How much did your break-in cost?

>> 2.03.2010

Thanks so much for all of the supportive words this week! You all are the best!! The break-in put me in a total funk, but thanks to that emergency fund and several phone calls, I've sorted most everything out.

So, I’ve broken down the costs of my hair , face, pet, tree, and transportation... why not look at what that pesky car break-in ended up costing me? I know, I must like making myself suffer or something... ;)

Imagine: You've just run 13 miles, it's 38 degrees outside, drizzling, and you get back to the parking lot to find your car with a broken window...

New car window:
With the temperatures in the 40's and drizzly, I was not excited about driving around with a gaping hole in my car. I wanted to get the window taken car of asap so I called the dealership first. They must have the supplies on hand, right? At $350 and an estimate of three days to get the window in stock, I wasn't sold. The next place I called (Glass Doctor) not only had the window, but also said that they could come to my house and replace it in the next hour!

Thrifty tip: Prevent your car from being broken into by keeping it as neat and tidy as possible. I thought the bags, towels, and tennis rackets would convince a thief that the lump under my jacket was just more mess, but they took the risk anyways. Think about how upsetting it would be if someone broke your window just because they thought your purse was somewhere in your mess.

New locks for house:
Someone had my home address (driver's license) and house keys... the cost of new locks was worth the feeling of security.
$80 (I might return one $25 lock later)

I'm so glad that I don't carry cash!

*Driver's license~ $10
*Wallet~ $15
*Coupon organizer~ $5
Is it sad that this is one of the first two things I was upset about losing was my brand new organizer? Nate thought about it too, "our Subway 2-for-1 coupons were in there!" After borrowing a little cash from Nate, I ran over to Marshall's and snagged a new one.
I just might like this one more!
Yep, labeled and ready to go. No thief is going to keep me down!!

*Gift card~ $0 Thanks to the great people at Rogue (local running store), my stolen $100 gift card will be canceled and replaced without a problem!
Thrifty tip: If you lose a gift card, call to see if you can replace it by scanning the credit card it was purchased with.

*Credit cards, checkbook, debit card~ $0 I might have to wait 5-7 business days for the replacements to come in, but I'll be happily live off of Nate until then :).

Grand total: $345 (ouch!)

The $$$ total doesn't tell the entire story; there are a few losses I'm taking as a result of the break-in. The things I won't be replacing are:
Camera~ $270 (Nate is letting me use his point and shoot)
I'll miss you old buddy, we went through so much together!

Purse~ $30 That's what backups are for, right?
Cell phone~ $0 Thanks to my old backup and a new SIM card, I'm set.
Thrifty Tip: Don't forget to freeze your phone account! People love placing international calls on stolen phones!!

Misc. pens, chapstick, etc~ I have plenty of these things as well.
Jewelry~ $40 *Sigh* I'll miss that necklace :(.

What did the thieves get out of this? There wasn't any cash in the wallet, but they did get away with charging about $80 on two different credit cards. Oh, and there was that $50 L.L. Bean gift card (if they're into that kind of thing) {Edit: the card was in a different purse!}. My camera was inside the purse, but the charger wasn't so they'll have to buy one if they want to use it and pawning it will be really risky considering I've submitted a police report. Really, unless they love coupon organizing or my taste in purses, the total amount they've walked away with is less than the price I paid to get a new window! Honestly, why not just go into the window business instead??

So, here's where I usually ask how much your break-in cost, but really who (other than me?) wants to relive that sort of thing? Instead, this might be a good moment to look at what you carry in your purse daily. So, how much would you lose if your purse was stolen?

Edit: I forgot to mention another thrifty tip on purse theft... always check the surrounding streets, bushes, trash cans, etc for your belongings. Often, people just go for the money and toss the rest as they leave the scene. (I wasn't so lucky this time.)


Ashley M. [at] (never home)maker February 3, 2010 at 10:04 AM  

Oh. My. Goodness. This is terrible. And I'm one of those people who has mess in my car. I have my gym bag, yoga mat, some clothes. You've given me much to think about. So sorry your great tips have to come from experience. <3

jacquelin Seybert February 3, 2010 at 10:04 AM  

I'm so sorry this happened to you. Some people are awful.

