by Molly Mitchell
While the big wigs argue about the best way to bring the U.S. out of a financial crisis, there are many things you yourself can be doing for your own home’s prosperity. To help out, we have provided the top ten tips on how to best manage money in and around the home and include everything from saving up to shopping right.
- Plan a Budget – This one seems elementary, but only by knowing where your money comes from and where it’s going can give you an accurate picture of your current financial affairs. Use bank statements, check stubs, and even credit card bills to tally up what you spend and where.
- Pay Down Debt – Interest rates may be low now but are not expected to stay that way. If interest rates do go up, those with the most debt will be hit hard. If you are carrying debt, especially those on credit cards, it is important to pay it down as soon as possible.
- Refinance – Planning to live in your home for at least a few more years? Then consider refinancing it to take advantage of the low interest rates. There are tons of companies who will take your information and give you a quote at no charge.
- Green vs. Green – To save costs on electric bills or to help the planet, many people decide to go green. There are many programs, such as the $1,500 tax credit for new windows, but beware of these. The average cost of replacing windows on the average home can be $10,000 or more. Calculate what you will save and when the windows will pay for themselves before you take a multi-thousand dollar plunge.
- Adjustable Thermostat – Unlike the above, this is one cheap switch that can really save you some money. They start at about $25, can be installed by those with a little DIY experience, and can save you hundreds of dollars a year by heating and cooling your home only when you’re there.
- Shop Around – If you’re reading this, you have an internet connection and a device to read this on. This means that you can instantly shop around for whatever your heart desires in just a click. Utilize the internet to get the best price and other perks such as free shipping and no sales tax if you buy out of state.
- Buy Used – Who says only new products are any good? There are many items where used is just as good as new such as movies, furniture, and many others. Check out sites like eBay or Craigslist as well to get great deals.
- Bulk Up – Staples such as toilet paper, light bulbs, printer paper, and more can all have their prices drastically cut if you buy in bulk. Can’t afford one of those premium club memberships? Then try splitting the cost with a family member or friend.
- Water World – Did you know that wasting water can add up to hundreds in extra costs in just a year? Doing things like putting a brick in the toilet or fixing that dripping faucet can add up big. A drip in your home if let to run for a year can even cost more than what it would cost to have a plumber fix it.
- Save – Whether for a short term emergency fund or retirement, saving is a key cornerstone to any home economics plan. Even in a down market, there are many insured investments that can go up in value and earn you some extra bucks in addition to the bucks you save.
Molly Mitchell is a Economics graduate student and also owns the site Economics Degree. Her site helps students find the right Economics Degree to fit their needs.