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It’s official, I’m a homeowner!
One of my long-term goals was to become a homeowner by the age of 30 AND by chance, I was able to cross it off even after a crazy year in 2020.
At the start of the year when setting my new year’s goals I wasn’t sure if it was going to happen since I hadn’t even started anything related to the process. However, I’ll save the homebuying journey for another post as well as some upcoming posts about different home improvement projects we’re going to be working on.
Today, though, I wanted to share some things that I plan to do during my first year as a homeowner to save money.
Now let’s get started!
See Also: Freelancers Guide to Purchasing a Home
Invest in your own yard work supplies
If you haven’t been renting a house prior to purchasing a home, or have never been in charge of your own yard work as a renter, it’s common to not have any yard work supplies.
However, as a homeowner, one of the first things you’re going to want to invest in is purchasing your own yard work supplies as it’ll save you a ton of money over the years.
Depending on the size of your yard and the route that you decide to take to get your yard done (i.e. letting a neighborhood kid handle your yard work or hiring a professional service) you can expect to spend between $100-$200 per month during the summer months on just ‘general’ yard maintenance.
Fortunately, if you invest in your own yard work supplies (you can start off with a lawnmower and weed eater), you can cut your yard maintenance bill by half or more and the only recurring expenses you’ll have is gas (if you go with a gas mower) and lawn mower maintenance such as replacing your lawnmower blades.
When it comes to lawn mower maintenance you can easily get everything that you need from Sears Parts Direct!
Plus, if you’re like me and have boys looking to make some extra money during the summer, having the yard maintenance equipment already at home makes it so they have a quick summer gig to keep them busy and out of trouble while also earning some money.
Replenish your savings
When purchasing your home, you probably dipped into your savings for the down payment and closing costs.
This is obviously not a problem, however, once you become a homeowner it’s more important than ever to make sure that you have a decent size emergency fund or open an entirely new account where you save money solely for the purpose of emergency repairs.
You’re no longer a tenant, which means that anything that goes wrong in the home is your responsibility to take care of.
Therefore, I recommend spending the first year as a homeowner aiming to save approximately $10,000 for any emergency repairs that pop up. This is especially the case if your home inspection revealed some things that you don’t want to handle immediately, but know you will have to deal with within a year or so.
Address issues caught during the home inspection immediately
If possible, you want to make sure that you address all of the urgent issues found during the home inspection immediately to avoid them becoming worse and costing you even more money down the line.
For example, in our home, there were some plumbing issues (which could result in high water bills) and roofing issues that were discovered during the home inspection. Thankfully, my partner does this type of work full time so it didn’t discourage us from the home since all we had to cover was materials and not labor, but the issues were major things that definitely couldn’t be put off.
Space out your home improvements
As a new homeowner you’re probably super excited to make home improvements to make the home feel more like yours – I know I am.
However, keep in mind that this is your home for the long haul and you don’t have to do everything at once.
The most important thing to focus on during the first year is getting your emergency fund back healthy because the home improvements aren’t going to help you if an emergency repair is needed and you don’t have the funds to cover it.
Therefore, I recommend spacing out home improvements. For example, you can commit to one improvement per month and ideally start off with the cheaper projects first.
For example, our first home improvement project is painting the different rooms. This month we’re going to do the kitchen, the nursery, and the kid’s rooms. It’s not a big project, but it helps everyone feel more settled in AND it doesn’t cause me any stress of having major work done as I come to the end of my pregnancy.
Of course, I would love to renovate the master bathroom, but that is definitely something that will be waiting for about six months or so.
Make your home energy efficient
The more space you have in your home, the more energy you’re going to use. However, if you’re becoming a homeowner after living in an apartment or condo you may not be ready for the increase in your energy bill.
The good news is there are a ton of things that you can do to make your home energy efficient.
For example, you can install blackout curtains, invest in energy-efficient appliances, or even switch to energy-efficient light bulbs.
Plus, if you ever run into issues with your appliances you can always visit Sears Parts Direct for household appliance repair!
Install a water filter
Installing a water filter either in your fridge or on your facet can help you cut back on the number of water bottles that you have to purchase each month – if not eliminate your water purchasing budget altogether.
After making the initial investment of the water filtration system, your only recurring expense is going to be replacing the filter approximately every 3-6 months (depending on the water filtration option you decided to go with).
If you go with a fridge water filter, you can sign up for Sears PartsDirect Water Filter Subscriptions to put replacing your water filter on autopilot so your life is ever easier.
Having a water filter is something that I highly recommend.
In our last rental, I installed one on the sink and I went from purchasing 4 or more cases of water per month to purchasing approximately one (we use water bottles for my partner’s lunch and for long walks). However, now I’m planning to invest in reusable water bottles for everyone so we can eliminate purchasing cases of water altogether.
Add security and new locks
One of the things that may slip your mind is adding in security – especially new locks – as when you’re a renter you typically aren’t able to change the locks.
However, as a homeowner, you want to make sure that you are the only one with keys to your home, as you never know who may have a set of keys to your house, and the odds are the original homeowner hasn’t told everyone that they’ve sold their home.
New locks and a security system can save you money in the event that someone was planning a burglary.
When it comes to home security, you don’t have to sign up for a company that will charge you a recurring fee. You can go with something as simple as a Ring peephole or doorbell, floodlights for the outside, and a few stickup cams for the inside.
I highly recommend having a few cameras installed for peace of mind especially if the house has been vacant for a while because you never know if someone is used to camping out inside or outside of the home while it has been vacant.
Replace the air filter and clean vents
Even as a renter, you’ve probably had to replace the air filters. However, typically when you move into a new rental there are fresh air filters already installed. This may not be the case when you purchase your new home though.
Therefore, you want to make sure that you replace the air filters and clean the vents immediately to ensure that you are not overworking your HVAC system.
Do these things to save money your first year as a homeowner
Of course, there are a ton of more things that you can do to save money during your first year as a homeowner. However, these are some of my personal ones that I’m utilizing and thought I’d share with you today.
Feel free to share with me some things that you’re doing (have done) in the comments below.