Well the past couple of months have been shaping up to be costly ones in the Eyes on the Dollar house. You roll along doing pretty well, then it seems like the wheels fall off. Unexpected expenses pop up when you least expect them. Depending on how well you are prepared, they can be a minor bump in the road, or they can derail you altogether. How do you recover when the emergency fund has taken a hit?
Stupidity Costs Money
I like to think I’m a pretty good driver. Other than the minor incident involving my car and a pole at the bank, we have been accident and ticket free for many years, until last month anyway.
I was on my way into town on the route I’ve driven hundreds of times. There was construction and a short detour. Normally, I have to drive through a school zone to get to work. There is a big flashing sign that says the speed limit is 15mph. I think school zones should be protected with low speed limits, so that is fine by me. However, the detour spit me out on a side street, so I didn’t go past the flashing sign. Although somewhere deep in my brain I knew I was still in the school zone, not seeing the sign, I spaced out and didn’t slow to the required 15 mph. Sirens and flashing lights reminded me of this. Crap. Cost $101
The following week, I was working in Telluride. Parking is a bit of a challenge. I have a scheme where I move my car three times during the day because there are limits as to how long you can park in each area. I spaced moving it for the last hour of the work day and received the gift of a parking ticket for the first time since college. Crap. Cost $20
Two weeks ago, I was again driving in to work on the same route. No construction that day, but I still saw the sirens and lights in my back window. Apparently I was driving 59mph in a 40mph zone. I wasn’t even late, just zoned out thinking of other things. Crap. Cost $167
This past week I got a text from Jim that read, “My turn backed into a car!” He was parked at the school to pick up our daughter. The school pickup zone is a mess. There aren’t enough parking spots for all the cars. As a result, people park anywhere they can find. Jim was in a space, but a car stopped in the road right behind him. It’s hard to see directly behind our truck because of the camper shell, and who would think a car would park in the road? Anyway he backed right into the car, and it was considered his fault. We didn’t have any damage to our truck, but the quarter panel on the car has a big dent. From experience with the bank pole, I know this will probably be a $2000 plus repair. Triple crap! Cost $1000 insurance deductible
I don’t think we were blatantly disregarding traffic laws in any of these cases, but all of them could have been prevented if we had paid a little more attention. As a result, we are probably pretty popular with the local municipalities at this point.
What Else is Going to Break?
We got a couple more fun surprises this week. Jim tried to use the lawn mower to get rid of the last of the stray leaves, but it wouldn’t start, and one of the tires is flat and won’t hold air. We have a 3 acre property. It isn’t all grass, but we certainly prefer a riding mower, and they aren’t cheap. Ours is 10 years old, and it has been used heavily. It is at the repair shop right now, and we are waiting for the verdict to see if it’s worthwhile to fix it or if we have to get a new one. We technically won’t need one until next spring, but now is a great time to get a discount if we do have to buy.
Later that same day, the washer died. Again, we have the debate of whether to fix it our get a new one. A service call is $75, whether they fix anything or not. Appliance repair is another job I should add to the list of ways to earn extra income! I did schedule the repair man. Hopefully, it will be something simple, and we won’t have to get a new one.
It makes me wonder if we’re done or if something else is going to break. We’ve been in our house ten years. What is the lifespan on appliances? It seems my Mom has had her non-fancy washer and dryer for 20 years, but our newer, fancier stuff doesn’t seem likely to make it that long. Oh, the good old days of quality made products!
Thank Goodness for an Emergency Fund!
I am so thankful that we’ve had this run of expenses now instead of while we were paying off our credit card debt. Having months with a few thousand dollars of expenses are certainly enough to throw off a debt repayment plan or throw you into debt if you are living close to the edge with no savings.
I don’t know what the right number for an emergency fund is. I think it depends on your expenses and should certainly be more if you own a home or have a high medical deductible. We probably have too much in our emergency fund right now, but at least for this month, that’s a good problem to have!
Broken any appliances or traffic laws this month?