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10 Easy Ways to Save Money Around the House

Home Maintenance, Home Maintenance Tips

Published: May 7, 2020

You don't need to be a handy home maintenance expert to save money around the house — nor do you have to make significant sacrifices or notable changes to your lifestyle.

Read on for ten easy tips that can greatly reduce home-related costs and keep more money in your pocket.

Make your own household cleaning products.

DIY cleaning ingredients

Save money (and help the environment) by making your own cleaners with ingredients already in your pantry: things like vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice. These DIY natural cleaners can be just as effective as store-bought varieties, and they cost next to nothing.

For a scented, all-purpose cleaner, Good Housekeeping recommends a combination of white vinegar, water, lemon rind, and rosemary sprigs. Find this and seven other DIY formulas here.

Hang a clothes rack in your laundry room or install an outdoor clothesline.

outdoor clothesline

Cut down on an expensive energy bill by avoiding the dryer (when you can). Items like towels, pillowcases, and t-shirts are just as easy to dry from a clothes rack or outdoor clothesline. Air drying is also less taxing on clothes, meaning they'll last longer. Plus — who doesn't love the fresh, natural smell of laundry that's been dried by the wind and sun?

Wash clothes in cold water.

laundry room washing machine

Your washing machine is another sneaky contributor to a high energy bill. Most detergents work just as will in cold water as they do in hot. Plus, washing clothes in cold water can help them retain their color and shape, and last longer. Win-win.

Ditch the paper towel and paper napkins — switch to rags and cloth napkins.

cleaning window

We get it — breaking up with kitchen paper products can be hard. But switch to cloth alternatives and you could save hundreds of dollars each year. On top of that, cloth products produce less trash, making them better for the environment. They can be washed and reused many times before they need to be thrown away.

Use energy-efficient lighting, and turn off the lights when you can.

light bulbs

It's easier than ever to find affordable LED and CFL lights. These energy-efficient bulbs last much longer than their old-fashioned incandescent counterparts and will help you save money on your overall energy costs.

No need to swap all of your old bulbs at once. Start with the kitchen, living room, or another area of the house where the lights are often on for long periods of time. If you like the lighting effect and notice a cost savings, you can gradually roll out the energy-efficient bulbs to the rest of your house.

That being said — remember that turning your lights off completely is another way to keep energy costs down. Make it a habit: every time you walk out of a room, reach for the light switch.

Regularly clean out your refrigerator and organize your pantry.

cleaning fridge

Get into the habit of tidying your refrigerator and tossing expired foods on a weekly basis, and do the same for your pantry at least once a month. When you have better inventory of your food, you're less likely to buy things you don't actually need or let food expire.

Need a little organization inspiration? Check out this article by Good Housekeeping and this one by Country Living.

Lower your heat and/or your air conditioning.

lady adjusting thermostat

You might not notice a nominal change in your home's indoor temperature — but you'll certainly notice the cost savings that result.

If you'd rather not change the temperature while you're at home, invest in a programmable thermostat to schedule an automatic increase or decrease in your home's temperature while you're away (or asleep).

You can save as much as 10% a year on heating and cooling by turning your thermostat down just 7-10°F for 8 hours per day in the winter and vice versa in the summer.

Lower the temperature of your hot water heater.

adjusting water heater

In a similar vein, you can save money by lowering your hot water heater down to 120°F, which is the optimal temperature for most hot water heaters. Interestingly, most are set to 140°F — a default temperature for manufacturers. If you have a healthy immune system, you likely don't need water that hot; 120°F is considered safe for the majority of people.

Clean and change your home appliance filters.

changing vacuum filter

Routinely cleaning and replacing filters on your home appliances extends their longevity and keeps your indoor air and water clean. Your dishwasher, dryer, and vacuum all have filters that need to be cleaned; in fact, Consumer Reports shares up to 12 different filters that you should be changing to help your appliances run more efficiently — and to protect the health of you and your family.

Create a home maintenance checklist and revisit it throughout the year.

woman writing in notebook

One of the best ways to save money and keep your household running smoothly is to commit to regular home maintenance. Certain to-dos should be handled on a monthly, seasonal, or annual basis. Despite (or maybe due to) the millions of online resources dedicated to home maintenance, it can be difficult to know where to start.

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