If you own a house, you already know that there are so many things to pay for that you may not have ever anticipated before making your purchase. Thankfully, there are tons of ways to save as a homeowner. Here are some of the tips and tricks to cut back and save money around the house.
40. Saving Thousands on your Mortgage Payment with HARP
If you want to lower your monthly mortgage payment, you may want to shop around at your local banks to see if you qualify for refinancing. The US government also has their own program to help people called the Home Affordable Refinance Program. It is only eligible for people who are still current on their mortgage. There is no minimum credit score required, and you don’t need any cash up-front, so it’s worth checking out how much you can save.
39. Cover Your Windows with Plastic in the Winter
If you have older windows around the house, or if you keep an air conditioner in a window all year long, it’s very likely that a cold draft is leaking into your home in the winter time. It’s very cheap to buy large sheets of plastic from stores like Home Depot, and all you have to do is tape it to your windows and doors.
38. Stock Up On Household Items At The Best Times of the Year
Household items go on sale or clearance in cycles throughout the year. For example, sunscreen is expensive in the beginning of summer, but it goes on clearance in the fall. KrazyCouponLady breaks down the best deals from each month of the year, so that you know when to stock up on non-perishable items and save them for next year. If you do this on a regular basis, this can save you hundreds of dollars per year.
37. Close Your Closet Doors
When your thermostat is set to heat or cool your home, it will not stop running until it knows that the house is maintaining that temperature. The more nooks and crannies the air has to travel into, the longer it will take for your HVAC system to maintain that temperature. Whenever possible, close your closet doors to cut down on draft, and it will save more money over time.
36. Make a List Before Grocery Shopping
A lot of people make the mistake of going to the grocery store without planning ahead of time. This results in a lot of unnecessary food that will go bad and have to be thrown away, or you might buy something that you already had in the pantry. If you want to save more money on your grocery bill, it is best to take a good look at your pantry and refrigerator before you go to the store. Make a list of the meals you plan to make, and what items are missing in order to accomplish that.
35. Clean with Vinegar and Baking Soda
If you run out of cleaning products, try using vinegar and water to clean, instead. It’s cheap, and free of any harmful chemicals that may be in store-bought products. Baking soda also helps to eliminate bad odors and it can be used to create natural cleaning solutions.
34. Use LED Light Bulbs
Replacing your standard light bulb with an LED bulb will cut down on your energy cost, and they also run cool, which is less of a fire hazard. They also often stine brighter than a standard lightbulb, so you may need fewer lights on in a room. Since LED light bulbs can be expensive, it takes a while to actually break even with the up-front cost to replace them. According to MoneyTalks, it is best to replace the light bulbs that you use the most often, if you really want to take advantage of the savings.
33. Do Your Own Home Repairs
Before you call a handyman to fix a small problem around your house, do a quick online search on YouTube to see if there is a tutorial on a DIY repair. The problem may be a lot easier to fix than you might imagine, and it could save you a lot of money. However, if the problem is more complicated (like roofing or plumbing) it’s best to call a professional.
32. Get Quotes From Multiple Contractors
If you are trying to get a repair or renovation done to your home, make sure you get a quote from more than one contractor. You are likely to find a better deal by shopping around.
31. “Cut The Cord”
Major cable companies like Verizon and Comcast usually allow customers to pay for a service bundle on TV, phone, and internet with a special one-year deal before jacking up the price, in hopes that you will be too lazy to switch the service. If you get rid of your cable TV and phone line, you can usually get internet for a fraction of the price. If you have Netflix and a Smart TV, it is just as good as watching cable.
30. Clean with Coca Cola
Since coca cola is high in acidity, it’s actually perfect for cleaning stainless steel, and it can be use for a number of other things around the house. It can descale your kettle and your clothing steamers, as well as clean your tubs, grout, and toilets.
29. Use Government Grants To Install Solar Panels
Installing solar panels can be expensive, but there are several government grants available to help pay for the cost of installation. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the Department of Agriculture are just two examples of government programs that are willing to assist qualified homeowners. For more information, check out Let’s Go Solar.
28. Deduct Your Mortgage Interest Payments on Your Taxes
When it’s time to file your taxes, make sure you remember to include all of the interest that was paid towards your mortgage. This can be deducted from your overall income, and it may mean that you pay less towards your taxes at the end of the year.
