Really, this is an emergency!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

So a couple weeks ago, we dug into our newly attained emergency fund emergency. Really.

What you see here, is the screen of our 37 inch LCD TV [that my brother Paul gave us for Christmas 2 or 3 years ago] after Verity flung a toy across the room at it. An accident, of course. The whole screen should be the same light blue as the left side is. The teeny spot of light blue in the midst of the black in the upper right quadrant is the location where the toy hit.

We were pretty upset. We never would have bought something like that for ourselves at that time; in fact the only reason my brother knew we wanted a new TV was because I posted on Facebook, asking if anyone had an old one lying around they wanted to gift to us, because our 15 year old second hand TV was dying. Him splurging on this for us for Christmas that year was a total shock and we were just amazed.

James got on the internet and started researching how to fix a broken LCD screen. The results were not encouraging. Jokes on TV repair forums ran the likes of "Now you've got a huge funky looking conversation piece for your family room". He did finally find a company that sold replacement screens in the States. 2-300$ for the screen and about an equal amount to ship it, plus duty to cross the boarder. Sigh.

So here was where we were faced with our first decision about whether to use our emergency fund. Yes, it's there for such situations where a major appliance breaks and needs to be replaced. But a stove or washer just feels like a more legitimate use of an emergency fund.

It didn't take long though, for James and I to agree that we wanted to replace it--replace it immediately and replace it with roughly what we had there. So we threw the kids in the van and went on over to TigerDirect where we found a Toshiba 40inch LCD for $599. It was discounted a fair bit because it was a web return (buyers remorse I think) and the box was munched during shipping. The TV itself was perfectly fine. We were pleased to get a good deal and a few more inches.

A couple days ago, I was on the Dave Ramsey forum and while asking for advice on a different issue concerning emergency funds, someone there posted a response that called into question our decision. To quote them exactly:

"And, I'm not requesting any information, but I will make a statement: if you used the emergency fund money for a non-emergency, I would look very hard at behavior and priorities. "

I'll admit, this fed a little on my doubts about spending that money. But then I really got thinking about it and talking to James. First of all, this person had no business or place to question our decision. It's our money. We worked hard to save it. If I had been asking for opinions about whether our decision had been reasonable, then they could have spoken up. But I didn't.
Furthermore, I was struck with what we had accomplished in having the money to buy a 500$ TV without going into debt. When I got past the guilt, it was great feeling. The bottom line is that this was completely our decision and we don't have to justify it to anyone except God. Since he owns it all, and we are just the caretakers, the three of us are the only ones involved in the semantics of it.

And we have so been enjoying our TV!


secondofwett said...

Your family is similar to ours in that we never do very much in the form of enetratinment...can't afford it for so many so we pay a little extra for a nice t.v. and cable. I feel it's perfectly justified since it's all we can for me!!!

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