Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Cars are stressing me

I am a realist.  I know stuff happens, and I try to prepare for it.  Where I sometimes go to the extreme is how far in advance I plan for the inevitable.

G-man's car is a 2004.  It has 165k miles.  And he is hard on his car (as he is on everything....clothes, shoes, electronics....).  His car is a mess inside (which I try not to think about, as it is his car, and I am rarely in it).  But the bottom line is....he needs to take care of his car to make it last.

I have already told asked him to please make a list of what maintenance needs to be performed on the car, and to look at what should have been done at 150k.  A few things I already know that need to be done are an oil change and new air filter.  It got a new transmission last year, so that BETTER be fine.

But I am also thinking about tires....and those puppies are expensive!  I am pretty sure they are ok right now, but again....nothing lasts forever. No idea what else.

My car just got an oil change last week (when it was in the shop for the recall notice).  And since we had the car inspected when we bought it, I am fairly confident that it is ok.  But again, at some point down the road, it will need tires.  The brakes are squeaking a little...hoping they just need to be cleaned, but maybe they need new pads.

I have just about convinced myself that we need to save more for the car stuff.  So now I am thinking of changing the budget (again) to accommodate that.  It may mean taking some money from extra debt repayment, or using the overtime money to continue to pad the account.

I guess this rambling post comes down to the security I feel knowing that there is a pile of money available for life stuff.  And while I want to do it all, I can't.  This again plays into my post from yesterday about a boost in income.....I would feel better knowing the accounts are full and happy.....and for some reason that gives me more "energy" than the debt repayment (but trust me....watching numbers go down is a jazz!)

Do you save for this stuff, or just deal with it when it happens?  Is this what you use your EF for?

ETA:  We do have a "car" fund.  At this point, it just covers little things....wipers, oil changes, etc.  We have been able to use it for some "larger" expenses, like the alternator that died in April.  But something always happens before we are able to let it really build.

I guess I don't want to use the EF for the car because I already know that maintenance on a car is a given.  It really isn't an emergency.  On the flip side....if all of a sudden my master cylinder croaked....that would be an emergency!


  1. I'm pretty sure that things like car repairs are what emergency funds are for. Also, home repairs and unexpected tax bills and all of the other things in life we would never want to spend money on. You keep the emergency fund until you have a need (like new tires), use the money, and then replace it as you can.

    It looks like you are close to your goal of $2,000, which should take care of any car repair bill that might come (unless you have an extraordinary repair). My husband recently told me, right before we bought my new car, that if the repairs are more than 50% of what the car is worth, insurance companies would total it after an accident. This is why we got my new car this month, after the 12 year old Jeep needed $1500 in repairs. So not worth the investment!

    I like having money in the accounts too, but I'd rather pay for things up front than have them sitting on the credit cards at 21% interest. It just makes more sense.


  2. I deal with it as it happens but in a way I always plan ahead, I know I'm going to need tires by March so I will probably use our tax return- that kind of planning lol


  3. We plan it out - to the "T". It is tedious work though - I have "savings accounts" of clothing, school for the kids, school for mom, HOA dues, Christmas, vacation, car maintenance, car repair, home maintenance, home repair, cat health, inspection-registration, meat (because we buy a side of a cow and hog every year), homeschool, charity, pest control, wedding trip, birthdays, family parties, haircuts, medical, kitchen remodel, summer fun and extra utilities.

    Kitchen remodel and wedding trip are special circumstances, but if I know they are coming, I work them in the budget.

    This is a lot of work, but most everything is accounted for and sometimes the "accounts" are full, but others, they are low.

    We never seem to be able to maintain the $3,000 emergency savings though. Which scares me, because if I am saving so well and there are still emergencies - where would we be if I did not do that?

  4. Car stuff is the scariest because you never know when something is going to go wrong, even if you are someone that takes great care of a vehicle and keeps up on regular maintenence. These are definitely goood thoughts to think about!

  5. It's hard, but we don't use our EF for car maintenance. Instead, we have a separate category for all things "car-related."

  6. I try to keep my car fund at about 3000 for the year for the cars. That way I can get things done as needed. If you keep up on the maintenance your car will last longer thats for sure

  7. right now while we have the debt, we just use our EF for anything.. Eventually we plan to have a 'car' fund but just couldn't justify it right now in our budget. But seeing how you have cars that DO need worked on, it probably isn't a bad idea to be prepared :)

  8. Tires are definitely one of the routine most expensive expenses. Right now, my car is making quite the squeaky sound, but it doesn't seem to be the brakes (we checked), and I am really procrastinating getting it in to see the mechanic.

  9. At times, things and machines look like they are running smoothly until you make a thorough inspection, and you will see some underlying problems and glitches. It is good that you were able to spot the problem head on. Early detection can save you from major repairs and replacements in the future, and minimize the cost. But I think you are quite ready for any situation, Mysti! Good job about the emergency fund!

    -Michelina Douglass

  10. I think you are dead serious in taking care of your car. And you are right. Unexpected things can happen, especially if you have your own vehicle, so it is best to prepare. In my case, I prefer to save some money on my car, so I can have some cash on hand in case an unfortunate event like a car break down, repair or replacement is in order.[Rita McCall]

  11. Good point there, Michelina! It’s important that once you discover something wrong in your car, go fix it as soon as possible. Don’t let a simple scratch or a minor malfunction turn into a bigger one. Leaving it like that would cause you even more effort, time, and money in the future.

    Patrick Montgomery