My car needs to get new brakes, new tires, and new rotors (whatever those are). And an oil change.
My younger brother is a budding mechanic so I asked if he could take care of it, and I would pay him for his time.
He started telling me how much everything would cost.
“Do you have $120 to spend on new brakes right now?” he asked me.
And I said “yes, of course, just let me know how much you need.”
He then told me I need new tires. “That’s going to be about another $100 per tire, do you want me to hold off on those until you can save up money?”
“No we’re good, just do everything now and tell me how much the total is.”
“Can you afford to get the oil and air filter replaced as well?” he asked.
“Yes! Just tell me how much the total is and we’ll pay it! We’re not poor!”
I was laughing while I told him, but I couldn’t understand why he kept asking if we could afford the car repairs. He reminded me how two years ago, I practically had a heart attack when I found out I had to spend $200 on repairs.
Two years ago, we were:
- living in the shack
- making about 30% less than we make now (and that’s not even including the additional side hustle money we make now)
- saving 20% of our take home pay, preparing to be a one-income family
We were on a very tight budget, and it was true that I threw a stink anytime I had to buy something that wasn’t in the budget.
While we’re still incredibly frugal, we’re also on much better footing financially. Today, we:
- are living in a two-bedroom townhome
- have a savings account, an emergency fund, a Christmas fund, and a car fund (for insurance, repairs, and registration)
- have no credit card debt
- are paying for graduate school with no loans
- are continuing to pay down student loan debt
Did I mention we’re also able to travel now thanks to the side hustle income?
My brother was just watching out for our finances by asking me if we could afford the car repairs. But in doing so, he made me realize just how far we’ve come in the past two years.
It was a small moment, but it made me feel really good about my life and happy with how far we’ve come. I can only imagine what the next two years will bring.
Are you better off now than you were two years ago?
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