I hate to waste money. It makes me crazy. I know it makes some of you crazy, too. But we don’t live in a perfect world, and we’re not perfect people. Preventable accidents happen, rebates don’t get sent in, and some-people-who-I-will-not-name don’t always understand their health insurance. Sometimes, you will spend money on things that seem unnecessary or frustrating. You may find yourself saying, “What a waste of money!”
I used to become very upset when this would happen. “I can’t believe I’m going to have to pay that bill that Tricare would have covered if I’d done things right.” “I am so stupid – I should have known to check that switch/setting/filter before I called a repairman.” “I can’t believe that I am giving away these shoes that I have never worn.”
Now, I try to look at it from a different perspective. Instead of self-bashing when I have to incur expenses, I look at the situation as a learning experience. How can I do things differently in the future to prevent this from happening again? It might be as simple as designating a place to store receipts so that unwanted items can be returned, or it might mean following the poor plumber around my house and asking lots of questions. (They love this. Trust me.) There is something to be learned from every cost. It’s not a waste of money, it is tuition in whatever subject, whether it be heating and air conditioning, or self-discipline when shopping, or keeping my paperwork in order.
This strategy has paid off over time. I know the top 10 things to look for when my heat isn’t working. I no longer have three trunks full of food to give away when we move. (Just one.) I am slowly developing a filing system that allows me to find receipts when I need them. I have learned that there is limited value in pre-purchasing clothes for picky teens, even if the end of season sales are amazing.
You’d think that with all the things I’ve learned, I’d have an undergraduate, masters, and PhD in these life lessons. I suspect, however, that my days of learning aren’t over.
I’m sure that many of you have had similar experiences. I’d love to hear the life lessons you’ve learned from financial frustrations. Share, folks!
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