I’ve always been an extremely self conscious person. I would lie in bed at night when I was younger, replaying the day’s events in my mind. Berate myself for lost opportunities, for failing to come up with witty retorts, for a particularly embarrassing trip’n’fall, and so on. I had a kind of list going on. Points for having the guts to speak up in class. Points deducted for getting tongue tied in front of my crush. Basically, a tally of maturity, as judged by me.
When we got the news about this latest car repair, I wanted to throw myself on the ground and launch into a tantrum. Why’d you have to make such a big deal about one tiny thing? Couldn’t the first two mechanics’ clean diagnoses have sufficed?
I went for a long, sweaty run. Then I decided there was no point in sulking. I could let it ruin my afternoon, my day, my week. I could wallow, gloriously – if wallowing was a sport, I would be a Olympic athlete. I decided that heck, I can’t do anything about it. Shit happens; we couldn’t have done anything differently. You never know with a used car how it was treated before.
Or I could chin up, change my attitude and move on. Basically, act like a damn adult. Whining might make me feel better, temporarily, but accomplishes nothing. (I started bashing out a furious post, that went something along the lines of:
WHY do we always have the ridiculous problems? Why does nobody else we know have to deal with such insanely fucking expensive issues? Yeah, T drives a lot, but he doesn’t drive stupidly. Surely we’ve paid our dues with learning about regular maintenance, and paid our dues with his insistence on buying a stupid boyracey car and now opting for something sensible (insert LIFE’S NOT FAIR rant)
If I had double my cash savings right now, I would be seriously thinking about financing a brand new vehicle right now – 3% over 3 years, 30% down.)
before realising what a self-pitying douche I sounded like.)
And in the long run, whining only serves to make feel you worse. Instead, I would do what I do second best: deal with it. I’ve been meaning to get around to working out a new realistic number to direct into our irregulars account, which I’ve been putting off. As for ponying up the cash, it just means a blow to progress on the travel fund.
As always, car costs are the sticking point. We haven’t had any of our cars for more than two years, so judging reasonable ongoing repairs isn’t easy. Last year, the first year I tracked, we spent about $1000 on our piece-of-crap beater. So far we’re on track to spend double this year for our current 10-year-old one, between the new tyres and the new transmission (it was cheaper to replace the whole gearbox than the one specific part that conked out). I don’t anticipate much more for the rest of the year, and we shouldn’t need to get any work done to pass its warrant, but you just never know, do you?
Maybe aiming for $1200, the same figure as our motor insurance bill, is a good starting point. I figure this is actually not that crazy, because between his commute, visiting friends and family, and trips, we put a lot of kilometres on our one car. Where tyres might last 2-3 years for some people, it’s more likely to be closer to 18 months for us. So that’s already nearly $500 there. Add to that maybe $100-200 on fluids and filters for regular servicing, plus room for other nasty surprises.
So, do you love wallowing? Or are you a chin-up-and-get-on-with-it type? And how much do you spend on maintaining your car each year?