How to Budget for Major Repairs

November 24, 2017
It happens to everyone: you are finally getting organized and sticking to your monthly budget when you realize that you need to make repairs to your home or your car or to one of the major appliances that you rely on day after day.
How to Budget for Major Repairs

Repairs are a part of life for everyone. If you can plan ahead, you can budget for such fixes and keep them from ruining your financial plans.

Prioritize

It might be tempting to try and fix everything all at once. However, this is not realistic. You can prioritize your repairs and take care of the most-needed repairs first. For example, you will need a home heating system during the winter, so if it is later in the year, then you will want to put your repair money towards fixing or performing maintenance on the furnace or boiler before you spend money on fixing the air conditioner. Once the furnace is in perfect working order, you can save for the air conditioner repair. Ideally, you will stay one or two seasons ahead so that you have time to save for the next necessary repair.

Use Cash if Possible

Repairs can be a major contributor to your debt. It can be tempting to pay the repair person with a credit card or with money from a personal loan. This may be necessary sometimes. If your pipes break and spray water all over your house, you cannot wait to save money before calling the plumber; you must call immediately. You can use any money you have saved for planned maintenance, and you can cover the rest of the repair costs with an online personal loan. These loans are easy to apply for and the approval process is relatively quick. This means that you can often get the money to pay for emergency repairs by the time the repairs are complete.

Preventive Maintenance

Preventive maintenance can be very helpful when it comes to lowering repair expenses overall. It can be cheaper to get an annual “tune up” for your car and major home appliances than it is to pay for emergency repairs. Preventive maintenance does not guarantee that you will avoid emergency repairs, but it can make them much less likely. A good repair person will be able to catch major issues before they become serious problems, so you can take care of any repairs before they turn into (expensive) emergencies.

Save Cosmetic Repairs for Last

It may be tempting to perform cosmetic upgrades because they are the things that you (and everyone who comes to your living space) will see. Painting your home, getting new windows or even updating your furniture can make you feel better about your living space. However, these improvements should only be performed after you have taken care of your home’s infrastructure repairs, appliance repairs and preventive maintenance. Fixing a leaking roof is more important than applying a fresh coat of paint to your walls. To save money, you can to make any cosmetic improvements yourself instead of hiring a professional. This is not always feasible, but it can help you cut down on costs and save most of your money for major repairs.