This was the biggest financial mistake I made in 2022

An air conditioner repairman uses a clipboard to explain the cost of repairs to homeowners.

Image source: Getty Images

What makes it worse is that I should have known better.

Key points

  • We all make mistakes at one time or another.
  • I’m particularly angry at this mistake because I had the potential to avoid it.
  • I should have put more money aside for home repairs in 2022.

In August 2021, my downstairs air conditioner broke down in the middle of a heat wave. Needless to say, my husband and I found ourselves with no choice but to throw money at the first contractor who could install a replacement unit in a short time.

Since we didn’t have time to shop around and compare quotes, we ended up paying more than we should have. But faced with the choice of spending $700 or $800 more instead of having to endure days at the end of 99 degree weather without air conditioning, we opted to loot our savings and pay the extra money.

Because we got stuck with such a major home repair in 2021, we figured we wouldn’t be ready to repeat in 2022. As such, we haven’t allocated more money in our budget for the home repairs. But that turned out to be a huge mistake.

When the same repair happens two years in a row

My house has two separate heating and cooling zones, so we have two air conditioners. Now our upstairs air conditioner wasn’t at its best in 2022. But we had it serviced the summer before and thought it would be fine. After all, what were the chances that we were stuck having to replace two air conditioners in the same 12 month period?

Apparently, the odds were pretty high, because to my surprise, our upstairs air conditioner stopped working out of nowhere at the end of May. And again, we found ourselves having to shell out several thousand dollars for a replacement.

One thing we had going for us this time was that we had time to shop. When our air conditioner broke down, it was warm, but not hot. So we were able to take some time to get quotes, which saved us a lot of money.

On the other hand, thanks to our friend inflation, prices for replacement units and labor have increased across the board this year. So, all told, we ended up spending more on a new air conditioner than we would have had before inflation set in.

Meanwhile, the way we paid for that second new air conditioner was – you guessed it – our emergency fund. But since we had withdrawn money from our savings the previous summer, this additional withdrawal put us at a level that did not satisfy me. And so we had to change some plans to try to get that money back.

What makes me angry about this whole situation is that I should have anticipated another big home repair and put a lot more money aside each month. What I did instead was reduce our home repair budget and increase spending in other categories, which was just silly.

If I had allocated more money for a major repair, I would have potentially taken between $1,000 and $2,000 less out of my savings at the end of May. And that could have led to a less stressful summer.

Lesson learned

No one is perfect, and we all make mistakes, including financial ones, from time to time. What also appeals to me about my blunder is that I technically had a high head about it. I just thought things would work out differently.

I plan to allocate a lot more money to home repairs in 2023. At this point, both of my air conditioners are new and under warranty, so at least I don’t have to worry about them breaking. But when you own a home, there are a host of things that can go wrong. And if I play my cards right, I’ll be better prepared to handle the next big repair that comes my way.

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