You’ve got the keys to your new house. It’s all so exciting, but it can be overwhelming with how much there is to do.
Saving money right away might not be on the top of your list, but you did just spend a lot of money on the downpayment and closing costs. Saving up some cash is a good idea.
Here are some easy steps to complete right before or during your move that can save big bucks now and down the road:
Shop around for homeowners’ insurance
Because homeowner’s insurance can be required, some people immediately write it off as a necessary expense. But that doesn’t mean you can’t save money.
“I got a couple of quotes, and one of them was three times as much as the company I went with,” says Regina Conway, consumer expert and vice president of PR and events at SlickDeals.com.
“Research the company you are thinking about using. Some companies were going to charge more for having hardwood floors. But other companies don’t add that in as an extra.”
Change that filter
You never know when the former homeowners checked their furnace filter. Check your filter regularly, especially during the winter and summer when your air conditioner and heater are used more.
Your filter should be changed every 3 months at the very least, Conway says. But if it looks dirty after just one month, you should change it.
Not only do you waste energy with a dirty filter, but it can cause more dust and dirt to build up on your mechanicals – and that can possibly lead to an even bigger bill.
Understand electric peaks
The Energy.gov website describes how utility companies offer programs to encourage customers to use electricity during off-peak hours. So, set your dishwasher to wash dishes at 2 in the morning, or start the washing machine when you go to bed at night. It can cut into your monthly electricity bills.
Hang it up
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Saver guidebook says that drying a small load of clothes takes 45 minutes and costs about 36 cents. You might want to think about putting up a clothesline outside or a drying rack in your basement or laundry room to save on every load.
This might not seem like big savings, but everything adds up – especially if you’re doing laundry multiple times a week.
Find flooring remnants
Conway’s sister had a small house to renovate with hardwood floors. She found enough flooring at 50 percent off because they were remnants, saving her tons.
Also, don’t be afraid to get special pricing at some stores. Even as a homeowner, you can get contractor prices by getting bids at big box stores for flooring and other materials.
“You submit your order, and that store gets the best pricing for you. It might take a couple of days, but the service is accessible to anyone,” Conway says.
Go second hand
“You don’t have to furnish your whole house at once,” she adds. But if you are short on money and you don’t want to use your credit cards for new furniture, frequent some consignment or thrift stores, estate sales, and even discount designer stores.
Websites such as Wayfair and Overstock.com have brand new furniture for what they advertise as sometimes 70 percent off.
Also, check out Habitat for Humanity’s ReStores across the country, where contractors and individuals donate all kinds of items such as lamps, couches and tiles. You’ll be helping a good cause and getting great stuff for your new home.
Don’t discount discounted gift cards
You need to buy a lawnmower, new towels and new dishes. Well, Conway suggests going on discounted gift card websites to purchase cards for a percentage of what they cost originally. You can then combine those with coupon codes at stores for even bigger reductions.
Paint some savings
You’re not sure what color you want to paint your new bathroom, but you know it can’t stay fuchsia. Go to the paint stores and paint departments of big box stores to look at their discounted paint.
“There are cans of paint mixed for other clients that are marked down 50 percent or more,” Conway says.
Fan your way to lower bills
By installing ceiling fans in many rooms, you are adding circulation while reducing your cooling and heating bills, Conway says.
According to Energy.gov, if you use air conditioning, a ceiling fan will allow you to raise the thermostat setting about 4°F with no reduction in comfort. In temperate climates, or during moderately hot weather, ceiling fans may allow you to avoid using your air conditioner altogether.
However, turn off ceiling fans when you leave a room; fans cool people, not rooms, by creating a wind chill effect.