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Erik Larson writes about the job market, resume improvement, and career advice

Household tips that could save you thousands of dollars

Written by Erik Larson, Community Blogger | Sep 18, 2017 10:13 PM

First time homeowners are often shocked to find the cost of owning a home goes well beyond a mortgage payment and utility bills. Repairs, upkeep and renovations can quickly add up to make a home far more expensive than originally estimated. It is easy for money to unnecessarily trickle out of your pockets on home costs that are completely avoidable. These five tips will allow you to easily fix these problems and keep thousands of dollars in your pocket.

Make Your Own Cleaners

Browsing the cleaning aisles at the supermarket can quickly become an overwhelming experience. There is a different type of cleaner for every surface and room of your home. The filthy secret of the cleaning industry is that a couple of different all purpose cleaners are all you need to keep your home sparkling. You can save hundreds of dollars a year if you cut expensive cleaners from your budget and make your own at home. For just a few cents a bottle, you can make an all purpose cleaner that sanitizes, degreases and polishes every room in your home.

Replace Outdated Plumbing Fixtures

People rarely consider their plumbing fixtures as a source of financial loss, but this is often the case for homeowners. That slowly dripping faucet is draining money from your bank account one drop at a time. Recent technology has vastly improved how efficiently plumbing fixtures can control the flow of water resulting in a significant drop in water usage. Low flow toilets and faucets and high pressure shower heads reduce the amount of water you use daily. The clever technology means that you will not even notice the water reduction or, in the case of the shower head, it may even vastly improve your experience. Making that initial investment in new fixtures will earn your money back several times over in the money you save on your water bill and plumbers fees.

Reduce Food Waste

If you have ever had the experience of cleaning out your refrigerator and throwing away an entire garbage bag full of spoiled and expired food, you are aware of the severe problem food waste poses. Think about the money you spent on that food that ended up in the trash. A little food planning could save you hundreds of dollars each year on eliminated food waste. Calculate the food needs of your family for a week and try not to overbuy. If you get a discount on a higher quantity, freeze the excess and plan to use it in the upcoming six months. For anything that is on the verge of going bad, make a soup. Almost anything you throw together in a slow cooker will taste amazing with a few hours of simmering and seasoning. You can also donate packaged food to a local food bank or directly to a needy family.

Replace Bulbs With LEDs

During extreme heat or cold, your electric bill can get frighteningly high. While you may not be willing to sacrifice your warmth for a lower utility bill, you can significantly lower your bill by switching all the bulbs in your home to a more energy efficient alternative. LED bulbs emit a cooler, brighter type of light that lasts roughly 25 times longer than traditional bulbs. While they cost a little more than either incandescent or CFL bulbs, improvements in manufacturing are causing the price to consistently drop. Replacing the bulbs in just a few of your most used fixtures can reduce your energy usage by 20 percent resulting in significant savings on future energy bills.

Weatherproof Your Home

If you have an older home, chances are that you are losing a substantial amount of energy through cracks, crevices and inefficient insulation. Over time, a home settles into its foundation creating tiny cracks around doors and windows. You can help your climate control system work the most efficiently by sealing around doors and windows. Replace worn insulation in the attic and basement. If there are areas that were never insulated, you will be amazed to discover how adding insulation quickly drops your energy bill. Just these small, inexpensive improvements will immediately save you hundreds of dollars a year.

With careful planning and devoting a couple of weekends to home improvements, you can improve the value of your home and the size of your bank account.

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