Here is the latest Coffee & Pearls Podcast:
Scroll down to read it as a blog post!
One of my favorite phrases from the Financial Peace University program by Dave Ramsey is Murphy Repellant. He suggests that if you have enough money saved, those crazy, unexpected expenses don’t actually tend to come up that often and at least when they do, you’re prepared.
My husband and I often make the joke that we need more Murphy Repellent, especially for situations like camping trips and road trips. We pack for every situation we can think of that we can reasonably fit in the car.
I do this at home too. I go around at the end of the week and at the end of the month and I prepare my home for all the craziness that’s going to happen. We have four different places for wipes in our house, I make sure they are all filled. We use both cloth diapers and reusable diapers so I make sure they are stocked in the places I need them. I do a toilet paper check. I make sure I have plenty of coffee.
I have a phone charger on both my floors in and in both our cars. A fast track to a stressful day for me is leaving the house with a dead phone.
When I was younger, bad things happened to me all the time. I’d forget to pay bills because I’d put papers in a pile and leave them there. I didn’t own stamps. I’d lock my keys in the car all the time without a spare key. I’d run out of healthy food and then turn to eating bad food. I had no discipline in my life and so my life was… hard.
Now you can’t discipline or habit your way out of all problems. But a lot of them become much more manageable if you get ahead of them.
At the end of the month:
- I put six rolls of toilet paper in each of our three bathrooms and I order more from Amazon if we’re getting low.
- I make sure we have plenty of coffee and I buy more grounds if we’re getting low.
- I make sure I have my car staples (see list below)
- I have a stack of envelopes with return address labels and stamps next to my checkbook so I don’t have to go hunting those things down every time I need to mail something
- Do we have enough shampoo, conditioner, deodorant and toothpaste?
- I think all but one of my bills is set to autopay
- We buy meat from Zaycon Fresh in bulk to save money but you have to order far in advance so I have to understand how often we need beef and chicken
At the end of the week:
- I do a diaper/wipes check in the four locations we use them in our house to make sure they’re all stocked.
- I do laundry on Mondays and Thursdays. Nothing jams up my day like not having clean jeans or underwear!
- We create a meal plan and pull out meat from our freezer on Saturday for the week.
- We always keep fruit, carrots and nuts stocked up as snacks for the kids.
- My children used to have access to their church clothes or their church shoes during the week, but then they’d get lost and cause some craziness on Sunday morning. Now they have one church outfit with tights and shoes in ONE place. They wear it to church, then they take it off as soon as they get home.
Things in my car:
- Sunglasses (I have a pair that never leaves the car so if it’s really sunny out, I can safely see)
- A few hair ties and some mascara – you can really clean up with just those two things!
- Diapers and wipes
- Blanket that has a tarp on one side
- A plastic bag, a ziplock bag and a towel to contain anything gross
- Extra change of clothes for all the kids. It used to just be my two younger girls in case there were potty accidents but just the other day, we were hiking and Rose ruined her clothes and I didn’t have a change of clothes for her in the car. So now I’ve added her to the list too!
- Water and trail mix that has NO chocolate… we don’t need melting chocolate in the car
- $20 stashed somewhere. When I use it, I replace it the next day. This isn’t fun money but more like, “I’m in a jam and I really needed some cash money.”
- I know how to change a tire and where all the tools are in my car. Do you or do you at least have AAA?
- Phone charger
Most importantly, I know this is an evolving process. I will always be refining my Murphy Repellent to make sure I’m prepared for what life throws at me.
Here’s what you can do to be more prepared. Think of the times you’ve been really stressed lately either in your home or out of your home. Could you have been more prepared to lessen your stress? Would an extra change of clothes have mattered? What about having a towel? Now there isn’t much to do to prevent getting a flat tire but do you know how to change a tire or do you have AAA?
I actually schedule this into my calendar. Guess what? It usually only takes 15 minutes. But the thinking, the planning, the actual putting of the toilet paper out…. Saves me huge hassles later. It helps me to have more peace during the week. My house runs more smoothly.
Crazy things still come up. Sometimes I can create Murphy Repellant so they don’t happen again. Sometimes I know they will never come up again and that’s just life. I want to cultivate habits that help me.
I love this quote from Gary Heller in The One Thing and it could easily be applied to BIG disciplines like daily exercise but for me, it also applies to the little rhythms of my life that I’ve put in place to help me be successful.
“Discipline and habit. Honestly, most people never really want to talk about these. And who can blame them? I don’t either. The images these words conjure in our heads are of something hard and unpleasant. Just reading the words is exhausting. But there’s good news. The right discipline goes a long way, and habits are hard only in the beginning. Over time, the habit you’re after becomes easier and easier to sustain. It’s true. Habits require much less energy and effort to maintain than to begin. Put up with the discipline long enough to turn it into a habit, and the journey feels different. Lock in one habit so it becomes part of your life, and you can effectively ride the routine with less wear and tear on yourself. The hard stuff becomes habit, and habit makes the hard stuff easy.”
We will never have control over our lives. Only God has that control. But we can be an active participant, we can create Murphy Repellant, we can choose to be prepared for the situations we know are likely to come up.