Sunday, January 6, 2019

Home maintenance and frugalness

Another area we try to be as frugal as possible with is home maintenance. We try to do whatever we can ourselves. Oftentimes that means googling a video on how to do something!  We've fixed our washer and dryer that way, among other things.

We weren't always on top of home and yard maintenance. While the kids were growing up, we were both working, and involved with kids activities, we were terrible at it. And we ended up paying for it eventually. But, at least by the time we got smart and started taking care of things, the kids were grown and gone and my budget could handle it then. By the time we decided to sell our home of 27 years and move, we had fixed it up both inside and out.

When we moved and bought the little house in town, we spent about $12,000 to improve it. We insulated the shop, added a man door and electricity and a heating unit. We had the existing chain link fence fixed and added fencing around the whole lot, not just front yard. We added some additional lawn and basically completely landscaped. We had the garage attached to the house tape and textured, added a heating unit, and overhead shelving. In the laundry room we added cabinets. We actually sold the house for $60,000 more than we paid for it, 2 years earlier. While some of that was due to market, I highly doubt a 37% increase was solely due to market. I know part of it was the improvements we did.

DH mows our lawn himself. I mention this because I know people who hire it to be done, when they are perfectly capable of doing it. We also do our own weeding and spraying for weeds and pests. We also try to landscape with as much low maintenance as possible. It helps that DH really enjoys sitting on a lawn tractor and mowing. It's relaxing to him.

Just trying to keep our home as clean as possible, in general, makes for less wear and tear. I mean, if you never wipe down your cabinets, then eventually it's pretty hard to get years of grime cleaned off of them.

Small home repairs, DH always tries to do himself. Replacing toilet valves, leaky faucets, stuff like that. As I mentioned above, we've fixed our washer and dryer a few times. Figured out what is wrong (google) and ordered the parts online and replaced them. In fact, our dryer is making a squeaking noise again, sounds like a bearing going out, so DH will probably try to fix again, rather than going out and buying a new one.

We regularly replace our furnace filters. Apparently the filter that will be in our hew house furnace is supposed to be replaced once a year and it's pretty pricey, but the hvac guy said it can be bought from Amazon a bit cheaper. The wall heater type units we have in the shop have permanent ones that you just pull out and clean off and put back in, so that's no extra money for filters.

I have a dyson vacuum that you just empty out the bin, but we still use our old vacuum quite a bit and it has bags. I can't even find the size in stores anymore and have been ordering them online via Amazon for several years. It's not cheap - like $6 for 3 bags (Bissell). BUT, I just went to order some more and finally, someone is selling generic bags in this size! I got a dozen for $10.

I think preventative maintenance saves money in the long run. I think maintaining your home by keeping it clean also helps keep it's value. Case in point, the in-laws poorly cared for home.  Besides it needing a huge thorough cleaning, the flooring, walls and cabinets are not new or clean. They've lived there over 30 years, with nothing replaced. The furnace hasn't been maintained (and isn't even working, according to SIL, they use their fireplace insert to heat). The list goes on. This has greatly affected the amount this home is worth compared to a similar home in their neighborhood, that is kept up. FIL has lost a lot of money in the form of his home value, because of this.

Thankfully DH has never taken after his parents, when it comes to caring for his possessions. I'm guessing that since he grew up in basically a pig-sty, is why he hates anything dirty or not kept nice. (well that and he really is a bit OCD). I grew up in a very tidy home and my grandparents home was the same. Though I must admit, for most of my life I was not near as tidy as my mom and grandma! as a kid I always had a messy room. Once my kids were grown I found it much easier to change my ways and now I really can't stand things out of place or cluttered looking.


  1. Hubs and I are the same way when it comes to taking care of things. In our younger days (and before Hubs traveled so much) we even replaced two roofs and a huge (7 runs x 80 ft each!) septic field. Admittedly, the cost of hiring these things done was a driving force.

    I also keep the inside of our house clean and organized~just don't come over on a day when I'm working on a business shipment! All the more reason I truly need a main floor office. Ah, someday!

    1. yes, it's great when we can do our own work and save compared to paying professionals.