My Car Emergency Fund

A long time ago my dad drilled into my head that cars are a necessary evil. Money pits. Wallet drainers. You get the idea.

But even with all of this brainwashing, I can never shake off that gut-wrenching, painful feeling when I get a phone call from my car repair guy Butch (that’s right, his real name), announcing that the brake pads need to be replaced for only $137. Yipes!

Actually, $137 is a pretty sweet deal, or so my co-workers say. And I apparently saved myself $300+ down the road by getting it fixed today.

But paying for car repairs are just my least favorite thing because 1) I feel so inadequate I don’t know whether I’m even saying rotors right. (Is it rotery or rotators??) It makes me want to quit my job, go to mechanical school and fix my own cars so I know I am not being ripped off. And 2) BAM! They just come out of nowhere!

That’s why I have a Car Emergency Fund. I own an old (but paid-for) 1994 Honda Accord. While it really hasn’t been all that bad, I curse its being any time that it gives me any trouble. Each month I set aside $25 in savings for car repairs. Ironically, whenever I have to fix something, the total amount is close to my Car EF amount. I find this easier and less stressful than dipping into my “official” $1000 Emergency fund because I like knowing that this money doesn’t need to automatically be replaced since these emergencies happen only so often.

Of course, one day I hope to have a New Car Fund and I can get rid of this ’94 “necessary evil.” ;)

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  • I think a car emergency fund is a great idea. Those expenses can really throw off a budget. Some people put some aside money for medical too since that’s another area that can have its major surprises. Even with medical insurance my co-pays have just gone up.