The Brick Cottage February 3, 2010 at 10:28 AM  

I admire your attitude in spite of a terrible situation. Heck, you even made me laugh in this post--the coupon organizer and your boyfriend's response is too funny! I will definately think twice when I go to stick my purse under the seat of my car from now on. It really stinks they stole your camera--I wonder if that'll be the key to their apprehension? What else can they do with it other than taking it to a pawn shop?

Audreya February 3, 2010 at 10:42 AM  

Ugh - I sort of wish I hadn't thought about how much I would lose if my purse was stolen! Not only because of my designer handbag habit... but also because iPhone insurance doesn't cover theft... because I have the Rosary I bought my great-grandmother at the Vatican (and then had returned to me last week when she passed away) in my purse still... and because my inhaler is in my purse. When I discovered the theft, I'd surely have an asthma attack! Without the inhaler, I'd have to have someone call an ambulance. That doesn't sound cheap! :-) So yeah, definitely time to clean out the purse AND the car and stop taking for granted that I live in a rural area. Thanks for the reminder!!

On a slightly different note, you've mentioned your emergency fund, paying off your car, etc. so I wondered if your thriftiness followed any sort of program like Dave Ramsey or if it just came naturally.

Danielle and Clint February 3, 2010 at 10:48 AM  

I have been guilty of this myself...leaving my wallet or purse in the car. I always think, it will never happen to me. I would lose a lot of what you did, minus the coupon organizer. I really need to get my pictures off my camera! That is one thing I could never put a price on, are my photos.

Ugh..I am sorry you had to go through this.

Kasey at Thrifty Little Blog February 3, 2010 at 10:54 AM  

@The Brick Cottage~ Thanks! I try to remember that stuff is just stuff... but believe me when I say that I wasn't in the best mood the past couple of days!

Isn't it crazy how big of a risk these people took just to get a couple of trips to the gas station?! The fact is that if they keep this up, they'll most likely end up getting caught.

@Audreya~ I've never really read too much on Dave Ramsey (he seems to be more about debt reduction than general thriftiness, right?), but I do gather little bits of information from tv, books, blogs, etc. Really, it was my family who taught me the importance of being financially independent. I make sure to keep enough money in cash (savings) to cover any potential issues that might come up so that I don't have to ask anyone for help.

Sharon@Sharon at Home February 3, 2010 at 11:32 AM  

Oh Kasey I am so sorry to hear about the break-in. It is just getting so violent out there... really what is worth the possibility of getting a criminal record?

I would be lost without my camera.

Glad you are getting sorted out.

Christina February 3, 2010 at 11:38 AM  


SO SO sorry that you had to first experience this, but you give great advice. So thank you.

: )

Meredith Travels February 3, 2010 at 11:52 AM  



Think they are eating at subway right now deciding what to buy at L.L. Bean?

That is so frustrating and makes it seem even worse that you really didn't have much in your bag.

I'm glad you got it all sorted out and nothing was irreplaceable.

Kasey at Thrifty Little Blog February 3, 2010 at 12:02 PM  

@Meredith Travels~ Exactly... And while they're at it, probably saving $.50 on toothpaste.

Kim at Yellow Brick Home February 3, 2010 at 2:04 PM  

Kasey, oh no! I am so sorry to hear. You know, reading your post, I my mouth was hanging open and I'm thinking "UGH!".

But the best part? I read down to where you got your coupon organizer stolen, and I actually said out loud (while at work), "But she JUST got that!"

Ahh, my oh my.

Kristi W @ Life at the Chateau Whitman February 3, 2010 at 2:36 PM  

Ugh what a bummer. When my car window was broken, my insurance covered it (luckily). The only thing that was stolen was a laptop box (there was only an empty $20 case inside because the computer was getting fixed). They went through my glove box and made a big mess, so I thought that maybe they found a bank receipt or something with my account number. So I changed my accounts just to be safe.

dolores @ "Welcome to My Humble Ablog" February 3, 2010 at 2:43 PM  

I had a car break-in about 2 years ago while I was at work! They took my gym bag which included gym clothes, shoes and for some reason or another I had a beautiful necklace in the bag. Cost for the window was a little over $100. The bag and necklace were gifts (sigh) and the clothing/shoes were really just old stuff.

Quick question, do you have a car alarm and if so, did it go off? I don't have one installed in my car but I've always wondered how effective they are.

