Everyone wants to save money. At least that’s what everyone claims. People love to take advantage of coupons, Black Friday deals, and bundled discounts from places like Costco and Sam’s Club. When it comes to home upkeep and maintenance, many homeowners are throwing away money and don’t even realize it.
The Balance reports that the average amount homeowners spend on standard living and maintenance is $2,000 a year. That’s already a gross expense and doesn’t account for utilities or mortgage costs. It also doesn’t include the waste that comes from unnecessary purchases many new homeowners make.
It doesn’t have to be that way. You can keep your home in great condition, live comfortably, and save a small fortune by following a few simple pieces of advice.
1. Turn Down the Heat – Use Decor Instead
For most homeowners, paying to heat or cool the house is the biggest utility expense they have. Move.org calculated that the average electric bill runs about $183 per month in America and about half of that goes towards heating and cooling. One easy way you can save money on your monthly electric bill, and still be comfortable, is to invest in decor items that help regulate temperature in your home.
How To Do It
Take a look at the environment you live in and determine whether you need to keep your home warmer or cooler for most of the year. From there, determine which type of materials will help to insulate heat or increase air flow. Some common materials include:
- Cotton – great for keeping things cool
- Wool – perfect for trapping heat
- Silk – Soft and cool to the touch
- Synthetics – Vary depending on the type
Make an investment in the blankets, area rugs, and furniture that use the materials you find works best for you.
Once you have your pieces, set your thermostat to a modest temperature and do not change it. The average temperature that most homes run at is 75°F but you can potentially reduce that by about 10°F. This will save you anywhere from 10 to 20% off your electric bill each month.
2. Skip the “Professionals” – Mow Your Own Lawn
Most landscaping businesses charge around $50 per visit to keep your lawn maintained. If you’re having weekly trimmings done and cutting year-round, that equates to about $2,640 per year. They may advertise that they can make your home look far more pristine, but let’s be real. Cutting grass is cutting grass. With a few (cheaper) investments, you can get the same results at a fraction of the cost.
How to Do It
Based on how big your yard is, get yourself a weedeater for about $50, and either a push mower or riding mower. A mid-range push mower will cost you about $375, while a mid-range riding mower will cost you about $2,000. You don’t need much fuel to get through a session with either option.
If you opt for a push mower, weedeater, and you need about $90 in fuel a year, you’ve still only spent $515, well over $2,000 in savings!
3. Check for Termites and Deal with Them Immediately
Talk about a big problem in a small package. It’s estimated that homeowners spend about $3,000 a year to repair damage caused by termites. Often, this is because homeowners don’t take the time to check for a termite infestation until it’s already too late. By catching the problem and dealing with it early, you can save a ton of money and keep your home in great condition.
How to Do It
Catching signs of a termite infestation aren’t hard to do. Catching them early is the tricky part. Since termites are less active during colder months, people tend to skip regular checks during the winter. Even if they’re less active, termite damage can still compound to the point that it becomes a major issue. I’d recommend you check for termites at least every other month in the summer, and at least once during the winter.
Common signs of termites include:
- Mud tunnels or ‘veins” leading to wooden structures in your home
- A quiet clicking noise coming through the walls – this is the sound of termites banging their head on wood to signal danger
- Flying termites, also called swarms, gathering in or near your home. Some will gather around heat sources like a light bulb, while others come out in the sunshine. All types of termites will swarm after it rains.
- Tunnel systems in your wood
- A light coating of surface wood that breaks with gentle nudging. You can test for this by gently probing with a screwdriver.
If you catch a termite infestation early enough, you’ll most likely need a professional to ensure the nest is completely destroyed. This will run you about $525. It may not be cheap, but it’s certainly better than $3,000!