You know your house comes with a whole hosts of costs. But do you know exactly how much? Here's how to reign in those hidden expenses.
Repairs, utilities, even cleaning supplies -- there are obvious costs to maintaining a home. But some costs aren't so obvious. We're unveil the hidden money-eaters that are emptying your wallet slowly. Because, hey -- you worked hard for those bills! You should decide where they are going.
Hidden House Cost #1: Your Light Bulbs
Your electric company bills you per kilowatt hour. And because some light bulbs just don't give you very much light per watt, you can rack up a pretty pricey monthly charge. The culprits: Any bulb with a filament (that little squiggly wire) are not giving you the most bang for your buck.
Solution: Get rid of incandescent or any other type of filament bulbs. Replace with fluorescent, which are widely available due to new energy laws. You get the most light output for the smallest amount of wattage. For outdoor lighting, use metal halide or high-pressure sodium bulbs.
Hidden House Cost #2: Your Washing Machine
No matter how many people in your home, we bet you're doing laundry -- colors or towels -- at least once week. With a load always ready to be cleaned, the washing machine has a full-time job. And you need one too, to keep up with the bills!
Solution: Wash in cold water. Really, it's that simple. You save the money it would cost to heat the water for hot or warm cycles because you are eliminating the use of an additional utility. Whether your washing machine heat is via electricity, gas or oil, eliminating that process saves a ton.
Another washing machine tip for your house: Make sure the dial isn't on second rinse. Your clothes are washed and rinsed sufficiently with one cycle. Just be sure not to pour in too much soap, and you can eliminate the extra water usage.
Hidden House Cost #3: Leaks
No, we don't mean water. Your house is leaking in places you may not even know about. Miniscule openings around windows and doors can keep your air conditioner and heating system working overtime. (And your wallet paying the price.) Another source of leakage -- your roof. If insulation and shingling isn't installed tight enough, heat can escape in the winter and sneak in during the summer.
Solution: Make sure your house is properly insulated. Check window seams and doorways for any hints of airways. Invest in caulk to seal the passages. If you think the roof is your money-eating culprit, have a professional come to your house for an inspection.
For more money-saving tips...
5 Ways to Save Money in the Kitchen
How to Save Money on Electricity Video