A mortgage alone can easily devour a third of your monthly income after taxes. But owning a home or other property comes with many additional expenses that, if left unchecked, can push your housing costs into unsustainable territory.
The good news is you’ve got options if you’re drowning in monthly house expenses. A few changes can lead to massive annual savings. And who doesn’t want to save money on bills?
Owning a beautiful home doesn’t have to break the bank. Here’s how to drastically cut expenses related to your house:
There’s no avoiding a simple truth about owning a home: You’ll have to maintain it. When your kids destroy the drywall or an electrical socket stops working, most homeowners call a professional to make the fix. But that can cost a small fortune.
In the age of the internet, the average homeowner can do basic maintenance without assistance. So why pay someone to do the work for you?
Great DIY skills are not only useful when you’re looking at a big project, such as installing a new toilet, but they can help you keep your appliances running longer. For example, you’ll know when it’s time to replace the air filter in your HVAC unit, expanding its lifespan.
Nowadays, everyone has a green thumb. Recent advances have made even the most absurd science-fiction technologies a reality for many families.
Of course, we’re talking about the solar panel. Installing a solar panel system on your home will reduce your monthly electric bill. You’ll enjoy the added satisfaction of a minimized carbon footprint.
It’s true that a solar panel installation comes at a significant price. However, it will pay for itself over the span of several years. Best of all, many states offer tax credits for solar residences, which can help you save thousands of dollars every year.
Think it’s too good to be true? Think again. Take a look at the state by state savings.
Shop for Better Homeowner’s Insurance
Mortgage lenders require homeowners to carry homeowner’s insurance. Even if you paid off your mortgage, it makes sense to keep the home insured. The problem is homeowner’s insurance can cost $1000 or more in annual premiums.
When’s the last time you re-evaluated your insurance plan? Although some providers offer loyalty discounts, you can usually save money by jumping ship to a new insurance company for the first few years. It’s one of the easiest ways to cut expenses by a few hundred dollars.
Refinance Your Mortgage Loan
Interest rates can swing wildly every few years. That’s an opportunity for all homeowners to take another look at their current mortgage loans. By refinancing to a loan with a lower rate, you’ll end up cutting thousands of dollars off its total cost.
That has the added benefit of lowering monthly mortgage payments. Even if the market has remained stable, improving your credit score can land you better rates and conditions.
Audit Your Utility Bills
Water, electricity, and gas are all major house expenses. It’s a good idea to watch for fluctuations every month. A leaking pipe or loose wire can wreak havoc on your utility bills and the safety of your home.
Don’t forget about other essential utilities like Internet and cable. Switching to different providers or downgrading an overpriced plan can add up to hundreds of dollars in your pocket by the end of the year.
Unplug Unused Electronics
If you aren’t using an electric appliance, it’s probably still consuming electricity. Many devices continue siphoning electricity from the wall socket even while powered down. This is known as vampire power.
How bad is it? The Energy Department says vampire power is responsible for 25% of home electricity use. That means your electric bill is 25% more expensive than it should be.
Simply unplug unessential devices while not in use. These may be items such as a television, computer, or phone charger.
Insulate Your Home
Does your HVAC unit run day and night? That’s a good sign your home is lacking proper insulation.
But there’s no way to tell for sure without an energy audit. A professional will come to your home to look for cracks in your doors and windows. They’ll check walls for lackluster insulation, too.
A bit of caulk could be all it takes to keep your interior temperature comfortable and your bank account secure.
The Bottom Line
Small changes can lead to big results. That’s the idea behind these ways to cut costs. By taking advantage of some or all of these suggestions, you can lower your monthly house expenses without dramatically changing your lifestyle.
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