Yet another reason to practice sound personal finance, and to save an emergency fund:

When I went out to start my car this morning, the ignition switch would not move. It was frozen. No amount of pounding, jiggling, or fussing could get it to work. I called a locksmith. “Yeah, this is a common problem with the Ford Focus,” he said when he arrived. “I must fix ten of these a week.” He spent twenty minutes replacing the ignition switch, gave me instructions, charged me $250, and went on his merry way.

$250!?! Now, that’s a racket.

My car woes cost me $250 plus $50 for a lost on-time bonus (which employees at my company earn by being on time every day for a pay period). If this were the old J.D., living paycheck-to-paycheck, this would have been devastating. Fortunately, the new J.D. is able to cope with these sorts of crises.