Last spring when we remodeled our kitchen, we bought a dishwasher that we found on Craigs List for $100. It was about six years old, and the retail price was $600. We replaced a 21 year old dishwasher that was loud and ugly and rusty but still working. Our new (to us) dishwasher was amazingly quiet, very stylish, and worked great – until this week. On Wednesday evening, I turned it on and nothing happened. I pushed a few buttons and thought I smelled smoke, so I shut it off and went to bed. My parents were planning to visit us on Thursday, and I wanted to get their opinion on what might be wrong.
When they got here, we pulled the dishwasher out and it took my dad about 8 minutes to find a very fried part of motor. Dang it. We briefly thought about trying to get a new motor, but since we didn’t know what had caused the motor to burn out in the first place, we didn’t want to put a new motor in and have it burn out again.
Since time was of the essence (we had to shut off the main water line to the house while the dishwasher was connected) we decided to go to Home Depot and just buy a new dishwasher. Our fridge and stove are white, so we wanted a white dishwasher. There wasn’t a lot of decision making to do, as there was a grand total of one white dishwasher in stock at our Home Depot. We forked over $350 and brought it home. Thanks to my parents, it’s now installed in our kitchen and working perfectly.
I don’t like buying anything new when there’s an option to buy used. But convenience won out this time. And it is nice to have a warranty on our new dishwasher.
We’re focusing on living very frugally in order to have money saved for a down payment if we decide to go ahead with our idea of buying another house. And it would have been nice to be able to put that $350 into our house fund instead of buying a dishwasher. (We don’t consider a dishwasher to be an emergency, so we’re using money that would have been allocated to our down payment fund rather than emergency fund money. We’d rather delay our house purchase than deplete our emergency fund.) But situations like this remind me of how glad I am that we worked so hard to get rid of our non-mortgage debt over the last several years and that we live below our means. It’s a bummer to have to take a chunk out of the money that we’ll put into our house fund this month. But it would be a much bigger bummer if we were also struggling to pay off consumer debt at the same time (we did have a few of those sort of situations arise when we were working to pay off debt, and they were even less fun then).
If you’re focused on off debt, I promise that the result is worth it. Appliances will give out, emergencies will crop up, unexpected expenses will always show up when you have much better plans for your money. By focusing on needs rather than wants, living below your means, and setting aside money during times when you don’t have unexpected expenses, life becomes a little easier when the unexpected expenses show up.