When you have an older home, things wear out over time. One by one the appliances go—first the fridge, then the stove, then the washing machine, and the hand mixer. It is almost as if there were a time clock on appliances that tells it when its life is up. Lucky are those whose appliances last the lifetime of the house. It can cost a pretty penny if the inner time clock is set to the same time for everything. Appliances are supposed to last as the TV commercials will tell you, but someone lied. Some people see broken appliances as an opportunity to buy newer models with more features that use less electricity. This is certainly the case in our house. It just so happens that it applies to the water heater. The old one conked out about the time we were reading reviews about electric water heaters. They are smaller, more efficient, and are built to last. This is no small replacement purchase, however. Even if we have been focused on modernizing and know we need it, we still have to cover the cost.
It just so happens that the electric water heater broke along with one of our old TVs. Not a month later it was the freezer we kept for extra storage in the garage. When it rains, it pours. Now we have to dip into our contingency fund. We have a budget for household repairs but I hate taking too big a chunk out of it at one time. Fortunately, we started it a long time ago and it is ample to cover everything, while having a bit left over for any unforeseen emergencies. Next it could be the vacuum cleaner or even the car. That would be painful indeed. The kids are very sympathetic and have offered to donate their next month’s allowance to replenish the contingency fund. I am overcome with emotion. It is so thoughtful. I suggested that we have a neighborhood car wash or aluminum can collection instead so they wouldn’t have to sacrifice. They could help clean up someone’s garage or rake leaves in the yard. They could clean the swimming pool or hot tub depending upon what people have. Whatever the task, they will be prepared. This is true family togetherness.
You have to accept the reality of upgrading and modernizing. It goes with owning a home. The more appliances you have, the more that can go wrong. I haven’t mentioned the lawn mower or the pressure washer among the myriad of items that are useful in mundane ways. Whatever you use for upkeep of your property counts. It will eventually be replaced by money from the contingency fund. If you need professional help for roof repair or window sealing or attic insulation, it is a different matter. It is part of a different household budget which usually covers tree damage, water leaks, broken windows from the neighbor kid’s baseball, and the like. So be wise and set up these different budgets and don’t get caught by surprise.