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Goodbye Hawaii Fund!

August 2nd, 2009 at 08:39 am

I didn't really mean to post a "cliffhanger" post in my last post. I was a little depressed, true, but really, I couldn't make this post without pictures.

So, here is the scoop, complete with pictures.

The short answer is we were doing really well, had some extra money, and we were talking about Hawaii next year. BUT I was an idiot and I had a run in with a POLE! Now I need to repair my vehicle and it will obviously cost thousands.

Waaaaaahhhhh!!!!!!



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Here is the long version, in true Monkey Mama Fashion.

First, in the forums there were discussions about how many accidents teens get into and if they need new cars. I pointed out that I had never particularly been in an accident and didn't know many who had. BUT when I was 16, 17, 18, I had a few run-ins with poles and such. Even my DH had a run-in with a pole at age 16 (he is a marvelous driver). Thus, I think a bit of a clunker is appropriate at that age.

I figured I outgrew that. It is true that my brain is mathematical, but not very mechanical. & it's iffy if I should operate heavy machinery - LOL. BUT I have been able to avoid stationary objects, and moving objects at that, for about 15 years. So I figured those days were over and I could drive nicer cars.

Yeah, right!

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So it's a pole, get over it. Is that what you say?

The thing that REALLY pisses me off is this freaking van. The computer probably needs to be replaced and it will probably cost $1k. I was really pissed about this for a time. (It's only a 2005 with 60k miles - most every other car I ever owned was bought with 150k+ miles and never needed expensive repairs. So this is my perspective).

I did gain new perspective when I whined to a friend and she bragged about how she doesn't have car repairs because she brought a brand new $35k minivan.

Seriously? It was like the slap in the face I needed. We paid $12k for the van. So it needs a $1k repair. So it may be the most expensive car repair I ever had - in like 15 years. I got over it quickly. !! I think our van, all repairs included over the course of its life, will cost less in the end, than $35k! Geez.

In the interim there was this whole cash for clunkers thing and we discussed it. The sticking point for me was that it could be a good deal overall to trade in the van for a new Toyota subcompact. We could find one in the $12k range, we would drive it 20 years if we could, it would get better gas mileage, etc. BUT the sticking point is I don't want a second subcompact. We don't need a VAN, but we "need" something a little bigger than dh's car. So we have been going round and round. The thing about CARS is we didn't have to fix it. It's all moot anyway - though I have probably NEVER gotten better than 18mpg on the van, it's rated as getting better mileage and it doesn't qualify anyway. Which makes the whole thing moot - no more discussion there.

We've also talked about trading it in for some boring granny car. We could maybe profit on the deal, and still keep the size. Would make more sense than buying a new car. I've found many deals, the cars are just so UGLY. LOL. I am not terribly picky, but geez. I even researched other years on the Dodge Caravan - maybe we should just trade for an older/better year. I know so many people with older ones who LOVE them, but I can't find any decent overall reviews on any year in the last decade. 2005 maybe isn't even the worst (imagine that!)

So we have been in talks about getting rid of the van anyway, I am kind of annoyed by the thing, and now I go and do this. If it was a beloved car I would just fix it and shut up about it. !

I know your next question is if we have insurance. YEs, we have collision insurance on the minivan. IT's worth more than $5k, which is my general collision rule of thumb. Plus it's so new, I'd probably keep insurance a couple of more years, even though it's value is rapidly plummeting to the $5k range.

BUT, I have said many times, I insure for catastrophe. I honestly can not see using my insurance for this mishap. It was my fault 100% and would only increase my premiums, etc. Maybe my thoughts are misguided here. But I have the max deductible possible, and we easily have the cash to take care of it. So I don't intend to deal with the insurance. I don't have much experience with insurance. I just know our premiums are rock bottom because we've never had any tickets, accidents, or claims. So why mess with it? Obviously if I had a larger repair or "catastrophe" - I would prefer to save the insurance for that.

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So, that's the long and the short of it. I think it could be good that the damage is limited to the door. Not that it would be easy or cheap to replace the door, but I honestly think that is all that needs to be done. That's the silver lining.

We will take it to our mechanic (he has a body shop) Monday for a quote and will also take it down to the dealer for a quote, sometime this week. Mostly because we have been putting off the $1k computer repair and we need to take it to the dealer for that anyway. I am pretty anti-dealer, but sometimes in these situations they can offer cost savings over an independent shop. So we will see what our options are.

& I will cross my fingers that the van settles down and doesn't give us more grief for a while. (& that I can go another 15 years without hitting an object -please?)

Truth is the only problem we have ever had is with the computer - so maybe this would fix things. Is certainly cheaper than buying a new car, for the short run. Trading it in for a better, similarly priced, used vehicle is still a strong possibility, but it has to be fixed to do that! & if we put all this money into it, we will want to stick it out for a while.

I keep telling myself we have had such awesome experiences with our VERY used cars, that I just need to get over it. We are lucky this is the most expensive repair (the computer replacement) that we have ever had. Though I truly consider the wisdom of keeping a vehicle that cost so much to upkeep.

