This is the Biggest Financial Mistake I Made in 2022

Air conditioner repairmen use clipboards to explain repair costs to homeowners.

Image source: Getty Images

What makes it worse is that I should have known better.


Key points

  • We all make mistakes at some point or another.
  • I’m especially mad about this mistake because I have the potential to prevent it.
  • I need to spend more money on home improvement in 2022.

In August 2021, my downstairs air conditioner went haywire 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.

Because we didn’t have time to shop around and compare quotes, we were stuck paying more than we should have. But when faced with the choice of spending an extra $700 or $800 versus having to endure days on end in 99 degree weather without air conditioning, we chose to strike ours. SAVINGS and pay extra money.

Because we are stuck with majors like that home improvement in 2021, we think we will not repeat it in 2022. As such, we do not allocate more money in the budget for home improvement. But it turned out to be a big mistake.

When the same improvement occurs two years in a row

My house has two separate heating and cooling zones, so we have two air conditioners. Right now our upstairs AC isn’t in the best shape in 2022. But we had it serviced the summer before and I think we’re fine. After all, what are the chances of us being stuck having to replace two ACs in the same 12 month period?

Apparently, the odds are quite high, because lo and behold, the air conditioner on our upper floor stopped working out of nowhere at the end of May. And once again, we find ourselves having to spend thousands upon thousands of dollars on replacements.

The only thing we want to go this time is that we have time to shop. When our air conditioner broke, it was hot, but not scorching. So we could take some time to get a quote, and it ended up saving us a piece 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 spend more on a new air conditioner than we would have had the same thing 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 took money from our savings the summer before, these extra withdrawals put us at a level I don’t like. So we had to change some plans in an attempt to get that money back.

What makes me mad at myself in the whole situation is that I have to look forward to major home improvements and spend more money every month. What I did was reduce our home improvement budget and increase spending in other categories, which is simply ridiculous.

If I were to allocate more money for a major repair, I would potentially take anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000. Less out of my savings at the end of May. And that could lead to a less stressful summer.

Lesson learned

No one is perfect, and we all make mistakes — including financial ones — all too often. What also got me about my blunder is that I technically had a heads-up about it. I just thought things would work out differently.

I plan to spend more money on home improvements 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 home, there are many things that can go wrong. And if I play my cards right, I’ll be better prepared to handle the big fix that’s coming.

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