Friday Night Ramblings…

Believe it or not, the one situation where I would like to have the ability to predict the future is in car repairs!  I told you I had the option of spending 2/3 of my February paycheck on a car repair.  Well, I’m very glad I didn’t, because that’s not what was wrong with it, according to this second opinion place.  Instead, I spent about half my February paycheck on totally different stuff.  An O2 sensor, and spark plugs and boots, and an idle control box?  Is that a real thing?  Something like that.  Hold on…

Ha!  An “idle control system.”  I was right!  🙂  Anyway, he said it probably started with the O2 sensor, which fried the box, which fried the spark plugs.  He said the box and the spark plugs were totally black.  Actually that makes me feel good about the deal, because I think they fixed something that needed to be fixed!  And the car seems to start just fine tonight. 

Although…If I had gotten the O2 sensor taken care of when the check engine light first came on, maybe I wouldn’t have need an idle control box and spark plugs!  The O2 sensor was the most expensive part, but still, I have learned my lesson.  Get it checked out right away!

I’m rambling.  Here’s my point.  I wish I could know if I will constantly be paying for repairs on this car, or if this one repair will be the last one for awhile.  So far, including this one and the one where I was stranded on the side of the interstate the morning of parent-teacher conferences and had to be towed, I have spent about half the purchase price of the vehicle on repairs.  That shows you, it was a pretty cheap car to begin with, but still.  It totally blows apart my plan of paying off debt when I have these big bills.  I would like to pay off the car, as well as a couple of other things.  But now, February’s money is committed to this repair bill!

Back when I had too much consumer debt, I made this schedule.  It took awhile, but I basically made a list of how much I would pay off each balance every month, and I had it planned out when I could expect to pay off each account.  Most of that is gone now, but it took longer than the first schedule said it would.  You can’t plan for everything.  Other things come up, you need to pay a doctor bill, or a car repair.  You end up taking a trip because it’s more important to you than paying down your debt.  You buy Christmas presents.  You forget to watch your budget one month and do too much shopping.  A person simply can’t budget for every penny.  Even if a person was willing to say no to every movie, every vacation, every pair of jeans that hadn’t been planned for, what if that person has their appendix burst and ends up with an unplanned hospital bill?  Insurance is valuable, but there’s still a bill to be paid when you’re done.  You can’t have the exact amount planned for and saved in advance for every possibility.

So once again, paying off debt, though very important to me, will wait for another month.  I’m not stressed about it, at this point it’s not a crucial point.  There is still money to eat and put gas in the car, money to go out with my friends and buy clothes, even.  Severely restricting that money is what makes a person stressed about money!  The months when I’ve been counting down the days until payday and hoping there was enough gas in the car to get me to work until then…those are the months that really got screwed up.  A little…BIG…repair bill that can be comfortably paid off in two months’ time is no reason to stress.

There’s no need to rush life.  Taking time with things is a way to peace.  The Boy always seems to run a little bit late.  Sarah and I called it “Mike Time” once.  If he plans to pick me up at 6:00, I can predict that Mike Time will really be 6:05 or 6:10.  (Actually, in the morning the difference between clock time and Mike Time is even greater.)  It doesn’t bother me in the least, because I plan to be picked up at 6:00, and then at the end of getting ready I can take my time instead of feeling stressed that he’s going to be here and I won’t be ready.  I think that’s the same personality quirk that causes him to say he’ll call, and then wait until I almost think he’s forgotten before he calls.  The thing is, you can count on him to come through in the end.  If he says he’ll call, he WILL call.  If he says he’ll pick me up, he will.  He hasn’t forgotten, and he doesn’t think I’m not important to him.  He WILL do what he said he would. 

That principle can apply here, too.  I haven’t forgotten about paying off my debts.  Paying down debt is very important to me.  The fact that it’s not happening as quickly as I would like doesn’t change either of those statements.  I commit to: Build up a “margin of error” in my savings for situations like car repairs.  Pay off all my consumer debt except student loans.  And begin to save for the next thing that I would buy on credit, such as my next car or whatever.  TODAY I haven’t reached any of these goals.  (I was quickly working toward a “margin of error” before this lovely incident.)  But I WILL reach each of these goals.  Notice I didn’t say “buy a car with cash,” or anything like that.  Maybe I will, maybe not.  I just want to save toward those kinds of purchases, whether I can save the full amount or just make the down payment greater.

Okay, I’m still rambling!  🙂  Goodnight!!!


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