I need a car payment!Have you ever had a time where you only needed to fix one thing on your car, but ended up with about 20 more things to fix and a couple thousand dollars later, before you were done? That is exactly what happened to me over the last few months and boy it was not fun! My wonderful self-trained mechanic hubby started off with needing to replace the front struts and the passenger front tie rod on my car this summer so that we could get the tires aligned. Once he started the repairs, he quickly found more problems at hand, which he fixed. Only to find more repairs that needed to be done. Again and again. Jeremy spent so much time outside working on the car in 110′ weather that he lost weight (making his mom worried about how skinny he was getting), but was able to replace the sway back link rods, the front strut bar mounts and the passenger wheel bearings among other things. Then, two days before we headed out of town for vacation, I took the car in to check the tires. The manager delivered the bad news that I needed two new tires right away because there was a nail in the side of both front wheels. I could not wait to go on vacation, hoping and praying that all our car problems would be over. Well, I was wrong. Not long after we returned, we ended up having to take the vehicle in to our mechanics to get the harmonic balance, the timing belt sensor, the serpentine belt and the power steering belt all replaced. Yikes! By this point, we had already gone through the money in our car repair fund and we were forced to start dipping into funds that were earmarked for something else. Not long after our car was returned from the mechanic, Jeremy had to replace both of the lower control arm in the front of the vehicle. Cha-ching. More money to fork out. Just as we were starting to breath again with the car repairs behind us, I got into a minor accident where another lady and I backed up into each other in the parking lot. Oh. My. Word. Will it ever end? A hefty deductible, a new rear bumper and new side panel later seemed to mark the end of the car problems for a couple months. That is, until the week before finals, when my car started violently shaking as it idled and misfired like crazy. Thankfully, I was able to borrow a vehicle from my parents as my car was unable to be driven and Jeremy was not able to look at it until school let out. The day after Jeremy was done with finals, he started with the spark plugs, ignition coils and the PCV valve which all needed to be replaced but did not solve the misfire problem at all. So we went back to the mechanic shop, where we found that the air intake, the radiator hoses and fuel injection o rings all needed to be replaced. Are you kidding me? Merry Christmas. We had the mechanic work on those repairs which again wiped out the measly car repair fund that we had built up over the last two months. At the moment, all repairs are done and my car runs smoothly, though there still is a loud rattle when I brake… While I have had Car Repairs as a line item in my budget for years, lately I have only been putting aside $100/month for car repairs in order to have more money to pay for tuition. Obviously, $100 is not enough to keep up with all the age related repairs that have been multiplying just like rabbits. My 2003 Mazda has well over 220,000 miles on it now and has served me well over the 7 1/2 years that I have had the vehicle (it only had 44,000 miles on it when I bought it), however, something tells me it is time to think about replacing the car. The repairs over the last five months have totally wiped out my car repair fund several times as well as multiple other savings. I am so thankful that I did have the cash to pay for everything, even if that meant we did not have as much money in store for other things. In spite of all the repair costs, God still provided enough money to pay for the fall tuition payment. Let my story be a lesson to you. Always, always have a line item in your budget for car repairs. If your car is older or has a ton of miles on it, like my Mazda, put more money aside than you think you will need. Trust me. You will use it all when things decide to break or wear out at the same time and wish you had more. Do not skim money off of your car repair fund to pay for something else. As I re-evaluate my budget for 2015, I will be increasing my car repair line item amount and I am going to give myself a monthly car payment. Instead of getting a new vehicle right now and paying a dealer or on a loan monthly, I am going to pay myself by putting the car payment amount into savings each month until there is enough money to upgrade my car. I expect this process to take about two years before I save the money to buy my next car in cash! In the meantime, I will be praying for my car to make it and for minimal wear and tear. Never again will I take out a car loan and make payments for a vehicle!! Yes, I am that passionate about never taking out a car loan again. I explained why in my Debt Free story part 1 and part 2.
Do you have a line item in your budget for car repairs?
How much do you have in there and is it enough?
Have you had to hold your car together with duct tape? Tell me about it!
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Hi! I’m Charissa. I’m on a mission to help hardworking women overcome money struggles and gain financial peace with a Biblical perspective so they can have the freedom to impact their families and communities. Ready to make some changes that will impact your finances in 2020? Click here to get a free worksheet to help you make it happen!