Owning a home is expensive. From the time you start planning to buy a home until long after you’ve moved in, there are a myriad of ongoing costs. The down payment, insurance and taxes all start before you even take possession. Then you have moving expenses, mortgage payments, bills and ongoing maintenance. It adds up quickly and can leave you without any disposable income before you know it.
With some minor upgrades and small adjustments, you can easily reduce your home ownership costs. These 10 tips will help you reduce expenses and save money so you can start enjoying your new home!
Since your mortgage is likely your biggest overall debt, this is a good place to start when trying to reduce home ownership costs. Refinancing your mortgage with a lower interest rate will reduce your monthly payments and save you thousands over the long run.
If you can’t refinance, restructuring your payment schedule can help you save money and pay off your mortgage sooner. Increasing your payment frequency or shortening the length of your mortgage will also decrease the amount of interest you pay.
You can almost always find ways to save money on your monthly bills. Compare internet, phone and cable service providers to make sure you’re getting the best deal for your dollar. Different companies may offer more data for the same price, or discounts if you purchase more than one service.
By shopping around for house insurance, you can save money each month. And you can also raise your deductible to lower your monthly payments. Combining your home and auto insurance should save money as well.
Avoid paying bills on credit. Unless you pay off your credit card entirely every month, you’ll be paying interest on top of your regular fee.
Reducing your heating costs will go a long way to bringing down your overall expenses. An easy first step is to turn down your thermostat. Reduce temperatures at night and during the day when everyone is out of the house. And try to lower the temperature by a degree or two when you’re home as well. Wearing a sweater and keeping a blanket nearby will save you money on heating bills.
To make sure you don’t forget to adjust the heat, replace old thermostats with new programmable ones. You can set programs for weekdays and weekends, ensuring you always have it set to the appropriate temperature.
Clean vents and have furnace maintenance done regularly to ensure you’re not wasting money running an inefficient furnace.
A little green living goes a long way. Making changes to help the environment will also help reduce your energy costs. Replace old incandescent light bulbs with new CFL or LED bulbs to save energy. To save even more, install motion lights in hallways and add timers to outdoor lights.
Unplug electronics when not in use to avoid paying for phantom power. Electronics such as TV’s, stereo equipment, computers, chargers and small appliances all continue to draw electricity even when they’re turned off. If you don’t want to unplug everything, invest in a power strip with a power switch so you can turn everything off at once.
A dripping tap may not seem like it wastes a lot of water, but those drips add up fast. Fixing leaks on taps and toilets will save money on water bills. Don’t forget to check outdoor taps and hoses for leaks and ensure they always get turned off after use.
Whether you’re trying to keep cool in the summer or warm in the winter, don’t waste energy on air leaks. Add weather stripping around windows and doors to reduce air loss. Light switches and electrical outlets can also be a source of air leaks. Install inexpensive foam gaskets behind the covers to provide a better seal.
Laundry is a necessary evil. It also makes up a big portion of your energy bills. To help keep laundry costs at a minimum, always do full loads and wash in cold water.
Dryers are one of the most expensive appliances to run. Hanging clothes to dry will save you quite a bit in energy costs. If you aren’t able to hang an outdoor clothesline, buy a clothes rack or install a drying rod.
Hiring a handyman every time you need a repair done can get costly. Learn how to make basic repairs yourself and you’ll save hundreds of dollars. The internet is overflowing with DIY advice. Watch a few videos and you can easily handle repairs like installing a thermostat, repairing a toilet or replacing locks.
Large appliances like fridges and freezers use a lot of electricity. Regular maintenance will help keep them running efficiently. Clean condenser coils and repair motors that aren’t running smoothly. Replace damaged door seals regularly to ensure cold air stays in.
There are a lot of things required to maintain a home. From tools to gardening supplies to furniture, it can seem like you’re always saving up for the next purchase. You can save a lot of money on these items if you buy second hand. Resale sites like Kijiji or Facebook Marketplace have almost everything under the sun listed for much less than you would pay if you bought new. And, oftentimes, these items are barely used.
You can also find home décor items like curtains and area rugs to help reduce decorating costs. Big ticket purchases like a couch or dining room set are often more than half price, saving you hundreds of dollars.
While it might be nice not to have to shovel snow or mow the lawn, paying to have these services taken care of can be very expensive. If you’re trying to reduce expenses, you’ll have to forgo the house cleaner and mop your own floors. You should also skip convenient services like grocery delivery and always pick up orders in-store rather than having them shipped.
If you’re looking to own a home on Hilton Head Island, visit Ocean Front HHI to find the perfect home in a great neighborhood. Check out our Featured Neighborhoods or use the Advanced Search to narrow your desired location.