Over at Debt Free Adventure, I read a post recently on how Matt sold his motorcycle on Craigslist and how he’d jumped on the first offer for the bike, only to find that a couple calls later someone was offering twice the amount he’d listed it for. Awwwwwww, bummer. Since he’d already call the person with the first offer, and said they could have the bike, he was kind of in a spot, but he did the right thing.
Reading about his story made me think of an experience I had years ago, when I was living below the poverty level
I’d received a small fortune in the mail, at least back at that time it was a small fortune. When I moved to the east side of Phoenix, I became a new Arizona Public Service customer and I had to pay a deposit in order to get my utilities turned on. While on the other side of town, I’d been a Salt River Project customer.
Anyway, once I’d had my utilities on in the new place for a year, APS refunded my deposit, if memory serves, it was right around $100. I’d totally forgotten about it. Back then, I was really tight with any money that came in, so I took the check to the bank, cashed it and bought three money orders.
This was during the time when I still had a car, and my washer was on the fritz so after the bank we went to a local laundromat. I did the laundry and got everything folded up, loaded in the car and we went home.
Then I looked in my purse so I could fill out the money orders, but I could not find them anywhere. I searched my pockets, I went out and searched the car, piled my boys back into the car and went back to the laundromat. This laundromat was unattended (some have attendants on duty) and also in a poor area of town. I searched the laundromat and the parking lot. I even went back the next day and searched the empty lot next to the laundromat.
I felt miserable. We were so poor, and I was doing the right thing by getting money orders to pay for outstanding bills. I could have taken the $100 and blown it, gone shopping for new clothes or went out to dinner a few times.
But no, I’d gone through the steps of getting money orders. Only I forgot the most important thing of all. This was the lesson that taught me to fill out money orders IMMEDIATELY, while standing at the bank or wherever I’d purchased the money orders.
Because I was feeling so depressed and miserable, and couldn’t seem to shake the awful funk… I decided to try something wildly different. I went to my bedroom, laid on my bed and took several deep breaths. I decided to then play out a new scenario in my mind.
I went to the bank and got money orders, but this time I was purchasing money orders for a totally different reason.
Because now, in my imagination, I was rich. Rich beyond my wildest dreams. And this was something I did all the time. I would go to the bank, get several money orders, drive to a poor section of town and drop them on the floor in different establishments. Like laundromats or grocery stores.
I’d put them into an envelope that would have a little note, saying something like, “Use this money order wisely and pay it forward some day.”
I was actually able to help myself feel better by imagining this little scenario in my mind. It really helped me to pull myself out of the depression I’d sunken into.
Have you ever lost a significant amount of money? How did you cope?