Toilets and the Ever Important $1,000 Emergency Fund

This past week was a prime example of why everyone should have at the very least a $1,000 Emergency Fund. Our sewer line clogged up on Monday, and after two days of trying to clear it ourselves, we had to call in a professional. Roto-Rooter to the rescue!

Unfortunately, it turned out we paid $310 for a plunger job! Chris had tried to use a cleanout tool for our “cleanout” pipe to the sewer from Home Depot to no avail and called in a pro.

Then, the pro couldn’t even get his big cleanout tool down the cleanout pipe in the front either. He thought maybe our pipes were offset. That potentially meant a dig out and new pipes in the future. We thought, man, we must have a HUGE problem on our hands.

How Much?!?!

Spoiler alert: the pro finally plunged it with a big plunger and viola, water flowed again.

The pro was very nice and we’d definitely call them again if needed. We asked about cameras to see what the issue was down there, but he said that would cost extra and have to be a whole other appointment. We’ll pass.

Our DIY Mindset Prevails

After he left, it was 8 pm and Chris decided to duct tape his phone to a pole (in a plastic bag) and shot video down into the hole. Good thinking Chris!

Apparently, our sewer line has a catch right after the clean out section. Really?! Who designed it like that?

Now we know that the catch is where toilet paper got stopped up. Our assumption is a child in our home who’s been found to stuff up the toilet before… Thankfully, there is no issue of pipes being offset or the need for a dig out/replacement.

So, next time, Chris can just plunge the outside cleanout pipe if needed and now we know what it looks like down there. That my friend is a frustrating experience to have paid so much for a plunger! In the end, we now know how we’d fix it ourselves next time and will save on doing that in the future.

Emergency Funds Save the Day

The good thing is that we don’t have any issues covering this cost from our house funds. If we weren’t ahead of the game, as we were years ago, we’d have definitely relied on that $1,000 Emergency Fund to cover this last minute cost. It’s important to get toilets flushing again without going into credit card debt!

Another example of the easy wins an Emergency Fund could garner in such situations. Think about it, if you don’t have an Emergency Fund, maybe this will convince you to set just a little something aside. You don’t want to have to pay 21%+ interest just to go to the bathroom, right?

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6 Responses

  1. Steveark says:

    It is really annoying when you spend money just to get back to where you started. If your refrigerator dies at least you usually get some improvements on the replacement, or the same for a television. But for household maintenance you end up right where you started before whatever decided to stop working. You are so right, having pre-saved the money doesn’t make it fun to spend but it takes the stress away of not knowing where to find it in an emergency. And no toilets is pretty much the worst case scenario!

    • Kate Nesi says:

      Good take on it! I never even thought about spending just to end up right where you started, but that seems to be what most home maintenance is all about! Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Mr. Groovy says:

    Emergency fund to the rescue. I love it. Thanks for sharing, Kate. And I totally agree with you. At the very least, have $1,000 readily available in a savings account. If you want to be super safe, have $5,000 readily available in a savings account. But I wouldn’t worry about going too much higher than that. Over the past 12 years, Mrs. Groovy and I have had six emergencies. The largest one was $3,800 and the smallest one was $500. If we added up the cost of all of our emergencies, and spread that cost over 12 years, our emergency spending per year was less than $800. Well, that’s my pathetic two cents. Glad to hear your plumbing issues weren’t too serious. Cheers.

    • Kate Nesi says:

      That is a good idea Mr. Groovy, but I struggle with not having “6 months” in an Emergency Fund which ends up being far higher than the $5,000 max you mention. You’re right though, most emergencies fall under that $1,000 umbrella easily. I just wonder… where to stash the rest of the fund instead of in a savings account?

      Thanks for stopping by!

  3. this got me thinking about the green dollar cash emergency fund. you know how many people use debit and credit to pay most everything? we like to make sure we have at least a few hundred cash on hand in a safe place in the house in case of emergency. a few years ago a friend fell off his bike and broke his arm at 2am in front of our house and we didn’t even have cab fare (before cabs took credit cards). we ended up driving him to the hospital kinda tanked because he had a broken arm. cash is king in an emergency like a flood or power outage as part of an emergency plan. food for thought.

    • Kate Nesi says:

      That is absolutely true Freddy, and I think most of us forget about that piece of the puzzle since everyone under the sun now takes plastic. I think back to when we had a hurricane hit NJ pretty badly 6 years ago and there was no way to access ATMs, get gas, or any of the other regular things we take for granted because we had no power for several weeks. I definitely need to start a green cash fund in our house. I keep thinking about it (like $20 here or there to add up), but haven’t done it yet! Thanks for the reminder!

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