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Just a few related random thoughts. Know the feeling on brakes I had a car like that. It needed a $600 brake job every three years the second time it needed it the car looked like a trade-in if I ever saw one. Too bad I didn't know how a fool buys a car at that time. I paid too much for the current car, live and learn.

I agree that you must have a cash reserve. All my major appliances belong to the same union and went on strike over the space of a year.

I have a question regarding which element of personal finance should have the highest priority. Faced with plastic debt and an insufficent cash reserve (read as 2 weeks salary). Which should have priority retireing debt or building the cash reserve for the next unplaned expense. The current plan has been a little to the cash reserve and a lot to debt retirement combined with a strict policy of NO NEW DEBT.

My favorite cash reserve instrument is EE Bonds purchased with payroll deduction. They are almost as liquid as cash since they have all different issue dates you just can't get a hold of ones issued in the last 6 monthes. They have a higher interest rate than a savings account. Like the ice cube method mentioned awhile back ago, since it takes effort to cash the bonds there is time to think do we really want to do this. oh, the advantage of payroll deduction it is real easy to save if you never see the money it just gets automaticly saved for you.

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