Expecting the Expected

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People as a whole have developed high expectations ourselves and everyone around us. We expect people to be nice to us, we expect a paycheck to show up when we’ve worked, we expect people to arrive on time, we expect to pay taxes, we expect people won’t live forever. We expect a lot.

When the expected happens, why does it catch us by surprise? Shouldn’t we be prepared for it?

Expected Car Maintenance

I was dropping our car off to get a routine oil change and tire rotation. Routine car maintenance used to stress me out because they’d always find something that needed a $400 repair.

When I returned to pick up my car upon completion, there was a lady ahead of me at the counter. The employee behind the counter was talking to her about her vehicle repairs. I gathered that this lady had brought her vehicle in for a routine stop as well. About this time, the employee informed her that she needed 4 new tires. Visibly upset and shaking, she clearly did not want to spend money on tires. He hadn’t even told her the price yet.

The employee informed her that it was going to be $512 for the tires. This lady started to break down, and put her face in her hands. She didn’t say anything. It was obvious she couldn’t afford the repair cost. I really felt for this lady because I’ve been in this position on more than one occasion. It’s a quick punch to the gut. When we take the car in for routine maintenance, there’s always a little voice in the back of the mind praying that a costly repair isn’t discovered.

Unfortunately for this lady, she wasn’t so lucky. She told the gentleman that she could only afford two tires this month. I stood behind her and thought to myself, thank goodness we have an automotive reserve fund because that feeling sucks. I don’t ever want to feel that again.

My Turn!

I stepped forward to get my keys and pay for my oil change and tire rotation from another gentleman. He asked if I had the 2014 Hyundai Elantra. Yep that’s me! He proceeded to tell me that I needed 4 new tires it would cost around $500.

Uh what?! Listen Jack! We just had those tires put on! There’s that feeling again. That punch in the stomach even though we have reserve money set aside for this exact scenario.

Does expecting the expected help?

Even though I still had that same feeling in the pit of my stomach when he told me how much the tires would cost, that feeling subsided much quicker than it had in the past. Why? I suspect it’s because we were prepared for this. I’m not really sure why I got the same initial reaction when he told me we needed new tires. I guess because I don’t like spending $500. Regardless of the item, I still would rather keep the $500. It’s hard to pull out that much money even when you do have it. I think having the reserve money just makes the sucky feeling have a shorter life span.

So often we see this in life, people getting irate because they owe taxes at tax time, or because their car needs routine maintenance, have a dental expense, or end up in thousands of dollars of credit card debt for Christmas gifts. I’m guilty of most of these. I’ve barked at people that didn’t deserve over a surprise I should’ve been ready for. Fortunately, I am now aware of it.

How do we eradicate that feeling all together?

Truthfully, I’m not sure I have the answer for that. I learned during this trip to get routine maintenance that readiness can contain the amount of time the feeling from the gut punch lasts.

Step 1

By having money set aside for inevitable expenses allowed me to contain the amount of time that feeling lasted. Being prepared by having finances set aside to cover expenses that will eventually and always happen will really take the sting out of an expected expense. Expenses like taxes, car insurance, car registration, medical bills, auto repairs, or house maintenance. We all know these expenses can and will come up. Why not be ready for them? Here’s exactly what we do. We budget for them and set aside the money into reserve account nested within our bank account. It separates it from our checking tricking our brain into thinking it’s gone already.

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This is what our reserves look like. Yes…we do budget for fantasy football

Step 2?

I’d like to completely get rid of that feeling that comes up when you required to spend a boat load of money, but I think that is one of my biggest problems. The struggle with money mindset blocks. I straddle this line of having a financial abundance mindset while wanting to protect what I have because of potential scarcity. The answer still eludes me, but here’s going to be my approach. I think having an abundance mindset paired with the readiness from step one, will allow me the ability to control that feeling from even rising in the first place. Working to have an abundance mindset will help build the unconscious understanding that the $500 will return to my life in some fashion could be the answer to controlling that initial reaction. That’s how I tend to defeat that feeling. By being prepared, and practicing an abundance mindset moving forward, I hope it’ll cause a chain reaction.

Cause and Effect

Being prepared, mentally and financially will make us treat the person on the other side much more kindly. We control our feelings which makes us treat somebody else better. Now that person is happy and by cause and effect, treats the next customer better than he or she probably would have if we had chewed them out in the first place.

Shoot…. Did we just come up with a solution for world peace?