Reducing Housing Costs

This is the last in a series of money saving strategies for reducing your FAITH expenses. FAITH = food, apparel, insurance, transportation, and housing.

Reducing Housing Costs

  1. Mortgage: Have a job? Refinance. It’s the easiest way to lower your mortgage payment. If you have principal mortgage insurance (PMI) and have enough equity in your home, talk with your mortgage company about eliminating it. That can turn into more money in the bank.
  2. Think smaller: A smaller sized home or apartment means less to pay for, less to maintain, less to heat, and less to furnish. Having a larger space to live in means you’ll have more space for things – and those cost money to buy and maintain. If you have a basement, garage or storage unit that’s full of items, make a plan to reduce those contents. Less clutter means less stress.
  3. Reduce utilities: Skip watering your grass in the summer and let it get brown instead. You won’t have to cut as often and it always comes back to life in the fall. Capturing your rain water for watering your garden is another way to reduce water consumption. Awnings keep a house cool in the summer, too. In the winter, set your thermostat lower and put on a sweater – cashmere and second hand, of course. Instead of heating your entire home, with forced air heat, you can close the dampers on the ducts leading out from the furnace – not just the air vents in each room. By closing the dampers, heat won’t go into the duct work. We don’t heat our upstairs in the winter and it’s cold but we prefer it for sleeping.
  4. Maintenance: Got kids? Have them do the house chores. Yard work, house cleaning – you name it! Chores are great for kids and they need to learn these life skills. Make chores part of their allowance and pay them. Kids need to learn money managing skills, too. Another option for bigger projects is a labor exchange with friends or neighbors. We traded labor with our neighbors and both got a big outdoor project done in much less time than if we were doing the work alone. And, don’t forget to check the library for books on house maintenance projects. By doing the work yourself, you’ll save money and learn something along the way!

What’s your favorite way to save money on your home?

Go Gingham related links:

Living a frugal life by choice: strategic frugality
Viewing time as a luxury – it’s a precious commodity
How finances figure in frugality
The key to saving: frugal living is the key to saving
What does it mean to budget? Find out here!

Other related links:

This is from a talk I gave about “Frugal Living and Money Saving Secrets.” If you’d like me to speak to your group – and where I’ve already shared this message? Check here.

Sara

Sara, creator of Go Gingham, is passionate about cooking and feeding her family healthy, real food. She's a green enthusiast, too, who loves to grow food organically. Sara loves to travel - especially by trading houses. An avid runner, she can also be found chasing after her chickens in the backyard.

9 Comments


  1. When a job reduction forced me to make some major lifestyle changes, one of the biggest was to sell my home and find a new one closer to my job. A long commute is a luxury item; it costs you time and money (gas, more frequent car repairs/maintenance). I also combined households with another single parent. That has not been without its challenges and losses, but it has also brought great rewards. And, lots of financial savings for both of us!
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    1. Hi Rita,
      Sounds like you have a great attitude about life and what comes your way! That helps because as we know – it doesn’t always go as planned.
      I’ve never thought of a long commute as a luxury item but you are so right. Time is so precious and the more we think of it that way, the clearer our decisions become.
      Thanks, Rita. I always appreciate your point of view! 🙂


  2. One thing I see is people reducing their costs on their insurance premiums (home or auto) by increasing their deductibles. That’s fine if you can afford to set aside and NOT TOUCH that deductible. Case in point: next door neighbor lowered her homeowners insurance premium by upping her deductible to $15,000. They had a “water event” (cracked toilet tank) when they went out of town, and came home to about $20,000 in damages. She also had immediate airfare charges – they were on a road trip, and she came home immediately. They did not have $15,000 just sitting around – they ended up having to draw on a home equity line of credit to pay the deductible. She figured that this was going to cost them more (in interest payments on that amount) than it would have cost them to keep the deductible lower. There are times when it’s better to pay up front (increased premium) than to try and come up with a hefty deductible payment. Of course, the true moral to the story may be to shut the water off to the toilet or toilets before you go on an extended vacation 🙂


    1. Yikes! That’s awful!
      Cathy, I don’t know what the moral is but I do know that’s one reason I love to home swap – someone is in our house while we’re away and they’re keeping track of things like that!
      I have heard of similar water problems happening with washing machine hoses. It seems like water can be a real damper – pun intended. 😉
      Thanks, Cathy!


  3. Good suggestions! I love your attitude about a smaller house. I think sometimes people only think of the downsides of one, but I really prefer a smaller one. Probably because I don’t want to do any more housework than absolutely necessary! 😉 I find that a smaller home forces me to be more organized with my space and it encourages more togetherness as a family–we all have places we can go to be alone but we are frequently sharing the common areas.


    1. Kris, so true! We always joke that we don’t need a bigger house – last night the four of us were all brushing our teeth at the same little bathroom sink. It was a bit crowded since our kids are as tall as us now but really – the closeness can’t be beat.
      I hear you on the housework!! I’d like a smaller house with a bigger space for gardening – mostly so I can grow more food. 🙂
      Thanks, Kris – Your attitude is always so fresh and cheerful!


  4. It’s fine to have a rain barrel to save your run-off water IF you have rain. It is now the third year of drought here. Currently the rainfall totals are over 6 inches below the yearly average.


    1. Karen, that is a long time without rain! Yes, you are right. Rain is a resource we have plenty of around here! Thank you for writing in, Karen.


  5. We are all about living in our small space as long as possible. Though I wish we had a little yard, moving into a bigger place scares me b/c of the “necessary” accumulation of stuff, as well as having more to manage & maintain! We have a 2nd baby on the way and are staying in our 2-bdrm condo…it will be an adventure but at least we will get rid of stuff when we don’t need it anymore. Love your posts & budgeting tips, Sara!
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