Just as I was starting to think things were looking good for us this month, and we were on track financially, well, guess who decided to come pay us a visit? Murphy, of course. That one unwelcome visitor none of us want to see standing at the door! Not at any time of the month but especially not when everything had already been budgeted for. But, there he was, Murphy, knocking persistently, several days in a row. In fact, he’s had quite a busy week on our doorstep!


Who is Murphy?


It all started when I got home from work last week and we realised that one of my fog lights had been smashed in. I have no idea how this had actually happened so I can only assume that someone must have smashed into it at some parking lot or the other during the week and I just hadn’t noticed. I’d gone to work, I’d been to the shops and it could have happened anywhere really while the car was left unattended. I waited patiently for Monday to come so that we could phone around. I didn’t want us to have to claim from insurance for something which seemed so small and easily replaceable. Well, after the first phone call I realised that we were looking at over R4,000.00 for a brand new fog light! I nearly fell off my chair. It was time to start phoning around some more. Eventually, we managed to find a second-hand spares shop which had just the fog light we were looking for. The price, including VAT, was R700.00, which was quite a difference!


Now, in between all of this, over the weekend in fact, I had prepared a baked meal for us to go into the oven. Just as I’d switched the oven on and was waiting patiently for it to heat up, I realised that it was well over half an hour and the oven was really only lukewarm! Five minutes later and hubby to the rescue, we realised that the bottom heating element in the oven had died. That was another phone call we had to make on Monday but, I’m happy to say that we did manage to find yet another spares place which had just the element in stock, and brand new too. Thankfully, this one cost us only R80.00! Plus, of course, the petrol we had to spend to go and fetch it but I suppose paying for an electrician’s call-out, and having someone else source the element for us, would have cost us a whole lot more. There are truly times when I’m so, so grateful that I’m married to someone who is so handy around the house!


And just as we were phoning around, I received an SMS on my phone informing me that I’d gone over 50% of my voluntary call limit. There was just so much going on that day that I didn’t really think much of it at the time. It was only much later in the day that I remembered the SMS. I honestly thought it was a mistake. Using my cell phone on a budget, I do keep track of how many phone calls I make, how much data I use, etc. and I suddenly realised: I couldn’t have made more than 5 minutes’ worth of phone calls in the past week and so I wouldn’t have gone anywhere near my limit, let alone over the limit. My limit, by the way, is R100.00 over and above the 120 minutes I have available to use on my plan. So I decided to give my service provider a call to find out what exactly is going on.


Over almost an hour on the phone later, I had a much clearer picture of what was actually happening. It turns out that I had been subscribed to a WASP service, without my knowledge or permission; I was, in fact, subscribed to an SMS dating service of some kind! I was not happy to hear that. Even more when I got told that this subscription service had taken R55.00 from me in February, R100.00 in March and R65.00 for the month of April, which brings it to a total of R220.00. While this may not seem like a lot nowadays, it is still money which was, to put it bluntly, stolen from me. I have since lodged a complaint with WASPA, the association which deals with situations like these. It’s difficult to say at this point whether or not this amount will ever be refunded to me but I can only hope that it just might be. *Update: this amount has now been refunded to me. Very pleased about that!


Roll on Tuesday night and our washing machine, which we bought about a year and a half ago, brand new, all of a sudden starts making all sorts of strange, unhealthy noises and producing sparks and fireworks in the middle of a spin cycle! Well, that was the end of that wash cycle. The motor had just died. And honestly, I didn’t see that one coming so soon, at not even two years old! After a brief moment of panic, the first thing I did was go digging for the receipt, which was there alright. I was relieved when we phoned the shop the next day and were told that the appliance was still under warranty from the manufacturer. A technician was booked to come and have a look and sure enough, the motor had died but was going to be replaced, and we didn’t have to pay a thing. Yay! That’s a little bit of a happy ending after a week-long visit from Murphy!


Dave Ramsey’s take on how to Kick Murphy Out with an Emergency Fund


After a long and exhausting week, we said goodbye to Murphy. For now. I am so grateful that we didn’t have to use any debt to pay for Murphy’s week-long stay with us; in fact, that felt so good. While we may not be out of the woods just yet we are getting there.


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