When money is tight and time is at a premium, it can be tough to decide whether to repair or replace broken items.
So before you bring the item out to the trash or head to the store, ask yourself a few questions.
What is the typical lifespan of the item?
If you have a 10-year-old television that’s on the fritz, it’s probably time to replace it because TVs just don’t last that long. As technology changes, it can be more cost prohibitive to repair the items, and newer models may suit your needs better. Newer appliances can be more energy efficient than an older one.
Do you still need the item? You may discover that the kitchen gadget you thought you needed may not be all that necessary. Instead of repairing or replacing the item, you may decide that living without is the best choice.
What would it cost to replace?
Buying something new can be costly, particularly if you don’t take the time to shop around and find the best deals. You’ll need to investigate what it will cost you to replace the item and determine if you have the funds to replace it. You could also hunt for a secondhand replacements at estate sales, garage sales, thrift shops, or Craigslist.
How difficult would it be to repair?
A quick search of the internet can help you determine if fixing the item is a DIY project or one that’s outside of your skill set. You’ll also need to assess how much time it would take to repair the item, and whether that is time you wish to spend.
What would it cost to repair?
How much do the parts cost to make the fix? Do you have the necessary tools to make the repair? How much would you have to pay someone to fix it for you? How much time will you spend? How much stress will it cost?
These are the questions you should consider before making a repair. You may find that the part you need only costs a few dollars and is easy to replace yourself. Or you could discover that the item requires a trained, paid technician to repair.
Knowing estimated repair costs can help you determine whether to fix it or forget it.
What is the likelihood of it breaking again?
If you fixed the item, will it be fixed for good? Or is the repair nearly a Band-Aid approach to help you get by for awhile longer? Sure, you could save a bit of money fixing the item now, but if you have to keep paying to repair it or eventually have to replace it, it could actually cost you more in the long run.
Do I have to repair or replace this item immediately?
Some things are true household emergencies – like leaking faucets or dead refrigerators. In these situations, you will have to make decisions based on quick responses. How soon will parts arrive? How soon can a repair person come? If I replace the item, can I get it today?
With other items, you have a bit more time to decide. This means you can do some research into the best brands, find the best repair people, do more research if you’re fixing it yourself, and shop around for the best prices.
What will I do with the item if I don’t repair it?
If you decide to replace the item, you’ll need to consider what will happen to the old item. Will I have to pay to dispose of it? Does it have any resale value? Could it be repurposed? Do the individual parts have value?
Making the decision
Should you repair it or replace it? Sometimes you need to take a bit of a leap of faith when it comes to deciding whether to repair or replace. But if you’re able to take that leap with some good solid information behind it, then making the decision is a little easier.
Your turn: How do you decide whether to repair or replace an item?