We all like the idea of saving money on a monthly basis. Sure, it feels nice to get a good bargain on the occasional purchase. However, it feels even better to save money each and every month.
The good news is that there are home improvements that can actually save you in the long run. You might have to spend a little bit up front, but the long-term impact can offset your initial outlay — and even help you come out ahead.
1. Seal Up The Air Flow
Check for cracks that are letting air in and out in a way that results in energy loss. Whether it’s letting the heat escape during the winter or letting the cool out during the summer, you could be losing money because of airflow.
Do what you can seal up the cracks. Look for cracks and holes near your foundation. Seal up the cracks around your windows and doors. Older homes are especially susceptible to have gaps in basements, so check into that. You can also seal off the attic if you don’t use it very much.
Last year, we spent a couple hundred dollars to add more insulation in the top of the house. The result has been monthly savings on heating and cooling costs. It’s not a huge savings, but it’s adding up each month.
2. Stain Your Deck
One of the best additions to a home is a deck. People love decks. A nice deck can be a great selling point, as well as provide you with a great deal of satisfaction in your home. However, if you don’t take good care of your deck, it will start to fade, and you may need to replace it. Applying a good coat of stain on your deck every three years can extend the life of your deck out to 20 years or more. That’s not bad at all. Rather than paying to replace the deck, you just need to buy stain every three years.
I also like to stain my wood deck furniture. It’s about time to apply a coat of stain to the solid table and chairs we have outside. The look of the furniture is great, and it will last longer as we take care of it, saving money since we won’t have to keep re-buying cheap patio furniture as it breaks.
3. Energy Efficient Appliances
You might not be able to do this all at once, since it can be expensive to purchase energy-efficient appliances. However, if you want to save money, and you have appliances that are 10 years old, you can save by upgrading. This goes for your furnace, air conditioner, refrigerator, washer, dryer, and other appliances. Also, if you have bathroom fixtures that are old and leaking, and not optimized for water conservation, you might consider replacing some of those.
Start with the biggest offenders (we’re getting ready to replace the energy-sucking 20-year-old freezer in our garage), and then save up for the next thing. Eventually, you’ll have better appliances and a lower energy bill.
What are your best money-saving home improvements?
Peter Anderson says
One way we’re saving money after moving into our new house is by having a Nest programmable wi-fi thermostat installed. The thermostat can basically be set to auto-away to turn temps up or down while you’re gone to save you money, then turn back on when you get back. Or you can access it via your smartphone and turn it back on before you get home. The thermostat had about a $200 up front cost, but it should save us hundreds of dollars of the next year or two alone.
DC @ Young Adult Money says
Great tips, Miranda! I definitely have been making some efforts to make sure everything is sealed and we aren’t losing heat and AC through small openings. I would love to replace the windows within the next five years with energy efficient ones, as our windows are original on our house.
I also plan on building a deck within the next five years and have heard it adds real value to a home when you sell it.
Replacing the freezer is a great idea. One way to reduce energy consumption is to think about which appliances run 24/7 … freezers, refrigerators, water heaters … and make sure they’re running at peak efficiency (or replace them if necessary).
Kyle | Rather-Be-Shopping.com says
I recently sealed some drafty windows in our home and the difference in temperature is incredible, recommend everyone do this. I have a feeling my energy bill is going to be lower as well.
Great tips! Another idea is to change your furnace filter so the air intake isn’t clogged. It will save on your electric bill and keep the air cleaner. Also, if you have a fridge or wine cooler in the garage, move it! The garage is the hottest place in your house during the summer time. My electric bill went down $100/month in the summer with this move. Those cold drinks weren’t worth $100/month to me!
I have recycled my decks and had them for over 20 years!!! Something I found out quite by accident has also saved me a great deal of money. I was getting rid of a wasp nest and when I checked under the deck the next day to make sure I had gotten the nest out, I noticed that the boards under the deck were in fantastic condition. So I flipped the boards, stained them and got 7 more years out of that deck!!! Painting , sealing and fixing little things really pay off and don’t usually cause big problems as well. I couldn’t afford to side my wooden home a few years ago. I went to a liquidation center and found good quality stain (low fumes and eco friendly) for a fraction of the original cost, went home and did the entire house and sheds. It is white and Still looks good. I try to do as much as I can myself with the exception of plumbers and electrical work!!!