This week, I traveled to Pennsylvania for a funeral of a family member. It wasn’t an unexpected death, so the funeral was in some ways a relief and a blessing, and came with the knowledge that this family member is no longer suffering.
Over the past few weeks, I have felt like there was a little black raincloud over my head, and that raincloud followed me to the funeral. When I picked my mom up at the airport, I noticed that when I started my car, it was slow to turn over. I crossed my fingers that it was just something stupid, like I forgot to turn out a light and the battery was a bit drained. The car drove with no problems, so I tried to not worry about it. Easier said than done, right? We arrived at the hotel, and when we were leaving for the funeral home, the car again was very slow to turn over. By this time, I knew something was up. Finally, when we were leaving to head back to the hotel, the car just refused to turn over. My uncle got it to start, but I knew that I had to do something.
I called AAA and asked them to send someone out to check the battery and replace it. The guy they sent said “Yep, it’s your battery, I know these things,” but didn’t have any batteries with him. Great.
At this point, we’re trying to figure out how best to get to the funeral, and the hotel staff immediately let us know that they have a shuttle service and they would be happy to help us get wherever we need to go. They also tried to find us a mechanic that was still open and printed out the number for the local dealership. I know that you sometimes pay more getting a car serviced at a dealership, but in the case of a broken part that needs to be replaced, a dealership is often your best bet for a part specific to your car.
So I called back in the morning, and they said they would send someone with a battery. Then they called back and said batteries weren’t available til noon. Ok. Not such great service here. But I insisted they send someone out to run an actual diagnostic on the car to be sure that it was the battery. I didn’t want to wait til noon or later to find out the problem wasn’t the battery at all.
The guy who came out this time was wonderful. He ran a diagnostic and confirmed that it wasn’t my battery. He offered any assistance he could provide, and jumped the car to get it started so I could take it to a local dealership. He couldn’t have been nicer. He printed out the diagnostic report and reminded me more than once to give it to the service department and to not let them charge me for another diagnostic, because this one told them that the starter and the battery were fine and that there was a drain on the battery elsewhere.
Luckily, I didn’t have to worry about that either. I called the local dealership and they said they would look at the car as soon as I got there. Of course, I was playing the “funeral card,” as my mom put it, telling them that I was in town for a funeral of a family member (my uncle would have approved). I got to the dealership, they looked at the car, determined that it was a faulty electronic bit, and said they could fix it right away. 90 minutes and $215 later, my car was fixed. And conveniently, there was a minor recall on the car as well, so they took care of that while I was in there (for no charge, of course).
We made it to the funeral about 10 minutes before the service. I actually changed for the service in the bathroom of the car dealership. Thankfully, it was quite clean.
I joked that it was probably my uncle’s doing that my car broke down where it did. The process was a bit stressful, but in all honesty, getting the car fixed couldn’t have been much easier. And it would have been much more difficult in DC. Honestly, were I in the market for a new car anytime soon, I would consider making the 2.5 hour trek up to this dealership to see what they have for sale. The whole process was that wonderful.
Megan is a 30-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.