Showing posts with label money saving tips. Show all posts
Showing posts with label money saving tips. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

5 Money Saving Tips for Home Owners

As a homeowner, it's important to find ways to save money and reduce expenses. One of the biggest expenses for homeowners is maintenance and utility bills, especially when it comes to heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. 

This blog post will discuss five money-saving tips for homeowners. 

By following these tips, you can not only save money but also ensure that your home is comfortable and energy-efficient all year round.

Schedule Regular HVAC Maintenance

One of the easiest ways to save money on HVAC costs is by scheduling preventative HVAC maintenance for your system. By having a professional inspect and tune up your HVAC system at least once a year, you can ensure that it is running efficiently and avoid costly repairs down the line. 

Regular maintenance can also extend the lifespan of your HVAC system, saving you money in the long run.

Change Air Filters Regularly

Another important money-saving tip for homeowners is to change air filters regularly. Dirty air filters can restrict airflow and cause your HVAC system to work harder, leading to higher energy bills. 

By changing your air filters every 1-3 months, depending on your system and household, you can improve indoor air quality and reduce energy consumption.

Invest in a Programmable Thermostat

A programmable thermostat is a great investment for homeowners looking to save money on heating and cooling costs. With a programmable thermostat, you can set temperatures for different times of the day and night, allowing you to reduce energy usage when you are away from home or asleep. 

This can lead to significant savings on your utility bills without sacrificing comfort.

Seal Air Leaks

Another effective way to save money on HVAC costs is by sealing air leaks in your home. Air leaks can cause your HVAC system to work harder to maintain a comfortable temperature, leading to higher energy bills. 

By caulking and weatherstripping windows, doors, and other areas where air may be escaping, you can improve energy efficiency and reduce heating and cooling costs.

Upgrade to Energy-Efficient HVAC Equipment

If your current HVAC system is outdated or inefficient, consider upgrading to energy-efficient equipment. Energy-efficient HVAC systems can reduce energy consumption, lower utility bills, and qualify you for rebates or incentives from utility companies. 

While the upfront cost of upgrading may be higher, the long-term savings on energy costs can make it a worthwhile investment.

Final Thoughts

Saving money as a homeowner is possible with a few simple tips and tricks. By scheduling regular maintenance, changing air filters, investing in a programmable thermostat, sealing air leaks, and upgrading to energy-efficient equipment, you can reduce energy costs and keep your home comfortable all year round. 

Remember, a well-maintained HVAC system not only saves you money but also improves indoor air quality and extends the lifespan of your equipment. 

Implementing these money-saving tips can help you enjoy a comfortable and cost-effective home for years to come.

Monday, February 6, 2017

4 Investments That Will Save Your Family Serious Money in the Future

'It takes money to make money', goes the old platitude, but it's even more true to say that it takes money to save money. 

It may be a struggle to save up the money for these moderate investments, but putting the effort in now will reward you well in the future by reducing your expenses. Here are four things you can do:

Replace Your Incandescent Light Bulbs

This idea is the easiest to budget and do, even if you're working with a shoestring budget. You can sometimes find these on sale at $8 for a 4-pack. 

A 60-Watt equivalent LED bulb uses 11 Watts, meaning that each one can save you over $500 over its lifespan. 

Lighting is about 40% of your electric bill, so this small investment starts keeping money in your pocket right away.

Get a Chest Freezer

This is a larger investment, but it lets you stock up during sales and really cut down the grocery bill over the long run. 

When you can start buying quarters or sides of beef, you'll eat far better cuts for not much more than you're paying for hamburger now. 

Store gallon or 2-liter jugs of ice in your freezer to keep it full to minimize electric use.

Upgrade Your Air Conditioning

If your air conditioner is more than a few years old, you're probably paying too much to run it. 

Look at the energy efficiency of your present unit, and then the energy costs of the models available now. As Seliga Heating and Cooling explain, you may recoup this investment fairly quickly if your AC is even moderately old. 

