Buying your own home is expensive. Very expensive.
Even after the closing fees, the agent fees, and the cost of the house itself, you’re bound to find more sneaky expenses just waiting for an opportunity to crop up. Maybe you need to replace a window. Maybe a tree is overgrown and needs trimming. Maybe you want to replace the carpet with hardwood floors.
Whatever the case may be, with 43 million Americans moving each year, new homeowners are looking for ways to save some cash. Here are 5 money saving tips for new homeowners. Not all of these tips relate specifically to your home, but your house is only one aspect of your life. Saving money across the board can help you pay off your mortgage with minimal stress and hassle.
1. Save on Heating and Cooling
This is a big category, but there are tons of money saving tips for new homeowners that fall under the umbrella of heating and cooling. The way we heat and cool our homes has a massive impact on our expenses and budgets. It can be one of the biggest bills we’re saddled with, depending on the size of the home and the weather where you live.
When it comes to heating and cooling your home, here are some money-saving steps you can take to save a little money:
- Make the most of Mother Nature: She’s your friend in this case! When it’s sunny during winter, open the blinds and let the sun stream in. Close the blinds on the shady side of your house. This will allow the sun to heat your home for free. And in summer, throw open the windows. Enjoy a nice cross breeze by opening multiple windows. You can also use a fan to help push the air around and create a flow through your home. The fan will use electricity, but far less than an air conditioner would.
- Ensure you’re sealed up tight: Leaks and holes, even windows accidentally left cracked, can waste huge amounts of energy. Don’t spend money on heating and cooling that you don’t even get to enjoy. Common places for leaks are spots like doors, fireplaces, and windows. A little caulk or perhaps some new insulation can seal these spots up more tightly so air doesn’t escape.
- Go easy on the kitchen and bathroom fans: You might have fans in your kitchen and bathroom. These are great for keeping your bathrooms dry after a shower, for instance, or helping smoke from cooking disperse. But they can also waste energy and cost you money. Make sure you’re not running them more than you have to.
- Keep your equipment up to date: No matter what kind of heating and cooling system you have, one of the best money saving tips for new homeowners is simply to keep their heating and cooling equipment up to date and in good working order. An old HVAC system, for example, will cause more waste and cost more money than one that is clean and new. Make sure you’re cleaning debris out of your HVAC and changing the filters regularly.
- Avoid the heat: In the summer, when temperatures rise, you can keep heat out by closing your blinds. The sun can heat up your home dramatically. In winter, this is great, but in summer it can push you to spend money on air conditioning.
- Set it and forget it: Finally, try not to fiddle with the thermostat too much. That actually wastes more energy than just setting one temperature and leaving it alone. If you have a fancier thermostat, you may be able to set ranges or times of day when it should be active (as opposed to inactive). Setting a reasonable schedule and leaving your thermostat alone can actually result in money savings.
You can also look beyond traditional heating and cooling methods if you want to save money on this bill in regard to your new home.
Heating oil is an alternative more and more homeowners are considering. While many homes use natural gas and electricity for heating and cooling, heating oil is becoming a more attractive option. Heating oil can be less expensive than other heating methods and is often energy-efficient as well.
Other alternatives to natural gas and electric heating and cooling include things like solar panels, wind energy, and propane. These green energy alternatives can be expensive initially, but costs are going down as more and more people adopt them. And over the long term, you can save money and do something good for the planet.
2. Re-examine Your Taxes
When you were a renter, your taxes didn’t include your apartment rental. That property belonged to a landlord who paid the taxes on the land and building.
As a homeowner, some of that tax burden is going to start to fall on you. One of the best money saving tips for new homeowners is to take a hard look at your taxes.
With an apartment, you paid money to a landlord. That meant you couldn’t get any kind of tax breaks or deductions from paying your rent.
However, as a homeowner, there are certain tax breaks you can now take advantage of. For example, you can deduct all of your home mortgage interest from your taxes. Make sure to fill out the IRS form 1098 to calculate the interest you paid in the previous year on your mortgage.
You also probably paid a PMI, private mortgage insurance, when you bought your home if you put down less than 20% at signing. Depending on your income and marital status, this can also be a place where you can save on your taxes. If you make less than $50,000, you can deduct your PMI; if you are married, you need to make less than $100,000 to deduct your PMI.
