Today’s guest contribution comes from Emily Lackey.
If breaking up with my boyfriend of five years taught me anything, it’s that the financial world favors people in partnerships.
After moving out of the house we’d been sharing, I became saddled with $4,000 in relocating costs. A monthly rent that was suddenly twice as much. And all the monthly utility bills.
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But those weren’t the biggest burdens.
You see, up until the point I was one of those lucky girls with a guy who was not only was emotionally present and supportive, but who could also change my oil, fix my brakes and tell me why my tires were making that womp womp womp sound every time I hit the highway.
Did I mention he once rewired an entire house?
He was definitely a handy guy to have around.
But now he was a guy I was trying my best not to call when there was a problem. A guy who I could no longer pay for favors with nice meals. A guy who lived almost two hundred miles away.
So when my brakes started grinding and my tires starting getting louder than the car radio playing at full blast, I knew it was going to be the first true test of my independence post-breakup.
You know, aside from packing up my entire life, moving to a state I had never lived in and saying goodbye to a man who was wonderful – but not right.
During our five-year relationship, my ex-boyfriend taught me a lot of things. How to wash dishes without wasting water. What temperature pork should be cooked to. And that when it comes to car repairs, you should always shop around.
So that’s what I did.
I got into my then, very loud car, and went from mechanic to mechanic asking what they would charge for four tires and a full brake repair.
For the record, I could have called around and saved some time, but I sound young on the phone, so showing up in person and showing them I know my sh*t was definitely a better bet for me.
I also looked up the cost of parts online ahead of time.
So when they told me the cost of replacing my front brakes alone would be $300, I called BS.
If you’ve never shopped around for car repairs before you might be thinking that shopping around for different estimates could save you (at most) a couple bucks, right?
Wrong. SO wrong.
After visiting four different repair shops, the difference in costs amounted to around $610 savings!
By shopping around I saved myself almost 50%!
There’s definitely a lesson to be learned here, and it’s not just about money.
For the first time since my breakup, I felt proud of myself and my ability to demand better.
There’s something incredibly empowering about asking for what you want and not just taking whatever overpriced and unfair estimate comes your way.
That goes for car repairs, your money and your relationships.
Emily Lackey lives and writes in the greater New York Area. Her work has appeared in Prairie Schooner, Hobart and The Billfold, among others.
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