To add insult to injury, after I got home from my vacation, still not 100% healthy and feeling pretty disappointed over not running my half marathon, I got a phone call from my apartment management office saying that my car had been hit in the parking lot and they had all the other driver’s insurance information for me.
Immediately, I asked what happened and when. While on my way into my building, lugging my suitcase, I had passed my car, and while I didn’t stop to inspect it, it didn’t look like it had been hit. Apparently it had happened earlier that afternoon. An elderly woman had confused her brakes with her gas pedal and backed into my car and another car. I went back outside to examine my car. Two small scuffs. Not a big deal, considering that my car lives in a parking lot and has gotten pretty beaten up out there, being hit by wawyard shopping carts and idiots who either back into it, smack it while opening their car doors, or scrape it while pulling out. (These things used to frustrate me. Now it’s just a way of life.) I was surprised and pleased that this woman reported it.
I debated whether or not to file an insurance claim, but decided to try it out and see what happened. I figured that if they would give me $20 towards repairs, that was better than nothing. Last week, I took my car to be inspected, which took all of five minutes, and I got an estimate. They’re sending me a check for $80 to get the scuffs buffed and polished. The insurance adjustor told me that I could get the repairs done when and where I wanted them, but was sure to note that the check was being made out to me, so I could decide what I wanted to do with it.
Given the other damage to my car, I’m probably not going to get these scuffs fixed. They’re really minor as compared to the dings in the doors. I could just put this money towards a full repair of all the problems – but the car still lives in a parking lot. It’s going to continue to get damaged. And while additional dings don’t bother me now, after I pay a boatload of money to get them fixed and then two days later have a new ding? I will be angry and frustrated.
So I’m thinking that this $80 is now part of a new fund. That’s right, Megan’s new car fund. No, I don’t plan on buying a new car anytime soon. Not until my current car completely falls apart. And if nothing else, this money goes into my car maintenance/repair fund. But it might be fun to set up a new ING subaccount, drop in the $80, and see what happens.
All in all, it was worth getting the car inspected. I definitely wasn’t expecting to get $80. And learning that two little scuffs will cost $80 to repair means that I’m that much less likely to get the other damage fixed. That would cost a small fortune!
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.