). Mainly though, I realized that the washing machine’s importance in our household has increased dramatically since Isa came along (a load every couple of weeks to a load every couple of days—don’t think too much about the load every couple of weeks part).
There is a balance to be struck between frugality and dependability. There is also a balance to be found between up front cost and long term economic impact. With the washer, it just made sense to have something dependable that won’t give us a lot of headaches. Headache-elimination investments have gotten a lot higher on my list of priorities in the last number of years (my house has been my own personal plumbing instructor, and I am quite ready to graduate).
By the end of the day, we had purchased a new washing machine (we weren’t messing around here). I think both of us were a little freaked out by this new appliance strategy, but with this one, there has truly been no looking back. In terms of perspective, we really didn’t spend any more than we had on car repairs in each of the last three months (I just convulsed—still some trauma there).
To come full circle, there are things that it makes sense to make an investment in, even though there are cheaper up front options. The big key is to work hard at cutting expenses and saving whenever possible so that we’re in a position to make these investments (ideally, without using credit). While I started the post with some obvious sarcasm as to my excitement to dip into the emergency fund, the fact is that we have worked very hard at living frugally and making a priority of savings. While we often envy the freer spending habits of people around us, when the rubber meets the road, we’ve always been thankful for choosing to save.
Financial take-away: be diligent with spending decisions so that you are able to make good household investments. I have yet to meet a person who said I wish that I hadn’t saved all of that money – now I don’t know what to do with it. One of our big things at Cheeky Bums Market is to only offer products that we believe truly are good investments. It goes along with our long-term outlook on parenting and running a household. I’ll have some more money-related posts coming up.
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This post is linked to Frugal Fridays at Life As Mom