How Much To Budget For Car Repairs?

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A few years ago, my husband was out of town and I'd taken my youngest to run some errands while my other kiddos were at extracurricular activities.

 

We stopped at several different places, and sure enough at our very last stop my car completely stalled.

 

Now, I know nothing about cars, and of course (really?) I left my phone at home while hurrying out the door.

 

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So I was completely stuck, and ever so thankful for the sweet man who helped jump start my car. When I got home, I called my husband and he suggested I take it to get a new battery ~ thankfully they fixed everything right up and the car was just fine.

 

So why on earth am I telling you all this? 😉

 

While it really wasn't a big deal at all, for a few minutes I was stranded, with no phone, no one really to call to come save me, and I was pretty worried.

 

However, I wasn't worried at all about the cost of the repairs, because I knew we had saved for exactly this situation.  

 

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We had enough set aside in our car expense budget, and even though the situation was stressful, I could at least check that one off my worry list.

 

Wanna talk real numbers?  

 

Each month, my husband has a spreadsheet including all of our expenses (all based on the Dave Ramsey plan), so we budget $75 monthly for oil changes and car repairs per car.

 

We've been fortunate and haven't needed much work on our minivan, so whatever additional money is put in that account now goes towards a new car fund when we need one. (Our car now has 189,000 miles on it, and it won't be too long before we're needing it!)

 

It's worth keeping a minimum $700-$1000 in that account because I know just how quickly those car repair bills can add up, but you may decide on a different number, especially if you already have an emergency fund.

 

I really can't tell you how much peace comes from having money set aside for specific items in our budget. Right now the big ticket items we save for monthly include home repairs, gifts, yard projects, a vacation fund (our favorite!), clothing and even our kids activities. If you don't have a written budget, schedule a few minutes this week to get started.  (It will give you so much freedom!) And while I know it's not always fun to put away some of your hard-earned money for not-so-fun expenses that pop up, I promise it's so worth it.

 

 

Do you save towards car repairs or other specific items that you know can bust your budget? I'd love to hear how you determine what to save . . . leave a comment to share!

 

 

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Comments

  1. Thank you for being open enough to share this! We follow Dave’s plan as well, but one thing I always struggle with is a good amount for the kid’s clothing and various needs- would you be willing to share what y’all save for that area? Also, do you save these longer term things in actual cash or in a separate savings acct? Thanks, Laurie! The work and ministry you provide through this blog is truly inspiring 🙂

    • Hi Jenn! I meant to reply yesterday and then didn’t get back to it 🙂 Okay, first, we do save them all separately in a different account. We basically keep cash out for eating out, miscellaneous kid expenses (school needs, etc), entertainment and dining out. Everything else goes into a separate savings account and my husband manages it with a spreadsheet – basically he automatically withdraws a certain amount to go to savings each month and then allocates it for specific areas on the spreadsheet.

      Clothing (in all honesty) has been a bone of contention for us 🙂 He does put it away for that also and then I typically end up using my debit card when we need to purchase clothing, and I’m not sure that I love doing that way (would rather have cash.) I can’t remember how much we budget (with a family of 5, I think it might be between $50 and $100 per month?) Because I always know there’s wiggle room I’m not great about keeping it up like I used to, but definitely need to work on that. A few other people emailed asking for a copy of the basic spreadsheet (without numbers), so I’ll try to get that up correctly and will share more information on specifics (without too much information!) then. Love that you’re already following Financial Peace!

  2. I went through FPU and immediately saved the minimum-recommended $1000. It’s amazing how much just having that savings eliminated a ton of stress! I just went on vacation and came home to a completely dead car, which I had to have towed 20 miles and got a new battery for. Thankfully, it was covered under warranty, but even if it hadn’t been, I’d have known that it was OK because I had that emergency savings easily accessible for just this thing!

    Can’t say I’ve been able to save much more than that, but I’m working on that.

  3. Besides our emergency fund, we have 10 different small, yet specific, savings accounts for things just like what you wrote about. We have accounts for auto repair, clothing, gifts, vacation/trips, pets, kid’s activities, medical, household, school fees/activities, and newspapers/magazine subscriptions. We have a set amount go into each account each month and that way we know that if it’s time for the dog’s check up, the money is there. If a school field trip pops up, the fees are there. Car breaks down, repair money is available. We used to dump it all into one big savings account but it was too hard keeping up with the spreadsheet and knowing at a quick glance how much I had to spend on clothes or a household item. I LOVE having the separate accounts for each category. It’s kinda like an electronic envelope. 🙂

  4. I do try to save $100-200 per month in a car repair/replace fund. It came in handy recently when we had two $500+ repairs (one to each car, Murphy…) in a two month span. I had to take about $350 out of the emergency fund for the second repair, but that is much better than stressing over how to scrape together the money. I keep track by breaking down my savings as separate in Quicken. That way I know how much of my savings account is allocated at a glance. I will replace the $350 next month.

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