Normally when people think of “money pits” in their home they typically think of the big issues like foundation issues and new roofs. However, the small money pits that are reoccurring can definitely add up. Here is where these money pits are hiding and what you can do to keep them at bay.
If you have regular incandescent light bulbs in your home, they are burning through your heating bill. Only 10% of the energy they consume goes to the light. The rest gives off heat, which results in a higher AC bill. That is why the US government encourages all homeowners to switch to energy-efficient bulbs such as LEDs.
LEDs might be more expensive but they will save you cash over time. According to Energy.gov, if you replace just five of your most frequently used lights with energy-friendly models, you will save $75 a year. In fact, if every household replaced just one incandescent bulb with a LED, Americans would save more than $460 million in annual energy costs.
American homeowners spend $11 billion on cooling costs every year, according to the Department of Energy. So once summer rolls around, it is important to make sure to replace the filter to keep your air-conditioning unit in good condition. Don’t forget about the vets outside your AC as well. Your units need free, unconstricted airflow to operate efficiently. Oftentimes shrubs grow around these units, blocking airflow, causing the units to work harder, longer, and using more energy. They will also burn out quicker.
The refrigerator is a black hole in more ways that one. For starters, it is easy to spend too much money on food to fill it up. Plus, when food gets “lost” in the fridge that becomes, even more, money being thrown away. Nearly everyone has food in the back of the fridge that gets buried and is left to rot. In fact, 40% of all food in America goes to waste and that adds up to around $2000 a year per household. The best solution is to keep perishables or other items you use at eye level to stay on your radar.
Another way your fridge eats up money is the electricity this appliance consumes. A way to reduce that is to simply clean the coils. Those long tubes snaking along the bottom or back of your fridge collect dust over time and hinders how well they cool your food. Keeping a refrigerator well-ventilated and free of dust can knock 6% off its power consumption.
The proliferation of cellphones has rendered landlines nearly obsolete, though many consumers still like having one for emergencies. At an average of $40 per month it’s a lot of money to dish out on a phone you rarely use. However, if you just can’t bring yourself to ditch the idea of a landline you might want to consider a free internet home phone provider like Ooma.
There is an upfront cost, but it pays for itself in just 2 months. Connect the phone to your high-speed Internet and regular home phone, and pay only applicable taxes. Opting for this free service will save you about $480 annually.
Technology and appliances such as TVs, laptops, coffee makers, printers, space heaters, and cable boxes continue to suck energy even when turned off. The solution is to get in the habit of unplugging these electronics when you aren’t using them, and you will save big.
Power strips are easier and less timely alternative, some even come with a remote control for easier use. This will save you 5% on your energy bill. Considering that the average American home electricity costs are $1,300 a year, 5% savings can keep an extra $65 in your pocket.
Unfortunately, our furry friends are arguably at the top of the list. People often underestimate the cost of a dog or cat. A dog can eat roughly $80 a month worth of food, nearly a thousand dollars a year. Plus another $1000 at least to cover pet accessories, veterinarian costs, boarding, pet sitting/walking, and grooming. The dog will likely live for about 12-15 years so you are looking at $24,000 in expenditures over the life of the pet. Yes, our pets might be well worth every cent we spend on them, but just know what you are getting into before adopting a new pet.