Home Improvement Tips Under $50

By: Danny Lipford

Caulking siding joints.

Check out these 13 great ideas to improve the look and efficiency of your home!

  1. Seal all gaps and cracks on the exterior of your home

    Check the exterior perimeter of your home, especially the areas around windows and doors. If you have cracks or gaps in the door or window frames, sealing them with a quality exterior caulk will help save money on your energy bills. Also check for gaps around hose bibs, dryer vents and air conditioning condensation lines.

    Approximate cost: $20 ($4 – $10 for a caulk gun and $10 for caulk)

  2. Replace your furnace filters every 2 to 3 months

    It’s not uncommon to spend time indoors during the summer months to beat the heat but air quality inside the home can be up to 100 times worse than outdoor air. By upgrading to a high efficiency filter, like Filtrete’s new refillable filter, you and your family can breathe cleaner air since the filter captures 10 times more dust, smoke, pollen, pet dander, mold and other tiny particles in the air than a fiberglass filter. This filter is easy to use, promotes less waste and is easier to store. You should change these filters every 2 – 3 months throughout the year; an easy way to remember to change them is to do it on the first new day of each new season.

    Approximate cost: $15 includes filter with reusable frame and refill insert

  3. Repair cracks in your patio or sidewalk

    Cracks in your patio or sidewalk can lead to leaks and in turn, mold and moisture problems in your home. If you have a crack in your patio or sidewalk, a concrete repair tube works well. A perfect product for those DIY-ers out there: simply cut the tip off the tube and it is ready to use.

    Approximate cost: $1.79 for a 5.5 ounce squeeze repair tube

  4. Apply a window insulation kit

    If you have drafty, inefficient windows and purchasing new windows is not in your budget this year a great interim solution is to apply a window insulation kit. Simply apply the clear insulating film to the inside of the window and use a hairdryer to “shrink wrap” the film to prevent wrinkles.

    Approximate cost: $15 (each kit can cover 3 – 5 windows)

  5. Paint your exterior shutters

    Nothing updates the looks of your home like a fresh coat of paint. However, painting the entire house can be costly. Simply add a fresh coat of paint to your exterior shutters and use the matching color on the front door for a more uniformed look.

    Approximate cost: $10 – $40 for a gallon of exterior paint

  6. Check all weather stripping and thresholds

    Replace any torn or damaged weather stripping or thresholds to achieve a better seal at doors and windows. It is a good idea to take a small piece of the existing material with you to the home center to purchase the correct type.

    Approximate cost: $5 – $23 weather stripping; $6 – $40 thresholds

  7. Change the hardware on your kitchen or bathroom cabinets

    An easy way to improve the look of your room is to update details like drawer pulls, towel bars, soap holders, etc. You can choose from an array of new drawer pulls and/or knobs for just a few doors each. With $50, a screwdriver and a small time investment, you can spruce up your kitchen or bath!

    Approximate cost: varies (some are available for less than $1)

  8. Add a new coat of paint

    One of the least expensive ways to update an entire room is to paint your walls. Not only can paint change the look of your room, but it can also make it appear larger and cleaner. Painting the trim in a contrasting color will also add a punch to your room.

    Approximate cost: $10 – $40 gallon of interior paint

  9. Add a ceiling fan

    Adding a ceiling fan can help keep you cool in the summertime. Even if you have air conditioning, you may want to consider adding a ceiling fan. The fan will help circulate air and can help lower your energy bills when not running your air conditioning system.

    Approximate cost: $ 37 and above

  10. Repair or mend torn screens

    A torn screen can be repaired for less than $5.00 by removing the rubber spline that holds the screen in the frame and purchasing a new piece of screen. Cut the screen to fit and reinstall the spline by using a spline tool, which is available at any home center.

    Approximate cost: Less than $5

  11. Install a water heater blanket/wrap your pipes

    To improve the cost of your utility bills, wrap a water heater blanket around your hot water heater. You can also insulate your water pipes with hot water pipe wraps. This small investment will help you save money in the long run.

    Approximate cost: $15 hot water heater blanket; $20 hot water pipe wraps

  12. Update your lighting fixtures

    Most home improvement and discount stores now sell inexpensive lighting options. For less than $50 you can easily find new fixtures for any room in your home and even the exterior.

    Approximate cost: varies (from $10)

  13. Trim your windows

    You can make an ordinary window more decorative by creating a custom frame to go around it. Simply choose a decorative molding and use a miter saw to make the angled cuts. To complete your new look, use one coat of primer paint and two coats of topcoat.

    Approximate cost: $15 – $45

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