We talk a lot about the secrets of the rich. Here is another one to add to your war chest.
Neil Patrick Harris’ Story
On November 25th Neil Patrick Harris (Barney Stinson on How I Met Your Mother) tweeted and posted on Instagram that the screen on his camera broke. He went on to say he just purchased it in June.
Many people commented that he should just go buy a new one, he could afford it after all. I do not personally know Neil Patrick Harris’ financial situation, but my guess would be, yes he can afford a new one; probably several of them, in fact.
However, nobody ever made it rich or stayed wealthy by just replacing everything that broke. So what did Mr. NPH himself do? The full Instagram post is below and, wait for it…
Neil Patrick Harris wanted to repair it rather than replace it.
Repair vs. Replace
You might be a habitual repairer or you might over-replace things. Depending on the situation you might not be right or wrong.
So in which cases should you repair instead of replace the broken item? Let’s start out with an easy one. If the item costs less to buy a new one than it does to repair it, go buy yourself a shiny new one and rest easy.
If the repair is cheaper than the replacement then you have to do some thinking about which makes more sense. To help you out, here is my thought process when deciding:
- For technology, if it is older than 3 years, replace it
- If a car has less than 150,000 miles on it, and the repair is less than the current value of the car, repair it
- When it comes to household appliances if it has outlasted its expected life, replace it. Check out this website for a list of product lifespans – http://www.atdhomeinspection.com/advice/average-product-life/
My overall goal when deciding if repairing is better than replacing is to ensure the money I spend today will actually pay off and I get substantial use out the item after repair. Many habitual repairers are constantly “throwing money at the problem” and end up wasting money in the long-run.
Habitual repairers often find themselves spending $100 today to fix a $200 item only to have something else break 3 months from now that will also cost $100 to repair. With the money of those two repairs you could have purchased a shiny new one that you know will last.
On the flip-side, if you are constantly replacing the item then you are just throwing money away. I know it is tempting if your phone screen cracks to go out and buy a new one, but it might be less expensive to repair it. Sometimes it will only cost you $30-50.
Before you either repair or replace it do some research and think about which makes the most sense for the scenario.
Where to repair?
If you decide to get something repaired it is important to choose a quality place. Don’t just open the phonebook Google and choose the first place. Instead ask your friends and family if they can recommend someone.
If you do have to find someplace on your own, check reviews. If the repair is a substantial cost ask for a list of previous customers you can speak to. If you cannot find reviews and they refuse to give you a list of customers then think twice about proceeding.
If the repair shop has reviews, understand that typically those who leave a review had either a terrible experience or an amazing experience. Unfortunately, most people who have the expected experience don’t leave reviews.
Additionally, if your item is under warranty check with the manufacturer to find out if you can get it repaired for free. If not, find out who is an approved repair shop and go to one of those. If you go to an unapproved repair shop you risk having your warranty voided.
If you are looking to save the most money, repair the item yourself. I know this might sound tedious, believe me I’ve been there. My dad was always very handy around the house, however, I seem to have found myself with two left thumbs. But when it comes to saving money, I will try almost anything.
A simple YouTube or Google search will often find you a video tutorial or step-by-step guide to the repair you are making. This will take the guess work out of the repair and make almost anyone an “expert.” Another great site is RepairClinic.com which will provide guides and a parts lookup.
Finally, you can check with your friends or family. You never know when your co-worker used to be an AC technician or your wife’s uncle rebuilt a Corvette. Use those connections, but make sure you don’t abuse them. Always compensate them for their time, whether that is in money or lunch is up to you.
Knowing when to repair something and when to replace it will change your finances. Now you know one more secret of the rich and, in this case, the famous.
Your Financial Freedom Partner,