5 Ways that First-Time Homeowners Can Save Money

Tuesday, January 29, 2019, 6:00 AM | Leave Comment

When you buy a home for the first time, you’re probably trying to save as much money as possible since you’ve just made a huge investment on a down payment and now have a monthly mortgage to pay off.

To avoid going into debt, here are five simple ways to help you save money and enjoy your new house.

  1. Cut down on energy use

    There are plenty of ways you can cut down on energy each month and prevent your utilities from skyrocketing.

    Here are a few suggestions:

    • Install LED or CFL light bulbs—These bulbs can save you a ton of money in the long run, plus they last longer than traditional incandescent light bulbs.

    • Use a power strip—Investing in a power strip can reduce plug load and turn off all devices at once, preventing phantom energy loss.

    • Turn your monitor off—Instead of leaving your computer on or in sleep mode, shut it down completely.

    • Lower the temperature on your water heater—Most people don’t use water hotter than 120 degrees Fahrenheit, so the energy needed to keep your water above this threshold isn’t necessary. Set your water heater temperature to 120 degrees Fahrenheit (this is the optimum temperature for your water heater).

  2. Lower your water bill

    Similar to your electric bill, you can save hundreds of dollars over the course of a year just by making a few simple changes in regards to your water use.

    Here are some ways you can lower your water bill and save money each month:

    • Take shorter showers—Reducing your shower time by just four minutes can save you a few dollars each month.

    • Don’t let the water run while brushing your teeth—To avoid wasting this water, fill up a rinse cup and turn off the faucet.

    • Run full loads of dishes and laundry—If you load your dishwasher and washer properly, you’ll fit in as much as possible. Running them only when they’re full reduces the number of times you’ll need to run them.

    • Fix all leaks—If you have a running toilet or faulty faucet, you could be dumping gallons of water down the drain every day. Get leaks repaired as soon as possible.

  3. Invest in a home warranty

    When you moved into your new house, you might’ve bought separate product insurance plans for all of the different appliances and systems within your house. While this seems like a smart idea to protect your items in the event that they break down, a smarter way to protect them is with a home warranty.

    Not only are these warranties more comprehensive, but investing in a single plan as opposed to a variety of product insurance plans is a lot more affordable and easier to manage. Additionally, product insurance plans have an expiration date, whereas home warranties can be renewed each year and cover basically the entire cost of all repairs and replacements.

    Not to mention, a home warranty will cover things that your homeowners insurance won’t. For example, homeowners insurance covers structural and property damage from fires, natural disasters, and some situations out of your control—it doesn’t cover the breakdown of major appliances or systems within your home.

  4. Upgrade your appliances

    If you bought an older home with traditional appliances, they may not be as efficient or reliable as newer ones. Check to see if your appliances are ENERGY STAR certified—this is the golden standard for energy efficiency. If your appliances don’t meet this standard, consider buying appliances that do. This will not only save you more money in the long run, but you also won’t have to worry about repairs or replacements for a while.

    Another way you can be more energy efficient in the home is to install a programmable thermostat—these are easy to use and can help lower heating and cooling costs.

  5. Perform simple maintenance tasks

    To prevent costly repairs in the future and keep your home in good working order, try to perform these home maintenance tasks at least once a month.

    • Vacuum floors—Walking across a dirty carpet can grind down the carpet fibers and lead to an entire carpet replacement. Try to vacuum monthly to maximize the life of your floors.

    • Change air filters—This is an extremely important step that ensures your HVAC system functions at maximum efficiency. Changing your filters on a regular basis will also reduce your utility bill. Aim to change them once a month (if they’re really dirty) or once every three months.

    • Clean drains—Avoid unexpected plumbing costs and the hassle of dealing with clogged drains by making it a habit to check drains in your shower, kitchen sink, and bathroom. Remove debris, food particles, and hair to prevent buildups, drainage issues, and subsequent plumbing bills.

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