Unexpected Expenses

unexpected expenses
It happened to me. Even though I try so hard to decrease my risk of unexpected expenses, this one found me.

I was dropping my roommate off at the airport when my car’s check engine light came on. My heart sank immediately. Three thoughts raced through my head: 1) I need my car! 2) If it blows up right now I’ll die! 3) I can’t afford any repairs!




When you are living on a tight budget, any unexpected expense that comes up is a nightmare. It can wreck your budget for months to come and derail any plans you have in place (paying off debt, savings, that fun trip you had planned). It seems unfair that you should have to dip into another budget to pay for some unforeseen event.

I drove my car to an autoshop and had them run a test to see why the engine light came on. My car is a four cylinder sedan and two of them are misfiring. This is a pretty common problem and not a huge deal- my car wasn’t going to blow up on me after all. However, it was going to cost me about $250 to fix it and the sooner the better. I tried really hard not to resent the nice man who was going to fix my car but when someone is taking that much money from me, I do always get a little upset. I can’t help it! Since I was on my way out of town that evening, I had to put off fixing it until after the holidays.

So merry Christmas to me. This incident did make me wonder though- how much money am I spending a year on my car? A quick guesstimate would be around $1300, not including gas. That $1300 would be my insurance, registration, $300 for yearly repairs (last year I spent $300 on a new battery and spark plugs) and two oil changes a year. That’s not an accurate number and since it doesn’t include gas it’s definitely me lowballing. That’s a lot of money! I need my car to get to catering events and my coaching job (which earn me way more than that $1300) but maybe someday in the future I won’t need a car. Saving around $1900 a year (here I’m including gas) on car expenses would be a really nice chunk of change for me!

Photo: CafeCredit.com

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3 Replies to “Unexpected Expenses”

  1. We are both in the same boat. Over the weekend, I took my car into the shop to have new brake pads and roters installed on the front wheels and walked away with $1,400 of unexpected repairs. I drive 120 miles each day to get to and from work, so having a safe and reliable car is necessary. I had to dip into my emergency savings. I’m just happy that I had it.

    1. Oh no! My sympathies. It sucks when it just comes out of nowhere. Thank god for emergency accounts!

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