Saturday, April 09, 2005

Yes, I'm Back

No, I have not abandoned my quest for the year that changes the entire direction of my life.

Certain work obligations kept me from being able to post this week. I apologize for not warning everyone in advance--I honestly intended to blog each day this week, and each day found myself unable.

But that "crisis" has past, and I will now be back to regular blogging. However, I will be making a couple of changes.

First, I will be discontinuing the Sunday book review. On Sundays, I won't be blogging at all. I'm letting you know that now, that so that you will know there's no need to check that day (although my stats show me hardly anyone checks on Sunday anyway, so I don't feel too bad).

Also, I'll be replacing the Friday feature. Instead of talking about gambling, I'll talk about money and diet myths. I guess I might talk about gambling if I can dispel a myth about it.

(Actually, if you want to hear gambling myths, just read an ad for any lottery or casino. To paraphrase Dave Barry, if you want to know the truth, it's usually the opposite of what advertisers are paying millions of dollars to try to convince you. If Coke and Pepsi spend millions of dollars trying to convince you that one product will make you attractive and popular, and the other will make you a socially backwards wanna-be, then they're probably both just fizzy sugar-water.)

I have continued to diet and spend right, and events that would have been crises a short time ago have become easier and easier to bear.

Last Saturday, after I posted, we discovered the tire was flat on my car. We discovered this after my wife had taken it to the grocery store.

(I love my wife.)

However, paying $50 for a new tire was no problem. We didn't use a credit card, we didn't do any debt--we had a bit of emergency fund, so we were okay.

We're really, really okay. I've only been at this for three months (four, if you count that I sort of started in December) and we're already out of "crisis mode." We're no longer sweating those last few days before payday, hoping the gas and food can make it. We've established a bit of an emergency fund, and even keep a "cushion" of money in the checking account that we don't run out and spend indiscriminately.

It's a wonderful feeling.

But it's also a bit of a hindrance. Because the crisis is passed, the fear is that we will lose some of the fire. That we will not pay down the remaining debt as aggressively as we need to, because our monthly "Cash flow" situation is not as desperate now that many of those bills are gone.

Now is when discipline and vision are beginning to become more and more important--that we move those dollars we were paying over to the next bills each month, rather than finding new and less productive ways to spend them.

But I do not feel bad at all for those dollars I'm letting pile up in my checking account and emergency fund. Sure, they might save me a couple of dollars in interest if I shoved them all at the debts. But the peace of mind of knowing that it's there, the satisfaction I get from not having to take steps backwards by plopping down a credit card for every emergency, all of that so valuable to me--in fact, it's truly priceless.

If you don't have one, make an emergency fund for yourself. Even if you're paying down debt, stop long enough to get some dollars sacked away. I can't recommend it highly enough.

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