A couple weeks ago our oven started on fire. Before you freak out, it isn’t as dramatic as it might sound. I was cooking pizza with friends and the heating element in our electric oven shorted out and sprouted a small flame a few inches high.

In slight panic, I yelled to my friends and was frantically going through the options in my head. Thankfully my friend suggested cutting the power, which easily took care of everything. After further inspection, the heating element was completely fried and we lost the use of our oven.

We Started Weighing Our Options

Now that our oven was officially out of commission, we needed to problem solve. We came up with a list of options, some cheap, others expensive. I’ll talk about them from the cheapest option to the most expensive.

Option 1: The Cheapest Option is to Buy a New Heating Element

The easiest fix was to get a new heating element and replace the broken one. Heating elements aren’t too expensive, maybe $50-100 and we could probably mostly install it ourselves. Who are we kidding, we’re home improvement illiterate, we always call our “electrician” friend who’s rewiring his entire house.

Option 2: We Can Buy a New Electric Oven!

We aren’t huge fans of our electric oven. It does have a nice flat top, but all the burners are a different size and don’t heat evenly. We typically just use the largest one, which is also the quickest and most efficient. I know most stove tops have different size burners, but hopefully a new stove will work more consistently.

Also, we have a slight cosmetic problem with the old electric oven (and our fridge for that matter). A new electric stove will solve this problem. We have four kitchen appliances: fridge, oven, microwave, and dishwasher. The problem? The dishwasher and microwave are black, and the stove and fridge are white. This drives my wife CRAZY!!! Her dream is to have matching appliances and black appliances look so much better in our kitchen.

As a result, my wife is strongly for getting a new oven.

We looked at new electric ovens and they’re in the ballpark of $600-800 depending on how fancy we get.

Option 3: We Can Install a Gas Line and Buy a Gas Oven!

On a scale from 1 to dream world, this is the dreamiest option for us, especially my wife. Jenna has been dreaming of a gas stove since we got married. She loves to bake and cook so this would also make her baking dreams come true.

Luckily we have a gas furnace, so there’s already a gas line the house. We got an estimate from our utility company of about $350, which was WAAAAYYY cheaper than we thought it would be. When we looked at new ovens, we saw one we liked for around $900 ($100 discount for a tiny dent in the side).

That makes for a grand total of $1,300-$1,400 or so, double the cost of a new electric stove.

Our Final Decision…..Drumroll Please!!!!!

We bought a new…..Gas Oven! Jenna gets a little giddy every time she sees it and has already gotten to bake a couple times (we’ve only had it for two days). Her creme brûlée is delicious in case you’re wondering!

Frugal Isn't Always the Only Option
My wife is an awesome baker! Homemade creme brulee is the best I’ve ever had!

It definitely wasn’t the frugal, budget friendly option and it might seem like a big, unnecessary impulse buy. And I suppose it was a bit unnecessary, but we had a plan in place to take most of the stress out of any home owner disaster that might strike. Side note: it actually cost $650 for the gas line, so much for estimates! Luckily the extra expense wasn’t enough to break our budget.

We’ve Been Saving for New Appliances for Six Months

We are big planners and goal setters. Once we paid off our student loans, we created a game plan for what we wanted to do with the extra money that previously went to our loan payments. Part of that plan was to save for new appliances.

Like I said, my wife hates that our appliances don’t match. This might seem silly, but it’s really important to her. We dedicate 15% of our savings toward home improvement type projects each month. Given that plan, our goal was to buy a new stove and fridge sometime in the spring.

Even though October is definitely not that close to spring, we had plenty of money set aside for a new gas stove and to install a gas line with the $350 estimate. We would even have a decent amount to spare.

If we would’ve bought a new electric stove, it would’ve delayed our goal of installing a new gas stove for a long time.

Related Post: How We Paid Off $29,500 of Debt in 2016Goodbye Student Loans: We Are 10 Days From Being Debt Free

In Dire Need, We Also Have an Emergency Fund

One of the first priorities in our finances was to create an emergency fund. Since we’ve become debt free, we’ve been slowly growing this fund to cover bigger emergencies. Our current goal is enough to cover 8-10 months of expenses.

