Wise Investments for the Home

Sometimes the frugal thing to do is spend money. The key is to weigh whether spending in the short term will mean saving in the long term. This is especially true when it comes to your home. If you’re going to spend hundreds of dollars a month on a mortgage and other home related expenses, you should also invest in small things that will improve and preserve your house.


Insulated Drapes

If you live in a colder climate, insulated drapes are a wise investment. I don’t know about you, but I really notice the cold around my windows in the wintertime. I know my windows are weatherproofed, but the glass still lets in the cold air.

Insulated drapes keep cold air from entering the room through the windows, making for a more comfortable house and a less expensive heating bill.

Stainless Steel Washing Machine Hoses

I learned a little bit about stainless steel washing machine hoses from my old landlord. He required us to use them, as his experience was that rubber washing machine hoses tend to burst when nobody is home.

Stainless steel hoses are inexpensive, and they’re much less likely to burst than their rubber counterparts. Think about it. Would you rather spend $15 for stainless steel hoses, or would you rather deal with the aftermath of a burst rubber hose?

A Good Fire Extinguisher

Ask me how I know about this one. One day several years ago, I was heating up some oil, and I got distracted. In the few seconds I was distracted, my frying pan burst into flames. Talk about scary! The worst part? I didn’t have a fire extinguisher. We had had one in previous years, but it had gotten old, and we never replaced it.

Fortunately I did manage to get the fire out by smothering it, but the result of that cooking disaster could have been horrific. A good fire extinguisher can put out a small fire quickly, before it has the chance to grow and destroy your house.

Obviously this list of wise investments for the home could be a lot longer, but this will get you thinking. What investments have you made in your home that you can recommend to others?

Photo by james.thompson.


By , on Nov 14, 2010
Lynnae McCoy I'm Lynnae, wife of one and stay-at-home mom of two. I'm committed to getting out of debt by being frugal with my choices in life.


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  1. Marcus:

    Stainless steel washerhoses also stops bunnies for chewing through the lines. Our bunny did that as a “thanks for getting me neuthered”.
    After that we got the stainlesssteel ones. 8)

  2. Up here in (cold) Canada the government gives incentives to do eco retrofits on your home. You can do as much as add insulation to reduce heat loss (and stop heat from getting into the home in the summer!) to as little as to put Styrofoam inserts into all of your electrical outlets to help reduce the flow of air through the boxes. I wrote a few posts about the program and what we decided to do on our retrofit on our recently launched blog.

  3. Janet:

    Trees are also great for people in warm or seasonal climates. The shade can really reduce AC expenses. If you’re planting new ones, just make sure you’re not too close to pipes or other underground systems that the roots could disrupt as the trees grow.

  4. Debt Free Daniel:

    I just got a solar panel for my house. It is a big investment for now but for long term, it is small as I got to save on my electricity bill aside from contributing to our environment cause. My overall home maintenance kit is a small investment in keeping my home properly maintained thus prolonging its life span and usefulness.


  5. The insulated curtains help in more ways that one in sunny states. They make a noticeable difference in room temp and can help you cut back on utility expenses. They also help with dimming the room during the middle of the day.

  6. Briana:

    We put up heavy duty screens on our windows. With living in Arizona, it makes the summer a little cooler inside. We also had our duct work inspected and cleaned. As well as a programmable thermostat. All of that helped to keep our summer electric bill down this past summer while I was home on maternity leave.

  7. jillbilly:

    If your home is an old one, an important investment is proper storm windows. Real wood windows are valuable and can be made just as efficient as new environmentally-unfriendly plastic windows with the addition of exterior wood storms. Have them made so that you can change the glass for screens, and you never have to remove or store them. They will protect your original windows and lower your heating bills.

  8. Stainless Steel Washing Machine Hoses…who knew!!!??? Great info! Thanks for taking the time to write!

  9. One thing we did that really paid off was to replace some extremely poor windows (they were actually plastic!) with real, energy-efficient windows.

  10. marci357:

    Good exterior paint… protects the wood for a lot longer.
    Or new siding – to extend the life of the house.

    New windows – the old pane windows cause a lot of condensation which cause a lot of water dripping into sills, etc, which leads to rot…
    Safety issues, like good steps and handrails…. if you get sued for neglect due to unsafe environment, you’d be wishing you had taken care of that kind of stuff. Also pool covers and sensors and a locked fence/gate around a pool.

    Update electric if old type. Same with old deteriorating plumbing.

    Scheduled chimney cleanings.

    And mostly, a good roof and keep it repaired. One little leak, that could have been fixed early on for next to nothing, can lead to replacing major sections of roof plywood, beans, and interior damage, if let go.


  11. Peach:

    Insulated curtains are also important for those of us that live in sunny places too! Our front windows are directly hit by the powerful Florida sun all day long and our living room can feel like a furnace!

    The difference we felt in temperature within an hour or so after hanging our floor to ceiling insulated drapes was amazing. We’ve also hung blankets or quilts over other windows when it gets really chilly in the winter and even put blankets up between rooms {we don’t have central air or central heat} to help keep temps where we want them.

  12. David:

    While you’re doing the insulated drapes (or “window quilts” for the Googlers among us), also think about a few containers of caulk. Air infiltration is one of the biggest energy hogs out there, so if you can seal cracks that let in the cold air, you will be more comfortable and spend less.
    Also, have your ducts inspected. Many, particularly older ones, have major leaks which are also surprisingly big problems. Often, the tape used to seal ductwork has aged and torn or the adhesive has given up.
    Finally, if you have exposed hot water pipes, it’s a good idea to put on pipe insulation–easy to do, and it saves cash as well.
    Oh, yes–many power companies offer energy audits either free or very cheaply. A good one can be a tremendous help and is usually well worth the time and effort.

  13. AngelSong:

    One of the first things we purchased for our new home was a water treatment system. The water here is heavily chlorinated and impossible to drink, and it is also very hard. The system helps protect our plumbing and appliances and it helps keep us from getting sick, so it was a wise purchase.

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