Home expenses accounts for a very large proportion of our monthly budget. It is not cheap to keep a roof over our heads today. When we moved back to the states after living overseas, we planned to live in an apartment for a while in order to save some money to purchase a home. We'd sold our previous home at the height of the housing collapse. We felt fortunate to be able to sell it for what we owed on it, but that left us with no equity. We were starting from scratch. It soon became clear that the rent on a 2 bedroom apartment was no cheaper than a mortgage payment...and with first + last months rent + a pet fee...well, that was as much as we could put down on a house.
Just sayin'...housing is not cheap. With electric, gas, trash, water, waste water, phone and internet bills...ugh. So, yeah, we're looking for ways to have fewer ends in this category. Bill by bill, it can be a good challenge to try to think of ways to decrease costs.
First up...the mortgage :: I'm just going to toss out some food for thought...no judgements. We bought the smallest home we could find (that fit our needs), but I still felt + feel like it is bigger than I wanted/want. I still periodically scroll through homes for sale, looking for a smaller suitable one. :) Obviously, size matters in regards to price. A smaller house keeps its inhabitants close. A smaller house is cozy. There is less to look after and maintain. Fewer possessions fit easily into a smaller home + this can encourage decreased accumulation. Exposure to tiny homes + not so tiny homes reveal the beauty small has to offer...even if we don't actually want to go quite that small. Entertaining can be done in a small space...or at the park or coffee shop. Smaller homes cost less to heat + cool. Extra space costs money. If choosing a smaller home is not an immediate option, it might be a good idea to close off unused spaces after closing the heating/cooling vents.
Electric :: Situate furniture to take advantage of sunlight's warmth + light in colder months...move a comfy reading chair closer to the window...utilize a sunny bedroom more during the day...work at a well-lit kitchen table instead of the desk in the dark corner. I try to keep the lights off during the day. Obviously, turn off the light when you leave the room + teach kids to do so as well. They will often be the best at policing this. :) Feel the seasons (turn down the air-conditioning). In the summer, wear linen sleeveless tops, spend time in the least sunny room + turn on a ceiling fan. Line dry clothing. Consider not using a dish washer (I know people have different opinions on this). Let hair air dry. Utilize a power strip for electronics + turn it on only when needed. Replace lightbulbs with energy efficient bulbs. Embrace mood lighting (less). :) Turn off the TV and devices + read or chat or play.
Gas :: Feel the seasons (turn down the heat). Wear a wool sweater + socks in the winter. Open the oven door when finished cooking, because you might as well feel the heat. Snuggle up under a blanket or keep moving and get some cleaning or yoga in. :) Cooler + shorter showers. Wash the clothes on cold. Use drying racks. Caulk the cracks + gaps in the house. Weatherstrip drafty doors. Install insulation. Install a fireplace balloon, when the fireplace is not in use.
Trash :: If only there was a way to fairly opt out or pay by the bag...but decrease the trash anyway.
Water :: In one of our houses, the utility company came to change the meter, because they thought it wasn't working. It was. I guess we just used way less water than the typical four person family. Short showers, shallow baths for the children (and maybe they don't need one every day). Turn off the water when brushing teeth or washing face. Consider whether hand washing dishes or dishwasher uses less (+ only run a full load of dishes if using the dishwasher). Full loads of clothing in the washer. Wear clothing more than once before washing. Use towels longer before washing. Keep tap water in the fridge, so that it doesn't have to run to turn cold for drinking. Place a brick or two in the toilet tank. Collect gray water for plant watering. Use a rain barrel. Plant native plants.
Wastewater :: We pay a flat fee for this, but you know the drill...if it's yellow...
Phone/Internet :: Consider letting the home phone go (if you have cell phones)...or consider something like Ooma (we use it + it works). Choose a slower internet connection/stop upgrading all the time...patience is a virtue. :)
Cable :: Just let it go. Most things can be found on the internet...and less TV isn't really a negative. :) Listen to the radio or podcasts. Read a book. Get movies from the library. Have a conversation. :)
Home repairs/maintenance :: Address repairs while they are smallish. Keep the gutters flowing. Keep an eye on things...outside + in. Check smoke detector batteries. Fix leaky faucets. Keep an emergency fund.
Do you have any tips or thoughts to share on decreasing home expenses? Please share! :)
P.S. Find other fewer ends posts here: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10