Extreme Money Makeover

February was crazy. It started with my whole family getting the flu. I was out of work for a full week. I usually only miss 2 days maximum for a typical cold. Next, we went to Disney World for a week on vacation. A few days after that, my wife was scheduled for an outpatient surgery and her recovery has been more difficult than we thought. It’s not surprising that I haven’t been able to post for a while.

Having my wife go through surgery again actually takes my thoughts back to when she had surgery two years ago. That unexpected event is what compelled us to take control of our finances. It was either that or we would be forced to move. What a contrast between then and now. Back then we really had no grip on our spending. We knew how much we were spending overall but had no mechanism in place for controlling the money before it left. We didn’t know how we were going to pay for the surgery and had no emergency fund in place. We were living within our means but didn’t have a budget in place.

Two years later we were easily able to budget in enough money to pay for her surgery and a week-long vacation (including airfare) without undue stress. And that’s without any significant changes in income. It truly amazes me how much money we were wasting before because we didn’t have a system in place to direct our spending. I don’t even notice a difference in lifestyle even though we spend less. In fact, there are ways our lifestyle has improved. Now, rather than having a constant gnawing feeling that I might be overspending, I feel liberated knowing exactly how much I have left to spend. We can direct our spending to the things we really want rather than impulse purchases that we won’t value much. It really feels like a before and after makeover. It’s a night and day difference.

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