Maintenance. It might sound like a lot of work, just hearing that word, but in reality, maintenance will actually decrease the work and cost involved in owning a home. Why is that? It is always easier to maintain something that is working than repairing it when it fails, not to mention, possible secondhand damage that can come from a failing appliance or something similar.
In fact, if you make up a schedule that covers all the maintenance that you need to do throughout the year, you can probably get away with a few short projects each month that could take as little as a few minutes. Compare that to having to having a heater or central air system fail completely and go down until you can get it repaired or replaced. With all your maintenance spread out over the year, you should also be able to get it all done without getting overwhelmed.