6 Ways to Save Money as a New Homeowner

Purchasing a house can be exciting, but after all the paperwork is signed, you may find you have little money left for anything else. Luckily, there are small improvements you can make to cut down on your living expenses. Start these DIY projects and updates now, and you’ll be well on your way to saving money.

1. Change Your Thermostat

Do you still have an analog thermostat? If you change all the thermostats in your home to digital, you will save money on your heating and cooling costs. If you already have digital thermostats, you can still save some cash—the key is in the programming.

Analog thermostats are set to a specific temperature and to change it, you have to reset the thermostat. Programmable digital thermostats, however, allow you to set a temperature for days, nights, weekdays, and weekends, which means you can set several different temperatures for different days or times of day.

You can save money in the winter by setting the thermostat to a lower temperature while you are sleeping or out of the home. If you have a cooling system, you can set the temperature in a similar fashion. Just remember that if you find yourself manually increasing the temperature in the winter or decreasing it in the summer, you’ll lose those savings. Set your thermostat and leave it for the biggest savings.

2. Consider Caulk

Caulking a gap in a door frame.

Caulk is an inexpensive waterproof sealer and filler that's used to seal cracks, gaps, and seams in homes. Look around your windows, doorways, and plumbing. If you see any spaces, it’s likely you are losing heat in the winter and cool air in the summer. Those small gaps might not seem like much, however, add everything up and it could be the equivalent of leaving a window open all winter!

You can buy caulk at your local home improvement store in various colors—some can even be painted over. You’ll also want to purchase a caulk gun to dispense it. While caulking gaps and cracks can be tedious, it’s an easy DIY.

3. Try Low-Flow Fixtures

The next time you plan to replace one of your faucets, shower heads, or toilets, consider a low-flow model. Low-flow fixtures use less water than standard models and can save you a considerable amount on your water bill. Low-flow fixtures are available at most home improvement stores and are inexpensive and easy to install.

4. Add Insulation

Pink insulation in the roof of an attic.

Insulation is rated in terms of its thermal resistance, or R-value. The higher the R-value, the more effective the insulation is and the less money you will have to spend to heat and cool your house. To determine the R-value of the insulation in your home, you’ll need to know the R-value of the existing insulation and the thickness of the insulation. Multiply the two numbers to get the total R-value.

If your house is more than 20 years old, you could probably use some extra insulation. Adding insulation in an attic, crawl space, garage, or basement is a great start. Add insulation to exterior walls if you're doing any sort of remodeling that involves opening up walls.

5. Upgrade Your Appliances

If you're looking to upgrade your appliances, consider Energy Star models. Created by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy, Energy Star is an international standard for energy efficient consumer products originated in the United States. Energy Star products typically use 20-30% less energy than required by federal standards, which means big savings for you.

6. Change Your Light Bulbs

Inserting a light bulb into a lamp.

Electric lighting can burn up to 25% of your energy bill. Making a simple light bulb switch could cut your lighting costs significantly. Light emitting diode (LED) and compact fluorescent lights (CFL) are both energy efficient options. While they cost more than a standard light bulb, they last longer and use less energy.

These are just a few examples of ways you can save money as a new homeowner. Try one or several, and you’ll find yourself with some extra cash in the long run.