We all know that purchasing a home comes with several associated costs and fees, including the appraisal fee, inspection fee, closing costs, down payment, insurance, and mortgage payments. But after you’ve settled in, the expenses don’t stop there. Home upkeep and repairs can be a significant drain on your bank account. While avoiding these expenses may be impossible, there are ways you can reduce the amount you pay. Here are six ways you can save money on homeownership:
- Replace old appliances. Depending on the age of your refrigerator, dishwasher, oven, washer, or dryer, you may be spending more on energy than you should. Modern appliances are much more efficient, and Energy Star provides energy-use information on specific products that have earned proficiency ratings. You can compare different products for efficiency, including your current daily home appliance usage, by using this formula:
(Wattage × Hours Used Per Day) ÷ 1000 = Daily Kilowatt-hour (kWh) consumption
- Purchase a water softener. If you live in an area with hard water, you may experience common issues like leaky faucets, clogged pipes, and damage to water-based appliances due to heavy mineral deposit build-up. A water softener can prevent many of these problems by stopping these heavy minerals from binding or flowing through the water.
- Energy conservation. Make it a habit to turn off everything in your house that doesn’t need to be on. You’d be surprised how often bedroom lights, fans, and televisions are left on when no one is there. Use programming settings on your thermostat to adjust for when you aren’t at home or during the night. Smart thermostats, such as the Google Nest Learning Thermostat, can “learn” your usage habits and create a schedule after only a day’s worth of manual temperature settings. You may also want to check if your energy company charges you more for electricity during “peak hours,” in which case you should run your washer outside that period. Also, make sure and swap out all incandescent bulbs with high-efficiency LEDs
- Refinance. Even though mortgage rates are currently pretty high, there may be a time when they dip below your current rate. Refinancing your home loan may save you thousands of dollars over time. Here’s a calculator that can help you determine if a refinance can save you money.
- Reduce entertainment costs. You may find that your television viewing habits don’t require an expensive cable bundle and that a few streaming services will be sufficient. Many streaming services, including Crackle, Tubi, and Frevee, provide free content. Go through all your subscription services, audit which ones are necessary, and cut the ones that aren’t.
- Seal or replace windows. Heat gain and loss through windows are responsible for 25%-35% of residential heating and cooling energy use. You can improve your window efficiency by either updating your existing windows with storm windows or solar control film or replacing your windows with more energy-efficient ones.
You don’t need to implement all these cost-cutting suggestions at once, but start now with a few and work your way through the list. You may be surprised at how much you can save on home expenses over time by making a few changes.