How to reduce home maintenance costs
Aren’t home maintenance costs the worst? You move into your fabulous dream home and the next thing you’re doing is freaking out over the money you find yourself shelling out for seemingly endless repairs, preventative maintenance and upkeep. So, lets figure out a strategic way to reduce home maintenance costs.
You can feel like you are bleeding money.
But hold on! Let’s stop the bleeding. What I want you to do is to first identify your largest maintenance cost. Then, we’re just going to take that one cost, and try to shrink it, to get the biggest bang for the smallest effort.
I’ll use myself as an example. For me, my largest expense for the past two years is plumbing. Part of the reason for this is because my house is old, and, unfortunately, old pipes break.
But, I wouldn’t necessarily know that my biggest expense was plumbing, if I didn’t have an easy way to keep track. If you don’t have our home savings planner, get it for free here.
But since I do have an easy way to keep track, I just eyeball my costs from year to year and clearly see the annual cost and monthly average.
Here’s what my plumbing expenses looked like for 2017:
And, because I’ve been tracking them for over a year, I know that my plumbing expenses were even higher in 2015, even though I was only in my house for six weeks (holy bad luck, Batman!).
You can do this with your expenses, too. Maybe your biggest expense every year is your gardener? Maybe it’s your roof. Maybe your biggest bill is from your electrician, or sewer.
What you can do to reduce home maintenance costs
When you know what your largest expense is, you have the power to figure out how to cut it. If your largest expense is a maintenance cost, here’s a very effective way to reduce it:
- Call up the service provider and tell them you’ve been a loyal customer. You can even tell them the amount of money you’ve spent with them recently.
- Ask them for any discounts they have on servicing. Many servicers are local providers who value their loyal and local customers and want to keep them. You should be able to get them to waive their house call fees and/or give you a flat percentage discount.
In my case, I called Petri, my local plumber who also does my boiler maintenance every year. They do great work and I’m a loyal customer. After some probing, they had a package where if I bought the annual boiler maintenance for $299 (NYC prices!) they would waive any house call visit fee ($89) and, I’d get a 15% discount on all work done on top of that.
Considering that I was charged $315 for my boiler maintenance the year before, this is a no-brainer. If I had had this deal in 2016, I would have saved $377 over the course of the year.
You can do a lot with $377. You can fly to the Bahamas. You can put in a very nice new vanity in your bathroom. You can sock it away for a rainy day, or spend it on your kids. All for a 15 minute conversation.
Here’s a recap
- Tally up your maintenance costs (If you don’t have our planner, you can get it here for free – it does annual costs and monthly totals, by category)
- Identify your largest maintenance expense.
- Call the company that provides you with the service, let them know how much you’ve spent with them, and ask for a run down of all of their discounts.
Chances are, you’ll be able to save at least 10 to 20% off your largest expense for just a tiny bit of effort.