Use these simple and effective DIY's to cut costs big time.
1 of 10Photo by Laurey W. Glenn
1. Make Your Own Cleaning Solutions
Pantry staples like white vinegar, lemons, and baking soda make for great cleaning products--dissolving dirt, soap scum, and hard water deposits. Mix 1 cup of white vinegar with 1 cup of water as a substitute for a spray cleaner. Sprinkle some baking soda on a sponge and get to work on grimy bathtub rings and stuck-on food in the sink.
Cost: a few extra bucks on pantry supplies
Savings: $50+ on commercial cleaners
2 of 10Photo by Getty Images
2. Extend the Life of Your Filter
Who knew that something as simple as vaccuming your air filter could save money? Most households go through four air filters per year, at a total cost of around $40. Use the hose attachment on your vaccum to clean the filter, and cut the cost in half.
Cost: a few minutes
Savings: $40 per year
3 of 10Photo by Getty Images
3. Remove Marker From Walls with Toothpaste
Toothpaste is one versatile product. Next time your kids decide to display their "artwork" on the walls, grab a tube of toothpaste. Simply squeeze the paste on a rag and scrub until the marks disappear. This works on Crayloa-type markers as well as ballpoint and felt-tip pens.
Cost: $3-$5 for a tube of toothpaste
Savings: About $35 for a gallon of paint, new roller, and paint-tray liner.
4 of 10Photo by Laurey W. Glenn
4. Choose a Neutral Trim for the House
Instead of buying (and probably wasting) a gallon of trim paint for each room, try finding a neutral trim that will work with your entire home. Crisp white paint never goes out of style, and you won't have to worry about using the wrong can for touch-ups.
Cost: You'll have to forgo trendy paint color combinations
Savings: $50 on paint for 3 rooms
5 of 10Photo by Charles Walton
5. Shorten Your Dryer Vent Hose
Disconnect your hose and clean it with a vaccum. Then, trim the hose so that it is just long enough to pull your dryer away from the wall. This will help your dryer run more efficiently, save you money, and dry your clothes faster.
Cost: less than 15 minutes
Savings: $25 per year on electric, gas, or propane
6 of 10Photo by Laurey W. Glenn
6. Lower Your Water Heater Temperature
There's nothing like the feeling of a nice hot shower, but lowering your water heater by just 10° F can save up to 12% on your bill. Heaters should be set anywhere from 120° to 125°, which is still plenty hot when you need to relax.
Cost: A few minutes in your utility room
Savings: $30 or more per year on gas, oil, electricity or propane
7 of 10Photo by Getty Images
7. Silence Squeaky Floors with Talcum
Save yourself the time of calling a carpenter for squeaky wooden floors. Simply sprinkle talcum powder and use a paintbrush to work it into the joints between boards. Sweep away the excess. You can also use powdered graphite from a tube for tighter spots.
Cost: $5 for large container of talcum powder or small tube of powdered graphite
Savings: Starting at $50/hour to hire carpenter for repairs
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8. Set Your Computer to Sleep
Make sure to set both the monitor and hard drive into sleep mode so that it dims after 10 minutes of nonuse. Not only will this save money on your electric bill, but it is also better for your computer's well-being.
Cost: two mouse clicks
Savings: $75 per year off your electric bill
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9. Wash in Cooler Water
Using hot water to wash clothes uses more energy than using cooler water. Wash full loads in warm water instead of hot water and you will cut your energy use in half.
Toothpaste is a great alternative to spackling if you have a hole in your wall smaller than 1/4 inch. Try to find a toothpaste close to the color of the wall, then squeeze the paste into the hole and wipe off the excess with a putty knife or playing card. You may need to do a second coat, as toothpaste tends to shrink as it dries.