Should I save for car repairs or pay off car loans early?

I’ve been thinking about our emergency fund. By next Friday, we’ll have a little over $1600 set aside. Yipee! Dave Ramsey says that the EF is separate from the 3-6 months of living expenses, and should be used just for emergencies. So now I am trying to predict what unexpected expenses may crop up in the next year or two. For us, the most likely culprit would be expensive car repairs.

(our house is in good shape – the roof and heating/cooling systems are still under warranty) Of course, there could be an awful family-type emergency too, but I’m thinking more of a predictable emergency here. So here’s my thought – I am considering calling our mechanic to find out about how much the worst-case scenario major repairs would cost.

I figure I can do this for each car (95 Volvo 940 wagon and 92 Honda Accord), and then try to get enough in the emergency fund to cover the single most expensive repair (ie new Volvo transmission or engine) My DH thinks I’m going a little overboard, and that we should worry about paying off the cars instead of saving for repairs that may not be needed. The Honda has only 85,000 miles, and the Volvo 115,000. Both are very reliable.

What do you think? Should I get aggressive about paying off the cars, or should I save enough to pay for a major repair the cars may not need any time soon? (We owe a little over 10K for both cars, and the Volvo will be paid off next summer)

What frugal thing(s) did you do today?

I really want to go to Walmart today because I just finished recovering a chair and it absolutely *needs* a red velvet throw pillow–and none of the fabric that I have here is quite right…..And the reason that this is a big deal (beyond the fact that no one–man or beast, or chair, really needs a red velvet pillow) is that I have given Walmart up in recognition that it is not a frugal thing for me.

So that’s my concrete frugal thing. It’s more than just money though, it’s all the stuff that I then think I need/want–stuffitis is contagious! So I’ve been using the dollar store for most of my “walmart” type of stuff and it has been working much better.

Logging in with my two cents worth

We just tiled 500 square feet a couple of weeks ago. We eliminated lino for two reasons: 1. we would need to seam it to cover the room; and 2. as do-it-yourself-ers, one mistake can be a major problem when working with a big ole sheet of lino, but one mistake on a 12/12 tile is just one tile lost. A major psychological boon. We chose to use the commercial tile (59 cents a square foot at Lowes–add another 10 cents or so for the adhesive cost. Nice heavy duty stuff–which we needed because the room is rented out. Although ability to wear was a primary concern, I was pleasantly surprised at the range of colors available.

Ended up using a really pretty desert color called earthstone. (I wanted to checkerboard the tile, but dh reminded me to be realistic about our skill level–halfway thru, boy was I glad that saner minds had prevailed!) It was definitely more work than the self-stick stuff but it was the best balance of durability and dollar cost for us. I’ve done a couple of floors with the self stick tile and it is just like putting a puzzle together.

Really easy and so satisfying to see it go down so quickly. Only caution though, is to choose your colors carefully. We laid a mostly white floor in a bathroom and I was never happy with how the tiles looked at the join mark–like a very thin dark grout line. Whereas we had done a kitchen in a mottled beige that looked just like one sheet of flooring when we were done. Good luck with your project and so sorry about how it came about.

Emergency fund…can we use………

Ok I have a question on this…dh and I have devoured Dave Ramsey’s book and another called “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki. He was featured on Oprah a few weeks ago. Anyway, here is my question. We own our own business, for which dh keeps a business acct. Then I have a checking account, which covers household expenses.

Dh writes me a check out of the business account each week for $400 to cover the household stuff.

Anyway, he always has a running balance of at LEAST $10,000 at all times in the business account. Can we use this/consider this our EF? If such an emergency was to arise, we would definitely pull that money to use it. Just wondering if I needed to set up a separate acct for that.

IMHO I would have an emergency fund before Idid debt reduction. Our emergencies in 23 years have included such things as pets being runned over emergency vet bills, unforseen plumbing and electric problems, teeth braces, root canals, eyeglasses, replacement of lawn mowers, edgers replaced dishwasher stove refrig and washerdreyer in a period of 8 years. I also think it is a good thing to have your cars tuned up once a year for about $160.00 and ask him to look at belts and hoses for you . We have been without a car for a dumb reason like not seeing a belt was almost worn off. Even though Honda s are rated number 1 my bf just spent close to $4000 fixing up her sons “92 Honda and we replaced our transmission on our Honda that was 9 years old at the time. What I am saying you never know. We had one month where emergencies were $1400 over my husbands monthly income. Of course I know we get more than our fair share of financial emergencies so I am very cynical about this.

