Why You Should Budget for Household Maintenance Every Month

Charlotte Miller

Routine upkeep and preventative maintenance are sure-fire ways to avoid the cost and stress of emergency repairs.

Patching curling roof shingles. Arranging your annual furnace tune-up. Replacing cracked caulking around your window. These are just some of the chores that fill up your weekends as a homeowner, but they’re far from the only ways you maintain your property. Every minute you put into these tasks keeps your home in better condition, which has short- and long-term perks for your budget.

Short-Term Outlook: Small Jobs Have a Big Pay Off

Maintenance underscores the power of preventative care. If you’ve heard the saying, “a stitch in time saves nine,” you know that dealing with a problem when it’s small prevents it from becoming a bigger issue.

In the case of this idiom, you should sew a hole when it only requires one stitch, rather than waiting until it’s large enough to require nine. When applied to your house, it means completing small chores that take an afternoon and a cheap trip to the hardware store. This pre-emptive work can prevent issues from advancing into a major repair requiring more time and money. The initial investment in tools and materials will be cheaper than hiring a professional to help you handle a bigger job.  

Does Maintenance Guarantee You’ll Never Face Emergency Repairs?

Sadly, no. You may never be completely safe from accidents, natural disasters, and other issues that don’t come with forewarning.

An emergency fund can help you tackle small, urgent repairs that come out of the blue. You can also shore up these savings with a personal line of credit. You can try to apply online anytime you run into issues that exceed your savings. If approved, you can easily draw against your line of credit to get the funds you need to pay for materials or professionals to fix your house.  

You should look to your homeowners insurance for large-scale damages like those caused by fire, tornadoes, and other extreme weather systems. You can call your insurance company to jumpstart the claim process, relying on your personal line of credit for any out-of-pocket repairs you must make.  

Long-Term Outlook: Saving More for Renovations

There’s another perk to being proactive with maintenance. Staying on top of upkeep may reduce your risk of fielding a major repair or costly breakdown. This means you won’t wipe out savings or require credit for the work you avoid. Eventually, these savings add up. You can create a formidable emergency fund and have more expendable cash in your budget through simple cost avoidance.

All that extra cash can help you invest in larger changes to your house that promise even more savings. One day, you might have enough saved to upgrade to energy-efficient appliances, windows, or insulation. These big investments can reduce how much you’re paying on monthly fixed expenses like utility bills, and they will increase your property value when it comes time to sell.  

Make Monthly Maintenance a Habit

Sit down with your budget to see what you can do to squirrel away some money towards maintenance each month. While some guides say you need to save 1% of your property’s value over the year, you may not need that much to start. Many of the maintenance chores on this list are free or require relatively inexpensive purchases, like a new furnace filter or window caulking.