Friday, May 9, 2014

Round 2 with the Emergency Fund This Year

As most of you know, we exhausted our emergency fund when we had to purchase a new hot water heater a few months ago. The good news last month was our tax refund brought some much needed money to our emergency fund. We are now up to 1/2 of the amount we usually keep in the fund. I was feeling much better about handling another emergency (and certainly not expecting another one anytime soon) when my husband noticed that our microwave wasn't working.

Our microwave oven isn't a 'normal' microwave oven. ('Normal' never seems to happen at our house!) It is a GE Advantium oven. It is a speedcook/microwave oven that cooks food much faster than a conventional oven. (The commercials say four to eight times faster.) My husband has been cooking dinner quite a bit lately, and since he likes living in the 21st Century, he uses it a lot. When we built our house, we had all GE appliances installed. My husband was working for GE (at the time), and we got deep discounts on our appliances. Move forward 14 years, and the retail replacement cost for an Advantium oven is off the charts! Not only that, but the type of Advantium oven we have, puts it at the high end of all Advantium ovens! Our model is a 240 volt. (They didn't make a 120 volt version at the time our house was built.) It has its own special outlet. To switch to a 120 volt version of the Advantium (or to switch to a 'regular' microwave oven) requires an electrician.

It also isn't as easy as just purchasing another 240 volt Advantium oven. The ovens they make now are slightly bigger than the one we have. Installation of a new oven is going to require that we take down the top row of the tile backsplash to get it to fit correctly.

Our GE Advantium oven might look pretty, but it doesn't work.

So, our first thought was to call a repairman. We read some reviews that stated the repair costs for these ovens can cost about 1/2 the price of a new one. We bit the bullet and called the repairman anyway. When he got here, he looked at the oven and laughed. He said the repair bill would be over $700 and he could not guarantee that it wouldn't break down again in a few months. He said "After all, it is 14 years old. Your money would be better spent on a new one." To make the news more palatable, he gave us paperwork we can mail in to get reimbursed for the trip fee charges if we purchase a new one within 30 days. Time is running out, we only have nine days left to purchase one and still be eligible for the $90 refund.

Will we purchase a new one? I am sure we will someday, but not now. I have stepped in to take over the cooking that my husband was doing in the Advantium. I am baking potatoes in the Sun Oven. Vegetables are steamed on the stovetop or in the Sun Oven. Molly's dinners are defrosted in the refrigerator a few days in advance. (She prefers her dinner slightly cold anyway.) 

The adjustments we made to cooking without a microwave are not big ones. While it takes more time and slightly more effort to cook without a microwave, the food tastes better! A lot better!  I am sure that my husband will get tired of cooking soon and I will be the one preparing the meals again. Since I don't use the Advantium much anyway, it may be a long while before we purchase another one. I am OK with that. My great-great grandmother didn't have any kitchen appliances except for a wood cook stove. If she fed her family without electricity, why do we need a microwave oven? The obvious answer is, we don't.

In the meantime, that $1400 is sitting quite happily in our emergency fund!

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