Whether you just bought a new home or if you’ve been a homeowner for a long time, odds are that you’re trying to save money however you can. Home ownership can be an expensive proposition: apart from the mortgage, there’s the maintenance, utilities and miscellaneous expenses that comes with owning a home.
If you own your home, some of the biggest “leaks” in your budget probably come from home repairs, improvements, and utilities. Fortunately, there are a lot of things that homeowners can do to reduce these expenses.
When moving into a new home, it can be time-consuming and costly to continuously purchase items such as toilet paper, cleaning supplies, and paper towels. In addition, odds are good that you’ll need to fully stock your kitchen.
To save time and money, consider buying these items in bulk. Additionally, joining a warehouse club may help to lower costs when purchasing school supplies and appliances.
If you have items that were purchased through rent-to-own plans, now is an opportune time to review these contracts. While they may have been beneficial when you didn’t have a lot of money saved, the costs associated with these types of contracts can add up over time.
In many cases, purchasing the items on credit makes more sense than a rent-to-own plan. Consider replacing these items with items that can be bought outright, even if it takes a few months to make the purchase.
When you move into a new home, you may be eligible for tax deductions and credits. Be sure to save your receipts to claim any moving expenses when filing your taxes in the spring. Additionally, keep track of your mortgage interest expenses and points paid to reduce your interest rate. Lastly, be aware of how much you are spending on property taxes as this is often deductible from your federal and state taxes.
Making changes to your home’s temperature settings can save a significant amount of money on your power bill. Installing a programmable thermostat can help you adjust the temperature to suit when you’re at home or away, so you don’t pay for heating or air conditioning unnecessarily. While these types of thermostats tend to cost more upfront, they usually pay for themselves in energy savings within a few months.
You don’t have to turn your entire backyard into a miniature farm, but having a patch of vegetables and herbs, or a few fruit trees can go a long way to help you lower your food bills. Start with easy to grow herbs and vegetables that are native to your part of the country. If you’re not ready to prep a garden bed, grow your plants in containers from seeds.
If you discover that you like having a garden, it can become a relatively inexpensive hobby and a good way to cut down on your food bills. Many people aim to eliminate the need to buy any kind of produce because they can grow all of it themselves. While this can be difficult to achieve, odds are good that you’ll save a few hundred a month on the food you can grown, and it will likely be a lot healthier for you too.
This may seem like one of the easiest ways to save money, but delaying home maintenance will just lead to more expensive repairs down the road. There’s a few popular culprits that can cause ever-growing stress on your budget, unless maintained properly.
- Structural Issues – Neglecting maintenance on the structure & foundation of your home.
- Plumbing Problems – Long-term plumbing issues include water damage, mold growth, and increased water bills.
- HVAC maintenance & upkeep – If you have an HVAC or Mini-Split unit in your home, it’s important to follow the maintenance checklists. Failure to do so could lead to an exponential growth in your utility bills.
Your electric bill is likely the highest utility bill you have to pay, but there are a few ways to bring it down. In addition to controlling your thermostat, consider a few other suggestions.
It has been estimated that 10% of the power in a home is wasted on electronics that are plugged in but not turned on or are in “sleep” mode. Unplug small appliances such as toasters and coffee pots, and use power strips for larger items such as televisions that can be switched off when you aren’t using them.
Switch to energy-efficient light bulbs. While the cost savings from their direct energy usage are negligible, the reduction in heat from switching to LED from incandescent bulbs will help to save a significant amount on your energy bills in the summer.
Heating water also uses a lot of energy, and a lot of this heat is released into the air while the water sits waiting to be used. To prevent the water from cooling, insulate your water heater. Jackets tend to cost less than $50. You might also want to consider a programmable thermostat for your water heater as well.
Your family is likely to use a number of financial products, including loans, retirement accounts, and college funds. Start learning as much as you can about these products now. Too many people pay attention to how much they are saving at the grocery store, but ignore the fact that they’re spending thousands of dollars a year on investment fees and paying interest rates that are too high.
Interest rates on home improvement loans are at the highest they have been in over a decade. While it might be necessary to take out one of these loans for a repair, try to save up for any home improvement that isn’t completely necessary.
Even if you rarely shop or eat at a particular store or restaurant, sign up for the app or loyalty program anyway. If you shop there a lot, you’ll use the points and coupons you collect. If you don’t, you’ll likely get good offers to entice you to shop there more often.
Don’t be afraid to ask contractors for the cheapest way to fix a problem; while it might not be the best solution, it can often be a good way to prevent further damage until the repair can be done right.
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