My Annoying $100 Loss

Over the last few weeks, my wife and I have been dealing with a slightly annoying situation at our home that in total, has put us about $100 in the hole.  Usually on this site, our non-stock annoyances are a result from the expenses of owning a car or some service provider unexpectedly increase their bill.  Not this time though and unfortunately, my wife and I had to bite a $100 bullet and accept the loss.

A few weeks ago, I was out of town for work in a warm and sunny location.  I just received word from my wife that Cleveland was experiencing storms with wind gusts over 60 miles per hours at times.  In my head, I was doing back flips that I dodged the nasty weather.  The next phone call though quickly turned those back flips into aggravation and guilt.  My wife called and told me that our power went out for an extended period of time and I was mad that I was not home with her during the storm.

Fast forward two hours that evening and I received a call letting me know that our power was back on and everything was okay.  In fact, the power at my in-law’s house was going to be out for a few days because a tree branch fell on a power line and this caused them to be without power for a few days.  So she invited them over and they spent the night.   All is well….right?

Well… not so much.  Despite the fact that our power turned back on the night before, our refrigerator that was older than we were decided that it was its time to go.   While the power was running, the refrigerator was not cooling or freezing any of the food.   Since our fridge was running, we thought everything was okay and we didn’t bother to check the freezer for over 12 hours.   When my wife finally opened the door, she realized that all of our frozen meat, soups, and other items had thawed out and were room temperature.   It was the same story as well for our refrigerator.

My wife had just gone to the grocery store as well and amassed quite the collection of food in our freezer based on a new meal plan she was giving a shot, so there was a lot of food that we were not able to salvage.  The aggravating part is that it was really cold in Cleveland too when this happen; I’m talking below freezing temperatures.  So if we would have realized this prior to falling asleep, we could have easily put the food outside and salvaged as much as possible.  Unfortunately, the food sat at room temperature for too long and had to go.  In total, I estimate that we threw away approximately $100 of food.  Darn!

I’m trying to find the positive out of all the situations that life throws our way and I was able to pinpoint two from this experience.

1. We are very fortunate that we rent and do not own a house.   In this situation, we were ale to call our landlord and let him know that the refrigerator was beyond repair.  By the end of the day, he placed an order and we are expecting a new one to arrive shortly (There were some unforeseen delays due to a nasty snowstorm last week).   Instead of having to panic and purchase a new fridge at full price without having the necessary time to search for the best deals for the highest quality appliance, my wife made a two minute phone call and BAM, it was taken care of.  not having to worry about having an emergency fund set aside for moments like these is one of the main reasons why we are not in a hurry to purchase a home.

2.  This taught us a lesson about overstocking your freezer because you have the room.  We took the extra space for granted and made the assumption that we could over-purchase food and simply store it in our freezer because we had the capacity.  It never crossed our mind that our refrigerator would break and we would lose it all.   We are going to think twice before buying the Costco sized frozen items going forward and storing stuff just for the sake of storing it.  Hopefully we will take a much more minimalist approach to grocery shopping going forward.

In the end, nobody was hurt by the storm and my wife and I were only out of pocket $100 plus the cost of new groceries.   I can’t complain too much about it.  However, it was definitely an annoying life situation that was thrown our way and one that we definitely could have done without!  But I think we learned two very valuable lessons from this experience that we will carry forward for as long as possible.   thanks everyone for listening to my rant here.

Bert

 

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25 thoughts on “My Annoying $100 Loss

  1. That really sucks Bert. Here in Australia, if your power is out for more than 2 days I think it is, the electricity company has to give you some money for lost goods. That is disappointing that it happened to you. Hope you have taken some good lessons from this.

    • Sorry… I hope that last sentence doesn’t sound harsh. I was trying to say, I hope you can learn from this experience and become a better user of fridge and frozen goods in the near future. All the best, as always.
      -BHL

      • haha no not at all, I didn’t read that last sentence as harsh at all. We had definitely learned from this, especially why I had to physically carry the items out to the gaabge can and dispose of them. That is really interest with the Australian policy. It is a policy that makes sense, but I could only imagine how expensive that would be here. Who knows, maybe it would be a wake-up call for utility companies to improve their infrastructure to avoid power outages.

        Bert

  2. I feel your pain! I had a few appliance glitches last year that cost me at least $1,000. The joys of owning rental properties, eh? Glad you landlord was responsive and moved quickly to get the new fridge in place. I always like hearing about other responsible landlords out there. That said, I agree with the idea of not stockpiling too much, especially in an older fridge/freezer. Bummer that you had to shell out extra funds to cover the spoiled food!

    • Willow,
      Yikes, four thousand is an expensive couple of glitches. Guess I cannot complain too much about my measly $100 cost. I am very fortunate that our landlord is awesome and responsive. This also made me realize the cost of being a landlord, especially since I’m always considering owning rental properties one day down the road.

      Bert

  3. Life can be annoying at times. It’s good that you at least try to look at the positives in that situation. I own my first house now for less than a year. When I bought the house, I had to fix the refrigerator. I didn’t realize at the time that I had a home warranty that covers appliances, so that was an expensive lesson learned. As they say, it’s no use crying over spilt milk. You just have to learn from life’s situation and move on. While it’s only $100, you have every right to rant. But, for what it’s worth, this is one of my favorite quotes: “I cried because I have no shoes, until I saw a man with no feet.” The point being is that you should be thankful for the blessings because it could have always been worse.

    • Data Lore,

      I agree completely with this quote. I definitely don’t want this to come across as a Woe is me, my life is terrible situation. It was an annoying situation that happened and I lost more money than I should have because we stockpiled food. It could have been worse and to your point, a lot of things could be way worse for me. I apologize if it came across that way.

