I had such awesome plans for our debt-free life. I also had really practical plans once we achieved our goal. I am really thankful to be debt-free, but not at all for the reasons I thought. Since we paid off our debt in July, our cars have taken all of my dollars. The following is a random stream of consciousness about how our money has been spent over the past 3 months... At least with regard to our cars...
I knew we'd be paying for graduate school for Jarrod and focusing on our emergency fund. What I did not expect was to pay for random things on our cars. Since July my car needed a new air conditioner thing. You know, a thing that is needed for the air conditioner to work. In July. In Texas. Not optional or a luxury. $595.84
We continue chugging along. We're thankful we're debt-free, but worried about how we'll pay for seminary. It made things very tight. But what else could go wrong?
The window in my car literally fell into the door. Driving without a driver's side window isn't a luxury. We priced it out and used a coupon to get it fixed. And for the first time in a long time I had a window that rolled up and down at the touch of a button! $239.96.
We laugh at the craziness of the whole thing. We pay off our debt and my car literally falls apart. Random troubles. Nothing predictable except that cars wear out. This has to be the end, right? We can do this! We have officially paid for seminary for the semester and have started putting money into our emergency fund.
October 1st was a big day for Jarrod. He officially became Rev. Jarrod. We went to lunch near my office. About 15 minutes after he dropped me off he called me. Car is dead. Literally driving down the road and all the lights come on. Yikes! He drives immediately to the shop to get it checked out.
After a stressful 24 hours, we get the report back. A belt broke. Belts NEVER break, but this one did. Completely broke. $633.33.
Are you keeping track? That's $1,469.13 in less than 3 months. We didn't touch our emergency fund, but paying for these repairs definitely set us back a little bit. By mid-October Jarrod and I thought we were in the clear. We went back to putting money in our emergency fund and thought we were finally in the clear.
On Sunday the 13th I was in a car accident on my way home from church. It wasn't bad, Wesley wasn't with me, and it wasn't my fault. However, it did some damage. Thankfully it was easy to have it towed and I was put in an awesome Rav-4 the next morning. Car insurance is so important!
We prayed the car wasn't totaled. Buying a "new" car is stressful. We did this in December and feel like we got a lemon. We didn't want to have to get another beater but we aren't in a position right now to move up very much in car. Jarrod was stressed about the whole thing and really didn't want the car to be totaled. He mentioned it every time anyone called.
It was 10 days before we heard anything. I'm sure you can guess by now what happened. Totaled. The car was totaled. This doesn't mean much damage was done, there wasn't. Really it just means my car wasn't worth much.
So, we're back at the drawing board. I am incredibly thankful to be okay, very grateful for car insurance, and beyond thankful for a budget and financial plan. I'm so thankful that none of these things caused any real stress in our family. (Don't get my started about sharing a car, though!)
BUT... This sucks. This is not what I wanted to spend money on. This is now how I wanted to get a "new" car. Researching cars is not how I want to spend my time and buying a car is not how I want to spend my weekend. These situations always make me feel very rushed, even when we've prepared. We're a 2 car family. My travel schedule necessitates it. Part of me feels a little crazy and thinks perhaps we can make it through the end of the year with one car. We could use that time to save and move up in car. We could rent a car on the days that things are just too crazy for one car. This might not be practical for us, but it's something we're thinking about.
So there's that. :-)