Heating and AC can be as much as half of your electric bill. All of the savings after your investment is recovered are profit.

Trade In Your Appliances

Appliance manufacturers have made tremendous strides in energy efficiency in recent years. 

Go through your house and make a list of all of your electric appliances, noting their model numbers and energy ratings. Then look online at the current models and their energy ratings. 

Rank your appliances by annual energy savings and start with the biggest one. It's not uncommon for a refrigerator's savings to be over $50/year. 

Don't forget to ask dealers for trade-in allowances and look for rebates and tax credits when you're figuring your costs.

Hopefully, these tips have been useful to you and will help you save in the years to come. You don’t have to do everything all at once, though, just start with one at a time.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

5 of the Best Ways to Save Money with Your Morning Routine

If you are looking to cut a little spending out of your budget and save some money, you can start with your morning routine. Only a couple hours after waking up, most people have already spent an enormous amount of money, though, they often never recognize these expenses. Here are five ways to start the day off with savings.

1. Save on the water you use

The average shower in the U.S. lasts a little more than eight minutes and uses more than 17 gallons of water. This is an enormous amount of water that is wasted, and it equals an extremely expensive shower. If you truly want to save money in the morning, consider taking a “military shower.” Simply turn on the water and get yourself wet, then proceed to wash yourself, only turning the water back on to rinse yourself off. While this might not be the most comfortable shower, you will end up saving a huge amount of money just because of the water that you didn't use.

2. Turn down the heat

By keeping your water heater set at 120 degrees instead of 140 degrees, you can save up to 10 percent on your heating bills, and you are unlikely to even know the difference when taking your morning shower. Turning down the heat on your water heater is also recommended if you have young children in your home, since this will prevent accidental burns and other problems.

3. Dispose of the disposable

If you are using a disposable razor to shave every morning, you could easily be spending a dollar a day, depending on the quality of your disposable and whether you use a new one each time. If you buy a shaving brush kit instead, such as those provided by The Art of Shaving, even though it may be a large initial investment, you can save a considerable amount of money for the rest of your life, and your face may thank you as well.

4. Cut out the coffee stop

If you are a coffee drinker, you can save a ton of money on your morning routine by making your own coffee at home instead of stopping at a Starbucks or some other coffee shop. A cup of coffee at a coffee shop usually costs anywhere from $1 to $2, whereas you can buy a pound of coffee for as little as $5, depending on the quality. By making your coffee at home, you can save $5 or more a week, which adds up to an enormous amount of savings.

5. Lights out -- and other efficiency tips

Before leaving the house, make sure you take stock of your energy efficiency. Make sure all lights are turned off. You also should unplug any electronics and appliances that don't need to be plugged in. Also, set your thermostat cooler in the winter and warmer in the summer during the day when you aren't home. You might also close drapes or open them depending on the season. All of these small little actions might not seem like much, but over time you might find that you are saving a huge amount of money on your energy costs.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Adjusting our Budget for an Empty Nest

My husband and I have been married for 21 years and this is one of those years in which our lives will change dramatically. Our youngest goes off to college and we will once again plan our household budget around just the two of us. With two in college we have plenty to cover in our overall budget, but if we are careful and make adjustments we will end each month with savings that can be set aside for our rapidly approaching retirement years.

Here are the areas of our family finances where I think we can save.

Household Budget

Cooling and Heating

For nine months out of the year we will have an entire floor of our home that is uninhabited. We’ve been here for seven years and we plan to stay until it is time to downsize. That doesn’t mean we have to cool, heat and light up those areas of the house we aren’t using.

Whether your empty nest means a couple of rooms become vacant or an entire wing of your home goes empty, here are some tips for taking advantage of energy savings on the unused portions of your home.

