Way back in 2009, my husband and I were newlyweds. We were still trying to figure out this whole managing money together thing. It was not easy and by the end of 2009, we had learned a very valuable lesson in managing money, to the tune of $5,000.
My husband was in his first year of owning his own business and using his truck as a workhorse. His truck was almost paid for and ran like a champion. Then one day, she did not run like a champion. It was a hot summer day when she started acting up.
My husband is a total handy man and will try and try to diagnose and fix a problem himself before paying someone else to do it for him. Therefore, my husband and his best friend sacrificed precious working hours to try to fix his truck.Only, they could not figure out the problem. My husband had no choice but to bring her in to the shop to determine why she was running was bad. The shop told him it was the radiator.
Once again, my husband was not about to pay to have them replace the radiator since it was going to be double what he could do it for. So he replaced it, only that did not solve the problem. Back to the shop she went and another diagnosis telling my husband that it was the water pump. Once again, my husband replaced what they told him was wrong.
This continued for a week until I finally looked at my husband and said, “We have paid $5,000 chasing a fire, which is the current value of your truck. If you spend one more dime fixing your truck and it does not fix it, we will have to sell it and get another truck. We cannot keep spending money like this because we do not have it.”
That was all my husband needed to hear in order for him to completely take apart the cooling system of his truck to discover, that debris was stuck in one of the hoses that leads to the radiator. Once the debris was removed and the hose was replaced, the truck ran like a champion and still does almost six years later. The truth behind this crazy event was that we really did not have the $5,000 to pay for my husband’s truck. That money was a struggle for us to come up with in such a short time span and some of it had to be put on credit cards, which only made matters worse.
This event caused us to take measures to make sure that we were never in this type of situation again. We established a emergency car repair fund savings account specifically for car-related expenses like maintenance, repairs, oil changes, etc. This made budgeting for these expenses easier and setting up an automatic withdrawal helped us keep the money out-of-sight, out-of-mind. Thus helping to keep us from spending our budgeted money on something else.
Now whenever we have a car repair to pay for, we simply transfer the money needed from our auto savings account to our checking account. We never have to worry about where the money will come from as we have the money ready even when we do not need it. For us, this has been a key player in building a budget that works for us.
What money lesson have you learned through a budgeting fail?
Special thanks to Jessi Fearon of The Budget Mama for writing this guest post for us this week!
Jessi Fearon is a wife, mom of two little boys, and writer behind The Budget Mama, a personal finance site where she shares her family’s real life on a budget. She is devoted to helping her readers thrive on a budget while becoming better money managers.
Kim Anderson is the organized chaos loving author behind the Thrifty Little Mom Blog. She helps other people who thrive in organized chaos to stress less, remember more and feel in control of their time, money, and home. Kim is the author of: Live, Save, Spend, Repeat: The Life You Want with the Money You Have. She’s been featured on Time.com, Money.com, Good Housekeeping, Women’s Day, and more!