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December 09, 2010


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Next article. When a 401k matched plan starts costing you...

Sometimes buying inexpensive is just plain buying cheap.

You didn't name them, so I will - BP! That always worries me when I'm there because of a mixup I once had (I don't drive a diesel):

I was home from college for the summer and borrowed my mom's car for a night out with friends. On the drive home, I stopped to fill up (like a good son should, I always returned the car full of gas)...and accidentally put 5 or so gallons of Diesel in a non-diesel Suburban. DOH! As soon as I realized it, I topped it off with Premium and got home just fine (after everyone else was asleep). I had driven about an hour after the mishap without any problems, so I thought I was good. Except for the next morning my Dad asked me what I had done that made the car drive like a tank. We actually were able to clean it with fuel additives and filling up frequently to dilute the diesel, but still probably ended up spending around $50-$75 on additives and driving around just for the sake of driving to clean it out. Now it's fine, but it sure was scary for a bit.

I am surprised by the second comment, usually diesel nozzles won't fit in a gas car. Also diesel has only 1 selection remove the nozzle and start pumping, whereas newer gas pumps require you to select the grade (older pumps still have gas grouped in threes, diesel pumps are solitary, you'd have to go to a really old pump for there to be similarities). I can only see these mix ups occurring if you aren't paying attention, and that has a high probability of costing you with anything. Of course, nobody pays attention all the time, so mistakes happen and this was a costly one.

The thing that actually cost him money was the accidental mistake of putting the wrong kind of fuel in his car. I wouldn't blame buying this accident on the money saving diesel. People who drive gasoline engine cars could do the same thing by putting diesel in their cars.

My father decided to keep a high mileage vehicle and put some money into it. Full tune up, complete with changing belts, hoses, brakes, tires, exhaust you name it he had it checked and if it needed to be replaced he did it. Probably put $2000 into the car to make sure he would not have any problems becasue he wanted to keep it.

A month later he was driving down the road and an 80 old driver pulled out of no where and totaled the vehicle. My dad only got blue book value which did not include his investment to keep the vehicle.

I don't think you could avoid that seeing it could happen any time.

One good idea I saw one time, On Ramit Sethi's "I will teach you to be rich blog" is to make a "Stupid Mistakes' sub-account (either real or imagined for yourself. If you set aside a few bucks a month to cover any stupid mistakes, it's not as painful when you get that speeding ticket, ruin a shirt with a burst pen, or maybe put unleaded in a diesel engine.

I thought it was a great idea. you can read his full post here:

I agree with Zach here... our emergency fund is also our "We are idiots" fund. When my wife forgot to get glass coverage for the car and a giant piece of ice crashed through the window... $300. When I played with my neighbor's RC helicopter and bust it... $40. Inspection sticker out of date... $40 ticket. Even little things: I forgot my lunch... $8. She ripped a pair of hose while at work... $5. So many big and little mistakes add up fast.

Future incidents I expect to happen: Moving violation (my wife is a very aggressive driver), me ruining a pair of slacks or jeans (I spill and rip pretty easily), pair of headphones or something similar chewed up by cat, our 11 year old car exploding (seriously, it's creeping me out that it is still working so well), one of us breaking a cell phone (oh man I hope not!)... I could go on for a while. I'm not worried, just foresight helps you roll with the punches. And laugh about it... we do still laugh about the ice/ window incident. Ice all over the car, not melted because it was so cold!

Ouch. If I recall correctly the diesel nozzles are bigger than the gas nozzles, because I remember one time having that work to my advantage as I tried to pump diesel into my gas engine.

Unfortunately, that means that gas nozzles fit quite easily into a diesel tank.

Recently bought a roof for my house. Got 3 bids and went with cheapest. Firm appeared reputable but ended up doing change order when roof was about finished that brought cost above the others. Tried to fight it but couldn't (long story). Anyway lesson was to not always go with cheapest bid. Cost me about $500.

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