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5 Ways Routine Maintenance Pays Off

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Routine Maintenance

The following is a contribution from Kyle at RatherBeShopping.com. If you’re interested in contributing to Frugal Rules, please see our guidelines and contact us.

 

I have always considered routine maintenance to be the little tasks, that when done consistently, avoid the big problems. Maintenance of “things” in your life is certainly part of this, but what about maintenance of your body and your personal and professional relationships? Those can certainly have big consequences if not properly maintained. Here are five routine maintenance items that when considered can help show you how to save money and have a lasting positive impact on your life.

Routine Maintenance for Your Car

 

By maintaining your vehicle not only do you fight against depreciation, but you’ll see how to save money on gas through better gas mileage, resulting in more cash in your pocket. This means regular oil and filter changes, tire rotations, and tune-ups.

See your owner’s manual for the suggested routine maintenance schedule for your particular vehicle. By paying as you go to keep your car maintained you’re likely to avoid the “big” break-down that could cost you thousands.

Financial Maintenance

 

What easy things can you do on a regular basis to improve your personal finances? Things that jump to mind include adding money every month to a savings account, emergency fund, or retirement account. Or how about shopping around for a better auto insurance policy?

Or how about calling your cable provider and telling them you are considering canceling and see if they’ll lower your bill to keep you on as a customer. The idea is to spend some time each week, or month, in an effort to improve your finances and monthly expenses. It’s when this gets ignored that we blindly pay more than we should for routine maintenance type services or leave money in our checking account earning .001% interest.

Personal Maintenance

 

By maintaining your body by eating right and exercising not only do you stand to live longer but you’ll be less susceptible to illness which costs money to fight. Not to mention the loss of productivity and time away from work.

This doesn’t mean you have to start P90X tomorrow, but rather start doing little routine maintenance things like taking the stairs at work, or parking your car at the far end of the parking lot and walking. The little things will start to add up to a healthier lifestyle in no time.

Home Maintenance

 

If you’re a homeowner learning to do basic home maintenance not only will you save a lot of money but you’ll get a lot of satisfaction out of learning to do-it-yourself. Mowing the lawn, trimming the hedges, and cleaning the gutters is a great place to start, but why not challenge yourself the next time your toilet leaks and learn to fix it yourself rather than call a plumber.

This would certainly cross over into personal maintenance as a big aspect of that is constantly challenging yourself and getting out of your comfort zone. Plus, at $75/hour, it’s easy to see how to save money by learning to do routine maintenance tasks yourself.

 

Relationship Maintenance

 

In terms of a career, maintaining relationships is crucial. This means not burning bridges when leaving a job as you never know when you might need a good reference. But more importantly, by building strong relationships through networking, you open yourself up to many new opportunities both personally and professionally.

Attend local trade shows and seminars in your field, join local business groups that interest you, or join your local Rotary club as a way to not only give back to the community but also as a fantastic way to network with local business people.

My philosophy has always been to try and find the perfect balance when it comes to routine “life” maintenance. When you get out of balance, either personally or professionally, “stuff” can start to creep up on you and lead to big expenses or a breakdown in relationships.

How do you maintain your life and what are the benefits you have seen from it?

 

Editor’s note: I could not agree more with Kyle. By doing routine maintenance you can save money on money different things in life, plus enhance your life in general.

Kyle James runs a site called Rather-Be-Shopping.com which collects and organizes online coupons and to over 800 retailers. Popular offers include Lands’End coupon codes for free shipping and up to 30% off your order.

 

Photo courtesy of: Helmut Gevert

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John is the founder of Frugal Rules, a dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry whose writing has been featured in Forbes, CNBC, Yahoo Finance and more.

Passionate about helping people learn from his mistakes, John shares financial tools and tips to help you enjoy the freedom that comes from living frugally. One of his favorite tools is Personal Capital , which he used to plan for retirement and keep track of his finances in less than 15 minutes each month.

Another one of John's passions is helping people save $80 per month by axing their expensive cable subscriptions and replacing them with more affordable ones, like Hulu with Live TV.