Hopefully you'll never have to go through that nightmare ever again.

Kasey at Thrifty Little Blog February 3, 2010 at 2:55 PM  

@Kristi~ That's why I'm going to try and keep things as clean as possible! I would be so upset if people broke my window just for a box or pile of clothes!!

@Dolores~ Nope, no alarm. I'm not sure if it would have helped much in my situation though. My car was actually broken into in the daylight. I suppose there just weren't any people around that would have scared them off.

Funny thing I forgot to mention... I actually had a break-in with my old car (about 4 years ago). I had left my crappy camera (it took AA batteries) in the seat by accident and someone saw it so popped the lock to get in and take it. I remember being so happy that I had cheapo car doors because it allowed the thief to get in without having to break a window :).

Kasey at Thrifty Little Blog February 3, 2010 at 3:03 PM  

@Kim~ Exactly!

Oh, and another bonus tidbit about my stuff... I had a $100 Anthropologie gift card in it that I just happened to have spent 90% off on a splurge of a dress THE DAY BEFORE. Thanks to my little shopping spree, it looks like certain thieves will be a little less chic this spring!

Lydia February 3, 2010 at 3:27 PM  

I'm so sorry to hear about the break in - not fun. I know some folks who put their purse in the trunk when they work out but even that didn't stop someone for one of my friends. I work for a big company so simple things like locking up your purse during the day are important because randoms can get in and out fairly easy, even with our keycard system. We've also had purse incidents in the downstairs cafeteria so be careful when you hang your purse on the back of your chair or have your wallet hanging out on the table. People can be sly.

Meg February 3, 2010 at 3:35 PM  

I can't imagine not having a conscience. Being able to screw people over like that without even the tiniest pang of guilt is a form of extreme selfishness that I can't even fathom.

I am so sorry this happened to you. But on the plus side, I agree that your new coupon book might be even cuter. It reminds me of Jonathan Adler!

Sara @ Russet Street Reno February 3, 2010 at 4:29 PM  

Yucky! I've had my cars broken into many times. Replacing the window is always the worst part. One time they must've seen me hide my purse under the coat in the back seat. No clue why I did that. I came back from picking someone up 10 min later and the window was gone, along with $20, a brand new pack of gum (??) and my credit cards. I was able to cancel the credit cards, but they managed to charge a $200 tv on my check card at Kmart of all places. I had called my bank's 800 number directly after the incident, and they were closed with no option to contact them about stolen cards. When I spoke to my bank in the morning, they told me the number to cancel the card was on the back of the card. Well, next time I will run after the person and ask for the number on the back of the card, then let them charge away! I had my bank's 800 number memorized and had no reason to believe the 'stolen card' number was different. Either way, they paid for the charges. Glad you are handling it well!

Sarah February 3, 2010 at 4:53 PM  

You have a super attitude--I am so impressed.
It also makes you giggle a little seeing how little the thief got in return for his risky crime, huh? February 3, 2010 at 6:50 PM  

I am impressed that you got a new gift card! I am sorry to hear about the break in.

I have two wallets. One is my everyday wallet with cash and debit card and then the other is my actual wallet with all my credit cards. I use two different wallets because I am bad at loosing things.

micah @ the yellow front door February 3, 2010 at 7:27 PM  

Ugh - what a mess! At least you have a sense of humor about it. This has never happened to me (knock on wood) but I think the cost of my purse would be the biggest loss. Then my sunglasses, which are always in my purse, unless they're on my face. I don't carry cash. Thanks for the reminder to clean out the car so no one thinks I have valuables in there (I don't!). At least you got a better coupon organizer out of the deal?!

Anny February 3, 2010 at 11:01 PM  

Ugh I'm so sorry this happened to you!

Kathryn February 4, 2010 at 6:20 AM  

I feel your pain. I had my purse stolen from my van but I guess I was lucky that they were "professional" and had the tools to open my vehicle door when I attended a company function. Many people that attended lost items and it didn't make any difference that it was clean and not much to be seen inside the car. My boss's wife had put her purse in the trunk and they had pried the back seat out to get to it - they were probably watching as we exited our vehicles.

I lost my purse, about $16 in cash, credit cards, drivers license, my son's laminated birth certificate, a $50 gift certificate to a restaurant, my apartment keys and undeveloped rolls of film for Thanksgiving and a birthday party. They had even tried to steal my baby's car seat.

