It’s no surprise that given the current state of the economy people are hanging on to their stuff longer and not opting to buy new. The events taking place in the car industry currently (with record low unit sales for both domestic and foreign manufactures) serve as a perfect example of individuals not buying or leasing new vehicles but rather repairing and maintaining their current vehicles.
The idea of making your stuff last longer can be applied to many consumer product categories. So, before you decide to throw away that old refrigerator and opt for a new model, see if you can leverage the services of the following “subject matter experts:”
1. Shoe Repair Person
A good handyman can repair an aging deck, paint and repair cracking walls and ceiling, fix an old light fixture, repair your front brick steps, and clean your gutters. With any home repair, make sure that a fix is what you need versus a replacement. For example, if your furnace is 20+ years old it’s probably a good idea to consider replacing the whole unit as it will run more efficiently and give you peace of mind (you really don’t want to repair an old unit and have to worry about it breaking down in the middle of winter). The same principle applies to your roof and roof shingles (if a few shingles are showing wear <viz., your typical asphalt shingle> then it’s probably a good idea to replace the entire roof).
A good mechanic is invaluable. And given that most modern cars are designed to run without too much maintenance you shouldn’t need your mechanic too often before, say, your car reaches 100,000 miles. However, preventative maintenance is key to keeping a car for the long term; so be sure to change your oil and filter according to manufacturer specs, replace tires and worn brake pads, as well as belts and fluids.
4. Appliance Repair Person
It used to be the case that a refrigerator could last 20+ years. Nowadays many families just buy a new appliance if their old one stops working or if the family decides to renovate their kitchen. However, must consumer appliances can be fixed and be made to work like new provided you hire a good appliance person. An appliance repair person can replace a faulty water line in your refrigerator, look at the pump assembly in your dishwasher, or fix an oven that is not heating properly. So, skip the manufacturer extended warranty and ask around for a good local repair person.
You’ll be surprised at how empowering it feels to be able to fix something (or have someone else fix it for you) so that you do not have to run to the store and hand over $500 for a new washing machine, for example. Also, remember to always consider the repair cost of the item you’re trying to bring back to life (if the repair cost is huge compared to the price of a new item, then you may want to simply purchase that $30 coffeemaker for example <versus trying to fix it>)