The dust has settled, we’ve (kind of) wrapped our heads around our new reality, and we’re ready to take the next step forward to get back to where we were a week ago. Which will probably take months, but what is progress without a setback or two? Once we get back to where we were, we’ll discuss how to get further than there. I’ve still got my eye firmly on the no credit card debt plan. It will just take a few more months than I thought.
We’ve decided to repair the car, and repair it at the Saturn dealer it is at. My spouse called just about every single repair shop in the phonebook, large and small, and the prices ranged anywhere from $3600 to $8800. Yes, $8800. Not going there. The price the Saturn dealer quoted my spouse did not include tax (which he knew but forgot to tell me, heh), so it originally was in total around $3900 (we have 6% sales tax). So my spouse, at my suggestion, used the $3600 quote from another place (which did include tax) as leverage, and asked for a 10% discount. The service rep discussed it with his manager and called my spouse back almost immediately agreeing to the 10% discount. Yay for my spouse! He saved us $370 just by being assertive and I am very proud of him. So our final total with tax is around $3600. Plus $45 for the tow to the shop in the first place. The final deal includes a 12 month warranty on the parts and labor, which gives me a little bit of peace of mind. In 12 months the car will be two payments away from being paid off, instead of 14 payments away.
We thought about selling the car in the condition it is in (or using it as a trade in) and buying a new to us car. We did do some preliminary research on availability and prices, and for us right now it just didn’t make sense. If I am going to get a different car I’d want to feel reasonably sure it was more reliable than the one I’ve got, and that comes with a price. Still owing $3300 on this car that would have to be rolled into the next loan just didn’t make sense for us long term. I know that there will be disagreement on this point, but we all do the best we can with what we have.
So, repairing the car. We don’t have to pay for it for another week (which is how long it is going to take to fix) so we can still ponder exactly how we want to do that. But my spouse got approved for the 90 days same as cash yesterday to give us that option. I’ve transferred $700 of our $1000 emergency fund into checking (I can transfer the last $300 with a few mouse clicks and will when we get to that point, but I pay a monthly fee when my balance is under $300 so I am putting it off) and initiated the transfers from our ING accounts of the $150 long term savings and $150 playstation fund. That puts around $1700 in our checking account by sometime next week minus whatever we spend on gasoline and groceries between now and then. I’ve also initiated the transfer to empty out the blog account and will transfer the remaining $300 from the emergency fund when we are going to pay the car bill.
My current plan is to pay $2500 directly on the car bill (by the time it is fixed next Friday, my spouse will have been paid again, so we will be able to use some of that too) and put the remaining $1100 on the 90 days same as cash plan. And add it to my debt total… sigh. I may come up with some more money between now and then, we’ll see, I’m still thinking through things and seeing if I can come up with any other ideas. My goal is for the 90 days amount to be the absolute minimum possible that still lets me sleep at night. I just can’t take money out of the kids college accounts. Yes, the majority of the money in them is “our” money we chose to deposit (some of it was cash gifts to the kids from relatives) but for now, I can’t make myself touch it.
I may change my mind by the end of the 90 days period if I haven’t managed to knock out the entire balance. But I think that $1100 is doable in 90 days, or less, and then on to rebuilding the savings accounts. We’ll see. A bridge I will think about crossing in a little while.
Progress not perfection. I sincerely hope this car does not become more of a money pit. I had great plans to pay for the next car in cash… but that necessitated this car lasting a few more years. We’ll see.
In positive news my background check to begin tutoring is finally complete and my first tutoring hours are tomorrow. That additional income will definitely help with knocking out this debt. One door closes and another door opens.