Well folks, 2013 is right around the corner, and for many of us that means writing down a few New Year Resolutions. Whether you’re planning on spending more time with your family or finally losing those last 10 pounds, there’s one resolution that is often in the top 5 of everyone’s list: save more money.
And when it comes to saving money, your home is a fantastic place to start. So here are a few New Year Resolutions you should be making if you’re a homeowner or plan to be by the end of the year:
1.) Improve your credit. The best way to improve your credit is often making all your mortgage payments as well as other utility bills on time. No slacking this year. If you need to set up automatic withdrawals from your checking account, that might be the way to do it. And speaking of mortgage payments…
2.) Make extra mortgage payments. In this day and age, it feels like money is tight for virtually everyone, but if you look really closely at your budget you can probably find an extra couple hundred dollars here and there that could be put to better use. Think about it, if you’re paying off a $150,000, 30 year fixed loan at 5.5% interest with payments of $852 a month, paying just an extra $71 a month will cut the term of your loan down by roughly 5 years, saving you close to $31,000 in interest payments.
3.) Nip it in the bud. Home maintenance problems, that is. Got a leaky faucet? Fix it. A drafty window? Take care of it. Numerous cracks, leaks, squeaks and jiggles are bound to happen throughout the year and putting them off until later not only costs you money while they are broken, but they’re also likely causing more and more damage the longer they go unfixed. Promise yourself that if something goes wrong this year, it gets moved to the top of the priority list, pronto.
4.) Go green. This is going to be your year to go green. Green appliances not only save the earth by cutting down on the amount of energy you use, but they also lower your utility payments. Start small by replacing your incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs or LED lighting. As a matter of fact, go out and buy some right now while you’re motivated. Bulbs are bound to burn out during the year, and that way you’ll already have the right replacement ready and waiting.
Other ways to go green include updating your appliances (there are countless washers, dryers, refrigerators, air conditioners, dishwashers and more that qualify) and installing an automatic thermostat that adjusts your heat or air conditioning when you’re out of the house. No point using (and paying for) the energy required to keep your home at a balmy 75 degrees when you’re not even there.