The worst thing that was taken was my sense of security, safety and justice - I pushed the table against the door that night until I could get the lock re-cored the next day. When I called the police I was told to call a certain number between 9-5 M-F to file a report if I wanted to turn it in on my insurance and scolded for being foolish enough to leave my purse in an unattended vehicle.

It is good advice to consider what you take in your purse and paring down what you carry and to check the area. The only item that was recovered was my son's birth certificate that someone found under a nearby bridge a few months later.

I will never leave my purse in a vehicle unattended again. If I go someplace where my purse isn't practical I carry a small bag with just the essentials or wear a fanny pack.

Amanda February 4, 2010 at 10:53 AM  

Sarah- that is hysterical (read: ridiculous) about them saying that the number for stolen cards is on the back of the card!

I actually carry an emergency $100 in my wallet (hopefully there aren't any SLC thieves reading this) so that would suck, but other than that I generally don't carry cash. My last purse cost me $1 so that's no huge loss, and my phone is a piece of junk.

I agree with you on keeping your car tidy. And I forgot that I do this, but since I had my car window broken, I stopped locking my car altogether (I probably wouldn't do this if I drove a nicer car). I just figured, hey- if they want those quarters I have in the cup holder, I'd rather them just open the door (hopefully they check first haha).

Alexis L. of One Grand Home February 5, 2010 at 7:49 AM  

I am so sorry this happened to you and am glad that it was more costly or more traumatic than it was. My then-fiance had his $500 car window busted out for a $100 iPod he had left out on the seat D'Oh. I had my purse snatched a year ago and your tip about checking surrounding trash cans is a good one. In the end, it took a few hours but by scouring every can I could, I limited my losses to just the cash they had stolen.
Sigh. Be careful out there, everyone.

Leslie,  February 5, 2010 at 12:03 PM  

I recently had my purse stolen out of my car while at a late-night movie. So annoying! The best part, though, was realizing what my renter's insurance covered. They reimbursed me for everything from my purse, to my wallet, to my prescription glasses, all the way down to chapstick, pens, the cash I had, and the cost of replacing my driver's license. I had a $150 deductible, but all those things at retail prices, came in several hundred dollars over that. It's definitely something to look into, if you can!

Jenny February 5, 2010 at 6:36 PM  

Luckily nothing like that has ever happened to me, and I don't even want to imagine what it feels like to come back to your car with a window broken and your stuff gone.
I never ever leave my purse in my car. First of all, the one I constantly carry is my first and only leather one and I love it to death and would probably cry if it were gone, and also my dad's a cop and he always tells me all kinds of horror stories. Made me hold on to my purse really tight whenever I go shopping now...

donkee February 6, 2010 at 11:14 PM  

OMG, Kasey - so sorry this happened. Terrible. Important thing is that no one was hurt...material things can always be replaced.

This is reminds me of my losing my purse over the holidays on the train going home from my parents. It was not stolen or anything...I just left it on the train!

Here is the hot mess:

Katherine February 22, 2010 at 4:26 PM  

Oh man, I just read your post about the break in. I went through the same thing in November of last year, although the damage done to my car (window broken, door dented, window frame bent) was around $975. In addition to that, I had a relatively brand new (as in bought on Labor Day) $498 coach purse, year old Dooney & Bourke checkbook wallet ($195), year old Canon Camera ($258) among other things taken out of my car. It was a sad sad day in my world.

With a $500 hurt...a lot.

Kasey at Thrifty Little Blog February 23, 2010 at 10:06 AM  

@Katherine~ Okay, you win for hardest hit! Ouch!!

Anonymous,  February 24, 2010 at 3:20 PM  

Ugh, I had my old ugly 20 year old car broken into TWICE! The first time, I was dumb enough to leave my camcorder and a bunch of tapes in the trunk. Even though it was old and cannot have possibly been worth more than $20 to a pawn shop, that's what they took. I was so heartbroken that my "short films" that all my girl friends and I staged through college were gone. No copies, no backup. I still get teary thinking about it!

The second time, I didn't have ANYTHING in the car, so they got nothing. But still. Windows replaced twice was about $500. Plus the blow to my sad little heart..

(She's crafty, and she's just my type.)

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