Switching things up at home? We’ve got you with these home maintenance you can do today, to save money tomorrow. Plus, the 10 golden rules for every homemaker.
A home, no matter its size, is an expensive thing to run. And with the price of food, electricity and other essentials, careful planning and budgeting aren’t only helpful, they are crucial. This is also true for home maintenance, which, if avoided for too long, can cost enormous sums of money when you least expect it: burst pipes, mould and damp damage, wasteful energy consumption, and more – they’re every homemaker’s worst nightmare. The good news, though, is that rather than wait to fork out small fortunes in repairs, careful and consistent maintenance work can avoid all that, while saving you time, and most importantly, money.
1. One giant leap
The old adage ‘buy cheap, buy twice’ couldn’t be more true when it comes to home maintenance. Investing in the highest quality products, materials and services might feel like a great financial stress, but in the long term, it pays for itself (not to mention allowing you to avoid many, many sleepless nights). High-quality exterior paint, insulation, plumbing, and the likes, are likely to last much longer than their cheaper counterparts, and very often have warranties on them.
2. Off-season planning
When it comes to maintaining or revamping key features in the home, such as the pool or air-conditioning unit, do maintenance work in off-season times. For instance, look at doing maintenance work on your air-conditioning unit during winter; the lower demand for these services will generally drop the price of these contract workers. By timing these projects properly, you can save a great deal of money over the long term.
3. Outside, in
Sometimes the best help can come from the outside. Talking to neighbours who have been in the area for longer than you have, can help you identify common issues that you might not be aware of. Whether it’s flash floods, pests, or simply municipal issues, sharing knowledge can help everyone in the area. Additionally, neighbours might have resources you can use, which could save you a lot of time and money, for instance the right people to call for different challenges, or tools for trimming hedges and trees.
4. The leaks and creaks
Effective home maintenance with an eye on saving money for the future often means getting down the good, the bad, and the ugly. This means having a good look at every nook and cranny to identify potential warning signs that might cost you money in the future. This means not only looking under the sink at the plumbing, or around the geyser, but investigating every window and door frame for places where drafts, water or insects can enter. You’ll be surprised how much money and time you will save in the long run by doing these inspections and doing small fixesvas soon as you spot any problems.
5. Appliance revamp
Appliances are the little angelic helpers we couldn’t dream of living without. But when they’ve undergone some wear and tear, everyday appliances can not only potentially damage your electric wiring system, but also consume far greater amounts of electricity while adding further unwanted heat during the warmer months. Small touch-ups, such as resealing your fridge’s door or replacing old and loose wiring all help keep appliances in tip-top condition and functioning optimally.
6. Unwelcome visitors
And we’re not talking about the neighbours! Rats, termites, ants and other critters can do enormous damage to homes over the long run. From electric wiring, to wood work and just about everything in between, these pests can set you back thousands (sometimes tens, or hundreds of thousands). Small annual pest-control check-ins are a great way to ensure these visitors don’t cost you an arm and a leg further down the line.
7. When nature calls
Securing and maintaining your home for years to come includes taking a step outside. Consider any factors outside that may influence your home in the long run. This includes looking at the soil around the building for any possible long-term damp and moisture damage, as well as tree growth on the property, and how they can impact the home (like large branches falling during winter storms, or large roots breaking up paving or underground pipes). And, to save money over the long run, consider how you can leverage indigenous plants, which can better regulate the soil, and save you a lot of money on water during the summer months.
8. Draining time
Gutters and drains are like those distant relatives… You know they’re there, but you don’t necessarily want to spend time with them. But unlike those relatives, gutters and drains actually hold a lot of value, and doing regular upkeep can really save you time and money in the long run. When gutters and drains are blocked with old leaves, wind-swept papers, and seasonal grass growth (that’s right, plants can grow in gutters and drains), they can clog the drainage system, not only causing unwanted smells, but water damage to your garden, paving and roof.
9. Check yourself
With just about a million online DIY videos for any task imaginable, we might all feel the urge to rather tackle maintenance and upkeep on our own. But it’s important to consider the jobs that may be too big to handle on your own. Plumbing and electric work, for instance, may seem easy enough, but done incorrectly can cost a lot more money down the line if any further damage is caused. When it comes to saving money with home maintenance, it’s often better to stick to your comfort zone.
10. Stock the piggy bank
Saving up emergency funds is by no means an easy task. In fact, it’s downright difficult. But if you consider the exorbitant prices that are usually paired with home repairs, it may be worthwhile saving up a fund to do small annual maintenance work on your home. In this way, you’re negating the need to carry the costs all at once, and you’re also equipping yourself with a plan of action.
Words by Edwain Steenkamp