**We got dh's car back within a few hours of dropping it off at the mechanic. New rotors. I kind of guessed since he mentioned last time that they were iffy. No complaints, here. Our 2000+ vehicles have been AMAZING with the brakes. It could be our driving habits, here. We drive mostly freeway and not much stop and go. I was a lot rougher on my brakes when I was younger, but definitely did a lot more stop and go kind of driving, all the same. This is the first time on dh's car at 110k miles, and I am wondering when the van (@80k) will need brake work. We've always driven such old cars, before these, that the batteries and the brakes blow my mind. Both lasted 100k miles, easy peasy, on these newer vehicles.
Anyway, $300 to replace his rotors. Was our only car repair this year, thus far. With the way things had been going, I was sure it would be something in the $1k range. So, I am pleased!
When we got home last night, I voiced to dh how frustrated I was with our savings pace, and how relieved I was that the repair was only $300. I told him I about gave up, since I have been trying to get to a $30k cash minimum, for the last 18 months or so, and how I can't seem to get past $20k, no matter what happens. I am saving $1k per month for this goal! But, far more expenses, lately.
While voicing my frustration, I told dh I was thinking of dropping the goal, and resuming retirement contributions, come 1/1. We will put a fair amount in this year (more than $0), but I would like to start 1/1 either maxing out one ROTH @ $400/month, or even better, putting away 10%. IT is critical since my employer took away our 10% retirement contributions this year. I need to start making them, myself.
(In addition, when we had no money to save, no expenses ever come up. I can't help like feel like I will be frustrated, until I put retirement first. It always seems to kind of work out).
& then I said, "The only thing that stresses me out is the vehicles. I don't see how having a payment would help, because it reduces how much I can save. I am stressed out that the van is catching up on miles, and now fear that both vehicles will need to be replaced around the same time. Maybe I should let it go and figure you will be working by the time we need a new vehicle, but it still is stressing me out, because who knows what will happen."
KEep in mind - we only pay cash for vehicles.
Dh told me, "Well, if something happens, we'll get a vehicle for a couple of thousand dollars."
I said, "Duh."
This still stresses me out, plenty.
Then the conversation got interesting. At some point or other (in the distant past), I vocalized that our second vehicle was a luxury, and dh didn't quite agree. I mean, he realized it on some level, but I think I would have quite a fight to ever settle on one vehicle.
So dh shocked the hell out of me, and says, "Look, if we find ourselves in a situation with needing to replace 2 cars, we can live with one. Heck, if one goes, we don't have to replace it right away. The kids are both in school now and we can walk or bike to anywhere we need to go, while you are at work, for the most part." The kids' school is just down the street.
I mulled on that a while, and he is right. I just needed that perspective.
It was very eye opening for me, because the only thing I am REALLY struggling with, on this one income thing, is replacing the cars at the level we have gotten used to. Both our cars were purchased in the $10k range. They are great and fine and will last a long time. But, saving the replacement cost has been daunting on one income. We are doing good on savings at the moment, but dh bought his vehicle in 2002, and most the last 8 years we haven't saved a dime for another car. I am still catching up for some lost savings years.
Of course, all that said, the $30k goal is probably more about the economy than anything. Emergency fund for unemployment. But, taking the car out of the equation, makes me feel a little lighter, all the same. So, phew.
I have been wondering how we can continue to maintain 2 vehicles on one income while maybe I should have realized it would be easier to give one up to prolong our one-income status. It feels like a "duh," moment. Dh would only give it up if the car died, though. Or needed an extraordinarily expensive repair.
In other news, I read a good article in Money Magazine:
7 Secrets of Super Savers
Of course, the website article had 8 secrets!
This article was so good, I am going to make copies of the magazine version.
I have noticed MANY times over the years that people have been jealous of our income/lifestyle, and found that they might make double our income. Happens ALL the time.
A friend recently told me that she had no idea how "people do it." The 1-income thing, which she is working very hard towards.
I read this article, and it sums it up pretty well. I am thinking, next time someone asks me that question. I will have to hand them this article? There is no one thing - it is a sum many differences in lifestyle and money management.
Nothing I haven't already said in this blog, probably.
Of note, "The simple act of tracking what you spend can help you spot places to cut."
I have never been very big on the budget. I don't set a budget for every spending category and track it every month. What I do do, is track my spending in Quicken. I know where every penny goes, and every single month I review it to spot problems, early on. It could be as simple as, "Dang, we really spent a lot on groceries last month. We will have to rein that in this month." I really just eyeball it, and if something is amiss, we can fix it immediately. I do try to stress to people, that you don't have to obsess over the numbers. You really just need to know where you stand!
The article also toted automatic savings. This is the one thing that I did not do before, and I have found has been very beneficial with a tighter budget. I save $2200 every month. It is a bill like all the rest, to me. I have to live on what's left after all the bills are paid, and that $2200 is transferred to savings. We save far more with this attitude. With much bigger incomes, we were used to saving "whatever was leftover," which may be 50% of our income. IT wasn't a bad thing. On one income, we find that nothing much is ever leftover unless we pay ourselves first.
Anyway, I am sure many SA bloggers will identify with this article!