I’m Increasing My Home Maintenance Budget This Year for This Reason

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  • The more home maintenance you outsource, the more you can expect to spend.
  • Since I'm self-employed and my time is valuable to me, I'm planning to pay for more maintenance services so I can free up hours for other things.

When you buy a home, you don't just commit to making a mortgage payment every month. You also sign up for a host of additional expenses, from homeowners insurance to property taxes to maintenance.

For some of those expenses, you really don't get a say in the cost. Sure, you could try to appeal your property tax bill and shop around for better homeowners insurance rates. But for the most part, you're told what to pay, and you then have to factor those costs into your budget.

Home maintenance is a little different. Not only can the cost be variable, but the more of it you're willing to do yourself, the less money you might end up spending. But this year, I expect my home maintenance costs to go up for one very big reason.

I'm planning to do less hands-on work

Normally, my husband and I do our share of home maintenance but also outsource certain tasks when it makes sense to do so. Take gutter cleaning, for example. That's hazardous work that could result in serious injury. So it's well worth it to pay a service $180 to clean out our gutters rather than risk bodily harm and an emergency room bill.

We also pay a landscaping company to mow our lawn during the year. Our cost ends up being about $30 per cut, whereas to do that work ourselves, it would easily take 60 to 90 minutes if not longer.

This year, however, we plan to outsource even more home maintenance because we both have a lot going on. My husband and I volunteer in our community in different ways. He runs a Cub Scout den, and I run programs and fundraisers at my daughters' school. We also both work full-time and have our kids in a lot of activities, which means on evenings and weekends, we're busy shuttling them places.

All told, that doesn't leave us a lot of time to tackle home maintenance. And rather than give up our limited downtime, we've decided that this year, we're going to throw a bit more money at upkeep to free up hours for ourselves.

A decision that makes logistical and financial sense

Paying for home maintenance so I don't have to do it myself makes sense on multiple levels. First of all, I value my downtime, and I don't get all that much of it. So I'd rather pull a few extra hundred dollars out of my bank account than give up time with my kids, my books, or my friends.

Also, I happen to be self-employed, so I can easily justify the extra costs. The way I see it, if I spend some of the time I'm not doing maintenance on work, I can boost my income and make up the difference.

As an example, I often spend an entire day on a weekend with my husband painting our deck. We might spend a few hundred dollars to hire someone to do that work. But I might be able to work half a day on a Saturday or Sunday, make up the cost, and then have the remainder of the day to myself.

All told, home maintenance tasks aren't something I particularly enjoy. So I'd rather carve out room in my budget to pay someone else to do them.

Now, if you feel differently about home maintenance, then by all means, save your money. A recent Angi survey found that 59% of men said home maintenance is rewarding. So if you enjoy getting your hands dirty, great. If not, and you can afford to outsource that work, there's nothing wrong with that.

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