Our Frugal Lifestyle

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Passionate about eco-frugality. I used to party hard, clubbing my way from pay-packet to pay-packet. Never getting ahead, just getting by. Then came our much wanted baby with no savings in the bank - only an old car. Changes were made to our lifestyle and we didn't turn back. In the past 6yrs we purchased a flat, found employment, lived below our means, built an emergency fund, purchased a reliable car and saw the financial benefits of our frugal lifestyle. Our only debt is our mortgage. Our aim is to manage our cash flow wisely, pay off our home quickly and eventually work for pleasure, not necessity. Join us on our journey, share insights, tips and tricks to help us and others to get ahead while having a good time.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Car Accident - Our Car is A Write Off

As I noted a few times already it was a VERY challenging week last week. We were nearly flooded which caused great anxiety. I missed cheap tickets to france due to my fear of flying. I've been called to Jury Duty preventing me from organising my next 4 weeks at work and lunch break chores. But worst is...

My partner was in a car crash. He is okay, but there was a scare of a spinal injury as his shoulder, head and back were sore and his arms numb-ish, so he was taken to the hospital by ambulance. After 6 hours in a neck brace at our FREE public hospital, with thorough checking and X-ray he was discharged with nothing major wrong. A huge huge huge relief.

Friends drove me to the accident, another friend took full charge of our car as I climbed into the ambulance and my mum took our daughter home with her so I could focus on my partner. This made me think a great deal about those who don't have support networks in their lives. For example the child I babysat the other night comes from a family who are new to Australia and haven't built their networks yet. Imagine her distress if something happened to her parents and she was cared for by a stranger or worst.. forgotten. 

Anyway my partner The Rambling Expat has a sore neck and shoulders, but no major damage that is evident at this time. He took 2 days off work to rest as it has caused him to be exhausted and sore.

The mechanics have deemed our car a write off... The back is fully smashed in, too damaged to be worth fixing. The labour and parts would cost more than the $5500 value of the car (Capitalisms compared to Eco-ism). The back panel is not just smashed in but also split in a couple of places. The wheels are affected and the doors and windows on the driver side refuse open any more.
My Brave Transporter - Bruised and Battered - Ready For The Trash Heap.
We are not insured but since it's deemed as the fault of the other person, his insurance company will need to pay our claim. So now starts the paper work and negotiations. 

The Incident: The Rambling Expat slowed down to 40 kms to allow a Blue Tongue Lizard to cross the road. He saw the car behind was about 30 meters away, but before he knew it, the big 4WD smashed into the back of our little city car. The Rambling Expat's head went forwards and then backwards fast and hard. Luckily we are real squares when it comes to seat belts.

We expect to received: 
$5000 for the car.
$75 for towing to mechanic.
$75 for towing to wreckers.
Storage costs for car sitting in mechanics yard.

We hope we will also be able to claim:
$150 for baby seat/child restraint as I will need to purchase a new one.
$300 (?) for ambulance fees. (Will definitely get a yearly $60 family membership now).
$33 for taxi home from hospital.

We now have to purchase a new car and babyseat to get by as our town does not have fantastic public transport. They have made great improvements but it's still not super duper yet. Riding our pushbikes in the monsoon season is not something I'm willing to do with a 3 year old on the back. The rains get too heavy to see properly and drivers often think they're urban cowboys. Just too risky. My mum is helping us out with the loan of her car at times and her service as our chauffeur for work drop offs.

I feel certain we will be at a financial lost and finding a new car is just not something I want to do. But it must be done and life must go on.

Ever been in a car accident or had your car written off? Any advice?


  1. Really sorry to hear about your car - what a blow - glad your man is OK


  2. Steph... I just booked my flights up to see you next Sunday... only a week from now!!

    Knowing our luck huh? So I purchased a $800 corolla before I left Sydney (this was 7 months ago!) the $800 car was a top of the range corolla in it's "hey days" which was 1991 (when I started kindy!) it has been in some nasty accidents.. while I was up in Darwin.. someone hit into dad when he drove it down to the shops.. overall in the 7 months we drove the car for about 6000kms!!

    Because it was a top of the range it features electric mirrows/windows... tinted windows... spoiler... CD Player (pretty cool for 1991!!)

    Nonetheless...as you know, second day back in Sydney, I was on my way to uni and BANG... a silly 4WD slammed into the passenger side. No phsycial injuries but AAMI called me up with the good news... we got paid $2.5k for the car as it is a total loss!!

    The "car" remains our property.. which left me with two choices.. to sell it or drop it off to my mechanic friend.

    Since I started driving this Mechanic has been a good friend... there was even a few times I didn't have to pay for his services... my most memorable was the first time me Echo broke down he drove around looking for me!!

    So as a result... I gave him the old bomb as a freebie.. he now has various parts of the car he can take incl the 4 near new tyres and the CD Player!!

    A mere $800 investment returned 200% plus ROI...

    AAMI also paid for all the Taxi Fee's involved which given the distance and crazy traffic in Sydney - I believe was well over $100!!

    I know you haven't had a great few weeks.. hang in there.... there's always a brighter side to things!!

    With lot's of Love... the Boss Lady!

  3. So sorry about your car and your partner's ordeal! Are you saying you don't HAVE to have insurance? It is a law here in the U.S. and you can go to jail if you even own a vehicle without it. One of the reasons why I wish I didn't have to own a vehicle. And your hospital was FREE??? Oh, be still my heart. The more I find out about other countries, the more I wonder about "America, the land of the FREE"?????????

  4. No we don't have to pay for insurance here in Australia. We do have to pay a Govt car registration (ours was $500 per year) to be able to drive your car on the road, this gives us a 3rd party insurance. I don't have car insurance due to my frugal nature.

    Our public hospitals are free. If you want better or faster service you can pay for private insurance, but I have found the public to be excellent. I also have a belief hospitals should be free for all in the community, so I refuse to pay for private health cover. This is more of a stand on ethics and human rights then frugality.

    When I was pregnant with Dolly, I had the home birth midwives. This is a FREE service in Darwin. They met me for my check ups at cafes, home and my work place. It was stress free and warm. I felt they cared for my whole family; my partner, my mum, my unborn baby and myself. In the end I gave birth in the hospital due to having lots of amniotic fluid, but it was a water birth with lights off and gentleness. My midwife was not allowed to be hands on as she was not part of the hospital but she knew the hospital midwives and arranged one that was willing to do a water birth and would follow my wishes. And all of this was FREE!

  5. Yes, being involved in a car crash can be a pain. It is hard to imagine being carless for a long time! I had the same experience when a car hit my ride during a family trip. The damage was not as serious as yours, but we still filed a report. The owner of the other car was generous enough to pay for the repair through his insurance. Everything went well since both parties were cooperative. :-)


Thanks for commenting - I love getting feedback, sharing experiences and learning from you.