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When Being Cheap Can Cost You Big Time


No, I did not skimp on Valentine’s Day and get thrown in the doghouse (I think I planned quite well for Valentine’s Day actually). This post is about my cheapness in another area: my house.

My Home Purchase in 2011

I bought my house proudly in August, 2011. Since it was a foreclosure there were a few issues that needed to be dealt with. The roof was sub-par, the floors needed to be redone, the wallpaper had to go, and there were absolutely no appliances in sight. I was tallying the expenses in my head and I knew that some of these fixes would just have to wait. Either that, or be band-aided for now and properly taken care of at a later date.

The Repairs

house leakSince I knew the roof was important, this was one of my first phone calls. I got a local roofing company to come over and give me an estimate. I was expecting something high, but when they told me it would cost $4,800 to re-roof my house, I knew I just couldn’t afford it. Instead, I had them patch the bad areas so I could hopefully limp along with the existing roof for another 4 years or so.

Costing Me Big Time

Now, two and a half years later, this cheapskate moment is costing me big time. With this cold snowy winter, I have built up quite a lot of snow and ice on my house. Unfortunately for me, this has caused an ice dam along the edge of my roof, which is now forcing water underneath my aged shingling and into my house. Currently, I have about 4 buckets catching water and I am paying a guy $150 for about an hour’s worth of work to get the ice off my roof this morning. My ceiling is basically destroyed and my hardwood floor is warped. Now, not only do I REALLY need to fix the roof, but I have other expenses as well that all could have been avoided had I just sucked it up and made the appropriate repairs when they needed to be done.

Don’t Let Cheapness Get the Best of You

I have to admit that I pride myself on saving a buck here and there, but sometimes it is just plain idiocy. Don’t let idiocy get the best of you like I did. If your car is making an awful sound from the engine, take it to a mechanic and get it fixed properly. If your house needs repair, make them sooner rather than later. Yes, these fixes might blow your budget this month, but if you postpone them, that huge cost later might just leave you broke!



My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.


  1. HI Derek:

    I’m so sorry to hear about this new (and costly) development. It’s one of those “life lessons” that we all experience at some point. Let me share an example of how this affected us in an expensive way. My beloved husband is a scrap metal enthusiast. He will occasional buy the odd vehicle that is no longer good for anything but the scrapyard. He has made some nice extra money from it. Unfortunately his hobby turned on him about 8 years ago when in a gesture of frugality, he poured 25-year old gas down the tank of 1999 Ford pickup truck from an old van that he was going to scrap out. Two days later, he admitted to me that the engine was not running well at all. When he took it in to be assessed, he was told that he would need to replace the engine. Fortunately, he was able to locate a rebuilt engine, but the whole process cost us close to $5K by the time the rebuilt engine was installed into the truck. Just know that there are many others who have gone through “expensive experiences”. 🙂

    Enjoy your weekend!

    • Yikes! That is definitely costly too! Thank you for sharing. As long as my ceiling doesn’t fall down or something, I don’t think the damages should be too bad, but I may use this as an opportunity to update my house (inside and out). I haven’t decided yet. This got me a little stressed yesterday, but at this point, what’s done is done and I’m moving on. Thanks for the comment Kim!

  2. That is a huge bummer about the roof. I can totally understand why you’d put it off, so don’t beat yourself up over it. It could just as easily been a drought and it would have lasted just fine.

    • Thanks Kim! I’m pretty much over it at this point. I just want all that ice off my roof!

  3. Oh Derek! I feel your pain. I’ve done sooooooooooooo many things along those lines I can’t even begin to count them. My latest one was a when spouse and I moved into our “forever” home. Why I did’t listen to her is beyond me. We had this house built and they landscaped the front yard, but not the back. I used to work in construction so I convinced my wife that we could put in the backyard patio. OMG – what a joke. She and I mixed and laid the concrete ourselves and in addition to blowing out our knees/backs/hands (you’ll only really appreciate this if you’ve ever poured concrete) our finished project sucked! And the concrete buckled and cracked – so now, we’ve got to hire someone to come in and jackhammer all that up and replace it. Near as I can figure it’s going to cost us a good 5X more than it would have if we’d just left it to the professionals. Now whenever I suggest we do a home improvement project ourselves, she just puts her hands on her hips, rolls her eyes and points to the buckled concrete in our backyard.

    • Haha! I can picture that look you described with her hands on her hips and her eyes rolling! That’s hilarious (for me anyway, maybe not you). I do think some home projects are beneficial, but if something goes wrong, you’re right, they can end up costing you more than if you would have just hired a professional to do the work in the first place!

  4. I certainly feel sorry for you having to deal with that problem. The biggest mistakes in life are typically the ones that prevent the elements from overly affecting the inside of the house. I’ve seen people skip painting only to regret it because it further invited other things (including rodents) into a house.
    I am sure that you can manage to get through this life event as you have many other events. 🙂

    • Oh yes, I will get through it. No worries there Chris. In fact, this might just be the push I needed to replace that ugly old ceiling (oh, and put in recessed lighting)! 🙂

  5. There really are many ways we can go cheap with, but when it comes to the real stuffs, I guess as much as possible, we should go for quality. And this goes twice specially when it comes to home repairs, or properties that you wanted to last long and stay strong.

    • But, we also need to remember that expensive costs do not necessarily mean quality. There is typically a pretty good middle ground we should stick with. 😉

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