Lots of budget busters lately

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-05-2004
Lots of budget busters lately
8
Sun, 07-11-2010 - 12:04am


In the past few days, I've been hit with so many budget busters. First off, my car was due for it's oil change, so I brought it in and found out it only had a sliver of brake pad left, my coolant was bad, and my transmission fluid needed replacing. Over a $300 fix. Then the next day, Dh left for work and then called me about 10 minutes later saying his "Low Tire Pressure" light had come on, and he was on his way home to get my car....and he was hoping I would have time to take his car to the mechanic to see what was up. So I drove his car to the mechanic, and his tires are dry-rotting. They're not that old,but the mechanic said that this is normal in South Florida--not sure what the roads are made of here, but tires apparently don't last long. Also, his transmission fluid and radiator needed flushing, and his wipers are in need of replacement. They cut me a "package deal" and I agreed to the service to keep Dh safe on the road. He drives a lot for work, and I can't have him breaking down on the turnpike. Another $300+ fix. Then I came home and in the process of cleaning my house, my vacuum broke. Wasn't expensive to begin with, but still. I only have a little bit of carpet in my house, with the rest being tile, so I am just going to go with a cheap Walmart replacement for it, buts nevertheless, it's still money spent. Then Dh came home in my car, after work, and the first words he said to me were, "Now you've got to take YOUR car in for work...", and I said, "What now??", and he said that the A/C was blowing colder on the passenger side than the driver's side, and that it didn't seem to be as cold as it should be. Ugh. So I took my car in today to get that taken care of ($200+) And when I got home, I decided to clean my hall closet out (it's free to do, and cleaning helps me when I'm feeling stressed ;-D), and about midway through that, I saw Dh walk across the room and put his hand up to the ceiling A/C vent in the living room, and he said, "It's not blowing cold". I walked over and felt it, and he was right. I checked the thermostat, and it was set to 82 (which probably sounds high, but we're so used to the hot outside temperatures here, that 82 degrees inside the house actually feels chilly to us) ,but it was reading that the house was, at that point, 88 degrees. Phooey. It wasn't long before the house was 90 degrees. We brought out oscillating fans, turned on the ceiling fans and opened some windows to get a little ocean breeze and that brought the temperature down, and the A/C repair guys will be out Monday to check things out between 8 and 10am. We have company coming in two weeks, and our sofa bed is on it's last legs. I literally had to spend time tonight making sure the springs for the sofa bed mattress were hooked well enough to give our guests good support. I think it'll be fine for this one week-long visit coming up, and we can replace it before they visit again next year....but add all of this to the $2000 in vet bills for our pup's recent illness, and I'm at my wits end on all of these expenses. I told Dh, jokingly of course, that I think we're cursed. LOL!

Nah, I know I'm not cursed. It's just one of those things that happens in life when it feels like everything is falling apart at once, but wow, it reinforces the fact that I really, really, truly need to cut back my expenses so I can build an emergency fund up. Wow, I surely do. That's got to be my focus. Especially since I have my son's homeschool tuition coming up soon. His tuition is going to be purchased in about a week ($1500). There's a bit of a discount, but not much. Still, it has to be bought. I"m going to have to carry a balance on my credit card, and I haven't had to do that in a few years. If I had an emergency fund, I wouldn't be needing to do it now. But I'm determined to get this debt paid off....and build that emergency fund. :-)

Now I'm hoping that we won't get hit with any hurricanes this year. I have a $6000 deductible for windstorm damage, and I surely don't want to have to pay that anytime soon. LOL! :-D

Thanks for listening. I just needed to let it all out. :-)

Pat :-)

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-26-2010
Sun, 07-11-2010 - 9:24am

Sorry you are going through that. Dave Ramsey writes and talks a lot about how when people start saving, Murphy (as in Murphy's Law) moves into their guest bedroom.


The things you mentioned - car trouble, worn-out furniture, pet care - aren't emergencies. They are all things the happen over time, and you can even predict when they will happen in many cases, like you are doing with the sofa. It's a good idea to budget for those specific categories on a monthly basis so you don't have to shell money out from your EF when they crop up.


