As part of my everyday life, I help out at my Church with the computers (remember volunteering is a good thing to do). One of the weekly events that should happen is backup of the computers at the Church (as it should for all of us, are you doing backups?). For the longest of times I used a CD-RW (read-write CD) to back up this data, but over time the data set grew, and eventually, we had to use 2 CD’s to accomplish the task.
The Problem changed when we got a new system for the church that came with a DVD burner and suddenly we were able to back up much more data onto One DVD-RW (holds about 7 CD’s worth of data, uncompressed). Thus the problem changed, so we adapted the answer to that change.
This past little while, the DVD burner has gone “on the fritz” (my term for being broken and I can’t figure out why), so I have been unable to do these backups, which frustrated me to no end. On the way home from a fruitless repair attempt, it dawned on me that maybe the problem has changed again?
The price of USB memory keys has dropped dramatically lately, to the point where now, I can purchase a 4 GB USB device for about $12, so instead of attempting to fix the DVD burner issue, I have changed the problem, and will now do backups to USB devices instead, thus making it faster and easier to store (securely and safely).
A side note, remember that backups are essential, but RESTORE is the most critical capability, so you need to test your backup sets are readable and usable occasionally too (don’t wait until you MUST have the backups to find out whether your backups are unusable).
What does this have to do with Personal Finances? Some of us sometimes become enamoured with the solution we have put in place for a specific Personal Finance issue. Examples would be:
- Putting money on RRSP dutifully monthly, and only paying regular Mortgage payments, when in fact you may already have a Pension at work?
- Making overpayments on your Mortgage while still carrying balances on Credit Cards.
- Paying for Banking Services or fees when we can get it for free elsewhere.
These are examples of solutions to problems that may have (or may in the future), change and you may need to rethink your response (because it is an answer to a problem no longer in play).
Stay on your toes and keep asking “why am I doing this”, when it comes to your finances, and in life as well, because you might find a better way, if you re-think the problem you are solving.