I was driving down the road, minding my own business, when I heard the horrible sound of a rock bouncing off my windshield. If you have ever had this happen, you know what I’m talking about. It sounded like my windshield was going to shatter! I took a look at the damage, only to find a very small crack in the windshield – nothing to worry about… at least not until winter apparently.
After a few nights of freezing temperatures, I noticed the small crack was starting to get quite a bit larger. Within a few weeks, the crack stretched from one side of the windshield to the other. I had to pay over $300 to get the windshield replaced. While I was bemoaning the cost, the repair guy looked at me and said “You know it would have cost $25 to fix the original crack.” I was floored… my indifference (more like laziness) had cost me big time.
Be Preemptive, Not Reactive
Don’t continue to put off routine maintenance until you end up with a much larger problem. It’s like going to the dentist – go every 6 months to get your teeth cleaned, and that way you can head off any issues well before they become a major problem. Those cleanings will be a lot cheaper than the bill for major repair work!
Set Aside Money Every Month
There are very few unexpected expenses… most are simply unplanned for. Large health bills, auto repairs, and kids college education expenses are constantly an excuse for why people are in a poor financial position. “I didn’t expect…” is the start to a lot of excuses I hear. Instead, set aside money every month for expenses you KNOW are going to happen. Put $100 a month into an Auto Repair envelope so that when you need to get your oil changed, or you blow a tire, you don’t have to wonder how you will pay for it. I recommend this strategy for all irregular expenses.
The point is, putting off expenses can really hurt you financially. Try your best to maintain what you have, but also set aside money on a regular basis so you are ready when the large bills come your way. If you blow a tire, the last thing you want to be thinking about is HOW you will afford to get back on the road.
So what do you think? Have you ever been guilty of deferring maintenance, and did it cost you? I would love to hear about it!
Alan Moore is a fee-only financial planner and founder of Serenity Financial Consulting in Shorewood WI. Connect with him on Google+. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org, 414-455-5313, or visit his website at www.SerenityFC.com. Want more education? Download your free guide to the “10 Easy Steps To Securing Your Financial Future Today.”