When making a monthly budget, it is easy to forget certain budget categories.
One of the most often overlooked and underfunded categories is Home Maintenance.
It’s easy to understand.Â None of us want to think about stuff breaking – especially in our home – so we tend to ignore this vital category.
Over the years, we have employed two different techniques for including Home Maintenance in our monthly budget.
1.Â We simply lumped it into our baby Emergency Fund.Â That’s kinda what the baby emergency fund is for, in a way, so that’s what we did.Â When something broke, we stopped our accelerated debt reduction, fixed the broken item, and then continued with debt reduction.Â This worked well for us, but wasn’t the perfect solution.
2.Â We created a separate Home Maintenance category in the Savings portion of our budget.Â This worked very well for us – but it was a bit tricky, figuring out exactly how much to budget, each month, for an expense that may or may not be incurred.Â At this point, we have enough data, from several years of budgeting, to have a pretty decent idea of what our monthly Home Maintenance costs might be.
Budgeting is, ever, an inexact art.Â Over time, we have worked hard to minimize the surprise costs associated with household finances.Â By taking the time to plan ahead – we have avoided the emergency-borrow-emergency-borrow cycle.
Side note – For those interested, here is a partial list of the Home Maintenance expenses we have had to deal with over the past 3+ years of home ownership:
We replaced two broken windows.
We repaired two pieces of siding.
We replaced the garbage disposal in the sink.
We repaired and reconfigured the outlet for our dryer line.
We replaced the blower mower on our HVAC unit.
As you can see, none of these are killer expenses, but all of them required a bit of money, and if unplanned for, could have been real headaches.
Image credit – austincameraguy
3 thoughts on “Forgotten Budget Categories – Home Maintenance”
It’s always a good idea to plan for those unexpected expenses. Home maintenance is always a tricky one, because it’s hard to estimate what the maintenance costs will be, not only because it’s an unexpected expense, but because the unexpected expenses could all happen at once. A friend of mine had his fridge, AC unit and roof break down all within a month. Talk about bad luck. You may not be able to plan for everything, but it’s always a good idea to plan.
More often than not we forget to budget for home maaintenance because its inconsistent…you can go for months without anything breaking down or you can have a rough month when a lot does break.
I think the trick lies in figuring an estimate of what it’d cost to fix a number of appliances if they broke down at once. Alternatively, have a fixed amount for such emergencies.
Putting aside an emergency fund for home maintenance is also a great way to have money ready when repairs are needed. Some people tend to put it off because they don’t have ready funds for it until the damage becomes worse and the expenses bigger.
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