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Extending the Life of What You Already Own

Nine money saving tips to getting more life out of those everyday items you currently own

One of the easiest ways to save money is to make what you already own last longer. Below are some tips to help you extend the life of some common items in and around your home.

1. Know the product’s life cycle. Most things aren’t made to last forever. Knowing the expected lifespan of an item is beneficial not only for budgeting purposes, but also when determining whether a repair is worth it, or if it’s time for a replacement.

2. Read the owner’s manual. It’s not exactly light reading, but many product manuals contain maintenance and cleaning instructions that can extend the life, as well as a list of activities you should avoid.

3. Check under the hood. You can save lots of money by driving your current car for as long as possible. In order to do this, follow the manufacturer’s recommendations particularly when it comes to oil changes, tire rotation, air filters, and transmission and radiator servicing.

4. Keep it fresh. A significant percentage of a family’s groceries are thrown away because of spoilage. To keep food fresh, and thus spend less, store food at proper temperatures, make sure containers are airtight, and keep fruits and vegetables separate to slow ripening.

5. Hang it out to dry. The biggest contributor to wear and tear on your clothing is drying, even if done at low heat. To slow the erosion of fabric and extend the life of items, wash in cold water and line dry them. As an added benefit, you’ll save on energy costs.

6. Stay in the shade. Whenever possible keep upholstered and leather furniture clean and out of the sun. UV rays break down pigments and dust acts as an abrasive that wears down the fabric.

7. Fix paint chips and peeling. Paint helps protect your home and your car from the elements. Be sure to address any problems with painted surfaces immediately to avoid costly damage from moisture and the sun.

8. Save your soles. If you take care of your shoes, they can take care of your feet for years. Among the ways to extend the life of your shoes are the use of cedar shoe trees, applying protective soles, and repairing shoes before any wear turns into damage.

9. When replacing an item, consider the life of your new purchase. Carpeting might last five years or 10 years if well maintained, while hardwood floors could last 50 or even 100 years. Factor in the expected life of a product when weighing your options.

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