This month’s money mistake – not keeping up on vehicle maintenance
Financially I think I do a lot of things well but there is always room for improvement. The Monthly Money Mistake series is a place where I can highlight a mistake from the previous month, provide follow up from previous months’ mistakes, and record action steps for improvement in the future.
Since starting the Monthly Money Mistake series I have become more mindful of my money. Although there is still lots of room for improvement, it is rewarding to see steady progress.
Hopefully, this series helps to also inspire you to be more mindful of your money. In the end, it doesn’t matter what specifically you are spending your money on. The only thing that matters is that you are aligning your spending with your values.
In previous months I have often discussed money mistakes that relate to food. This month we are going in a different direction and talking about a topic I have yet to discuss as a money mistake. This month’s money mistake is not keeping up on vehicle maintenance.
Last Months’ Money Mistake Follow Up
But first, let’s take some time to reflect on last month’s money mistake – avoidable food waste.
I’m happy to report that this month saw great progress from last month’s money mistake.
We are no longer giving our little one milk right before bed. This has led to a substantial decrease in wasted milk. Previously we would heat up milk for her and some nights she drank it all and other nights she barely drank any, resulting in wasted milk.
Related Post – Monthly Money Mistake – January 2020
Now we give her a serving of milk first thing in the morning when she wakes up. This has the benefit of being when she is hungriest so she drinks all the milk. And it always nice to get some morning cuddles with her while she’s drinking her milk.
This past month I have also been experimenting with changing how I grocery shop. I’m happy to report that this has had a positive impact on our budget. This is still a work in progress because we went to Costco 3 times last month, but slow progress is being made.
For the past few weeks, we have also experimented with meal planning, again. We have tried meal planning many times in the past but it never seems to stick.
But for whatever reason, this time is different. In the past hubby did the majority of the cooking. But now with a little one and both of us working, we are sharing more of the cooking responsibilities. And meal planning is working.
In the past, hubby was always resistant but now he is loving it. After a busy day with the little one he doesn’t have to think about what to make for dinner, he just looks at the plan and is good to go.
Okay, let’s get to this month’s money mistake.
This month’s money mistake relates to not keeping up with vehicle maintenance.
There is a lot of information in the financial independence community about the true cost of car ownership. A few months back I proposed to hubby that we go down to one vehicle in our household. When we really looked at this as an option, it just didn’t make sense for us. Well, actually it was hubby telling me that there was no way we would go down to one vehicle.
So right now we are a 2 (well actually 3 – the third being my collector pickup) vehicle household. There is nothing wrong with owning multiple vehicles. The mistake that we made was not keeping up with the maintenance on one of our vehicles.
Our Older Vehicles
Our 2 primary driving vehicles are a 2005 Honda CRV and a 2013 Chevrolet Equinox. Both were bought brand new and we have the intention of driving both of them until they cannot be driven any longer.
The past month the check engine and maintenance light have been on in the Honda CRV. At first, we thought that it might have been low on oil so we topped it up and didn’t think any more of it – even though the lights didn’t go off.
Just this past week I finally made an appointment to have it serviced; it was well overdue for an oil change at the very least. Turns out it needed a lot more than just an oil change. Most of the work was reasonable and we have money in our budget for it.
The maintenance that could have been avoided related to the oil. Because the oil had not been changed in an excessively long time and had run very low it was like sludge. In order to fully take care of this and prevent it from becoming a greater issue, the engine required a hot oil flush. This ended up costing us $76.50, a cost that could have been avoided had we kept up with our vehicle maintenance.
The easy lesson here is to pay attention to check engine lights and to regularly monitor the oil in our vehicles. For many years I drove a vehicle that didn’t burn oil at all so I got out of the habit of checking my oil.
Now that our vehicles are getting older and have more kilometers on them it is more important than ever to check and change the oil regularly. Had we been checking and changing the oil regularly on the Honda CRV we could have saved ourselves the $76.50.
To take this a step further, we could save more money by doing the oil changes on our vehicles ourselves. That being said, that is not something that we want to spend our time doing. For that reason, we have budgeted for vehicle maintenance in our budget.
The action steps to prevent this money mistake in the future are quite easy – they just need to be remembered:
- Regularly check the oil in our vehicles
- This could either be done once a month (with a reminder set in our phones to remember)
- Or this could easily be done every time we fill up the vehicle with gas.
- Regular maintenance of our vehicles
- When the check engine light comes on, get it looked at right away (thankfully my dad has a code reader so we can do this for free)
- Schedule regular oil changes as they come due on the vehicle
In the grand scheme of things, the $76.50 extra that this month’s money mistake ended up costing us is not the end of the world. But the bad habit of not maintaining regular vehicle maintenance could end up costing us a lot more in the future.
Because we have decided to be a multiple vehicle household we also need to accept the responsibilities of this. Driving older vehicles will save us money, as long as we keep up with regular vehicle maintenance.
What was your money mistake this month?