For many of us, the New Year brings with it a list of resolutions. Get in shape, spend more time with our families, and most notably: save more money. And whether that’s done by spending less or making more, I don’t think many of us really care; we just want to see a greater number in our savings account by the end of the year. Well thankfully, to get started you need look no further than your home sweet home:
1.) Refinance your mortgage. Your mortgage payment is probably the largest home related payment you have, so it’s perfectly natural to start there. In addition, refinancing not only means you save more money on the month-to-month expenses, but it also saves you money on the total amount of interest you would end up paying over the life of your loan. Talk to your lender about an interest rate reduction and you might be pleasantly surprised with the result.
2.) Rethink your cable, internet and phone needs. Many people suggest bundling these items, but we’re going to go one step further. Cable, for example, is slowly becoming a dying commodity. Many people now use hulu.com for their television needs. It’s only 8$ a month, and you’re able to watch the vast majority of your television shows from your computer (all you need is an HDMI cable to hook it up to the television, takes two seconds). Netflix, hbogo.com and other websites allow you plenty of access to shows and movies as well as less commercials. Sports packages, like the MLB package is about $100 for the entire season, but when you look at the $100+ that you’re paying per month, it puts it into perspective.
And your phone; who really needs a landline anymore? If your cellphone contract is coming up on its expiration date it might even be smart to consider adding your line to someone else’s, like your parents or your husband or wife’s. Instead of paying $80/month for your own plan, you can pay only $20/month to be added onto someone else’s.
3.) Go green. The amount of energy efficient products on the market today is astounding, and if you’re still using the appliances and practices of the stone age you could be missing out on some serious financial benefits. You could save an average of 10% on your yearly heating and cooling costs just by installing a thermostat and turning the heat down an extra 10-15 degrees when you leave for the day. Add onto that by turning it down 5-10 degrees at night and you’ll save another 5% throughout the year. Combine that with energy efficient appliances, like washers and dryers (they use less water and less heat to dry clothes), dishwashers, refrigerators and even toilets, and you’ve got yourself a very, very significant amount of savings.