Some of the biggest expenses homeowners incur are the basic bills no one wants to pay – insurance and utilities. But there are surprising ways to save on your bills each month that you probably qualify for but have never heard of – things like maintaining good grades in school to lower your car insurance or installing smart lighting to lower your energy costs. Approaching your bills with customer smarts will guarantee your pockets extra cash. Here are six tips on how you can save on your home expenses.
Look for Car Insurance Discounts
There are dozens of car insurance discounts available, but customers have to look for them. Examine the provider’s fine terms and ask your insurance agent about any extra savings you may miss. Discounts are available for drivers who take these steps:
- Buy emergency roadside assistance
- Own a home
- Maintain good grades in school
- Keep mileage low
- Stick with the same policy for a long period of time
- Take a defensive driving course
- Drive an eco-friendly vehicle
- Use vehicle safety features (like antilock brakes)
Financial Advisor says Americans are overpaying on their car insurance – by a whopping $101 billion in five years. Prices vary based on provider, but paying your insurance in full (every 6 or 12 months as opposed to making monthly payments) could save you up to 10%. Also, installing air bags on your car could save 25 – 40% and using a diagnostic car system could save up to 50%.
Automate Your Home’s Biggest Energy Waster
Heating and cooling are the biggest energy wasters in the average home. And the basic, programmable thermostats are a big problem – they still run when everyone’s gone for the day and heat and cool those rarely used rooms. These standard thermostats need constant monitoring to actually save a homeowner money.
Smart thermostats, though, need to be programmed only once, then their learning technology takes over. From adjusting indoor temperature based on outdoor weather to learning your daily schedule, smart thermostats include a lot of tech features that let homeowners truly set it and forget it. They help to cut energy bills, averaging an energy cost savings of 20 – 30%.
Maximize Safety Discounts and Savings
Criminals stay busy – 1,579,527 burglaries occurred in 2015 in the United States. The most popular items thieves look to steal are cash, jewelry and electronics.
Some homeowners insurances include discounts if you use a home security system. Homes without security systems are three times more likely to be broken into than homes protected with an alarm system, according to the Better Business Bureau. Homes with security systems lose $400 less during a burglary than homes without security systems. So, installing extra security will save you money today and possibly in the future.
Use Smart Lighting to Cut Costs
Energy-efficient lighting control options are plentiful these days, from the types of bulbs you use to the sensors that operate the lights. By upgrading your home lighting system to a smart setup, you can save big on the electric bill. Smart lighting solutions include motion sensors, occupancy sensors, remote device access and personalized dimming devices. The return on investment is generally one to five years.
Meanwhile, greener lightbulbs, like compact fluorescent (CFL) and light-emitting diode (LED), give you an additional 6,800 to 23,800 hours of light over traditional incandescent bulbs.
Find Creative Ways to Save on Home Insurance
Like with your car insurance, you can implement numerous discounts to avoid an unnecessary wallet drain each month. Homeowners can score discounts on their insurance by trying these options, too:
- Bundling home and auto insurance policies from the same provider
- Adding disaster-proofing, like earthquake retrofitting and storm shutters, to your home
- Annually reviewing the worth of your belongings and adjusting your policy accordingly
- Installing fire safety devices, like a smoke alarm and a fire extinguisher
- Renovating with weather-resistant material, such as a solid roof or upgraded siding
Reduce Your Monthly Renters Insurance Payment
Renters insurance usually costs between $12 and $20 a month – a price tag that adds up over years of renting. But doing a few critical actions to update your policy can save you a few bucks each month. Some ways for renters to save include the following:
- Splitting the policy with a roommate
- Using group coverage through an employer or alumni group
- If you don’t smoke, asking about a discount for nonsmokers, as some insurance companies will lower costs because there’s a lower chance of fire in homes of nonsmokers
Plenty of discounts and home hacks decrease your bills – you just need to be willing to do the leg work of finding them. Some extra research and talking to customer service agents about any available discounts can lower your monthly utility and insurance bills, letting you spend less on what you need and more on what you want.
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