Welp, I really screwed up on two fronts.
Coverage-ing my ass
Remember how I had that accident and the rental car cost me $400?
It’s all because I didn’t have rental car coverage, which I had always prided myself on. Why buy into it, so to speak, when the chances of an accident are slim and it’s something like $40 a year?
Turns out it’s only $14 a year. So I could’ve saved myself about $372 if I’d gotten rental car coverage when I switched to Safeco two years ago.
Similarly, I have AAA for something like $60 to $80 a year. Tim insisted it was worthwhile because of the roadside assistance and towing.
Problem: AAA only covers the first five miles of towing. After that it’s $5/mile. Did I mention how spread out Phoenix is? If I broke down in the neighboring suburb of Tempe, it’d still cost about $100 to get AAA to tow me back to my mechanic. Meanwhile, towing insurance is only about $9 a year.
Ah, but AAA offers roadside assistance, right? Well, so does towing insurance — up to a point, anyway.
According to the customer representative I spoke with, roadside assistance includes their bringing you “fluids” — gas or presumably coolant (?) — if it becomes necessary.
So the only difference between my insurance’s coverage and AAA is that my insurance won’t come out to change a tire or battery. In other words, if I get a flat or a dead battery, I’ll have to get it towed to my mechanic. (No, I don’t know how to change a tire, and yes I should work on that.)
But in the case of a flat, I’d have to take it to the mechanic anyway for a new tire. So there’s not a huge difference there. So the only noteworthy time would be if my battery dies, and it was just replaced last year.
In other words, it just made sense to get the roadside and rental car coverages. I’ve added both and will be calling AAA to un-auto-renew my membership.
I’ll chalk up the extra I’ve been paying (including the $372 in rental car costs) to yet another financial screw up. Goodness knows, it won’t be my last. Speaking of which…
Tax return oopsie
I mailed my tax return nice and early (for me) on March 19th. And realized two days later that I forgot to sign the dang thing.
Here’s hoping that it’s one of the first things they check for so that it gets mailed back to me quickly. I’m due a refund, so there’s no harm/foul if I don’t get a signed copy in by April 15th. But since I am due a refund, I’d prefer if this gets straightened out sooner rather than later. Still, I’m not hopeful.
And yes, I’m a Luddite and mail in my return. For reasons to long to get into now, I had to use a physical copy this year. Also, I always forget to request a PIN so that I can file electronically.
I’ll get more into why I had to file a physical copy and how much my refund is — if all goes well it’s sizeable — only once I have the check in hand. Because I’m superstitious like that.
Cat food for months
I’ve now got about as much cat food as toilet paper. Which, if you know me and my stock-up ways, means I have a lot of cat food.
Josie’s bag is down to about 1/3 full. Now, that’ll probably last at least a couple more months, but I got a $5 off coupon for her food. And I’ll need the stuff eventually, right? So I saw no reason not to stock up with another 16-lb bag of the stuff.
There was also a manufacturer’s coupon so I got a total of $11 off the standard price. Which means $11 going into saved savings. Woot!
Free oil change
Speaking of saved savings, I lucked into a free oil change. The car has been bugging me about “Service due soon” for a couple of weeks now, but I hadn’t gotten around to taking it in. It finally switched to “Service due now” and two days later the Honda dealership called.
Since I hadn’t been in for a while — I go to a mechanic — they offered me a free oil change. I declined the extra services offered, making it truly free, much to the polite annoyance of the guy doing my intake. According to the invoice I got $27.26 worth of labor and parts for free. So that’s going straight into the saved savings account.
Unfortunately, they also noticed that my transmission fluid is brown. It should be red. Which means a transmission flush is needed.
I went to my mechanic, since as I understand it dealership prices tend to be inflated.
I knew from the Internet the flush was going to run anywhere between $140 and $320. So you can imagine my delight when the bill came on the low end of $143. Once again, I’m reassured that I’m taking my car to the right place.
Seven/eight days a week
I had another seven-day week while my mom was here. Sigh.
It was a confluence of events, really.
Mom and I loaded up on junk and convenience food (plus the ingredients for a few of my favorite dishes) in preparation for my eye surgery. The grocery bill was a painful $55. Did I mention a lot of it was junk food?
I also had one of the Banfield pet plans hit the card, which was another $31. And the bill for my new jeans came due. Since they were from Express, even at what is (relatively speaking) a good deal, that was another $77. Plus the $34 cat food. Plus the $11 into saved savings.
Those charges, if you’re playing along at home, added up to $208 of my weekly $280. Just one of those weeks, I suppose.
I did a little better the following week, lasting eight days. Not the 10 I generally aim for, but better than seven, right?
I paid for my monthly shipment of protein bars ($64), my hair color ($30) and one other service for $40, plus gas for $25 and $23 for some groceries. And the $27 in saved savings for the oil change. I actually ended the week with $20 left, but that couldn’t cover my $25 therapy co-pay on Tuesday. So I had to transfer in more money and start a new financial week.
All in all, then, I actually had less than $60 in miscellaneous expenses last week, which ain’t bad. And only one of those charges was fast food, at least. So I’m doing well on that front.
I comfort myself knowing that if Tim were still around, it’d have been a five-day week (or worse). Still, I hope to go back to stretching the weekly funds to nine or ten days in the near future.
But given that I already had a $25 co-pay, plus I have $70 worth of prescriptions and a $49 utility bill due in the next two days… Well, that’s half my funds, so I’m not too optimistic about the coming week lasting 10 days. I guess I’ll just have to keep buckling down on miscellaneous expenses wherever possible and hope for the best.
How’s your spending been lately? Have you had a financial screw-up recently?