Friday, January 18, 2013

Back in business

But it's a good thing I'm not a business, because I'd be broke and out of business if I were.

Stop laughing! It's a ridiculous 
background screen and I LOVE it! 
My laptop made it back to me this week after a vacation at the Apple store. It completely died on me and ended up needed pretty much everything but the screen and casing replaced, which came to a whopping $290. I gotta admit I feel like I got a real deal though. Apple's flat rate service and labor for laptops covered a new motherboard, new trackpad, new keyboard, and new solid state drive for under $300. If I'd bought the pieces separately I would've come closer to $1500. Makes me wonder how I managed to break all four of those things given that only the keyboard has moving parts...anyways, I'm back to blogging again. 

Financially the week has been a disaster. Last week I managed to twist my ankle and ended up at the doctor's with a $35 copay and a $55 brace. Add physical therapy for another old injury, and then the laptop....and would you believe the real stupidity hasn't even shown up yet?

The slopes around here finally opened and we went skiing for the Chief Engineer's 30th birthday this week. For what it was, it actually wasn't all that expensive. Middle-of-the-week lift tickets are $25 a day, or about 1/3 of weekend prices on the east coast. He's an avid skiier so he's had on his own gear for a while so there's no need to rent his equipment. We pack in our food so it just ends up being the cost of lift tickets, gas out to the mountain (which isn't much since we own a car with great fuel economy), and one night in a hotel. 

Except I can manage to make anything more expensive and I can always manage to acquire more stuff. On this trip I already had my own skis but didn't have boots or poles, which was fine, figuring I could rent boots and I've skied well without poles in the past. Apparently I was wrong. You can rent skis alone, you can rent helmets alone, you can rent poles alone. But apparently you can't use your own skis and rent boots anywhere. Ask the lawyers, because I don't understand it. 

I will *make* these worth it.
My choice ended up being, buy boots or don't ski at all. I ended up dropping $230 on these. They're quality boots and should last me over a decade. But to make matters worse, after the first day I ended up also spending $50 on poles.  I sat and beat myself up about doing something else that took us financially one step further away from going to Australia in January next year. I realized that these not-so-little sudden financial expenditures are coming at more than a financial cost because each thing I spend money on means there's something else that can't happen instead.

Then I went and skied the best two days of skiing I've ever had. So I stopped beating myself up. I just have to decide what's most important to me. In the YNAB book, the author said something along the lines of, "If you find yourself consistently blowing $100 on shoes every month, the solution isn't to make yourself stop buying shoes, it's to admit that you're going to buy shoes and plan/budget for them." That means doing the splurge/impulse/unplanned purchases in place of something else.  

Oh. I get it now. 

My goal of completing the kitchen and going to Australia within a year? I've let go of it. We'll do the bare minimum on the kitchen and then will turn our focus towards saving for the Australia trip. I am willing to let go of the desire to have a new cabinet, sink, countertop, and backsplash in exchange for being able to ski and to go to Australia. I've lost my desire for the earrings I wanted. A new guitar? I'll get it eventually. And kids? Kids can wait.

A kitchen or this? Easy choice. 
Happy 30th birthday, darlin'!     
I don't think it quite hit me until I took one of the exactly two falls I had during the last two days (yes, pun intended!) but skiing and being pregnant don't mix, toddlers and skiing definitely don't mix, and I've MISSED skiing. The Chief Engineer and I had our first real date skiing together. We had several not-a-dates on the slopes before that. In high school on wintery Fridays my uncle would pick me up at school and he'd take me night skiing in the Pocono Mountains. I ski enough to make the purchase financially worth it and I love every minute I'm on the slopes. 

I knew rental gear was poor quality, but I don't think I realized just quite how poor. I performed well and had a FANTASTIC time! My gear will pay for itself in about 23 more days of skiing, compared with renting. That's about two years of skiing for me or less if the weather is good this year. But I'm enjoying skiing so much more now with the new gear and I'm now willing to give up other things I want so that I can keep skiing. And going skiing and suddenly hardly falling anymore because my gear actually works? Priceless.

