Editor’s note: This story originally appeared on Living on the Cheap.
We are all looking for ways to save money, especially if you are a homeowner. Homes and their regular upkeep and maintenance can easily drain your wallet. In this busy world, there may still be ways to DIY that don’t just consume every second of your free time, but still save thousands on home maintenance. Stay tuned, because here are some tricks I’ve been using for years to help maintain my home without bleeding.
I have original hardwoods in my house that weren’t discovered until I pulled back the horrible carpet that was there when I bought my house 15 years ago. They weren’t pretty when I uncovered them, but now they are. I sanded and finished them, which is usually done with polyurethane. I constantly get comments about how great they look.
my secret? We are home without shoes. I take off their shoes when they come in because I don’t want dirt everywhere. It does two things. It keeps me from having to clean over and over, and it keeps dirt and debris from constantly grinding into my floors. If your friends don’t like to take off their shoes, give them guest slippers or cheap plastic socks to wear at home. Mechanic? Keep a box of paper boot covers so they can do their job, but you can protect your floor.
Do you have old carpets in your house? Lift one corner and see what’s underneath. If hardwood floors are hiding beneath you, consider pulling up the rugs and restoring the floor. If they’re in rough shape, paint them with floor and deck paint, or roll up an area rug that can be easily cleaned.
Instead of replacing ugly linoleum, you can extend its lifespan by painting the floor or simply covering it with an inexpensive rug. Don’t worry if it’s not a perfect result. It’ll brighten up the look, make it look cleaner and more modern, and you can start saving up for a replacement down the road.
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Vinegar is my favorite cleaner for the sink, as well as one of my other favorites: baking soda.
Whenever a drain is running slowly, I know it’s time to bust these two people. In the bathroom sink, I unscrew the drain stopper for full access to the pipe, but this isn’t necessary in the kitchen. I pour a decent amount of baking soda down the drain and then add vinegar to create a chemical reaction.
It doesn’t explode like you’d think, but it has more of a faint bubbling action. My kids love it when I do this because they say it looks like a volcano in the sink. From time to time I decide to tempt them and add a drop of food coloring, which they think is great. Either way, it keeps my pipes clean and moves freely.
My other secret weapon for maintaining the sink (and even the tub drain) regularly is a plastic clog grabber and remover. This is a variant of the plumbing snake that plumbers bring with them, but much cheaper. This little guy has saved me thousands by not paying for a plumber because it helps me be proactive.
Before I get creative with my baking soda and vinegar mixture, I bust out this wonderful tool and run it down the pipe to see if I can catch any extra junk that may be clogging them. . Sometimes I come up with some interesting stuff, usually in the kids bathroom. But between two different moves, I’ve never had to pay a plumber to fix my pipes, saving hundreds if not thousands over 15 years. Here are four other essential cleaning products for your home.
The silicone line around the edge of your tub and sink is there for a reason. This prevents water and moisture from getting behind tiles, drywall, or other wall coverings. Too much damage can happen if water is not controlled, leading to mold and mildew that can cause health problems.
Prevent major problems and save money by replacing the caulk every year, or when it shows signs of wear and tear. Simply take out the old caulk and clean the area thoroughly, dry thoroughly, and reapply a new caulk bead. It takes some practice to make a beautiful bead, but it’s important to make sure it doesn’t have any cracks or holes. Make sure you use the proper type of caulk for the area.
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Your toilet is used every day, but you rarely think about maintenance. In addition to regular cleaning, you should keep an eye on the parts of the toilet. Regular cleaning helps, but some cleaning products can do more harm than good. Cleaner tablets that you drop into the tank can damage the rubber parts inside the tank. Use a non-toxic in-bowl cleaner during your routine cleaning.
Do you hear running water in your toilet? The flapper valve may be damaged or simply offset, causing up to 2 gallons of water per minute to run into your toilet. Check to see if you have a leak by adding a few drops of food coloring to the tank. If color appears in the bowl, you have a leak. You can find flapper repair kits at your local hardware store.
If you see water leaking from the base of the toilet, your wax seal may need to be replaced. This task may seem difficult, but it is not. Follow these instructions, or any other easy DIY video, and replace it yourself instead of paying a plumber a few hundred dollars to do it.
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This can be a doozy, especially if you have a significant amount of lawn. I was so excited to have a great fenced yard after living in the apartment for years, and I thought it was going to be great. That was until I realized I had to take care of it all.
If you have a yard to maintain then one of the best purchases you can make is a walk-behind lawn mower. I realize that mowing without a lawn mower takes longer, but hear me out. Not only does it cost less per year, and overall, but I use it to pull double duty by making it part of my exercise routine. So, I’m cutting time in the gym because I’m in the yard for at least two hours and saving money at the same time.
Basically, I bought my lawnmower at Home Depot for $119 as a rebuilt (refurbished) and got them to throw in a free replacement blade. That mower lasted me 10 years! The big secret to keeping a lawnmower running as long as possible is to remove the gas at the end of each season. As long as you do this, check the spark plugs, drain the oil and replace the oil and clean the carburetor, your mower should work like a champ.
A manual push mower (not powered by gas) is another option, if you have a small yard (or the time and inclination to use it on a larger one). Or you can buy a smaller, narrower electric lawn mower that saves you the extra expense of gas and maintenance on the carburetor. Just plan on cutting more rows.
If you have an old lawn mower that is not working properly, consider finding a mower repair shop in your area. Usually the problem is fixed with a new spark plug, a carburetor repair or a new lawn mower blade. Repair costs are usually much less than buying a new mower.
A few minutes spent checking the lawn for rocks, glass, or other objects can save you money on lawn mower repairs or other damage caused by flying objects. Keep children and pets inside while you are mowing.
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Wow, they eat up the annual budget. Instead of looking for petunia or snapdragon bedding plants, go to the perennials section. You can plant, enjoy and put them to bed over the winter. They’ll be filled with colors at the right time next year, at no extra cost. And before you buy, ask friends and neighbors if they have perennials that need thinning. Anyone who has daylilies or other “creeping” perennials in their yard will be happy to share.
Instead of buying expensive lawn ornaments, look for castoffs at garage sales or thrift shops. Or make your own. Hanging planters can be made from old buckets or baskets.
Lay six or seven overlapping layers of newspaper across the flower beds before adding new mulch. You don’t have to use as much mulch to prevent weeds from growing. Cardboard works exactly the same way, and if you decide to pull up that old carpet, you may be able to use it as a mulch material (as long as it’s made from a natural material like cotton or wool). be made).
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My rule has been that the more parts a product moves, the more likely it is that something is going wrong and that I have to fix it. The simpler the product or machine, the more cost-effective for me. These are quick, simple and easy things to maintain at home and are much cheaper to implement than buying expensive alternatives. Stick to simple, as it goes a long way and costs you less in the long run. You won’t be disappointed and your wallet will thank you.