Sounds like you’ve had a horrible day

I’ve never tried to install lino because it seems intimidating to me. Last year, I did replace 3 bedroom floors with vinyl tile (which is like lino but in 12 x 12 inch square. It was amazingly easy. If you buy the self stick kind (peel off the back paper) you just put it into place and use a rubber hammer/mallet to make sure it is secure and you are ready for the next one. Around the edges and corners, just use a straight edge razor (like a box cutter) and a ruler. Measure it, score with the razor and it will break on a straight line, then put down.

If you have curves (like around doorways) you can either buy one of those pin things from the hardware store – that makes the pattern (you can get a loan for this here –, I always use this website when I’m in financial emergency). Then trace it on the vinyl with an ink pin. I used my Ginsu scissors for all the trimming – worked really well. Remember is to make sure you start out square so you are working in a straight line and pull off the baseboards so you get to the edge of the floor. I used a nail puller for that. You should allow a little bit of room under the baseboards (probably 1/2″) for the floor to expand and contract with different weather so it doesn’t buckle later.

It won’t show anyway when you put the baseboard back. Be sure you are working with even subfloor – if you have other broken tile or something underneath, level it up with a spare tile so your top floor is level. It only took a couple of hours for each room including putting back the baseboards. You can get different prices/costs of vinyl at the hardware store. I got the 10 year warranty, no wax Armstrong for 95 cents a square foot and there were no other costs. It’s really easy to take care of – got a white pattern with diamonds and I use the dust-mop and it just glides over it. Mop it with plain water. Good luck with whatever you do.

P. S. Did you check to see if your insurance would cover any of this. We once had a leak in our dd bedroom wall. The dumb plumbers dug two holes in the wall to find it. The insurance company gave us $1400.00. DD bf mother had her washer overflow and ruin her carpets insurance covered the cost of new carpeting. Just a thought.

This is why i am afraid of debit cards

I do a lot of INTERNET shopping – when they make an error and forget to take your coupon off etc. your act is debited and your cking acct is out the money until you can get is straightened out. with my MC i just call MC and they will not pay those people and will credit me if they don’t straighten it out I also used one at my superfresh and somehow on my bank statement they had debited an extra $200 – here one day their machines were down and they hand copied a persons debit card number but accidentally keyed mine in when thet keye dit in. thank goodness i had the 200$ extra in my acct or a slew of cks would have bounced- causing me all kids of late fees- bounced ck fees and of course the aggravation of trying to get that money back along with my 200$ – i knwo they work for alot of people butthey are just to scary for me – since they are directly into my cking acct.

I had a magazine company that i ordered from last year but over $60 worth of charge son my cc this month they said when i called that they automatically renew each year – this was not on their site at the time i ordered and i was not notified of this – of course my MC and probably even the Visa that work with teh debit card removed them and i also called the company – but what if i had made a ck out that needed $20 of that $50 in it and i was not yet in possession of my account statement and i had no idea i had just overdrawn my acct.

I would just be a nervous wreck

It looks like I follow the Dave Ramsey method a little closer. I don’t write checks. Haven’t written one in almost 2 years–for anything. I pay my all my bills that arn’t fixed [same amount every month] with cash or money order. The fixed bills that offer directly credit card billing I have charged to my debit card, but that’s it.

My semi-frugal family vacation

I really like Dave Ramsey, too. Wish his show was on here in Atlanta, but Clark Howard is so popular (local consumer radio show) that getting the Money Game (Dave Ramsey’s show) would be a tough sell. If you have the time, I highly recommend listening to one of his show archives – it’s great reinforcement for getting rid of debt. To listen, go to, and follow the links to the radio show. The archived shows are listed at the bottom of the page – you’ll have to scroll down to see them. I try to listen once a week. If you’ve never heard his show – check it out!

As for credit cards, we are down to one – an American Express card that we have no choice but to pay in full every month. I prefer this approach to a debit card, because when we buy with Amex we’re covered by the consumer protection laws that do not cover debit card transactions.

This is where I part company with Dave Ramsey – he advocates using debit cards exclusively. I think that’s too risky, because once the money is out of your account, it’s gone. If you use Amex, or any other credit card, you have charge back protection. Federal law also limits your liability if someone uses your account fraudulently. If someone gets a hold of your debit card, they can clean out your checking account and you are at the mercy of your bank. That’s just too risky to me.

BTW, I just got back from a fun, semi-frugal trip with the kids to Chattanooga, TN. If you haven’t been there recently, the city has really done a great job of reinventing itself as a family-friendly tourist destination. Our kids love the Aquarium and the Creative Discovery Museum.