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44 Comments

  • DC @ Young Adult Money says:

    I love this post, Kyle. Home maintenance is huge. As we are upgrading the rental unit in our basement I’m realizing more and more how expensive it would be if we hired out all the work. Lots of home maintenance is primarily time consuming. There are times to call in an expert (or relative who is a licensed contractor…) but for the most part I’m happy investing some time learning how to do small maintenance myself.

  • Holly@ClubThrifty says:

    Great points! I don’t mind any of those, except for home maintenance. It makes sense to take good care of things you paid good money for.

    • Kyle James | Rather-Be-Shopping.com says:

      Home maintenance can be a drag for sure Holly. But it is amazing how a little here and a little there can add up and avoid the BIG problems.

  • Money Bulldog says:

    Little and often is always the best way. You could relate it to going for a run, if you keep a nice steady pace you’ll use a lot less energy than you would doing stop-start sprints.

    • Kyle James | Rather-Be-Shopping.com says:

      Great analogy. Little and often is way better, in my opinion, than HUGE and rarely. If you can AVOID huge you’ll not only save money but life will have a lot less stress in it.

  • Thad says:

    Really interesting use of the whole maintenance theme. Taking stock of life, personally, financially, relationally–it is always important. Thanks for the reminder!

  • Pauline says:

    Great post Kyle. I do maintenance on my stuff too, like computer, defrost the freezer… things last longer when you take care of them.

    • Kyle James | Rather-Be-Shopping.com says:

      Absolutely they do. I am always trying to instill this in my kids. You take care of things and it shows that you value them and the money they cost.

  • AverageJoe says:

    I had a personal coach when I was an advisor. She had a wheel with different parts of my life (professional, spiritual, friendships, spouse, etc.). I had to grade these on a scale of one to ten and then we performed “routine maintenance” on each of them. You’re right on….it’s effective.

  • Michelle says:

    We really need to do some home maintenance on our house. We haven’t done much since we moved in a couple of years ago.

  • Glen @ Monster Piggy Bank says:

    Half the reason we bought a new house as opposed to a second hand one was because I assumed there would be a lot less maintenance involved. So far it really doesn’t feel that way 🙁

  • Daisy @ Money Smart Guides says:

    Many people have the “don’t fix it if it’s not broken” attitude, which is too bad, because maintenance is important. I remember being a teenager with my first car, and it breaking down, and my mechanic telling me the $1200 repair bill could have been avoided if I had just maintained it. Now, of course, I’m much more diligent!

  • Laurie says:

    Great post, Kyle! Love the part about financial maintenance. That’s one crucial part of life that we never considered until this year. Duh!!!!

    • Kyle James | Rather-Be-Shopping.com says:

      And probably takes the least amount of effort of any of these! Just a little time and consistency.

  • Jamie Dickinson @ YourSavingAngels says:

    Solid tips right there! We often fail to properly maintain or fix the small things when we know we should be more diligent. This is mostly because we can get by with them as they are.

    • Kyle James | Rather-Be-Shopping.com says:

      Good point. That works until the day our emergency fund is completely wiped out because we failed to maintain anything.

  • Midlife Finance says:

    I like to do maintenance on our car too, but we don’t have a garage for it. Our condo won’t let us work on the car in the shared garage. That’s too bad.

    • Kyle James | Rather-Be-Shopping.com says:

      I wish I was handy with our car. I can do the oil/filter changes and small cosmetic things but that is about it.

  • Newlyweds on a Budget says:

    I think it’s great that you focus on the tangible and intangible importance of maintenance. Physical things need just as much maintenance as relationships : ) Sometimes just checking in could help avoid huge problems

  • Jason says:

    I often am surprised as to how many people refuse to invest the money to do routine maintenance on their cars! I make sure to get our oil changed every 4,000 miles, get the tires rotated every 7k and then all of the major maintenance that comes every 100k miles. It helps a car live so much longer!

    • Kyle James | Rather-Be-Shopping.com says:

      Great point. Not to mention re-sale value. We recently sold our old minivan which I maintained very well and had it sold in 24 hours for high Kelly Blue Book.