27. Cancel Your Unused Monthly Memberships
Monthly membership subscriptions can be tempting, especially if your favorite show is only available on Netflix or Hulu. But did you know that Netflix allows you to “pause” your subscription? They will hold on to all of your favorite shows for you while you’re on a break. And if you are done watching a show on a particular service, why not save some money by canceling it until the new season comes back again? Same goes with the gym, makeup sample boxes, and any other monthly memberships you are subscribed to.
26. Repurpose Your Old Items Instead of Buying New
If you are getting tired of your old furniture, consider giving it an update instead of buying new pieces. Try sanding and painting your wood furniture, and replacing the knobs. For cheaper particle board furniture from IKEA or metal pieces, try spray paint and adhesive stickers. Pinterest is a great place to get inspired for furniture rehab.
25. Buy Your Kitchen Goods at Discount Outlets
Discount stores like Marshall’s and Homegoods have great deals on high-quality kitchen items that will last much longer than cheap items from stores like Walmart. Outlet malls may have good deals on brands like Correll as well.
24. Fix Carpet Dents With Ice Cubes
If you want your carpets to last a long time, it’s good to get them cleaned every so often. But if you notice any annoying dents, all you really need is a few ice cubes. Let them melt into the carpet, and then use your fingers to fluff up the fibers.
23. Maintain Your HVAC System
Change the filters, and consider paying for a maintenance package, so that professionals can check your HVAC system once a year or every two years. This will guarantee that your system will be tuned up as time goes on, which will prevent you from having to replace a larger part in the future.
22. Buy (The Right Things) In Bulk
When some people get a membership to a big box store like BJ’s, Costco, or Sam’s Club, they go hog wild and buy everything they could possibly need in jumbo size. Before you go shopping, ask yourself if it is actually possible for you and your family to consume these food items before they expire. It’s best to stick with non-perishable items like toilet paper and laundry detergent.
21. Landscape With Perennials
Perennial plants grow back every single year, which means that you only have to pay for them once, and they will come back every season. Just a few examples of great perennial flowers are daffodils, phlox, and hydrangeas.
20. Check Out the “Free” Section on Craigslist
Under the “for sale” category, there is a “free” section full of stuff that people just want to get rid of. You can find literally anything you might need for your house in the “free” section, from furniture to landscaping materials. Keep in mind that in the spring and summer, you will find much more listed than the colder months.
In most cases, people will leave their address and request that anyone can pick up the item off the front lawn. The only catch is that you will have to pick it up and bring it home by yourself. So this really only works for someone who had a pickup truck and friends to help them lift heavy things.
19. Try Out Your Own Version of a “Capsule Wardrobe”
A lot of people wish that they had a huge walk-in closet like Keeping Up With the Kardashians. But in reality, most people open their closet door, and have a feeling that they “don’t have anything to wear”, even though they have dozens of different outfits to choose from.
If this sounds like you, start out by going through your closet and donating any pieces that are damaged, no longer fit, or you simply do not look good in anymore. Once you have narrowed it down to only your favorite pieces, it becomes easier to find clothes without the urge to buy new ones. If it is difficult to access all of your clothes, consider buying a closet organizational system if you feel that it will help you save money in the long run. And if you really do need to buy more clothes for work, search Pinterest for “Capsule Wardrobe” for inspiration on how people use just a few pieces to mix and match into dozens of different outfits.
18. Buy Household Items at Dollar Tree
Everything at Dollar Tree only costs $1, and you would be shocked by just how much they have to offer. You can get cleaning supplies, kitchen items, picture frames, and so much more.
17. Start Using Coupons
A lot of people don’t seem to think that coupons are worth their time, but if you start to imagine that a $5 coupon is like a 5-dollar-bill, you will realize that it really is like getting free money. Using a coupon may only save you a few dollars, but if you learn how to combine them with sales, you can start getting some household essential items for less than $1, or even free. Start getting your Sunday newspaper, or visit Coupons.com to see if you can print a coupon before you go to a store. Check out websites like TheKrazyCouponLady, where they explain which coupons to use every week.
16. Check Groupon In Your Local Area
Groupon.com is best known for local restaurants and entertainment, but it also has a section for services that may help improve your home. You may be surprised that you will find coupons for things you already pay for, as well.
15. Stop Using Name Brands
For most household items, name brand products are just as good as popular brands. In many cases, they contain the exact same ingredients, as well. If you’re having trouble finding a store brand, remember to look down. The cheapest items are usually hidden on the bottom shelves in places like Walmart and most grocery stores.
