Owning a home has its fair share of maintenance expenses. The costs can quickly add up. If you include daily living expenses to that list, the numbers can get scary. If the past couple of years, with the pandemic and climate crisis, have taught us anything, we need to be more sustainable and money-conscious and put away some savings.
According to CNBC, studies show a whopping 45% of Americans have less than $1,000 saved up, which might not be enough in an emergency. Without savings, many households get caught up in recurring high expenses, eventually plunging themselves into credit card debt and bank loans.
Sometimes, it’s not enough to practice the 50-30-20 rule. Using 50% of your income on expenses, 30% towards luxuries, and the remaining 20% towards your savings, is a formula that works for some households, but it isn’t a one-size-fits-all rule. Its effectiveness highly depends on your discipline, your expense list, and how much you earn.
In households whose monthly income is less than $4,500, the 20% savings end up being less than $250 a month. $250 is too little to meet all the obligations of saved money; emergencies, vacations, home repairs, maintenance, etc. According to NerdWallet, the magic savings number is $985 a month.
Beyond your salary or business income, get creative and find ways to reduce or eliminate some costs in entirety. This way, you can put away more money and avoid unnecessary debt. Your home is an excellent place to begin. Here are nine ways you can save money around your home;
1. Keep Up With HVAC Maintenance
Want to keep your home comfortable, relaxed and save money on your HVAC system? Call the air conditioning services team if your answer is a resounding yes. What makes HVAC sometimes super expensive is neglecting their maintenance. You have to spend money to fix every breakdown or malfunction.
Prevention is always better than cure, even cost-wise. According to Forbes, heating and air conditioning repair costs $410 on average, while maintenance costs are $289 on average. A happy HVAC means fewer breakdowns and efficient energy consumption. Schedule the maintenance for twice a year, preferably after each weather-intense season.
Between professional maintenance, check on your air filters often, cleaning and swapping them periodically. A dirty air filter slows airflow, making your HVAC work overtime and sucking up extra energy. So, show those filters some love, and they’ll show your wallet some love back.
Consider having a programmable thermostat installed too. This lets you set different temperatures for different times of the day. When you’re out of the home or napping, dial it down to save on heating and cooling costs.
Remember sealing and insulating, too, which need maintenance. When the weather is not extreme, turn off the HVAC entirely and use natural means; open the windows for ventilation and airflow, and open your curtains and blinds for the sunshine. It’s going to work out great; you’ll see.
Lastly, plant trees around your compound or use landscaping to shade your home. This natural cover means you won’t have to crank up the AC as much during the summer. Plus, it’s a win-win for both your wallet and the environment.
2. Don’t Let Small Leaks Continue
That tiny leaky faucet may seem harmless, but every drip, no matter how small, is secretly draining your money as it’s actively contributing to your high water bill. The same goes for leaky pipes hidden in the walls. Leaking pipes are the worst because they waste water, damage walls, can cause flooding, increase moisture and cause mold growth, and ultimately pose serious health risks to your family. You’ll have so many things to fix.
According to Forbes, leaks are hands down the most common plumbing issue in homes. For simple leaks from a fixture like a toilet or a kitchen sink, you’re looking at shelling out around $275 for repairs. Leaks from accessible pipes, such as a burst pipe in the crawlspace, will cost you about the same because it’s a basic plumbing service.
If the leaky pipe is hiding in a wall, you’ll spend up to $400 more because you’ll also need some cosmetic work like drywall repair and painting.
It’s better to have leaks fixed as soon as you notice them. Don’t let your judgment be clouded by how small they are because fixing water damage is costly. The Washington Post writes that water damage repairs can be as high as $3,300 depending on the extent and the kind of plumbing tools used to restore your home. That’s almost $2,000 more than if you had initially fixed the leak
3. Get Timely Roof Repairs
Even though a roof is a home’s first line of defense against the elements, it hardly gets any attention from homeowners. When there are leaks, many building owners habitually sweep their roofing system under the rug, thinking they’re saving money, time, or effort by putting off repairs. Unfortunately, they only look at the short-term convenience of not dealing with the issues.
Succeeding at dodging the immediate costs is almost always setting you up for a financial disaster in the long run. To save money on roof repairs, abandon the immediate gratification mindset and invest in timely repairs. Also, pay attention to your roof and have a roofing contractor come over every once in a while to assess the condition of your roof and let you know if any fixes are impending.
According to Forbes, roof leak repairs can cost as high as $7,000 if you let them go on long enough to cause water damage. So, when you spot loose shingles, cracked tiles, or signs of leaks, don’t ignore them. Another short-term effect you might suffer if you don’t promptly fix your roof leaks is high energy bills.
Yes, the holes that let the water in during spring are the same ones that let cold air out in the summer and warm air out in the winter. Your insulation will be useless, and your HVAC will overwork; ultimately, your monthly costs will skyrocket and culminate in an even steeper bill when you finally decide to call a roofing company to handle the roof issues.
