Did you have an appliance or other household items that need repaired? One biggie that hit our budget early last year was replacing one of our heating and cooling units. We had to upgrade to a new furnace and air conditioning unit for our upstairs. Needless to say that was pretty expensive.
Since moving to our house over a decade ago we’ve purchased these household items:
2 new air conditioning units, 2 new furnaces, a new refrigerator, a new stove, a new dishwasher, a new microwave, a new garbage disposal, a new water heater, a new dryer, 2 new washing machines (bad luck here), 4 new vacuums (we buy cheap ones), 1 new LCD TV, 1 plasma TV, 2 new garage doors (main and basement), 2 new lawnmowers and countless other electronic devices (computers, iDevices, clocks, etc.)
This is the reality of owning a home…all these items will break at some point. When that occurs you will either have to a) do without or b) replace them.
Research on How Long Household Items Last
The issue here is twofold:
- We don’t know when appliances will break and…
- We don’t plan ahead.
So when the incident occurs we are usually unprepared and scramble to replace them. In the urgency of the moment we end up making a poor financial decision. Either we overpay to get something right away or we have to go into debt to fund the purchase. Both can be avoided with a little patience and planning.
Even though we don’t know when household items will break, we can gain some insight from statistics gathered by the manufacturing industry. Check out this graphic by ChoiceHomeWarranty.com that highlights how long the average household item lasts.
The Best Plan to Replace Household Items
You may have found some information in the graphic surprising, like how quickly the average mattress wears out. As I’ve written recently, I’m skeptical of that data.
And your experience may be entirely different than the averages. As I mentioned earlier, we’ve already replaced two washing machines in a little over a decade. We obviously aren’t getting 15 years out of ours.
Whether or not you are hitting the industry averages really isn’t the point though. What should be emphasized is that you are prepared to repair or replace household items when they break. That furnace and air conditioning unit we replaced last winter…paid for it in cash. Didn’t bother or cause me any frustration at all.
That happened because we’ve made it a priority to have an emergency fund of cash on hand for just such situations. We’ve put money into our savings account at our bank and leave it there for when we have an emergency. It’s not used for anything else.
We don’t touch it for vacations.
We don’t use money from it for a special date night.
We don’t dip into it for a spur of the moment purchase.
It’s only for emergencies.
I cannot describe how peaceful a feeling this produces, having money set aside like this. I really do not worry about anything I own breaking down. We will be able to weather any household items that breakdown, even if several happen in a row.
I’d encourage you to get started on your emergency fund today. Get at least $1,000 saved first. You can do that in one month if you’re focused. Then over time build it to 3-6 months worth of your family’s monthly expenses. With that much saved you will be able to manage through some tougher life situations that may come like an illness or loss of job.
The emergency fund is the foundation upon which all other financial steps are built. Get started building yours today!
Questions: What stands out to you about the graphic? What’s been your luck with replacing household items? How does your emergency fund make you feel? When was the last time you used your emergency fund?