14. Maintain Your Septic System
Septic systems should be flushed at least once a year, but most people do not bother to do it that often. Make sure you are using septic-safe toilet paper, and schedule maintenance to be sure it continues to work properly. If you put it off for too long, and something goes wrong, the cost to repair or replace a septic system is thousands of dollars, so it’s best to not let it get out of hand.
13. Shop At Thrift Stores
Some people get grossed out by the idea of shopping at a thrift store, but there are actually so many new and barely-used items that get donated all the time. For the best deals, drive to a more affluent area and check out their Goodwill. You are more likely to score a great deal on furniture, art, and other household supplies.
12. Make Your Own Art
Hanging art in your home gives it a lot of character, and it’s a way to express your individuality. Unfortunately, it is also one of the most expensive accessories to buy. Maybe you have seen a painting, and you think, “I can do that!” Well…Maybe you can! Craft stores sell blank canvases and paint. If you’re a talented artist (or if you find a great tutorial on Pinterest) you can make your own replica of artwork you want for roughly $20. You can also print your own posters at Walmart, but they will not print anything that is copyright protected.
11. Don’t Try to Keep Up With The Joneses
At some point as a homeowner, you may feel tempted to “Keep up with the Joneses”, or buy something just because your neighbor has it, or because you are trying to flex and look more successful than they are. Buying things out of jealousy usually leads to debt. So just try to focus on what you really need.
10. Install Ceiling Fans
Using ceiling fans help to circulate both hot and cold air, so it will reduce the cost of your energy bill at any time of year. In the summer, run your fan counterclockwise to have cool air blowing through the room. In the winter, reverse it so that it runs clockwise. Hot air rises, so the fan will help to push the warm air down into the rest of the room.
9. Install Sun-Blocking Shades
If you have large windows that get very hot in the summer time, consider installing thick sun-blocking curtains. This will significantly cool down your home, and it will also help block the light if you need to sleep in the morning.
8. Adjust Your Shower Temperature
Your water heater should have a temperature gauge. Turn it down to about 120 degrees. In the summer time, if it is hot enough outside to have a cooler shower, you should make it a bit colder. If your shower is so hot that it steams up your mirror, then your air conditioner will have to work harder to cool down the bathroom once you open the door.
7. Hang Your Clothes to Dry
Using a clothes dryer takes up a huge amount of energy. Not everyone has the ability to hang their clothes out to dry, but if you can, you should try it. There are also clothes drying racks that you can use indoors.
6. Caulk The Cracks Around Your House
If there are cracks in the side of your house or around your windows, this can be bad for a number of reasons. Bugs are likely to crawl through the holes, and it can also cause a draft. Caulking is actually a very simple and cheap job to do on your own, but if you have never done it before, check out a YouTube tutorial.
5. Look Up Online Reviews Before You Buy Anything
Everyone is guilty of buying at least one thing that they later regret. When it comes to buying appliances and other household purchases, a bad decision can sometimes mean wasting hundreds of dollars. Before you go out and buy a big household purchase, take some time to read Amazon reviews and see if anyone is talking about those items on YouTube.
4. Do Regular Maintenance on Your Refrigerator
If you take care of your refrigerator, it will last much longer. Clean the coils on the back of the refrigerator of any dust, and check if the seal at the bottom of your fridge needs to be replaced.
3. Don’t Get Carried Away With Remodeling
With all of the home improvement shows on HGTV, you might be tempted to knock out a wall and completely renovate the house. However, when you first buy a home, you have to put up tons of money for the down payment, closing costs, and so much more. It’s fine to aspire to turn your new house into a dream home, but don’t get carried away. If you do everything at once, it is likely because you got into debt in order to do so. If you can take your time to pay for remodels in cash, instead, you will save hundreds or maybe even thousands of dollars in interest.
2. Keep Receipts For All Of Your Home Improvements
When it is time to sell your home in the future, you will have to pay taxes on the capital gains you make on the sale. This is why it is important for you to keep every single receipt for everything you spend on improving your home. These expenses will be deducted from the future sale. Those receipts will add up, and you will pay less in taxes.
1. Get Homeowners Insurance
When you have homeowners insurance, you can have the peace of mind that if anything catastrophic happens to your house, or if someone breaks in, you are covered for your lost or damaged property. Just be sure to read your policy thoroughly to make sure you are covering the most important needs.