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Bad Things Come in Threes


My late Grandmother used to be very superstitious. I remember as a child when something bad would happen she would warn us to be careful because “bad things come in threes!” Maybe Grandma was right because we’ve been hit with our fair share of bad luck with house-related repairs recently.

Three Recent (Unplanned) Home Repairs:

The first was an unexpected roof repair.

We’ve had some bad storms this summer and after one particularly rough one with high winds (there were downed trees all over our neighborhood to give an example of just how strong the winds were), we noticed some of the tiles from our roof had flown off! Luckily there wasn’t any major damage beneath (no leaks or anything), but we knew this was a repair that was needed ASAP! It was just last month and it cost $500 to replace a few tiles and do some additional repairs that were needed.

Next, we needed an emergency plumber.

The handle in our kids’ shower has been “sticking” for a while. The girls have complained about how difficult it is to turn the water on and off. I’ve just ignored it and done nothing about it (ooof!). Until……one night one of the girls was showering and all of a sudden the handle broke off and water started shooting out against the shower wall! There’s no shut-off just to the shower, so we had to turn the water off on the street and have an emergency plumber come out to fix the problem. Another $500 repair.

Last, an unexpected termite treatment.

The area where we live has heavy termite activity. So much so that newly built homes are proactively treated and come with a 5-year warranty. Our home just hit the 6-year mark. It’s out of warranty, but I wasn’t too concerned. We’ve had termite inspections annually and never had a problem. But this year when the inspector came out, he found evidence of termites in 5 different places! Due to the evidence of termites in multiple places, it was recommended that we re-treat the entire house (not just spot-treating the spots with tubes). Comprehensive treatment costs $1300.

All three of these things have happened within the past month. Nearly $2500 worth of unexpected home repairs! It makes me very grateful that we have a healthy emergency fund so this isn’t a bigger disaster than it might have been otherwise. This is yet another reason why I’ve decided to have our emergency fund be larger than Dave Ramsey’s recommended $1,000 “starter EF.” Sometimes emergencies come up in 3’s and cost two-and-a-half times that amount!

I’m knocking on wood that this is the last of it for a bit.

How much do you have in your Emergency Fund? What was the last major unexpected home repair you had to pay for?


  • Reply Walnut |

    It’s a great feeling when you know there is cash in the bank to pay for bills like that!

    One thing I’ve tried to do is keep track of the actual dollars spent on home maintenance/wear and tear to get a feel for how much I should hold in a home maintenance fund. I’ve always settled on having enough for an emergency HVAC replacement, but could be much more precise in this area.

    • Reply Ashley |

      That’s a great idea! I have sinking funds for all types of things, but not home repairs (yet). These funds came out of our general EF, but I like the idea of planning for home maintenance and having money set aside for it, rather than raiding our Emergency Fund.
      Speaking of HVAC, I’m a bit nervous about our A/C system! Two of our neighbors (with homes the same age as ours) just had to have theirs replaced this summer. It blows my mind because the units were not that old – only 6-7 years! But we have BRUTAL Arizona heat so our units work double overtime and I think the ones originally installed by the builder were not the greatest to start with. I think we’ve gotten through summer okay (knock on wood), but I’m planning to have ours serviced in early Spring before the heat of next summer sets in. Hopefully that will help extend its life!

  • Reply Eli |

    I think my emergency fund is around 5k but I have a “home maintenance” fund around $800. I like to keep these two separate, as the emergency fund is more for a job loss (as it’s just around 2 months of income) and the home maintenance is for something like a pipe breaking (which happened and cost around 400).

    I would say neither of these funds are really what they should be in my eyes, I would be more comfortable with an ef around 15k (6 months of income), and a home maintenance fund around 5k-10k, since I know my house has some plumbing issues that will cost around 5k-8k when (not if) they break down. But right now I am focusing on saving for a surgery estimated at 8-9k in about a year, that insurance won’t cover. So while I would like more, I am trying to save to keep out of medical debt.

    • Reply Ashley |

      I really like this idea and think I will follow suit. I’m already kind of a “splitter” (versus being a “lumper”) in terms of savings. That’s why I use Capital One 360 savings accounts – I have probably 6 or 7 accounts for different savings-related purposes, lol. I need to create one specifically for home repairs so I don’t have to raid our EF when (not if) home repairs arise!

      • Reply Eli |

        I also use Capital One savings accounts – they offer good rates and I’ve had them since I was young. I have my ef and home maintenance fund in separate accounts, and need to make another for medical bills, but “sinking funds” for stuff like quarterly or yearly bills, like trash, HOA payment, or property tax, I keep in my general checking account, just because they are smaller amounts that I may need quicker access to.

  • Reply Cheryl |

    last year a couple months before Christmas our basement fridge went and we paid from our savings account, then our dryer went and it would take 2 months to get the new part not including how much the cost. The day before Christmas Eve my washer went mid cycle. We went to Lowe’s and bought both the dryer and washer on 12 months same as cash. Both were paid off in 6 months. Owning a home is expensive.

  • Reply Laura |

    Hi Ashley! Love your updates. Please make sure your capitalone accounts are the most recent savings accounts offered. They don’t always offer the highest rates to older accounts and you could be missing out on interest. Just something to check!

So, what do you think ?