  • Close blinds and curtains - It will stay hot during the days throughout the month of October in our area. To help keep out the heat the first step is to close the blinds and curtains of the windows facing east, west and especially south. Then switch that up during the cold months and open the blinds of the windows that face south. 
  • Close vents - Another step is to close the vents in the rooms that will not be in use. This diverts heat to the common areas that you will want to keep warm. 
  • Close doors - This one is obvious and it is something many energy conscious people do already. As much as I like an open house, it saves energy to keep doors closed so we aren’t cooling or heating areas that aren’t in use. 
  • Change thermostat - The final step will be to adjust the thermostat upstairs. We don’t want to make the downstairs unit work harder, so the adjustment will be slight, but it will certainly help save money each month. 


This may not seem like much, but along with not heating and cooling the rooms that are no longer in use, we will save time and money by not having to clean those same rooms as often. While I make a lot of my own cleaners, the ingredients still cost money. So does the electricity used to run the vacuum. The actual dollar figure saved may be small each week, but when combined with other savings it makes a difference.

Since I’m self employed, the time I save can be used to produce more income. If you work outside the home, this extra hour or so each week can mean a little more time to relax and unwind after a long day at work.


Again, this might seem like a minor savings, but our child heading off to college accounted for more than a third of our laundry expenses this past year because of her very active life. We are already saving a lot with Energy Star high efficiency appliances, but this fall our laundry load will be cut in half. Over time that is a substantial savings.

With both daughters doing their own laundry at school we will save on detergent, water and energy costs. I won’t realize much of a time savings here since the girls have washed their own laundry for some time now.

Gas Budget

As a family we spend very little of our budget on gasoline for our cars. I work from home so don’t drive on a daily basis and while we live in a rural area pretty far from town, we have always organized errands to use as little gas as possible.

Once the kids are on their own and paying for their own gas, most couples will see a reduction in their fuel costs. However, some will fill their empty nests with new activities and may actually get out more. The good thing is that you’re in control of this lifestyle change.

Grocery Budget

Cooking for two may be where many empty nesters can save the most money once the kids move out. Even if you occasionally splurge on expensive foods that you’ve avoided when there were more mouths to feed, careful menu planning can offer serious savings.

No matter how hard you work to keep your food budget low, teens eat a lot and are often the reason many families have snack foods in their pantries. Now is the time to break old habits and revamp your grocery list and the way you buy, prepare and store foods.

  • Check your recipes carefully to see how many servings they offer. If it is something that will not freeze or keep in the refrigerator, or if it is something that won’t be good reheated, don’t make more than you and your spouse can eat at one sitting. 
  • Plan a menu in advance and base your shopping list on this menu. I use to track store specials and I plan my menu around as many sale items as possible. Find a site that lists specials for stores in your area. 
  • Invest in storage containers sized for one or two servings so there is less air in the container. This will help prevent freezer burn. It is also helpful if the container can go from freezer to microwave for defrosting. 
  • Keep a list of meals you have stored in your freezer and rotate them so they don’t go stale or get freezer burn. 

A freezer stocked with meals ready to thaw and reheat offers flexibility to your food budget and your evenings at home.

When your children leave home, life immediately becomes less expensive, so make a conscious effort to take advantage of all the little ways you can save. Pad your savings account with all that extra money so you won’t feel guilty when the lure of dining out or off-season vacation rentals tempts you to splurge.

Betsy Muse is a staff writer for ConsumerFu where she offers tips to help people find ways to earn more and save more. She is the mother of two college-age daughters and spent much of her early career in the banking and insurance industries.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

8 Tips to Business Travel on a Budget

When business travelers are on-the-go, there are three distinct expenses: transportation, dining, and accommodations. Here are tips to reduce costs in each of those three categories during business travel.

Saving on Transportation

Your business traveler is probably used to luxury and carefree cars. However, in this economy he or she can be expected to take a more cost-effective route to meetings and conferences.

Buy a Metro Card

Rather than splurge on a rental car for the week of travel, consider getting your business person a metro or subway card. If the city is safe like DC, then there is no reason not to take public transit. You can save hundreds of dollars by choosing metro and bus passes, and that's before insurance costs!

