When a big-ticket item breaks, it’s often hard to decide whether to buy a new one or repair it. Here are some tips to help you with that decision:
1. Appliances. A general rule of thumb is to replace an appliance if the cost to repair it is more than half of the replacement cost. Check out your weekly store ads so you have an idea of what new appliances cost – especially if your appliances are reaching the end of their life expectancy:
Refrigerator or freezer: 14-17 years
Electric Range: 17 years
Dishwashers: 10 years
Washers: 13 years
Dryers: 14 years
Gas water heater: 11-13 years
2. Furniture. When upholstered furniture becomes stained, worn or ripped, recovering it is an option – but not an inexpensive one, when you add up the cost of fabric and labor. Reupholstering is usually recommended only when it’s a solid, well-built piece of furniture. Better yet, take an upholstery class and do it yourself!
3. Computers and other electronics. Computers are designed to be more upgradeable these days, so try adding memory and updating software before buying a new one. With smaller electronics, such as phones or mp3 players, prices keep dropping and features keep getting upgraded, so the rule of thumb is to repair it only when the repair costs 25 percent or less of the new purchase price.
4. Cars. Only a qualified mechanic whom you trust can determine if it’s worth repairing an older car. He or she should be able to help you estimate the amount of work needed to keep it safe and reliable. Buyers often overlook the automatic depreciation when you drive a new car off the lot, plus the higher cost of insurance and, in some states, registration for a new car.
Finally, when replacing a large household appliance or electronic equipment, check with your local sanitation department or recycling businesses about?ways to keep the item out of a landfill. You might be surprised who wants to reuse or recycle your old junk!
What have you replaced recently, and how did you reach that decision? – Please Comment