When something breaks, spending the money to fix it can feel painful. Indeed, if the car still runs, or if the appliance still sort of works, it doesn’t seem necessary to rush out and get repairs. Whether it’s a few loose shingles on the roof, or a slightly malfunctioning appliance, if it is “good enough,” many of us find it hard to pay the money to have it fixed.
Unfortunately, this isn’t always the best idea. You might be saving money now, but down the road you could end up paying a lot more.
Don’t Wait Until Things Get Worse
According to something I read in Money Adviser by Consumer Reports, 40% of consumers postpone maintenance or car repair on their vehicles. Many people allow appliances to limp along without fixing them. Still others put off repairs and maintenance to their homes. This seems like a money-saving strategy, since you don’t want to pay right now.
However, if you avoid fixing something now, the problem could get worse. Avoiding regular maintenance on your car or home can lead to all sorts of problems. If you don’t repair problems when they are relatively small, the issue could grow into something that is quite costly to fix. Additionally, in some cases one problem can lead to another. If you fix the roof when you need to, you won’t have to worry about water damage inside the house from a leak.
The longer you wait, the more the repairs are likely to cost. It’s a case where saving money today can result in paying much, much more down the road.
Create a Repair Fund
If you are worried about being able to afford repairs as they come up, you can start a repair fund. Set aside money each money specifically for repairs. Or, you can add an extra amount for repairs to your emergency fund. In any case, the idea is to build a reserve of cash so that you can pay for repairs as they are needed, rather than being forced to put off repairs until the situation is dire.
Go through your bills from the last few years to get an idea of what repairs and regular maintenance cost you, on average. You should also consider the age of items in general; as homes, cars and appliances age, they are increasingly likely to need repair. Factor that into your calculations.
Once you have an idea of what repairs might cost you, break it down into a monthly “payment.” Have the money automatically transferred into your emergency fund or a savings account so that you aren’t thinking about it. The fund will grow, and over time you will have a tidy sum that can be used to fund repairs. Start this fund as soon as possible, since you will want the repair-free years to be spent slowing building the fund. When years of heavier maintenance arrive, you will be ready for the costs.
Prepare for the inevitable repairs that come with any type of ownership, and it you’ll be able to cover the costs without breaking your budget.