I'm pretty sure I've mentioned my 15 (almost 16) year old 'beater' car, which I'm trying to keep running until I'm debt-free. Since I take public transportation, I put about 2,500 miles a year on it, if that. As far as maintenance, I get regular oil changes and that's about it.
The bumpy road to financial independence. . . .
Monday, January 17, 2011
For the last few months, I've noticed some 'sputtering' in the engine when I put my foot on the gas after changing gears. I knew I needed to get it into the shop, but I've been putting it off because I didn't want to spend the money. Well, now I have no choice!
While on my way to the grocery store yesterday it did its little number, but much, much worse than it ever has been. I was a few blocks from a dealership, and in my panic I drove in there and just left it in the service bay (but not before the salesmen tried to sell me a new car). I normally wouldn't go near a dealership for car service, because I just feel they charge more than the neighborhood mechanic (who really isn't in my neighborhood, but came well-recommended).
Anyway, I've just gotten the estimate, which will be about $500 for things that would have been fixed during the tuneups I never get (the last one was four years ago). And that's just to keep the car running! An additional $500 would fix the oil leak and a tear in the "CV joint" (whatever that is). Serious issues, but not in my budget, unfortunately.
I know I'll put this on my credit card (and immediately pay it off, of course), though I'm hemming and hawing about whether to take it out of my fairly healthy emergency fund (is it really an emergency if I could have prevented it by simply taking the car to MY mechanic weeks or months ago?) or whether to use the money from my extra jobs, thereby NOT sending that money to my debt.
Every time something like this happens (which, let's be honest, isn't all that often - the car is pretty reliable usually) I start to fantasize about buying a used Toyota and just dealing with the $150 a month payments. Bad, bad, bad.
NOTE: just had a thought. My emergency fund earns 1.10% interest. My debt 'earns' between 8.25% and 8.9% interest, depending on which on we're talking about. Seems intelligent to pay off the debt and take the $500 out of savings, no?