I’ve learned a lot this week. Things feel like they flipped upside down without warning. It’s teaching me the value of my relationships and sound advice. My wife and I discovered that both our vehicles are looking at repairs totaling thousands of dollars. So I’ve been a wee pit preoccupied this week and admittedly let this writing habit slip in the midst of our work and scheming. So below is going to be a rapid fire list of things I’ve learned in the past week, about myself, about my wife, my relationships, and about cars.

  • Handle crisis in community. We’ve asked several people for finance advice, car advice, and relationship advice.
  • Get and stay on the same page with your partner. Dixie and I started this week with a long meeting about our options that has guided several decisions and conversations following.
  • Choose the right attitude. Of course, staring down massive repair bills, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and start to freak out. But we consciously chose in our first meeting to say “we are the kind of people who get after it, work hard, while trusting God and trusting others”.
  • Be open to course correction. When my attitude was lacking this week, Dixie was honest enough to say “hey, we chose a different attitude, remember? We don’t get to act like this”.
  • Before things need fixing, operate on a budget and set money aside every month to help pay for moments like these.
  • Spend less money than you make, as a matter of policy. 
  • Build margin in to your budget and be willing to make sacrifices in crisis mode.
  • Surround yourself with people you trust.
  • Go ask advice. Ask advice of those who are more knowledgeable and experienced. You work with them, go to church with them, shop at the same grocery store, visit the same coffee shops.
  • Don’t be afraid of being the idiot in the room. I am certainly not shy about it anymore. If I don’t know what we’re all talking about, I’ll be the one to speak up every time.
  • Education does not stop with school attendance.
  • There is a fine line between a car worth fixing and a car worth selling “as is”.
  • Moisture and/or coolant in your oil will gum it up and ruin your motor’s piston rods.
  • Assess the costs of repairs versus what the same sum of money would get you in a replacement vehicle.
  • Second opinions. Always get them. Consider even a third opinion.