Thankfully we didn’t need to dip into our emergency fund to fix our oven. Honestly, if we didn’t have enough money in our home improvement fund, we definitely would’ve chosen a less expensive option. There’s a good chance we would’ve just bought a new heating element.

Related Post: How Decluttering Can Build Your Financial Foundation

My Wife is a Baker and Any Baker Will Tell You Gas is Better

I firmly believe it’s important to invest in hobbies. My wife loves to cook and bake, and it’s truly a hobby for her. Therefore, I am willing to invest extra money if it’s also an investment in a hobby she loves. Yes, she can still bake and cook with an electric stove, but it’s just not the same (or so I’m told).

Frugal Isn't Always the Only Option
Gas ovens also make delicious pizza!

Frugal Isn’t Always the Only Option

We try to be frugal as often as possible and budget definitely reflects all of our efforts to save money. Nine times out of ten, we choose the cheaper options. However, every once in a while we splurge. When we have the money and save for specific goals, we have no hesitation to spend more lavishly. This was one of those times.

Wrapping It Up

We are really happy with the new oven, even though we bought it six months ahead of schedule. As a result of our planning, it wasn’t a financial burden and now our house will be stacked with delicious baked goods for the foreseeable future! 

Let Me Know in the Comments

What do you think? How do you plan for unexpected household expenses? Do you always choose the least expensive option or do you splurge occasionally? How do you decide?

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13 Responses

  1. We have an electric double oven and a couple years ago we were in the same boat. One totally quit working and the other only partly heated. My husband has electrical background and informed me we would ot be getting a new double oven. I decided to do some internet digging and found new elements for both ovens for less than $100 total. I also LOVE to bake. Jenna and I need a baking weekend. Having an emergency fund sure takes the stress out of things when stuff happens. We had an emergency fund and this past summer between the pump for our well and my husband hitting a deer cost us nearly $3500. We were easily able to pay for this with the emergency fund and frugal lifestyle and have already replenished our emergency fund.

    1. That’s a great find for both heating elements! It’s so much less stressful with an emergency fund! That’s exactly what they’re meant for. I’ll let Jenna know about the baking date!

  2. It’s crazy how when you first discover how rewarding it is to be frugal, you just go in 100%. I remember always just looking at price as the most important thing when buying certain things, but like you said, it’s not always necessarily the best thing. The whole point of being frugal is so that we can also have freedom in our budget to enjoy the things that we love. And a lot of times you pay slightly more for quality up front, and it still saves you in the long run.

    Thanks for the post!

    1. So true! And for us I think we needed to go 100% in from the start to really buy into the frugal lifestyle. Plus, once we started reaping the benefits it almost became 2nd nature to think frugally. I feel it’s a win/win. I still love being frugal, and I also enjoy the freedom to invest money in things we love.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  3. I love this, it’s so true. I think overall frugality is what allows you to splurge on the things that are important to you when the time comes. Frugality shouldn’t be THE ultimate goal , but rather a means to the ultimate goal of obtaining whatever improves your life the most.

  4. Exactly right! Frugality is a means to an end and helps add value to your life! And in this case for us, the bonus of baked goods! ?

  5. I’m a big believer in saving and splurging. We are super frugal in most areas, which allows us to splurge in a few that are important to us (mostly travel related). It’s so important that you recognized your wife’s passion for baking, and that the nicer oven would enable her to enjoy her hobby more fully. Of course, if it means more creme brûlée, then you benefit as well! : )

    1. Haha it was just a jacks pizza, but it was sooo good!!!

      If you’re looking for some thoughts, quotes, or experiences to share I’d be happy to help out!

      Thanks for reading!

  6. and you can’t heat tortillas properly on an electric stove. And trying to cook food on a wok over electric… no way! Gas all the way! It would drive me crazy if I didn’t have gas. Haha.
    Sounds like a wonderful investment. I definitely thing you two made the right decision. It’s got to be awesome to have the taste-testing role. 😉

  7. Great post! I completely agree that it is fine to spend money on a quality product that you value as long as you aren’t going into debt to get it. We have a gas stove as well and it is amazing!

    Looks like you married well with your wife being such a great baker!

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