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Last May, I walked down the aisle in the perfect white dress to marry my best friend with 10 of my closest family and friends standing around watching. We followed our intimate ceremony with a private dinner. The savings from not having a huge wedding became a large part of our down payment for our first house and the capping off of our emergency fund.
We followed our wedding with our dream honeymoon: a driving tour through Ireland. Four days after returning, we settled on our first house and began work immediately turning it into the perfect first house.
Life felt every bit of perfect. We both had good jobs, a strong savings, and money discipline. We poured $3,000 into the house via sweat equity that first month. In late August, we decided to wait until January before doing more work.
It was then, while sitting on the couch petting our beloved pug, that I felt her first lump. Three days later our world changed. Lymphoma and cancer became nightmarish words spoken freely around the house. We were given two choices: put her down in a week or try chemotherapy. Numbers were thrown around – $1500, $3000, $6000. I couldn’t keep up. Yet, when I looked at my five-year-old pug that I rescued from the pound 4 years earlier and had been my constant companion, I made an emotional decision. She was worth fighting for.
I never advise people to make money decisions based on emotions. You’re supposed to be practical and impartial. If you do, I tell people, you could lose everything. Yet, I have come to realize that sometimes you can’t separate money and emotions. We may do our best to look over budgets, to analyze, and make 1-, 2- and 5-year plans.
However, sometimes life happens. For me, it was my pug. For others it maybe an even greater challenge such as family member. I realize now that money does not trump all and the cost of some items can’t be the deciding factor.
I now look loving on my emergency fund.
We never ended up having to touch it. Instead, we stopped going out, buying clothes, or even celebrating birthdays. Yet, each night after I thanked God for another day with my pug, I also thanked him for the savings we had built up that had become our emergency fund. Due to the emergency fund, I was able to sleep knowing I could fight for my pug and still keep the house.
Fifteen weeks into chemo treatment, I don’t regret the decision. Instead, I am proud I could rescue my puppy one more time.
Anna Domzalski is a staff writer for the Financial Bin. Anna will soon begin her role as Dean of Financial Bin University and will conduct online budgeting classes beginning in February 2012. She can be reached via email at [email protected].
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