I've been really lucky all my life I've never really had to worry about not being able to pay the bills, I've held down a job since late primary school (okay so it was a paper run to start with, but still!) and have extremely generous parents. Since I moved out of home in 2nd year uni I've become financially independent from them, and that was my decision. It's been quite smooth sailing, budgeting, paying rent on time, electricity bills etc. But this year has been a challenge.
I don't think I realised when I bought a car, just how expensive they are. I needed a car for driving to and from and around the NSW countryside, when I moved to Orange. So I bought a 12 year old Holden Berlina, which had low kms and a good service history. It has been a great car, but very expensive to maintain. My insurance premiums are massive because I'm young, and last year I had it serviced twice, and also had to have a broken water pump and burnt out spark plugs repaired, and a flat tyre changed. This year I've put 4 new tyres on, and then had to get it registered, plus update my insurance. On top of this, petrol is so expensive, and this car is a guzzler.
This is all okay, because that's the reality of owning a 13 year old car, but the annoying part is human error! In the last year, I've had two accidents. The last one was the worst. I was quite upset and emotional, having had a big conversation with someone when I got in the car to drive to meet a friend in Glebe. I was a bit out of it, and quite teary. The car in front of my braked suddenly because of a "slow down, roadwork ahead" sign, and I didn't see it coming. Unfortunately, the car in front was a BMW convertible. ARGH! I was really upset and the woman yelled at me and was really patronising. That was a pretty bad day.
Well, 5 months on, the bill for the repairs have come through, and it's just insane how much it costs to repair a BMW convertible's slightly dinted rear end. And, because I'm on a really tight budget this year, it's going to be pretty devastating. I'm hoping to pay for the repairs from my savings. But I'm having to look long-term and work out whether I'll actually be able to afford to have a car into the future. I want to sell the commodore and get a fuel-efficient hatchback, but even then I need to remember the insurance and rego costs and the potential for another accident to occur etc. Things seem to be pointing to the living without a car side of the argument. But then catching a bus from Lewisham to Annandale is nigh impossible... particularly late at night.
I'm trying not to be anxious and get worked up about this, but sometimes it does just suck being an adult :(