January 24, 2020
4 Smart, Money-Saving Ideas for New Homeowners
So you took the leap and became a homeowner—congratulations! Purchasing a home is a big step forward in your path towards financial security and independence. Your monthly finances and expenditures are likely to change as you settle in and discover the cost of maintaining a property. At first, it can feel overwhelming, but there are plenty of smart and simple ways you can make this transition stress-free.
Spread Out Home Improvement Projects
When you step into your new home, you’ll probably have the urge to make your house your own by purchasing new furniture or knocking out walls. However, you’ll have plenty of new expenses coming up, so it’s a good idea to create a wish list and spread out home improvement projects. Even though purchasing your first home is exciting, make sure you’re tackling the most important projects first and planning for the rest.
It’s also a smart idea to start a home improvement savings account and deposit an amount you feel comfortable with each month. By having a home savings account, you can pay cash for improvement projects instead of maxing out your credit cards.
Are you good with a paintbrush? Do you love to give new life to something old or worn? Consider taking on projects you can do on your own to save some money! For the more significant projects that require a professional, collect at least three reliable references and bids in writing so you can compare contractors and pricing.
Not only is your home going to need daily upkeep, but it will also require weekly, monthly, and yearly maintenance. Create a spreadsheet and timeline of items that will need repairing or replacing so you can better anticipate these expenses. Properly maintaining your home will save you the substantial costs tied to major breakdowns and repairs.
Wise Up to Energy Costs
With your new home purchase comes monthly utility bills, which can be expensive if you don’t consider energy efficiency. Installing a smart thermostat is a great way to start saving on energy costs. This type of thermostat learns your desired temperatures for different times of the day and adjusts itself accordingly (smart!).
There are several other simple ways to cut back on energy use. Remember when you learned that hot air rises in your elementary science class? Check your attic insulation and make sure it’s the correct thickness to hold in heat. Also, consider changing the light bulbs in your new home to LED bulbs, which are both longer-lasting and more energy-efficient than incandescent bulbs. Set your water heater to 120°F because most people don’t use water hotter than this temperature. By lowering the heat setting, your tank won’t have to keep water heated at a higher temperature, which uses valuable (and costly) energy.
Current building methods have led to nearly airtight construction, but if you live in an older home, it probably has a few air leaks. Check for cracks and have them sealed so you can keep your money in your pocket instead of blowing it out the window! By taking care of these small items, you will have an energy-efficient home and lower utility bills.
Protecting Your Family and Your Investments
Life is unpredictable, and planning for the unexpected is wise. First, make sure you have the proper homeowners insurance and protection. List and take pictures of all of your valuable items. Then, store the information in a safe place, such as in your computer or on the cloud.
Your home will come with new expenditures; some will be a one-time purchase, and some will be ongoing. Develop a monthly household budget. Be aware of what you spend on things like your mortgage, insurance, utilities, and groceries. Tracking your expenses will help you get a handle on where your money is going. Include an emergency fund in your plan; saving even two or three percent of your paycheck will add up over time.
Have you moved into a larger home to accommodate a growing family? As your life becomes more enriched and your wealth increases, purchasing a life insurance policy is a smart way to protect what you have worked hard for. It not only provides overall peace of mind, but it also gives your family the gift of maintaining the home and lifestyle you currently have should something happen to you or your partner.
Build Memories With Your Loved Ones
If you’re someone who likes to eat out or go to the movie theater frequently, you may want to consider changing your entertainment habits. Embrace the opportunity to create new family traditions and develop entertainment activities that take place in your new home. This approach will save you money, but it is also a great way to create lasting memories. Get in the habit of preparing and eating your meals at home, and save eating out for special occasions like birthdays or anniversaries. Get everyone involved and make home-cooked meals a time to reconnect!
Is your cable bill higher than you would like? Think about replacing your cable with less expensive options, such as Netflix. Or, stop reaching for the remote. Good old-fashioned board games never went out of style; they just got pushed into the closet. Pull them back out and schedule a family game or craft night. These are all great ways to share memories, reconnect, and have fun while saving money!
Owning a home doesn’t have to be a burden on your budget or cause you stress. Protecting your new investment and your family, implementing energy-saving strategies, and managing your budget will help you experience happy home ownership.