13 Hacks That Will Save You Money on Home Expenses

There is no doubt about it, living is expensive. I’ve found that my home tends to be a constant source of unexpected piling expenses. Between utilities, maintenance, and all that “must-have” decor (We all need a decor refresh here and there), keeping my finances in check can feel like an uphill battle. But fear not, fellow homeowners—or renters, like me! There are so many ways to save on home expenses, and I’m willing to bet you’re overlooking most of them. With the help of a few experts and some personal methods I’ve tested and swear by, here are 13 hacks that can help you save money on things like your cable bill and even decor updates—without sacrificing comfort.

Develop energy-efficient practices

1. Switch to LED lightbulbs

Did you know that LED lights use at least 75 percent less energy and last up to 25 times longer than traditional incandescent lighting? Not only can switching to LED lightbulbs save on energy usage itself, but you’re buying far fewer light bulbs over time. I decided to give them a go in my own home, and I was immediately a convert. I love the shade and color choices, from traditional fluorescent to soft warm hues (the dimmer, the better, in my opinion). Practically every shade and size is available, making an all-over change easy.

2. Stop leaving everything on all the time

I come from a family who would leave a light on for our future selves to come home to, and I did sleep with a nightlight for many, many years. Some days, when I’m running late, I’ll get halfway to my destination and wonder whether or not the ceiling fan in my bedroom is still spinning like crazy, lights a-glow. The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy reports that personal residences account for about 21 percent of the total energy use in the United States, and I can’t help but wonder how much lower that number could be if we didn’t leave everything on constantly.

Though it may look like your coffee pot, clock, and other devices are sitting quietly, they use energy even when they’re turned off but still plugged in. While it would be a pain to plug and unplug your devices every time you leave, start by being mindful of what you’re using and when. Consider unplugging devices when you go on a trip or a long weekend, and in the meantime, stop leaving your desktop monitor, TV, and other small devices on and running all the time!

Monitor your water usage

3. Address leaks and cracks right away

A leaky faucet might seem like a drip in the bucket (quite literally), but those drips can add up to gallons of wasted water over time, and with it, money that slips right down the drain. Replacing a leaky faucet can cost less than $10 and takes just minutes. If you live in an apartment, contacting your landlord or building manager to address these concerns can end up saving you time and money on repairs as well. I might be the least handy person I know, but YouTube and TikTok exist for a reason. The amount of home repairs I’ve been able to do with a little help from the internet is truly impressive if I do say so myself.

4. Install low-flow showerheads

Installing low-flow showerheads, which are designed to use less water than standard models, can help dramatically decrease your personal hot water use, according to LaurieAnn King, co-CEO of Dow Janes. Don’t worry, this won’t have any effect on the vibes of your everything shower, but while you’re making changes, it wouldn’t hurt to cut back a few minutes from your routine. We’re not saying to rush the time it takes to do a deep-conditioning mask, but maybe don’t practice your work presentation while standing in the running water. After all, cutting even one minute from a daily shower could save about 75 gallons a month, according to the Regional Water Provider Consortium. That is money you could be spending elsewhere—like on a new mask once you run out.

Re-examine your heating and cooling practices

5. Cover your windows

It’s possible to keep your home cool during summer-time heat waves without causing your electric bill to explode. A great way is to cover those windows! According to energy.gov, about 30 percent of a home’s heating or cooling energy is lost through windows, and about 76 percent of sunlight enters in the form of heat. To help combat this, try adding sunlight-blocking curtains or blinds to your windows. This doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your decor aesthetic or the look of your floor-to-ceiling glass windows. Closing the blinds only when you leave home or are not in the room is enough to make a huge difference in maintaining the temperature. Plus, it’s a great and non-permanent way to explore your home style!

6. Use a humidifier

It may sound hard to believe, but investing in a humidifier for the colder months can help reduce your heating bill. Sure, humidifiers don’t literally warm a room, but water vapor holds more heat than dry air. Running a humidifier will also reduce nasty static electricity, making you feel warmer and less prone to painful, dry skin and locks. I use my humidifier constantly, which keeps my thermostat lower and my skin feeling hydrated and glowing in the cold months. In my experience, even inexpensive humidifiers work exceptionally well. Lowering a bill, adding to comfort, and improving my beauty routine? I’m convinced.

Streamline your internet, streaming, and cable services

7. Remove optional add-ons

When it comes to your internet, cable, or phone bill, I bet you have package add-ons you don’t even know about. New customer promotions and trials often sign you up for things that you’ll never think about checking again. Think: Free equipment or services that are good for a limited period… and then they tack right onto your monthly bill. These sneaky add-on services could be costing you $20 or more a month. Give your internet or cable company a call and make sure you’re aware of what your monthly bill really includes. Are there services you aren’t using? My internet package came with a free trial of a few streaming services I never used, and I totally forgot about them for a full two years. Needless to say, I was really excited to have a few extra bucks in my pocket after canceling them.

