The following is a guest post by Jessica Stark.
In tough economic times, people everywhere are looking for ways to save money and tighten their budget. Whether that means purchasing bargain brands, choosing to carpool, or simply walking to nearby locations, everyone is focused on cutting costs.
However, the old cliche that “you have to spend money to make money” is true –spending a little bit of money on the right things can save you some much-needed money in the long run. Consider investing in the following home improvements:
If you’re away from home often, a programmable thermostat can help reduce your energy costs. Priced anywhere between $40 and $140, programmable thermostats can be set to turn up the heat or air conditioning before you return home, rather than waste energy throughout the day keeping your home ideally warm or cool. You can also program the thermostat for a lower overnight setting and have it warm your home shortly before you wake up in the morning.
Energy efficient appliances
If your dryer spins for hours and still doesn’t completely dry your clothes, it may be time to go appliance shopping. While buying new appliances can be an immediate financial setback, a more efficient appliance will pay for itself by reducing your utility costs. Look for the Energy Star label to get the most efficient appliance.
Refrigerators are among the worst energy-hogging appliances in your home, so if you’ve been thinking about upgrading yours anyway, do it now and start saving money on energy costs. You can buy a model with a built-in water dispenser, which will eliminate the need to buy bottled water for your home.
Refrigerator water filter
Replacing your refrigerator’s water filter for your drinking water may cost more up front than bottled water, but it can save you a lot of money in a year. If you purchase bottled water, consider the fact that it costs over $10 per gallon – far more than gasoline. Healthy ice and drinking water can be had in your home for a fraction of the cost, and you can replace the filter on your own.
If you’ve installed a new thermostat but your energy bills are still a bit high, replace the air filter. The filter in your heating and air conditioning system should be replaced yearly, if not more often, as filters become clogged over time with dust, dirt and other airborne pollutants. A new air filter can lower your energy costs, make your home cleaner and minimize any allergies your family may have. They cost relatively little and regular replacements will save you countless dollars in utility bills, cleaning supplies, and doctor’s visits in the long run.
It may be difficult to justify spending money on things like appliances when you’re on a budget. But making wise choices – like buying an energy efficient fridge instead of a fancy flat-screen TV – is an investment in your future.
Jessica Stark is a bargain shopper at heart. She loves searching for deals, saving money, and sharing her methods of doing so with others! From clipping coupons to downloading new phone apps, Jessica will try it all!