So Friday at work, after I saw my first client, my car got really sick. Transmission (automatic) got stuck - unable to get beyond second gear. At the same time, it started to refuse to idle (fuel pump issue?) Fortunately, my next client cancelled, so I started looking for a repair shop. The first 3 places I tried couldn't even look at it till Monday (or Tuesday, or Thursday, actually). The next shop took a minute to look at it, and gave me a minimum $300 estimate, if it doesn't need a whole new transmission, and by the way, we can't even get started till Thursday. No, I can't drive in 2nd gear until Thursday.
Yikes! My brother is coming into town for Mother's Day weekend, and we all were planning all sorts of activities, mainly based on me driving everybody around. And I can't miss 4 or more days of work - I visit clients at their homes in a 30 mile radius, and sometimes transport them - I CANNOT be without a car! Car rental would be $200 for a week - and that is assuming it will actually be fixed Thursday.
$500 minimum, and I still would have my POS car, that has 1,000 things wrong with it, trying to limp along.
So I got pissed off, and went to a sleazy "we finance anyone" used car dealership. And then another and another. It took all the rest of the day, but I ended up paying $500 down, $500 trade in for my POS, and $200/month for a car that has air conditioning, a radio, a speedometer, cup holders, and all sorts of other features that old car didn't. I know I will regret the obligation of a car payment (I have never bought anything on time before). And I don't remember ever making a major decision like this based on anger. But for right now, it is great to have a car that feels like it will make it.
I hate being so close to the edge that an added expense like this is a major blow. I just started a project that pays $200/month, but I expect it will only run through the summer. And I had counted on that for paying off my outstanding state tax bill. Sorry, governor, you guys will have to wait.