Everybody knows Murphy’s Law, “Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong.” It never fails, does it? You make plans, have to be at an appointment, waiting to take off on your flight and something goes wrong. Your friend is sick, there’s a traffic jam, or you have a three-hour delay for some reason.
For me, I’ve seen Murphy’s law rear it’s ugly head the most when I didn’t have my finances in order. Don’t laugh, it’s true. I can’t tell you how many times I have had a super expensive car repair or a trip to the vet that turned out to be astronomical. How did I pay for all these?
On the credit card. This vicious cycle went on until the spring of 2013. That’s when we attended Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University and everything changed. My husband and I started working Dave’s Baby Steps and by the time we were done with step three, Murphy didn’t come around as much anymore. Murphy’s law started slowly walking away.
Murphy’s Law: Proofing Your Life
We learned that there are steps you can take to ‘Murphy proof’ your life as Dave would say. Granted it won’t take your problems away, but it will help keep those ‘emergencies’ at bay. You see, Murphy loves to knock on your door when you are unprepared. However, once you get things in order, he knocks less and less. Here are some steps you should be taking to send Murphy to someone else’s door.
$1,000 Emergency Fund
Dave says, “The first step you need to take is save $1,000 for a ‘baby’ emergency fund.” There are lots of things you can do to hurry up the process of getting this in place. Take an extra job delivering pizzas, save all your change, sell a lot of things on eBay, sell the motorcycle that has been in the garage for twenty years.
This is the foundation. This is your safety net for the roof leaking, the alternator on the car going out, or the washer and dryer breaking down. Also, keep it in a safe place that is easy to get to. One of the best methods I have heard of is in a picture frame with a note that says, “In case of emergency, break glass.” That would put a kink in Murphy’s Law.
Getting Out Of Debt
Dave says, “List your debts smallest to largest.” Small wins will lead to big wins later on. It is a very important step to getting out of debt. When you keep yourself in financial bondage and have Murphy breathing down your neck at the same time, it is not fun.
Hence, my chronic car repairs and vet bills. For example, my car needed new brakes and I didn’t have the cash to pay for it. I put it on my credit card and up went my minimum payment. Not only did I have the stress of a car repair I could not pay for, I also had the added anxiety of paying extra on an already large bill. Eliminating all debt but your house is a crucial step for keeping Murphy away.
Please don’t let this be you. Go to the library or online and research the various financial advisors out there like Suze Orman or Jean Chatzky or Dave Ramsey. We are Dave fans, his plan led us out of debt in two and a half years.
However, I know everyone is different and what works for us may not work for you. I will say this, though, ever since we got out of debt, Murphy no longer knocks on our door much anymore.
Kicking Murphy Out For Good
You now have your ‘baby’ emergency fund in place and have paid off all your debt except for the house. Since getting your life in order, has Murphy knocked on your door less than he used to? I hope so. Now, how do you keep him away?
You start throwing all the money that was used to pay off your debt and build up to a fully funded emergency fund. This should consist of the standard 3-6 months and should not take you very long to obtain.
Although these tips won’t completely eliminate the unforeseen, it will make things much less painful when an ‘emergency’ comes up or when Murphy’s Law comes knocking.