Last week I took my car in to get the tires rotated, aligned, and balanced. We have a deal worked out where we get 3 years of that for "free" (aka: we paid it ahead of time and got a great discount). So I walk oh-so-bravely into the car repair place without a debit card, and only $50 in my pocket. It's free, right?
Wrong. Dead wrong. Sure, that part was free all day long... but we needed a new belt, and a couple of other things that were dangerously close to wearing out. Hoping we had just found a crooked mechanic, I called Josh but he agreed that those certain things were probably in need of replacing. The estimate came to $477.25.
Which is ironically probably the exact worth of my car! :) I say that kidding, but that may actually be true. I could never sell it and get it's true worth out of it-- no one would believe what a great car it is! Pretty much all the maintenance we do is just stuff that has naturally worn out from driving 300,000 miles. My clutch, for example, was supposed to last 120,000 miles, but it definitely took us past the 200,000 mark. The mechanic was flabbergasted that it was the original clutch.
But my point isn't how much car repair is... when I was at the service station, I didn't freak out about the initial price of the bill (other stuff happened that jeopardized the whole car-- I still freaked about that!) My stomach sank a little bit, but it wasn't the end of the world.
4 years ago, it would have been life altering to pay $477.25 in car repair. But now? In the past week Josh and I have cash flowed $1200 in out of the ordinary expenses-- and that's not including the money I spent on gas & food on the trip I just took to NC.
Sure, we budget for car repair, but when it comes down to it, we have to get it repaired immediately, regardless of the budget, because it's our only car.
And no, we don't enjoy spending money like it's going out of style. You'll find us cutting back in our daily expenses in order to make up for those extra costs (thank goodness we had some gift cards & movie tickets saved up!). But I'm a very anxious person & I get emotional very easily. And being debt free has taken a lot of that anxiety away from me.
I guess when it comes down to it, I'm so thankful for God, Josh, & Dave Ramsey. Without any one of those three, our finances wouldn't be where they are today, and we'd probably be holding a cardboard sign by the road, or living in my parent's basement (if my parents had a basement...).
What does/will being debt free mean to you? Does it mean you don't freak out about every little thing? That you're finally able to put money into that hobby that you love? That you're able to get up every morning knowing that if you lost your job right now, your family would be okay for 3 months? I'd love to know what everyone else thinks about with their money!