After plunking down a good chunk of change for the down payment on your new home, as well as covering the closing costs and any other fees, your bank account is probably on the slim side.
And while you might want to still make a bunch of upgrades to your new abode, your budget might have other ideas. In order to keep things as affordable as possible, consider the following tips:
1. Watch Your Energy Usage
If you've upgraded from a small apartment or condo to a home with more square footage, you might be in for a case of sticker shock when you get your first energy bill. The first step to achieving energy efficiency is to make sure your home is well-insulated.
If your inspection report noted there is missing or old insulation, make it a priority to save up for new insulation, which will improve your home’s energy efficiency and ultimately pay for itself with lower electric and/or gas bills. As you set aside money for new insulation, check with your power company to see if they offer a time of use plan. This way, if you do your laundry, dishes and other energy-using chores during off-peak times, you can save a significant amount of money.
2. Invest in the New Furniture You Truly Need
After moving all the new stuff into your new place, you may be ready to go on a major furniture shopping spree and/or do some serious interior decorating. To keep your new homeownership budget in check, go room by room and determine what you need to buy or change out now and what can wait until later.
Many projects, like upgrading your master bathroom, can wait until you have the money saved up, as can adding a fancy new deck and buying a brand new dining room set when your old kitchen table still looks great. On the other hand, if you've been sleeping on an old futon and your back is protesting every morning, make it a goal to save for a new bedroom set as quickly as you can.
When shopping, go with a furniture store that offers delivery as well as a nice selection of mattresses. For instance, Jerome’s offers a wide variety of mattresses, including gel memory foam and innerspring, and because the company designs its own mattresses and sources them locally, you can save big by getting factory-direct prices.
3. Stay on Top of Minor Repairs
In the past, a leaky faucet or running toilet would have you immediately calling the landlord to come fix it. One slight downside to homeownership is that you're now in charge of repairing any and all issues that pop up around the house. To do this as affordably as possible, remember that broken items around the home do not fix themselves.
The toilet that runs 24/7 will continue to waste precious water — which you will pay for — and over time it will get worse. The huge tree out front whose roots are pushing up part of your front walkway will continue to grow, and the small slow leak in the garage roof will expand over time.
Resist the urge to put problems like these on the backburner and instead start setting aside money every month into a home repair account. This way, you'll be able to make the needed repairs before the problems get more serious and the solution becomes even more expensive.
Enjoy Your New Home in a Thrifty Way
It must be reassuring to know you don’t have to continue to spend a ton of money once you have the keys to your new home. By being mindful of your energy usage, considering needs versus wants with new items, and tackling problems as they come up, your bank account will recover nicely and you'll quickly realize homeownership can be affordable.