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Home Sweet *&#@ Home!

August 20th, 2009 at 06:22 am

Unbelievably, I've now made it through 2 weeks of frugal living -and it wasn't even painful! Spending so far this week? $0.00.

Now, as I try to figure out how to manage the household finances more effectively, I'm realizing that one of the holes in our budget is the expenses associated with home maintenance. They know our kids at Home Depot, we're there so often.

I know we have some expenses coming up: pumping the septic system ($400), repairing a broken storm window ($100?), and prepping the house for winter ($50). Then there's our annual discussion of the horror of the dirt driveway. Every year I swear that I will not go another winter with that driveway...I'd also like to replace our 1950's toilets with low water versions ($300).

So, what's the best way to go about budgeting for a house that past its prime in 1962? Save for individual planned expenses? Just put the money aside every week and use it as necessary? Some kind of hybrid plan? Does anyone follow a maintenance schedule -and does it help with the budget?

6 Responses to “Home Sweet *&#@ Home!”

  1. creditcardfree Says:

    Our method seems to be, repair when it is a necessity, but upgrade when there is money and time available. Home maintenence is definitely ongoing for any home.

    I live in a relatively new home, maybe 11 years, but in your situation I'd probably put a set amount aside each pay period for home maintenence. You could then divide that amount into long term and short term goals. The long term money would be for items you save up for over a year or two...and this is for items that are bigger in scope and not necessities. The short term money would be for more immediate needs and smaller projects that can be paid for with a month or two of saving. Just a suggestion!!

    My sister has a 1960's house, well built, but needs some updating!

  2. Petunia Says:

    We have randomly fixed things as they went wrong with our 1960's rambler. The age and location of our house help us somewhat - it's just not a place where you're going to put in granite counter tops, for example.

    The way DH's pay is structured, he receives a big chunk of it once a year. Usually some of that is used for a house project (ie, insulation, new windows, new water heater, etc.). DH is very handy and does a lot of fixing himself. And he has some connections with plumbers, electricians, etc so when we need someone with more skills his connections tend to get us a reduced rate.

    I guess we would be the "hybrid" plan - we do about one large project per year paid for via the funds I described above and little things (ie, replace smoke detector, replace part in faucet, paint room, etc) as they come up.

  3. monkeymama Says:

    We save about 1% of cost of home, every year, for repairs.maintenance. Our home was bought brand new and hasn't really needed anything. But I have a list of things that I know will need to be done in the next few years (upgrading where the builder cut corners - fence, paint, recaulk bathrooms, etc.) AND I save up for the unexpected, for sure.

    I'd start with what you know is coming up, and save for that (like if you know the roof needs replacing in 5 years, plan to save up the amount over 5 years). & save a little for the unexpected too.

  4. mrs. Says:


    One of the flaws of my family's budgeting system was planning for the really unexpected. We recently needed to put a new roof on. We were intitally told we could do a repair for $3,500, but the shingles didn't match up and we opted for a completely new one at $6,200. It was a huge amount of money to plunker down, but we accumulated it in about 3.5 months. From here on out we're putting at least $100 a month away into the dwelling fund.

  5. monkeymama Says:

    BTW, if we had always put away 1%, we'd have over $20k in our "house fund" right now. But we did buy this house hoping to have no expenses early on. Now that we have more income, I am trying to catch up. They say 1% - 3% is good rule of thumb (percent needed depends on many factors).

  6. MomEsq Says:

    Thanks for the suggestions! I think, for the moment, I'm going to plan to put aside some money for the expenses we know are coming. Then, after we've gone a full pay period on the new budget, and at least talked to the financial advisor, I can evaluate how much I can spare for home repair without sacrificing our plan to reduce the debt load we're carrying. Once I figure out where we stand, I'll start automatic withdrawls to an account solely for the house -with the understanding that the money is to be used for larger scale projects -the driveway, the landscaping that we've been talking about for 4 years, the garage door...

    And, because I like to know what's coming -I'm going to ask my husband to sit down with me and prioritize the house projects so that we're not constantly moving from one unfinished project to the next about to happen catastrophy.

    I'll let you know if it works out!

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