8. Rotate your streaming services

Ditching cable was one of the best things I did to lower my utility bills each month, but then I realized that the cost of all the streaming platforms I was paying for instead was making a serious dent in my monthly budget. The truth is, I love them all, but I don’t use them all every single month. Some months, my Hulu account collects dust because I’m glued to Netflix. Instead of paying for both at the same time, I rotate platforms every few months, depending on what shows I’m watching. This is as easy as logging on and pausing your membership until you’re ready to jump back in.

9. Borrow or rent tools instead of buying them

When my parents dropped me off at college, they gave me a handy-dandy toolbox fit with all the things they thought I would need. (Basically, my dad wanted to make sure I could hang my own wall art with a screwdriver and some nails.) But when I moved into my first post-grad house and wanted to do a few projects, I realized that my little toolbox didn’t have everything I needed for bigger projects. Instead of buying tools I’d likely only use once (I’m a simple gal who doesn’t need to own a power drill), I turned to friends to borrow what I needed. This saved me a lot of money—not to mention, precious garage storage space.

If your friends or family members don’t have what you need, look for rental services through local tool libraries. Communities usually post these options on bulletin boards or in email newsletters, but you can also do a quick search for tool libraries in your area. Sometimes, they can come with a small rental fee, but that will almost always be cheaper than buying the tools yourself. This is a great option for small projects, but even better for larger projects like power-washing the driveway once a year.

10. Take advantage of local programs

You’d be surprised how many community programs are available for homeowners and renters alike that can save you hundreds of dollars. For example, when I realized that my landscaping could use a little excitement, I was able to get a free tree for my yard from our city, thanks to our local nature program. I don’t know if you’ve ever looked at the cost of landscaping, but it sure surprised me how much plants and trees cost. This program was a huge help, and it only took a little bit of research to find and apply for online.

Spend some time talking to neighbors and searching online to find out what types of local programs are available to you—whether that’s a nature program like mine or other home-related repair or restoration programs. They are in place to help the community and the homes within it thrive, so don’t be shy about taking advantage of them!

Be more resourceful

11. DIY projects—or outsource them affordably

When something breaks or a new decor item needs hanging, it’s tempting to start researching your local handyman options. But before you jump right to outsourcing help, consider whether or not you can complete the task yourself. If you want to repaint your bathroom, I fully believe you’re capable of doing it. The same goes for projects like repairing small holes, switching out shower heads, and simple decor changes (like these IKEA hacks we love). Taking on small projects yourself will save on cost and allow you to create the desired result on your own time.

However, if you need a true pro to do things, like fix plumbing, replace a window, or mess with anything electric, ask an experienced family member or friend first. If they aren’t capable, then ask around for trustworthy yet affordable contractors. Attempting (and failing) projects that you’re unqualified for will end up costing more money in the long run when it comes to repairs, parts, and the manual labor of the person you hire. Platforms like TaskRabbit and Angi are great resources for finding professionals in your area if no one has recommendations for you. Just make sure you read their reviews first. The last thing you need is to get over-charged by someone who doesn’t do the job right.

12. Capitalize on warranties

Instead of running to Amazon to replace something the second it breaks, check to see if it has a warranty. I know this sounds like you’re going to have to rummage through your cabinets to find the manual for your microwave, but it’s as easy as doing a quick Google search of the item. Most manufacturers list warranties right on their website, so you can quickly assess whether or not you qualify. Even if you’re outside of your warranty, contact the company to see if they can replace or repair it before shelling out the cash for a new version. Sure, this might take you an extra few minutes, but I beg you not to spend money on something new when you could get it for free.

13. Find decor dupes (or wait for a sale)

Saving money on decor doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your style or the trends you love. Have your eye on a specific headboard or decorative throw? There are a few options you should consider before hitting “checkout.” First, is there a similar, more affordable style that you like just as much? The best way to find dupes is by reverse image searching on Google. It will display similar items to the one you’re searching for and provide links at all price points. Amazon has some high-rated and low-cost options that look just like they popped off the floor at stores like Crate & Barrel and West Elm.

If you can’t find anything that strikes your fancy as much as the item you are eyeing, wait for a sale. Turn on those notifications or check back every once in a while to catch annual or seasonal sales from those brands you know and love. Bank holidays in the United States (think Memorial Day, Labor Day, Fourth of July, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday) are the best time to plan your shopping for everything from decor to appliances. Sure, you might have to wait a few months to get what you want or need, but you’ll save a lot of cash by doing so. If you ask me, that’s worth it. Every dollar counts!

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