Carpool With Co-Workers

Consider sharing the cost of a rental van with another company. Both companies could save money, and the team would get better acquainted on the way.

Accrue Those Flyer Miles

Sign up to earn frequent flyer miles on every single credit card purchase. Here are some of the things your company could earn:

Everyone needs to eat, but it doesn't have to be a negative expense. Rather than stipend all meals for your traveler, make those occasions count.

Lunch Meetings

Your traveler should schedule a lunch meeting every day of his or her trip. This can be written-off, and is substantially less expensive than dinner meetings. Also, this saves on the amount companies have to stipend to travelers, too.

Team Meals

Rather than giving the team a company credit card you could arrange an open buffet for them at their hotel. Many hotels like the Stratosphere in Las Vegas are doing this for business travelers, so that they can eat all day for a reduced cost.

Accommodations Savings for Businesses

Accommodations are the biggest budgetary black hole for travelers. However, there are a few savings tips to leverage.

Make a Deal With Management

When you book a hotel call and ask for the manager. Explain to him or her how often your company will be in town, and ask for a frequent visitor discount. Be loyal to the hotel that offers you the best 'frequent flyer' deal. You could save a hundred dollars a week or more if the hotel values your business.

Examine Hidden Fees

While one hotel might seem cheaper at first blush, you should always Google their hidden fees. Some hotels charge $25 a night for parking, while others charge $10 a day for Internet service. Find out which hotel is really cheapest with a little research, and you could save hundreds each visit.

Continental Breakfast FTW!

Your traveling team can meet every morning over the free hotel continental breakfast and save as much as $20 a person on that meal. Many hotels offer this option if you call and ask for it, even if it's not advertised.

Take the time to save money on your next business trip. It could amount to more than a thousand dollars if you are visiting an expensive city like London or New York City.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Get Cash Back With Ebates

Trying to play the points game with credit card purchases is a sometimes frustrating and non-profitable endeavor. Over the last few years I have tried different cards for their cash back points and I have seen only poor results.

The cards usually have the items that you need to purchase but later change categories and your out of luck. And what about the cards that have rotating categories, it just doesn't work. There has to be a better way.

Some cards have you using their portals to make your purchases. When you shop through your card issuer’s portal, the company places tracking information on your computer.

This tracking information allows the retailer communicate back to the issuer the cost of your purchase and how much cash back you should receive. The tracking information and the online store work together to make sure you receive the cash back as described in the portal.

Cash Back With Ebates

The system isn’t always wonderful, though. The shopping portals rarely have the specific store you’d like to shop, and it can be a pain to log into your credit card website every time you want to purchase an item online. I prefer the convenience of a shopping portal that works with every credit card, like, rather than a branded issuer-based portal.

I’ve been using Ebates occasionally for the past several years. By creating an account, you earn cash back at more than 1,200 stores. Membership is completely free; in fact, you can earn money by being a member by referring your friends.

The concept of spending money to save money is interesting. It only works when you’re spending only the money you would spend anyway, without the cash back incentive. If a cash back rebate is the impetus that helps you decide to purchase a product, the purchase may not be the best idea in the first place.

Furthermore, you have to carefully consider the total cost of your purchase. Many times, you can find a better price for a certain product on a website that’s not included in the portal’s list. For example, if your favorite book is $10 on and $15 on Barnes and Noble’s website, the 4% cash back you receive for Barnes and Noble doesn’t make up for the difference. The book is still $14.40 at Barnes and Noble.

When you do find a good deal on the stores supported by Ebates, receiving your cash back is easy. I created a PayPal account and linked it to my bank account, and use this account primarily for payments from Ebates.

You could also configure your Ebates account to distribute your cash back to you in the form of paper checks, if you desire. Furthermore, if you prefer to designate your cash back to a charitable organization, you can provide information for the non-profit to receive your payments.

Ebates is another option available for those who want to make the most of their everyday purchases. Sign up today for free to use Ebates to maximize your cash back. Used in conjunction with a cash-back rewards card, the rebates are unbeatable.

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