We used the free electric shuttle buses to get around (saved $ on parking), and stayed at a Holiday Inn (kids ate free, including a huge breakfast buffet). The hotel had 3 pools, 2 with water slides. What more could a kid want? The whole vacation cost us well under $500, including gas, food, hotel, tickets to attractions, take-home goodies, and more. We could have done it for less, but I wanted to splurge and stay in a really nice place.

Laura in Atlanta

I’ll tell you what I did with a whole basket

One day, when dh was watching tv, I casually said, “hey, why don’t you do me a favor and match these socks while you’re sitting there?” And then I gave him my basket of hopeless sock orphans (amassed over several years), and slyly retired into the background to watch. He worked…and worked…and worked… very methodically of course, setting out each orphan separately on the coffee table, waiting for its mate to appear, which of course it never did.

Finally, when he had gotten THIRTY-SEVEN socks strewn out all around him (coffee table, couch, floor,) and not one pair among them, he looked up in complete frustration … and caught me laughing my you-know-what off.

So, if nothing else, save all those socks for April Fool’s Day – or the next time your dh asks why the laundry hasn’t been sorted yet.

This is a good thread to start. i have a basket that I put unmatched socks in (so they don’t clog up my sock drawer) and got through them about once a week to see if I can find any matches. Some have been hanging in there for awhile so its kinda nice to get some ideas on what to do with them. I guess I missed the most obvious-sock puppets! Now, I did make some really cute snowman ornaments out of baby/toddler socks last year, so I may save some of the good ones to make this year.

well as i have basket full of socks i am about to match (tomorrow while doing freeride and the magic bus rides LOL!!) i am thinking of what to do with the ones i cannot find matches too here is what i plan to do

# 1 – dust rags, paint rags – cleaning rags

# 2 – if they are in really good condition but without a match you can make no-sew-doll clothes out of them – depending on the size of the sock and the doll (very small socks would be good for barbies larger sizes for larger dolls ) you cut at the toe the size you would need for undies – the toes area is the bottom the cut area the waist band- cut two leg wholes – then you cut the mid section ( which looks really neat if it is a ribbed sock) as the shirt – playsuit- cut the length you would need to go from the dolls neckline to over the “pantie”s cut arm holes in it – you can even roll it over 1 x at the collar to make a turtleneck like collar – then with the remaining you can make a headband- hat – or even a skirt – these are great for a quick new outfit for a little ones baby doll – but if left unseen will eventually fray

# 3 – put some way for crafts etc if they are in good enough condition

What I do is take/steal an idea from Amy D’s books. I buy 20 or 30 pairs of identical socks at a time then don’t bother matching. Every time I reach in to the drawer, all I have to do is grab the first two socks my hands land on and I’ve got a match! Then if I lose/wear out a single sock, all I’ve lost is a single sock. When the quantity of individual socks gets low enough, I just go and buy 20 or 30 more identical ones. Yes, I have a high initial outlay of cash; however, in the long run it not only saves me time, but also money.

Need lino installation help

We are in the middle of a major catastrophe in my house. The hot water tank burst (second in 6 years). When the plumber came and tried to empty it he found that it was clogged with water softener beads.

He replaced the hot water tank and we purchased a new water softener. We pulled up the lino in the bedroom (we live in a trailer and both tanks are in a wall beside the bedroom) and the sub floor needs to be replaced as the plywood is soaked and starting to delaminate. Dh is replacing the sub floor and we think we can put in new lino ourselves. This mess has already cost us $1300. and we don’t want to spend anymore.

Does anyone have any experience installing lino? Can we do this ourselves or should we call someone? We live in a very small town and the workmanship of at least one of the floor layers is pretty awful.

Well i had a very unfrugal day

I used a lot of gas as i had to run all over several different towns – i had to go to my OB to get my RX for my 16 week blood work they forgot about at my APPT monday – then i had to go to a lab in another town that would accept my insurance – along teh way we stopped at a book warehouse and I let each child pick out a low price book – but we did also get a neat book about famous baseball pitchers for ds’s best friend whose b-day party is tomorrow and who is relay into being a b-ball pitcher – its a $35 book we got for $5 –

then we went to the uniform store and i ordered Ds a tie and 2 pairs of pants (a lot of people gave us pants in the past but none are the right size ) that was 42.00 ( UGH) just out of curiosity i had him try on the 60$ jackets ( blazer) and was very happy to see that it looked no different than the $4 one i got him at the thrift store –

THEN as i was really beat and in no mood to make lunch when we got home i went thru the McD’s drive thru on the way home- on a bright side todays special was a 6 pc chicken mcnugget for 89c do three of them and a large fry was under 5$.

at least dinner will be frugal we are having spaghetti – will cost maybe 1.75 for the whole meal LOL!!