Living with credit

Emily’s list: Money and karma edition

Emily Crone

I’m not a religious person at all, but there is a part of me that does believe in karma. Probably because to me, karma feels more like a positive or negative change of energy rather than someone tinkering with puppet strings from above.

In college, I studied the ancient concept of karma in a class about reincarnation. In Buddhism and Hinduism, karma is essentially the cause and effect of your actions. What you do will come back to you in this lifetime, and it will also determine the outcome in your next life. I’m not sold on reincarnation, but I do love the idea that “what goes around, comes around” in this lifetime.

I haven’t had many financial expenses out of the norm lately. Then last weekend, I spilled a cup of water on my very expensive, less-than-a-year-old MacBook Pro that I usually take great care of. I wiped it up and it seemed fine, but when I woke up the next morning, it wouldn’t turn on. I dropped it off at the shop fearing the worst. While I have Apple’s warranty product, water spills aren’t usually covered. I know someone who recently did the same exact thing and spent a
small fortune getting hers fixed. I was freaking out.Karma edition

That same day, I realized something was really wrong with my cat’s tail. The edge of it looked raw, like it was bitten in a fight or he’d been picking at it. They did a full exam and found several other things wrong with him, such as a chipped tooth, anemia and a few fleas, and I went home $350 lighter. I am not a huge fan of my cat, mostly because he is not a huge fan of me. Maybe I haven’t been a good pet mother! I should have noticed these problems earlier! It was coming back to bite me in the butt.

For the past few days, I was reshuffling money and trying to figure out how the heck I was going to cover this major vet bill plus a hugely expensive laptop repair in between several trips planned well in advance. I have an emergency fund that could cover both, but I didn’t want to lose a chunk of it for these expenses if I could reshuffle my paychecks and bills instead. One of these nights, I was sitting on my couch trying to decide what to do about dinner. All of the meats I had were frozen and would require a major time commitment, but I didn’t want to go out and spend money. I kept procrastinating and trying to decide what to do about food, but kept getting hungrier.

A few minutes later, there was a knock on my door. My next door neighbor had a tray filled with food and handed it to me. She and her husband made extra barbeque and gave me a tray full of meats and sides. I’ve had neighbors bring me holiday cookies before, but I’ve never had someone show up with a tray full of dinner for me with no provocation, such as a family tragedy. And never at an exact moment when I was wishing for someone to just show up with dinner for me!

Then, a few days later, the repair shop called and said my computer was ready. I had taken it to CompuZone, a local authorized Apple retailer and repair shop, instead of the circus that is The Apple Store. I was already prepared to whip out my credit card and cry, but a beautiful thing happened. They said the water damage wasn’t terrible, and they were able to clean some of the corrosion out before the repairs were made. So my warranty was still able to cover it, and I only had to pay a $50 diagnostic fee rather than a potential nightmare of over $1,000. They decided to be nice and save me all of that money … just because they could.

Life is unpredictable. I thought I was going to leave the vet with a $50 bill and had to pay $350 instead. Maybe that was karma’s way of saying I had been neglecting my mean, old cat and should keep a better eye on him. I thought I was going to spend well over $1,000 on laptop fixes, but the bill was a mere $50. And my neighbor did an act of kindness for me at the best possible time, for no other reason than just being kind. Maybe karma was looking out for me. After all, I have done some positive things for the world lately, like sponsor a rescue howler monkey in Costa Rica (I signed on to do this for Frida, the cutie pie I met in Costa Rica).

As a mere mortal, I really know nothing about the universe. But sometimes things seem like too much of a coincidence — like the time I bought a plane ticket to Europe for $2,023 and received my tax refund check a few days later for $2,020 that completely negated my expenses. It makes me think that perhaps karma throws me a bone when I’ve been doing something right and making things harder on me when I haven’t.

OK, enough pontificating. What do you think about karma? Have you ever had any financial coincidences that seem too weird? Let me know your thoughts below, and read on for my roundup of my 10 favorite personal finance blog posts from the past week!

1. Afford Anything discusses the “sunk cost fallacy,” a funny human behavior that can lead to adding on more unnecessary debt or hanging onto poor investments.

2. Christian Personal Finance lists 8 bad money habits you should break, such as paying more importance to your reward cards than your budget.

3. Cash Money Life shares his first experience with Costco and how he found the membership cost brought enough savings to be worth it.

4.So Over Debt lists some pro-debt behaviors you may be guilty of without even realizing it, and explains how to become anti-debt instead.

5. Money $mart Guides argues in favor of the fictional Gordon Gecko’s claim that greed is good.

6. Free From Broke explains what to do immediately if you are a victim of a identity theft.

7. One Cent at a Time helps a reader learn how to stick to your budget and pay off debt.

8. Think weddings are only expensive for the bride and groom? Ha! 20s Finances reveals how costly it is to be in someone else’s wedding.

9. The Digerati Life lists 15 clear strategies for getting rid of your debt and having more financial freedom.

10. One Frugal Girl shares a smart tactic she’s using to make sure she doesn’t forget to redeem gift cards or coupons before they expire and lose value.

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  • Dale Behler

    I am a senior citizen who was remarried four years ago after my first wife passed away. I have built up a high credit card debt since being remarried on cards in my name only. I am concerned what would happen to my current wife if I died before she did and with her lower income would be unable to repay the debt. We live in Michigan. From what I have read, she would not be individually responsible for repayment of my single name credit card debt. But I also assume creditor claims could be filed against my estate which would impact her financial condition (life insurance proceeds and my IRA). Any advice on this?