This Was the Biggest Financial Mistake I Made in 2022

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KEY POINTS

  • We all make mistakes at some point or another.
  • I'm particularly mad about this mistake because I had the potential to avoid it. 
  • I should have put more money aside for home repairs in 2022. 


What makes it worse is that I should've known better.

In August 2021, my downstairs air conditioner went kaput in the middle of a heat wave. Needless to say, my husband and I found ourselves with no choice but to throw money at the first contractor who could put in a replacement unit in short order. 

Since we didn't have time to shop around and compare quotes, we got stuck paying more than we should've paid. But when faced with the choice of spending an extra $700 or $800 versus having to endure days on end of 99-degree weather with no air conditioning, we opted to raid our savings and pay the extra money.

Because we got stuck with such a major home repair in 2021, we figured we wouldn't be in for a repeat in 2022. As such, we didn't allocate more money in our budget for home repairs. But that turned out to be a huge mistake.

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When the same repair happens two years in a row

My house has two separate heating and cooling zones, so we have two air conditioners. Now our upstairs air conditioner wasn't in the best shape going into 2022. But we'd gotten it serviced the summer before and figured we'd be okay. After all, what were the chances of us getting stuck having to replace two air conditioners within the same 12-month period?

Apparently, the odds there were pretty high, because lo and behold, our upstairs air conditioner stopped working out of nowhere in late May. And once again, we found ourselves having to shell out many thousands of dollars for a replacement.

One thing we had going for us this time around was that we had time to shop around. When our air conditioner broke, it was hot, but not scorching. So we were able to take some time to get quotes, and that ended up saving us a chunk of money. 

On the other hand, thanks to our friend inflation, prices for replacement units and labor were up across the board this year. So all told, we wound up spending more on a new air conditioner than we would've had the same thing happened before inflation took hold.

Meanwhile, the way we paid for that second new air conditioner was -- you guessed it -- our emergency fund. But because we'd taken money out of our savings the summer before, this additional withdrawal put us at a level I wasn't happy with. And so we wound up having to shift some plans around in an attempt to put that money back. 

What gets me mad at myself over the whole situation is that I should've anticipated another big home repair and set a lot more money aside every month. What I did instead was shrink our home repair budget and increase spending in other categories, which was just plain silly. 

Had I allocated more money for a big repair, I would've potentially taken anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000 less out of my savings at the end of May. And that might've led to a less stressful summer. 

Lesson learned

Nobody's perfect, and we all make mistakes -- financial ones included -- every so often. What also gets me about my blunder is that I technically had a heads-up about it. I just figured things would work out differently.

I plan to allocate a lot more money for home repairs in 2023. At this point, both of my air conditioners are new and under warranty, so at least I don't have to worry about them breaking. But when you own a house, there are a host of things that could go wrong. And if I play my cards right, I'll be better prepared to handle the next big repair that comes my way.

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