GH3600 Money Management: Living on Less | Page 4 | University of Missouri Extension

Revised September 2008

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Money Management: Living on Less

Housing tips

  • Rent, share or borrow household equipment that is seldom used.
  • Simplify your possessions. There will be less to maintain, clean and repair.
  • If furniture or appliances are needed, check the classified ads in the newspaper or try an auction, garage sale or second-hand shop.
  • Learn how to refinish furniture. Refinishing takes skill and time but is an inexpensive way to acquire attractive furniture.
  • Learn to clean, repair and restore household items yourself. Substitute your time and skills for dollars you would have to pay to someone else.
  • Make your own draperies, curtains, spreads, slip covers and table covers. Look for instruction books at your library.
  • Cut down on cleaning supplies by buying all-in-one cleaners. You will have fewer dollars invested in cleaning supplies.
  • Follow instructions on amounts of cleaning products to use so there is no waste from using more than actually needed.
  • Maintain your home. Make minor repairs before they become major ones requiring an expensive financial outlay.
  • Wash walls instead of painting. Washing may be all that is needed to freshen the look of a room.
  • Rent out a room or garden space for additional income.
  • Provide a room in exchange for child care or elder care.
  • Take short showers instead of baths to save water. There will be additional savings from not having to heat the extra water.
  • Install a water-saver shower head (available at most hardware stores). There will be water and energy savings, and family members may not even notice the change.
  • Service your furnace yearly; change filters regularly. A furnace that is well maintained with clean filters will operate more efficiently.
  • Stop watering the lawn. The savings on your summer water bill can be considerable.
  • Turn off air conditioning and open windows in temperate weather. Consider installing an attic or roof fan, which costs less to operate than the air conditioner.
  • Try energy-saving measures such as placing plastic over single-pane windows in winter. Your furnace will not have to operate as much because there will be less heat loss.
  • Close rooms and turn off the heat or air-conditioning to rooms not being used.
  • Contact your utility company to have an expert check the insulation in your house to make sure it is adequate. If not, insulate where needed. Insulate open areas, such as the attic, yourself. Proper insulation provides long-term savings on your energy bill because the furnace and air conditioner will not have to run as much.
  • Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs where possible. This is especially helpful in rooms where lights are left on for long periods of time.
  • Turn off lights, TV and appliances when they are not in use. It saves on energy usage and will help the appliances and light bulbs last longer.
  • Use window shades or insulated drapery liners to block sun in summer and drafts in winter. You will be more comfortable and spend less on heating and cooling your home.
  • Adjust your thermostat setting in both cold and hot weather; for every degree adjusted, you can save 1 percent to 3 percent on heating and cooling costs. When in the house, dress appropriately for the adjusted temperature.
  • Whenever you must buy equipment, study the Energy Guide Labels that compare estimated annual operating costs. The label provides information on the average cost of operating that specific appliance annually.
  • Save energy and money by turning down the hot water heater. A setting of 110 degrees F to 120 degrees F is adequate if you do not have a dishwasher, 140 degrees F is recommended if you do have a dishwasher.

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