15 October 2014

5 Ways Your Home Can Save You Money

With today’s economy, it is important to save money where you can. But, sometimes saving money means giving up things that you like to do. Learn to use your home to put some extra money in your pocket without giving up the things you really enjoy.

Here are five simple things you can do right now that will cut your household costs and put some cash back into your budget.

1. Seal the leaks. 
When a house is new, it is very unlikely that there are air leaks or cracks that cost you money. Wait five or ten years and that might change. Inspect your home for any of these leaky places that are allowing air in and your hard earned money out. Use a candle or a stick of incense. Move around the doorways, windows, and other areas that are supposed to be sealed. The smoke will move towards the leak if there is one. When you find these leaks, seal them right away.
2. Make any small repairs yourself. 
Do you know what some repairmen charge just to come out and do a check? It should be illegal. See what you and your family can handle safely on your own and save money on repair bills. Change washers in taps, re-caulk tubs and toilets, change fuses, and replace air filters. Stopping leaky taps, air leaks, and cleaning filters will save hundreds of dollars on your utility bills each year. You can find handyman classes at most major hardware stores at the weekends. They will cover everything from how to paint a door to laying tiles and are usually free. And a tip: start the kids off as junior home handy people with the kid's classes. They'll learn a new skill and get to take home their creations and as a bonus they make great one-on-one time with Mum or Dad.
3. Enroll in payment plans at utility companies.
In the hottest of summers and the coldest of winters, heating and cooling bills can get out of control. Equal payment plans ensure that your bill payment stays the same each month. Just be aware that the payments are averaged using the previous year's*-- figures and you may find yourself with a higher than normal bill to pay at the end of the twelve months if you use more power or there is a price rise. Alternatively you can do this yourself - find your electricity and gas bills for the last two years - add them up, divide the total by 24 to find out how much you need to pay each month and add 10% (this is to cover an increase in usage and any price increases). Then set up a direct debit each month from you to the utility company. When the quarterly bill comes in you'll either have it paid in full, be in credit or have a minimal amount to pay. Paying in advance doesn't earn you any interest on your money but it does ensure that you are able to pay the bill. Once you get control of your finances you can go back to saving the money each month and paying the bill when it comes in.
4. Do some window decorating. 
Make use of what is free like the sun on a winter day or lack of it on a summer day. Hanging light blocking blinds and drapes keeps cool air inside and the sun out on hot days. Keeping the room dark lowers the temperature as well. Open up those blinds in winter when the sun shines. Let the rays warm your home so you won’t have to raise the temperature  on the heater. Blinds and drapes add character without ruining the d├ęcor of any room.
5. Sell what you don’t need. 
Have any stuff sitting around that you don’t use any more? Have a garage sale. Everyone has some clothes they can no longer wear or toys the kids don’t play with. What about books? And that overflowing plastics cupboard? With a garage sale you clear out some space in your house and you get money as a bonus.

Saving money doesn't have to be painful. You can still keep your lifestyle without breaking the bank when you use your home to do it.

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