& if I have to get in an accident, a 5mph collision with a pole is probably preferred. No other cars, people, and no injuries were involved. Phew!

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I had a car before that got rear ended more times than I can count. Usually when I wasn't even in the car. We fixed it a couple of times, and then I gave up. I stopped fixing the thing - it was jinxed. I've driven around less than stellar cars.

If the damage was minor enough I'd probably let it go. (The van got hit in a parking lot like the week after we got it and we never fixed it - terribly minor - barely noticeable - but about $1500 to fix). So I also had to point out I would be the first to let it go if it was minor damage. But I did some pretty serious damage to the door. I was shocked when I looked it over that the door still functions 100% (still slides open, locks, etc.). BUT yeah, I hit it enough that the van is no longer sealed, etc. Air was blowing through and no doubt water will in the rain. Which kind of sucks because the van is covered in mud - but no car wash for it until it is fixed! LOL.

But yeah - I guess I can't decide much until I know the cost. My personal guess is it will be in the $2k range to replace the door. If it's much more, we may consider going the insurance route. I don't know. We have lots to figure out this week.

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We easily have $3k or so for car repairs, so that's okay. I told dh maybe we will spend our anniversary on a beach in California instead. We can still do something "nice." But I will mourn the loss of that money ("opportunity").

Other than that, we have the cash, and we will move on. This is precisely the kind of thing SAVINGS is for. & it's not even coming out of our emergency fund. This is not an emergency; these things happen all the time. This would come out of our "new car" fund (mid-term savings) since we have no plans to replace our cars in the near future.

I told dh we need a "July and August sucks" saving fund. We need to save about $3k per year for that. Wink Last year we spent about as much on repairs around the house and mostly on BM's cavities. Thing was the dental expenses were tax-deductible, so this is worse on some level. No tax deduction for car repairs!

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P.S. I can't imagine how frustrating a situation like this is for people who owe substantial amounts on their vehicles. Paying cash for cars makes things like these a mere bump in the road, really. (I had to find the motivational, no-debt angle).

4 Responses to “Goodbye Hawaii Fund!”

  1. sweetmama Says:

    You are right, it could have been much worse (no injuries! & no damage to someones property! Ouch!). You might talk to your insurance agent to see what they say about your rates going up. I also suggest asking the repair shops if they will consider giving any 'cash discounts'. We've saved $$$$ when doing this.

  2. fern Says:

    Oh, that's too bad. I know how pissed at yourself you are, becus i'd be the same way.

    Maybe i missed it in your post, but....if you had been considering the cash for clunkers program, rather than sink $1K into the van, wouldn't it make sense to do the cash for clunkers deal and find another van-like vehicle that's still big enough for your needs but gets better mileage?

    I was just thinking that while you may have ruled out cash for clunkers before, now that you're looking at a $1k repair bill, i'd rather invest the money into a new vehicle that gets better mileage and qualifies for that one-time federal rebate discount.

  3. frugaltexan75 Says:

    Oh wow, that really does stink. But it is good that no one got hurt and no other property was damaged!

    About six years ago I was with a friend (who was getting married.) We'd been looking for a bridesmaid dress for me, and stopped at Dairy Queen. Smile She was driving a fancy little sports car (don't remember what kind) and she backed up into one of those huge light poles!

    Then of course there was the time two years ago where I'd come out of my Calentics class and ended up backing into a rod of some kind that was sticking out the front of a truck! (My dad got my bumper fixed up for me for less than $100.) Big Grin My car has so many scrapes, bruises and dents that a few more here and there aren't even noticeable. Smile

  4. monkeymama Says:

    FT - reminds me my dad helped me fix up my first 2 dents when I Was a new driver. When my van was hit and run-ed, the door scraped slightly against the front of the vehicle when it opened - our mechanic yanked on it so it stopped scraping - good enough for me. We took it in for a quote but he said body was fine and he could fix the door scrape for free. Since that happened the week I got the van I have to say I have NEVER had a pristine vehicle. Why even try, huh? Dads are nice that way though.

    Fern - no - the car doesn't qualify for the cash for clunkers program. But even if it did - it make NO financial sense. For one, the cash for clunkers is in lieu of trade-in because they junk the car. I am talking about a 2005 vehicle. I'd get more in trade-in probably, even with the problems. Plus you have to buy brand new.

    We're talking about the newest vehicle we have ever owned - a 2005 model bought in 2006. IT is certainly not time to trade up. I am not ready to give up yet, I guess. Mostly what I decided after sleeping on it a couple of nights. Will fix it and hope it has a few good years in it.

    If we decide to trade right now we are trading down to something that will likely last longer, but cost us no money out of pocket. We've had wonderful luck in the past with some really used cars and the only reason we do as well as we do financially is because we don't spend a lot of money on cars. Thus, not buying a brand new car any time soon. That would go against everything in our financial being!

    The gas mileage doesn't really bother me. That's not the issue for me. Simply because we don't drive it that much and our other car gets like 40mpg. No car we would consider in a bigger size is going to get much more than 20-25mpg anyway.

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