Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Death of a Refrigerator

Thanks to all the sympathies from my Facebook Friends over the recent passing of our beloved refrigerator.

In Baby Step 3, FPU members are taught that they are to fully fund a three to six month of expenses emergency fund. For us, saving this amount took a long time because we went all the way to six months.

Something happens to you when you save for those emergencies: your definition of emergency slightly changes. We joke that we want to have an Emergency Fund for the Emergency Fund.

I wanted to document a real life experience that is not uncommon to what you have faced before and tie it back to what Cindy and I have learned through FPU.

At Least It’s Cold Outside

Yesterday, Our blessed refrigerator, that conveyed from the previous owners nine years ago, went on to her great reward. The Maytag Man came out and pronounced her DOA – massive compressor failure.

We had noticed on Saturday that things were beginning to melt in the freezer and that the refrigerator was getting warmer. We placed items in ice coolers and others on the porch. At least it would be cold this week, barely topping 36 degrees.

After church on Sunday, Cindy took me shopping for new refrigerators. She already knew what she was looking for: side by side, white with the textured finish, no digital read-outs. Sure, we opened every other refrigerator, but, that is how she shops.

Ask for a Bargain

Sunday’s shopping spree was not really about shopping – it was reconnaissance. We wanted to know how much a refrigerator would cost (anywhere from $600 to $2200). Between the features that we were looking for and the measurements of the refrigerator nook, we eliminated most units that cost over $1000. The one we settled on was at Lowes for $799 (they also offered free delivery and take away).

After the repairman left on Monday, Cindy took the EFCB (the Emergency Fund Check Book) to Lowes and went through the purchasing process.

Week 8 of FPU is called That’s Not Good Enough, and we learned not only where to look for bargains but also how to ask for one. Cindy told the sales person that she did not need financing and was going to be paying cash for the purchase: would she sell it for $750.00? Yes! With Taxes, Titles and Tags, Cindy bought the refrigerator for $787.50.

Cindy’s only regret was that she did not ask for a bigger bargain!

But was it an Emergency?

Certainly we had a need for a new refrigerator, but, it is not what I would call an Emergency. However, fortunately, we were able to go and purchase one with cash. Would we have been able to ask for a bargain if we were just putting in on the credit card?

What if, like most Americans, we had just finished putting Christmas on those same credit cards? Instead of having a fun afternoon on Sunday, spending time with my wife, there would have been a lot of stress and anger.

And that, my friends, is life. As the saying from the 80’s went - “Stuff happens.”

The question is, are you prepared? Do you have a plan?

Visa certainly has a plan: their plan is that you don’t have one.

And guess who will always be there to catch you in your emergencies?


Rick said...

"Their plan is that you don't have one" - that'll be the tagline on the dustjacket right there.

Marjie B. said...

I'm still in awe that you bargained at Lowe's. 99.9% of folks wouldn't even try...I mean, it's not like you're buying emeralds in the Caribbean, ya know!

Great job, guys!


Chuck said...

Marjie - That is what week 8 is all about - ask for a bargain. And, we don't do this everytime.

Here is our line of thinking - I probably could go up to and open a Lowe's Credit Card and get 10% off the purchase. Cindy asked for a
%6.25 percent break, so she was fairly sure they would take it.

What is REALLY cool is if you have actual cash and you are not married to the product (Make/Model/Brand) - you have walk away power. Then you can be really bold and ask for 10 - 15% discounts. Then you go to another store until you find one who will take it.

My favorite phrase with places like tire shops: "Is that your best offer?" and then shut up and watch them recalculate the numbers.

I have yet to have this work at Kohls. I have thought about talking to a manager because most of their discounts are tied to you being a credit card member.

FPU classes are starting soon!! Check the FPU site for a location near you.