Everyday Cheapskate: Replace or Repair?
You're worried the washing machine may be on its last spin cycle. It makes a horrible screeching sound and needs a lot of coaxing to make it all the way through a full cycle. Should you spend $319 to fix this inefficient appliance or replace it with a $999 new model that will use less electricity and water?
Deciding whether to repair or replace your broken appliance -- especially when trying to save money in the long run -- can be challenging.
Consider these basic guidelines, based on costs and advantages of both options, to help you decide.
IF YOU CANNOT PAY CASH FOR THE NEW REPLACEMENT
You should get it repaired to buy yourself time to save up for the replacement. Even if the repairs will only keep this appliance going for a year or two, you're far better off repairing and then saving for a new machine than paying double-digit interest for the next three to five years.
IF YOU HAVE SOME CASH BUT NOT ENOUGH
Consider replacing your clunker with a older-model, lightly used, high-quality machine. Check sites like Craigslist for well-cared-for, used appliances. Spread the word to friends and neighbors. People are constantly relocating -- which means needing to sell perfectly lovely, near-new appliances.
IF THE APPLIANCE IS EIGHT OR MORE YEARS OLD
Once an appliance becomes elderly, it usually makes sense to buy a new one. However, if you have a high-end, older appliance, you may want to repair it.
IF REPAIRS ARE REALLY EXPENSIVE