Whether you rent or own your home, there are a lot of ways to save money on your housing expenses. These expenses include rent or a mortgage payment and utilities like electricity, water, gas, etc. Ready to make some cuts? Let’s get started.
Saving On Rent
If you rent your home, you have a super easy way to save. Move. Can you live with a smaller place or are you okay with moving to a cheaper part of time? If so, you can probably shave several hundred dollars a month by doing so.All you have to do is wait until your lease is up.
If an apartment is your preferred housing type, you can often save a lot of money by moving to a new construction property. Management companies are desperate for tenants to fill up all their vacancies and they will often throw in several free months of rent. Don’t take this up front though. Instead have them split it up over the length of your loan.
Saving On Mortgages
Saving on your mortgage is a bit trickier but it can be done.
The first way is to refinance your mortgage. A paper nightmare for sure but it can cut your mortgage payment in several ways. If interest rates have dropped, refinancing will obviously cut your payment down to size. In addition, if you have been paying on your home for a few years, stretching the payments out again over a longer term can reduce them considerably. Finally, and this is the big one, refinancing can help you escape mortgage insurance. If you now have at least 20 percent equity, you can refi and drop that hefty payment, that can easily be a 200 dollar loan payment reduction, possibly more.
There is a way to save money on your mortgage payment without refinancing it and that is to cut your property taxes and your home insurance costs. The annual cost of these two things are broken down into your monthly mortgage payment. If you feel that you can do better on your home owners insurance, call around and get some prices. Save $200 on your policy and your payment could drop almost $20 a month.
Property taxes can also be reduced in a number of ways. Call and inquire about exemptions. Homestead exemptions, for example, can exempt part of your home value from taxes. Also, if the county has your appraised value too high, you can contest it once a year. With property taxes, every little bit counts, so do what you can do.
The only catch to saving on a mortgage by reducing these expenses is that it will not be immediate. You will have to wait until your next escrow analysis to realize the savings.
Combine everything together, the refi, dropping mortgage insurance and a reduction in insurance and taxes, it is not out of question to see a 500 dollar loan reduction.
Saving On Utilities
Saving on your utility payments is about efficiency and conservation.
Two of the biggest drags on your electric bill are your hot water heater and your HVAC system.
The hot water heater is easy to improve on. First, get an insulated jacket or cover for it to keep the heat in. Then, turn the thermostat down to 120 degrees as most factory settings are at 140. Finally, limit your hot water usage by taking shorter showers and using cold water to wash your clothes.
Making the HVAC more efficient is a bit more involved. There are lots of ways you can go with it.
First, make sure all of the gaps in your home are sealed. Spray insulation and caulk can be used to fill gaps and fresh weatherstripping can stop drafts at doors and windows.
Another, free way to save on heating and cooling is to use your programmable thermostat. Almost everyone has them in their home but nobody take the time to learn them. To be honest, most of them are a bit confusing but take the time to learn it and save. Get your model and just look for a guide online.
Set the thermostat so that your home is cooler in the winter and warmer in the summer when you are not at home. Keeping one temperature all the time is not cheaper, that is a myth, it is costing you a lot of money on your monthly payments for electricity.
One final way to save, although there are more, is to add attic insulation. Many homes are really under insulated and adding enough to get your depth up to the recommended 12 to 15 inch level will pay off big time. You will notice a large monthly savings, a more comfortable home and you might even qualify for a rebate from your electric company.
The biggest way that people waste money on water is with their lawn. A lawn that is in good condition only needs to be watered once a week, even in a hot summer. Set your sprinkler system to water only once a week, enough to wet the soil to a depth of a few inches. The best time to water is a few hours before the sun rises. It gives the water time to soak in without leaving the lawn wet all night, which can lead to lawn diseases.
Besides lawn use, you and your appliances use the most water. Keep your showers short and only run loads in the dishwasher or washing machine if they are full.
The way to save money on gas is the same as with electric. Seal up all the gaps, turn the hot water heater down and set the thermostat to keep the house colder in the winter. The only difference is that you will not see as big of a savings in the Summer.