Home costs account for a large portion of your family budget. This includes regular expenses such as monthly bills for utilities and maintenance costs. Some expenses are considered a one-off, such as those required when moving to a new house.
Home-related expenses are often much higher than necessary, but many families might not be aware of the ways in which to save in these areas. Some of the best saving methods involve creating new habits within your family and home and take little time to implement. Often, saving money means setting aside time for research and planning to ensure you find the most affordable options for any home expense.
With these easy tips and tricks, you may find you can save on monthly bills such as water, electricity or internet, as well as on larger home costs. Review the ways to save at home below to get started on your new cost-effective home habits.
How to Lower Your Electric Bill
Your electric bill is often one of the most troubling expenses, with many electrical appliances to account for, as well as heating or cooling costs. An easy way to ensure you are not wasting money is to unplug any appliances that show displays or timers when they are off, as these drain power.
Heating and cooling frequently cause much higher electric bills in winter or summer depending on where you live. To make sure your heating or cooling unit is not working harder than needed, make sure to perform maintenance in advance. Check and clean your filters and vents to allow airflow, and make sure all your insulation and seals are intact.
Some simple ways to help reduce the cost of climate control include cleaning your windows to allow maximum light and warmth during the winter months. In summer, keep the blinds closed to maintain coolness.
Use a ceiling fan to cool by reversing its direction for the opposite effect as a low-cost alternative to heating and cooling. Additional ways to lower your electric bill include:
- Replace furnace filters regularly.
- Install an energy-efficient shower head.
- Install LED light bulbs around the house.
- Use motion-detection for outside lights.
- Use door draft guards.
- Use a dishwasher instead of handwashing.
- Wash clothes on a cold-water cycle.
Weatherizing your home can also significantly reduce the amount of money that you can expect to pay towards monthly utilities. These projects are generally small, such as ensuring that all of your windows and doorways are properly sealed and ensuring that your home has the right amount of insulation.
If your home could benefit from weatherization, you may also qualify for financial assistance for your weatherization project either form your local utility or through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). To qualify for financial assistance through LIHEAP, you will likely need to meet certain eligibility requirements, including:
- Income limits.
- Project-related requirements.
- Local factors.
Many utility companies have begun to offer reimbursement initiatives to assist households with the cost of energy-efficient equipment and appliances. While each utility is different and may provide several programs, it is worth taking the time to contact your utility for a specific list of rebate programs the utility currently offers.
How to Save on Moving Costs
Moving often results in unexpected expenses and planning for these expenses is crucial. A comprehensive budget is useful and should include all possible expenses. This means the cost of labor, transport, and packing materials.
Knowing your budget allows you to compare different options for each area. Some ways to reduce moving costs include the following:
- Find inexpensive boxes from local stores instead of buying them.
- A family member or friend who has moved recently might offer packing materials for free.
- You may find free boxes on websites such as Craigslist.
If you intend to hire professional movers, be sure to research and compare costs. Always obtain multiple bids before accepting a company’s offer. If renting transportation yourself, compare prices and make your reservation in advance.
A good tip to save on the hourly costs of a professional moving company, or a rented truck, is to ensure all your items are packed and ready to go before the moving day. Delays mean additional hours you must pay for, which add up quickly.
Be sure to contact your internet and television providers to check the costs of installation at your new address, as you may be able to have the fees waived or receive a deal. Furniture or appliances you do not want can be sold or donated before the move to save space and money.
Cheap Home Hacks to Save You Money
Saving on monthly expenses does not always mean undertaking a big project to reorganize your family life and finances. Plenty of small hacks make your monthly budget stretch further than usual.
Make notes of all your monthly expenses before setting your next month’s budget, as this allows you to see any areas that need improvement. There may be some expenses you can do without, such as gym memberships. These costs are difficult to spot without a monthly record. Keep the record yourself or use one of the many household budgeting apps on the market.
Targeting certain areas in your budget helps lower your overall costs significantly. Internet and television bills are a good place to start, as these can often be lessened. If you have multiple cable boxes in your home, for example, you might have a monthly charge on each one. You may be paying for premium channels you do not need.
If you do not have a television or internet contract, find a contract offering a low-cost deal suited to your needs. The details of your contract or monthly payments can be addressed as well. Paying for high-speed internet may seem advisable, but you might not be using the speed you pay for currently. Your router may be unable to handle higher speed internet, which means the extra cost is wasted.
Depending on your income, you may also qualify for the federal program Lifeline. Lifeline provides lower-income households with discounts towards cell phone, landline phone or broadband internet services. While the discounts will not cover your entire bill, these savings can quickly add up and reduce your overall bill.
Tips to Help Families Save on Household Costs
Many household costs seem immoveable. These may include:
- Mortgages and rent.
If you have a mortgage, making one or two extra payments a year lowers the loan balance and results in reduced interest for long-term savings. Those who rent may be able to enter negotiations over rental cost when re-signing a lease.
Grocery bills are lowered by using coupons and searching for sales. Those with the time available can cook more from scratch or even start their own gardens.
Another household cost that is often uncomfortably high is transportation, particularly if the cost of gas has spiked. While public transportation is not an option for some, you may be able to organize a carpool with one or more people you work with or walk instead of driving.