For example, when I owned a home, I padded our monthly

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iVillage Member
Registered: 12-05-2004
Sun, 07-11-2010 - 10:48am


Thanks so much for the support Colleen. I'm definitely going to have to revisit my household budget and create room for car and vet bills and such. Our dog has been pretty healthy, overall, for the past 8 years, so I just never planned for emergency care or the costs of diagnosing illnesses through trial and error. However, his vet now tells us that we could be looking at diabetes down the road with him, now that his liver/pancreas issues are settling down, and I can certainly start budgeting for that--or anything else that comes up in the future. Same with the couch, and the cars. Our cars are in good condition now, according to our mechanics, but naturally, I want to be prepared for the next round of repairs we'll need in the future, so that'll be my project for today. :)

Pat :)

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-26-2010
Sun, 07-11-2010 - 6:11pm

You're welcome. Some of the best financial advice I ever heard was when someone said "There's something wrong with your car. You don't know it yet, but there is." Haha.


I'm sorry to hear that about your dog. He's lucky to have a family that loves him so much.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 12-04-2006
Mon, 07-12-2010 - 3:06am

Pat, I agree with Colleen about including these things in the budget on a monthly basis, but the things you've mentioned are definitely budget busters when they aren't in the budget.

As for the auto stuff, things like transmission fluid and coolant/radiator flushes do need to occur on a regular basis. I haven't been in the workshop for several years now, so I can't remember how often these things need to be done. Brake pads are a bit harder to know how often they need to be done since it depends how much driving a person does and how heavy footed they are on their brakes. My recommendation would be to speak to your mechanic and ask him how often the maintenance tasks that don't need to be done every time the vehicle is serviced need to be done, as this will help you with how to budget for it.
I do know that brake fluid should be changed every two years, but I do not know whether this would be already include in what you are charged by your mechanic, but if not this will help you.

Lyn

Lyn

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-05-2004
Mon, 07-12-2010 - 8:34am


Thanks Lyn. :-) I usually use the same mechanic each time, so maybe he can pull my past repairs up in his computer and let me know how often I've been needing my fluids flushed/replaced and how often I've needed tires and brakes. Windshield Wipers seem to go fast around here too. I bet they'd be able to give me some sort of information to help me with my budgeting.

On the upside, my A/C that was broken on Saturday suddenly started working on Sunday afternoon. It was so hot, and Dh suggested we just turn it on and see what happens, so we did, and it started blowing cold and cooling the house down. Great! The A/C repairman is here in the house as I type this, and he's going to check things out, but I'm thinking that since it's blowing cold still this morning, it might not be a major repair. Maybe just low on coolant or something? Not sure how these systems work actually--I usually trust them to the experts, but it's exciting to think that this might just end up being a charge for a tune-up/check-up service rather than an actual repair. Crossing my fingers on that one. :-)

Pat :-)

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-05-2004
Mon, 07-12-2010 - 8:40am


Well, I think the news is pretty good from the A/C guy. He says that system looks good (it's an older system, so that's great), and he says he doesn't think it needs to be replaced or anything, which is also a blessing. He said the only problem he can see is that the contact (a piece on the outside box that turns the compressor on and off) is really pitted, and he said that it could stick and cause the unit to freeze up, or it could just not turn on at all. (eek!), and the entire repair with parts and labor will be $221. There won't be a cost for the service call since we're having work done, so that'll be the total cost. I say that's not bad. It's still a bit of a budget buster, but going into the future, I'm going to avoid running into this situation at all costs by planning better. :-) Hopefully this will be the last big expense moving forward so I can tackle the debt I've recently accumulated, and get myself back on track.

Pat :-)

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-26-2010
Mon, 07-12-2010 - 9:47am

Glad the A/C repairs are minor! Being without A/C in the summer

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iVillage Member
Registered: 05-24-2010
Mon, 07-12-2010 - 7:41pm

I recently have decided to go more green, BUT on a budget. My first project was lights. Seeing as i know nothing about lights etc. I had a friend refer me to this Energy Efficient Lighting Calculator. It helped me out tremendously.

good luck