Want to save some money pretty easily? Check out this list:
- Lower your mortgage rate. Yup. Especially if you have a loan backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac – this is the perfect time. The Home Affordable Refinance Program has been extended until June 30, 2012. Loans backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac are being refinanced at 4%-5% and (best part) with NO closing costs.
- Lower your energy bill. Contact your utility company. Find out if they offer free energy audits by inspecting your home for energy effectiveness and recommending inexpensive ways to cut energy costs. Ours does. I had to wait several months because they stay so backed up, but Duke Energy gave me a free energy audit and gifts!
- Cut down on drafts. Speaking of lowering your energy bill, this one trick can lower your bill 3% to 18%! Here are some way to stop/reduce drafts:
- weather stripping – perfect for leaks around doors. If you can slide a piece of paper between any door and its frame, it needs weather stripping. You can buy cheap, self-adhesive foam at any home improvement store. We even added it around my son’s college dorm room door and were amazed at the amount of sound it blocked coming in from the hall.
- install “door sweeps” – these “sweeps” go along the bottom of your doors. You can spend a bit more to get the spring loaded automatic type but those lift up as the door opens and press down to form a tight seal when they close. This type doesn’t get caught on carpet or scratch hardwood floors. Only $11 at energyfederation.org.
- insulate attic doors – this was one my energy auditor pointed out that I’d never thought of. Heat rises. A tremendous amount of your heat leaks into your attic via the attic door. These doors are not made to fit well and the space around the opening needs to be insulated.
- plug holes in attic, basement and crawl spaces – by using caulk and/or spray foam
- cover air conditioners – if you have window units, the air blows right through from the outside. There are many places, including home improvement stores, where you can buy ones that fit snugly over the unit. Or, check out accovers.com.
There are many cost saving home improvements that still receive tax credits: installation of insulation, some HVAC systems, water heaters, windows, doors and roofing.
Chances are, these home improvement tax credits won’t be renewed so, if you’ve been planning to green your home, now’s the time while the credits still exist. Do your improvements before year end to claim the credits on your 2011 tax return. Go to energystar.gov for details.
For lots more tips, check out my article: 30 Ways to Save Money on Utilities.
What are you doing to reduce your everyday bills?