Do you take every opportunity to refinance your mortgage for the best interest rates? Did you know your mortgage is not the only way your house could be costing you unnecessarily?
Here are ways your house could be leaking money daily, plus what you can do to turn the tide.
Hot water systems set too high
Fix It Right Plumbing notes that many are concerned about the rising cost of gas and electricity. But heating hot water makes up approx. one-third of your energy bill. They advise the following: “Turn your hot water system down. 80-90% of all hot water systems are set too hot. Reducing the temperature in the tank greatly reduces the running costs and also makes your system last longer.” (Source: fixitrightplumbing.com.au)
Other suggestions for reducing your heating bill (due to too much heated water use) include taking shorter showers. While many of us consider a long soak a treat, consider shaving 5 minutes off your regular 20-minute soak. Or brushing your teeth at the sink instead of in the shower. These little minutes here and there all add up and play a role in how painful your bill is at the end of the month.
HVAC thermostat not following temperature trends
Are you guilty of any of the following actions? When the house is cold, do you turn the thermostat up to get your home to heat faster? Or when the house is hot, do you turn the thermostat way down so that it will cool quickly? What about leaving your thermostat at a certain temperature and not adjusting it for when you are out of the house? Or when seasons change?
These actions all contribute to a needlessly high energy bill.
Energy.gov states that you can save as much as 10 percent on your heating and cooling bill by adjusting your thermostat for the hours you are away at work. And a programmable thermostat will keep the temperature at a comfortable, energy-efficient level.
For those of us who have yet to upgrade our HVAC system, here is how to lower your heating costs. For times when you will be away from your house for 8 hours or more, set your thermostat 5 to 8 degrees higher in the summer. And 10 to 15 degrees lower in the winter. And then set the thermostat back to a more comfortable temperature when you return home.
Clutter and disorganization
Your disorganization could be costing you more than you might think. Missed payments often equal penalties and extra charges. In fact, experts state that as much as 15 to 20 percent of Americans’ yearly income is drained through disorganized finances. Library books that are overdue add to that number. Library Journal states, “LJ has the projected amount of money collected in monthly fines at approximately $11.8 million. This calculation is based on the total number of library systems in the United States and not the number of individual library buildings, making this a very conservative estimate.”
Ten percent of households also lease storage space to hold belongings that they do not want to get rid of. And another estimate shows that American families waste up to $2,275 worth of food a year. Alternatively, 25 percent of their food goes is thrown away and not eaten.
If you are guilty of letting clutter and disorganization cut into your monthly paycheck, you can take control of the situation. In small ways, start to monitor your habits and refine your ways of working. Put bills in one place and designate an evening weekly to doing an audit of your finances – what is due this week and what is due the next.
A once-a-week financial accounting might seem like overkill for those who previously only pulled out their calculator once a month. But if you want to build better accounting habits, this is how it is done.
For those battling with too much stuff, go through your house and rethink “problem” areas. Problem areas are those spaces in your house that tend to accumulate junk. Create specific places for everything important in your house. Once you do a thorough job of this, everything that does not earn its own place should be tossed. The reward for following through with this activity will be more physical and mental space to see to the important things.
Professional organizers, blogs, and books on the topic abound. Read, research, and do the work to make your house a haven and not a drain.