Welcome back, readers, for the second installment in our series on easy ways to save money. Today we are going to talk about several ways that you can cut your home maintenance budget. You can save a great deal of money on cleaning and maintaining your house, all without hours of coupon clipping or sale shopping, and without sacrificing your standards for cleanliness. If you haven’t read my first installment in this series, check it out here.
So how do we do it?
- Minimize your single-purpose items. There are so many interesting tools and formulas on the market that claim to be the best way to solve one specific household problem. Sometimes they are as great as they claim, and sometimes they are just more junk. But at $5-$10 each, they quickly add up. White vinegar and/or baking soda can be used to clean almost any surface in your home. As a bonus, you will be using far less potentially harmful chemicals in your home. Estimated savings: $45-$60 per year.
- Make your own laundry detergent. It is so much cheaper, and has a lot less chemicals and additives. See my tutorial here. Estimated savings: $50-$100 per year.
- Renew, rather than replace, things that are wearing out or showing their age. If you can sew even a little, you can re-cover pillows and cushions or make simple curtains. If you can sand and use a paintbrush, you can refinish a tired but otherwise sturdy piece of furniture. See here for an example of furniture given a new lease on life. Estimated savings: $10-$1000 (depending on what you reuse!).
- Be organized! When you can’t find things, you end up buying multiples of things you already have. I hope to devote future posts to some of my favorite organizational strategies. When you know where everything is and can easily access it, you save more than just money. You save time, hassle and irritation too! Estimated savings: $30-$100 per year.
- Buy in bulk. If you have a membership to a warehouse store, you can save money on some cleaning products that way, as long as you don’t fall into the trap of buying too much. Something I like even better is Walmart’s HomeFree service. Thousands of household and grocery staple items can be purchased online, often in larger quantities than are available in stores, and as long as your purchase is over a certain amount, the shipping is free and comes right to your door. I love it, because when it is delivered to your doorstep, even getting breakfast cereal and toilet paper can be exciting. (Am I the only one who gets unusually excited about getting mail?) Estimated savings: $50-$200 per year.
- Use less disposable items. By using cloth towels for drying hands and cleaning up spills instead of paper towels, real plates and cloth napkins instead of paper, real silverware in your lunchbag instead of plastic, reusable containers instead of zip-top bags for sandwiches and snacks, and reusable water bottles instead of the disposable kinds, you will not only save money, but you will keep hundreds of pounds of waste from ending up in landfills. Estimated savings: $40-$100 per year.