This is a Women’s Money Week 2017 Featured Article. You can find out more about Women’s Money Week and get access to all of the free resources they offer. Today’s topic is all about saving and I have the perfect example of why it’s so important for teens to save an emergency fund, especially if they have or want a car! #WMWEEK17
To say that over the past two months I have been having bad luck when it comes to my car would be a huge understatement. For years I have been very diligent to put aside money every month for a car (before I even owned a car) and it has not been a lot of fun watching that disappear in literally two seconds. Okay, maybe it was three seconds, either way my money is gone.
And that’s when my emergency fund kicked in. And man, am I glad it was there to pick up the slack! If you have a car and don’t have an emergency fund let me give you some reasons you might want to reconsider.
Regular Car Repairs
About two months ago I took my car in for a regular oil change. One of the guys told me the brake pads were getting to the point they needed to be replaced and that if they had to replace both the front and back set it would be over $400.00.
That’s a lot of money but I didn’t panic because I had some money in my car envelope and I figured I could just put some extra into it and cover the cost. Not a big deal.
A week or two after my oil change I left my car parked out on the street in front of our house. Big mistake. When I went out the next morning the passenger side side view mirror was dangling on the door. I guess some person hit it in the middle of the night and couldn’t be bothered to leave a note. Really? Not cool.
I took it into a bodyshop and ended up spending $271 to have it fixed. Now I’m feeling a little concerned. I am for sure not going to have enough to have my brake pads replaced right away. I figured it would have to wait a little bit for me to save up.
So you might think I’m done, but oh no, I’m just getting started.
Mid December, someone decided to park behind my driveway in the street. Now, you might think (by how I worded the previous sentence) that I somehow blame the guy for the fact that I backed into his brand new truck that only had 400 miles on it. But you would be wrong.
I take full responsibility for the fact that I backed into him. I did stop and look and I just didn’t see the truck back there. I hit it going about 3 miles an hour. You wouldn’t think it would cause much damage to either vehicle. You would be very wrong.
I would just like to point out that if you have a beautiful brand new truck perhaps parking it directly behind my driveway is not the wise choice. Just saying…
In addition to questionable parking choices the gentleman also exercised his right to call the police despite the fact I have full insurance coverage. The community officer who came out spoke with me for about 20 seconds and then wrote me a ticket for $164.00. Remember with me that I was backing out of my driveway at 3 miles an hour.
In order to avoid bitterness I try to forget the fact that a good friend rear ended someone going 30 miles an hour and got a ticket that cost him less. Ugh. (What???) Of course I felt truly terrible about hitting this guys truck and for all the time and inconvenience I caused us all.
After assessing the damage and factoring in my expenses, this is what I came up with:
$271.00 to repair the side mirror
$461.51 for brake pads
$50 traffic school
$694.43 Repairs to my car (minus the 194.43 the insurance is paying towards the repairs because of my $500 deductible)
That leaves me with a grand total of $1,446.51 out of pocket to have the needed repairs and maintenance done to my car. (Not to mention the $271 I already spent to replace my sideview mirror.) To say that I completely freaked out over that amount would not be an overstatement.
I was so upset and couldn’t stop thinking about how I was going to come up with that kind of money. I could not believe that I had done this, it was totally my fault, and it was completely ruining my life. After sulking about it for two days my mom happened to mention how good it was for me to have an emergency fund.
Why hadn’t I thought of my emergency fund? I mean (duh) this is why I saved up for over a year to have a $1,000 emergency fund. Of course you don’t want to have to spend the money, but that’s what it’s there for. I know it’s silly that I didn’t remember this but I was so stressed out over the whole thing I didn’t even think about it!
Yesterday I was able to go and have the brake pads replaced and will take the car in to have the repairs done next week. I’m going to have to revamp my budget a little bit to build my emergency fund back up but I should be able to have that done by March. No big deal!
If I could go back in time and high-five my 15 year old self for working so hard to save that money up I would. $1,000 is a lot and if you are a younger teen it could seem like a super daunting project to take on, especially if you don’t have a job. I didn’t have a job and it took me over a year to save up. Any time I would get cash for general spending, my birthday, Christmas (sometimes I would get cash for helping my grandma clean her house) I would put most of it aside for my emergency fund.
It was amazing to me that how in a matter of seconds I went from a total stressed out wreck to feeling completely calm and financially safe. I am so thankful for my car but have definitely learned how much of a responsibility/burden it can be.
I wish I could say that nothing bad will ever happen to your car but the truth is is that stuff happens so why not be prepared? If you are a teen do you have an emergency fund yet? Any ideas on how to make that happen?