If your home is your haven, you’ll know that a lot of work goes into keeping it that way. But if you’ve ever had your washing machine stop working suddenly, or you’ve noticed a bad leak in your pipes, you’ll know first hand that having to get emergency repairs done at short notice can be costly.
These tips will help you prepare for those unforeseen home maintenance expenses, so you’ll be equipped to get things back to normal when the need arises.
Take Preventative Action
One of the best ways to avoid having to spend lump sums on emergency repairs or maintenance procedures is to ensure that you’re always aware of the state of your home’s condition, so nothing takes you by surprise. Performing inspections like checking for water in your crawl space or checking the state of your gutters, for example, is a fantastic way to avoid expensive damage further down the line. Routine maintenance, like servicing machines and replacing worn parts, can also go a long way. You can diarise and perform your own monthly and seasonal inspections, or even better, call in the professionals to assess the state of crucial features of your home for you—Mike Holmes Inspections is always a great bet. However you decide to go about your inspection schedule, you won’t regret investing a little extra time in preventative procedures will pay off over time.
Budget Separately For Maintenance Disasters
Even if you’re disciplined about budgeting for your regular household needs, emergency maintenance procedures come under a different category of expense. Firstly, you can’t predict when you’ll need to find the money for an expensive replacement or repair. Secondly, once the need arises, you have no choice but to take action immediately: if your kitchen floor is flooding with dishwater, you need to call your plumber TODAY.
Know What You Could Afford Now
Before you begin your emergency fund project, it’s handy to know how much you could pay for a repair or replacement if you something crop up today. Imagine your fridge stopped working today and you needed a new one. How much money could you produce at short notice to get the problem resolved? If the answer is, ‘hardly any! All my income is tied up already!’ then at least you have your starting point. Your emergency fund must be sufficient to prevent your having to dip into your regular income. If you could find enough to cover 50% of the cost of the new fridge, then you know that you can afford an emergency fund that’s a little less cushy—essentially, just enough to add to your monthly income when disaster strikes.
Re-evaluate Your Household Budget
If you already run your household on a tight budget, you might not think you have much room to make adjustments, but now might be a good time to take another look. Re-evaluating your needs might yield some interesting findings. For example, you may discover that you routinely buy things you no longer really need, or that your purchasing is no longer in line with your actual consumption. If you discover piles of tins of condensed milk and sugar cookies at the back of your grocery cupboard, for example, it may be that you’ve stopped making your signature dessert, but you kept buying the ingredients out of habit! Likewise, you may be buying cleaning products you don’t use because you’ve found a new all-purpose product, but forgot to scratch the other products off the list for your monthly shop.
Notice When Priorities Change
It may be the case that your family’s priorities have changed a little since you first worked out your household budget, and you can introduce a couple of changes to save a little money without negatively impacting your life. For example, if you’re getting really into cooking since you got some new recipe books, maybe eating at restaurants doesn’t give you as much satisfaction as cooking something special at home. In that case, removing your ‘eating out’ portion of the budget in favor of home-cooked meals could really add to your emergency fund. Once you open your eyes to them, there could be many places where your priorities may have changed—the trick is to notice. Is that weekly trip to the beauty salon still so important to you? Maybe you actually like the way you do your hair in your own home, but you still go out of habit, and in order to catch up with your stylist. Or maybe you don’t need to see your psychologist anymore because you’ve got some things worked out now, but you just hadn’t realized it yet. Or perhaps your kids’ favorite weekend activity of going to the movies as a family is no longer something they absolutely love to do, but they do it because they think YOU love doing it? Whatever changes have occurred in your family, a few minor adjustments to your household budget could add a lot of extra funds to your emergency fund over time.
If you don’t have extra cash saved up for emergencies, a maintenance disaster can wreak havoc with your finances. These tips will help you avoid disorder by creating a cushion of savings to get life back to normal as quickly as possible.
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