      Bert

  4. I’m happy you only took a $100 loss it could have been worse and I have though of more ways I’ve thrown money away haha. I typically shop at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s so In any given time I typically have $200 – $300 in groceries on hand. I was worried about it also when we lost power but I got lucky since it was only out for about 4 hours.

    • Thanks Diligent, I know it could have been a lot worse and we were lucky we hadn’t made one of our famous Costco runs the day before this happened haha Its just a bad situation haha you need food, want to stockpile to take advantage of good foods, but always run into this risk. Luckily, the odds of this happening frequently are pretty darn low if you ask me.

      Bert

  5. That sucks, maybe its a sign she shouldn’t go on that diet! Whenever its really windy here i get worried about my monster silver maple in the back of my property. If it breaks the fences will get destroyed as well as the neighbours shed and stuff in it. Hasn’t happened but that would be alot worse. Maybe that’s another positive (trees around your place didn’t break) Sucks to lose 100$ though when it could of been prevented

    • hahaha I don’t want to discourage her from eating healthier! Is the silver maple still alive and is it in the range of your house? Hopefully that doesn’t happen. Lanny had something similar happen with his fence a few years ago and it was a huge pain for him to clean up. That’s what happened to my in laws. A tree branch fell down with the wind and knocked out the power lines. So they were out of power for over two days. $100 sucks, but the property damage fro ma tree could have been way, way worse.

      Bert

  6. Small random losses are definitely super annoying. They’re totally unplanned for, if you get a couple of those in a year it really adds up!
    Here in Sydney, we use an Opal card for the trains and buses (you upload money to the card and then tap it on the scanner when you use public transport).
    I had $200 left on my card, and I accidently left it in my jeans. Next thing I know, the jeans have gone through the washer and dryer. My card is completely disfigured, and all the money on it is gone. 🙁

    • Oh no. That’s a really annoying situation. I could easily see that happening to me too. I hate these annoying one off events. Hopefully the two of us can keep these losses under wraps this year!

      Bert

  7. Not sure if you or your landlord pays the electric bill, but you may have just uncovered some gold. New fridges run at a FRACTION of the electricity they did 5 years ago, if your fridge was older than you, you should see a savings in your electric bill. Aside from climate control, the fridge is one of, if not thee biggest power hog in your house. You may have a fairly quick ROI.

    Also call your power company, in NJ they have to reimburse you for lost food, not sure of the rules on it. Can’t hurt to ask.

    • Darn. I just checked and our cable company does not provide a reimbursement. That would have been awesome though! I love that positive take on the new fridge. We pay the power and I didn’t even consider that point. I’ll have to keep you updated with how our electric bills are over the next few months!

      Bert

  8. Bert,
    I hear that. My shower faucet has been running for a while, and I informed the property management to come and fix it. It took A LOT longer than it should have – the cool part is I pay for none of this, downside is it would have been nice to fix this earlier (we do not pay for our own water).
    Plus and minuses aside, hoping to buy a house soon. Not entirely my choice to be fair, but got to follow the boss’ orders.
    – Gremlin

    • That is really annoying. I cannot imagine having to listen to the sound of dipping water for a while, that would have driven me insane. I’m with you, these small annoyances will not prevent us from buying a new home soon. Cheers to homeownership!

      Bert

  9. If you go on vacation have a little yogurt container frozen with water put a quarter, dime, nickel or penny on top of the ice if you come home and it’s still on top you are ok if it’s not you will be able to see how long the power was out by where the coin is.

  10. Life happens, and sounds like a good lesson. I just did a quick check, it looks like we have an alarm when the temperature is too high… Let’s hope that one never breaks down!

  11. Oh no! Reminds me of a time when my wife and I were really stretching our dollars. My mom was kind enough to buy us some groceries (including about $50 worth of meat). I picked it up at her house and stuck the cooler with the food in it in the trunk of my car. You guessed it, with the distraction of getting my kids in the house, I left the food in the trunk. The next morning I realized my mistake, but it was too late.

    I felt terrible about that for a long time. It was worse that I hadn’t bought the food myself. But life went on. Put food on the table just the same (just not as nice food).

    I think it’s great that you’re actively practicing finding the positive. It’s a great exercise that really does change your outlook if you do it long enough.

    • That’s terrible. I’m sure your car smelled terribly in the morning. I actually did something similar with a half gallon of milk too. I can understand your frustration in that scenario, especially given that is something you have done right 99.99% of the time. But of course the one time leads to a large loss. But, you live and learn, it is just a stinging feeling that you had to learn that lesson.

      Bert

  12. Hi there! This is just a tip on how to run a freezer. We have a stand-up freezer as big as a refrigerator, and we learned that the best way to help a freezer run more efficiently is to keep it stuffed full of food (thermal mass), since the freezer has less wide-open spots to try and keep cold. But what happens if the power goes out for an extended period of time, or the freezer needs a repair? It sucks to try and scramble to save all of that food, but I came across something that can help in those situations.
    Instead of using tons of food as thermal mass, start filling up your used milk jugs with water, and place them strategically in the freezer (throughout, top to bottom). They take up a lot of space, and a lot of thermal mass. Now imagine that your power goes out — you have a bunch of big, solid blocks of ice in the freezer to keep the food cool longer, if you keep the door shut. If you need a repair, it’s likely that you could keep the food preserved until the repair is complete. Again, keep the freezer door closed until the job is done, or a new freezer is purchased. And if you want to go on a trip and you are taking a cooler? Just grab a jug of ice out of the freezer, pop it in the cooler, and you just saved yourself a couple of bucks because you didn’t have to buy ice at the store!
    So that’s just an idea to kick around. Great blog, my friend!

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