Patching the Crack in Our Monthly Budget

December 10, 2006

Two things cracked on the way home from the store last night, our windshield, and with it, our monthly budget.

The Costly Crack
I sighed after my wife pointed out the crack. “That’s going to cost a few hundred to fix, just don’t buy me anything for Christmas”, I said.

“What?!”, she exclaimed. “I’ve already bought it! It’s the perfect gift, I’m sooo excited to give it to you!”

Such a display of the joy of giving! I didn’t want to ruin the spirit so after a moment I said, “Well, I guess I just won’t get you anything then.”

Obviously, this didn’t go over too well. So now we have to figure out how to fit Christmas presents and fixing a cracked windshield into our December budget.

Making Choices
As I thought about where the money would come from it reminded me that managing finances and controlling debt is all about making choices.

Sometimes it’s not easy because some of the choices have already been made for you. For example, I have to spend the money to fix the windshield because it’s a safety issue for my family. The problem is everything you “have to” spend money on shrinks the number of places you can cut back.

Of course the tricky part is that many of us get to the bottom of the expenses list and everything is labeled “have to” spend. Then we tinker with the idea of pulling out the plastic and the shadow of debt rears its ugly head.

We “Have To” Decide!
Now we have the battle of the “have to”s. On one side are all the things we “have to” spend our money on. On the other side is the fact we “have to” cut spending and avoid borrowing money. The only way to reduce or prevent debt is to make the right “have to” win every time!

Once we’ve determined to reduce spending then we move on to decide where to cut. I don’t think the most important thing is which decision you make but rather realizing you have to choose, making the choice, and sticking with it.

My plan for our family is to make small cuts in all categories to patch the budget instead of eliminating one thing entirely. I think we’re due for another promotional service discount from Comcast; maybe I’ll give them a call or try out this technique. I guess I can also scour the Festival of Frugality to find some money saving tips over Christmas.

If anyone knows where you can get glass for the front windshield for a Honda CRV at a good price please let me know!


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Ben Edwards, the founder of Money Smart Life, saved up enough to buy a Nintendo back when he was 12 years old. When he used the money to buy shares of Wal-Mart stock instead, he knew he wasn't like the other kids... His addiction to personal finance has paid off for his family and now he's helping you to afford the life that you want. Check him out on the web at Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook.

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6 Responses to Patching the Crack in Our Monthly Budget

  • Lisa K

    I know where I am a cracked windshield is more than just a safety issue, you will get a very costly ticket! This is why I usually get the glass coverage on my insurance. We have had to use it once before, so it worked out & we carry it all the time now. Especially since we now have a mini van…sooooo much glass. Of course we live in western NY & with the winter roads out here you are always in danger of a stray rock…

  • martha

    Have you checked your car insurance? many policies have a small deductible for windshield repair. My CRV had the same problem this spring and I paid a $50 ded. for the repair. You may have already thought of this, but thought I’d throw it out there. good luck!

  • moneysmartz

    Thanks, I’m glad you appreciated my humor. Sometimes a good way to test the waters is to throw out a semi-joke. If your idea flies then you’re golden. If not, back off and let them know “I was just joking”!

    Obviously, in this case I didn’t have a chance.

  • MollysBrother

    Man…sorry that your windshield cracked and sorry that it has destroyed your monthly budget. December can always be such a hectic time of the year.

    It looks like you’re handling it though.

    By the way, nice joke. Even though your wife may not have laughed about “not getting her anything,” I did.


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