10 Ways Your Household Can Save!
For most of us, our home is the biggest purchase we’ll ever make. And running a home can take up a big portion of your monthly budget. Here are some household tips to help you save!
1. Follow the Money: Having a monthly budget is great. But tracking how you’re doing during the month is even better. By connecting your credit cards, bank accounts, and bill payments to software like mint.com, you can create a budget and stick to it. Real-time reports on how much you’re spending in different categories can help you manage your budget throughout the month. The Credit Counseling Society has resources to get you started. Learn more
2. Interest Rates: Rates are at all time lows, but that won’t last forever. Be careful about how much unsecured debt you take on. Unsecured debt is debt not linked to a home or car. And if you are carrying a balance on credit cards with rates near 20%, talk to your bank about a personal line of credit, which should have rates in the 5-7% range.
3. Air Leaks: Air leaks drain money from your wallet by letting in cold air and making your heating system work overtime. In the fall of each year, check around windows and doors and seal any gaps. Use your eyes but also your hand to feel for drafts. Placing foam gaskets behind light switches and power outlets helps too. Just make sure you add a childproof safety plug to complete the seal. Learn more
4. TV & Internet: Look at your package and consider “do I really use everything I’m paying for?” While other companies might have tempting introductory offers, prices rise quickly. The real way to save is to cut the services you don’t need.
5. Install a Mini Split Heat Pump: These ductless systems can warm your house in the winter and cool it in the summer. Plus they’re 2x more efficient than electric baseboard heat. Most people run these devices along side other heating methods. Learn more
6. Food Waste: We spend a lot of our monthly budget on food. Plan meals, stick to the list, shop once a week, and freeze food before it goes bad to cut down on how much food gets thrown away. Also, buy basic staples in bulk and never shop hungry! The Dietitians of Canada have more tips to get you started.
7. Insulation: Think of the attic as your winter hat and basement as wool socks—but only if they’re properly insulated! Poor insulation can be a real drain on your heating and your pocketbook. How do you know if your insulation is adequate? For basements, it’s easy—if you see concrete, then you need insulation. In your attic, you’ll need to pull out a measuring tape because the National Building Code requires at least 14 inches of insulation. Additionally, the effectiveness of insulation is measured in R-Value, and different types have different ratings, so it might benefit you to add more. Learn more
8. Insurance: You’ve heard it before, but it really does pay to check around. Make sure you’ve bundled your home and auto insurance. And while savings are important, make sure you have adequate coverage. Experts recommend $1 million liability for auto insurance. And know what your home is covered for and if some events, like flooding, are not.
9. Mortgage Rate: When it’s time for renewal (usually every 3-5 years), shop around with other banks to ensure you’re getting the best rate. Your bank will often match competitors’ offers to retain your business. The difference can be as much as $50-100 a month!
10. Thermostats: A lot of us spend most of our time outside of the home, whether at work, school, or volunteering. And there’s no need to heat a home with no one in it. Turning the heat back 5°C while away can save big bucks. A programmable thermostat is a great way to automate that process. Cool while you sleep, toasty in the morning and when you get home from work. Learn more