We have a huge maple tree in our front yard. It’s a great shade tree, and sitting on our front porch feels like being in the forest since the tree obscures most of the street from view. But it’s getting a bit out of control. My husband has climbed on the roof a couple times to trim back the branches that were getting close to the roof, and today we used a step ladder and hand saw to cut back all the low-hanging branches. The tree has been getting less resistant to wind storms because it’s branches are getting too long and spread out. We’ve had several big storms this summer, and each time we’ve lost limbs from that tree. We want the tree to always be there, so my husband suggested that we hire a tree service to come out and trim it all over, to encourage compact growth and strengthen the existing branches.
My first reaction was to worry about the cost. I told him I wasn’t sure if we could afford it (without even knowing the price – I tend to react that way whenever an unexpected expense is looming). He didn’t mind, and said it would be fine to wait until the fall to have it trimmed, but reminded me that it really needs to be done, and it’s not the sort of thing that we can do ourselves. The tree is easily 40 feet tall, and it’s absolutely a place for a professional with the right equipment.
Later in the day, I started thinking about the whole situation a little differently. We’re currently saving $900/month in retirement accounts and $100/month in an ING account. I’m very focused on saving money. It’s sort of an obsession. I am very much in favor ofpassing on a new pair of pants in order to put the money into savings instead. But if I’m passing on things that we need right now in order to have more money in the future, it’s sort of defeating the purpose. The logic behind my burning need to save money is so that we’ll be able to have the things we need for as long as we live, without always having to worry about how to pay for everything. But I need to remind myself that while it’s absolutely necessary to save for the future, it’s also important to make sure that we’re taking care of ourselves now. Planning ahead is great, but we have to be able to live in the moment aswell. It’s really all we’ve got that’s guaranteed. So we’re going to call around and get quotes from some tree services, and have someone come out and tidy up our tree. And if we put a little less into savings next month in order to pay for the tree trimmer, that will be fine with me. Investing in our future will always be a huge priority for us, but investing in our here-and-now is a good idea too.