Finally, you are probably facing some property taxes now. This might not seem like it falls under money saving tips for new homeowners, but it actually can if you play your cards right. Your property taxes are actually deductible. You can find the amount you paid on form 1098 so be sure to factor it when doing your taxes.
Taxes can be confusing and overwhelming, especially when a major purchase like a new home is involved. Don’t be shy about using tax preparation services to help you get the best deductions you can.
3. Make Use of Professionals
Speaking of tax preparation, make use of professionals to help you save money. Whether than an accountant for your taxes or anything else, professionals cost a little upfront but can save you money in the long run.
For example, a good accountant can help you navigate your new tax status and burden as a new homeowner. They know the laws around taxes better than you do and may even have additional money saving tips for new homeowners they’re working with.
Another common type of professional a new homeowner might need is a contractor. There are a lot of home improvement projects you can and should do on your own, but there are some jobs that are just too big for a homeowner. This could be a tree trimming if it requires special equipment, a remodel, or perhaps something like a floor installation.
Contractors cost money upfront but save money in the long term. A professionally done job will look better and last longer. If you try to do it yourself and take on a task that’s out of your depth, you could end up spending even more money to repair it.
Finally, you might find a need for attorneys. Not every new home purchase requires the assistance of attorneys, but there are times when we need help getting the law on our side. A lawyer can help ensure any agreements or contracts you sign when buying your home are sound and that you aren’t losing money or potentially getting scammed.
4. Figure Out What You Can Get Rid Of
Moving is a big job, especially moving into an entire home. Even if you are going from a smaller apartment into a new home, you may suddenly find that you own an overwhelming amount of stuff that now needs to be sorted, packed, and transferred.
This is a great time to start thinking about what you don’t need anymore. Perhaps you have a bunch of old clothing you can donate. Or maybe some of your furniture isn’t actually worth taking to your new place.
If you take the time to sort through your possessions, you may even find a fair amount that’s worth selling. Among our money saving tips for new homeowners is this: Find your local pawn shop. A pawn shop can be a way for you to make some easy and quick cash off of items you don’t need anymore anyway.
And with a pawn shop, you get the added bonus of being able to undo your decision if you really feel like you want those items back. You can get rid of some of the clutter without worrying that it’s gone forever. You may find, however, that you really don’t need those items back and are happy to let them go for good.
For more expensive and precious items, like fine jewelry and diamond rings, you could also seek out shops that specialize in those things. In order to get the most money from selling off those kinds of items, you may not want to walk into just any pawn shop you see around town.
A proper diamond buyer, for example, can get you the best return possible on your diamond ring. Diamonds are a highly specialized field so consulting with experts is never a bad idea. It would be easy to simply pawn off your diamond and get a decent price, but a little time spent with an expert diamond buyer can get you a much higher price on your ring.
5. Get a Side Hustle
If money is really tight and you need to increase your income to help pay for your new home, consider getting a side hustle.
Money saving tips for new homeowners also includes increasing your overall budget, and a side hustle is a great way to do that. A lot of side hustles are very simple, too, such as driving for a ride-sharing service or pet sitting in your neighborhood. And they pay surprisingly well. A pet sitter can get upwards of $18 for walking a dog for just 30 minutes.
You can also use your home for some passive income. Think about renting out your garage, parking spot, or spare bedroom, if you have one. This helps turn your new home into a little bit of a revenue generator and not just a money sink.
There are many side hustles that you can do right at home as well. For instance, pay per click service providers is often looking for freelancers who can provide content for websites and businesses trying to increase their presence on search engines.
You can also try things like watching videos and doing user testing. These aren’t huge sources of income, but as far as money saving tips for new homeowners go, they’re pretty easy and safe bets. You can do a little bit of user testing at home whenever you have time and gain some passive income that way. It won’t pay the mortgage, but it might ease the burden of some of your bills.
How to Save Money as a New Homeowner
There are tons of money saving tips for new homeowners out there. These are just five to get you started and help you take some positive steps toward getting control of your budget. Mix and match, put your own spin on these tips, or just use them as a jumping-off point for a different idea that works better for your budget and lifestyle. There’s no wrong way to save money!
You don’t need to stick to the expected to save money as a new homeowner. That’s why we included money saving tips for new homeowners that fall a little outside the box. Thinking creatively can help you manage your budget and enjoy your new home without undue stress about money.