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Buying a home is the American dream — and it’s an expensive one! No matter how much stuff you already have, moving into a new house often requires purchasing even more furniture, household items, and even cleaning products. On top of down payments and closing costs, many new homeowners begin to feel the financial pinch shortly after moving into their new pad. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the best money-saving tips for new homeowners.
Take Advantage of Moving Coupons
When you officially change your address through the post office, you will be eligible to receive a bundle of coupons — many of which could end up saving you a significant amount of money on items you’re going to buy anyway. For example, if you need to make a large purchase at a big box hardware store, the 10 percent off coupon could save you hundreds of dollars. A coupon for a cable or internet provider could net you a Visa gift card — which you could then put towards something else you need!
Of course, don’t be tempted to buy just because you have a coupon. It is easy to find lots of fun things for your new home — but that doesn’t mean you SHOULD buy them. Stick to what you actually need, and put your savings aside for the future when your budget allows more discretionary spending.
Install a Programmable Thermostat
It’s the 21st century, and we now have more automated ways to save you money than ever before. One example is a programmable thermostat like Nest. While purchasing one of these thermostats can be an investment, you will ultimately save money in heating and cooling bills. These thermostats learn your schedule to keep your home at the right temperature when you are actually there; you won’t be paying to keep your house hot (or cold) when you’re at work or out of town. And while you can just turn the thermostat up or down each day when you leave for work, it’s easy to forget to take this step — which can cost you money.
As an added bonus, some energy companies will give you a programmable thermostat or a rebate on your bill for buying one. Check with your local utility company to see if there are any deals or promotions available in your area before purchasing a programmable thermostat.
Get Energy Efficient Window Coverings
Windows let in natural light and often give you a great view of the outdoors or your neighborhood. But those same windows can be a killer for your energy bills, letting in heat from the sun in the summer and cold in the winter. But by choosing your window coverings carefully, you can reduce that energy loss and save on your utility bills.
Many stores offer thermal or insulated curtains to help block the sun and reduce the loss of heat or cooling from inside. If you don’t like the look of these heavier drapes, consider alternatives like shutters or blinds. They can help prevent a room from overheating in the summer, ultimately reducing the amount of money you spend on air conditioning. If you can’t afford to buy thermal curtains or blinds for all of the windows of your house at once, focus on those that get the most direct sunlight — on the western and southern sides of your home.
Check Your Water Heater
Many water heaters are set at too high of a temperature — so that you’re paying money for water to be heated way over what you actually need. The ideal temperature for a water heater is 120 degrees. Set your heater at this level and you’ll see an immediate effect on your energy bills. And while you’re checking your water heater, consider buying and putting on a water heater blanket. It can help to reduce heat loss over time, saving you money on your bills. Just be sure to avoid the tank’s top, bottom, thermostat, or burner compartment. If you have a tankless water heater, you can skip this step.
Look for Tax Incentives
Anytime you make energy-based improvements to your home, you may be eligible for federal, state, or local tax credits. This includes up to a 30 percent tax credit for the cost of certain solar energy systems, wind turbines, and geothermal heat pumps. These tax incentives can make a big difference in your total tax bill, freeing up money to put towards your retirement, savings, or another home improvement project.
In addition to tax benefits, check with your local utility company to determine if they offer any free energy inspections or audits. If they do, it can save you significant money if any energy waste is found, such as air leaks, inefficient heating or cooling systems, or uninsulated pipes.
Author: Jeff Gitlen