Money

Why Our Transmission Blowing Up Was The Best Thing That Could’ve Happened

October 6, 2015

There I was, minding my own business, driving along the highway on my way to noon Mass…

That’s when the our new-to-us 2007 Chrystler Town & Country van chose to die an abrupt and sudden death. I pulled off the side of the road to cry hysterically for a few minutes calmly collect myself and call my two Knights in Shinning Armor – Jonathan and my Father.

Minutes later, Jonathan was there to save the day and my dad (who’s a very trusted mechanic) was already calling shops in Denver to scout out the most reliable place to tow the van. Soon after, the van was towed away to the mechanic’s and we were on our way home.

The next morning, I got the call. The transmission needed rebuilding and it was going to cost $2,300.

Ouch.

Why, oh why would I say that this was the BEST thing that could’ve happened?

Because it reminded us just how important having a fully funded emergency fund truly is.

Obviously we saw its importance because we had enough money to actually pay the bill. But there was an even deeper reason…

A year ago we had a comfortable emergency fund of 6 months expenses. But then we had adoption bills come in that exceeded our puzzle fundraiser. We had no option but to dip into our emergency fund.

We should  have then refunded the emergency fund ASAP but we got a little lazy. We kept pushing it off, prioritizing other budget line items ahead.

However, right before the tranny blew up we almost made the biggest mistake of all. 

We’ve been planing on getting granite counter tops in our town home ever since we moved in a year and a half ago. Partly for our style, but mostly for resale value. I know it’s an improvement that will help us get the most equity out of our home purchase and will set our home a part in the crowd. So, we started interviewing different granite stores/contractors/fabricators in Denver for the granite we would get “someday.”

Through seeing all the options, we got really excited about the project. Instead of simply picking who we wanted to work with (like we thought) we decided that we wanted to go ahead with it.

Great, right?

No, because we didn’t have enough funds in the budget to cash flow the project. We waffled back and forth. We even had a conversation where Jonathan said, “What if a car dies and we have to take it to the shop?” to which I replied, “The chances of that are so slim, and we will rebuild the account before we need it anyway.” Despite all that deliberating, we ultimately decided to use part of the emergency fund on the granite.

Ruh Roh.

Now, if the Lord wanted us to hit rock bottom, we would have done the granite AND THEN the car would have broken down. Our emergency fund would REALLY have been in trouble if that was the case. But literally ten minutes after the granite company had taken measurements at our home, we got the mechanic’s phone call with the estimated bill.

Snapping back to reality, we then called and cancelled the granite plans. Almost as soon after we vowed to NEVER EVER use the emergency fund for anything non-emergency related. t’s just not worth it. You never know what could happen or when you will need those funds! We now know that all too well.

Someday we will call that granite company back and set up our install but it won’t be until we’ve built our fully funded emergency fund back up and we are able to cash flow the entire project.

Yet again, slow and steady wins the race, every time. 🙂

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3 Comments

  • Reply Sunflower Sojourn October 6, 2015 at 2:15 pm

    Thanks for the reminder! You just never know what will happen. It can be tough to build a fund, but it’s worth it and necessary!

    • Reply Amanda October 9, 2015 at 3:25 pm

      Your right! It can be tough to build. It’s not as “cool” as paying off debt or saving for something else but it’s so important!

  • Reply Life and Times of a Happy Wife February 23, 2016 at 5:47 pm

    OMG I love the honesty in this post. I see a lot of people talking about really NEEDING to fix their backyard, putting wooden floors, painting their house- etc, etc, etc. I’m not homeowner but I’m paying off my debts right now and I really do hope I get to the point where I can see NEEDS vs WANTS and that God would open my eyes to these differences to me for the rest of my financial journey.

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