Monday, June 25, 2012

How My Emergency Fund Kept Me Above Water

Emergency funds are nice things to have around because of the many nice things they do. The best thing they do is keep you out of debt. My emergency fund kept me out of debt today.

In my backyard I have a nice pool. It's a nice thing to have. It's pretty to look at but it's a shame no one ever uses it. The kids are to grown up and are always out, to busy, but my wife loves to lay beside it and soak up some sun on Saturdays. Last weekend, the pump finally burnt out. I have been nursing it for almost a year. The rear bushing has been making a horrible noise and I have been giving it a shot of WD-40 to make it behave. It gave up the ghost last weekend and I needed a new one. 

It Gets Worse!


Luckily my brother deals with foreclosed houses and was able to locate a nice, almost new pump. Things were looking up. An almost free new pump was going to solve my problem. I had it installed in no time and preceded to crank it up. It was running great. Better than ever, pressure was noticeably twice as much as the previous motor. As I was admiring my handy work a 8 inch crack developed on the filter tank. Water sprayed everywhere. The higher pressure from the new motor was to much for my 22 year old plastic filter tank. 

I must admit the tank was previously patched along the crack but sadly it couldn't take the increase in pressure, it was time to replace it. I was back on the phone to my brother but he had no good news for me but said he would try to hunt one down for me. 

While brother was on the job I did some searching over at the pool store. The salesman quoted me a price of $500 for a new filter tank. I was immediately depressed at this situation. I would of liked to not spend that kind of money but I had the cash in the emergency fund for things just like this. It's funny I almost forgot I had an emergency fund I haven't had to use for a few years, the last time was when the water heater went out. 

On a Mission.


I was determined to not pay $500 so I was on a mission to seek out a cheaper solution. I went on Craigslist and found many used filter tanks for sale. Most of them did look a little distressed but out of 12 filters I pick one that was the right size and the best price was $80. It was an alternative I was going to seriously consider. 

While I was online I searched the online pool stores and found they were selling the same tank as my local pool store for about $25 less. I was down to $475 for a new tank. I was determined to do better. Amazon was next. They had the same tank listed for $300. I was feeling better that I was going to save $200 on Amazon as apposed to my local store. I have an Amazon Associates account so that would knock 4% off the price plus I would have used my Chase Amazon card which would have given me another 5% off. I was down to $273 with the discount.

Lets Do Better.


Still I wanted to do better. It was on to Ebay! They had the filter I wanted at auction for less than $200. I searched Ebay's completed auctions and saw they were going for an equivalent price as Amazon. I placed the bid when the filter tank was at $175. When it finished I had won the auction at a bid of $220 with a shipping cost of $30. So I was buying a filter tank for $250, brand new, guaranteed for 1 year from a pool supply company with over 10,000 good recommendations. I felt confident in the purchase and I should have the new tank at my home by the end of the week. And I paid cash.

This whole experience was very eye opening for me. Before emergency funds I would of made the purchase of a new tank at my local pool store and I would of put it on my credit card. It was an automatic response that I had made throughout my life, and a very costly one. I never gave it a thought to shop around like I did this time. But the main reason I did shop around was I was spending real cash. Real cash makes you work for the best deal. Dave Ramsey is right when he says it hurts to spend real money. Buying with a credit card is painless and you don't even feel the need to get a better deal. At least I didn't.

Lessons Relearned


Overall the experience has retaught me that staying out of debt is something to be proud of. Having an emergency fund is something to be proud of. Taking control of your life is really something to be proud of. 

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