Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Budgeting Update: Car Troubles & Xmas

I couldn't post last week because my emotions and thoughts were too jumbled. I found out that my car had an oil leak, and after 4 days without my car and nearly $1400, I finally have my car back!

I'm grateful to have a mechanic that I actually trust and had warned me that something like this may be coming, but of course, the more they tore my car apart, the more they found wrong with it. And my usual guy ended up being out most of the week with the flu, so the owner was calling me to ask what's wrong with it.

I ended up telling him that, basically, my guy had told me that if I gave them lots of money, I would get my car back. My brain just cannot handle that sort of information. It ended up that they had to replace the valve cover gasket, timing belt and water pump, along with other incidentals.

So I wiped out my savings, and put the rest on the credit card I just paid off. Yuck.

At least I could do that, I know, but I really, really didn't want to. And then there's the reality that my car is 12 years old and has nearly 150,000 miles on it and knowing that the older it gets, the more expensive it will get to maintain until finally (hopefully, at least a hundred thousand miles later), I will need a new car.

It's frustrating to try and figure out how to save for the long term when these short term problems keep coming up. And then, of course, there's the holidays and the expected gifts. It would make so much more sense if Xmas took place around the same time as tax refunds!

At one point last week, I was kinda hoping for the world to end later this month, but then I found out that's supposed to be the 21st; a little too close to the big day to wait and see if I won't need to buy presents after all. Especially for an online shopper like me.

I looked over my budget again, but I was only able to find about $14 a month to cut. I will put any unbudgeted funds into paying off the credit card (again), but at this point, the budget is as tight as it's going to get. And while there are still a few luxury items in there, like the satellite TV, I know myself well enough to know that if I try to cut them, I'll just either end up putting them back or spending more somewhere else and ending up with the same amount of money going out, at least.

I'm still not sure how I'm going to pay for Xmas, but I never am, and somehow, I always manage to get a few presents under that tree, so I'm not going to stress over that too much right now.

Such is the life of a single parent: one step forward, two steps back. But we still manage to get through it.


Missy June said...

Ugh - I'm sorry about the car issues. It's so hard to get ahead and if you discover a way, please do share!

I hope you have a great Christmas!


BigLittleWolf said...

April, I can sooooo relate to this. It seems like just when I think I might make ends meet in a month, something (like unexpected car, kid, or medical/dental bill) hits me over the head with a very different reality.

To say that it's frustrating and tiring would be an understatement.

The holidays? I shudder to think of it, and haven't begun. While I have few to buy for, the UnBudget will be stretched again.

It never seems to end, even when you think you're at the end...

We just keep plugging away. What else is there?