If you’ve bought a home for the very first time, finances are usually your primary concern. From keeping up with monthly mortgage payments, utility bills, and other costs associated with homeownership, it can be challenging to save money. Below are seven easy ways that first-time homeowners can save money without jeopardizing the look and feel of their new home.
- Economize on Energy
Energy costs can have you digging deep into your pockets every time the bills come in. To save on your monthly energy bill, have all the systems in your home inspected to ensure they use energy as efficiently as possible. You can also take it upon yourself to avoid leaving lights on if they aren’t being used, upgrade to energy efficient appliances, and swap out traditional light bulbs for LEDs.
- Build an Emergency Fund
Since buying a home might take up a significant portion of your savings, first-time homeowners can save money by having an emergency fund on hand of at least three to six months of expenses. Note: though this is the typical recommended amount, the actual amount can vary from person to person. This emergency fund can account for health emergencies, a job loss, home improvements, or even home maintenance if something isn’t covered by your homeowner’s insurance or home warranty. With the recent government shutdown, it was too late for many people who didn’t already have an emergency fund saved to pay for monthly bills, mortgage payments, and other expenses.
- Reduce Water Use
Did you know that reducing your shower time by just four minutes can save you money on your water bill each month? In addition to this tip, here are some other ways first-time homeowners can save money in the home:
- Fix all leaks—Household leaks can waste nearly 1 trillion gallons of water annually nationwide, so be sure to fix leaks inside and outside your home to save water and money.
- Install faucet aerators—A faucet aerator is mainly used to prevent splashing and reduce water flow. This can help lower water usage month over month.
- Run the dishwasher only when it’s full—Your dishwasher will use the same amount of water whether it’s partially loaded or completely full. Take advantage of as much space as possible and only run the system when it’s full.
- Install a low-flow shower head—The standard maximum flow rate for shower-heads is 2.5 gallons per minute (gpm). By contrast, a low-flow shower-head uses 2.0 gpm or less, allowing you to reduce the amount of water you use every time you shower.
- Make Repairs Early
When you buy a house, you’ll be responsible for all repairs and replacements. Always make a point of getting repairs done early before more damage occurs. More often than not, when a particular part is damaged, it continues to damage other parts if repairs are not done on time. For example, if you have leaky pipes, you might want to get them fixed as soon as possible to avoid spending money on rot or mold remediation from water damage. Additionally, if you bought a fixer-upper, prioritize home repairs over remodeling to establish a solid foundation for your home.
- Don’t Overspend on Home Remodeling
Though personalizing a new home can be tempting, don’t go on a massive spending spree to improve every part of your house all at once. Give yourself time to adjust to homeownership expenses and rebuild your savings—you can budget and plan for home improvements in increments, so you don’t go into more debt.
- Landscape and Garden for Yourself
Instead of hiring a landscaping service to keep up with your lawn, save on these costs by taking on the work yourself. This is especially doable if you have a small yard; you won’t have much acreage to cover, and probably not a lot of flowers and shrubs to tend to. If you’ve bought a home in the city, you probably don’t have a yard to maintain, but if you opt for a container garden or terrace plants, be sure to take care of these on a regular basis.
- Secure Your Home
As one of the final ways that first-time homeowners can save money, consider making your home as secure as possible. When you buy a house for the first time, safety is paramount. To avoid spending money on natural disaster damage or break-ins, consider investing in different insurance policies like homeowner’s insurance, dwelling coverage, and liability coverage.
Author Bio: Kay Carter is a writer from Raleigh, NC. When she isn’t writing about real estate, finance, or the latest wellness trends, you can find her reading, traveling, or practicing photography.