Home improvement and maintenance are expensive. Typically, it’s worth your efforts to keep your home looking and functioning up to par. Of course tackling projects DIY style is friendly to your budget, but certain tasks also offer long-term savings.
1. Set up a Tool Share
Whatever the project, large or small, consider borrowing tools instead of buying. Renting may also be a better option if it’s something you use infrequently or only once in a blue moon. Renting or borrowing also saves you the hassle and expense of maintenance and storage. If you have some specialty tools, offer up a tool swap in the neighborhood. Use community pages to reach out to others in your area. If you do decide to buy, call your local rental centers. They often sell used tools when they upgrade and it may be a good place to find less-common tools.
2. Shop Off-Season
Probably the number one money-saving tip of home ownership (besides being a willing DIYer) is to buy tools and supplies off season. For example, tackle the chimney cleaning in the spring, especially if you are paying someone to do it, and enjoy lower rates. Also buy or otherwise source firewood early in the year. You can save hundreds on your wood costs in the off-season. The same goes for grills, which are the best deals during the fall and winter. Also find patio furniture online in the late fall, for deep savings. Similarly, find snow blowers in the summer, and lawn mowers during winter. If you’re investing in an RV, look during the late fall and winter rather than when sellers flood the market in spring and late summer.
3. DIY Cleaning Solutions
Everyone uses cleaners in their home, but you may be surprised how quick and easy it is to make your own glass and surface cleaners. White vinegar, baking soda, and lemon make up basic ingredients. Add borax and washing soda to the mix and you can make dishwasher pods, laundry detergent, counter wipes, and even fabric softener.
4. Appliance Savings
When swapping out appliances, skip the fancy technology such as the smart fridge that makes your grocery list for you. You’ll save a bundle making your own grocery list. If you’re in the market for new appliances, seriously consider buying black or white instead of stainless steel. The price point is almost always lower and black or white appliances never go out of style, unless that green from the 70’s comes back around.
Regardless if you’re in the market for a furnace, water heater, or wood stove, always ask about floor models. Often the company will offer a discount to sell the model on display so they have space for new products coming in. They may also have slightly damaged options, such as an outdoor AC unit with a dent, at a steep savings.
Finally, check for local, state, and federal rebates when purchasing appliances. You will often find rebates or tax deductions worth hundreds to thousands of dollars.
5. Switch to Natural Gas
Depending on where you live, you might be surprised how inexpensive it is to tap into a nearby natural gas line. Call the gas company and provide the address. They will tell you the cost for them to come out and connect gas to the property line. From there, you’ll need to run it to each appliance, such as fireplace, stove, and furnace, but the savings are significant when compared to electric power.
6. Streamline the Paint Job
Whether you’re painting a single room, the entire interior of the home, or the exterior, buying a single color in bulk rather than complementary or contrasting shades can save you a bundle. Not only will you save buying in larger containers (five gallon instead of one gallon), but you will have significantly less waste at the end of the project.
Subsequently, when you decide to paint the shed or are working on projects such as making birdhouses or crafts, use up your leftover paints as soon as possible, saving yourself the costs of more paint and avoiding waste at the same time.
7. Reuse Materials
In addition to finding secondary uses for paint, look at all materials for their potential. Reuse fence or decking boards when you replace a section, and create innumerable other items such as boxes to cover outdoor spouts or outlets, a dog house, or even a shed. Repurpose pallets into fun signs, patio furniture, or a floating deck.
8. Go Solar
Once set up, solar power is free, reducing your overall energy costs. With each project, consider if solar can help you out. Use solar party lights, outdoor pathway lights, and pond lights. Surprisingly, you can even use solar power to offset that energy-thirsty hot tub.
9. Help out the Hot Water
A large part of your energy bill goes towards heating the house and the water. Save yourself a few bucks by wrapping hot water lines throughout the house. It’s an easy project where you can access the pipes. Insulation comes preformed, like swim noodles, so you simply cut to length and slip them on. Also wrap your water heater to help it work more efficiently when the temperature drops.
10. Shop Home Services
Paying bills for services for your home is a way of life unless you live off grid. But you should review your cable, phone, and insurance bills annually to see where you can save money. Give each service a call and ask about current deals. You can also sign up to receive newsletters or emails regarding cost-saving options. Use your annual property tax payment notification as a reminder to review all your monthly home-related bills.
11. Commit to Garden Savings
On the homesteading front, DIY can save you a bundle on your food costs. It’s probably the least expensive way to cut monthly costs from your budget with an investment of mostly back labor. Start with the basics like planting a garden for each season and making your own compost with food scraps and lawn clippings.
From there, harvest seeds for the next round of plants. Also connect with your local gardening club, neighbors, and friends to collect clippings from trees, plants, flowers, shrubs, and bulbs, that you can transplant into your landscape.
Preserving foods is another way to save yourself money and provide healthy, convenient options for your family to enjoy year round. Freeze, dehydrate, ferment, and can produce in season to consume throughout the year.
12. Install Ceiling Fans
Heat rises, causing your living space to feel cold. Ceiling fans that spin in reverse push air from the top of the room, allowing for more comfortable space and lower heating costs. In the summer, ceiling fans help cool the same space, reducing the need for air conditioning.
13. Install Programmable Thermostat
Swapping out the older thermostat for a digital or advanced smart model will offer noticeable savings on the energy bill. Programmable thermostats allow you to set a lower temperature at night and when you’re away from the house. The smart options are controlled on a phone app, so you can reset the thermostat if you end up spending another day out of town or want to kick on the heat before you arrive home.
14. Install Surge Protectors
Phantom energy leaks add up so plug your devices into surge protectors and flip it off when not in use.
15. Insulate Every Crack
Head through the house using a combination of spray, roll, and preshaped insulation options. Apply insulation behind outlets, around windows and doors, and inside walls, floors, and ceilings for highly effective cost savings.
16. Inline Water Filter
Skip the single use or water-service options and install a water filter beneath the sink instead. For less than $100 you can provide filtered water at a designated spout, saving a bundle on fresh water.