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Great Ways to Save

Cut Costs at Home

Rent that extra room

Saving Money Home

Chris Mueller/Redux


Stop that dripping faucet. Sixty drips a minute will waste about 6,428 gallons of water per year, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Shower quickly and save. A 15-minute shower a day costs about $310 a year, even with a low-flow shower head. Cutting the time by a third will save about $100 annually.

Buy torn bags of mulch
. Home centers usually set these torn bags aside, then sell the day’s mishaps at a big discount. Your best chance to get these deals is at the end of a weekend shopping day. Bring duct tape to close them, and a tarp to keep your car trunk clean.

Consider renting that extra room or space in your garage, basement, backyard. Visit sparefoot.com or storeatmyhouse.com to list its availability and your asking price for free. SpareFoot gets a transaction fee equal to half the first month’s paid rent (a spare bedroom can fetch $150 a month). The site also sells legally vetted lease agreements for $19.

Be aware that in many communities, renting our your extra space is generally not legal and could result in several thousand dollars in penalties. So be sure to check out the laws, building codes and zoning rules that affect you.

Save on printer ink by using the Century Gothic font, which a recent study showed consumes about a third less ink than industry-standard Arial. That saves about $20 a year for a home user printing 25 pages a week.

Do it yourself or hire someone? You can get estimates of the difference in cost for a home improvement project at diyornot.com, as well as advice on whether you should go it alone.

Next: How pack rats can save a buck. >>

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