Life can get pretty expensive, especially here in Toronto, and most of us want to be able to save some money if we can; whether it’s for purchasing an investment property, a bigger home renovation project, or even being able to go on an extra vacation a year, reducing how much money you’re spending on a monthly basis is something we all want to do.
Saving money begins at home, and there are lots of easy ways to do it. Here are 10 ways to reduce your overall monthly carrying costs on your home:
1. Invest in high-efficiency, lower energy appliances: Fact is, if you have an older furnace, hot water tank, or air conditioner unit, you’re probably losing money each and every month. Even though replacing these appliances with more efficient ones can be a large cost up front, they’ll certainly reduce your monthly costs in the long run.
2. Cut the cord on your cable: If you’re still paying for cable, you probably don’t need to. With Netflix, Amazon Prime, and, well, the Internet, you can pretty much get all of your home’s entertainment needs for less than $20 a month. With the typical cable bill running around $100 a month or higher, it’s a decent way to reduce some monthly costs.
3. Take on more of the monthly household tasks yourself: We’re all busy, and as a result, maybe you’ve hired some people to do some things around the house. That might be lawn care, shovelling snow, or maybe even just some handyman work around the house. It’s sort of obvious, but why not take those tasks on for yourself instead of paying someone else to do it. You’ll lose some time, but gain a little more in the bank each month.
4. Invest in smart home devices: Some smart devices can save you some money in the long run. A Nest thermostat, for example, on average saves people 10-12% off of their heating bills and 15% of their heating bills. Nest also makes cameras that are easy to install, and could result in a reduction in your home insurance costs. Swapping your more often used light bulbs with smart lightbulbs can save some money too for 2 main reasons: 1) smart light bulbs are LEDs, and 2) there are a number of ways to have them turn on when you enter a room, and then off again when you leave. Lastly, you can also utilize automatic outlets and timers to turn devices on and off at the times you need them and don’t need them.
5. Air seal your home: Reducing the number of air leaks around your home can help you save substantially on your overall cooling and heating costs. Over the course of a weekend, and with a few bucks spent at Home Depot on weather stripping and caulking, sealing up air leaks and drafts in your home is worth the time it takes to do it to get a few bucks back in your pocket each month.
6. Run your appliances after 7pm: Here in Toronto, the good people at Toronto Hydro offer Time-of-Use rates, which change based on what time of day you use hydro. There’s a detailed breakdown right here, but basically, you’ll save 6.7 cents a KwH by running appliances between 7pm and 7am rather than during the day, which in a large house, can reduce monthly spending by a reasonable amount.
7. Rent out your unused garage/parking spot: If you have an empty garage or an empty parking spot, then you have a way to generate some monthly income. In busier, more high traffic areas, parking for vehicles is in high-demand, and you can easily rent it out by posting an ad on Kijiji.
8. Consider renting a room or two out to international or local students: While the thought of living with other people might not be very appealing to you, it’s one of the best ways to save money, and a lot of it. Most students are willing to pay $1000 or more a month for a room, and if you live close to a post-secondary school, it can even be more. Multiply that by a couple of rooms to rent out, and you’re saving a lot of money.
9. Think about refinancing your mortgage: Refinancing your mortgage can mean lower monthly payments. There are a few more things to consider around refinancing, and you should certainly get advice from a mortgage professional, but it’s worth talking about to see if you’re eligible and if it makes sense for your specific situation.
10. Consider downsizing: If your house is too big, and you have a lot of unused space, you should consider downsizing. If you’re trying to reduce costs, you can reduce them quite a bit with a smaller home. Smaller mortgage, decreased hydro costs, the list goes on. It may seem extreme to downsize just to save money, but the fact is, there are a lot of other ways downsizing can improve your life.
So there you have it. 10 easy ways you can reduce your home’s monthly carrying costs right now. Have any more ideas? I’d love to hear about them in the comments section!