  • Tackling Our Debt says:

    Great post! It is important to look after all of these things on a daily basis so that they don’t get out of hand, such as if you ignore changing the oil on your car it could easily create new problems in the future that you could have easily avoided.

    • Kyle James | Rather-Be-Shopping.com says:

      Agreed. Car maintenance is a BIG one for me. I sleep much better knowing that my wife and kids are not going to break down on the side of the road due to not maintaining the vehicle.

  • Grayson @ Debt Roundup says:

    Awesome post Kyle. This reminds us that there are more things in life that require “maintenance”. I try to run maintenance on everything you listed as much as I can. I don’t have problems keeping up with our cars and home, but relationship maintenance gets a little harder when you have a newborn.

  • Canadianbudgetbinder says:

    Great post Kyle,
    So much in life needs to be maintained as we don’t live in a set it and forget it society. If we don’t maintain our car it will become a lemon, if we don’t upkeep our home it will fall apart, if we don’t put effort into a marriage or relationship it may end. Too many times we focus on what everyone else is doing and forgetting about the persons life whom we stare at in the mirror. A little investment and time goes a long way.

    • Kyle James | Rather-Be-Shopping.com says:

      Absolutely. It all comes down to personal choices and we have no one to blame but ourselves if maintenance is not maintained.

  • John says:

    I agree, as a homeowner maintenance is extremely important. Letting something go only means increased cost down the road. It’s better to stick to the maintenance schedule than pushing it to the right. It can be expensive so better not to learn the hard way.

  • Shannon Ryan @ The Heavy Purse says:

    Great post, Kyle. Routine maintenance definitely pays off from cars to finance. If more people did routine check-ups on their financial situation – are they saving enough (do they even know what they are saving for?), what do you spend money on and can you cut back? – they would be in a better place. So many people I met are scared about all their money mistakes. Well, you can’t fix what’s broken unless you give it a check-up and then routine maintenance.

    • Kyle James | Rather-Be-Shopping.com says:

      For sure Shannon. Learning how to maintain finances can be a very daunting task, I know it was for me.

  • Justin@TheFrugalPath says:

    It’s very important to maintain areas of your life. If you let certain things slip through the cracks in the end it can cost you quite a bit more money than it would if you had just fixed it right in the first place.
    When I moved in my house we had cracks in the mortar joints of our brick work. I used some silicon based mortar to “fix” the cracks. However, it was more of a bandage and last year I spent twice what I would if I had fixed it the right way to begin with.

    • Kyle James | Rather-Be-Shopping.com says:

      Good point Justin. My problem is I often can’t distinguish between fixing a problem and throwing a band-aid on it. Often times what I think is a band-aid ends up solving the problem.

  • Kim@Eyesonthedollar says:

    I agree about how important it is to never burn bridges. You never know who that person knows or what influence they have. That’s especially important when you live in a small town.

    • Kyle James | Rather-Be-Shopping.com says:

      Great point Kim. Having lived in a small town with limited job opportunities you definitely can’t afford to burn bridges. You never know when you’re going to need that good reference.

  • Eddie (@Finance_Fox) says:

    It’s all about routine, yet something that very few do. Why? Routine is boring, but eventually catches up to you. Great post!!

    • Kyle James | Rather-Be-Shopping.com says:

      It sure can be boring. Especially home maintenance, it’s nice my son is old enough to help me with it now. 🙂

  • Elizabeth @ Broke Professionals says:

    I agree with all of these, but especially with taking care of your body. I’ve always been the type who hits the gym five days a week, and it’s crucial to my physical AND mental health!

  • Kay Lynn says:

    I can testify to the importance of home maintenance. We had to spend $12,000 repairing termite damage before selling our home 5 years ago that was due to my husband not doing any prevention for 30 years!

  • JP @ 20's Finances says:

    I’ve also found that for most repairs, buying premium parts can also save you lots of money. Most low cost parts wear out and break with a year or two. Premium parts tend to last much longer.

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