So you’re one of the lucky 2/3 of Americans who own a home and no longer have to pay rent. That’s great, but by no means is home ownership cheap. With the rising costs of living, finding ways to save money is something that everyone should do. That is why we created the 11 Things Homeowners Should Do Immediately To Save Money.
Here are 11 things to do immediately that will reduce the maintenance costs of your home over the long haul. You can read about them and click any of the links provided for more information.
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2. Check The Insulation in Your Attic – And Install More If Needed.
If you have an unfinished attic, pop your head up there and take a look around. You should see insulation up there between the beams, and there should be at least six inches of it everywhere (more if you live in the northern part of the United States).
If there’s inadequate insulation up there – or the insulation you have appears to be damaged – install new insulation. Here’s a great guide from the Department of Energy on attic insulation, including specifics on how much you should have depending on where you live. Many states offer financial incentives, up to a 75% refund for instance, to encourage homeowners to better insulate their homes.
3. Lower The Temperature on Your Water Heater Down To 120 Degrees Fahrenheit (55 Degrees Celsius)
This is the optimum temperature for your water heater. Most people don’t use water hotter than 120 degrees — indeed, water hotter than that can scald you or a child — and thus the energy needed to keep the water above 120 degrees isn’t used effectively. Lower the temperature, save money on your energy bill, and you’ll never skip a beat.
4. Install a Home Security System
Did you know that homes without security systems are 2.5 times more likely to be targeted by burglars and intruders? But installing a home alarm system isn’t just to stop burglars and intruders, it can also save you big money year after year. A house alarm will save you money on your homeowners insurance policy (which is generally mandatory if you own a home). In fact, on average installing a home alarm system will give homeowners a 10-20% discount on their insurance by having a high functioning home alarm system installed.
The good news is that these home alarm companies are pretty desperate for customers at the moment so you can get a good deal. For instance, one of the best alarm system companies – ADT is currently offering over $850 in free equipment plus a $200 Visa gift card with $99 Installation and purchase of monthly monitoring service. That means between the equipment, gift card and home insurance discount you basically get peace of mind and $1,100 in value, just by paying a $99 fee.
5. Never Pay For Home Repairs Again
Many homeowners don’t have the extra cash to shell out for repairs when something in the house breaks. You most likely have homeowners insurance right? But what about if your washing machine of 10 years breaks down? Or your dryer just stops working one day? Homeowner insurance won’t cover those repairs. That’s why getting setup with a Home Warranty Program can actually end up saving you a lot of money in the long run.
You count on your dishwasher, refrigerator, heat and air every day. But eventually they will all die…and they could leave you with a huge bill that homeowner’s insurance won’t cover. Be sure components of your home systems and appliances are protected from covered breakdowns with our nationwide network of more than 14,000 contractors. After all, we’ve been helping to protect homes for over 45 years. Celebrate over 45 years of excellence with $45 off an American Home Shield Warranty.
6. Deduct Your Mortgage Interest On Your Tax Return
A report from Congress’ Joint Committee on Taxation estimates some $70 billion in mortgage interest deductions annually among American taxpayers. Make sure you get your fair share — not just because mortgage interest can be substantial, but this tax break alone opens the door for many taxpayers to itemize other, smaller breaks instead of settling for the standard deduction. Simply use Form 1098 if you have paid more than $600 in mortgage interest in the tax year.
7. Save Money on New Windows
Many people opt to replace old drafty windows at home with new energy-efficient ones. Replacing old windows can also lower your utility bill by 40% per month and increase your home’s curb appeal. You may also qualify to save $100s in seasonal discounts from manufacturers like Pella, Champion, and Andersen. Make sure you find the best price you can get by shopping around to compare pricing from local professionals.
8. Negotiate A Better Mortgage Rate With HARP
If you’re a homeowner born before 1985 and you want to save yourself thousands of dollars this year, there’s a government program that you might be able to take advantage of called HARP. The Home Affordable Refinance Plan (HARP) could help hundreds of thousands of Americans reduce their monthly payments by as much as $3,500 in their first year. The program was set to expire in 2017 but has been extended to 2018 for the time being. In order to qualify for HARP you’ll need good or excellent credit, so if you don’t have a very good credit rating then this probably isn’t for you. If lowering your payments, paying off your mortgage faster, and having an extra $290 a month in HARP savings would help you, then this could be the easiest money savings tip you take. You can visit LendingTree Mortgage Refi to learn more information. Simply click the link, select Refinance and answer the questions to the best of your ability.
9. Replace Your Bulbs With LED’s
If you’ve never updated the lightbulbs in your home, consider switching to LEDs. These bulbs are about four times more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs and last for many years. One tip: When comparing bulbs, use the lumens number to compare bulbs, not the equivalent wattages. Lumens indicate the actual amount of light emitted by the bulb.
Remember also that under normal usage (four hours a day) and average electrical rates ($0.12 per kilowatt hour), replacing a 60-watt bulb with a 14-watt LED saves about $0.66 per month. Now multiply that by all the bulbs in your house to see how much you’ll save every month. Even switching just the five most-used light bulbs in your home could save you upwards of $40 a year on your electric bill.
10. Consolidate All Your Existing Debt Into One Simple Payment
Debt consolidation is the process of combining all your unsecured debts into a single monthly payment. Generally this allows for much lower payments on a monthly basis than the sum total of the separate debts – making life a lot more manageable. The likelihood in these circumstances of reducing interest rates is very high, and there are many firms out there who will walk you through the process making it simple and painless. If you have more than $10,000 in debt, then this is something you should do right away. You can get the best quote to consolidate all your unsecured debt by clicking the link below.
11. Automate Your Thermostat or Use A Post-It Note
In my first home, I would manually turn down the thermostat as I walked out the door to work, and I would manually adjust it up when I came home in the evening. Last year I replaced all of the thermostats in my house with the Nest learning thermostat. It learns your schedule to keep your home comfortable when you are home.
Nests’ are pricey, but according to the Nest website, some energy companies will give you a $249 Nest Thermostat free when you sign up for some of their plans. Definitely check with your utility provider to see what you can get from them. If you can’t get a free or discounted smart thermostat from your utility provider, you can go the manual route like I used to. Go get a sticky note, and put it on the door you take to leave your home. Write a reminder to change the thermostat as you walk out the door. Simple and free.
We hope you have found 11 Things Homeowners Should Do Immediately To Save Money helpful!
If you are an older homeowner, you will definitely find this useful: 12 Discounts Seniors Didn’t Know They Could Get