The money that you spend to maintain your home is probably the biggest part of your budget. While there is probably not that much that you can quickly do about the rent or mortgage you pay, the rest can be improved upon. Here are some Tips From Tina on how to lower several of your household expenses and save several hundred dollars a month or more.
Household Cleaning Supplies
A lot of the products that you buy to clean your home can be, to say the least, a bit overpriced. This is an area where you can make several cuts and still have a clean home. Here are some ways to do that.
- Switch to generic cleaners.
In most cases, the store brands work just as well as the major ones. Like most generic products and store brands, many of them will be made by major manufacturers. They just do not have the fancy labeling or high dollar advertising campaign. You can easily cut your cleaning supply cost in half by going to a generic.
- Use newspapers on your windows.
Here is a little trick used by restaurants. Instead of cleaning your windows with paper towels, use an old newspaper. It is free and it will leave absolutely no lint behind. Save money and have better looking windows.
- Clean with vinegar and water.
White distilled vinegar can be used as a cheaper and more environmentally friendly household cleaner. A cup of vinegar in a gallon of water makes a nice moping solution. Mix a solution of one part vinegar and two parts water in a spray bottle as a general cleaner. Use it for counters and even windows.
Utilities are a great thing to cut because it not only saves you money, it also helps the environment. Here are easy ways to cut down on your utility cost.
- Turn the hot water heater down.
Can you runt he hot water full blast when you take a shower? If not, you probably have the hot water thermostat turned up too high. It is easy to change. Just turn off the power to the unit and open the cover on the front of the machine. There should be a simple dial that you can adjust to a lower temperature. It takes about 5 minutes to get the job done and it will save you a lot of money each and every month.
According to the US Department of Energy, water heaters us e nearly 20% of the energy in your home. A huge savings opportunity.
- Install and use your ceiling fans.
Many people have ceiling fans and do not even use them. If you have them, turn them on, if not, install some. Moving air feels cooler so if you normally have your thermostat set at 70 in the summer, you could turn it up to 72 or higher with ceiling fans running. The potential electricity savings is huge as is the savings of wear and tear on your HVAC unit.
- Water your lawn less.
Lawns do not need nearly as much water as people think. A properly maintained and established lawn will need just one deep watering a week. Cutting down your watering could easily cut your water bill by a third. You save not only with the water you use but in sewage costs. In most areas, your sewage costs are calculated based off of your water usage.
For best results, do it a few hours before dawn. You want it to have several hours to soak in before the sun rises. Night time watering is bad because it leaves your grass wet too long, giving fungus and lawn diseases a chance to spread.
Many household repairs are well in the range of the beginner do it yourself home owner. Here are some repairs that you might choose to take on.
- Snaking a drain.
If you have pipes, they will get clogged at one time or another. For simple clogs, why pay a plumber $90 when you can clear it with a $30 drain snake. All you have to do is insert the snake into the drain and turn the handle. Clear the clog and then pull it out. Couldn’t be simpler.
- Drywall repair.
This is especially common with homes with kids. Let’s face it, they are destructive and sometimes something goes through the wall. When they do, you can pay over 300 dollars to a painter for repairs and paint or do it yourself.
It really is quite simple. You just need a piece of new drywall, some joint compound, seam tape and a bottle of spray texture to finish it up. Do the entire job for fifty dollars or less.
- Fix a leaking toilet.
A leaky flapper valve is a nuisance but not a hard repair job. Don’t pay the plumber $100 to do it. Simply buy a repair kit at the home improvement store and fix it yourself. Simply turn off the water and switch out the parts and you are done. Should take about 15 minutes.
There are a lot of maintenance jobs that people pay big dollars to get done. If you really are serious about saving money, these are things you should look into doing yourself. Here are some places to start.
- Lawn care.
Cutting the grass can be a bit tedious but doing it yourself can save you an easy hundred dollars a month or more. If you do not have a lawnmower or trimmer, you can pick up some basic ones for around $200. This will pay for itself in short order.
- House cleaning.
Maid service is convenient but the cost adds up. Save a fe hundred dollars a month by cleaning your own toilets. Not the most pleasant work int he world but someone has to do it.
- Window cleaning.
Exterior windows need cleaning from time to time to look their best. It can be tricky work with two story homes but it can be done. If you have a truck or can get a truck, you can even rent the ladders instead of buying them to further save money.