It’s no secret that home maintenance is a necessary evil that comes with owning a house. But that doesn’t mean you need to break the bank whenever you need to make a repair. Here are a few ways you can successfully budget for necessary home repairs and maintenance costs without hurting your finances or wracking up debt.
Build a reserve
Depending on how much your family makes in a year, it can be challenging to build a big reserve. But even just setting aside 1% of your home’s purchase price a year can help you build up a reserve you can use in case of emergency maintenance and repairs. For instance, it’s estimated that 13 million households in the U.S. rely on private wells for drinking water. If you need an emergency repair on that well, it’ll cost anywhere from $400 to $3,000. Saving little by little throughout the year will help to protect your finances from these unexpectedly expensive repairs.
Make repairs based on priority
It’s important to prioritize projects that work in your budget. Don’t try to take on a bigger, more expensive project that’s outside of your budget if it’s not a priority. We mentioned above that millions of Americans rely on private wells for drinking water. You would want to repair your well or another plumbing system before you even think about replacing your kitchen countertops. It’s also a good idea to estimate and save for certain repairs you know you’ll have to make shortly such as replacing your furnace.
Subscribe to seasonal maintenance plans
Certain parts of your home like your roof and gutters need to be inspected, cleaned, and repaired at least twice a year. With proper maintenance and ventilation, a roof can last 20 years or longer. Some roofing companies will offer you membership discounts on inspections and maintenance when you subscribe to their seasonal maintenance plans so you can save on inspections during the spring and fall while also ensuring your roof and gutters stay in great shape.
Be careful with credit
It’s important that you don’t rely entirely on credit and assume that you’ll pay for a project later after it’s done. Interest can build up fast and leave you struggling to make ends meet. Always cut expenses and save money first and foremost before thinking seriously about credit. Don’t open new credit cards to pay off debt or take out a home equity loan, either.
If you do use credit, make sure to pay close attention to the interest rate and only to use it for smaller-sized repairs or replacements that would be easier to pay off. The average life-span of a sofa, for instance, is roughly eight years. A new couch costs approximately $1,000. It would be easier to finance new furniture and pay off that debt than it would be to take out a loan for $20,000 to repair a roof.
Home maintenance costs and repairs can be expensive, especially when you’re not expecting them. By estimating potential repair costs, building up a reserve, and being smart with how you prioritize the repairs you make, you can successfully budget for home maintenance costs without breaking the bank.