The Car – Part Infinity
April 12, 2011 13 Comments
My battery light came on in my car Sunday when I was driving to the Kansas City airport to drop off my sister’s boyfriend (for the last time before she moves in with him).
It is starting to get to the point with repairs that I really need to sit down add assess the cost of the repairs and my time getting repairs done vs. the cost of a “new car”. I’m getting close to the point where I’m putting money into repairs about every 2-3 months, my mpg has gone down about 12mpg since I got the car, and I don’t trust my car to take long trips (hello rentals!).
I do believe that my car could have a lot more life in it if I’m willing to make constant repairs, but I also am beginning to realize that I’ll need to start saving for a new car while at the same time increasing my contributions towards car maintenance. Currently I save $720/year for my car. However I’m spending between $1,200-$1,500/yr. So I need to bump up my car maintenance fund to at least $100/month.
I’ve decided I need to rearrange my budget (yet again… this is starting to be a reoccurring theme… it will be nice when I have one that just works!)
How will I rearrange my budget? I need to start saving money as if I have a car payment. I need to rearrange my budget so that I am essentially saving $300/month towards my car. $100/month to maintenance and $200/month towards a new car fund.
This is going to be really hard to put into my budget, because essentially I was planning on not worrying about a new car until my debt was payed off. But originally I had also hoped that my debt would be payed off within 3 years (I’m not approaching year 3 and am hardly any closer to debt pay-off). My car could definitely last until my original pay-off date, but now that it has been pushed back another 2-3 years I’m skeptical that my car will last until then and until I can save money every month for the cost of a “new” car.
This whole car thing is simply frustrating to me.
I’ve looked up online the bus routes, and even though I live on the same street as where I work (just 4 miles away), the bus doesn’t go all the way to my school (the bus turns off on another street half-way to my school and goes in the OPPOSITE direction the times I need it, e.g. I need to go south when the bus goes north and I need to go north when the bus goes south).
The bus system in this city is so terrible I can’t even put it in to words. Essentially there are two buses that go by my apartment and neither goes anywhere near my school – and they only have 4 buses running a day. If I could rely on public transportation to take me to work I would just do that and save money, but I can’t.
I could ride a bike to work, but there is nothing worse than how sweaty and gross I get after riding a bike. I do not want to ride to work and then immediately have to teach and interact with students in my smelly grossness. Also, half the year it is too hot, too cold, too rainy, and too snowy to ride a bike (I miss San Diego where I could ride my bike every day).
I also looked up if there was a zipcar option in my area, and sure enough there isn’t. No sort of community cars exist, even though I live in a high density public area (my apartment complex has over 3000 units, I’m near the largest shopping center in our suburb).
Even carpooling isn’t an option because all of the employees at my university (that I know) live the complete opposite direction that I do because housing is cheaper and newer. I chose to live closer to “the action” than the suburban life because of my age and single-ness.
So I feel stuck with the car. And how much money it costs. Even though I’d like to explore other options.