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9 Surprising Home Hacks That Your Bank Account Will Love
Show of hands: who doesn't like to save money?
If you're trying to shave down your household bills, these nine crafty tips might give you new ideas.
1. Warm up your outlets
Light switches and electrical outlets are a part of our home that we all take for granted.
Before next winter, buy some insulting gaskets and fit them behind your outlet panels.
It just takes a screw driver and some spare time, but you should be sure to turn off any breakers before unscrewing the outlet plates.
You may not save much the first month, but the extra dollars add up over time.
2. Turn down your TV
Pop quiz: how can you save up to 40% on your electrical bill without changing your TV-watching habits?
Lower the brightness of your TV screen.
The default setting for your TV is not meant for a living room. It's designed to make the screen stand out in a busy showroom.
At home, you should lower the brightness to a level that suits your living room.
It's a small change, but an extra-bright TV is a major power sink, and you'll notice the savings.
3. Reverse your ceiling fan
I felt like a real dummy when I finally learned this trick, but it's been paying off ever since.
Modern ceiling fans with remote controls make it very obvious that they can run in reverse.
This "backwards" setting creates an updraft that heats your home in the winter.
If your fan is old - like mine - you may have to climb up and hit a toggle switch on the motor to reverse it.
Of course, only hit the switch when your fan is off.
Running a ceiling fan for heat in the winter can cut 15% off your energy bill.
4. Tie-dye your toilet tank
My grandma passed down this handy trick to lighten your monthly water bill.
Drip a little bit of food coloring into your toilet tank and wait 15 minutes without flushing.
If you notice color in the bowl when the time is up, you have a leaky tank.
A new flapper or fill valve to fix the leak is cheap, but letting it continue dripping is not.
A leaky tank can cost you 40 cents a day, which adds up fast.
5. Make old razor blades shave like new
Yes, I'm still using disposable razor blades to save money.
And no, I'm not cutting my face open every time I use them.
What's my secret? I treat my cheap razor like it's the real deal.
Before each use, sharpen your disposable razor's blades by rubbing it on your arm or a pair of jeans about a dozen times.
Always rub "up" or with the blades, not like you're shaving the surface but rubbing the safety side of the blade towards the fabric.
6. Make your own dryer balls
It's a small household expense, but we all know those have a habit of adding up.
While buying bulk can save money, making your own reusable dryer balls is even thriftier.
All you need is some yarn and an old stocking to make this handy craft.
It keeps your clothes from sticking together and can be reused over and over until it falls apart.
For an even easier hack, make your own dryer balls from aluminum foil.
7. Fill up your tank and save money
If you have a new, energy-efficient, water-saving toilet, feel free to skip this hack.
If you have a huge and powerful but wasteful old-fashioned toilet, like me, this trick will pay off.
Old tanks are up to twice as large as new ones. And while that extra pressure comes in handy, it's pretty wasteful.
You can save money on every flush by filling a bottle or jug with water or sand and sliding it into your water tank.
Avoid touching the mechanism with your bottle and don't use a brick like your grandparents did.
Over time the brick erodes and the small particles damage your toilet.
8. Cool down your roof
The ancient Greeks knew this clever home-building trick and used it to stay cool.
A white roof reflects up to 95% of the sunlight that hits it, and only heats up a few degrees after a day in the sun.
Realizing that these "cool roofs" can save plenty of energy, smart homeowners use special paints to whitewash the top of their homes.
In some states you can even add to your energy savings with special eco-friendly rebates.
9. Save every last drop of printer ink
Your printer's toner cartridge is one of the most valuable things in your home.
Seriously. Pound for pound, this liquid is more expensive than gold.
People come up with wacky ways to save toner, but these tips will actually work:
- Refill your cartridges cheaply. You can buy a refill kit or get them filled at special mall kiosks.
- Double check to see if your cartridge model has a compatible version from a bargain brand.
- Print documents in your machines DRAFT or FAST DRAFT mode to save ink.
- Use a Garamon font - it uses less ink compared to Arial or Times New Roman.
- When you're running low on black ink, change your text color to dark blue.
Do you have a favorite tip to save money at home?
Here are more clever life hacks: