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 even though they are mostly from an Auto Service near my location, 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.