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Friday, June 10, 2011

Don't Panic


Don't Panic.
It's what is written on the cover of every copy of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy throughout the universe, and its also very good advice for life in general.
It may seem a bit trite, but if you think about it, keeping a level head, even in situations where it is very tempting to panic, can be very beneficial in many ways, especially in saving money.


A few weeks ago, I was plugging my refrigerator into a different outlet on my multi outlet adapter, and saw something that freaked me out. A massive spark shot from the outlet to the refrigerator plug, and then I saw some smoke and smelled a burning smell. With a sudden dread, I noticed that my refrigerator's motor was no longer running.
Oh gosh, I thought to myself! What am I going to do now? We don't have money to get a new refrigerator now, and replacing the motor on the refrigerator is usually more costly than replacing the entire thing. (I have experience with this type of thing- an electrical surge killed the motor of my last refrigerator, necessitating getting a new one, so I know what an electrical surge can do to the inner workings of a refrigerator.)
And the stockpile of meat I kept in the freezer? And all that food? I was trying to figure out what to do with all of it, where to store the bare essentials, and how to use up the rest of the food before it would spoil.
In other words, full on panic mode.
Then I made myself take a few deep breaths, before I called up my various neighbors, asking them for some freezer room.
"Chill out, Penny," I chided myself. "Why are you panicking? Are you sure it's broken? Is there any other possible reason for the motor to have turned off without the fridge being completely unsalvageable?"
I thought to myself- what can the possible reasons be for the fridge not working.
Is it that the mutli-outlet adapter was fried? I unplugged the adapter and plugged in the fridge. And still silence. Then I checked the circuit breakers in the electrical box to see if any were switched off, but no such luck there. I was all out of ideas, and resigned to the fact that my fridge was broken.
But then it hit me- the surge protector!
After my last run in with an electrical surge frying the motor on my last fridge, we invested in some high quality surge protectors. I didn't think that they would have anything to do with what happened in the fridge, because it seemed that the electrical problem wasn't caused by an electric surge, but I took a look at the surge protector just in case.
And it was off.
My trepidation grew, because that surge protector cost a hefty fee in my country, and replacing that on top of replacing a fridge was not exactly how I wanted to spend my money.
And then I remembered! After a surge of electricity or a quick blackout, my surge protector turns off all appliances plugged into it for approximately 5 minutes to protect it from series of surges.
Big sigh of relief.
And of course, a few minutes later, my surge protector turns back on and my refrigerator starts running again.
Huge load off my shoulders.
But... had I panicked? I would have just unplugged it and given up entirely, sure that my fridge was broken, and used up my stockpile too quickly (that meat should last us a long while and not be eaten up in one or two days because of a non working fridge...), and likely spent a lot of money on a new fridge and new surge protector.
A level head saves lots of money.
And your sanity.

Other ways not panicking can save you money?
When your food burns, instead of throwing the whole thing out, you scrape the non burnt parts off and serve them.
When something breaks, instead of tossing it out immediately, you first see if you can fix it or salvage anything from it.
When someone gets injured, instead of rushing to the ER, you first see if there's anything you can do to solve the problem at home. (Butterfly bandages work successfully in place of stitches in many instances.)
Etc. Etc.

How has not panicking and keeping a level head helped you save money? Do you have any stories or tips to share?

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