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Written By Colin Graves


This post is a follow up to, “5 Ways To Save Money On Household Appliances”, which I wrote last week.  Our clothes washer had stopped working, and the thought of possibly having to spend big $$$ to replace it got me thinking about the crazy amounts of money people spend on major household appliances.  As it turns out, it gave me the opportunity to complete a relatively minor, yet big money-saving DIY project, which is always a great feeling! 

Mrs. Mystery Money called me at work last week.  The cold water had stopped flowing into the washer, preventing the wash cycle from running it’s course.  My first thought was, “the thing is likely 15 years old, and doesn’t owe us a thing.  Maybe it’s time to bite the bullet and buy a new one.”  Meanwhile, my wife went online to try to diagnose the problem.  She’s very technically minded, (more so than me), and was confident she had figured it out by the time I arrived home.

The ‘mixer’, which is the valve that receives the hot and cold water into the back of the washer and distributes it into the basin, was somehow blocked, preventing cold water from flowing through.


I pulled the back of the washer apart, and removed the affected part.  The next day I went shopping for a replacement, but I couldn’t locate an appliance repair shop in the area that carried one.  Actually, I couldn’t locate an appliance repair shop, period.

I drove to one place I had Googled, and the business wasn’t there anymore.  The one repair guy I was able to reach over the phone, said he was out of the shop on calls, and wouldn’t be open again until after the weekend.

I guess it makes sense.  In our disposable society, the appliance repairman is a dying breed.  At least, it seems that way.

Then I had a thought.  I bet I can buy one of these parts on Amazon. That evening, I looked it up, and found a replacement in a couple of minutes!  I’m always amazed at how much stuff you can find on Amazon, at great prices.

The valve I ordered arrived in the mail yesterday, and it took me about 20 minutes to install and put the washer back together. The total cost, less than $15!  Had I hired a repairman, it would have cost me at least $100.  Much more had I given up on the washer and bought a new one.

That’s the great thing about having a DIY mentality!

Not only can you save LOADS of money, but it’s such a great feeling when you’ve been able to repair something on your own.  I call it a D-I-Y high! 🙂

Admittedly, this was a pretty minor repair, but a great feeling nonetheless!

I will note that I’m not super-handy.  Over the years, I’ve challenged myself by taking on different maintenance and home reno projects, but I often lean on more mechanically-minded friends or family members for help!  As well, I’ve learned a lot from watching tutorials on YouTube.  There’s are almost unlimited resources online that can help you complete just about any D-I-Y project!

One other thing…

With the repair this week, I thought about how little we have spent purchasing major appliance’s over the years.  In fact, I took a few minutes to total it up, and was pretty surprised with the results.  I thought I’d share them with you:

Here’s our entire ‘household appliance’ history:

1999-2000,  Apartment #1 came fully equipped with appliances, cost $0. 

2000-2002, Apartment #2.  Appliances were included with the exception of the washer and dryer.We purchased an ‘almost new’ pair for $800.  When we moved 1 year later, we sold them for  $700, making our net cost $100.

2002-2004, We rented a house, and appliances were provided.  I will note that the home wasn’t equipped with a dryer, so we hung our clothes outside to dry for those two years. Net cost $0

2004-2006, Purchased our first home, appliances were included.

Note: Both the fridge and stove were older, and kicked the bucket within the first year.  As a replacement, we purchased a used smooth-top stove for $300, and were given an older fridge by a family member, as they were buying a new one. Cost $300


2006 – Present  Purchased our current home in 2006.  Brought all appliances from our previous home.  We were given a dishwasher by my parents as a gift, which we used for about 5 or 6 years before it broke.  We did buy a new one as a replacement around 2010, for $400

2010 –  Our friends gave us their older deep freezer.  It worked perfectly until a few months ago (2016). We will likely purchase another one, used, within a few months, but for now we’re getting by without.  Cost, $0.

2015 – Our fridge, given to us 11 years prior, finally kicked the can. As it turns out, a friend of ours had just built a new home and purchased all new stainless-steel appliances.  They sold us their good-as-new, white refrigerator for $100. It’s hard to tell it’s not brand new.

TOTAL NET COST, 1999-2016, $900. 


We were married in 1999.  At the time, Mrs. Mystery Money was 19, I was 23.  That fact has absolutely no relevance to this post, just thought I’d share. 🙂  In over 17 years of marriage, we’ve only spent $900 on household appliances!  That’s pretty cool.

I will note a few things.  We did go without certain appliances for a number of years.  For example, we haven’t always had a dishwasher, or a deep freezer.  We spent two years in a rental home without a dryer.  At times it was inconvenient, but we survived!

Also, having rented a couple of places, it allowed us to take advantage of the fact that appliances were included.

Either way, our willingness to buy used, possessing a DIY mentality and not viewing our appliances as expressions of status or style has saved us a lot of money!

4 thoughts on “THIS WEEKS DIY HIGH”

  1. We totally had one of those life affirming DIY moments this summer. Our mechanic wanted to charge over $200 to change the air filter in our car. My husband bought on in Amazon for under $20 and put it in himself, with a little help from his dad, who’s a serious car person. It was like, high fives all around!

  2. Ha, that’s awesome! I feel like, I shouldn’t be this excited for such a minor repair, but it’s a great feeling. 🙂 I don’t have much skill with cars, unfortunately. My friend changed a wheel bearing for me last year for $130. The garage had quoted me over $700. That was a good feeling as well 🙂

  3. Congrats on your DIY success! I love DIY! And Amazon can be a complete life saver when it comes to parts. Youtube has tutorials on fixing about anything – my son’s car windows weren’t working, so my husband found a video tutorial on how to fix it for less than $5.

    We haven’t had the same luck with appliances as you have. For some odd reason, we go through microwaves like mad. We always look into repairing them, but it has only made economic sense once. I bet we’ve bought 5 microwaves in 19 years of marriage. (I have to wonder if it’s because they are the over the range microwaves and I cook/can so much that the moisture gets to them, even though I run the fan.)

    • Thanks! We’ve certainly been fortunate that our appliances have been pretty durable. I didn’t mention microwaves in the article, but we did get one when we were married and it just died last year, after 17 years. It wasn’t mounted overhead though, just on the counter. My in-laws gave us a second one that they had as a replacement. 🙂


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