Spend smart, spend less, and save more. Save over $500 a year with these simple ways to save money around the house.

Change Furnace Filter

Change Furnace Filter

Keeping your furnace (gas or electric) tuned up has two big benefits: It makes the furnace run efficiently and it prolongs the furnace’s life span. And you can perform the annual tune-up yourself in about three hours. Change the filter every month of the heating season (or year-round if the filter is also used for A/C). Be sure you insert the new one so it faces the right way. The filter protects the blower and its motor; a clogged filter makes the motor work harder and use more power.

Use Every Last Drop of Leftover Paint

Use Every Last Drop of Leftover PaintDon’t throw your leftover paint away! Mix it up and save it for a primer later. I  have several rental properties that seem like they’re always in need of repainting. Instead of throwing out leftover paint, only having to buy more later, I put it to use. I take multiple cans of interior latex, partially used paint and primer, any sheen, and any color, and mix them all together. It doesn’t matter how much junk or debris is in the paint. Just pour it all in. I use a power mixer to blend them and then dump all of the mixtures into a bigger container.

After all the assorted paints in the vat are mixed, it usually ends up an off-white or antique white. The sheen is usually an eggshell to satin. If the color is too loud, I tone it down by adding a can of white paint. Now, I pour the paint into 5-gallon buckets with strainer bags inside. Lift out the strainer bags to remove any debris and pop on a lid to keep the paint fresh. This is a great way to use up leftovers when you do a lot of painting. — Tom Dvorak

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