I’ve Paid For This Twice Already…

Frugal living and debt reduction tips for a better financial future. This is one family’s story.

January 12th, 2008

Reality Sets In

The deed is done. The car is fixed, it is currently sitting in our garage, and a extremely large portion of what we had available in cash funds only a few days ago has been electronically zapped over to our local Saturn dealer.

We paid the dealer $2781.94. We put $800.00 on the 90 days same as cash credit offer from the dealership. Saturn Corporation has declined to accept any responsibility for the poor craftsmanship of their vehicle, so they paid nothing.

On the one hand, I’m fine. More than fine. We did it! We managed a crisis in a responsible manner and we will be more than okay. It feels accomplished. We had an emergency fund, and it did what it was supposed to do.

On the other hand, I’m overwhelmed. We just spent more than I could imagine spending on anything, in cash, on this car repair, and took on more debt besides. In a way, it feels like we just wiped out our progress. I know that we did not – we have made much more progress than this in the past year – but this is still sending shockwaves through me. I’ll adjust eventually. Maybe tomorrow.

We used to have a safety net, and we do still, but it is very very small. Since the car wasn’t ready until my spouse got paid after all, I left $300 in our emergency savings account and took that amount out of my spouse’s paycheck instead to get to $2781.94 paid. If all goes well for the next two weeks, we should be okay with that, but we still have that $300 if we need it, because I am cutting that *extremely* close to the wire. This avoids us having to pay a low balance fee on our savings account this month unless we end up using it. I wouldn’t have been comfortable sending that last $300 from the paycheck to Saturn anyhow, because if *anything* unexpected happened, and I mean anything, even a sick visit for a kid to the doctor or gas prices going up $0.10 a gallon, we’d be in trouble for the next two weeks, and with no emergency fund, we can’t afford trouble. This way, we have a little bit of wiggle room, it is just working for us a wee bit instead of sitting in our checking account, and hopefully ends up the seed money for our new emergency fund.

As for emergency funds – I have a lot of thoughts about that, but they are still forming in my brain. Until we’re back to $1000, there isn’t pressure to formally decide if we’ll save more than $1000 at this time, so I have some space to think about it. But it is percolating.

Out priorities? Leave the $300 in the emergency fund. Pay off the $800 that remains of the repair bill. Pay the last $175.17 of the credit card. Get the emergency fund back to $1000. Then consider possible next steps, and move forward. On to debt freedom.

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24 Responses to “Reality Sets In”

  1. I stumbled on your blog and have been reading for awhile now. You are an inspiration to me! I am in a situation similar to yours as far as a big expenditure, taking money from an emergency fund and wondering how to get back on track.

    I think we have to be gentle with ourselves when these things happen. Life has many unforeseen twists and turns. You handled yours well….all will fall into place…eventually.

  2. Looks like the emergency fund did what it was intended to do -help out in an emergency! Imgagine if you had to put all that money on credit.

  3. I know this wasn’t the point of the post, but why do you have a savings account with a minimum balance fee? Do you not have a better option somewhere? I had an account like this at a big bank, but once I realized it didn’t have to be that way I closed it. Just curious, but you shouldn’t put up with that fee unless you simply have no other options.

  4. I would be in shock handing over that kind of cash too. Just think at leat you aren’t paying interest on it or what you had to finance because you are all the more wiser than you were before you got focused about money.

    Get that car repair paid off and get you emergency plumped back up. You wouldn’t want another to come along and not be prepared. You may feel like you are starting over in some senses, but you don’t have nearyly as far to go once you can focus back on your CC’s.

  5. Eden – it is something I need to deal with, but I haven’t yet. It is the savings account attached to my checking account. My checking account is free but the savings has a monthly fee if the balance is under $300.

    I need to change banks to one with no fee checking or savings for any reason, but I haven’t yet prioritized researching the other banks here. And I am currently too lazy to change all my direct debit payments. ;)

    Mike – your advice isn’t worthless! it has made me think about a lot of things I hadn’t before. Thanks!

  6. I am thankful that you had the emergency fund in place to handle this situation. Where would you be if you didn’t? How large would the credit card debt be then… I have always heard great things about Saturn. In ’06 we were looking for a new car, and checked out Saturn. We could not get a straight answer out of the salesman or his manager on anything. TRade In? PUrchase price? They only wanted to talk monthly payments!! Result, Chevrolet got our business we bought a used ’06 Trailblazer have been very happy with it!!

  7. How old is your car and how many miles did it have on it. I read all the posts but never noticed if you mentioned that.

  8. I’m totally with you on the saving up an emergency fund as soon as possible again. This last Thursday afternoon, I found out that the little twinge of pain I’ve been having whenever I floss is a large cavity that’s beginning to abcess between two back molars. I have a root canal set up for Monday, and that, the crown, and antibiotics and pain meds will set me back over $1000, even with decent dental insurance. Ouch, in more ways than one.

  9. It is a 2001.

    It has ~87,000 miles on it. I may have only mentioned that in the comments, not sure :)

  10. That’s tough. I hope everything will be better and the emergency fund restored soon. With you resourcefulness, I am sure you can make everything better in short order.

  11. Its a slow and winding path, but that will make eventual debt freedom feel all the sweeter. Good thing you had an emergency fund to help out at all. What is kind of interest rate is the dealership going to give you after your 90 days same as cash?

  12. Oh, it’s bad. I don’t even remember exactly but it is way higher than any of our credit cards… like 22%? 24%? Something. If it gets to that point, I will transfer it somewhere else. Hopefully it won’t get to that point.

  13. I’m glad everything worked out!

  14. One thing I am going to build the moment I am debt free is an emergency fund. I don’t have one at the moment (although I do have access to cash – it’s just going to be paying off my loan when it reaches the right amount).

    This just goes to reinforce that urgent need for one. Congrats on yours doing what it was intended to do, even if it was a bit of a shocker!

    Shame on Saturn, too.

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