This weekend was nothing out of the ordinary. In fact, I spent most of it alone and tried my best not to be bored. But during a routine oil change Saturday afternoon, everything changed.
As the mechanic approached me to report on the oil change, he seemed a lot less comfortable than expected. "Uh...are you aware there is a major gas leak in your car?" No, no I was not. "It's actually unsafe to drive and you're very lucky you haven't blown up." Umm...what?
He showed me the gas leak and it had stained most of the underside of the car - including the area with the exhaust pipe. Ya know, the one that gets really hot and when near gasoline can quickly go up in flames? This leak had obviously been around a while, including an 8 hour round-trip to Wisconsin. Seriously, I should have blown up. It still makes my jaw drop. I am so very lucky and thankful to be alive.
I left my car with them until they could do diagnostics. I continued to be so thankful, no matter how costly this would be.
I got a call this morning that to fix everything, and give myself a new, much-needed, muffler, I'm looking at $1,300. Woof. However, I have more reasons to be thankful. I actually have that money available. Just a few months ago, if I needed $1,300, I would have been royally screwed. I would have had to put it on my credit card and dig myself further into debt.
But a few months ago, I anticipated that my old car would either need help or replacing eventually. And I needed to be prepared. So I picked a number and saved. I set aside $3,000 for a car fund, which would either help with maintenance or get me another older used car if mine were to be totaled in an accident or anything unexpected. On December 31st, I finally reached that savings goal. Talk about timing, huh?
When I heard $1,300, I wondered if maybe I should just buy a different car. After looking at Craigslist, I quickly realized I wasn't going to get much better than the car I have and who knows what issues that car could have. It was worth the investment to fix my reliable car to last me a few more years. Hey, maybe by then I'll even be out of debt!
While it's not fun to see a big portion of your savings gone so quickly, my dad pointed out that $1,300 could be the equivalent of 3 car payments. I'm so thankful I don't have a car payment that sucks out such a large chunk of cash each month! I might not have a fancy new car that would come with these payments but I know I'm being smart financially. Looks like I might not be so clueless after all!