Let’s be honest: Turning that extra bedroom into a workout room isn’t going to help make that New Year’s resolution come true.
Every year, countless Floridians set unrealistic resolutions and every year, they fall short of their goals. It’s time that we put in place some impactful resolutions to improve our homes and put more money in our pocketbooks.
Check out these nine easy resolutions to help you save money and improve your home in the new year.
Make a budget
Before splurging on that brand new flat screen TV, spend a couple of hours putting together an annual home improvement and maintenance budget. By doing so, you can ensure that you will be able to afford any home improvement projects in addition to emergency maintenance projects without going into a financial black hole.
Not sure how much you’ll spend on home improvements this year? Experts recommend setting aside one percent of the purchase price of your home each year to go toward home maintenance. For example, if you purchased your home for $250,000, it is safe to budget about $2,500 per year for maintenance – only a little over $200 a month.
Clean Out Clutter
The start of a new year is a great time to simplify your life and your home by cleaning out clutter that has accumulated over the past 12 months or so.
Have a lot of old “stuff” that needs to go? Consider hosting a garage sale or taking old clothes to consignment to get some extra cash that you can put into savings. Pick one weekend each month to clean out a room. In no time, you’ll be living more simply.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, a typical household uses about 260 gallons of water every day. Help save the environment and money this year by conserving the amount of water you use in your home. Decreasing your household water usage by 20% would save most Floridians $150-200 per year.
While 20% may seem like a lot, it can easily be achieved by doing the following tasks:
- Inspect and fix leaky faucets, fixtures and pipes.
- Replace old washing machines and toilets with high-efficiency versions.
- Water the lawn before dawn or after sunset when there’s less evaporation.
- Replace regular showerheads with low-flow showerheads.
- Never wash less than a full load of laundry.
Tired of paying high utility bills every month? Winter is an excellent time for Floridians to cut down on electricity costs since there is very little need for A/C. In addition to reducing the amount of air conditioning or heating you use, here are some other simple ways to cut down on electricity usage:
- Take advantage of natural lighting.
- When outside temperatures drop below 75 degrees, open windows and turn off your air conditioner.
- Opt for energy-efficient light bulbs.
- Unplug electronics when not in use.
- Wash clothes with cold water instead of hot water.
- Sweep instead of vacuuming when possible.
- Only run the dishwasher when it is full.
Click here for more ways to save money around the house.
Get Ahead on Your Mortgage Payments
What better way to start a new year than to get a head start on one of your most important financial investments – your mortgage.
One extra mortgage payment a year can save you about five years' worth of interest expense. Just imagine what you could do with that extra money! You can also ask your lender about paying your monthly payment in two installments per month; it can save a ton of money over the life of your mortgage.
Update Your Home
Have you been longing for new granite kitchen counter-tops? Ready to strip the obnoxious wallpaper off your walls that’s been there since the 60’s? Start 2015 off right by selecting a home renovation project that’s within your budget. That way you can regain your love for your home and increase the value of it.
Here are some easy ones to start with that won’t break the bank:
- Add an inexpensive backsplash in your kitchen, an easy DIY project.
- Change the window treatments in your favorite room.
- Replace throw pillows on the family room sofa.
- Hang a variety of mismatched mirrors on an empty wall.
- Organize your garage with some inexpensive shelves.
- Install shoe racks in your closet.
Examine and Update Your Homeowner’s Insurance
As we enter a new year, now is a perfect time to review your home insurance policy and update your home inventory. When reviewing your policy, check to see if your current carrier provides one-call, no-hassle claims service.
If your carrier doesn’t provide one-call, no-hassle claims service, then it may be time to explore other options. Remember that Floridians can switch insurance carriers at any time throughout the year – and you get your unused premium refunded.
Inspect Your Roof
The roof is your home’s first level of defense against major weather threats, so keeping it in quality shape is very important. Inspect your roof for missing and loose shingles. If you discover any issues, make necessary repairs immediately to prevent additional damage.
Most Importantly… Relax AND Enjoy Your Home
There’s nothing better than home sweet home. Make time for at-home activities with family and friends such as homemade dinners, game nights and movie nights.