1. Cut the cable.
We don't have cable. We pay for internet, but we have never spent a dime on cable TV. Netflix is amazing, and only $8 a month. With all of the add ons and extra fees that cable companies offer and slap on your bill these days, cable can be over $100 a month. Saying no for the past two years has saved us around $2,400. That's more than enough to pay for a nice cruise, a deck upgrade, or an extra payment on the good ole mortgage.
2. Embrace the hand-me-downs.
Aaron and I were blessed to have several pieces of furniture given to us when we first moved into our house. Our dining room and kitchen tables, a sectional with a pull-out couch, and a bed set were all given to us by those who were happy to be rid of them. And we actually had a decent amount of furniture to furnish our four bedroom home. If you aren't blessed with as many hand-me-downs, not to worry. There are several opportunities for you to find these things: garage sales, antique markets, and thrift stores. Someone's old piece could be a great addition to your place, and you can always give it a little TLC or paint upgrade to make it really pop. Then someday, you can start to buy some new things for yourself little by little, without breaking the bank. You can see how we put some of these pieces to work in our own home by checking out this post.
3. If at all possible, DO IT YOURSELF.
Again, I'm blessed in this category. Aaron is amazingly handy. I mean, the guy works on cars and re-built part of our fence last year. Not to mention all the little things he can do with electrical and toilet issues. If you're not blessed with an Eagle Scout hubby, not to worry. Thanks to the internet, there are several little things you can figure out how to do or find on your own that can save you loads of money. If there's a job that's really meant to be left to the professionals, ask around, use your connections, or find someone local as much as possible. They are likely going to take good care of you for a lower price, and may even give discounts to repeat customers.
4. Regulate the temperature.
One of the biggest changes in homeownership is having a lot more space. This is awesome, but you also have to heat and cool that space accordingly, which can get pricey when you've got numerous floors and vaulted ceilings like we do. A few months ago, Aaron and I got a new thermostat put in for free by KCPL. The thermostat is not only pre-set, but can be adjusted instantly through an App on my phone. We tell it when we are coming home, and when we are gone, and the temperature adjusts to keep our home at the most cost efficient temperature. Our bills have gone way down.
5. Wash in cold.
Washing your clothes in cold water will save you money. It takes less energy for the machine to wash things in cold, and thus your bill will be much lower. Seriously, I'm not making this stuff up. Check it out: http://energy.gov/energysaver/articles/tips-laundry. It's fine to do the occasional hot or warm load of sheets or towels, but otherwise, stick to cold. You could save over $200 a year.
6. Shop clearance, embrace imperfection, and be patient.
We scored big at a 70% off sale when our local K-Mart went out of business. We got a huge steal on a nice patio set for our deck, an outdoor bar set, and a great grill. You don't have to do this all at once though (we just couldn't pass up the deals). Be patient. Don't worry if some rooms sit empty. Add a piece or two at a time to your home. Be on the lookout for clearance markdowns- they could be discounted because of a minimal scratch or dent that you really could care less about. I love love love shopping thrifty, and it makes it even more fun when you find something you love at a great price. Be patient, be choosy, and don't go over the amount you budgeted for a certain item. Odds are great that it will go on sale, especially if it's a seasonal item.
At the end of the day, owning a home is a huge commitment, but it's so much fun. By just following a few simple steps, you can save a lot of money, which then allows you to splurge on that vacation, that new piece of furniture, or that unexpected maintenance necessity (which likely WILL happen). A home is an amazing investment and a great place to live a life and grow a family. We love our home, and all of the people who bring life to it.
What's your favorite thrifty homeowner tip? How do you find ways to cut the costs of homeownership? Let me know on the contact form, or comment below! Like what you're reading? Click here to subscribe to the Currently, Kelsie newsletter. I'll keep you up to date on recent posts, and provide some extra bonus tips on living well. Happy home ownership!