My transmission is toast. Luckily, it did not happen on the highway, and I managed to coast it into the shop so I didn't even need a tow. But I do need a new (to me) transmission for my poor car. I'm waiting to hear back today on what my options are.
I've been putting money away each week into savings (not enough to pay for the transmission), and working hard on paying down my credit card. The credit card is what's going to wind up paying for the transmission. I'm glad I have the credit available, but would have much preferred not having had to resort to it. So in the meantime, I'm searching high and low for additional part-time jobs that I can take on over the summer so that I can stay on track with my plan of paying off this (my only) credit card by the end of the year.
In thinking back to other expensive life experiences of the past ten years (miscalculating taxes and owing the IRS a bundle, a costly but life-saving dog operation [the dog is still alive and thriving seven years on], and a leaking roof come to mind) I see that I used to just put it on a card or open a new loan and not think at all about how long it would take to recoup the loss, or what the interest implications would be, or even what those borrowed money payments would do to my overall daily cash flow.
But now I have a different approach, thanks to many years of reading books and blogs (like the Dollar Stretcher!), and thinking and praying long and hard about the kind of life I want to have, and considering (lately) each and every expenditure. So now I just (okay, "just") have the one card, and have a very serious plan about paying it off. In the past, I might have said, "Well, since my car broke down and I have to charge it, I might as well charge up a dinner out and treat myself to something so I'll feel better about it." In fact, I probably did say that at some point. Instead, this time I walked home (lucky to have a great car shop near my house) and made dinner from my pantry.
I am disappointed that I am unable to pay cash for the repair, but I'm so grateful for many things that are helping me cope with this unexpected expense:
#1 I wasn't hurt or stranded somewhere by this dead transmission
#2 I do have enough credit available to pay for it, and I have enough cash to rent a car for a week or two if I need to.
#3 All my other bills (mortgage, food, utilities) are not imperiled by this expense
#4 I own my car, and this repair will hopefully extend its life, and will certainly cost less than a new car
#5 I am looking for extra sources of income to help me stay on track with paying for this bill