Homeowner’s Survival Kit

homeowners survival coverThe Homeowner’s Survival Kit: How to Beat the High Cost of Owning and Operating Your Home

Submitter: The cover of this book was dirty, real dirty. It’s what caught my eye on the shelf. Reading through it, you can see how out of date the data is. Some of the costs are way off of from today. How useful is that? I wish my vacuum would last 18 years, as this book suggests. My Dyson died after just 6.

Holly: The topics listed on the bottom of the cover are a dead giveaway on how out of date the info will be. Property taxes and mortgage payments, utility bills, telephone charges…all are important for homeowners to know about, and all are very dependent on current data for accuracy.

chapter list

gas vs. electricity

home repair


  1. Clothes washer, wringer and spin dryer… Egads, my grandmother had one of them. My clothes washer, automatic (I believe) lasted 20 years or more. My refrigerator lasted more than 25 years – I only got rid of it because the handles were giving out. Where did they get these appliances- Goodwill?

  2. The only way to beat the high cost of owning a home is to live in a tent. Gas drier with pilot??? What codes will allow that? Seriously dated material. There is more current material out there.

  3. My dryer is 27 years old. Most people replace appliances because they are tired of them, or want newer features, not because they NEED new ones.

    1. There are plenty of people who use things until they are completely broken. I was living in a condo (owned, not rented) on a grad student stipend. I only replaced appliances when they broke. And then, with the cheapest options Home Depot had to offer (Same with my last car, when the engine died.)

    2. Electric kettles would be the exception to that rule – most of the time, when someone is replacing theirs, it’s because the old one died.

  4. A toaster would last 15 years? In my experience, toasters are practically disposable. Black & Decker toaster ovens, at any rate.

    1. Replaced my own Black & Decker toaster earlier this year with a new one. The previous one did indeed last about 15 years, maybe a little more.

    2. We’ve probably had our toaster… 7 or 8 years.

      I hate it and it WON’T DIE. And it wasn’t even expensive! It was the cheapest model! At a store where things are not expensive!

  5. When I sold my parents’ house, the washer and dryer were at least 17 years old and the ovens in my kitchen now are original from 1979 and therefore older than me. One of my standing mixers is also from the early to mid seventies and works just as well as the new Kitchen-Aid (I keep it mostly for sentimental reasons). It sounds cliche but sometimes I think these things aren’t built to last like they used to be because we’re more apt to replacing than fixing.

    1. The washer and dryer in my house were also from around 1979 (here when we bought the house) and they lasted till around 1999. Well, the dryer probably still works — my soon-to-be ex-husband forgot that it had two fuses/circuits (one for heat, one for turning the drum) and decided it was broken, so I went and got a new one. I agree about the short life of toasters — hope that isn’t jinxing my current one, which is totally hideous and the lever broke, but it works. As for vacuum cleaners, though, the Royal canister vacuum I took over in 1968 when my parents moved to Florida lasted well into the 1990s, and it wasn’t new in 1968. My best record, though, is the 19″ Hitachi TV I bought in mid-1983. It was the floor model and the salesman didn’t want to sell it to me — I suppose he got bigger commissions on others. But, I persevered — it did have the best picture — and I just recently had to replace it. It was the kitchen TV for the last decade or so, so I didn’t need a lot of bells and whistles or a big screen. Oh — my stove is probably from the 1950s (it looks like a “streamlined” design from the 40s with a modernist back thing tacked on) and it still works. Of course, it’s gas, so what would wear out? And, I have my grandmother’s stand mixer — I remember it from my childhood, and it still works.

  6. One of the biggest differences for homeowners nowadays will be the communication and entertainment network. Today’s questions will include: Should we bother with a landline? Satellite or cable TV, or none of the above? How are we getting our internet access? Can the electrical system handle all our gadgets?

    You probably also won’t find much in this book about alternative energy sources such as solar and geothermal; about home generators; about current lead, asbestos, and radon rules; about carbon monoxide detectors; and about new kinds of tankless water heaters and ductless air conditioning.

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