4. Get Multiple Quotes When Remodeling
If you’re considering spending money to give your home a facelift, don’t discard the idea that you can save money while spending. The rule is, don’t settle for the first quote you receive from the first home remodeling company you call. Get multiple quotes from home remodeling companies and custom home builders to compare prices and scope of work.
It’s the best way to ensure you get the best deal without compromising quality. Plus, who doesn’t love a little friendly competition? The New York Times Home and Garden section writes that multiple quotes help you understand the market and get a fair price.
Watch out for extremely low quotes because it might mean you’re signing up for substandard work, which you may have to redo later in the future, and what a loss that would be! Save money in a remodeling project by being decisive and forthright with your custom home builder. Changing your mind about what you want or how much you are willing to spend is easy.
Indecision is a recipe for disaster because the contractor will prepare a final quote that gives them the highest profit. You will end up paying so much more because you didn’t have a budget, didn’t stick by it, or didn’t communicate it to your contractor. Learn to take control of your money, especially in projects such as remodeling or renovating that already cost an arm and a leg.
5. Install Energy Efficient Windows
The U.S. Department of Energy writes that 25% to 30% of your home’s heating and cooling capacity goes to waste due to inefficient windows that let heat escape or sneak in. They advise homeowners to consider upgrading their windows to more eco-friendly ones. Energy-efficient windows feature superior technology that allows them to reduce the transfer of heat.
This means they keep the scorching heat outside in the summer, and in the winter, they trap the warmth inside. You can therefore keep your HVAC working at the minimum as the windows make up the difference.
One of the secrets behind their efficiency lies in their low-E (low-emissivity) coatings and glazing, making them reflect heat to where it came from instead of absorbing and transferring it into the house. Some energy-efficient windows have multiple panes that feature insulating gas in between, creating an extra barrier against the elements. It won’t be long before you notice your electric bills beginning to lower.
You might think, ‘Okay, this all sounds great, but what about the cost?’ According to Architecture Digest, a window replacement company will charge between $320 and $2,000 per window to install energy-efficient windows, including materials used and labor. It’s true, energy-efficient windows have a slightly higher upfront price compared to standard windows, but the spend is more than worth it in the long run because you’ll save money.
6. Take Care of Water Damage Right Away
Water damage is no joke. It threatens the structural integrity of your home, increases the risk of mold infestation, lowers the value of your house, can end up spoiling property that’s close to the mold or stored in a moist area like the basement, and ultimately it means there’s an opening somewhere it shouldn’t be. So maybe a burst pipe or a leak in the roof. Whatever it is, immediately you spot signs of water intrusion, like damp walls or ceilings, mold, or a wet floor, don’t ignore it. According to Forbes Home, water damage fixes cost homeowners over $20 billion every year!
After you’ve located the source of the water intrusion, turned off power sources close by, and moved things away from the leak, it’s time to Call mold removal experts, a plumber if the water is from the plumbing system, or a roofing contractor if there’s a roof leak. You’ll save money only if you do the fixes immediately. Any delay is exacerbating the problem.
7. Embrace DIY (Do-It-Yourself)
Channel your inner handy person and take up some DIY projects around the house. If you aren’t a DIY enthusiast, this idea may not be welcome but think about how you can save money by eliminating labor costs and contractor markups. The Engineering News Record says that the U.S. is the most expensive country for home projects like remodeling and construction, and Forbes writes that a homeowner has to pay between $20 and $150 per square foot per contractor. Still iffy about DIY? We doubt it!
The Guardian advises focusing on minor repairs and simple upgrades first. Some excellent examples are replacing your old faucets with low-flow ones, painting a room yourself, gardening and landscaping, and using store-bought insulators to seal insulation breaches. Plenty of resources and tutorials are available online for DIY home projects that you can read, watch and follow along as you do the projects.
8. Embrace Waste Reduction Habits
Sometimes, the littlest things make the biggest difference. Simple habits that are easy to incorporate into daily life are the best. Try remembering to turn off the light when you leave a room or run your dishwasher and washing machine with full loads, and when the weather is favorable, dry out your clothes outside. Turn off appliances when they aren’t being used.
Also, resist the temptation to eat out when you have food at home, don’t buy things you don’t need, use energy-saving bulbs, and prepare a grocery list when you go to the store and stick to it. Budget your income and track your spending, bargain where applicable, and buy second-hand whenever possible. You don’t need a grand plan to save money. The idea is that the collective effort of these small changes can snowball into significant savings over time.
Your desire to save money around your home is within your control. With a little foresight and a proactive approach to maintenance, repairs, and recurrent expenditure, you can keep your home in great shape while keeping your hard-earned cash in your pocket or purse. The beauty of saving is that it’s never too late; you can start now and enjoy the difference it’ll make for you and your household. Take Charge America summarizes the wisdom of saving with this quote, ‘Saving money saves you.’