You rush to the car juggling your coffee, car keys, and a couple of bags. You yell for the kids to hurry and remind Johnny to go back in and get his lunch box.
And that’s when you notice the flat tire. Ugh! You don’t have time for this right now! How old is that tire anyway? What could possibly be wrong with it?
When you dig through the glove box, you find the receipt for the tires…and it’s not what you expected. You actually bought them longer ago than you remembered. And somehow never managed to get them rotated or inspected, even though it was included with the original price of the tire…
How would you like to never have another financial emergency? With some intentionality, it’s absolutely possible.
How to Never Have Another Financial Emergency
There’s never enough money or enough time in our lives. We feel like we can’t juggle everything, so we put things off. But that leads to more last minute problems that make our lives even more hectic than they were before.
So while it seems like we don’t have money in the budget to keep up with maintaining things, that actually costs us even more cash.
Let’s look at some solutions for this problem.
If you’d like to never have another financial emergency, set up a maintenance schedule and make it automatic.
Choose one errand day each month to get things done. Maybe you need to spend this day running errands. Or maybe you need to dedicate this day to being home while others come and do maintenance and repairs.
And make sure you have “a guy” for everything.
You know, the person you can count on to get your car (your teeth, your furnace, etc.) working reliably…at an affordable price and in a timely manner. (Remember that it’s worth the investment to pay a fair wage to the guy who does it right the first time.)
This should be someone trustworthy who can recommend a maintenance schedule.
If you don’t have “a guy” for the important stuff, get one! It’s no good scrambling to find a fix it person when every minute that passes means your family is going without something important.
Create a list of the things you need to keep an eye on. Here’s some suggestions to get you started:
- House (HVAC, septic system, chimney, roof)
- Appliances (give them a thorough cleaning and check the manual for maintenance suggestions)
- Car (regular oil changes, tire rotation, tune up)
- Outdoors (mower, lawn tools, yard)
- You!! (check ups, exercise, diet)
How to Afford It
Sometimes the trouble isn’t finding the time to do the maintenance as much as it’s about finding the money to cover the costs. It’s all well and good to know that maintaining things is much more affordable than repairing (or replacing!) them. But that knowledge isn’t useful if you just don’t have the dough. But this is what often leads to the big financial emergency.
Instead of passing on the maintenance every time because you’re worried about the money, try this:
Write up a list of all the things you need to maintain, and how much that maintenance will cost you for the year. This can be everything from simple DIY (replacing filters on the furnace or maybe you change your own oil) to paying someone for regular maintenance.
- Oil changes – $100
- Furnace filters – $30
- House upkeep – $100
- Mower Tune-up – $70
- Timing belt replacement – $600
- Total = $900
Divide that number by 12 to find out how much money you should come up with each month to maintain your possessions.
This might seem expensive, but remember; this should save you from coming up with the money to cover an out of the blue (big!) repair bill. If you don’t maintain your things with any regularity, you probably get at least a couple of those bills every year!
You should open a new account for this fund, or even keep it in a jar at home.
If you can’t cut enough from your budget to cover this cost, take a side job for a while to get ahead. Dedicate that bonus money to getting this fund off the ground. Or use the money from your third paycheck of the month to fill it up.
Get Rid Of It
If something on your list is causing you more maintenance worries than enjoyment, let it go. Old hobbies that aren’t fun anymore are obvious things to cut.
But think about the big stuff, too.
If you hate maintaining the house, maybe you should think about renting a condo instead. If your car causes you endless headaches, look up ways to live without one. Mr. Money Mustache bikes everywhere (no matter the weather!).
…touch that emergency fund!
Maintenance will save you a lot of headaches and bills, but it won’t save you from hitting a deer or getting the flu (that lands you in the hospital for a week). These are the kind of truly unexpected emergencies, and you’ll want money on hand.
Keep those giant repair bills down with a good maintenance schedule, and eliminate the next financial emergency.
It won’t solve all your problems, but it will definitely save you money.
Do you find it hard to keep things maintained? How often do you have a financial emergency??
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.