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Choosing Permanent Over Temporary…


Our back fence bit the dust. The tie wire, plastic sheeting, and chicken wire mess we like to call a ‘fence’ finally gave out after fighting a treacherous battle with a glorious 5mph gust of wind.

It creaked. It groaned. It fell. I cried.

We have a couple options:

a. We can leave the fence broken, give away our dogs, and hope nothing larger than a hippo wants in or out of our yard.

b. We can do yet another band-aid fix – i.e. buy more chicken wire, bazooka bubble gum, and a load of hope and prayer.

c. We can construct what I consider a perfectly acceptable but perhaps not aesthetically pleasing Preskool bubbly plastic play gate in a rainbow of colors available at garage sales everywhere.


d. We can build a real fence.

Now is not a good time for this to happen (when is?). My husband started his job on Tuesday and won’t receive a paycheck until next week. Fortunately, those of us who are paid bi-weekly receive three paychecks in one month two times per year. January just happens to be my three paycheck month.

Sniff. Goodbye extra car payment.

We decided to build a new fence with my third check. Over the last three years, we could have paid for a new fence several times over but never seemed to have enough to do anything more than band-aid fix after band-aid fix. My husband is constructing the fence and stringing it with power so we can add lighting in the future. Looking at the perfectly dug trenches in our back yard, it appears as though I am haunted by a 170 pound gopher who looks a lot like my husband.

It’s time to stretch ourselves. I’m tired of continuing to make bad temporary financial decisions.


  • Reply Jake Stichler |

    The more temporary fixes you make, the more it costs in the long run. I’m sure it’ll make the neighbors happy, too (not that it’s your job to please them). Reminds me of how much money I spent to fix my truck year after year.

  • Reply brooklynchick |

    Ugh – what a drag. On the other hand, it will look so much prettier than a car payment! 🙂

  • Reply My Frugal Miser |

    It’s nice when a band-aid can get you through a rough patch or even save you some money, but what I’ve found is that band-aids definitely aren’t the answer when you really need a tourniquet!

    A few years ago my water heater developed a very small leak. It was so small for a while that the aluminum pie pan I used to catch the water was usually empty- the water seemed to evaporate. Eventually the leak got a little worse- nothing too bad, but every couple weeks I would need to empty the pie pan in the sink.

    Well, around the same time the leak started, I invested in new hardwood floors in the living room. The $4,000 price tag was well worth it as it added so much character to what was a drab home. I even repainted the room and added new window fixtures – really spruced things up.

    Fast forward a couple years. I was returning from vacation and saw some black streaks in the hardwood in the hallway connecting the living room to the kitchen and bathroom. I checked the pie pan. It was close to full but I didn’t see a trail of water anywhere, so I emptied it and figured I would just replace the area that was damaged.

    Of course, these wood floors are proprietary to the manufacturer, and there was no way to buy replacement pieces. Meanwhile, the leak got out of hand and there was even more damage.

    All this time I had been putting off repair (or possible replacement) of the water heater because I was scared it would be expensive. A cheap aluminum pan seemed to be a perfect band-aid until it wasn’t.

    Here’s the punchline: when I finally figured out what was wrong with the water heater, I went to Home Depot and bought the part – a new drain valve. It cost me less than $10 and was fairly easy to self-install.

    So, I could have paid $10 and fixed it, but instead I waited. That’s going to cost me a few thousand dollars.

  • Reply Caitlin |

    I always try to fix the actual problem rather than slap on yet another band-aid whenever I can, and I think it’s good that you’re opting to build a new fence in this case.

    @My Frugal Miser – Oh no, your poor hardwood floor (and your poor wallet)!

  • Reply jaye |

    Perhaps another option would be to walk your dogs? We don’t have a fence, so I walk the dogs twice a day (morning and evening). It’s a little exercise for all of us and good for the soul! My husband and I love our evening walks.

  • Reply Dawn/ffl |

    I had to find out the hard way myself.
    Say I buy 5 shirts and they last for 2 years each before falling apart and the total for those shirts in $50 over that 10 years.

    Instead I found that I buy a higher quality shirt for $30 and it lasts 10 years or more, I have saved myself money over the course of the same time.

    Sometimes we have to learn from experience.

  • Reply Abigail |

    It can be frustrating, for sure. Sometimes choosing quality can cost in the short-term, but it’s better in the long-term.

    I felt like this a couple of months ago when we bought a heavy bag & stand. It was something my husband had wanted for ages — and he was reaching his stress breaking point. So we decided it was a good use of money. But it still hurt me to not put that moolah toward debt!

  • Reply Lindsay |

    Doesn’t it always seem like the second you get some extra money, even more money is needed for tricky little things like this?

    Look on the bright side, at least you have money period right now.

So, what do you think ?