Tired of plundering your savings for home repairs? Try this instead

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Home repairs are a drag. Here’s how to make them less painful.


Key points

  • Home repairs can erode your savings over time.
  • If you’re willing to factor repair costs into your budget, you may be able to keep your savings more intact.

Several months ago, my husband and I had to replace an air conditioning unit for the second year in a row. Needless to say, we weren’t happy with the multi-thousand dollar impact on our savings account that ensued. But we recognized that the expense was unavoidable and we were grateful to have savings to dip into.

But while we tend to rely on our savings for major home repairs, we certainly do. not soak whenever a minor repair appears. Instead, we budget for small repairs on a monthly basis, so there is money allocated for this purpose. And if you’re tired of constantly having to dip into your savings for home repairs, you might want to do the same.

Make room in your budget each month

Some people find themselves pulling money out of their savings every time a home repair comes up, whether it’s a $100 or $1,000 expense. Generally speaking, it’s just not reasonable to budget $1,000 or more per month for home repairs. But is it reasonable to include a $200 home repair expense category in your monthly budget? It might be more doable. And it could help preserve your savings in a very big way.

Imagine you encounter a $150 home repair one month, a $200 repair the next month, and a $100 repair the next month. If you don’t have room in your budget for these costs, that’s $450 coming out of your savings account. But if you were to budget $150 a month for home repairs, you would break even.

That’s pretty much what my husband and I do – only we budget $250 per month instead of $150 because that more accurately reflects the costs we tend to face. This way, if we have a small repair, we can cover it with our income without having to dip into our savings.

Meanwhile, every month we manage to avoid a repair, the money we don’t spend is sitting around in our checking account. That way, if a more expensive bill comes up the following month, we have that money in reserve.

So, for example, let’s say we manage to go three months without a home repair. If in the fourth month we end up with a repair bill of $600, we don’t turn to our savings account. Instead, we raid our checking account because at that time it will contain this extra money.

Financial and mental health benefits await

Many people find the idea of ​​dipping into their savings for unexpected expenses overwhelming, even if that’s what they’re there for. I should know – I’m one of them.

Allocating money for home repairs on a monthly basis has sometimes saved me the mental discomfort of worrying about taking a withdrawal from a savings account. And while I’m still forced to dip into my savings when those really big bills show up (like my faulty pair of air conditioners), I’m at least spared that aggravation at times when the work at hand isn’t as expensive or complicated .

If you hate regularly touching your savings, be sure to budget monthly for home repairs. It really could save you a whole host of bad feelings, not to mention help you keep your life savings intact.

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