We are all looking for ways to save money in this day and age, especially if you are a homeowner. Homes and their regular upkeep and maintenance can easily drain your wallet. In this busy world, there can still be ways to DIY that doesn’t consume every second of your free time but still saves thousands on home maintenance. Stay tuned because here are a few of the tricks that I have been using for years to help maintain my house, without bleeding myself dry.
I have original hardwoods in my house that weren’t discovered until I pulled back the hideous carpet that was there when I purchased my house 15 years ago. They weren’t beautiful when I exposed them but they are now. I had them sanded and finished, which is usually with polyurethane. I constantly get comments on how fantastic they look and my secret is vinegar and shoes.
What I mean by that is that we are a no shoes house. I make everybody take off their shoes when they come inside because I don’t want the dirt everywhere. That does two things. It keeps me from having to clean as often and it keeps dirt and debris from constantly grinding into my floors.
With regard to vinegar, I clean the floors with it. It is the absolute best cleaner out there and so cheap! I can get a 64 ounce jug at Target for $1.59. I put about 1/5 of it in my kitchen sink with hot water and mop away. Vinegar is not only very cost effective but it won’t strip the polyurethane off the floors either, which saves me tons of money in the long run since I won’t have to pay to get them refinished.
Speaking of vinegar, I use it for sinks also. Along with one of my other favorites; baking soda! Anytime a drain is running slowly, I know that it is time to bust out these two guys. In bathroom sinks, I unscrew the drain stopper for full access to the pipes, but in the kitchen that is not necessary. I pour a decent amount of baking soda down the drain and then add the vinegar to create a chemical reaction.
This doesn’t explode like you would think but has more of a fizzy bubbling action. My kids love it when I do this because they say it looks like a volcano in the sink. Every now and then I decide to wow them and add a drop of food coloring, which they think is pretty cool. Either way though, it keeps my pipes clean and running freely.
My other secret weapon to regularly maintain the sinks (and even the tub drain) is a 36″ Grab Easy Clog Remover. This is a DIY of the plumbing snake that plumbers bring with them, but much cheaper. Running at only $5.98, this little guy has saved me thousands by not having to pay for a plumber because it helps me be proactive.
Before I get creative with my baking soda and vinegar mix, I bust out this wonderful tool and run it down the pipes to see if I can grab any excess junk that may be clogging them up. Sometimes I come up with some interesting stuff, usually in the kids bathroom. But between the two different tricks, I have never had to pay a plumber to fix my pipes, saving me hundreds if not thousands over the 15 years. Here are four other must have cleaning products for your home.
This one can be a doozy, especially if you have any significant amount of yard. I was very excited to have a great fenced in yard after living in apartments for years and I thought it was going to be so great! That was until I realized that I had to take care of it all.
One of the best purchases you can make if you have a yard to maintain is a walk behind lawn mower. I realize that it takes longer to mow the lawn with a non-self propelled versus a self propelled lawnmower, but hear me out. It not only costs less per year, and overall, but I use it to pull double duty by making it part of my exercise routine. Thereby, I am cutting out time at the gym because I am in the yard for at least two hours and saving money at the same time.
Originally, I purchased my lawnmower for $119 as a recon (reconditioned) at Home Depot and got them to throw in a free replacement blade. That mower lasted me 10 whole years! The big secret with keeping lawnmowers operational for as long as possible is to drain the gas at the end of every season. As long as you do that, check the spark plug, drain and replace the oil and clean out the carburetor, then your mower should work like a champ.
I can tell you that mine had a few idiosyncrasies throughout the years, but I continued to work with it and it was the best mower I have ever had. When I break down the cost, just for the mower itself, it cost around $12 per year. After this mower died, I decided to try a self propelled mower instead and was sorely disappointed!
The mower was $269 and died twice in the first season. It had to be replaced with a new one and that one died, was able to be fixed by replacing the engine and then the self propelled action stopped. I had that mower, or the two of them, for four years and just the purchase price cost me $67.25 per year. That doesn’t include the multiple times that I had to load it into my car to take it to get fixed or replaced, or the times that I had to pay somebody to come mow my lawn because my mower was in the shop.
My rule has been that the more moving parts a product has, the higher the chance that something is going to go wrong and I’ll have to fix it. The simpler the product or machine, the more cost effective it is for me. These are quick, simple and easy things to maintain the home and are so much cheaper to implement than purchasing the expensive alternatives. Stick with simple, because it goes so much further and costs you less in the long run. You won’t be disappointed and your wallet will thank you!
What are some household tips and tricks that you use to save money while still keeping your house running smoothly?