Friday, September 10, 2010

Pretty Hammers and Emergency Funds

I thought it might be interesting to share with you some numbers from the world of trucking.

Our truck has 1,076,648 miles on it. If you're like me and this number means nothing, that's over a million!  In three years we have put 350,000 miles on it and we bought it on Ebay. Ebay! Yes the same place where you can buy Britney Spears used chewing gum and Star Trek action figures is the place we went to when looking to purchase the most important tool in our business. And it is a tool. We have done everything in our power to  increase fuel efficiency, since that is our biggest expense, so the truck is not pretty. (Except for the Jeannie Bottle portion of it!) There are lots of good looking trucks on the road, all shiny with lots of chrome and those long, long hoods that stick out. That's the "classic" look and those long hoods are horrible for fuel efficiency.They are popular because they look cool. Looking cool is not nearly as cool (to the Tumbleweeds) as money in the bank. I call these trucks Pretty Hammers. When is the last time you saw a carpenter get all hepped up about the looks of his hammer?? It's just a tool with which you work. So is the truck.

Back to the numbers.  In 2008, when diesel fuel got as high as $5 a gallon, our fuel cost for the year was over $62,000.00. You can see how crucial it is to maximize fuel efficiency. Some of the Pretty Hammers average 5 MPG or less. We average 7 MPG. In an average week, the Pretty Hammer will have used 143 gallons more than us. So being cool would cost $715.00 a week. Call me a dork!

Our next biggest cost is maintenance. In 3 years we have spent $53,000.00 maintaining the truck. It's always needing something, but we stay on top of it for the most part. The engine blew up last year on the road and that little adventure cost about $13,000.00 in one shot. Luckily we had a plan in place.

Our saving grace has been our emergency fund. We have two, one for truck stuff and one for life stuff. Things happen, trucks break, the roof leaks, the furnace goes kaput. An emergency fund is the biggest stress reliever for me. We are debt free and pay everything in cash. It feels so good to only make payments to ourselves. That's not to say we're rolling in it, we just budget and don't spend money we don't have. We live frugally and don't have a lot of shiny stuff (except for the Jeannie Bottle) but  I would take an emergency fund over a new car or vacation any day.

I just realized I could gush a whole lot more on the benefits of an emergency fund so I'll stop for now before Murphy's Law kicks in and we have to use it.

This has nothing to do with anything


  1. From someone old enough to be, let's just say old enough, a few years ago my husband and I also became debt free. Who knew it could really be done? We have 3 emergency funds from money we paid ourselves. One for our old age, not that we have any plans to age gracefully, one for home repairs and one we call 'go to hell' money to fritter away traveling aimlessly in our RV ........ who know how many times we may have passed like tumbleweeds in the wind. Your photo was the perfect ending to the serious subject of finances. I was glad to see you had just enough of your mother's penchant for silly superstitions to be wary of alerting the spirits to your good fortune by ending with something totally unexpected. I bet your mother will be so proud.


  2. Glen Goodell's CORVETTE Fund! There, I said it and don't forget!

  3. Glen you can save up all you want for a Corvette, but you aren't allowed to buy one until you have a mid-life crisis! Only old guys have corvettes!


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