We've all been there. Your dishwasher breaks for the eighth time in as many months, and it's the moment of truth: Do you pay to fix the darn thing, or do you replace it altogether? It's tempting to just save yourself the trouble of paying for labor, but sometimes it's wiser to make a repair. So next time something breaks, don't be caught off guard and make the wrong call. Instead, know which items are worth the trouble, and which are simply worthy of the trash.

6 Simple Solutions For Organizing On A Budget
15 Home Gym Essentials For Any Budget
DIY Essentials: What To Know Before You Paint

Kitchen Appliances
If one of your kitchen appliances is making that awkward whirring sound again, then you know it's time to see about a solution. But oftentimes, repairs are expensive. In general, if a kitchen appliance is still within warranty, then it's worth having it fixed. Depending on your warranty specifications, the manufacturer will make the necessary changes for free or for a very small service charge. If your product is out of warranty, then skip any repair that would cost more than half the price of a new product. In general, a newer product is the better long-term investment. If your appliance is more than eight years old and is having problems, then it may be best to replace it. (For related reading, see Extended Warranties: Should You Take The Bait?)

Tutorial: How To Manage Credit Cards and Debt

Carpet is a tricky contender. While a carpet's age plays into the decision of whether to clean or replace it, there are many other factors to consider, as well. The typical lifespan of a wall-to-wall carpet is five to 10 years. Any carpet under five years old is worthy of professional cleaning. Past that, you should evaluate its condition. If there are any heavy stains, mold underneath or heavy odors, then you should replace it immediately. Consider having the ground underneath professionally cleaned, as well. However, if you are moving out soon, then don't bother replacing the carpet. Chances are that the next residents will want to remodel for themselves, and that's an investment not worth wasting on someone else.

Very rarely is quality furniture trash-worthy. With the exception of broken plastic furnishings, almost everything can be fixed, and for a reasonable price. Upholstery shops, for example, offer great deals and will do custom work, ensuring you get exactly what you want out of the update. If you'd rather do it yourself, then reupholstering is a relatively simple home project, and actually a pretty common DIY hobby. Broken furniture can usually be fixed with some nails, glue and time.

Energy-Efficient Appliances
As a general rule, energy-efficient appliances are pricey. One of the many reasons for this is their investment value. Over time, energy-efficient appliances save you money on utilities. They're also made to last, so for the most part, their problems are fixable. Deciding between repairing and replacing something is all about the value of your investment, so take comfort in knowing that every penny going into your energy-efficient appliance is another you get back in savings later. Repair as much as you can with these.

Computer Hardware
Technology is a funny thing. It seems to evolve daily, making it gradually more difficult to find the right replacement parts or repair shops. For this reason, though, it makes the trash vs. replace decision an easier one. If your computer hardware is still under warranty, then use that warranty to have it repaired, making the most of what you paid for it. If not, then replace it. Chances are that by this point, a newer computer part will serve you better, anyway.

The Bottom Line
Dealing with repairs is never fun. But when you're a little more informed about the value of your belongings, the process doesn't have to be quite as stressful. By simply evaluating the value of your investment, and by following the simple tricks above, you'll be on your way to making sound financial decisions for many years to come.

Related Articles
  1. Savings

    Best 7 Money Saving Tips for Your Electric Bill

    Learn how to make simple changes around the home to save on your electric bill, such as fixing drafty windows and switching to compact fluorescent light bulbs.
  2. Home & Auto

    Ins And Outs Of Seller-Financed Real Estate Deals

    Seller financing works like this: Instead of a buyer receiving a loan from a bank, the person selling the house lends the buyer the money for the purchase.
  3. Home & Auto

    Rent-To-Own Homes: How The Process Works

    A rent-to-own agreement can benefit homebuyers with bad credit or insufficient funds for a down payment. Here’s how one works.
  4. Home & Auto

    7 Must-Have Real Estate Contract Conditions

    Buying a home can bury you in paperwork. But it’s worth your time to make sure your contract contains these seven important conditions.
  5. Investing

    7 Creative Ways to Save for an Early Retirement

    Take note of these out of the box steps you can take towards securing yourself an earlier, more comfortable retirement.
  6. Retirement

    Birch Box Review: Is It Worth It?

    Learn more about the convenience of the subscription beauty box industry, and discover why the Birchbox company in particular has become so popular.
  7. Investing Basics

    Understanding Real Estate

    Real estate is an encompassing term that refers to land, the buildings on that land, and its natural resources, such as crops and minerals.
  8. Economics

    Understanding the American Dream

    The American dream is the belief that anyone, regardless of where they’re born or into what class, can attain their own version of success.
  9. Home & Auto

    9 Tips for Handling Homeowners’ Associations

    Before you buy property in a community with an HOA, there are nine things you should do.
  10. Personal Wealth & Private Banking

    Women, Invest In Your Financial Literacy

    Becoming financially literate should be on the to-do list of anyone who is not.
  1. How does a bank determine what my discretionary income is when making a loan decision?

    Discretionary income is the money left over from your gross income each month after taking out taxes and paying for necessities. ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What is the range of deductibles offered with various health insurance plans?

    A wide range of possible deductibles are available with health insurance plans, starting as low as a few hundred dollars ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. How do I know how much of my income should be discretionary?

    While there is no hard rule for how much of a person's income should be discretionary, Inc. magazine points out that it would ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What proportion of my income should I put into my demand deposit account?

    Generally speaking, aim to keep between two months and six months worth of your fixed expenses in your demand deposit accounts. ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. How do I use the rule of 72 to estimate compounding periods?

    The rule of 72 is best used to estimate compounding periods that are factors of two (2, 4, 12, 200 and so on). This is because ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. How much risk is associated with subprime mortgages?

    A large amount of risk is associated with subprime mortgages. Since the mortgages are specifically for people who do not ... Read Full Answer >>
Trading Center