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09/02/2014

The Importance of Smart Car Choices

My father has always encouraged me to find a good mechanic and stick with him (or her) and I can't pass on this advice enough. Not only is it helpful for the mechanic to get to know you and the car, but it also helps your budget!

Since I moved back to Milwaukee in 2008 (I used to live on Boston, where also I had the same mechanic the entire time), I've been with Keppen's Kar Kare in Waukesha. I get my oil changed every three months, knowing that when I do, Mike will make appropriate suggestions. Each time I go in, he'll let me know what repairs or regular maintenance he'd like to schedule over the next 3-12 months. His suggestions help me budget so that I know what I need to save for. My car has over 200,000 miles and it's running unbelievably well; I believe that the regular maintenance helps it run at it's peak and will hopefully keep it running well for a few more years!

I've owned my car since 2008 and it's been paid off since 2010. I also can't stress the importance of buying a used car and paying for it in full or as close to full as possible. Not having a car payment is great for my budget and savings (hence why I'm hoping to keep my car running well for a few more years!). If anyone's read Dave Ramsey, you know that one of his suggestions is to always buy used; he does not believe that buying a new car is a wise investment.  I have never bought new and never intend to.

Lastly, one of the changes I made to the management of my Summit Credit Union savings account was to open a separate account for the car. Each month, I deposit $125 into this account. My goal is that when I need to pay for car repairs, or a new-to-me car in the future, I will not be surprised or concerned about the cost because I will have planned for it. In fact, I enjoyed this outcome this past week when I got my oil changed and the repair done that Mike had told me to plan for (new spark plugs and a tire  rotation). My engine light also went on a few weeks ago and it turned out that my gas cap and tube needed to have rust removed from it. In total, for all parts and service, my total came to $315. Since I had $375 saved for car repairs, this amount didn't scare me nor did it force me to reach for a credit card, which I may have done in the past! Thank you Project Money for helping me realize the value of planning for future expenses! 

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Way to go! It's a great feeling to not be scared. Yeah!!

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