Tag Archives: money

Musings: Snowballing

Today’s topic is: “What do you do when your oven suddenly stops working?”

My Dead Oven

It’s day 3 with a kitchen sans oven. (The full story of its demise is included in my April Fool’s Day post.) My husband finds it funny that before I met him, I lived in an apartment where the oven wasn’t even plugged in for almost a year. And now, in just a matter of days, I’m already fretting about how to make meals or desserts without an oven.

So what are our options?

1. Do Nothing
The simplest and cheapest choice would be to continue to use the conjoined stovetop until that dies also and then we could replace the whole range/oven unit. However, not having an oven would mean no more homemade bread, cookies, pies, cakes, pizzas, quiches, and baked chicken for an extended period of time. We would either need to go without those family favorites or find a suitable store-bought alternative. (You may be able to guess that I’m not very excited about this option.)

2. Repair
The next obvious option would be to fix the broken oven. After a bit of research, my husband determined that we could get a replacement part for the 15-year-old electric appliance for about $200. While that may seem like a good idea, there’s no guarantee that something else on it won’t break again soon, costing us even more.

3. Replace with Used
We could buy a used gas range/oven for about $500. We’ve talked about one day upgrading our electric stove to gas. Maybe today is that day. A used stove isn’t likely to last as long as a brand new one, but it would probably get me baking again within a week or two.

4. Replace with New
Or we could buy a new gas range/oven for $800-$2,000. A warranty and long expected lifespan are definite advantages of buying new, but are they worth the extra cash up-front?

5. New, Plus Some
Another option would be to get a bundled deal on a new range/oven, dishwasher, refrigerator, and microwave. My husband purchased our current appliances as a bundle in 2001. The over-range microwave had to be replaced about two years ago with a more affordable counter top version. The old dishwasher and fridge will probably encounter troubles at some point in the near future, so maybe it would be a good idea to get another matching set now (at a discount compared to buying piecemeal over the next several years) for $2,000-$8,000.

6. New, Plus Some, and Then Some More
But to make a new set of appliances fit, we would probably need to reshape the counter tops, cupboards, and sink, which we have also considered replacing for several years. We could hire professionals to complete the work (instead of having my husband do everything) so we would be living in a construction zone for only a week or so. But redoing the entire kitchen would take several months of preparation and probably set us back about $30,000.

7. Go Big, Go Home
If we’re going to go to all the trouble to renovate the kitchen, maybe we should just build a bigger house with a footprint large enough to create a functional kitchen with sufficient storage. We could always use more space than this two-bedroom, one-bath farmhouse has to offer. Does anyone have $150,000 they’d like to give us?


I’m hoping for a quick resolution (option #3) but I’d love to hear other suggestions you might have. Leave me a note in the comments.

~ Phoebe DeCook

UPDATE: April 12, 2016

My amazing husband has done it again! After 10 days without an oven, my husband figured out an easy and inexpensive fix! It turned out that we had blown an inline fuse that provided power to the oven portion of the stove. This afternoon, he replaced the $5 fuse and we were back in business! He didn’t even have to buy an entire wiring harness like we originally thought. To test it, I baked a store-bought frozen pie (I know, gasp! but I didn’t want to ruin one of my homemade pies if the thing might catch on fire after the first ten minutes). I’m so thankful that everything is back to normal in my kitchen now, and a super big thanks to my resourceful hubby!

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