Yesterday I got to work and realised that I left my phone at home.
That wasn’t a big drama – I prefer to surf the internet on a laptop rather than my phone. I only use the phone for calls, texts and photos anyway. So I got on with my day, knowing that I’d pick it up from my bedside table when I got home and catch up on anything I’d missed.
But when I got home it wasn’t there. The bedside table was bare.
I knew it should be there. I’d woken up to the alarm that morning. I started looking through the house.
I went out to the car, thinking maybe it’d fallen out of my bag in the morning.
I messaged Ryan27 on FB, asking him to call my number.
He messaged back, saying that it went straight to voicemail.
Well, I couldn’t keep on looking for it. I had things to do. I decided to hang out the washing I’d put on before leaving for the day.
My first clue that something was badly awry was when I opened the washing machine door and saw my sodden phone case sitting on top of the washing.
My phone was lying underneath all of the clothes. Screen smashed, totally dead. As a doornail.
I’ve been an Apple person for YEARS. Yes, they’re expensive as all get-out, but I like the way they synch and I’m used to the way they work.
I’m like the people in the meme at the top of the page; when I get a new phone, I keep it for at least 5 years. Hell, one of my Apple laptops is a 2010 Mac that I bought secondhand 6 years ago. She’s still going strong.
So when I bought a brand new phone LAST YEAR for around $800 I was cool with it. By the time I was ready to trade it in I’d have had many years of photos, texts and calls for around $160/year. Still a biggish cost, but not unreasonable.
Except when I have to buy another one a year later. Suddenly that $800 phone has become very expensive.
I won’t deny that I was very sad last night. What with Tom30’s house deposit, the expensive appliances that died, helping out a couple of the other kids and now this – it’s been an expensive year. Around 28K of extra expenses… not counting my Antarctica holiday in December. The last thing I needed was for this to happen!
The worst thing was that I had no one to blame but myself.
I hate that.
When I posted about what I did on FB, I had people message me, offering old phones I could use until I could get myself a new one.
That’s when it struck me.
Being financially independent means that wrecking my phone is an inconvenience, not a financial tragedy. I’ll be without a phone for another 5 hours. By 4 PM I’ll be walking through the Apple shop doors, looking to buy a replacement.
Being financially independent means that I have the money to pay for it.
Will I be happy about having to do it? Hell no! Financial independence doesn’t mean that people suddenly become happy to throw money away.
But will I be glad that I put in the work for all those years to get to a point where I can simply walk into a shop and replace it without having to stress about the money?
When people think about being financially independent, it’s the big things they visualise. Retirement, overseas trips and a paid-off house. And yes, those things are there for the taking.
But the enduring joy of it is actually the way it smooths the ups and downs of life – especially the downs. It turns out that the old saying, “If money can fix it then it isn’t really a problem” is true… but only if you have the money to fix it.
Becoming financially free is not easy. But it’s absolutely worth it.
Dad joke of the day:
My boyfriend and I are in a serious relationship. We haven’t laughed for 2 years.