Do You Have a Household Maintenance Plan?

True story: my husband and I bought our house when we were 23 and 21. We had no clue what was involved in home ownership — we’re talking about a ‘what are property taxes and why do we have to pay them?’ level of cluelessness.

And maintenance costs? Nobody told us about maintenance costs!

Yes, I readily admit it. We were young and dumb.

For nearly the first decade after moving in, we spent every rain storm placing pots and pans throughout the house to catch water from the leaky roof. It was inconvenient, but we figured it was a cheap solution to the problem. Then someone told me that a leaking roof could result in the roof trusses rotting and the whole works collapsing.

I promptly freaked out, took out a 401(k) loan and replaced both the roof and siding. It was not our finest hour nor our smartest money decision.


My Responsibility to Make a Household Maintenance Plan

I was reminded of that story when I was cleaning out some cupboards in my new(er) house and found a folder left by the previous owner. It had all the owners’ manuals and installation dates for appliances, the furnace and water heater.

How nice, I thought.

Then I looked at the dates. Oh, no, I thought.

The reality is that replacing the roof and siding at our old house was probably the only time I took an active role in the household maintenance. Otherwise, my husband, who worked in construction, took care of everything (In hindsight, I’m not sure why he was never concerned about the roof). If the water stopped heating or the washer gave out, I let him be the one to figure out what to do.

But now he’s gone, and it’s on me to plan for when and how to replace the various components of the house – all those things that keep us warm and dry and safe.

Rather than putting myself in a position where I need to raid my retirement funds to pay for home repairs, I’ve committed to planning for these future, major expenses. I made an inventory of all the parts of the house that will need to be replaced, researched their lifespan to create a household maintenance planning log for myself.

Household Maintenance Planning Printable

Now that I know how many years everything has left and the average cost to replace them, I have a goal for how much to save each month in my household maintenance fund. When it’s all added up, it’s far too much for me to fully fund at the moment, but at least it gives me a starting point and a goal to work toward.

Since I already have the sheet made up for myself, I thought I would offer it to you as well. Sign up for my email newsletter list and you should get a copy of the file delivered straight to your inbox.

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You’ll see that I left the replacement cost column empty even though I’ve already researched these numbers for myself. Everyone has different tastes, and everyone’s house is different. The furnace you need for a 1,000 square foot abode is likely very different than the one someone has for 3,000 square feet worth of living space.

Once you know how much it would cost to replace an appliance for your house, here’s how to do the math with some made up numbers for a refrigerator.

Year Installed: 2011
Replacement Cost: $600
Amount to Save Per Month: $10

2016 – 2011 = 5 years (current age of appliance)
10 years – 5 years = 5 years (average life span – age of appliance = how many years you have left to save)
5 years x 12 = 60 (converts years to months)
$600 ÷ 60 = $10 (cost of appliance divided by number of months)

There you have it! I hope you’ll find the sheet helpful. Even though I can’t fund everything immediately, I feel a little more at peace knowing that I have a round-about idea of when the furnace will die or the dryer will give out.

No more surprise household maintenance repairs for me!


Do you have a different way of making your household maintenance plan? I’d love to hear what works for you!

Get Your FREE Home Maintenance Planning Log

Subscribe to The Mighty Widow newsletter list to get your FREE Home Maintenance Planning printable.

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