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In 1986, Tom Hanks and Shelley Long starred in the hilarious movie, “The Money Pit.” Needing to move, but not having a lot of money to buy a house, in the film they were duped into buying a house that unknowingly was in desperate need of repair. One thing leads to another and before they knew it, they were in over their heads financially and structurally when the floor literally caves in.
As a homeowner, you may be able to relate to the movie, but hopefully not to those extreme measures. Regardless of whether you are in the market for a new home, or if you’ve been a homeowner for many years, here are some tips for saving money at in your home.
Some of the simplest ways to save money don’t involve major home improvements, but they are the small things that you can do on any given day.
- Flipping a switch to turn lights off in an unoccupied room
- Wrapping your hot water heater with insulation
- Lowering the thermostat on your water heater
- Adding more insulation to your attic
- Putting an empty jar in the tank of your toilets
- Setting your water heater on a timer,
- Installing a programmable thermostat that will heat or cool your home during times when you are there …
The list goes on for simple habits that can save you money every month.
If you want to raise your blood pressure, calculate how much interest you will pay on a 30-year mortgage. Owning a home doesn’t have to cause medical problem. If you have any extra money each, try rounding up your mortgage payment each month to the nearest hundred and have the additional amount go towards your principal. Also at the end of the year, make one extra payment towards your principal only. By doing this, you can almost cut your 30-year loan in half.
When you must make home improvements, make ones that will save you the most money in the long term. One to consider is adding siding to your home. Not only will it quickly improve the appearance of your home, siding also enhances your insulation making it more energy efficient, and it will make your home more weather resistant. Also, check to see what home improvements will qualify you for residential energy tax credits.
For simple repairs and projects, doing them yourself can often save you money on the cost of labor. You should NOT attempt to rewire your house if you have no electrical experience, but for smaller jobs many home improvement stores offer classes. Lowe’s offers a garbage disposal installation class among other classes for home improvement, and Home Depot also offers workshops in a variety of home repairs.
If you’ve had the same homeowner’s or renter’s insurance plan for the past ten years, it might be time for you to shop around or have your agent check to see if your coverages are adequate. You might also consider getting an umbrella plan that will cover your home, vehicle, and personal property. There are also discounts you could be eligible for depending on your age, employer or other affiliations.
While not an immediate money saver, the landscaping around your house can help you cut costs over time. Planting native plants that are drought resistant is one way to help cut your water costs. Trees on the east and west sides of your house that will lose their leaves in the fall and winter will help to keep your house cooler in the summer, and warmer in the winter. Evergreen trees on the north side of your house will help to block cold winter winds.
It can be the little things that slip through the cracks, but if you get into a habit of checking certain items on a monthly or quarterly basis, you can save additional money on your utility bills. Improvements like changing the filters in any air conditioning or heating units will help the air to flow better, and reduce allergens in the air. Kind in mind that changing the batteries in your smoke or carbon dioxide alarms every six months might not save money, but it can save lives.
If you have an air conditioner, ask your local repair company if they offer a service plan that will check your unit twice a year to make sure there are no leaks or issues. Some plumbing companies also offer the same maintenance program to look for leaks or water pressure issues. While the service plan may cost you up front, it can also save you in the long run by catching a more expensive problem before it occurs.
There are also home warranty plans that are usually offered to home buyers at the sale closing, but you can also get them at any time. American Home Shield is one company that offers plans for homeowners. The plans cover appliances, such as stoves, air conditioning and heating units, garage door openers, washers, and dryers. For a small monthly fee, or an annual fee, you can sleep peacefully at night knowing that should something break, you will be able to have it repaired or replaced for much less than what you would without a plan.
What are ways you save money in your home? Share your tips below!