Spending Money to Save Money

Today’s post come from Tonya at Budget and the Beach. Enjoy!

Spending Money to Save Money Driving down an LA surface street to go to my friend’s house, that dreaded feeling came over me at a stoplight. My car was kind of doing this weird shaking thing. “That doesn’t feel right,” I thought. But the “check engine” light never came on, and I would have felt bad canceling on my friend last minute and driving back home. Of course hindsight is 20/20, and I should have. By the time I got to her house, a weird noise was coming from the engine, and something smelled really bad.

I pulled over about a block from her house and noticed steam coming from the hood. “Darn it!” Ok, in all truthfulness those were NOT the words that were coming out of my mouth at the time…but I’ll keep this post PG. There are two frustrating things about this situation.  1. I did not trust my instincts about driving the car, and now I’m past the 7 miles of free towing from AAA, from her house to mine. 2. This is the exact same problem I had last year, and spent thousands on getting my car fixed to the point where this never should have happened again…at least within the year! I had dinner with my friend, then she decided to follow me home to be safe, and if I started to have problems again I’d pull over and call AAA. The goal was to try and get the car as close to within the 7 miles of free towing as possible. I made it to 8 miles, meaning I paid $9 for the one extra mile it got towed. Not bad, I guess, but a fairly stupid (I could ruin my engine driving it) and unsafe decision considering it was a really foggy night and options to find a spot to pull over were limited.

Here’s the kicker though: Just last week I decided to NOT spend the extra $30 to upgrade my basic AAA membership to a Plus membership, which has 100 miles of free towing instead of 7. This decision didn’t just cost me an extra $9 this time (and by the way I still have to get it towed to the dealership, which is 9.5 miles away from my house), but last year the decision not to spend that extra money literally cost me thousands! Last year my car died on the busy 405 freeway in LA on a Friday afternoon in the middle of rush hour traffic. If you ever want to test the limits of your ability to handle fear, just have that happen. The car was un-drivable, and considering I was about 15 miles to my dealership or another auto repair shop that I trusted, I agreed to have my car towed to a nearby shop that AAA recommended. To make a very long story short, they kept my car for nearly a week, and kept telling me I needed this, that, and the other thing to get it up and running. My gut instinct was that they were full of crap, but with my car being completely out of commission, how was I to know what I really needed to get done? I even brought a trusty guy friend to go talk to them and get his opinion, and even he thought I should just have them fix it. Well nearly 3k later, I drove it home with what the mechanic promised to be “like a brand new car.”

You can see where this story is going right? Well not one month later it died again, and once again I had to spend extra money to get it towed back to that place to have them fix whatever they did wrong that I thought would be under warranty. Well they said it was something new. FML! I think that problem cost around $500. Just to be sure I wasn’t going to die again on the freeway, I later took it to the Subaru dealership, who told me the problem wasn’t really addressed, and I needed a whole new radiator system. Another $650. The point is, had I been able to tow it to the dealership in the first place, I might not have had to spend that initial huge chunk of change! The whole point is that sometimes us PF people almost cut back in spending too much, thereby leaving us open to problems that in the end cost us more! I’m looking at you, the one with the achy tooth avoiding getting that expensive crown, but will probably end up needing a root canal if you ignore it too long. Oh wait, that happened to me too! :)

So even if things cost a bit more per month, but protect you financially in the long run, remind yourself that it’s sometimes worth it for the peace of mind, and avoiding the much larger expense later on! Have you ever been in a situation where you should have spent a little more upfront to save yourself from a big expense later on?

To see how everything turned out, click here.

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