In your household, how does a typical monthly budget look like? Even if you already have a good grasp at what you can do to save money on all areas of your household spending, you can still find ways to squeeze in savings here and there. In tough economic times, this is especially crucial. But even if you are pretty good at managing your budget, there’s no reason for you to spend any more than you have to on certain household expenses.
Here, we will take a look at a few do-it-yourself activities or items that will help you save up to $100 per month. Just imagine what other important items you can buy when you save this much on a monthly basis. The money can go towards a luxury item, a family vacation, your kids’ college fund, a car down payment or your retirement fund.
Before counting down the DIY items or activities that will help you save $100 per month, let us first take a look at the benefits of do-it-yourself solutions. Why should you go for this option in the first place? The number one reason is to save money. Most of the time, paying the emergency and professional fees of a plumber will burn a hole in your pocket, especially if you have to make a call in the middle of the night.
What if you were able to prevent a burst pipe problem, for example, if you managed to fix minor leaks beforehand? The brunt of big problems in the house all boils down to poor maintenance. With DIY maintenance and repair solutions, you can prevent big problems from occurring. The result is that you will save yourself the horrors of having to pay for the fees of hiring a professional repairman, when the issue could have been prevented in the first place.
Second, going for DIY solutions is fun and it gives you a sense of self-fulfilment. When you have a house and you know that you hammered those nails on the wall or that you painted the walls yourself, it gives you a sense of accomplishment. Third, delving deep into DIY allows you to meet like-minded individuals.
Fourth, having acquired new skills is something that you can use in the future. If you want to barter your DIY skill for babysitting services, for instance, you can definitely do so. Again, this will save you money in the process. As you can see, there are plenty of reasons why it pays to go for DIY solutions.
10 DIY Items or Activities to Help You Save $100 per Month
Now that you already have an idea about the benefits of do-it-yourself solutions, what are the actual DIY activities or items that will help you save $100 per month? Take a look at the following list:
1. Decreasing the length of your dryer-vent hose.
The longer the hose is of your dryer-vent, the more energy it consumes. By simply decreasing the length, you will save as much as $25 per year on electricity, gas or propane. How can you perform a DIY solution for this? First, disconnect the dryer-vent hose and vacuum it out to eliminate the dirt inside the hose. Second, trim the hose so that the length is just sufficient for you to pull the dryer a couple of feet out from the wall. When you have a short line which is unobstructed starting from the dryer to the wall, its mechanism will run more efficiently. At no cost at all, you will save money on clothes-drying bills and the items you washed will even dry 20% faster.
2. Making your own cleaning solutions.
Buying glass cleaners, countertop cleaners and other cleaning solutions in the house take up a huge chunk of your household maintenance budget per year. To save money on this, why not make your own cleaning solutions? Using just a few staple items readily found in the kitchen, you can concoct a cleaning solution that is 100% chemical-free. If you like that fresh, clean scent of commercial cleaners, you can simply use lemon or lime juice or even a few drops of essential oil.
3. Replacing air furnace and central air conditioning filters yourself.
When air furnace or air conditioning filters get dirty, the machine works doubly hard to heat up or cool down your home. By simply replacing the filters yourself, you will save a lot of money on electricity costs. When replacing air conditioning filters, for example, you can save as much as $40 on home cooling. Not only that, but you can also extend the life of the cooling or heating appliance by following the manufacturer’s recommendations when it comes to the frequency of filter replacement.
4. Insulating hot water lines.
Go online and you will find plenty of DIY solutions on how to insulate hot water lines. When you do this, you are actually saving $50 per year on energy. The bonus is that you can halve the time that you need to wait for hot water to reach the faucet upstairs if you have a two-storey house. Visit your local hardware store and you can buy pre-formed foam tubes which fit right around the pipes. Doing this yourself will save you up to 35 cents per foot of insulation as compared to hiring a professional.
5. Painting your roof a light color.
Would you like to save $40 per year on home cooling costs? If yes, all you have to do is paint your existing roof with a light color. Those who live down south will benefit from this because light-colored roofs reduce the need for air conditioning. Having a cool roof might even qualify you for a rebate with your local utility company.
6. Making a deluxe battery recharging station.
Remote controls, gaming consoles, kid’s toys, shavers – there are plenty of items around the house which are battery-operated. Instead of stocking up on Energizer batteries which could cost you a pretty penny over time, why not invest in a DIY deluxe battery recharging station? All you have to do is purchase rechargeable batteries and juice them up at your recharging station. Doing this will save you as much as $100 per year and you can easily power up those tools, gadgets and devices at home.
7. Planting your own herbs, small fruit or vegetable-bearing trees.
If you love to cook, planting your own herbs, fruits or veggies will save up to $100 per year, depending on the species of the tree. Let’s say that you use a lot of spices when cooking. Instead of buying dried oregano, basil, rosemary, thyme and similar herbs, you can simply pick out fresh herbs from your very own garden. Even if you don’t have the space, you can make a vertical herb garden from soda or water bottles which are filled with planting soil.
8. Installing a ceiling fan.
Ceiling fans are quite easy to install. In the winter, you can run it at low speed in a clockwise manner. This lets warm air circulate on the upper part of the room, which in turn heats things up. Doing so will allow you to lower the thermostat setting by at least a couple of degrees. During the summer, you can run the ceiling fan in a counter clockwise direction to help spread the cooled air from the air conditioning unit around the room. Your goal is to save money and maintain a comfortable temperature inside the house at the same time, and a ceiling fan will help you do just that.
9. Installing a shower timer.
If you have kids who love taking their time in the shower, you might be paying a lot on utility bills. To prevent this from happening, why not go for a DIY shower timer installation? There are many products for this purpose which are available online or from hardware stores. A battery-operated device like the Shower Manager can be set to limit showering time to 5, 8 or 11 minutes. Other brands will let you set a different time range. What’s important is that you can reduce the utility bills payment, and conserve water at the same time.
10. Conducting your own energy audit.
Finally, you can go for a DIY energy audit. Black & Decker has a thermal leak detector which helps find the weak spots in your home. These are the areas where the electrical appliances use up a lot of electricity. The quick fixes range from simple solutions like using foam gaskets, adding weatherstripping, or using a self-adhesive foam strip. Conducting your own energy audit and determining which appliances are energy-vampires will save you a lot of money in the long run.
As you can see, there are plenty of DIY items and activities that will help you save up to $100 per month. By acquiring new skills, knowing which DIY solution to go for and analyzing your household maintenance needs, you can make great cut backs with your monthly budget – especially the utilities.