Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Personal Finance: Making Difficult Decisions

The trip tp Puerto Rico was cancelled. It was a hard decision to make, but I had to do it. Although my parents were going to pay for the tickets, it would have dug a hole for me that would have been sressful to deal with.

First of all, the tickets my parents were paying for increased by three kids. I was going to buy the tickets to leave the same day that there was that whole drama at the airports. Looking back, I thank God that I didn't. I would have freaked out with that situation, 6 kids and the possiblity of The Little One (autistic) having a meltdown in the middle of the crowds. So, I pushed it to a later date. Actually, I decided not to go, but The Little One kept telling everyone he was going to fly in a plane to go to the beach. Then I decided to wait for the boys to get back from Florida. The day I was going to book the tickets, I was exhausted and fell asleep. The next day my ex-mother-in-law called me frantic. She had called the airline to confirm the tickets to find that they had been trying to contact my ex-husband by email and phone since last March! They needed to tell him they no longer fly on Fridays. Their trip would be extended. Translation? If I had booked the non refundable tickets, the boys would have been in Florida when I was on the plane to PR. I decided to buy the tickets for that following Sunday except the tickets now went from $178.00 roundtrip to $249.00. Oh and now I also had to take my 9 yr old niece....that has ADHD. Me, 7 kids and three dreaded diagnosis' of autism, ADD and ADHD in 4 of the 7 kids! Thrilling. I was able to find tickets for $180.00 round trip except...the kids would miss the first day of school. They had fits. Apparently, they believe that it is bad luck to miss the first day. Several kids that missed the first day of school got left back. Since when are we superstitious? The alternative was to leave on Monday at 11:50 pm and return the following Tuesday at 9:35 am. So, my parents were going to spend $2052. for less than a week. I would have to spend the money for their back to school shopping to rent a minvan for those few days.

After a million phone calls, hours on the computer and dealing with crying fits from the kids...I called my parents and explained that we would not be seeing them. Call me crazy, but even though I am not paying for it....I can't stand the thought of my parents spending so much money for a handful of days. Not to mention, the mini van rental would pull me back into an abyss of despair trying to pay the bills and buy the kid's clothing. I explained to the kids that it didn't make sense to go over there to have fun and come back to deal with so many bad consequences. In the end, they understood. They want to go back-to-school shopping without me stressing out. I had to be the adult and let them see me make responsible choices. Hopefully, it will teach them to make good choices in the future. Besides, I promised them that once I pay everything off we will go to PR. I want to be able to go and enjoy myself without worrying about how the cards are going to get paid!

This was a huge milestone. I faced a great temptation to dig a deeper whole because the big ticket item (the plane tickets) were free. I'm glad that I made the right decision. Like I always say, my kids are watching me and learning. I hope that they realized that I was faced with a difficult decision, but I opted to make the responsible one! My personal finances will be in order soon. I have to run the race slow and steady...

Lesson to Walk Away With
1. If you are given a gift, make sure you can afford the upkeep, the added expense or the taxes. (I'm including gifts such as cell phones with plans, airplane tickets or even cars -for students.)
2. You can decline a gift. Be honest about your situation. It may be a once in a lifetime scenario that will give you a temporary thrill, but the debt it brings lasts a heck of a lot longer!
3. Be realistic. There is only so much you can do. You may want to go ahead and use the bill money, but will it be worth sitting in the dark for a month.

It's your life, it's your money...be wise with it!

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2 comments:

sweet_melody51 said...

Nice advice! You don't have to accept the gift! Wish I'd known that before I took the dog!
I really like your thinking, so will add you to my list of favs!

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