What About The 12 Costs of Christmas?

Costs of Christmas

This infographic is produced by Webrevolve for the debt recovery and debt collection service CBC International.

What a Car Really Costs

Owning a car is kind of like owning a portable house: there’s more involved than just the cost of the initial purchase and monthly payment. Cars require care and have some very specific and, often, expensive needs. Even during an ordinary year—one in which you take no major road trips or do any significant amounts of driving (other than to and from work and errands around town), the cost of owning a car can be surprising.


You have to have car insurance. It’s the law. There is no law, however, that says that car insurance has to be expensive. Insurance can really add up with unnecessary or unwanted coverage charges, so looking into a place like acceptance Car Insurancecar insurance for some good options for your particular budget. Let’s assume that you wind up with an insurance policy that costs you $125 a month. That works out to $1500 for the year assuming that you remain accident free and that your rate doesn’t go up.

Basic Maintenance Costs

Every car needs to have periodic maintenance done on it. You have to take it in for “checkups” every ten thousand miles or so. You need to get the oil changed regularly. You’re going to need tune ups. You’ll need to have your tires rotated (or even put on new tires). The cost of these things is going to depend on the type of car you have, how old it is, how many miles are already on it, etc.

Oil Changes can typically be done for $35 or so, or even as low as $15 if you find the right place. If you do two of those during the year that’s anywhere from $30 to upwards of $70.  A basic inspection with tire rotation for a newer sedan with 40K miles on it costs around $50.  That’s already $120 for the year and that’s without any major work or repairs being done. And the more miles there are on your car, the higher those inspections and “checkups” are going to be.


Everybody loves to complain about gas prices and talk about getting a bicycle to avoid having to pay the exorbitant gas prices that they see at the pump each day. Obviously doing that isn’t always practical (you live in the US, not the Netherlands). Let’s say you have a 15 gallon tank. At the time of this writing gas is around $3 a gallon. That means it costs $45 to fill up your tank. If you have to fill up your tank twice a month, that’s $90 a month or $1080 for the year.

So where are we? If absolutely nothing goes wrong, no repairs are needed and you don’t do any driving outside of what you do to and from a very close workplace and some nearby errands, you are still going to be paying at least $2700 a year—and that’s if only if you live somewhere with cheap gas!

What Can You Do?

There are plenty of ways to save money on car ownership. Make sure you get a car that has good gas mileage (hybrids are awesome if you can afford them). Shop around to make sure that you get the best rate on your insurance—which is helped by keeping your driving record clean of tickets and accidents. Actually take your car in for routine maintenance checks because skipping them will just result in more costly problems later on. Learning how to do basic things like oil changes yourself can also save you a healthy amount of money.

If you do these things there’s no reason that owning a car should hurt your bank account.

The Unexpected Costs of Living

The Unexpected Costs of Living

Life is full of mysterious setbacks and hiccups. Especially when it comes to finances, nothing is for certain and nothing should be taken for granted. A healthy financial plan should take unexpected costs into consideration, because so many times in life we find ourselves paying money for things we didn’t expect. These are called contingencies and a fraction of your Visa debit card balance should be set aside to pay for them. The following is a short list of unexpected but common occurences that you could find yourself subsidizing and what to do should they happen:

Car accident. One of the great risk/reward, promise/peril dichotomies of modern living is driving an automobile. Its usefulness to business, commerce, and personal convenience is widely established, yet within a period of just a few seconds, you can find yourself in the hole for thousands of dollars because of a single errant turn of the steering wheel. Car accidents are one of the leading causes of death and also one of the leading costs of insurance. If you get into a car accident, immediately contact your car insurance company. If you can afford it, increase your deductibles in order to reduce your premium. Also, drop unnecessary coverage features.

Personal injury. A broken leg, deep cut, or surgery can cost you thousands of dollars in medical bills. Ideally, you’ll have health care insurance to balance out these costs. If not, you could find yourself in debt for years, possibly decades. Even with health care, the deductibles for some plans are up to $500 or more and that’s not counting the added costs of physical therapy, additional surgeries, and the time you may need to take off from work in order to recuperate. Our bodies are fragile and a major injury could happen any day. You don’t need to be paranoid, just financially prepared. It may be worth hiring a personl injury attorney. Often times you can be awarded significant amounts of medical subsidies from the courts. At the very least, contact your health care insurer and find out what procedures will and won’t be covered.

The vagaries of Wall Street. For anyone who invested significant amounts of money in stocks in the past decade, the fluctuations of the market are no surprise. Many people lost thousands of dollars, even their entire retirement plans when the economy crashed. Hopefully, this served as a lesson learned in the fragility of man-made systems. But for people who are persistent and keep investing in risky stocks, it’s good to be sure you’re not using money you can’t afford to lose. Investing in the stock market is no get-rich-quick scheme. Be patient and smart and look for promising penny stocks and stocks that pay healthy dividends.

We all know the normal costs of living. What can pass under the radar are the unexpected costs of living—freak accidents, injuries, market crashes and other anomalies that while unusual are somehow par for the course. Be smart and set aside a fund to help pay for these costs so they don’t liquidate your bank account.

%d bloggers like this: