I’ve been thinking a lot about past purchases over the past few months, looking at things that I’ve bought that perhaps weren’t the best choice for me. After all my car trouble last week, I’ve been thinking about my current car battery.
As I mentioned I am an AAA member, and in the summer of 2007, while I was studying for the bar exam, I left bar review courses to find my car dead in the parking lot. I called AAA and they showed up to jump my car.
A quick diagnostic test showed my battery was dead. My options were then to go get a battery and install it myself (after first learning how to install a battery), find someone who could install it for me, have the car towed to a shop and get a battery there, or have AAA install a battery right there.
AAA clearly wins for the convenience factor, but what about the price?
The Price of AAA Car Batteries
AAA car batteries cost upwards of $115.
Yes. $115. I believe car batteries run in the $50-$75 range, with some outliers.
This battery did come with a three year free replacement warranty, and then replacement at a discounted price for the three years after that. So really, I paid $115 for a three year battery. But really, what I paid for was the convenience.
At that time, I was under enough stress with studying for the bar exam and focusing on moving to the D.C. area and everything else going on in my life. I didn’t need any more stress. So paying the extra money for the quick fix was worth it.
Would I Do It Again
Would I make the same choice today? It would depend on where I was when the battery died.
If my car wouldn’t start in my parking lot, then maybe not. If I were out running errands, the answer might be different. Part of it depends on whether or not I can find someone to help me change the battery. If I have to get it towed, that price has to be factored in.
Of course, if my battery dies in the next few years, I’m calling AAA simply because of the warranty. I paid for the service and I am absolutely going to be sure I get it.
So this past purchase? More expensive than it could have been, but probably worth the extra price. If only I could say that about all of my past purchases!
Have you ever bought a AAA car battery before? How’d that go for you?
Megan is a 40-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.