Unfortunately there are two more immediate problems: 1.) I suddenly own two very large objects (well, four) that I didn't own before. Ski boots and poles are not small! I'll need to declutter a few things to make room. Not sure what yet.  2.) I spent about $106.75 more than I had in my bank account by buying the ski boots. I had enough to pay for the laptop repair and the ski poles but not the boots. So the Chief Engineer gave me a one time "payment plan." He put my ski boots on his credit card and I have exactly two weeks to pay him back to keep me out of overdraft. This was not the way I was hoping things would go financially. Details and a plan to get out of "debt" and not get back into it will come in tomorrow's Diagnosis: Affluenza post. 

It's not permission for me to go crazy. I've just learned that my personal financial buffer needs to be about $600, or what I ended up blowing on unplanned expenses this week. It will take time to build that up and I'm sure at some point I'll decimate those savings again in a matter of days. Clutter-wise, I need to clear out more clutter because objects I truly want and use like ski boots sometimes show up and need permanent homes. It's all about getting my priorities straight. I'm incredibly lucky to be where I am financially and I was killing myself trying to do everything. 

Next up: spending less next week to be able to pay the $106.75 back to the Chief Engineer. After that: paying for any skiing until the end of the season. After that? The kitchen wall comes down. After that? Saving for Australia.  That's the order in which things matter to us. Maybe something will have to wait. I'm okay with that. One thing at a time. And in time, too. 


  1. You have a plan, but life happens to all of us -- don't beat yourself up - plan and adjust when necessary. I had the unexpected death of a family member this past week and money management went out the window. So today I get back on track again.

    Have fun skiing -- nice to have something you love to do!

    1. oh no, I'm so sorry to hear about that. Makes us realize that when you compare all of our money woes to losing a loved the end it's just money. People are what's really important. Wishing you the best.

  2. It sounds like money well spent, if it's increased your enjoyment of skiing :)

  3. OK, I got half way through posting this earlier today, then CatMan called and invited me out on a bike ride, and in my zeal to shut everything down quickly I lost my comment!

    But... what I wanted to say was that I never feel bad about spending money for something I will use often and truly enjoy - like, for example, the $3K I dropped on my fancy schmancy carbon fiber road bike. Seriously, I've owned it since September and already gotten so much joy from having it that it would be worth the price even for just the few months that I've had it!

    There's this "minimalist" thing that says we should spend our money on experiences not things... and while I agree in principle, I also think that some "things" are required in order to be able to have certain experiences! I look at it this way. For $3K I could have one very nice vacation, which I would enjoy once and then it would be over. Or I could have a bike - which, for me, is like being able to go on a mini vacation every day (OK, well not EVERY day, but you know what I mean.) And it's especially wonderful because biking is something that CatMan and I do together. So investing in something that lets me enjoy more time with him is just totally worth it in my book. Sounds like skiing is similar for you and your husband.

    I also just wanted to say that even though I have never had a child, I did get the chance to try one out for a few years with my Ex. He had a daughter from his previous marriage, and even though we only had her on weekends, it became really, REALLY clear to me that once you have kids, your life is pretty much going to revolve around your kids. That was a real eye opener for me and a big factor in my decision not to have kids of my own.

    I'm certainly not saying don't have kids... just know that the commitment is SOOOO much bigger and all encompassing than is possible to imagine. And once you have them, all other things you might want to do fly out the window rather quickly - so my advice is this: wait to have kids until you're ready to have your life be fairly exclusively about raising kids.

  4. That does sound like a deal for the repairs! I just bought a Mac and Apple wanted $249 for the protection plan

    Glad you re-discovered a passion - hope the weather stays cool so you can squeeze in lots of trips this season!

    1. that $249 applecare plan doesn't seem to bad to me anymore! enjoy the mac! I'll enjoy my skiing :o)


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