Replacing Appliances: A Plan

J. Money at Budgets are Sexy recently posted about Stuff New Home Owners Never Think About…. His post was excellent food for thought. J.D. Roth of Get Rich Slowly also talked about When to Replace Common Household Items awhile back. Of all the items that they mentioned, I need to worry about the following (I’ve added some from his list):

  • Dishwasher – J. Money says that dishwashers generally last about 9-10 years. The dishwasher in the condo was the original one from the developer and is now about 4 years old. Looking at Sears.com, a good dishwasher should run me under or around $1,000, which is about $14/month amortized over 6 years.
  • Carpet – J. Money says that the carpet lasts about 10 years. The condo is just over 1000 sqft and was built new in 2007, so I should need to replace the carpet in 2017. Let’s estimate that at $2,000 (better to overestimate than underestimate, right?), which is about $28/month amortized over 6 years.
  • Fridge – The condo didn’t come with a refrigerator, so I had to buy one. J. Money says that the fridge will last for about 13 years. I bought an energy efficient one for about $1,425, which is about $9/month amortized over 13 years.
  • Clothes washer/dryer – The condo didn’t come with a washer or a dryer either, so I have recently bought new front-loading, high energy-efficient machines. If one goes, I would replace the pair. J. Money says that the washer will last for 10 years and the dryer 13 years. The pair cost me about $1,600, which is about $13/month amortized over 10 years.
  • Stove – The stove in the condo was the original one from the developer and is now about 4 years old. J.D. suggested that my electric stove should last about 16 years. My estimate from Sears.com is about $2,000. Wow, stoves are expensive – good thing they last a long time! That cost amortized over the next 12 years is about $14/month.
  • Microwave oven – The microwave in the condo was the original one from the developer and again, is now about 4 years old. J.D. suggests that these should be replaced about every 8 years. Sears.com suggests a ceiling cost of about $300 for a microwave, which is about $6/month amortized over 4 years.

Total monthly amortized cost for appliances replacing is as follows:

  1. Microwave oven – $6/month and replacing in 4 years
  2. Dishwasher – $14/month and replacing in 6 years
  3. Carpet – $28/month and replacing in 6 years
  4. Clothes washer/dryer – $13/month and replacing in 10 years
  5. Stove – $14/month and replacing in 12 years
  6. Fridge – $9/month and replacing in 13 years
  7. Total: $84/month and earliest replacing is in 4 years

My emergency reserves are currently divided up into several categories:

  1. Auto insurance deductible: $1,000
  2. Health insurance deductible: $1,000
  3. Renter’s insurance deductible: $500
  4. Job loss fund/general reserves: 6 months of expenses at a normal level

I am going to add a new category to the emergency reserves for replacing appliances. In the case that I lost my job, I need to be prepared for all of the above emergencies. I will fund this new category at a current level of $84/month and then when it comes time to replace the appliances, I will be prepared.

Readers, how are you prepared to replace your appliances or other far-off maintenance about your home?

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16 thoughts on “Replacing Appliances: A Plan

  1. Our condo is 6 years old so we have not had to replace any appliances or do much general maintenance- yet. Hopefully we will sell it before too much needs to be done (although we have had to do a few minor things, such as painting, to get ready to sell).

    A rule of thumb I’ve heard is that you should be putting about 1% of your home’s value back into it each year, as just a starting point. So if you live in a $300,000 house, you should plan on general maintenance being $3,000 a year. My guess is some years this is high and sometime low, but it averages out over time. Some years nothing will need to be done, but some years you need a new roof, or new windows.

    I think this number is lower for condos and new construction, at least it has been for us. But once we buy a house I plan to put aside that 1% each year.

    • I’m thinking that I will sell it before I have to replace any appliances, but I’m definitely going to need to do some small things now.

      I’m not a huge fan of “rules of thumb” – I prefer detailed plans. So I’m trying to think of all of the things that I might possibly need to deal with and set aside money for that each month. If I don’t end up using any of the funds before I sell the condo, then I would likely re-allocate them to the house down payment fund.

      I definitely agree that the number is lower for condos and new construction – in a condo, you aren’t responsible for a roof, siding, eaves, etc. and in new construction, those things won’t be a major problem for many years. This is why I looked mostly at condos and townhouses built within the last 5 years.

  2. Great info! I like how you budgeted it all out like that. All of my appliances are rather new, so I have a good ten years before replacements are necessary. In that time period, I’m on track to pay off all my debts, so I’ll budget for these costs after they’re paid down a bit.

    • That sounds like a great way to work towards that! What would you do though if one of your appliances broke down now? I suppose that would be a good use case for your emergency fund :)

  3. I understand wanting to get top of the line appliances, but electric stoves are not $2,000 on the regular. That’s a pretty nice stove. In my old townhouse, most of my appliances were $500 or a little less apiece (except for my refrigerator, which was maybe $650 and not the base model), and lasted 10+ years. When I sold my house and needed to replace my stove, I got a smooth cook-top, self-cleaning stove from Lowe’s with delivery and takeaway of my old stove for about $450 total. I had to replace it because I had accidentally cracked the cook-top not because the old one died, and the new one was pretty much identical to the old one that I had been using for the previous six years. Anyway, it’s not stainless steel and it’s not professional-grade, but it’s more than fine. I’m not trying to sound judgey – I like stainless steel and nice things, but you really don’t have to spend $2,000 on a stove.

    I do like the idea of a “house emergency fund” though, so I don’t have to dip into other savings (regular emergency fund, etc.) for inevitable house expenses that come up, such as replacing appliances or meeting insurance deductibles in case of an accident. I have this set up as a sub-savings account in ING.

    • I agree that $2,000 isn’t a regular electric stove, however, I would prefer to budget for a higher-priced fridge, especially considering that savings accounts are paying < 1% in interest right now and it's quite possible that in 12 or more years when I need to replace the stove, prices would have gone up by more than 1% per year. The base stainless steel model on GE.com is $600 MSRP. So perhaps I should budget closer to $1000 as an overestimate than $2000.

      I'm with you on the idea of a "house emergency fund"! I definitely prefer budgeting for inevitable events.

  4. It comes from slush for us. That’s a benefit of spending quite a bit less than one earns. :)

    If DH loses his job then we’d have to get a much larger emergency fund, but I think we would still use one general fund for things like this.

    • You seem to pay for everything out of slush! :) I seem to prefer detailed spending plans no matter how much money I make or have. Do you just put your extra money into slush each month and then when it looks too big, you put some money against the mortgage or into a 529?

      • Pretty much. Except the 529 is direct contributed to each month, so it’s mortgage or retirement. We don’t get paid in the summer, so we have to save extra cash during the school year to make up for that. So we have some basic points when we re-evaluate the size of our slush fund and put money away (after taxes, for example, or once we get our first paycheck in the fall). We used to keep the excess above a certain amount in online savings, which helped keep our spending down through mental accounting, but the rates are worse than CU savings, so we just keep it all in CU savings now.

  5. GIRL you are ruminating!!! :) You need to stop commuting and think about your finances less ;) (kidding!)

    Sounds like you’ve got some nice appliances and nice renovations going on- I like the idea of upgrading to energy efficient models. We did the same except for the dishwasher. Are you going to be posting pics? :)

    • Haha! I don’t really need an excuse to think about my finances ;) You should see how many blog posts I wrote while I was on vacation!!!

      The condo actually didn’t come with a fridge, a washer, or a dryer, so I went with nice, energy-efficient models. I think the existing dishwasher is somewhat energy-efficient, but not quite as fancy as the ones I ended up picking.

      I don’t want to post pictures publicly, but I could email you some after I’ve moved :)

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