Finance “experts” often tell you to cut down on expenses at home, but they rarely have any useful advice on how to do it. Rather than give you the usual advice, today I am giving you specific steps you can follow to save money in the home for a long-term, big win.
Saving money on utilities is easier than you might think. While it is one of the few things we can’t live without, we can take active steps to reduce consumption to save money.
First, get a programmable thermostat. They don’t cost very much and can save a lot of money during the hottest and coolest months. Just set the temperature to go down when you are not home and when you are sleeping during the winter, and let it get a bit warmer during the day in the summer.
Next, you can improve your windows and insulation. 42% of energy costs go to heating and cooling, so keeping your warm and cool air where you want it can save a ton of money. For a cheaper, quick hit you can seal your windows and doors with caulk and weather stripping. (Side note – windows can also improve your resale value.)
To cut your water use, you can get a low flow toilet and put on a low flow shower head. Water efficient toilets can save 25% or more of your annual water consumption. A low flow shower head can cut your water use in the shower by 50-70%.
Cable and Internet
You don’t need cable to live. I know it is hard for some people to believe, but, unlike food and water and shelter, you can do just fine without cable or satellite TV. I cut my cord and saved $70 per month and now I don’t ever have to deal with Comcast ever again!
For internet, shop around for the best deals. I get DSL at home from CenturyLink that costs about $40 per month. It is plenty fast for online gaming and streaming up to two Netflix movies at a time.
If something breaks at home, you might be able to do it yourself. I am not what I would call an overly handy guy, but I have installed and removed toilets, changed locks, repaired cabinets, and done a handful of other tasks around the house with no problems.
For the big problems that I can’t handle on my own, I still call a professional, but I call one that has a good reputation (Yelp) and shop around for the best prices.
When it is time to buy your next appliances to use around the house, get high quality, energy efficient appliances. Cheap appliances don’t last as long (or do as good of a job). Investing in quality means you will have a better result that lasts a long time. I am a fan of Consumer’s Reports for shopping around for appliances.
I already mentioned energy in the heating and cooling section above, but appliances are also huge energy users. Refrigerators run 24 hours a day. Washers and dryers have huge energy needs. Finding low energy rated appliances can save you a lot of money in the long haul.
What Have You Done?
What have you done to save money around the house? Please share your best successes in the comments.
Image by liberalmind1012 / flickr