I have to confess: I hate cars, and not just cars – SUVs, vans and trucks, too.
When it’s raining or cold, I do appreciate driving, but I hate how cars can incite feelings of dread and, in me, shame. Because cars are expensive and essential transportation for most of us, it’s easy to live in fear of the next emergency. If you’re anxious about hearing one of those ominous, strange sounds from your car, it’s likely you’re not financially prepared to deal with the repair.
When my wife and I wanted to buy a second car to make life a little easier, we struggled to figure out how to buy one without going into debt. Feelings of shame washed over me like a tidal wave. I felt that I should have been more prepared and ready to handle the situation.
Emergencies are unexpected events that require immediate action. With our cars, most of the problems we call emergencies aren’t actually unexpected. We know long in advance that our car will need to be maintained, repaired and, eventually, replaced. The emergency arises only when we ignore these realities of car ownership.
Planning for these expenses in advance is the way to avoid an emergency. Using your budget to set aside money for less-than-monthly expenses is the key. For an in-depth look at how to accomplish this, visit http://www.personalfinancecoaching.com/money-savvy-resources.
Use these tips to prevent your car from becoming an emergency:
Determine when you will need new tires. If you are switching out your snow tires for regular tires, ask if the snow tires can be used for another season and ask when you’ll need to replace your regular tires. Don’t forget to ask for a cost estimate.
Be honest with yourself. Have you deferred maintenance on your car? Do you have any nagging concerns or feel like a problem is imminent? If so, visit your mechanic, and get an estimate for the necessary service.
Determine when you will need to replace your car. Will you buy a reliable used car or a new one? Have an accurate idea how much these options will cost.
Divide the cost by the number of months you have until you need to make a repair or a purchase. This is the amount of money you need to accumulate each month.
This is your formula for emergency prevention: Know what you need to spend, when you need to spend it and how much you need to accumulate each month to meet the expense. This approach works for any less-than-monthly expenditure, such as taxes, the holidays or your next vacation.
Planning ahead not only prevents financial difficulties coping with an emergency, but it will also make you feel in control of your future.
firstname.lastname@example.org. Durango resident and personal finance coach Matt Kelly owns Momentum: Personal Finance. www.personalfinancecoaching.com.