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How To Save Money On Housing

Part 2 of 2

Your Upkeep and Repairs
DIY - With the advent of internet tutorials and home improvement supercenters, homeowners have gained the confidence and skills to make basic repairs and upgrades themselves. By networking with friends and colleagues, you'll find self-made plumbers, flooring experts, landscapers, roofers, and more. Sharing knowledge, skills, and tools saves thousands while developing relationships that have been vital to survival and improvement for all generations.

Revisit the '70s and before - Yard work was done with a push mower and hand tools. Leaves were raked with quiet, persistent strokes. Kitchens were equipped with large appliances and a good set of knives. Clothes were hung outside to dry. These old-fashioned methods are time consuming but cost effective and may offer the added financial perk of letting you cancel your gym membership.

Your Utilities
Energy Star offers strategies and solutions for making a home comfortable and efficient. Consider the benefits of top appliances, home inspection, and daily efficiency.

Energy-efficient appliances and devices - Compared to the appliances of 20 years ago, new energy-efficient appliances require less energy and fewer resources. An eco-conscious, money minded clientele has pushed for better tools for the home. Now you can find everything from showerheads to smart power strips to dishwashers that allow you to save money without sacrificing convenience.

Home inspection - A home inspection and follow through on suggested recommendations saves big money over time. Common upgrades include insulating the attic and weather stripping doors and windows.

Lifestyle - All those little practices your dad told you still work. Turn off the lights. Turn the thermostat down in the winter and up in the summer. Turn off the water while you brush your teeth. Cover pans while cooking. Run full loads and wash laundry in cold water. Replace air conditioner or furnace filters.

Your Housemates
Sharing space with people outside your nuclear family is still an option.

Roommate - Welcoming a roommate(s) / becoming a roommate can swing your monthly budget by hundreds of dollars. The tradeoff -- what is the financial value of your privacy and independence? Roommates find that surrendering privacy and learning to interact with a housemate creates more income than a second job.

Extended family - American culture places a stigma on adult children living at home with parents or on senior adults sharing living space with their adult children. By contrast, world cultures and generations of humanity tell a different story - a story of healthy interdependence among family members. If you're committed to saving money for yourself and your parents' estate and if you're up for the public scrutiny, sharing housing with extended family is the oldest and most sure method of saving a substantial amount money on housing.

What is your comfort level for saving on housing? You may be ready to save $10/month on utility bills, or you may want to save thousands by paying off your mortgage early. Whatever your goal, find support among those around you and take action.