Last October, I shared this status update on Facebook:
“We’ve been without a fridge for over a month now. That ends today. There was a time we’d just have put a new fridge on the credit card or even declared it an emergency and used our savings. But we made do with coolers and the chest freezer in the garage for a month, saved up, and paid cash today. I’m really proud of us!”
Yes, our family of six went without a fridge for over a month. When the old fridge quit working, in order to pay cash for a replacement we squeezed an already tight budget and put other financial plans on hold to take care of our immediate situation instead of tapping into the emergency fund.
I was really proud of us because saying “no” still takes discipline for us, despite the progress we’ve made the past few years. Most of our friends and family were proud of us as well.
I did get a concerned phone call from a relative wondering if we were living on peanut butter and crackers (we weren’t) and more than one person asked how on earth we managed (it was a combination of freezer cooking and eating lots of fresh fruits and veggies that didn’t need refrigeration. In some ways it was like camping but with a stove. I would NOT want to do it again.)
But, what most folks commented on was the fact that our decision not to immediately purchase a new fridge on credit or with our emergency fund savings gave them a new perspective on what constituted an “emergency.”