The original post on DIY money saving tips should have already saved you about $2000/yr. If that wasn’t enough, here are 10 more ways to start putting a serious dent in some of life’s operational costs. With that in mind, here’s a list of things you can get crackin’ on today to realize some solid savings asap. Many of them won’t even cost you anything up front, others require a very small cost to upgrade.
1) Switch to drip irrigation.
If you can put Legos together, you can install drip irrigation. It uses dramatically less water than traditional sprinkles and bubblers without wasting as much water to evaporation. Thy work using low water pressure to drip water onto the soil and wet it over time instead of trying to flood it. Because of this, less water is wasted to evaporation and run off, effectively getting the water right where you want it.
2) Clean the coils on your fridge.
Cost: $0.00. If you’re like most people, you’ve never ever cleaned the coils on your fridge, and chances are good that neither did the person before you. So what the hell are the “coils”I speak of? Anything that cools air, has coils, and they need to be cleaned, whether it’s your car, air conditioner, or fridge. The coils are usually located on the bottom or the back of your fridge. Over time, they get coated with dust, lint, and dirt. This lowers the efficiency because they don’t transfer heat to the outside air as well. For a fridge, I’d simply unplug it, roll it away from the wall, vacuum out the lint, and maybe wipe it down with a rag or paper towel. It doesn’t need to be clean enough to eat off of, just relatively gunk free.
3) Turn the temp on your fridge and freezer to the Min allowable amount.
Cost: $0.00. Have ever noticed that there is a temperature setting ranging from cold to colder for your fridge and freezer? Well you can adjust this to be just a little bit less cool. This makes your fridge work a little less hard and you save the extra energy that it no longer needs. If you can turn a knob, you can save some money here.
4) Make a rain water collection system to water your yard and garden.
Cost: $50-150. Awe the joy of growing things: Plants, lawns, trees, gardens; all ripe with green foliage, flowers, shade, and a pleasant habitat to boot. Like all life, they need water but that doesn’t mean I need to keep paying so much for it. After all, it literally falls from the sky when it rains. That’s when I figured, why not collect it from my gutter system and just save it for a sunny day when my plants need water. I found a few decorative rain collection barrels at a liquidation store and have been using them for this ever since. If you don’t care as much about the appearance, you can just use a couple of food grade 55 gallon plastic barrels, paint the outside of them and pat yourself on the back. I’ve found several of these on craigslist.
Pour in a bit of dish soap to keep mosquitoes from laying eggs in them though.
5) Turn up you hot water heater as the weather outside begins to get warmer.
Cost: $0.00. Also, anytime, I’m going out of town, I’ll set this on the vacation setting. It’s typically labeled on the red dial. If not, I’ll just set it to low. No point in heating water if I’m not even going to be there.
6) Mulch anything that needs to be watered.
Cost: $0-$10. Spread mulch around anything you water, from garden plants, to trees, to flowers. This will not only give the soil, and thus the water, some insulation from the suns hydro evaporating rays, it will create a welcome habitat for beneficial soil organisms like worms. All this while lowering the frequency with which you need to water and saving you some water mullah on your next bill.
7) Electric Water heater timer.
If you live in a cold climate this applies especially to you. You may need to evaluate your hot water usage schedule, but if you’re like most people, you probably use hot water in the morning, and then not again until the evening. All this time in between, all day and all night, your water heater is still burning electricity to keep 40-50 gallons of water hot for you. With a hot water heater timer, you can have it turn off and then back on again, only just before you need it. These are about $40 buck on amazon and you may need to have someone install it if you’re not up to it. Better yet, find a friend who is up to it and help them with something they need in exchange for installing it. Even so, it should start recouping some savings within a year.
While you’re at it you could…….
8) Install a Water heater insulation blanket.
A hot water insulation blanket is simply an insulated blanket that helps hold heat into the water heater. The less heat that escapes, the less energy it takes to maintain the water temperature.
9) Check your attic insulation.
Some homes had more lax building codes for insulation. Others had none at all, as was the case with mine. If you see that the insulation has fallen away or looks a little thin, you may see an improvement from simply fixing it. Most of the improvements you’ll see here come from fixing insulation “failures” which can just kind of happen over time.
10) Replace old refrigerators and freezers with newer craigslist models.
I am not recommending that you run out any replace your fridge just to replace it, but if your fridge is one of the old 80’s or 90’s ones, you could see a big improvement in efficiency by upgrading to one newer than 2005. Again, if you just go to home depot and spend $1200 on a new fridge, it’ll be 20 years before you recoup your costs by saving on electricity. So what am I proposing? Go on craigslist and find a new-ish model that someone is upgrading. You should be able to do this for much less than 1/3 the cost of a new one. Some people will even deliver if you offer them an extra $20 or $30.