The "Get Out Of Your Car!" Fund

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Using the Car Repair Fund

My car has had troubles since Mar 19 when the check engine light came on and the temperature gauge stopped working.

It felt good to have a $1000 car repair fund in times like this. I paid $500 to have the brakes repaired and wheel bearings replaced on this 12-year old car, but it was cheaper than getting a new car.

However, after that job, the car started having trouble firing up and eventually started shutting off on me while driving. The check engine light is still on.

I prayed that the repairs this time wouldn't be more than $200 (even though I have up to $500 left in the repair fund). Well, I took it to one mechanic, then another for a 2nd opinion. The cost will be $135 to fix the thermostat.

If the repairs had been $500 or more, I would have taken more time to think about getting the car repaired. If the car is breaking down completely, it's time to get a new car sooner than I expected.

I hope God sends money for a new car early, or helps this car last one more year while I save up.

Can I afford medical care for my dog?

5-18-14   Jefferson has developed a large lump on his abdomen. I noticed it last month when I visited for spring break, and now it's gotten much bigger quite fast. He is overweight from two years of me letting other people feed him (Uncle Theo when I lived with him, and now my sister's family since they are keeping him for me). I think he may be growing a tumor, but I don't want to take him to the vet because of money issues.

If it's a serious condition, it could take a lot of money that I don't have and won't have for a long time. It will be another debt. My parents need to move back into their house. I need to settle my condo issue, which I'm sure will take some money on my part. I need to pay back student loans. I need a new car. I have to pay for college courses to renew my teaching license and I have exactly 12 months to do it.

I need to decide this week what to do. The clock is ticking for Jefferson.

June 4, 2014

I asked my mom to take Jefferson to the vet, and the vet believes it's a benign tumor or a hernia.

He will have surgery (since it's not a malignant tumor, which I thought it might be),  which will cost less than $400. I will go to Tennessee and bring him back with me so I can have company in the condo. We will also work on getting his weight back down to normal and healthy (his and mine, too).

This will be my 3rd trip to Tennessee in 3 months and it's getting to be expensive. I may have to call a moratorium on trips to Tennessee for 12 months. Each trip takes at least $400 for travel (car or plane). I manage the food and fun expenses better now that I'm in gazelle mode.

A party within a spending plan


My sister, godson, and nephew all graduated within this week, so I hosted and funded a graduation party for them. The hard part was not the money, but trying to pull off a good, affordable reception that wouldn't have my sister and me arguing about it later. I feel like I can appreciate the simple things in life, but she will get upset over little things not being as she thinks they should be.

Well, I had nothing to worry about. She was very grateful and everyone felt like it went well.

My cousin works at the facility where we rented the room. There was a reception for graduates at 3:00 yesterday. After the reception, my cousin swiped leftover food and offered it to me for our reception. That meant a lot of the food that I paid for we longer needed and I can return it to the store and get a refund. Great for me, but two problems - my sister and godson gave me feedback on what they wanted to eat at the party and we didn't serve what they wanted, and my sister had already eaten this food at the reception at 3:00 and there it was again at her celebration reception.

She actually laughed it off! I was surprised.

I had a budget of $300 for food and utensils, and underspent ($233). I didn't budget in the room rental and cash gifts, though. I am proud and feeling weird about how I've been managing every penny. I never paid this much attention to money before.

Some people don't like budgets because they feel restricted, but I like budgets (which I prefer to call spending plans). While shopping in the store, I could tell myself, "I have $300 to spend." I felt a little rich.