Tuesday, June 7, 2011

How do you save for it ALL?

Let's just put the saving while in debt debate aside for a minute.  We all know there are things we WANT and if you save for them...then great, have at it.  But what about things that you NEED, and you need to save for it ALL????

Home maintenance is pricey.  I think the statistic is something like 5% of your home's value per year.  For us, that would be about $9,500.  I think that is a little on the high side yearly.  But I would say that $3-4,000 isn't totally off the mark at times.

All of the things that need replacement aren't dead and broken....YET.  They are all senior citizens, who aren't quite at round the clock care, but definitely in an assisted living situation.  Legitimately, they all have lived out their lifespan.  It isn't unreasonable to think that they need to be replaced.

The problem...trying to save for it all at once!!!

I sooooo wish I was more money savvy when we bought the house 10 years ago.  There are so many things that I would have done differently as a whole.  But one HUGE thing would have been starting a home maintenance fund.  And then when things wore out, I would have a cushion.  But no...we couldn't afford to save (how can you afford to NOT SAVE......ugh, lessons learned).

Things that need work around here (in no particular order):

  1. Pool liner (in process....the current liner was placed in 1993)
  2. Deck boards (also circa 1993)
  3. Stove/Oven (circa 1998)
  4. Refrigerator (circa 1998)
  5. Carpeting in Bossy's room (um, no idea on age, but I am guessing that you aren't supposed to see the floor boards underneath through the worn holes)
  6. Carpeting in Sassy's room (eh....it is really ok, but if we have an Adventure in Carpeting (starring 80's teen star Elisabeth Shue!), we might as well replace hers)
  7. Furnace (circa 1950's....still works but is highly inefficient)
  8. Windows (circa 1911...original to the house....again, works, but is inefficient)
Additionally, there are household items that are also worn out, or getting there.  These have moved way down on the priority list, but at some point will need to be addressed.

  1. Living room couches (circa 1997)
  2. TV in our bedroom (circa 1994)
  3. Closet system (for the larger of the 2 closets we have...where 3 of us share it for all our clothes, and it just isn't working)
  4. Digital camera (circa 2004; we did get a newer one, and it doesn't work right and we hate it)

It is completely overwhelming.  Where do you even start to save???  What if you aren't able to do it one thing at a time, and multiple things go at the same time?  What if a larger ticket item goes sooner than expected??  ARGH!!!

Back to the saving while in debt.  Yes, we have an emergency fund, and the majority of things on the list aren't emergencies (kitchen appliances and furnace really are the only true emergency items).  But I don't want to deplete the EF, and then struggle to rebuild, all the while with debt and other things looming.

Right now, the I call the plan the $115 plan.   This is the amount that gets transferred from our checking account to ING savings per paycheck.  It is the go-to money for larger savings goals.  Camp was funded this way.  The kids' birthday party (almost funded!) and Christmas will be funded this way.   Once each of these accounts is funded, then the $115 will go towards saving for the extra stuff, until it is time to start saving again for Camp and Christmas.

Piggy back this with gift cards and such from other savings programs (My Points, Swagbucks), and we are cobbling it together.  Not a great plan...but it is the only one I have at the moment.  If we can make some MAJOR headway in the debt snowball, maybe I will slow that down a little to allow for more savings for the items.

And maybe in Fantasy World...we will get to take a vacation someday.


  1. You have to start somewhere! Set priorities and you can add to it over time.

  2. Start with furnace and the windows. It will assist in the energy cost. Stove/oven & fridge - you need to eat. Deck boards if they are damaged for safety. Carpets for health reasons. Pool liner.

  3. @krantcents - it will get added to SLOWLY

    @Rhitter - unfortunately, the liner needs to be replaced now as the sides of the pool could collapse. GRRR. And the furnace and windows will run about 17k......

  4. Any chance there are semi-decent hardwoods under that carpet? In the house where I grew up, we pulled up the carpet and there were hardwoods in decent shape underneath. They weren't perfect and did need to eventually be refinished but they were usuable and much better than the shag that had been covering the floors! And the cost out of pocket for ripping up the carpet was $0 because we did it ourselves! Given the age of your home, its a real possibility!

  5. Or adding to Sass, even if they aren't semi decent, is it possible just to use large rugs over the floorboards

  6. @Sass - under Sassy's carpet there are hardwoods, but they are in bad shape. In Bossy's room, there is a weird, thick, vinyl like product that is probably covering hardwood. (the rest of the house is hardwood that is original to the house, so I am assuming it is there somewhere). We have no idea why this product was placed. But Bossy needs carpet in his room....there is very little sound dampening, and having an Autistic child....they can be a little LOUD.

    @Anon - we looked into rugs, and it isn't safe for Bossy (high chance of him either falling, or picking at the rug). We are biding our time until we can replace it....which I am hoping will be this winter....

  7. It is so hard. I truly feel your pain 'cause I'm right there with ya girlie. Our home is over 40 years old and we bought it at the county foreclosure auction. So we got a GREAT deal....lots of built in equity from Day 1. But, as you would expect, there's lots and lots of deferred maintenance since people who are struggling to make the monthly payment don't really have any extra to do the upkeep. What's hard is knowing with limited funds what is the priority. I hate to spend a wad of cash on one thing....and then something major happen the next day. We've done some, but there is so much more that needs doing. I'm just going to keep entering all those home improvement sweepstakes.... LOL