Digging around in the couch cushions is one way to find money in your house, but there are other ways to boost your home budget by more than a few quarters at a time. You might be surprised by how much money you can save by making some small changes around the house.
Ideas for saving at home
Try these tips to keep your home running smoothly without breaking the bank:
- Do your own yard work and landscaping. Look online or ask your neighbors for advice and suggestions if you're a beginner. Better yet, add raking leaves to your kid's list of chores.
- Take care of minor repairs and upkeep yourself. Many jobs, like painting a room, don't require much training, so tackle the small things. Do-it-yourself books and websites can guide you on your journey to becoming handy.
- Trade your repair know-how with your neighbor's. Swap your services if, say, you know how to do a little plumbing and your neighbor can do simple carpentry.
- Shop garage and yard sales for everything from furniture to dishes. The best part of garage sale furniture is it's already assembled, which minimizes swearing in your home.
- Check discount stores and resale shops for other household items. Find some great pots and pans or decorations.
- Create a "no shoes in the house" policy, followed by a "no food or drinks outside the kitchen" rule. Those changes could save you a bundle on carpet cleaning — and paper towels.
- Buy good quality paint. It costs more, but it lasts longer, which means less time on a ladder for you.
- Don't paint outside when the temperature dips below 55 degrees. The wood may not be dry, which could cause the paint to crack later.
- Swap kids with a neighbor. Trade babysitting duties if you and a neighbor both have young children, which saves money and eliminates that cut-throat competition for the same babysitter.
- Skip the pricey cleaning products. Use a solution of water with either ammonia or white vinegar to clean the kitchen and bathroom.
- Hold a garage sale every couple of years. You can get rid of unloved or outgrown items cluttering up your home and make a few bucks at the same time.
- Sort through coupons and join a coupon exchange. Many are for home services, so price shop when you need a professional. There will be times when you do need an expert's help, like getting rid of that nest of flying squirrels in the attic.
When money's tight, some simple changes in how you repair, decorate and clean your home can help you spend less and save more. Always be sure you get what you pay for, though. If you've been unable to resolve a problem with a company over a faulty product or service, submit a complaint to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's Consumer Complaint Database. Contact a Military OneSource financial counselor for free help with even more ways to save your hard-earned dollars and create a household budget.