Saving money on home expenses is extremely important. Otherwise, it can feel like you’re paying endless bills and your home will feel more like a burden than a valuable asset.
Home expenses go far beyond just your mortgage payments. Whether it’s hydro and water bills, general day-to-day maintenance, or anything else that goes along with owning a home, it can seem impossible to put anything into a savings account.
Luckily, there are ways you can be saving cash on your home expenses that you may not even know about. Let’s look at a few.
How to save money as a new homeowner
When you buy your first home, or a new home, it can be incredibly exciting. However, it’s a big purchase and you will need to manage your money well. Even though GoDay does offer online loans when you really them, we also want to ensure you’re using your money wisely. Here are a few tips that can help you save.
Create a new budget
Since buying a house is a large expense, many financial implications come along with it. The first thing you need to do is reevaluate your budget. Likely the budget you had beforehand needs to change radically. Here are a few you should definitely include:
- Mortgage payment
- Home insurance
- Repaying money you borrowed for a down payment
- New items needed for your home such as furniture, appliances, etc.
- Upgrades or renovations
- Interest on any money borrowed
- New basic living expenses like water bills, hydro, maintenance fees, etc.
Take a hard look at your budget and add any new items. Don’t forget to include your regular expenses such as groceries, phone bill, transportation, and entertainment. Ensure you’re not spending more than you are earning. If you are, it’s time to cut back somewhere. Be certain to include a percentage of earnings as savings. If you don’t budget for it, you won’t do it.
You probably discover that you can’t complete your budget until you do more thinking and research. It’s hard to budget for items if you have no idea how much they cost.
Settle in first
You may move into your new place with a laundry list of tasks and renovations you want to complete. You might already have a long list of furniture you want to buy, and paint swabs already chosen. This is normal. However, before you jump ahead, you should ask yourself what needs to be done now and what can wait. Do you need that new deck built even though summer is already over for this year? Do you need to re-do your master bathroom, or is it bearable for now?
The thing about waiting and allowing yourself to actually live in your home is that you may realize that you actually like aspects of the home you didn’t think you would in the beginning. You may also discover that some items on your list aren’t as important as your initially thought they were.
Giving yourself some time to get comfortable with your new budget and expenses can also give you a better forecast of what’s do-able, and what projects will need to wait until you’ve saved more.
Making the place your own
There is no doubt that when you buy a new home you want to make it feel like your own, whether that’s through renovations or new décor. It’s easy to know what you want, but not
a) how much you have to spend on those wants, or
b) how much those wants actually cost.
This is where research needs to come in. Before you commit to anything, you want to look at all your options. Ask yourself:
- How long will these upgrades take? Are there shorter/cheaper projects I can do right away, and larger ones I can save for down the line?
- Are there cheaper ways to source décor, furniture, etc. for my new home? Could I buy through Facebook Marketplace, Kijiji, or secondhand through friends?
- Have I obtained at least three different quotes on major projects for the best value for my money?
- Do I really need furniture now, or can I shop around and buy later?
The surprise costs of home renovations
Home renovations can cost you an arm and a leg, but they can also bring forward a lot of (expensive) surprises that you may have not been prepared for. Here are some things you should keep in mind if you’re planning to renovate, as well as a few tips to help save you money during renovations.
It’s not like what you see on TV
There are so many home renovation shows, but these shows provide people with a false idea of the complexity and length of renovations. When it comes to attempting your own home renos, you must assess your skills and availability. Home renos are a lot of work and can take months to complete.
Most projects aren’t DIY
Home renos take a lot of work and involve project assessment in order to determine the right course of action during the project. Unless you have top-notch skills, you’ll need to hire professionals.
Not only that, but something could go wrong along the way and without proper experience with these types of projects, you may not know how to fix it. Hiring a professional halfway through your project may end up costing you more than if you’d gone with one in the first place. Contractors usually don’t like taking on someone else’s messes.
Homeowners often don’t have the knowledge to manage a home renovation the same way a contractor does. Even if DIY could cost less, don’t underestimate the value of hiring a pro with the right tools and experience.
Plan your timing and spending
Renovations will take time to complete. In order to make a realistic budget, you’re going to need to do your research before committing to a number.
Draw up a timeline with you contractor to give yourself a better idea of what you can expect, and when you can expect to have to hand over payments. This can help you forecast what renos are do-able and when. You don’t want to end up starting renovations without planning only to have to pause them halfway through due to budget constraints.
Planning, budgeting, and timing is everything when it comes to renovating your home. It will cost you less money and headaches. Your money is better off in savings or an investment instead of blowing it on a poorly planned renovation.
Be proactive vs. reactive
When it comes to upkeep and maintenance of your home, it is better to be on top of things when you first notice them instead of waiting until things get worse.
Is the washing machine making a funny noise?
Does the bathroom sink drain slowly?
Is there rain in the basement after a storm?
When it comes to home ownership, it pays to deal with small issues straightaway. Otherwise, they can turn into big, expensive problems. Call in a repairperson before your washer dies. Snake the bathroom drain before the sink overflows and causes water damage. Buy a sump pump before a winter storm destroys your basement.
Spend money on small maintenance issues now to save money in the long-run. If you include maintenance in your budget, you’re less likely to have an unwelcome financial surprise down the road.
If you get a mortgage, you need insurance. If you own your home outright, good for you, but you still need insurance. It’s a necessity. Why? Because it protects your home and possessions against damage, theft, or loss from a multitude of risks. Investopedia gives you a great beginner’s guide that provides you with basics.
It is very important that you do a home inventory when you buy insurance. Work with an insurance agent to insure you have adequate protection. Their services are free and they can find you the best coverage for your money and access discounts too. Plus, they’re insurance experts with access to more products than you could ever find online. They can definitely save you money.
An insurance agent can also bundle life insurance into your insurance mix so your spouse or partner and children are well-cared for if something happens to you. For instance, a term life insurance policy could pay off the mortgage and replace income too.
Don’t miss out on tax benefits
First-time and new home buyers may qualify for rebates and tax credits. You may also be able to claim your moving expenses if you relocate for work or you’re running a home-based business. You can find on overview here. Missing out on these perks is like throwing money away that you could stash in a savings account.
These are just a few ways to reduce your expenses so you can save more. What are your biggest tips for saving on your home expenses?