So let me tell you about my last 24 hours. In case you haven’t heard, it’s been cold around here. Like, really, really, ridiculously cold. In fact, I heard it’s so cold, THAT place actually had a freeze warning. Being the GREAT guy that I am, I drove my wife to work the last two days so that she didn’t have to walk the block and a half from the parking lot to her building. We took the van with remote start and away we went. Last night, I decided I should probably start my car and get it running a bit so it was ready to go this morning.
Rrrrr……Rrrr…rr……… That’s it. Nothing. Dead battery. True story.
OK, I can deal with that. I drove both of us to work again today and figured I’d just run and get a new battery over lunch. Pulled the old one out and $150 later, I have a new, ready to go battery.
Oh, but wait. Because the battery is under the rear seat in the passenger compartment, there is a breather tube from the battery to the outside. Except the coupler for that has broken off at some point in time.
And do you know how cold it is out there? I couldn’t even get the car started to warm up before I started working on it. Yeah, gloves and all. But do you know how hard it is to work with tools and little bolts with heavy gloves on? Seriously, why does it have to be the coldest day of recent history when this happens?!? Apparently I’m supposed to commute by dogsled.
But I digress…..
Multiple stops and another $25 later, I now have all the parts. I think. I had to get back to work so I’ll try and get it put back together tonight. After all, I’m out of town this weekend with the Cub Scouts and my wife will NOT be happy without a car of her own.
$175 just for the battery and new tube and fittings. That’s doing the work myself. I’ve seen an awful lot of tow and service trucks out and about the last few days. If you have someone else do the work for you, expect that dollar amount to increase significantly. You could be looking at a $300 bill by the time you are back on the road. (And in the realm of auto repairs, that’s not really that much.)
If you landed in that position, would you have access to the $300 to get your car running? I don’t mean putting it on a credit card and further increasing your cost by paying interest. What I mean is, do you have access to cold (see what I did there?), hard, cash?
If not, you are not alone. Approximately only 40% of Americans put anything in savings regularly. One in four of us are regularly spending MORE than we make.
If you’ve been following our social media and blogs, you know we are talking about new beginnings. How about a relatively easy new beginning? Start putting something in savings regularly. It doesn’t have to be a huge amount. Even $10 each paycheck. Just something to get you in the habit of putting money into savings. Each of those little deposits will add up before you know it.
Have a tax return payment? You should have all of your necessary documents to get your taxes done by now. How about sticking even a little bit of that tax return into a savings account for an emergency fund.
If you would like a little help figuring out how to divvy out your tax return, the counselors at the Center for Financial Resources would be happy to help. They can help you figure out your options, your priorities, and where to go from there. You just have to make the appointment. You can do that either online or by calling us at 605-330-2700.
If you need help changing a battery, don’t call me. I’m still working on mine.
written by Breck Miller
images courtesy freedigitalphotos.net