DH = Dear Husband
Our plan to buy cross-country ski gear
In November, DH asked me what I thought about the idea of buying two sets of cross-country skis this winter. I was all over it! I used to love cross-country skiing with my dad in my late teens and early twenties. Winter never appeared more beautiful than from a ski trail. And there was something powerful about physical warmth from exercise in the cold, and a gradual shedding of hat, scarf, gloves, and jacket.
A wave of happy nostalgia hit me when DH suggested the purchase. And it was sweet of him. He finds cross-country skiing boring – nothing like snow boarding. He was doing this for my benefit.
Money was looking good in November, and we started to plan when we’d buy our new ski gear. With frugal intentions, we decided it would be best to wait until after Christmas. “The sales in January will be good,” my sister advised us. “If you wait until February, they’ll be even better – but you might miss the best of the skiing season.” January or February. That was our plan.
Money stopped looking so good after a few unexpected expenses came our way. Our dear dog Rocky had a couple of chronic infections that just would not go away, and we made one, two, three, FOUR trips to the vet – adding up to hundreds of dollars. And then our car needed some work. Another several hundred dollars unexpectedly gone.
Laurie wrote earlier this week about her budget plans for February “going off the rails.” She and her husband had faced unexpected expenses that amounted to several hundred dollars too. “These may not seem like huge overages to some,” she said, “but for those on a mission to get out of debt, this is a lot of cash.”
In our case, we had to make a decision. Could we manage our unexpected expenses and still buy the cross-country ski gear? Yes.
Could we also, at the same time, stick to our debt-repayment and savings goals? No.
So we didn’t buy the ski equpment. Ugh!
Disappointment when budget “goes off the rails”
Sometimes, doing the right thing means sacrifice. DH and I have been on a mission to “makeover” our finances for almost 5 years now. And for the most part, our more frugal and mindful lifestyle has not required sacrifice. It’s no sacrifice to give up excess of small-to-no value. But cross-country ski equipment would not have been excessive. It would have been a purchase of high value – especially for me.
For these years of financial turn-around though, I have no doubt we’ve made the right choice. But it is disappointing.
When “unexpected” is positive
In the pf bloggosphere, “unexpected” is almost always used in its negative sense. Unexpected expenses, accidents, lay-offs, illnesses, legal troubles . . . It’s why we encourage saving up emergency funds.
But sometimes, the unexpected is positive.
DH’s friend brought two sets of snow shoes over to our house a couple of weeks ago, and after he and DH had been out on some nearby green space (white space now), I asked if I could try. For the first time in years (decades?), I snow-shoed – and I loved it! DH’s friend said he had no use for his old pair of snow shoes, and offered to leave them with us.
It’s a small thing in the grand scheme, but it makes me think of that line from The Sound of Music: “When the Lord closes a door, somewhere He opens a window.” Although I won’t be cross-country skiing any time soon, I have been snow-shoeing almost every day. I literally walk out my back door, and I’m free to go for 20 minutes, an hour, or more. Rocky, now back to good health, joins me every time.
So if you’re facing the disappointment of closed doors in your quest to become debt-free or financially free, don’t lose heart. And stay on the look-out. Don’t miss the open window.
Have you ever felt disappointed by a sacrifice you’ve made in order to pay off debt or save? Have you ever had a door-closing-but-window-opening experience? Your comments are welcome.